Can you really spoil Outlander when it’s decades old?

There are always complaints from show-first fans of book-first fans spoiling the Outlander storylines. Is it really possible to spoil something decades old?

With so many Facebook groups and with Outlander fans chatting on Twitter, there are always going to be elements from later books that are discussed. This has led to some show-first fans complaining about spoilers. But it’s brought up a debate. Is it possible to spoil something that’s decades old?

Well, yes and no. Personally, I know the major plot points of the later books despite still only reading “The Fiery Cross” for the first time. However, there are lots of people only just reading the first couple of books after finding the show first.

The problem with TV adaptations

And this is where it becomes an issue with TV adaptations. People are going to find the TV shows first, learn that it’s a book series first, and then start reading the novels. But with books as long as Diana Gabaldon’s saga, it’s going to take time to get through them. I’ve skipped reading “Dragonfly in Amber” and “Voyager” to start getting ahead in the story to know what’s to come. I’ll read the earlier books once I’m through the later books, because Seasons 2 and 3 give enough of the story to get by. I don’t recommend doing this for “The Fiery Cross,” though. You’ll need to read “Drums of Autumn” due to elements cut from the TV show or not even covered yet.

People are going to find the TV show first. That’s especially the case now that the first two seasons are on Netflix. Some may not even realize that the show has two more seasons on STARZ until they start looking.

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While some of the books are 20-30 years old, they’re still new to some people (and I was three when the first book was released, so I didn’t have the chance to read it immediately). If people only started reading last year (and you may have read all the books in a few months but not everyone has the time and reading ability that you do!) then they’re unlikely to have read all 800-1000 pages of all eight current books.

Personally, I’m always mindful on this site that we have a lot of show-first fans. Hey, I’m one of them until recently where I’ve skipped books just to get ahead with “The Fiery Cross.” If there is something major from a later book storyline, I will include a spoiler warning.

I want to be respectful of those who are still catching up on the book story. It’s not hard to just be polite in this regard. Just because I’ve looked ahead or because I want to discuss something doesn’t mean others do, so I act as unselfishly as possible.

But does that mean you can always avoid the Outlander spoilers?

Outlander — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ Media Center

Avoiding or reading Outlander spoilers

Would it always be realistic to warn people of spoilers from later books? I think this is going to depend on where you’re chatting.

On Twitter, there is no way a “spoiler warning” could be placed for every tweet. We only get 140 characters so we want to use them productively. If you’re looking on Twitter, then make an assumption that spoilers may occur.

What about in Facebook groups? This is going to depend on the type of group. There are some that make it clear spoilers are allowed. If you’re in one of those groups and you’ve not read all the books, then you don’t have a right to complain about spoilers. It really is as simple as that. You need to mute the group or leave it.

By the way, if you want to remain a show-only fan and only be in the moment when watching things for the first time, I’d suggest avoiding these Facebook groups completely. The ninth book will be out soon and I guarantee spoilers will be shared.

When a group has a spoiler rule, then you should be able to expect a spoiler-free zone. There are Facebook groups for Outlander out there. Anything in the books beyond a storyline from the TV series is considered a spoiler. Spoilers warnings need to be placed and, in some cases, the topics can’t be discussed at all.

If you want to talk spoilers, you’re in the wrong group. If you’re in the spoiler-free groups and you purposely share spoilers then you deserve to be banned from those groups. There are others out there for you.

Have you had future storylines ruined because of spoilers online? Do you think it’s possible to spoil Outlander? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander Season 5 will premiere on Feb. 16 on STARZ.