I had to return a bunch of movies to my favourite rental place tonight, Bay Street Video, which just happened to be right smack in the middle of Harry Potter book launch central for Canada. Holy hell, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a larger congregation of nerds in my life and I say this having been to E3. The eight year olds I was expecting; the fully grown men and women in full wizard attire I was not. I think that every single cloak that’s been bought in the city over the last year could be found in that one block tonight.
The thought of screaming out the spoilers for the book, which I’ve seen online, crossed my mind but I’m not an asshole. Still, the attacks and defenses against these spoilers, by the fans and the publishers, are a little ridiculous. Some act as though those spoiling a book are nazi cannibals denying them their one earthly pleasure. It’s a book, people. Get over yourselves. I’m sure you want to be surprised, and that’s fine, but one or two sentence plot points shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the whole story. When I hear the complaints that a spoiler ruins everything I wonder whether those same people are enjoying the book for its actual literary merits.
One of the movies that I returned to Bay St. Video tonight was Grave of the Fireflies. That is a movie that I knew the end to years before I finally saw it. It didn’t matter. The film was still highly enjoyable and deeply moving. It’s not the what that counts, it’s the how and why. That is why books are written. Otherwise, we would only bother reading single page summaries.