Interesting Fan Theories About Fantasy Worlds That We Can't Stop Thinking About

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Vote up the theories that have you transported.

Fantasy is genre full of noteworthy media. The worlds and realms of fantasy films and shows in particular has always been a favorite amongst fans. With fascinating landscapes, incredible story-telling, and interesting characters interacting within the world, it's no wonder why this particular subgenre has lasted so long. From unanswered questions to character quirks, some passionate fans managed to come up with some interesting theories surrounding fantasy worlds.

Check out these fantasy world fan theories below, and don't forget to vote!

  • 1
    34 VOTES

    The Land Of Oz Is A Parallel Dimension In 'The Wizard Of Oz'

    From Redditor u/cobysev:

    TL;DR - Oz is in a universe parallel to ours, except that magic exists in their world. This is why identical people are found both in Oz and in Kansas. Also, the existence of magic delayed technological advancement, which is why Oz is lacking in technology compared to Kansas.

    The Land of Oz is a Parallel Dimension in the Multiverse. For the longest time, I was on the fence about whether Oz was "all a dream" or not. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy bumps her head, wakes up in a magical land where she has several adventures, then "returns" by waking up in her bed at home, surrounded by friends and family. At this point, she realizes that familiar faces were all in Oz with her. Farmhands Hunk, Zeke, and Hickory were the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Man, respectively. Professor Marvel, the traveling fortune teller, was the Wizard. The evil Miss Gulch was the Wicked Witch of the West. This is typical of a dream - realistic while you're there, but when you wake up, you see impossible details that you hadn't noticed before.

    Return to Oz addressed this, condemming Dorothy to experimental electro-shock therapy at an asylum to help her overcome these "fantasies" about an imaginary land called Oz. During a thunderstorm, she escapes and finds herself swept down a river, floating in a chicken coop. When she wakes from this trauma, she's again lost in Oz. Familiar faces in Oz are The Gnome King (Dr. Worley, her electro-shock therapy doctor), Mombi (Nurse Wilson, the doctor's assistant), the lead Wheeler, who was seen working at the asylum (pushing a squeaky-wheeled cart), and Dorothy's electro-shock therapy machine, which had a "face" and wound up with a big key; analogous to Tick-Tok in Oz. I'm not sure, but I think the blonde patient who helped Dorothy escape the asylum was also the trapped Ozma in Oz.

    Dorothy kills the Gnome King and destroys his mountain kingdom, and after returning to Kansas, finds that the asylum was burned to the ground and the Dr. had perished in the flames. The last we saw of Mombi, she was confined to a small black cage, and in Kansas, we catch a glimpse of Nurse Wilson being carted away in a police carriage, peering out at Dorothy through the black bars on the window.

    Oz, the Great and Powerful changed my theory. It was a similar situation as Dorothy's adventures (travel to Oz and see familiar faces from Kansas), except this time, it was happening to someone else. How can someone else dream up the exact same world, having never met Dorothy? (At least, not yet) Familiar characters in this one are Annie (Oz's Kansas crush) who was also Glinda the Good Witch. Oz's assistant Frank is also Finley, the flying monkey in a bellhop uniform. And the wheelchair girl who can't walk is the china doll with shattered legs.

    To explain this anomaly, I theorize that Oz is actually a parallel dimension to ours; an alternate universe where magic is possible. This explains why identical characters can seemingly exist in both Kansas and Oz. They are the exact same people, just their universe's version of the person. In Kansas, you're a farm hand. In Oz, you're a cowardly lion.

    It also accounts for similar events in both worlds, like how the Dr. and his Oz counterpart, the Gnome King, both perished in their domains; how Mombi/Nurse Wilson were locked up; how Frank/Finley both were unwilling assistants to the Wizard; how Annie/Glinda both fell in love with the Wizard despite knowing his true character; or how the young girl/china girl both had permanently broken legs (although fortunately, china is fixable with a little glue).

    The tornado works as a sort of wormhole between dimensions, transporting both the Wizard and Dorothy to Oz. Once in Oz, they can use magic to travel back to Kansas (à la ruby slippers) but magic doesn't exist in our dimension, so the tornado wormhole was the only way to travel back to Oz.

