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Harry Potter spoilers - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Jul. 26th, 2007

02:55 am - Harry Potter spoilers

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From:susannahf
Date:July 26th, 2007 06:52 am (UTC)
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none of the above. I wouldn't put up with it. I know a calm conversation wouldn't work, and they aren't breaking the law (even if they are doing something incredibly antisocial). If I were in the queue, I would move away from them, and possibly try to talk to them and shame them into stopping - but without much form of hope. I would also consider engaging them in conversation with the single aim of allowing others to get children (who I think would be more distressed than adults about things like this) away.

If I were the security guard / manager of the shop, I would exercise my right to throw them out and prevent them from re-entering, and get all of the queuers inside and as far from the door as possible. And possibly call the police to ask them to confiscate any loudhailer on "public nuisance" grounds - a loudhailer at midnight is almost certainly under the banner of disturbing the peace or something.
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From:terpsichore1980
Date:July 26th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
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I think I am with you. I may have the store call the police to arrest them for breach of the peace, but that would be about all.

I would also try to remind myself that it is just a book. Nothing all that bad is going to happen if you find out in advance that Harry turns into a badger on page 543. In fact, the point of reading the book is not to find out what happens, but to find out how it happens, so spoilers make little difference to me anyway.
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From:nou
Date:July 26th, 2007 08:42 am (UTC)
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I think spoilers make more of a difference with Harry Potter books than with, well, better-written books, since you're not reading them for the quality of writing; you're reading them for the plot. Essentially, the Potter books are very, very detailed plot summaries, so learning details of the plot in advance does spoil the experience quite a bit.
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From:billyabbott
Date:July 26th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
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That is one of the most marvellous things I have ever read.
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From:elvum
Date:July 26th, 2007 11:03 am (UTC)
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Oh, you've got to page 543 - so you believe me now? :-)
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From:terpsichore1980
Date:July 26th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
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Indeed, the badger segment is very scary ;-)
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From:johnckirk
Date:July 26th, 2007 11:22 am (UTC)
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The "breach of the peace" idea is interesting; in the YouTube comments, someone mentioned that it's illegal to use a megaphone after 10pm, although that may be specific to a particular US state. If it's true, that's a convenient way to get rid of them, although it wouldn't necessarily solve the underlying problem (e.g. if the people just stand and shout instead).

This is probably a bad analogy (given my lack of interest in it), but I wonder how a similar situation would turn out with a football match. Presumably the people who watch games aren't just interested in the score, otherwise they could save themselves a lot of time and money by looking at the results on Teletext. (In fact, that's what my dad used to do every Saturday.) At the same time, knowing the result would affect their enjoyment of the match, e.g. the suspense of thinking "Is he going to score?" would be undercut if you know that the team won't score any more goals in the rest of the match.

I'm not quite sure how things work during a World Cup, but I can imagine a game where the match starts at 4am (our time), so lots of people wouldn't be able to watch it live. In that case, maybe you'd get a pub who'd record the game, then show it the following morning. ("Come round, get some beers in, have a fry-up breakfast, and enjoy the big game!") If someone then walked into the middle of the pub and shouted out "Portugal win 2-0!" (possibly waving a newspaper around), I think they'd be lucky to walk out of there. The main problem with this analogy is that the hardcore fans would be staying up to watch it in the middle of the night, so the ones who waited until the following day might not be so bothered; however, in the Harry Potter case, the people being shouted at were the ones who made an effort to get the book as soon as it was released.
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From:johnckirk
Date:July 26th, 2007 11:26 am (UTC)
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Good point - I'd forgotten about "walk away" in my list of options. Mind you, if someone's been queuing up for several hours, they may not want to lose their place by leaving.

As for bringing people inside the shop, I don't think that would be feasible in this kind of situation, just due to the sheer numbers involved. Certainly in Croydon there was no way you could have squeezed the entire queue for Waterstones/WHSmith inside the shop at once, and I think it would be even worse in central London (the first stop on the video was timed at 23:20, i.e. before the queue had actually started moving).

Looking back on it now, I think one benefit of the Croydon shops was that they were all inside the Whitgift centre, and there were security guards at the entrance and roaming around inside. So, the standard excuse of "I'm standing in a public road" wouldn't apply there; everyone was queuing inside a larger building.
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