I enjoy a good story, and you can’t ruin it by telling me the ending. If a story is well written, then if I happen to know the ending, then that won’t deny my enjoyment of watching the events in the story unfold, it even enhances the process. I pay more attention to every side detail, wondering how it’s going to factor into the final events and climax.
The best stories are the ones that have an intelligible plot: a logical sequence of events that resolve in a climax. What drives these events and makes them logical? The characters in the story, they have their motives, and they’re involved in the plot through their interactions and conflicts with other characters.
It seems my line of thinking is shared by a lot of people, as evidenced in a recent study that shows that Spoilers don’t spoil anything.
Now, one famous “spoiler” going around in internet culture has to do with characters from the Harry Potter series. I haven’t even so much as seen the movies, but still knowing that Dumbledore dies in one of the books is supposed to completely prevent me from seeing the world that J. K. Rowling built up get torn down?
Another extreme concrete example from the real world: I work with several people who are spoiler phobic. They refuse to even look at the covers of TV show DVD collections, because they’re worried that the existence of a character on the cover would give something away to them. I’m personally working through the first season of Heroes, where there is heavy foreshadowing that Sylar is going to die by seasons’ end, yet he appears on following seasons’ set covers. That makes me more interested in seeing how he could possibly survive what the events seem to be leading towards.
Another thing the spoiler phobes are allergic to are the advertising pitches. How can you know anything about a story without it being a spoiler of some kind?