    It could also be postulated that wormholes pop up randomly throughout Kansas during storms and are not tied specifically to tornado events, as Dorothy gets to Oz in Return to Oz by floating down a turbulent river during a thunderstorm. She stops when the water under her chicken coop dries up and she finds herself in the Deadly Desert... which is permanently dry and dead. So where did the water come from? It came with her when she passed through the wormhole and dried up quickly in the hot desert of Oz.

    If we assume that the universe of Oz is the same age as our universe (which accounts for identically-aged people existing simultaneously in both universes), then we can also assume that the existence of magic delayed the development of industry. This is why we're living in a technologically advancing world while Oz is more of a middle-ages land with castles and kingdoms. Support for this can be found in Oz, the Great and Powerful. The citizens of Oz had never heard of fireworks or moving pictures, yet both existed in Kansas in 1905. This is why it was easy for Oz to con all the citizens into thinking he truly was a wizard.

  • 2
    46 VOTES

    The Hogwarts Castle Grows Over Time In 'Harry Potter'

    From Redditor u/Nebula-15:

    Tl;Dr - there are 280 students in Hogwarts, but the castle is so big that it feels like there should be more. This is because the castle grows over time, and at one point was servicing the British empire so had a much larger population of students and when the British empire collapsed it's number of students shrank leaving it with a castle larger than necessary to support a student population of 300.

    So to begin with, despite JK saying that there are 1000 students at Hogwarts, I believe that there are actually closer to 300 for the following reasons (skip this bit if you're willing to just take my word for it, though I can't say I blame you if you don't):

    1 - year size: given every house appears to have 2 dorms (a boys' and girls' dorm) each consisting of 5 students, it follows that every house has 10 students and as there are 4 houses there are 40 students per year and therefore 280 students in Hogwarts

    2 - class sizes: there are 20 students in an average 1990s Britain class and every class consists of two houses, i.e. half the year, meaning that every year would be 40 people, fitting with point 1. Whilst it could be said that those two houses might not be the entirety of their house implying a larger year size, I doubt this is the case on the grounds that with 2 classes at a time per year and 7 years, that's 14 classes at a time, and there are 14 teachers at Hogwarts.

    If there were more students and thus more classes then you wouldn't have enough teachers for all of them, unless the teachers used time turners, which is unreasonable as it makes already ancient teachers like Dumbledore and McGonagall even older biologically - at least a few years for every decade of teaching they've done.

    3 - UK wizarding population: JK Rowling has said (somewhere I couldn't find exactly where) that the Wizarding population of the UK is 3000 wizards and witches. If Hogwarts had 1000 students in it then 1/3 of the UK's wizarding population would be in education at a given time, a completely unreasonable suggestion.

    Even if they had the population pyramid of a preindustrial society as has been suggested it still wouldn't check out as the main difference between industrial and preindustrial societies is in the 0-10 age group, and there's not such a huge difference in the 10-20 age group, definitely not enough to account for a third of the population in school.

    Meanwhile having just under 10% of your population in school definitely does check out and matches the stats for 1990s UK fairly well.

    But if Hogwarts has a population of ~300 students and teachers, why is the castle so big? Considering that there are around 4 or 5 times the rooms necessary to teach 300 people surely that can't be right (this website has a good in depth look at the Hogwarts castle layout? Well this is where we need to crack open Hogwarts a history and talk about how Hogwarts has grown.

    Hogwarts was created by its founders over 1000 years ago in tenth century Britain. This was during the dark ages, long after the Romans had left Britain castles were only just becoming a thing in France and the most sophisticated castles in Europe were essentially a wooden fort on top of a mound surrounded by a ditch and wooden wall (Norman motte and bailey). And as this is the 10th century the Normans haven't even invaded yet so not even that technology has spread to the British isles. Furthermore stone castles wouldn't emerge for another few centuries.

    The point is that it's highly unlikely that in the tenth century the Hogwarts founders built a huge sophisticated stone castle in the Scottish Highlands. Not because the couldn't - I've no doubt if they knew how they would possess the magical capability to make them - but because castles of that size, scale, sophistication and material hadn't even been invented yet, and this is before the wizarding world went underground so we can't just assume they had the technology and were just hiding it.

    A far more likely explanation is that Hogwarts grew over time and was constantly updated. Hogwarts wasn't always a massive stone castle, it was originally a much simpler building that got slowly updated over time. This explains why it's such a messy Hodge podge of rooms towers and corridors with so many secret rooms and forgotten passageways. Also this is why they have the moving staircases - they need to move to access the bits of the building that were added on later instead of building entirely new staircases.

