I think most of us can agree that literary fan theories are deeply silly... until you're wandering around the internet late at night, and you bump into a fringe theory about a time-traveling Ron Weasley that just makes too much sense. So here are some of the most absurd (but still kind of mind-blowing) literary fan theories, from all across the fandoms of the world.
First off, let's get a few theories out of the way: "it's all happening in this one character's HEAD," "everyone is actually DEAD," and "Harry turned the Dursleys into assholes because he's a horcrux." You can easily make a case for the characters of any book or movie being secretly hallucinated or dead. Like... what if Jane from Pride and Prejudice actually died after catching cold in the rain, and the rest of the book is her fevered imaginings as she slips into death? Or Lizzie's tragic hallucination as she goes mad with grief for her sister? Creepy, right??
The horcrux one I just don't like because I refuse to negotiate with Dursely-apologists.
These strange and almost-but-not-quite plausible fan theories go a little further than just assuming that everyone is dead. So break out your tinfoil hat, and read up on some of the least credible literary theories on the internet:
1. Westeros is actually Middle Earth
Yeah. As in, Westeros, the western continent of the Song of Ice and Fire universe, is Tolkien's Middle-Earth in the distant future. All the elves peaced the hell out to the Grey Havens a long time ago. The Hobbits evolved into the timid little Children of the Forest. The Ents well full tree and became Weirwoods. Gondor became Dorne, continental drift created the Narrow Sea and the Riders of Rohan became the Dothraki, Mordor become Old Valyria, and the eruption of Mount Doom eventually destroyed the civilization—it all lines up perfectly, as long as you don't think about it too hard!
2. All of the Winnie the Pooh characters represent different mental illnesses
That's what the Canadian Medical Association Journal thinks, at least. Piglet suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, hence his worrywart nature. Bouncy Tigger has ADHD, Owl is dyslexic, Kanga has social anxiety, Rabbit is obsessive-compulsive, and Eeyore, of course, is clinically depressed. Pooh Bear himself exhibits signs of ADD and OCD (never mind his obvious memory-loss issues). Let's hope Christopher Robin grows up to be a certified psychotherapist.
3. The Hunger Games are England’s fault
Is The Hunger Games a vision of the future... or historical fiction? This theory goes that in the alternate reality of The Hunger Games, England won the American Revolutionary War, and the thirteen colonies evolved into the thirteen districts, with the Capital expanding westward to the Rockies. Of course, clearly some other weird nonsense must have gone down between 1776 and present-day Panem, obliterating England's motherland.
This is a classic by now, but still a goodie: Dumbledore is Death. If we cast Harry, Snape, and Voldy as the "Three Brothers" of wizarding folklore, then the parallels become almost eerie. Voldemort is all about that Elder Wand, like the eldest brother. Snivellus is the sad middle brother who can't get over his crush on a dead lady. And little Harry is (naturally) the perfect third brother who chooses the invisibility cloak, and goes to meet death "as an old friend"—when he dies he is greeted by his old friend, Dumbly-dore. So blame Dumbledore for all the other deaths in the series, too.
5. Willy Wonka is a cannibal
The candy is made from children, right?? Yeah... deep down in our hearts, we all knew that Willy Wonka murdered all those kids on purpose to make them into candy, and then chose that poor sap Charlie Bucket as his successor to cover his tracks. The film versions tend to be a little friendlier, but in the book we never get a clear idea of what happened to all those nasty kids who disappeared along the way... chocolate, anyone?
6. The narrator and Tyler from Fight Club are Calvin and Hobbes
Look......... if you want to believe that the unnamed narrator and (SPOILER ALERT) his alter-ego Tyler from the novel Fight Club are secretly Calvin and Hobbes from the beloved comic strip, you can believe that. That's not hurting anyone. Like... I guess the idea is that "Calvin" re-imagined Hobbes as a human once he got too old for toys?? Sure.
7. Bella Swan is a werewolf
The Twilight series is crawling with sexy monsters, but as far as we know Bella is just a very pale human being—or is she? Some fans think Bella must be part werewolf, since apparently the vampire's X-Men powers go haywire around werewolves, and her stalker/boyfriend Edward can't use his powers read her mind. Her lycanthropic DNA is also how people explain her getting knocked up by a dead man.
8. All of Stephen King’s books exist in the same universe
This masterpiece of a fan theory connects The Darker Tower to It, The Shining, Misery, 11/22/63, The Shawshank Redemption, Salem's Lot and more. Essentially, a shadowy organization called The Shop has been pulling the strings in every book. They've figured out how to create rips in reality, allowing monsters to pour in from other dimensions, including the world of The Dark Tower, and that's why many characters like Randall Flagg pop up in multiple King novels.
9. Redwall takes place in some kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape
Guys... what's going on with Redwall? You might remember the Redwall books as the charming kid's series about a bunch of mice who were knights or something, but... are there humans in the world of Redwall? We never see any, and yet we see a human-sized horse and cart (???). There are no cows or goats, yet there is cheese. Cluny the Rat is Portuguese... so there is an awareness of human civilizations? Portugal exists, but not cows? There is a pleiosaur? What kind of nightmare, post-apocalyptic world is this in which humans and all major predators have gone extinct?? (New theory: Redwall is what became of England while America was becoming Panem in The Hunger Games.)
10. J.K. Rowling has seven horcruxes
Each Harry Potter book is one of her horcruxes. She put a piece of her soul in every book... and she killed Dumbledore, Snape, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Hedwig, and Dobby, because each horcrux requires a death.
Images: Warner Bros., Giphy (10)