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Old 12-19-2015, 08:06 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Spoiler Alert!

With the new Star Wars movie coming out, spoilers and attempts to avoid them are flying furiously across the face of the Internet and perhaps because Star Wars is one of those franchises I am most nostalgic about (right up there with Harry Potter behind the Lord of the Rings), this has put me in a commemorative mood and I want to talk about spoilers.

N.B. This thread is not about Star Wars, nor about spoiling that or any other movie.

Specifically, I want to see if anyone here can dredge up memories of being spoiled for The Lord of the Rings or Tolkien in general. I suppose I'm thinking more about the movies than the books, since people tend to talk less about spoilers in the context of the written word, but either would apply.

The reason I'm curious is because, in general, I entered Middle-earth completely unspoiled: I discovered the books on my own and read them all before ever finding someone to talk to who knew them, but in other contexts I've run into spoilers and (with some exceptions) I kind of enjoy them--when I get excited about a movie or TV show I haven't seen before, it's using not because I've been unspoiled with generic "it's good" or "it's about this... vague thing," but because I've delved into articles and TvTropes and summaries and more. I tend to be more eager to see a thing if I already know the big Plot Twist than if I go in as a blank slate.

And, actually, it's not QUITE true to say I remember no spoilers for The Lord of the Rings movies. Before FotR came out in 2001, I remember reading all kinds of articles and such about the movie. I was trepidatious as only a 14 year old could be about his favourite book and some of the articles did absolutely nothing to allay my concerns: There's no Glorfindel in the movie! Arwen's getting an expanded part! Are they trashing the story? How will they condense twenty-plus chapters into three hours? (Basically, my mental image of what PJ would do to the story in FotR is what we ended up getting in The Hobbit movies.) So when I went into the theatre, I was already spoiled for Arwen's replacement of Glorfindel and arguably, because I'd had some months to stew and worry over it, I was far more irritated when it actually happened on screen than if I'd gone into the movie only an hour after learning they were making a film adaptation of the book.

Does anyone else remember being spoiled for the movies or books? If so, how did that affect you once you did experience the story?
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:47 PM   #2
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None of my family were remotely interested in Tolkien. They were readers but just not their thing so I was a blank slate pretty much. I saw the Jackanory Hobbit, and had to read the book to find out what happened as I missed the last episode. I remember crying at Thorin's death. However I might just have been a bit dim.. when I read the LOTR a few years later I didn't twig that the title of the third volume was a bit of a clue to the outcome... Actually it is probably just as well that my Dad wasn't remotely interested in Tolkien given how he reacted when he discovered I was riveted by the Day of the Jackal because I wanted to know if the assassin succeeded...

These I seldom read a book I don't have an idea about from a review or browsing though last year "We are all completely beside ourselves" was one since I was given it and it was a particularly good one to read in initial ignorance.
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Old 12-23-2015, 03:09 PM   #3
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My first exposure to Tolkien was when I saw the Rankin-Bass cartoons when I was in fourth grade, before I was too cognizant of the concept of spoilers. For all of their flaws, they got the gist of the plot across.

After that my Dad read the books aloud during family reading time (which, looking back at it, was a pretty interesting way to "read" Tolkien for the first time).
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:13 AM   #4
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I'm fairly sure that when I first read The Lord of the Rings (at age 10, far too young to truly appreciate it) the manner in which the Ring itself is destroyed (ie Gollum seizing it and falling in) was spoiled for me, but I think I was too young to appreciate that something significant had been given away.

I've never been that fussed about "spoilers", however. I'm very much a re-reader and re-watcher, and I feel that often a text takes multiple readings/viewings to be fully appreciated, so I'm not especially concerned about knowing what happens in a narrative as long as it happens in an interesting or impressive way.

When I watched the "Hobbit" films, I deliberately spoiled them for myself so that the changes from the book would be less frustrating.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:14 PM   #5
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I don't remember any spoilers from the LotR movies, as I'd gone in pretty much blind to the first two movies, devoured the books, and then saw the third movie.