    There are two other main pieces of evidence for this point: first, when Rowena Ravenclaw helped design Hogwarts, she helped create an ever changing floor plan. Whilst this could be a reference to the moving staircases, I find it far more likely that this is referencing the fact that Hogwarts is constantly growing and updating.

    Second, the wizarding population of the UK is going to have changed over time. Given that in the 11th century England had around 3% its current population, that means that if the wizarding population of the UK has changed in step with the overall population of the UK, there were only 9 students at Hogwarts to begin with, or 30 if you take the 1000 student figure. Given such a small school size it's incredibly unlikely that the founding 4 would build an massive castle just to house less than a dozen students. So Hogwarts has to have grown over time.

    Ok so back to why that's relevant. Hogwarts grows to meet the needs of the school and house more students when necessary. How is this relevant to the fact that it has so many empty rooms then? Two words: British empire. Hogwarts didn't always just serve the British isles. Hogwarts once had to serve the needs of the entire British empire, which had a population 8 times that of modern Britain.

    If we again take the wizarding population of the UK to be in line with that of the rest of the country, that's 8 times the Wizarding children to be educated. Now we can assume that not all the wizarding children in the British empire will have attended Hogwarts. Many wouldn't have access to the education (e.g. wizards from poor families in India and Africa). Some will have gone to other schools closer by (e.g. Canadians going to Ilvermory). So we can cut that number in half, meaning Hogwarts would be serving 4 times the students it is today.

    And just like magic (or rather just like arithmancy) the numbers fall into place: 4 times the students, 4 times the rooms. And when the British empire collapsed, this left Hogwarts with a load of spare empty rooms meaning - they had 4 times the rooms necessary, which matches with what we saw earlier.


  • 3
    11 VOTES

    The Red Room Is Separate From The Black And White Lodges In 'Twin Peaks'

    From Redditor u/Oldbear83:

    The Red Room is a construct, similar to the room above the Convenience Store, used by the lodge spirits for their own purposes. A key clue is that Dale Cooper entered the Lodge to save Annie, not to seek power or face his test. This is why BOB simply tells Dale “you go” when he claims Wyndham Earle; there is no place in EITHER lodge for Dale Cooper at this time.

    This is also why we see Dale 25 years older in the Red Room in his Season 1 dream – he is there because he is NEVER claimed by either lodge. This is why the dreams - Dale’s and Laura’s – never focus on the White or Black Lodge. This is why the scenes with the Fireman never show a White Lodge as Earle described, nor a place of complete evil that the Black Lodge would represent. The Red Room is interface, a conduit.

    This is why Judy is so indefinite – she is trying to reach THROUGH the Red Room, but as it is a construct, there is no direct door to the Black Lodge. This is why The Arm is sometimes evil, sometimes good. He is influenced by various spirits (the name is a clue – an arm does not make decisions, it does what is commanded), sometimes BOB sometimes the Fireman (‘one and the same’, remember). The Arm is a remote instrument used from outside forces.

    There’s much more, but that could be a start.

  • 4
    39 VOTES

    Gotham Isn't A City In 'Batman' It's A State

    From Redditor u/Hadesman1:

    Let me start off by saying, Gotham seems to be gigantic, and filled with a seemingly endless amount of villains and crime, begging the question, why would anyone live there?

    Answer's simple, Gotham City is a city within Gotham State, like New York to New York City. I'd say Gotham is probably on the small side of things, maybe the size of Rhode Island or Connecticut. Batman has a Bat-Train, several Bat Land Vehicles, and Aerial vehicles, providing him means to get across the state, instead of just a city.

    My first point is, Bruce Wayne seemingly lives in Gotham, but seems to be far removed from the actual city, and rarely does anything bleed into his estate, which makes me think Gotham State is decently sized enough that he could own all that land and not worry about criminals on his doorstep.

    Next, the two major Prisons are Blackgate, and Arkham Asylum seem to be way too big to just hold prisoners from one city, I think if it handled an entire state, it's occupancy would make more sense.

    Finally, maps of Gotham City typically show it as an Island connected to the mainland via bridges, similar to other major cities. This could provide reason for so many people living in Gotham, the GCPD having insane amounts of money to hire private contractors (Magistrate).

