I'm going to attempt to write a whole post without spoiling anything. Except perhaps your view on spoilers.
Wish me luck!
No surprises, but I'm a bit of a nerd. While my friends go starry-eyed over musicians or actors, I fan-girl over authors.
Stuart Turton, the author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, was at a Bloomsbury Insitute talk about Agatha Christie and was signing copies of his book. As he signed my copy, I mentioned a friend had finished it recently and was trying to hint at things.
Too late I learned that if there's anything crime writers hate, it's people who spoil plots.
I don't think this friend reads my blog. If you're here - hey, Stuart Turton said it, not me.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a brilliant book by the way - think Agatha Christie on LSD. Manor house crime meets time travel speculative fiction. My favourite read of 2018 and probably my favourite re-read of 2019.
To spoil or not to spoil?
Let's face it, anyone who spoils the twist of something you would have enjoyed is evil and there's a special place in hell for them. And saying there's a plot twist counts as a spoiler.
So maybe I've already failed at a no spoilers post on spoilers. Damn.
But when is a spoiler, a spoiler? How long is the statute of limitations?
If I say that the original Mrs Rochester is XXX. Or Elizabeth Bennett marries XXX. Or Jay Gatsby XXX in the end, are those spoilers? Given these works have been around for decades, can they really be spoiled anymore?
Also, Frankenstein creates XXX, Count Dracula is actually a XXX and XXX is actually XXX in disguise.
Interesting question - can you spoil a movie if it's based on real-life events? Can I say actually that Jim Lowell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise never got to walk on the Moon without spoiling the movie Apollo 13 for non-space history buffs?
And how far does this go? Can Wikipedia not put the ending of the book in their plot synopsis? Do we need Cliff Notes to end before the last chapter? Should there be a criminal sentence for the person who told me that Nicole Kidman in The Other was XXX before I'd seen it?
No, I'm not bitter.
The weirdest case study of this is Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap.
The play The Mousetrap has been on the stage for 59 years. I'm not kidding - it's the world's longest running play. It opened in London's West End in 1952. This play has been on stage for longer than I've been alive.
I saw it as a child and I remember, at the end of the play the actors stood on stage and asked the audience not to reveal to anyone who hadn't seen the play whodunnit. Who the murderer was and how the play ends.
And hand on heart - twenty years later, I've never told anyone. The covenant was made, this is some top-level cult powers or ace marketing. One or the other.
If you've seen Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage, you'll have found something similar with the "Keep the Secret" badge. Also, Marvel recently published an open letter asking everyone to keep End Game spoilers to themselves!
This is true to such an extent that when the secret has been revealed there has been almost outrage. Wikipedia have been blasted for revealing it on their page.
Given there will never be a clear answer to this, here's my best advice to managing spoilers.
If the series/book is currently being watched/reviewed, keep away from the internet.
Rent a cabin in Dunnet Head, Scotland, bar the door and turn off your phone.
If your friend can't help themselves, stick your fingers in your ears and hum loudly.
If they still can't help themselves, it's time for duct tape.
Asking an excited person nicely not to spoil it for you, doesn't work.
With both Avengers: End Game and Game of Thrones final out there, I wish you all good luck, I hope you manage to keep away from the news and despite the inevitability of spoilers, may the odds be ever in your favour.