For the Hobbit films, I think I read some fellow Downers' reviews and commentary on them before seeing them, but I had no personal/emotional investment in those movies whatsoever, so I wasn't bothered.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:40 PM   #6
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I've never really got into the spoilers thing--I find it difficult to appreciate how it affects some people. This perhaps is because, as a student of early literature, I was accustomed to reading literature that was not valued for novelty or newness but for aesthetics--that is, how the author put the story together rather than what the story was about. (The novel starting in the 18th century blew this away.) Although there are sixty plus years between my education and Tolkien's, essentially I was trained in the similar historical method that he was.

I suppose in one way I was spoiled for the movies by having seen a live theatre performance of The Hobbit. The actor who played Gollem was superb--both an actor and a gymnast--and no matter how well Andy Serkis portrayed Gollem, I had in my mind vivid memories of an actual person who surpassed and exceeded the CGI antics, with all the tangible immediacy of live performance.

But I have to admit that watching the first Hobbit movie definitely spoiled the following two for me--I haven't had any interest in seeing them.
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Old 01-07-2016, 09:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
But I have to admit that watching the first Hobbit movie definitely spoiled the following two for me--I haven't had any interest in seeing them.
Heehee. I'm only a little disappointed that those movies weren't spoiled for me sooner.

My LOTR timetable went approximately like this (give or take a year in age):

5 y/o: My mother reads LOTR aloud to me in Russian. I understand very little because I can't even keep track of the nine names of the Fellowship (I recall asking her at the end of the Fellowship who was Boromir. Somehow I thought he was one of the bad guys - I think I mixed him up with Sauron or Saruman - and I was glad that he died).

6-9 y/o: I watch the movies. I understand very little because my English is horrible, but it helps clarify the basic plot. Unfortunately, it also implants several physical images into my head.

9-12 y/o: I reread LOTR several times, know what goes where, who is who, etc. Movie images still stick.

12-13 y/o: I become obsessed with LOTR and won't read anything else. I read the First age stuff and The Hobbit. I try to memorize every detail of everything in the books. I join the Downs.

13-15 y/o: I am on a quest to reread everything in English and augment my Tolkien with non-canonic material.

As of now, if I concentrate, I am able to override the movie images of LOTR with more accurate ones. This isn't a problem for TH - my mental pictures were too set to be perturbed by the movies. But I've noticed even recently that occasionally little things like the appearance and number of orcs, or like the looks or voices of some characters, are still closer to the movie than the book. So in that sense, the movies spoiled the book for me, but not in the plot or character development sense.
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Old 01-13-2016, 12:43 AM   #8
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If you are interested in Hobbits you learn a lot more about them in The Lord of the Rings:
Little did I know! That was the postscript at the end of the incredible story I'd just read, when I was nine or ten. Not much of a hint, really, let alone a spoiler, but enough to make me race back to the library as soon as I could to seize these additional three--three!--books the author had promised me. The problem was, they had #1 and #3, but #2 was on sabbatical. When was it coming back? It didn't matter, it wasn't there then...and by 'then' I mean 'now' or rather, 'NOW'. I took what I could, and told myself that by the time I was done with the first book, the second would certainly be available.

But I read Fellowship in about a day, and I don't think I really considered for more than a moment waiting to start Return. I finished that the same weekend, untangling the knotted plot strings as best I could, knowing where the ends were, but very unclear about the middles. By the time the missing book finally came into my hands, a long time (by my standards) had passed, and I'd read the other books at least once more.

I've read The Two Towers many times now, but there's still a little bit of a strangeness to it that I don't get from the other books. I don't truly know if or how much of that is due to me jumping ahead back at the beginning, but it does feel like maybe a little spark of unfamiliarity is still smoldering there.

Anyway, that's the story of how I spoiled the entire middle portion of LoTR for myself, back in the depths of time.

(I'm glad this topic has come up. Among other things it has made me ponder a bit on how ridiculously tempting spoilers are for me in general, and how much my pleasure in rooting about in HOME might be coming from a neighborhood in my heart just a few blocks over from that.)
From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Eä each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:43 AM   #9
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Well, my mother certainly did her best to "spoil" The Lord of the Rings for me, but due to my tender years and her rather unique explanatory style, the impression I got was that it concerned Bilbo's nephew running away to join a circus. I was really quite surprised when I got around to reading it...
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:27 PM   #10
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I don't recall being spoiled for a LotR movie. I don't know if spoilers have that big of an effect if you've read the story some movie is an adaption of, Hannibal, Dune, LotR, etc.
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