Spoilers are the greatest fear for many Harry Potter fans. They’ve waited so long to get the final book, and they can’t bear to hear a word about it unless it’s from Jo Rowling herself. But the book has, of course, started to leak. Pictures abound of a mysterious man holding what he claims to be a copy of the book; rumors fly of the UK press publishing reports on spoilers that contain said spoilers; and every day there is a new, panicked, post about some corner of the world which has suddenly become unsafe. As a result, it seems that half of the fandom has retreated into what is quickly becoming known as the cave – a dark, scary place where almost all internet sites are unheard of, newspapers are read (if at all) with squinted eyes, and the television and radio stay silent. These people are determined to stay pure, at any cost.
The other half of the fandom, however, is fighting. Fighting against spoilers, and against those people who want to take the magic out of Harry Potter. On The Leaky Cauldron, Jo’s Army has been formed (named in honor of Dumbledore’s Army, the rebel group from the books.) Jo’s Army has the ability to make any post on the site invisible, and its troops patrol the forums ceaselessly, threatening to send any spoilers to every “Jolawyer we can think of.” (Leaky’s official spoiler policy has won praise from Jo Rowling on her web site) The result: spoilers are posted, of course. But they are removed within minutes, seconds even. For those people who choose to remain out in the light for these last days before everything changes, they can do so with some confidence that they will be surprised on July 21.
As for me, I regard my position as in-between. I’m still frequenting many sites, but have filtered out of my daily trawl those that could, whether intentionally or accidentally, spoil me. I’m still reading the New York Times, but any article relating to Harry Potter must be first screened for spoilers by my parents. The radio, and any news shows on TV, are off. So far (touch wood), I’m safe. I just have to hold out three more days. I’ll be reading your comments with half-closed eyes. You can never be too careful.