Learning from Fan Theories
As writers, I think we often have a clear idea of how our own novels are going to end. If we’ve done our job right, we’ve worked in some twists that most readers won’t catch until the story has reached its climax. If we write anything like George R.R. Martin writing Game of Thrones, the ending may seem totally unexpected until we look back over clues that he planted in the series from the beginning.
Like most Game of Thrones fans, I have my ideas on how the series will end. I’m probably wrong, because my ideas are pretty simple, and Martin isn’t the type of writer to go with the obvious. Having read the books just once, I know I’ve missed many of the subtle clues. Time permitting, I’d like to go back and read them again.
As writers, we may not see all the possible ways our stories could go. I can illustrate that by sharing two Game of Thrones fan theory videos. Each is well-thought-out and contains good arguments for why the YouTuber thinks that the series will end a certain way. Also, each theory is completely different from the other.
Enchantment of Eternity’s Theory
I’ll start with Predictions: How Game of Thrones Will End by Enchantment of Eternity. I realize these videos are long. I am including them if you would like to watch, but will sum up the content of each for your convenience.
If you haven’t watched the series through season 4, then spoiler alert. If you have, then you can read ahead. When you watch the videos, pay attention to the spoiler alerts contained therein.
The gist of Enchantment of Eternity’s theory goes like this. The three heads of the dragon are Daenerys, Jon Snow, and Tyrion, and all three of them are Targaryens. All three will die fighting the white walkers on the dragons. Stannis will defeat the Boltons, find Rickon Stark, and make the boy the Warden of the North, though Stannis will later die. Sansa become queen of Westeros and sit on the Iron Throne. EoE also predicts that the dragons will die, and that all magic will leave the world.
The video goes into much more detail, but those are the basics: Sansa on the throne, and magic leaving the world. EoE gives makes a good argument for each point and backs a lot these ideas up with hints from the books and TV series.
Red Team Review’s Theory
This video, by Red Team Review, also predicts how GoT will end. However, the theory is very different from EoE’s, and lacks some of the bigger world changes.
RTR does go into detail on some other characters, but here are the highlights. Stannis will turn against and possibly kill Melisandre, dying in the process. Aria will become a Faceless Man, but will leave the Faceless Men and go rogue, retaining her own identity and assassinating whomever she wants. Tyrion will become Lord of Casterly Rock. Daenerys will return to Old Valeria and find a collection of petrified dragon eggs.
This theory doesn’t go into big details, like the EoE theory. Who will sit on the Iron Throne? What will become of Westeros? Well, he does hint at one big possibility: that Daenerys will wake many more dragons, flooding the world with magic. That, essentially, is the opposite of how EoE predicts the series ending.
Check out Red Team Review’s video for his arguments and details.
What do I think of these theories? The idea of Sansa becoming Queen of Westeros seems quite far-fetched, even the way that EoE predicts it could happen, and I don’t think such and ending would feel satisfying. RTR’s prediction that Daenerys will find more dragon eggs seems too fanciful, for two reasons. First, it’s predicated on the idea that Daenerys turns down the Iron Throne. Second, George R.R. Martin has said that her wakening her three dragons was a one-off, a unique magical event. I also find it unlikely that magic will completely leave the world, though EoE’s reasoning is good on this point. That idea has been played out in other series, including Lord of the Rings, so I think that Martin will do something different.
A Writing Exercise
Take a story you’ve written or one you’re working on. If you’re not working on a story right now, think of one you already write. This can be anything from a short story to a novel. You may already know how you plan for it to end. You may have planned for the ending already, meticulously inserting clues into the story.
Now, get a note pad and a pen or pencil. I don’t recommend doing this sort of brainstorming on a screen; this is far too free-flowing to work very well on digital media.
You’re going to come up with alternate ways your story might end. This exercise is not necessarily meant to change your plan, though it could! It’s meant to help you think in different directions and to see new possibilities.
Here are some ways to approach this exercise. You can try as few as one, or as many as all of them.
Write the name of a major character on the top of the paper. Underneath, write ideas for what might happen to that character, or what sort of trouble he might get into.
Write a title for a major event in the story, and underneath, what the fallout of that event could be. For example, “Bill ransacks Jim’s apartment” or “The gum factory burns down.” What are the possible consequences?
Think of an upcoming decision a character or organization has to make. Write down the possible choices, and then write notes on how each choice would likely turn out.
Jot down some of the major clues you’ve planted in the book. How might readers interpret them incorrectly? How might the story turn out if their incorrect interpretations were actually correct?
I think that has probably given you enough to think about and enough to do for now! When it comes to writing, there are learning opportunities everywhere.
“Either write someting worth reading or do something worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin.