Wednesday, 17 June 2015

[House of Cards] Frank Underwood is a patient and the White House is a mental hospital

Theory submitted by James Watson

Frank Underwood is delusional and is locked in a mental hospital. He is occasionally moved but is sent back to the hospital. Claire is also a patient that eventually recovers. Frank's psychosis gets worse as the series progresses, starting with his initial incarceration in season 1 and progressing to a worse (and now famous) state by the end of season 3. In season 1 Frank, after being locked away, attempts a break out with Zoe and others but this fails.
  • Frank frequently talks to the audience. This could be either a sign of schizophrenia or he may be explaining to a physiatrist how he sees his delusions.
  • Frank and Claire smoke secretively together. This could be because the hospital doesn’t allow smoking and they try to avoid detection.
  • Raymond Tusk is a doctor trying to help another patient, Garret Walker (‘the president’). Frank tries to drag Garret back into his delusions and thus comes into conflict with Tusk.
  • The Russian president, Viktor Petrov, is a doctor from another hospital. He initially meets Frank and Claire in their hospital (‘the White House’) and then they are briefly sent to his own hospital (‘Russia’ and later ‘the Middle East’). Viktor takes a liking to Claire as shown in their flirtatious interactions and he eventually helps cure her, resulting in Frank and Clair arguing when they leave ‘Russia’. Michael Corrigan is a patient in ‘Russia’ who is also partly delusional, being treated by Petrov. He kills himself as a result of his delusions which Claire is a witness to.
  • Claire is a patient that is Frank’s wife. She partakes in his delusions but in the 3rd season as he gets worse, she gets better. Clair is helped a lot after their visit to ‘Russia’. At the end of the 3rd season she finally leaves Frank after realising that his delusions are unhealthy to participate in.
  • Edward Meechum is a patient that is in the same ward as Frank and Claire; he is delusional and suffering PTSD after serving in the marines. He develops a devotion to Frank and Claire.
  • Doug Stamper is a recovering alcoholic and also a delusional patient. He suffers split-personality disorder and rotates between being in the hospital and living outside. When he is inside he believes that he is working for the Underwoods, but when he’s outside his persona of working for the Underwoods kicks in resulting in him imagining going on missions for them. These malfunctions in personality when he’s outside resulted in his brain damage from the attack by ‘Rachel’ and the murder of ‘Rachel’ among others. ‘Rachel Posner’ is a delusion created by his alternate personality that he is determined to find, the reason ‘Rachel’ moves around a lot is because he manifests her in different women of the same description.
  • Zoe Barnes is a nurse at the hospital who initially is convinced by Frank to help him escape. Frank often imagines having sex with her. After she realises the extent of his delusions she attempts to undo her help which results in Frank murdering her.
  • Peter Russo is also a recovering alcoholic like Doug. He is a patient that Frank initially includes in his escape plan but after he becomes difficult to work with, frank kills him.
  • Gaffney is actually the town where Frank is from. He occasionally visits there when he shows signs of improvement but is always sent back after bad relapses, such as when he publicly urinates in the first episode of season 3.
  • Tom Yates, a university phycology lecturer, decides to write a book about Frank as Frank's psychosis has now become worse and is now a famous psychology case. He interviews Frank  and others to gain an insight into what started Frank's delusions and why he believes himself to be the president. Frank believes this book to be about his ‘America Works’ program.
  • Frank's friends from his time at the Sentinel visit him in season 1 and realise that he is completely insane. Frank calls one of them when the book is being written but they try to avoid him.
  • All the other characters in the show are either made up delusions by Frank, other patients that share his psychosis (like Remy, Seth and Jackie Sharp), or people that work in the hospital.

Monday, 15 June 2015

[Game of Thrones] The Secret of Jon Snow's Survival

In the shocking season 5 finale of Game of Thrones, Jon "Spoiler Warning" Snow is stabbed to death by his pals in the Night's Watch after being tricked by the promise of Benjen. Many commentators have seen this as an allegory for fandom being enticed and led astray by Benjen-related theories, only to be betrayed by the cruel knife-wielding mob of D&D and their master GRRM.

This may be true, but there is still a story to tell. How does Jon Snow survive?

As the hero of the story, it's clear that he isn't really dead, so the seeds for his survival must already have been sewn. The differences between the book and the show actually point the viewer in the only way Snow could still live.

As a Stark, Jon Snow is a powerful warg, able to plant his mind into any creature he deems fit. The books made it clear that even after death, a warg could live on in the mind of an animal as happens to several wildling wargs. It seems pretty clear then, that Jon Snow is going to warg into his direwolf, Ghost. In the books he is often connected via dreams to Ghost, and his last word as he lies dying is "Ghost".

