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Are book covers spoilers?


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Take TWOT.


If I were to claim Mat were alive in the later books, is it a spoiler?


He's clearly on some of the later book covers, so is it really a spoiler to discuss it with a new reader?


Or another example, Mistborn, 


Would it be a spoiler to say 



Elend and Vin are alive in the beginning of book 3?



Or does the fact that the covers clearly show certain characters being alive kind of kill the need for spoiler warnings?


Just asking.

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Consider that it isn't always that obvious who the characters are on the covers. Especially with WoT, given how inconsistent the portrayal of several characters is, you could be forgiven some confusion as to who they are meant to be. Also, not all WoT covers are the same - the Orbit covers have no characters on them at all (and are thus infinitely better than the Tor covers), and the ebooks have different covers (and people don't always look at the covers of their ebooks). Book covers have the potential to be spoilers, but tread lightly. Better to err on the side of caution than to ruin the experience for someone.

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Book covers can also help in setting the tone for the books/characters. While you can still picture a character/scene in your own way, I think it helps to know what the author thinks of their characters/scenes. So a cover can convey their input without giving away spoilers. ToM does show characters at the ToG, and you can figure out who they are if you've read the series, but it doesn't give spoilers to the series. Are they there in the waking world, or are they there in T'A'R? Or is it a vision of a dreamer, say Egwene, or even Moiraine's vision from Rhuidian? There's still a lot of leeway without being a spoiler.

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