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How Famous Authors Can Prevent Spoilers- J.K. Rowling and the Cursed Child

June 14, 2016
She's smiling now, but if you spoil the ending to The Curse Child, she'll be pissed. (image via Wikimedia)

She’s smiling now, but if you spoil the ending to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, she’ll be pissed. (image via Wikimedia)

It’s a problem only a truly successful author can have.  Famous author J.K. Rowling doesn’t want fans to spoil the ending of her new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Spoilers are probably inevitable though.  A play isn’t like a movie; people can’t attend simultaneous performances.  Only a fortunate few will see each performance, but those few will be excited and want to talk about it, and once they start yammering about it, secrets about what happens will be revealed and feelings will be hurt.  Maybe even J.K. Rowling’s feelings.

Nobody wants to hurt J.K. Rowling’s feelings.

Even if J.K. Rowling fans take J.K. Rowling’s request to go spoiler-free seriously, there are a few jerks in every crowd, and somebody will spoil the end.  After all, J.K. Rowling couldn’t even keep Robert Galbraith a secret for long, so you know somebody will spoil  The Cursed Child.

There is a way to prevent spoilers in this situation, but only an author like J.K. Rowling could do it.  Next time she writes a novel (or a play), she should have several different endings and not tell the public there are several different endings.  Each book (with the different endings) would have the exact same cover.  The whole point is that none none of her fans would have any idea that there were several different endings.

Then, when somebody spoils the ending, somebody else who has read the book (but probably a different version) will overhear the conversation and contradict the spoiler.  A big argument will ensue over how the book really ended.  If the gods are devious that day, several different readers who’ve read several different versions will end up arguing with each other at the same time.

How long would it take before the public realizes it has been pranked?  Then J.K. Rowling could eventually declare that one ending is the definitively true ending, and fans could argue over which ending it is.

Rowling could use the spoilers’ eagerness to ruin other peoples’ enjoyment against them.  It would be awesome if done correctly.

I’d do it myself, but I’m a struggling aspiring author.   I’d be lucky if several people read my books and discussed them with each other.  Only an author like J.K. Rowling (or Stephen King) could pull this off.  Maybe George R.R. Martin could do it, but it would take him a couple decades to write all five endings.

Maybe this has already been done, and I don’t know about it.  I can’t be the first person to have ever thought about this.  I’d hate to have this grand idea and then have a bunch of people point out that it has already been done dozens of times.  It would be humiliating.  But even if it has been done, it probably hasn’t been done by somebody with a following like J.K. Rowling.

*****

What do you think?  Would you be upset if you found out you had been pranked by an author who wrote several different endings?  Has somebody already done this and I just don’t know about it?  What authors other than J.K. Rowling could pull off a spoiler-prevention prank like this?

*****

When I was a kid, I got my mouth washed out with soap for saying the word crap.

Looking back, it ticks me off because now I know….

Now available on the Amazon Kindle!

Now available on Amazon!

10 Comments
  1. Haha not sure if this has ever been done or not, but this makes the prankster side of me very happy.

  2. Yes, that has indeed happened. Leji Matsumoto created two different endings for his 2009 film “Space Battleship Yamato:Resurrection”. Then he presented both versions to test audiences and checked to see which outcome was better appreciated. That version went into cinemas, the other on DVDs.

  3. Back in the day it was done with the movie Clue. Once people found out there were different endings they started going to see it again to get a different one. Huge boom in ticket sales.

    • I saw Clue a long time again, but I don’t remember the ending, so I don’t remember which ending I saw. I don’t think I’ve ever known that it had more than one ending.

  4. Part of me says there is no way the public will keep the end of the Cursed Child secret. But then, audiences largely kept the end of Sixth Sense secret, so if it can happen with film why not books?
    I think shooting multiple endings is pretty normal with films – you see it quite often on DVD extras and that’s part of the reason film makers have test screenings. But books? There are kids adventure books where the reader chooses their preferred ending of course, but I don’t know of any adult ones that do this.
    I did hear of a lterary novel that came in several sections and the read could choose which order to read them in, which sort of rubbishes the whole concept of the story arc.
    I think you should definitely contact JR’s agent and suggest the idea. 🙂

    • I tried to convince J.K. Rowling to say she was me to help boost my ebook sales, but I never received a response. Robert Galbraith is lucky. I hope he appreciates what she’s done for him.

      • Yeah. How did he get into her good books in the first place? Maybe he’s a relative – shows it’s who you now not what you know. He’d be nothing without her. 🙂

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