QOTD – Spoil-By Date…

*Warning: There are “not really” any Game of Thrones spoilers in the following text.  There is, however, a semi-spoiler for the HIMYM finale.  Deal with it*

GRRM did it again last night, didn’t he, GoT fans?

Another beautiful wedding.

I mean, we all tend to get a little choked up at weddings, but Joffrey really took the cake.  Er, pie.

I can only assume that ever since last night’s Game of Thrones episode the internet has been attempting to explode with reaction.  Reading the episode synopsis prior to watching, those of us who’ve read the books knew the Purple Wedding was imminent.  Every one else got to experience pure joy.  I almost envy them.  You know, if it weren’t for the illiteracy thing.

I can only assume that there are people walking around today putting their hands to their ears any time anyone mentions last night’s episode loudly chanting lalalalalal… haven’t seen it.

I can only assume that Yahoo!, et al have headlines that include the term SPOILER ALERT! to ensure they don’t enrage any of these unfortunate folk who couldn’t catch the episode last night.

Buuuuuuut, remember when The Red Wedding came out and our own Doran Simmons asked if it was possible to spoil something that exists in print and has been readily available to read. (If you don’t remember, refresh yourself here https://thepoetryquestion.com/2013/06/03/qotd-spoiler-alert/)

My question is whether or not Spoilers have an expiration date on them.  How long does something have to be out before you don’t need to tag a “SPOILER ALERT” on it?

I mean, have you guys heard that after Jesus dies -SPOILER ALERT- he comes back?!!

SPOILER ALERT, but Gatsby dies.

I watched Fellowship of the Ring in the theater.  More than once.  Walking outside the theater after the second viewing, I heard a lady loudly proclaim, “OH HELL NO! THAT AIN’T EVEN THE ENNNND??!! HELL NO!  4 HOURS AND THEY STILL GOT THAT RING?!!”  Clearly she’d missed the book that was written about 50 years prior to the film.

I don’t feel the need to warn someone I’m about to spoil something that old.  Psst… hey, don’t tell anyone but everyone not called Ishmael dies.

But on the other side of the coin, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and a few of these other neoromance teenlit deals only exist as books for a few years  before some studio decides they can gouge the cash cow by making them into movies.  Ignoring the fact that these are often so formulaic any semi-literate middle schooler should be able to predict the character arcs and “climax”, is it okay to spoil these?

How long is the grace period before something is no longer in the SPOILER ALERT window?

I mean, is it too soon to tell everyone that -SPOILER ALERT- How I Met Your Mother is actually a show about Ted loving Robin.  Sure it only happened a week ago, but it’s also been thinly foreshadowed for 8 years.

How long does a book (or movie, or show) have to be out before it can’t be spoiled?

QOTD – What’s the expiration date on a spoiler alert?  How long must something exist before we don’t have to worry about spoiling it?


  1. JG Allan

    as an addition — it makes me want to kick things when news/entertainment outlets say things like “Fans have dubbed this The Purple Wedding…” Fans didn’t dub this anything, the good people of Westeros called this The Purple Wedding in a Feast for Crows (published 2005)

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