On one side: Author J.K. Rowling is issuing anguished appeals, many fans seem to be listening, and the mainstream media are honoring the omerta not to report what happens in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows until its official release Friday at midnight.
On the other side: cyberspace brats posting spoilers around the Internet, including on popular sites Facebook and YouTube, making it difficult to avoid learning who lives and who dies.
"I am a bored, sadistic loser who doesn't play sports, have a job or have a girlfriend, so I posted Harry Potter spoilers," a 17-year-old Pittsburgh high schooler boasted in an interview with USA TODAY. "It was fun for myself at the expense of others." USA TODAY contacted the teenager after it saw his spoiler post on Facebook.
On Wednesday, Rowling implored readers to cover their eyes. "As launch night looms, let's all ignore the misinformation popping up on the Web and in the press," she said on her website. "I'd like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to reading the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know EVERYTHING!"