Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's Alan reading?

I don't discuss books too much here, but the impending release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" has me wondering how long the media is going to be willing and/or able to keep a lid on the ending -- specifically, the matter of who lives and who dies.

The "Sopranos" finale was being discussed openly in print, radio and TV the very next day, but of course there's the assumption that the majority of people who cared watched it when it first aired. People read books at their own pace, especially weighty tomes like J.K. Rowling's been writing since "Goblet of Fire."

I'm sure some bloggers are going to be paging through to the last chapter and posting about it within an hour of returning from the bookstore, but how long do you think editors and news directors and the various gatekeepers of impossible-to-ignore Big Media will be able to restrain themselves from talking about the ending in such a way that anyone who hasn't finished the book will be screwed? A week? Two days? A few hours?

I have a semi-vested interest in the answer, as I'll still be at press tour when the book comes out. Under ordinary circumstances, I'd just wait until I returned home, pick up my copy of the Jim Dale audiobook and listen at my leisure. But I fear I don't have that kind of time.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean! I plan to avoid the internet completely until I finish the book. (No loss there when you have a great new Harry Potter book to read!) Luckily I read fast and should be done in just a day or two.

Steve said...

CNN.com still puts spoiler-warnings in articles that talk about the ending to the sixth book. Unless their headline writer doesn't get the memo, you're probably safe on that front. I haven't paid attention to broadcast news in a decade, so I have nothing to offer there.

Michaela said...

All bets are off. I'm reading the thing straight through on Saturday and probably staying off any news sites the entire week beforehand. I've already given up any HP-related news sites, any HP fan journals, and even the "totally no spoilers in here" thread I used to read.

There were stories last time of jackasses driving up to bookstore lines and shouting out the ending to the last one, and other jackasses who made a banner out of it and strung it across a freeway overpass. If someone wants to ruin it, they will, so I'm reading that fucker as fast as I possibly can.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I think the news shows may do a two-second, "Turn back now!" warning, and hopefully newspapers will keep the spoilers off the front page.

However, I fear the days following the release will be a little like HIMYM's Super Bowl episode; unless I become a hermit and read the book straight through, there's no chance of me getting through this unspoiled.

KPetersNM said...

I'm with the "read as fast as you can" crowd. I plan to pick my book up Saturday morning and plow through it ASAP. I read fast, so I'm hoping for a late Saturday, early Sunday finish. And I WILL avoid the news/web until I'm done, because I'm counting on spoilers being in the media by Saturday night.

Adam said...

If Harry dies, spoilers will be unavoidable in the mainstream media by Monday. If he doesn't, you'll be safe for a while.

Nicole said...

There will characters killed off, and so it is just a matter of who. (my bet is on Ron for sure). In that case, the jerks who want to spoil will be able to do so.

I too am in the "no internet, until you are finished reading it" club, and so I only hope that television and newspapers give me the weekend to finish it. And please let us know when you do finish it, because if I can hold off on Doctor Who S3 spoilers, I can certainly do it for HP7.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Boy, I'm screwed, aren't I? I don't leave LA until the night of the 26th. On a plus side, the 21st is a partial day off, so if I have Amazon send the book to my hotel and I barricade myself in, I may be able to make a good dent.

And I will absolutely do a Potter post when I'm done. I've been itching to do a few other book posts in recent months -- notably for Yiddish Policeman's Union -- but worried that there would be minimal interest. With Harry, I know there will be interest.

Ezra said...

It's not as if anybody reads it just to find out who dies. If so, just read the synopsis on Wikipedia and save yourself some money. Otherwise, enjoy Rowling's prose and take as long as you want. Does it really change anything if you find out that Harry wins and Voldemort loses, which we all know is going to happen anyway?

Lindy said...

Even when the media tries to be careful about spoiler warnings, something inevitably gets through. Sometimes just being warned of a spoiler can be an unwelcome tip-off. When "The Sixth Sense" came out, I heard so much about the "surprise ending" that, although I hadn't read anything that explicitly gave the ending away, I figured it out before I ever saw the movie.

