Susan Gunelius at MarketingBlurb asks: Will "the buzz marketing associated with Harry Potter, which often manifests itself in the form of real and fake spoilers, will negatively impact sales of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"?
In other words, will sales nosedive because spoilers have spilled the Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans about the fate of the boy wizard and his entourage?
Knowing the ending never stopped me from watching Gone with the Wind a zillion times, each time indulging in the fantasy that Rhett doesn't walk. Or as Juliet Lapidos points out, "–as any Ian Fleming enthusiast can attest, knowing that 007 will eventually escape doesn't mean you feel cool and collected when he's fighting against a giant squid."
Which is why I read the ending to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows first.
There are those who will say that I lack impulse control, and others (including the author herself) who might pity me for forgoing the luxury of immersing myself in the narrative–like a walk through the Forbidden Forest, never knowing where the path twists and turns would end up, exactly. To both camps, I apologize. But I had to do it: I had to read the final chapter first.
The ending is already out there. First there was the NY Times review. Now there's discussion on the internet–blogs, websites–between friends and family, snippets overhead at Starbucks. I knew it was a matter of time before I'd be skipping along when I'd suddenly slam headlong into some key bit of the story. Clues would add up, the resolution would start to take shape.
Trained as a journalist, and inherently nosy enough to pick up bits of information from various sources and knit them together, I knew my own proclivities wouldn't help me any. Eventually, I'd become my own plot-spoiler.
So here's my reasoning, or my rationalization: I now can relax and enjoy the book. I can luxuriate, albeit in a different sense, in the final volume of the Potter saga. I can have conversations with my teenage son–who will read the book faster than I will–without frantically heading him off from revealing too much. I can freely indulge in TV, radio, the internet–without having to speed-read or quarantine myself.
But fear not: My lips are sealed. I won't speak of it, and I wouldn't dream of spoiling it for you: In this post, anyway, it's the Ending-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded ClickZ.com, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.