We’re rapidly approaching the point of no return when it comes to spoilers for George R.R. Martin’s series, A Song Of Ice And Fire. Beginning this season, Game Of Thrones will begin making major deviations from the books, killing off characters who have thus far survived in the books, and eventually spoiling the end of the story before Martin gets to it. And while many fans of the show used to be nervous about having readers of the series spoil upcoming plot twists for them, now it seems the reverse will be true. But Martin thinks this is all no big deal, and he is happy to expound on it, at length, until he’s sure that he’s exhausted all possible angles.
In an interview with The Verge during the red carpet for Game Of Thrones’ season five premiere, the author launched into a tirade about spoilers, essentially arguing that everyone needs to stop caring so much about not learning the outcome of stories before they see them.
This whole concept of spoilers is one that I’ve never gotten. Yes, there’s a pleasure when you’re reading a book, or watching a television show—What will happen next? Who will win? Who will lose? But that is by no means the only reason to watch a movie or a television show. It’s not the only reason to read a book.
After making this eminently reasonable point, the average fan could be forgiven for assuming that Martin was done, having used an appropriate number of words to concisely convey a particular idea. But no, Martin was just getting warmed up, with much more to say about this single item that you already felt had been thoroughly addressed, and didn’t need a bunch more extraneous verbiage. With a dedication he usually only shows to overly long books in a still-unfinished series, Martin continued:
I read a lot of historical fiction, you know? I know who won the Civil War—it’s not a spoiler to me. But I can still enjoy Gettysburg, even though I know how the battle came out. I can still enjoy historical fiction about the Wars of the Roses, even though I know who won the Wars of the Roses. And for that matter, I still enjoy watching Citizen Kane every few years even though I know ‘Rosebud’ is the sled. So there—I just gave a terrible spoiler to all the people who haven’t seen Citizen Kane. Rosebud is the sled, but nonetheless, you should still watch Citizen Kane, because it’s incredible!
At this point, Martin likely paused, gathering his thoughts, before going into a detailed history of the concept of the spoiler: tracing the etymology of the term, elaborating on the various slang that appropriates the root, and proffering theories on how it could evolve from its present assignation. He then presented a chart tracing the whole origin of his Citizen Kane example, which the interviewer read carefully for the first few pages, then started to flip through more and more rapidly, eventually just wanting it to be done.