+Since Free Jinger is a snark site I feel that it's okay for me to extend the snark to my not-a-blog, although my snark topic has nothing to do with FJ or religion. In fact, it's about a different kind of fundamentalism altogether.
Let's talk about Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire theory channels on YouTube.
I am an avid reader of the books. Back in the day I was a fan of the show as well, but that's been waning since season 4 and I only continue watching because aspects of the show apart from the script and story are amazing (incredible performances, cinematography, costumes and scenery), plus of course it's my only taste of The Winds of Winter (apart from the sample chapters).
I discovered early on that I don't really fit in with the ASOIAF fandom, because I don't theorise. Theorising is a major part of the fandom for the books and the show. I will only consider theories with strong textual evidence and even then the only two major theories I've ever bought into were R+L=J (the most famous theory, about Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen being Jon Snow's parents) and Gravedigger (The Hound is alive and living as a monk in the Quiet Isles).
There are some minor theories that I think are highly probable, such as the man in Oldtown who steals the key to the Citadel being Jaqen H'Ghar and minor theories that are all but confirmed like Ser Robert Strong's identity. The show has given the answer to all but one of those two theories.
Basically, it takes a lot to convince me and the evidence must be based in the text, or something Martin has said (but text is always the most convincing since George is only human and has made mistakes that his editors and proof readers later corrected). Using one of your theories to prove another of your theories is never going to fly with me, but that's exactly what so many theorists do.
I subscribe to many Game of Thrones and ASOIAF theory channels on YouTube. One of these channels is run by a guy called Preston Jacobs who has a bit of a bum rap in the fandom for coming up with outrageous theories.
Well, the people who criticise him should see some of the smaller channels I've found, because they are so completely out there that it's insane at times.
One has become my favourite just based on the sheer intensity with which they push their theories, and because they honestly believe they're helping to 'bring clarity' to the show and books.
I want to be clear that I have nothing against the channel or the people running it, I just find their work to be outlandish and at times comically so.
For example, they've made a five part series (with each part being roughly 30 minutes) arguing that Catelyn Stark is literally the worst character in the series. Not Ramsay Bolton, who hunts girls for sport and then rapes and flays them (sometimes alive, sometimes dead depending on how good their sport was) and systematically tortured and broke down Theon, not Euron Greyjoy who cuts the tongues out of his crewmen, raped his younger brothers, tortures and mutilates people on a regular basis.
Not Littlefinger, who is responsible for starting the War of the Five Kings, framed Sansa and Tyrion for the death of Joffery, pushed Lysa Arryn out the Moon Door and then blamed Marillion the singer, who eventually died for his supposed crime, and is arguably plotting to murder Sweetrobin, who is a seven-year-old boy. There are so many horrible people, but they sincerely believe that Cat Stark is the worst of them all because she's selfish and treats Jon poorly and is totally plotting with Maester Luwin and has Southron ambitions.
They once scoffed at me in the comments for thinking Val the Wildling was just that - Val the Wildling, rather than a highborn maid from Dorne. It made my day that they replied to me!
They're definitely my favourite theory channel, I watch everything they put out. Their biggest flaw (apart from assuming they're making things clearer for their viewers) is using their arguments as evidence to prop up other arguments. For example, if they had a theory about Joffery's wedding pie being made with ravens instead of pigeon, and they had another video about the importance of ravens to the story, they would use the video about the pigeon pie being made from ravens as evidence of the importance of ravens to the story, even though it's a theory rather than a fact.
If they scaled back on the whole 'we're bringing clarity' thing and used only canon sources instead of their own theories as the basis for other theories I think they'd be quite a successful small channel. I think they stretch way too far when creating arguments, but I can't deny that their videos are interesting. I feel bad for Preston getting so much negative press in the community when other people with smaller channels are guilty of way more out there theories.
People who consider themselves GoT/ASOIAF theorists tend to fit into one of two categories: Those who see symbolism in everything and take it too far and those who take things literally and take the literalism too far.
Sometimes things ARE literal. Sometimes things ARE symbolic. It's just when people become fundamentalists about it that things fall apart.
As promised: CAT PHOTOS