“Just think about it, the story doesn’t make sense otherwise. Magic doesn’t exist and neither do hobbits or elves! I think the entire series just took place in Tolkien’s head and we’re just reading something from his imagination. Also, he’s been dead this entire time.”

– the creepiest fan theory about Lord of the Rings

It feels like very single story needs to have a fan theory that’s basically, “none of this actually happened, it’s just X character’s dream/hallucination/coping mechanism/Hell/Purgatory” and I’ve never seen a version of this that’s more interesting than whatever the story is presenting at face value.

A popular one I still see spring up every now and then is how Courage the Cowardly Dog is just Courage thinking completely mundane visitors or events are terrifying threats that he needs to defend his family from. This theory kinda sounds like it works at surface level, but if you really try to apply it to every episode, it quickly falls apart – especially with episodes where the theme is, “Courage thinks this scary person is a bad guy but actually they aren’t,” e.g. the Hunchback, Kitty and Bunny, and those pigs that he thought were eating people.

And what exactly is King Ramses supposed to be in this theory? Some random guy who wants to steal a valuable artifact? What methods could he be using that Courage is reimagining as locusts or a sand storm? Or is the slab not actually a slab but some mundane object that Courage thinks is more valuable than it is? Or is the entire episode just a bad dream? Is all of Courage just a bad dream? What the hell is the point of any fictional story, when they’re all just some rando’s dream?

– James