Why are people online so obsessed with this theory?
Sometimes it feels like Game of Thrones exists so its fans can theorize about possible twists, secret family trees, and potential resurrections. As much as a show like Lost inspired feverish analysis of every inconsequential detail -- shout out to Nikki and Paulo! -- the rich detail found in George R.R. Martin's novels takes it many steps further, because fans are speculating not just about what will happen on the show but in the A Song of Ice and Fire series as well. Along with R + L = J, the Cleganebowl has gripped the minds of a certain kind of super-fan like a nasty infection of greyscale.
Just watch the video posted above. Really. Watch the whole thing. You done yet?
That clip, along with similar ridiculous videos, helped popularize the theory, bringing it out of web forums, chat rooms, and discussion threads into articles like the one you're reading right now. There's a whole sub-Reddit devoted to the Cleganebowl, a place to share theories, images, and jokes about the eventual confrontation. For example, Sunday night's episode inspired multiple posts about a single line Jaime said. The thread has its own terminology and in-jokes. They mostly involve two words: get hype.
As you can tell from the menacing "Hard in the Paint" beat that scores the video above, the excitement fans have about the Cleganebowl is fervent. It's like a higher calling -- a religion founded on hype. The type of cause that, were it happening in Westeros, might lead to forehead carvings.
But there's also something reductive about the whole thing. Whether you love it or merely tolerate it, you have to admit that at this point Game of Thrones is a thorny and ambitious storytelling achievement, one that often wallows in dark themes about human nature, the dangers of religious fanaticism, and the struggle to retain order in a chaotic world where everyone is seeking power. Reducing the show to a macho wrestling match under-cuts that ambition.
It wouldn't surprise me if Benioff and Weiss feel the same way. This is still Game of Thrones. As Sunday's Bran flashback showed, there's nothing the creators like to do more than set up a classic fantasy trope and then provide some sort of twist that subverts the expectations of the audience. While the show often rewards the bloodlust of its viewers, it usually does so in a way that confounds your expectations or upends convention. To again borrow a term from professional wrestling, there might be a swerve coming up.
So, enjoy the videos. Read up on the theories. Look for clues. Prep for the return of the Hound. And get hyped! Just keep your hype level in check -- for now.
Check out all the latest Game of Thrones Season 6 photos that tease the next episode.
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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment and he's trying to control his hype levels. He's on Twitter: @danielvjackson.