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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

To Peek or Not to Peek

One of the perils of being a writer is knowing 'Who Done It.'  It's a side effect of studying story structure and character arc.  You read a book, watch a movie or TV show, and in the first act you've figured out who the bad guy will turn out to be, who is going to end up together or just what lesson our protagonist needs to learn before The End.

Now, I've never been a girl who turns to the back of the book to read the ending.  Ever.  Not to find out its going to be okay or see if the right people are still breathing.  So this side effect might bother me a bit more than other writers. (I'm looking at you, Sabrina Jeffries!)  I could write a whole other blog about how this ability to figure it out bugs Valiant Husband, btw.  ;-)

But in general, I'm not upset because it's the journey that is interesting to me.  The hows, whys, what-fors make the real story, IMHO.

But things changed a little when I got hooked on Game of Thrones.

It was the HBO show that sucked me in.  So many threads!  So many fabulous characters!  A story line full of so many unexpected twists and turns that I couldn't predict much at all.  Score!  So many people I know were reading the books but I hung back.  I was too delighted, anticipating Sunday night with glee.  What will happen?  Who will betray their loyalties?   Or die?  I was having a big time, with only a vague, big picture idea of what had to happen sooner or later--but with no earthly idea how George R. R. Martin was going to bring it about.

Well that all changed last weekend.

No spoilers.  But let me just say, those doors closed and I said, "Uh, oh."  Valiant Husband said, "What?"  Then--Ulp.  Urgh.  What?  No!  Sob.

And for the first time I wished I'd known what was coming in this show.  I wish I'd been prepared.  I'm still a little shell-shocked.

I jumped onto Twitter to share my confusion with other viewers.  I found solidarity and shared shock with other viewers, and the somewhat smug but often funny observations of the 'book readers' about the 'show watchers.'

And I thought next time I want to be on that side of the fence.  I think I've been pushed to go against a lifetime of habit.  I'm going to read ahead.  I'm going to make Valiant Husband read ahead too.  Next time we'll be ready for you, Mr. Martin.

What about you?  Do you peek at movie reviews before you watch?  Read the ends of the books before you get there?  Or do you hate spoilers?  Are you reading or watching Game of Thrones?  And were you caught by surprise?

22 comments:

  1. Deb ~ I have a lot of friends who do read the books and one of them let something slip last year. Nothing big just a side comment about "that's the beginning of his downfall" and so for a whole season I've been waiting for his downfall. Then there were all the interviews with all the stars who said the last two episodes this year were going to wipe the slate clean and turn everything on it's side. I knew the "downfall" was coming for a certain character, I could feel it. But even knowing that...I was shocked, shocked by what I saw! Heart-wrenching on so many different levels. (I will say that I tried very hard this year not to get connected to the "downfall" character because I didn't want my heart ripped out. I think I was better prepared than most.)

    Still, I don't think I would have wanted to know all the details ahead of time. I still like being surprised and caught off guard. I mean episodes 9 and 10 of season 1 taught us that anyone can go at anytime, and don't get attached to any characters. Still, it's hard not to have favorites.

    So to answer your question...I am watching GoT, and I don't plan to read the books until the series is over. I like being surprised one week to the next (I will say readers were just as shocked about the events that took place in "that" scene as viewer were, when they first encountered it. A friend of mine put the book down for months after reading that scene. So reading ahead of the show may not make it easier to take or accept certain things.)

    The main reason I don't want to read ahead is just what you had in your post. It's so very rare to "watch" something and not know where it's going. This is virtually the only show I watch that's like that. This goes for TV or film... and I don't want to give that up. It's just too rare. :)

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    1. I know! I've been so adamant about enjoying the not knowing. I keep probing the wound, seeing if I've *really* changed my mind--and I think I have!

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  2. I was in shock too! All I could think was "OMG, what just happened?" I kept thinking there had to be a mistake, but there wasn't! I won't read the books, though. I like being surprised, even shocked. My husband's aunt has read the books, but she never gives anything away. She just said the ending of the series is going to be 'epic'. I can't wait for epic!!!

    One exception to needing to know the ending was to The Outlanders. I kept saying to my good friends, "Don't give anything away, but please tell me it's going to have a happy ending." A romance without a HEA is the worst!

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    1. I've only been reading the books after the season is over, so far. I keep hearing that they are splitting all of the books into two seasons from now on. Maybe that is influencing me too. Can I wait that long?