I'm definitely going to pre-order a copy from Amazon and read it as fast as possible during a self-imposed media blackout.

Jenn. said...

Even articles about the repulsiveness of spoilers have had what the writer considered to be ambiguous statements that seemed to me to be a big revelation. So, I'm trying to avoid articles about the book....

Louis said...

My family is in the grip of Harry Potter Fever, particularly my 11-year-old son. We're going to be out of town on Deathly Hallows' release date, but Amazon is delivering it the door of the place where we're staying. Nevertheless, he's nervous that the book won't arrive on time, and someone will spoil it for him. I confess, I'm nervous about that, too.

I've been itching to do a few other book posts in recent months -- notably for Yiddish Policeman's Union -- but worried that there would be minimal interest.

I'd be interested -- reading it now and really enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

One real possibility is spoilers from those anti-Harry types who think it's anti-Christian, satanic, and so forth. I read about a person like that on the Internet who claimed to have spoilers and posted them, just to ruin it for the fans.

I'm just glad I read really fast, and that my 10 year old is still on book 5 so she can wait until I'm finished!
--Katie V.

Dark Tyler said...

I'm kinda screwed, because until Amazon sends the book in Greece it'll probably be Tuesday, so I'm probably going to have to avoid human or internetic contact until, dunno, Thursday. That's five days without any form of contact with the outside world, and I know I'm psychotic but this is Harry Potter we're talking about.

Last time around there were crazy guys raising banners in the London Underground who read "[Character's Name] Dies" (I don't spoil it, just in case) and a dude I'm unlucky enough to know went to my city's biggest bookstore and was shouting the ending in front of all the kids that were waiting in line.

(Yes, people like him ought to be sent to the special level of Hell along with child molesters and people who talk in the theater, as Shepperd Book would have said.)

So, just to avoid the slight chance that someone will spoil an ending I've been waiting for the last 8 or so years, I'm gonna have to sacrifice 5-6 days. No biggie, I wanted to finish "His Dark Materials" during the summer anyway, so there's my chance. :)

Anonymous said...

a rowling book is so shallow it can easily be read in a matter of a day. and people who care about not getting spoiled, they know what to do.

JMags said...

I actually work at a bookstore!

bebe said...

I'm usually VERY chill about spoilers. It's not worth getting all worked up about to try to keep something from yourself--it's just giving someone else such a good chance to piss you off, be it innocently or not.

But I do kind of care when it comes to Harry Potter. I'm not a HUGE Potter fan. I do want to read it fast, mostly because I'm eager to gab about it with other people I know who will have read it. (Previously I've waited for the paperbacks). I knew who died in Book 6 before I read it, and it didn't really bother me too much. (I don't think I knew how or by whom, though).

But for me, the best part about the HP books is that they are essentially mystery stories. There's something weird going on, the characters investigate, there are hints and details and red herrings that eventually lead to the revelation of what's really going on. So with that kind of story, it's best not to know the ending (so much moreso than for, say, a serial drama).

I'd actually be more pissed if someone told me whether Snape turns out good or bad (or stays ambiguous) than if they tell me who dies. With these stories, it's not about who dies--it's about which good guy turns bad and which bad guy turns good (Draco???)

But Hagrid's totally going to die.

Dark Tyler said...

I'm thinking Ginny Weasley. I mean, if JKR isn't cruel enough to kill of one of the main three characters, there's gotta be a nearly equally devastating death.

Of course, come to think about it, Hagrid is as close a father figure as Harry's got left, so it could be him, too. Hm.

What about both? (LOL)

Jenn. said...

People were talking at the HP5 movie about the fact that an Atlanta radio station actually played a song the Monday after HP6 came out that was entitled "[Character] dies!" (Apparently, that was the bulk of the song lyrics, as well.) So, I recommend staying away from the radio, too.