    It could also explain how Batman isn't able to just get rid of all crime, because it's still a massive amount of area to cover, and how some villains are able to rise to power without Bruce knowing.

    Bludhaven could even be apart of this State, hence why it's only separated from Gotham by a bay (in some canons at least).


  • 5
    29 VOTES

    Stopping The Nothing In 'The NeverEnding Story' Actually Dooms Fantasia

    From Redditor u/BrokenEye3:

    tldr: The Nothing is cyclical, and stopping it dooms Fantasia

    The Neverending Story describes a fantasy world called Fantasia which is created and sustained by the imaginations of people in the real world. The main conflict in the film is that Fantasia is slowly being erased by a force known as "the Nothing". We're lead to believe that this is brought about by the fact that people in the real world are becoming less and less imaginative. In the end, the real-world protagonist, Bastian stops the Nothing and "saves" Fantasia by imagining it back into existence, exactly as it was.

    But to me, this doesn't hold up.

    Imagination isn't static. Quite the opposite, in fact. It's constantly changing as people imagine new things that have never been imagined before, and reimagining old things in new ways. It thrives on creativity and abhors inflexibility.

    I believe, therefore, that the Nothing is not actually erasing Fantasia completely, merely erasing Fantasia as it currently exists to make room for Fantasia's next incarnation. It's a natural consequence of the generation that imagined the things which currently make up that embodied collective imagination dying off and taking their specific fantasies with them, one fantasy at a time, while the next generation is coming up with new fantasies to fill that space. The Nothing isn't a void at all, but a blank slate waiting to be filled by the new and wonderful fruits of future creativity. While some parts of Fantasia may indeed vanish forever, many will inevitably reappear in slightly different form, and those that are truly lost will inevitably be replaced by areas which are totally new.

    Stopping this cycle goes against the very nature of imagination and defies the natural order of how Fantasia is supposed to work. By imagining Fantasia back into existence exactly as it was and vowing to prevent that version of Fantasia from ever disappearing, Bastian has become the very thing he hates, sacrificing his gift for imagination by dedicating himself to imaging exactly what others have already imagined before him, exactly as those others imagined it, and by extension, never, ever imagining anything new. Even new variations on the same themes are out of the question for him. And by eliminating the Nothing, he's deprived others of the canvas onto which to pour their own ideas, forcing mankind's collective fantasies into an unnatural stagnant state. Instead of preventing Fantasia from dying out, he's prevented it from ever truly living.

  • 6
    31 VOTES

    Asgard Is The Result Of An Infinity Stone-Based Society In 'Thor'

    From Redditor u/The_Last_Minority:

    TL;DR Asgard used the Tesseract to build their nation-city and unite the Nine Realms, and Asgardian magitek is the evolved form of what Hydra was trying to do.

    Asgard and the Nine Realms are the result of an Infinity Stone-based society. In the MCU, we are given several interesting tidbits of information related to the Space Stone (The Tesseract from the Avengers) and Asgard.

    1. The "magic" used by the Asgardians is merely technology subscribing to Clarke's Third Law
    2. All of the Nine Realms are worlds in our universe, presumably separated by vast distances.
    3. Asgardians are not gods, despite what humans think.
    4. The Tesseract, the "crown jewel of Odin's Treasure Room," was in a random church in Norway.
    5. the Tesseract is the Space Stone, which gives off low levels of radiation and has the ability to make doorways through space.

    So, looking at all of this, I have a proposed history for Asgard:

    The realm that would come to be known as Asgard was initially merely a collection of rocks, space dust, and other assorted detritus of the universe's creation, orbiting an unremarkable G-class star. However, at some point, the Space Stone came to reside there, and remained there for untold millions of years. Due to the nature of the stone, it warped space around it, leading the area it inhabited to be uniquely "porous" with regards to space-time.

