Westworld - Why fan theories and speculation are important

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Westworld - Why fan theories and speculation are important

December 03, 2016 - 14:50
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Westworld has brought together a community of viewers that spans the whole world and created a buzz so loud even people who aren’t watching can’t hide from it.

Sir Anthony Hopkins in Westworld

By Anna May @AnnaMayMight

We’ve made it this far together, haven’t we? That’s right…together, because Westworld has brought together a community of viewers that spans the whole world and created a buzz so loud even people who aren’t watching it can’t hide from the constant debates that are taking place in front of their very eyes…on Twitter, Facebook, forums and in real life…whatever that is.

This is just the first series, don’t forget. Not a long-running show that’s already built up a following over decades. No, this is one single series and yet the writers, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, have managed to grow what could have been a very simple story of robot rebellion into an absolutely epic mind-bender.

Each episode so far has given us constant twists and turns. As soon as we think we know what’s going on, it all changes and it’s back to the drawing board and retracing steps, in order to restructure each theory over and over again.

The writers have done this to us. They have fed us just enough information each week to inspire a little more insight into what’s going on, before wiping the smiles off our smug faces in the very next episode with niggling little clues that leave us with even more questions.

You see, the writers know what we want. They also know how to lead us away from the truth and then back towards it again. They’re writing for fans of the genre who cannot bear to just sit and watch until the end. They want us to think. They want us to feel challenged. They want us to need the next piece of the puzzle.

Of course, there are some theories which are going to come true. However, I don’t feel the relentless speculation over Westworld plotlines has ruined anything at all…and it would be very naïve of any writer to think they can keep every single viewer in the dark until the last minute.

Even those Westworld fans who congratulate themselves on their clever deductions still need to see it on the screen for themselves. Do they complain that each revelation is too easily fathomed and stop watching immediately? No, they can’t wait to see the next episode to find out if they are right…because, even now, nobody knows if they REALLY know what’s happening in Westworld.

So, no, this amazing new series has not been ruined by thoughtless viewers, selfishly sharing their personal opinions and ideas on forums and social media. It has been elevated at an alarming rate to cult status, by loyal fans who will still be discussing the whats, whys and whens for a very long time after the finale has aired.

I very much doubt the writers are feeling let down by a global network of enthusiastic fans, whose only crime is their obsession with Westworld and every single detail of its existence. Let’s face it, what better way to promote your work than to cause a stir on the internet where everyone in the whole world lives!

The Westworld Finale will be simulcast on Monday 5 December, at 2am on Sky Atlantic. I shall be watching, because as far as Westworld is concerned…seeing really is believing.

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dojj's picture

By Dojj Singh @therealdojj

Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Game of Thrones, enough to get up in the middle of the night and watch it at 2am on a Monday morning and then post a spoiler alert to all my peeps on Facebook reminding them to be be surprised at any surprises.

So when Westworld decided to go all bonkers on us, I was a little worried about them chaps on the other side of the water (no, not France) ruining major plot twists 2 days before it aired here in good old Blighty.

I needn't have worried though, because I saw not many spoilers or hints, just plenty of teasing of what would happen next.

I even stole my WhattheWhat hashtag from my kids Amazing World of Gumball, mainly because it was so apt for the happenings on Westworld, but also because it wouldn't offend my mum, who tends to read everything I post on the internet.

So the one time I DID read a spoiler, I was worried that it would ruin my appreciation of that scene.

However, the show is so wonderfully concocted, the scenes so beautifully laid out, the actors literally acting their socks off (but not Sir Tony, oh no, he makes it look easy, but more of that later) that it was like looking at a picture of a dinosaur in a book and then going to actual Jurassic Park.

The emotions that were on display on the screen changed a simple "This bloke dies" to a "OH MY GOD!!! THEY KILLED <insert name of person killed here>!!! THE etc"

And while you expect blood and guts and excitement when watching Game of Thrones, Westworld is an almost entirely cerebral experience. It contains all the shock, surprise, horror, terror, wonderment, confusion, tragedy, sadness etc that you got in GoT but you never knew where to go next, the show has more twists that a pretzel factory and every week, even the most observant viewer has been left perplexed, but in a good way, as to what might be occurring next week.

Which leads me nicely back to Sir Anthony of Hopkins, who has that disconcerting ability to not only look like he's no idea what he's doing, before revealing that he's some 500 moves ahead of anyone else in the game, all the while looking like a kindly old David Attenborough, albeit holding everyone in the palm of his hand.

So post away all you spoiler types, the show needs to be VIEWED to take in the bewildering array of talent on display and a level of acting that deserves awards when the awards are dished out.

And now, I shall retire and contemplate the difficulties of getting up at 2am and watching the series finale on Sunday night/Monday morning.

But don't worry, my spoilers will only contain WhattheWhat until I can discover a better way to describe how good Westworld is.