No matter what series they're into, fans tend to have two traits in common: they're extremely creative and not especially patient. Perhaps that's why there are so many fan theories, because fans can't help but try to predict what'll happen in Avengers: Endgame or explain away some obscure Game of Thrones mystery in the agonizing wait for the final season. Sometimes these theories are right on, but for every "R + L = J" there are hundreds of very, very wrong fan theories.
That's fine! It's great that fans are being creative with their favorite series. What's less great is when an entertainment news site decides to pluck one of these specious theories from the safety of a subreddit and present it to a general audience as a plausible theory in order to get your clicks. When that happens, it's up to SYFY WIRE to debunk these crazy fan theories. We're not digging into subreddits to find outlandish theories to dunk on, we're just looking to see which news sites irresponsibly wanted to take you for a ride.
Bran Stark is the Night King and this smudge that was on screen for less than a second proves it
"Bran is the Night King" is the bane of my existence. It's an inexplicably popular and widely believed fan theory even though pretty much every Game of Thrones expert rejects it. A twist-reveal that Bran, thanks to time travel, has been the big bad this whole time, wildly changes the type of story Game of Thrones is in a way that doesn't make narrative sense. Still, this theory has adherents, and one of the most notorious garbage-peddlers of the fan theory industrial complex found a new bit of specious "evidence" to pump into your timeline.
In Season 4, Bran touches a giant Weirwood tree and receives a vision. It's a series of quick flashes, mostly, and a Redditor noticed what he claims to be is a shot of the Night King's face hidden in some reflecting ice. "It's a possible hint that Bran truly is the Night King," the theorist writes, which is hardly proof as the aggregation claims.
It's debatable that the face in the reflection is the Night King (or even a face at all, really). But, even if we're to assume that it is the Night King's face, that doesn't imply that Bran and the Night King are one and the same. Bran seeing the Night King does not inherently mean that Bran is the Night King.
Robb Stark’s wife Talisa was a secret Red Priestess
The same place that aggregated the "Bran is the Night King" theory also propagated this chestnut, which posits that Robb Stark's wife Talisa was secretly a Red Priestess like Melisandre. It's an "irrelevant plot twist," since both Robb and Talisa are dead and their story arcs complete, and the original poster understands this and is just having a little fun with his or her headcanon. The aggregation, though, promises a big twist.
Essentially, the evidence for this theory is that Talisa is from Volantis where the Red Temple is located, and other Red Priests have been given missions to cross the narrow sea an influence potential kings, a la Thoros of Myr. However, nothing we saw in the show indicated this was the case, and Volante nobles actually hate the Red Temple, according to series lore.
Ultimately, though, this theory is, as the original theorist said, irrelevant. Game of Thrones isn't about to go back and complicate the fates of two dead characters who never accomplished what they meant to do with only precious few episodes left.
Buddy the Elf had time-manipulation powers
This holly-jolly, timey-wimey theory is part a whole genre of fan theories that aren't meant to be taken seriously. Aggregating them where they're surrounded by real entertainment news and legitimate theorizing muddles the water. That's why it's a bummer to see this theory, which argues that Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf had time manipulation powers, get aggregated.
Elves can build toys super fast, and Buddy walked from the North Pole to New York in a very short amount of time, this theory notes. Is it because elves have time-manipulation abilities, and Buddy was able to tap into these powers due to his elven upbringing? Or is it possible that a fun movie about Santa Claus wants you to suspend your disbelief without getting the time-space continuum involved?