Are spoilers really so bad?

When the worst fate possible befalls our on-screen buddies, sometimes it’s better to be prepared, says Ellie Walker-Arnott


[WARNING: May contain, erm, spoilers]


Saying goodbye to a character you love can be hard. We invest hours in our TV friends. We feel for them. We laugh and cry with them. We want the best for them.

What we don’t want? For them to be gunned down, caught up in a car crash or violently, horrifically murdered. But, hey, it’s TV. Sometimes it happens.

And when it does, when the worst fate possible befalls our on screen buddies, sometimes it’s better to be prepared.

That’s why I think, sometimes, spoilers can be a good thing, because, sometimes, spoilers ready you for the catastrophe.

Yes, they can be irritating. You don’t want brilliant episodes of your much-loved dramas completely ruined by plot spoilers – especially if you didn’t actively choose to find out. 

An accidental trip to your Twitter feed can quickly ruin a good whodunit or much-anticipated romance – and they are the bugbear of those who watch all their telly on catch up. But being aware that something big is about to happen in telly land can sometimes be a good thing.

Who else took days to recover from the demise of poor Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey? (It was a Sunday night for crying out load – what a unsettling way to start the week…)

We suspected that Dan Stevens – and therefore his character Matthew Crawley – might be about to depart Downton and his shock death in the closing minutes of the festive special still ruined our collective Christmases.

Yet I watched Game of Thrones knowing that Ned Stark wasn’t going to make it into series two (I was more than a little late to the party) and I sat down to the Red Wedding aware that very few were likely to make it out alive. Both episodes were still awful, still shocking – The Red Wedding still made me feel slightly sick – but I knew it was coming. I was ready to cover my eyes if needs be – and I was prepared to say goodbye to the various members of the Stark clan.

A much-loved character (no spoilers!) has just been killed off in the Good Wife. It hasn’t aired here yet but the internet is rife with reactions from the US. I’ve accidentally read what happens but I’m okay with it. 

When you’re about to say goodbye to a character you know and love – you need to give yourself some time to process it, to let go and accept the change.

If you didn’t know it was coming you can be left sat there, bereft in your living room, shell-shocked as the world and the TV schedules swiftly move on.