    Enter the proto-Asgardians. A race of relatively advanced humanoid spacefarers, one of their slow colony ships stumbled upon this bizarre solar system and established itself there to study the space-time anomalies that abounded. Little progress was made, as the wormholes that formed were brief and unstable, until one researcher found a strange blue cube that seemed to emit energy that caused these space-time pulses. Study progressed on this object, dubbed the Tesseract, until the researcher discovered that it was capable of emitting not only massive amounts of energy but also stabilizing the wormholes, allowing for near-instantaneous travel across nigh-unimaginable distances. By siphoning the power off of the stone, it was possible to create tools and weapons that could perform similar feats. Study of the wormholes revealed that they led to eight worlds scattered across the cosmos, and that many of these worlds were sparsely or not inhabited, and contained abundant natural resources. Refinement of the travels process leads to the codification of the eight accessible worlds, and the establishment of a gateway used for accessing them. This gateway is under the control of the first researcher and his family and close allies, who subsequently become fabulously wealthy and powerful. The region surrounding the gateway is called Asgard, and careful use of the Tesseract stabilizes the world, and allows for wide-scale terraforming, turning a previously barely-inhabitable irregular piece of rock into a technological utopia.

    Dubbing this gateway the Bifrost, they continue exploring the eight other worlds that are connected to theirs. As a side effect, the radiation put off by the Tesseract alters the physiology of those who live on Asgard, granting them increased strength and longevity. Those who live on Asgard become increasingly unconcerned with the world beyond their Yggdrasil network, as the days or weeks required to travel to other worlds seems pointless when compared to the Bifrost. Combined with the physiological changes at work, this group that now calls itself solely Asgardians becomes estranged from whatever world they hailed from, and claim Asgard as their "homeworld," with the descendants of the first researcher ruling over their people as benevolent kings and queens. While they take note of races such as the Kree, who at one point look like they might me doing something sketchy on Midgard, the Asgardians are content to be top dogs in their own little interstellar pond.

    After generations of complete technological supremacy in the regions of space that they inhabit, much of Asgard's technology and society have become ritualistic and ceremonial. Projectile weapons are largely unheard of, as energy-tipped spears derived from the Tesseract are both aesthetically pleasing and far more powerful that any comparable weapon. The increased strength and durability of the Asgardians means that even a simple sword is capable of stopping many lesser foes. The Tesseract itself is kept in the most secure vault of the royal family's treasure room, and only brought out when necessary to perform a feat of world-shattering magnitude. In time, its power becomes synonymous with that of the royal family. The royals themselves are the most changed by the Tesseract, having strength above even their fellow Asgardians, though the strain of this on bodies not designed for this level of power means that the ruler must occasionally sleep to recover strength.

    For the most part, the worlds connected by the Yggdrasil are fairly primitive. The denizens of Jotunheim pose a concern, and the Dark Elves look like they might be up to something, but for the most part the Asgardians lord it over their subject races. With their strength and advanced technology, some of the more primitive realms begin to deify them, and the Asgardians accept it as no more than their due. However, things start going downhill when the massively powerful entity Surtr arrives and sets up shop in Muspellheim, and much of that world is subsequently lost to Asgardian control. The Dark Elf Malekith manages to get his hands on the Reality Stone, and uses it to attempt to unmake creation. By this time, knowledge of the Tesseract's true power has been forgotten by all but a very few Asgardians, and so only King Borr recognizes the existential threat that the Dark Elves pose. He takes drastic action, and nearly exterminates the Dark Elves in his zeal to stop another Infinity Stone from being used.

    Fast forward to the reign of his son, Odin, and things are going well enough until the Jotun, using an ancient artifact of their once-advanced society called the Casket of Eternal Winter, exploit a vulnerability in the Yggdrasil network to hijack the Bifrost and launch an attack on the Nine Realms. Odin stops the Jotun and confiscates the Casket, but hardliners among the Asgardians view this as justification for assuming a more direct role in the governance of the Nine Realms. Odin disagrees, feeling that Asgardian rule is not best for many of the less developed worlds. However, the continued presence of the Tesseract in Asgard offers those with knowledge of how to use it a possible workaround to Odin's decree. Using the Tesseract, it would be possible to travel between worlds, circumventing the Bifrost that has been controlled by the royal family for millennia. In fact, unbeknownst to anyone, the Tesseract's presence on Asgard has stabilized many small "rifts" that act as uncontrolled doorways between the realms, though not until Loki was anyone able to find and study them enough to utilize them consciously .

    So, Odin stores the Tesseract on Midgard. The humans of that world revere the Asgardians as gods, and no hardliner would ever think to look for the source of Asgard's power hidden away on the least significant world of the Yggdrasil network. And so, for nearly one thousand years, the Tesseract was hidden, until humans came and mucked it all up, like we do.