Television shows are different though. It would be difficult to have the main character be a wolf (this isn't Disney after all!). Additionally if Jon comes back to life straight away it would be impossible to hide the fact the actor is still on set.

The showmakers have cleverly set up the solution in front of our very eyes.

What's Jon's last words? It's not "Ghost" as per the book. No, it is "Olly".
This proves that instead of warging into his direwolf, Jon has warged into his young squire, Olly. Olly was a character created for the show, a young man that Jon takes under his wing. Why create such a new character unless his purpose is unique to the show? Jon spends most of their time together grooming Olly for command, making him his squire like the previous Lord Commander made Jon his squire.

There is a clear career progression in the Night's Watch, and Jon has ensured that Olly is to take over as the new Lord Commander. But why? Could taking over Olly's mind have been Jon's masterplan all along? By stealing Olly's body and ensuring his old body's death, Jon keeps his former power but is now a new, younger Lord Commander.

What possible reason could he have for this though? The answer can be found in GRRM's original pitch for Game of Thrones, and may shock you:

Originally, Jon was to fall in love with Arya, his younger sister. Many have assumed that this was an abandoned plot idea due to the final characters having such wildly differing ages. But what if it wasn't abandoned?

In the body of Olly, Jon is now the perfect age for Arya, and can use the powers of being Lord Commander to have her tracked down and brought to him. Jon Snow, the man we thought to be a hero, is actually revealed to be a soul-stealing Meryn Trant.  Will this plan backfire though? Can Arya possibly fall in love with the boy that murdered her brother, or will she murder him back?

Jon Snow may not be dead, but he might soon be!

Monday, 8 June 2015

[Game of Thrones] Stannis will still win 'Father Of The Year'

The most recent episode of Game of Thrones has put a spanner in the works of Stannis' plan to win Father of the Year as after many scenes of showing how much he loves his daughter, he makes the rookie error of burning her alive. Is everything as it seems though? After all, this makes no sense given everything we know about the Mannis - could this in fact be foreshadowing for an even more complex plan?

Burning his only heir to death has the bonus of unsettling his enemies. Roose Bolton, watching from the towers of Winterfell must assume Stannis is crazy and is trying to defeat himself. Rather than mobilising its full force, the Bolton army would hold back as they wait for Stannis to inevitably kill his own men. Perhaps they think if they wait long enough, crazy Mr Stannis will burn himself to death in the hope it will give him victory.

In fact, Stannis will most probably use this pyre as a NIGHT LAMP. The Boltons will be obsessed with this burning pyre that crazy Stannis used to burn his daughter. All Stannis needs to do is move the pyre over a big pit full of spikes and acid and dogs and relight it. When the Boltons attack in the middle of the night, they will run towards the pyre and fall into the pit, handing Stannis victory. Stannis is, after all, the foremost Westeros military commander.

But does this mean Shireen is dead? Was she sacrificed for victory?

Of course not! She is Stannis' only heir - if she is dead then his entire quest for the Iron Throne is meaningless. And would Stannis really burn his only child to death for a chance of defeating a shirtless Ramsay Bolton? Far more likely is the idea that she is still alive - but how? There are several tantalising possibilities:

  • Stannis' military camp is in the middle of a snowy, frozen wasteland. Do people expect Stannis to let his daughter freeze to death? No, instead he gives her the best spot by the fire. Remember, Westeros is a land where the cold is extremely cold - could the heat of the fire have simply cancelled out the cold of the winter, leaving Shireen a pleasant warm temperature?
  • Was it even Shireen that was burnt to death? It could have been one of the wildlings, such as Mance Rayder or Rattleshirt who were burnt in her place while under a magical disguise, Stannis having faked their earlier deaths to give himself willing decoys to use.
  • Can fire even harm Shireen? Dany was absolutely fine when she walked into a similar firey pyre at the end of season one. Remember the Azor Ahai prophecy - the Prince that was Promise will be 'born amidst smoke and salt' (the smoke of the fire and the salt of her loving mother's tears) and will 'wake dragons from stone' (Shireen has greyscale, the stone disease). It is very possible that instead of just murdering his daughter like a maniac, Stannis is actually empowering her to fulfil her destiny of becoming the new Azor Ahai.
In conclusion, whilst everything looks dark for Stannis winning Father of the Year, as we can see he might indeed be working to snatch a surprise victory!
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