Spilled but not spoiled

I hear it all the time. “Okay, I’ll stop right there so I don’t spoil the book/movie for you.”

To which I often say: “Oh, no, it’s okay. So, what happened next?”

Apparently, many people do not want  to be told the turning points or, at least, the ending of a novel or movie  until they got hold of the book or watch the movie themselves. It’s a delayed gratification thing, I guess. So, it has become a rule of thumb among book and movie reviewers to not reveal whether the hero dies or survives in the end. In social networking sites for bibliophiles like Goodreads, you would find some book reviews with a notice in the beginning that goes: This review may contain spoilers.

So I think I am one of those few people who don’t mind some spoiling, because spoilers do not necessarily ruin the experience for me.

The thing that is given away by spoilers is the sequence of events, or the plot. But there is more to a story than its plot. Equally deserving appreciation are the characters and their interiors lives, the setting, the author’s voice or writing style, etc. For movies, there are the mise en scene, musical score, editing, etc. And of course, there’s the insight, which often varies from reader/moviegoer to another.  All these work together to achieve that ephiphany that lights in you after the last page is turned, that born-again feeling you have that makes you remain in your seat while others are already making their way to the theater exits.

Take, for example, your favorite book or movie. You’ve read/watched or seen it a countless times, which means on the second time, you were already reading/viewing a “spoiled” book/movie. Yet, on the 1, 456th time, no love seems to have been lost.

It has become my habit to bring a book wherever I go, in the same way that Linus carries his comfort blanket around. Often, the book I grab in that hasty moment shortly before I step out of the house is Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart. It has kept me company while in a bus caught in heavy traffic or while in a queue in a government office that never seem to move. I can recite now some passages from it  without looking. For some reasons, I never get tired of it.

I suppose no amount of spoiling can put a good book down.

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3 thoughts on “Spilled but not spoiled

  1. I watch/read things again and again, but I hate having that first experience being spoiled. I can concentrate on all those aspects that go into making a tale for a later viewing, but to me the plot is the essential part of that first taste of the book or movie.

  2. kahit ilang beses mong ulitin ang isang nobelang mahusay ang pagkakasulat, hindi ka magsasawa dun dahil iba-iba ang mararamdaman mo sa bawat pagbabasa. medyo iba lang siguro kung pelikula kasi naghahain na ito ng mga biswal na paglalarawan ng mga serye ng tagpo mula sa nobela.

    • Rafael ay nagsasabing:

      Good point on book vs. movie. Sa pelikula kasi, di mo na kailangang mag-imagine kasi nga nakikita mo na ang hitsura ng mga characters, ayos ng mga settings, etc. Sa novel, ang mambabasa mismo ang kailangang magsupply ng mga images sa utak niya, gamit ang mga salita sa page. In a way, mas intellectually demanding ang pagbabasa ng nobela kaysa panonood ng pelikula.

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