The Red Wedding shocked the buh-jayzuz out of me — twelve years ago, when I read A Storm of Swords.
Wait, don’t mash the back button just yet! I don’t aim to condescend or claim superiority over the unread masses. Contraire! I just need to be clear that the Red Wedding plot twist was gut-wrenchingly gnarly in the innocent days of 2001, back in the age when a man could drink a Pabst Blue Ribbon as unironically as he could throw around the term "spoiler alert." Back in those simple, early millennial times, when the pinnacle of fantasy on television was the climactic final season of Xena: Warrior Princess, a person didn’t have to work so damned diligently to avoid knowing all manner of stuff about things.
I’ll do my best to tip-toe around Game of Thrones spoilers here, but I’d guess that fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones who hadn’t already read George RR Martin’s books were, at the very least, hep to the jugular-julienning jive surrounding season three’s penultimate episode, and, while I’m sure many viewers experienced genuine shock and awe at the outcome, I doubt any but the most sand-buried GoT headz didn’t have at least an inkling that a major plot twist was in the offing. If nothing else, the Game of Thrones track record of previous ninth episodes must've had most fans’ spidey senses tingling in anticipation of that knuckle-taped fistful of surprise hurtling towards their collective faces. That's dandy if you're the Marquess of Queensbury, but when it comes to entertainment, I'd prefer the uppercuts not be telegraphed. Be it a sprawling 10,000 page fantasy series or an indie-developed retro platformer, I'd rather be left lying on the mat, spitting bicuspids after a clock-cleaning that I never saw coming.
But a smartphone ain't a tomato can on a string, and the infobarrage pulsing through my smartphone is an E. Honda Hundred Hand Slap. Ducking and dodging topics even remotely in the pop culture zeitgeist requires relentless, ever-vigilant dis-observance.