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  3. I don't want to know ANYTHING ahead of time. Ever. And if a movie looks really good, I'll read the book first so that I get the full experience straight out of the gate. After all, the movie is always a pale comparison, is it not?
    As for GoT - I'll leave it to you guys (just like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). I require a lack of gore and rape from anything I read!

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    1. Yes, you do have to sort of gird your loins, going into this show! But the payoff is great!

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  4. So, I have been reading your guys tweets and Facebook comments about the latest GoT. So, I finally sat down and watched it. First off, I kind of figure one would be gone. However, the whole scene just threw me under an emotional bus. I totally understand that a lot will probably die in the end. But still!

    Anyways, yes I'm a looker. I will make sure I find a happy ending. Heaven forbid there is no happy ending.

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    1. Melody--I'm wondering...is it only in Romance that you peek? If you are reading a mystery, do you read the end to find who did it before you get there?

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    2. Mysteries are a little hard to peek. Because, there are so many elements to the story, that it just ruins it. Depends on the mystery, but I don't usually peek on those.

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  5. Deb,
    I love Game of Thrones, but I have not read the books-yet! They are sitting in my tbr pile. I don't like knowing the endings. I'd rather be shocked and then deal with it. I feel like that mimics real life, lol!

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    1. If you asked me on Saturday, I would have been 100% with you, Julie! :-)

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  6. I started reading the books because of the show, but they are very long, and I have limited reading time, so it's been slow going. But after Sunday????? I can't be hit over the head like that again. I have to be better prepared, so I'm reading more each day. By the time next season comes around, I'll be prepared.

    I knew that those characters would die at some point, because as with Ava above, some friends let things slip. But I had NO IDEA it would be anything like that. I'm still in shock.

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  7. I'm glad you are reading ahead too--we can dish in private without spoiling it for our holdouts! :-)

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  8. Man, if you guys think that was shocking, wait until the end of the season. If it ends where I think it does, you'll get the biggest WTF?!? ever. Nothing else in the books, IMO, is as emotionally wrenching as what happened on Sunday. However, those events really are game-changers. Most everything that happens from here on out would not have come about had things gone differently. Plus, it provides a ton of motivation to a host of characters. It was incredibly bold and brilliant of Martin to do it.

    And I do not regret reading A Song of Ice and Fire twice now. It's masterful storytelling (even if the female characters are generally underdeveloped). Martin tells a compelling story, for sure. There are many more changes a-coming!

    And I do not enjoy spoilers at all. It's fine if I've read a book and know what's coming in a movie, but if it's supposed to be a surprise, I want it to be a surprise. I'm just shocked by how tight-lipped the readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire series have been so as not to spoil it for viewers. It speaks to the power of the story!

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    1. Are you saying that Sunday episode wasn't the worst of it. Caren are you telling me I need to have another sappy book ready for Sunday? Cause I finally watched Sundays episode last night I was like I need something sappy and happy.

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    2. You know, I've actually been surprised by the depth of some of his female characters. Danaerys and Arya, and even Cersei, in particular, feel very complex, well drawn, and strong at least to this point. Frankly, in comparison to some of the other fantasy authors I've read, I'm thrilled with how he handles his female characters. I mean, when you look at this and hold it up against Lord of the Rings...

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    3. I think we'd all better brace ourselves, Melody!

      And yes, Caren...I've been pleasantly surprised by the lack of spoilers!

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  9. First of all, I was not surprised by what happened on Game of Thrones. I had said before that Cersei will go first. I think that we may be headed to a bigger fight or hostage situation before we can get rid of Joffrey.

    I never peek at the ending of a book. That’s like peeking at your Christmas presents. Spoils the surprise. I’m not much of a movie goer so the only trailers I enjoy are those for upcoming books. I would rather read than watch a movie any day!

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  10. I was never a Christmas snooper, either, Connie, which is why this is such a departure for me.

    My sister on the other hand...she was a prize snooper! :-)

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  11. I finally watched GoT. Couldn't get into it. It...just wasn't for me. Then again, I'm not a fan of True Blood either. BUT I will read the books or at least attempt to for GoT.

    I really don't care one way or another about being spoiled. Sometimes I want to know what I'm getting into.

    There are two movies that I've watched, then read the book where I loved the movies more: Big Fish and Practical Magic.

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  12. Hey Marquita! If you didn't like the series, I doubt you'd enjoy the books. The first book was incredibly close to the first season.

    It really is rare that we like the movie more, isn't it?

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  13. I read all the books over 7 years ago. I've forgotten almost all of what happened ... except for some of the really really big things. I love rediscovering it. I hate spoilers, but I don't feel spoiled at all because the show is just so excellent.

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