Fan Theories: Is Coraline Really What We Think It Is?


"Coraline Button Box" by Scott Beale (CC BY-ND-SA 2.0)

Coraline’s beginning to her “ideal” life, which has sparked fan theories

Coraline hit theaters in 2009, and  quickly gained a cult following. With many twists and turns throughout the action, it’s no surprise to the amount of fans and love it has received.

The popular 2009 film, Coraline, stars a young 11-year-old girl, Coraline Jones. Coraline moves to Michigan into The Pink Palace from Oregon due to her parents jobs as authors to books about gardening. Her parents are neglectful, and she isn’t happy about the move nor them. A series of events leads to Coraline meeting her “other mother” and many other strange and dangerous things happening to her. This builds up a series of theories by watchers. From social media posts to podcasts talk about possibilities of why the events took place in Coraline. 

Many theories have been developed. One being that Coraline was kidnapped by fairies. A Spotify podcast titled, Scripted Horrors: Coraline Theories by Lights Out, presented many theories to Coraline, including this one. This theory has to do with a lot of witchcraft. It begins with Coraline stepping into what is known as a fairy ring. A fairy ring is the entrance to the fairy realm. If one is to mess with it, things can go terribly wrong for them.

Coraline’s “other mother”, the beldam is another big fan theory. (“unpainted beldam” by WilWheaton (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Fairies are known for manipulating people and shapeshifting. They disguise themselves in order to deceive people. Coraline finds herself in this fairy realm and messes with the nature surrounding her. This upsets the fairies leading her to an alternate reality with her ideal parents. Her “other mother” is one of these fairies, a beldam. Beldam means ‘old woman’ and they are known for eating children to maintain their figure and looks.

After being trapped, she is manipulated by the beldam who makes her feel safe and happy. She gives Coraline the attention she wished from her parents. Fairies wouldn’t force people to stay and would actually allow them to leave, which is why Coraline was asked if she would like to sew buttons into her eyes. This is the beldam’s way of manipulating Coraline; the beldam wants her eyes for her soul. A child’s soul keeps the beldam young and maintains her figure. 

After declining, the beldam still continued to attempt to get her to stay. She did this by kidnapping Coraline’s parents. A beldam does not play fair but will always follow the set rules. They find loopholes which is what makes it difficult to play these “games” with them. Fairies love to play games to get their victims to stay. 

Another theory from a blogger, TessaKaye says, the owner of The Pink Palace, Mrs. Lovat, had purposefully sent Coraline to the beldam to spare Wybie, Mrs. Lovat’s grandson. Wybie tells Coraline in the beginning of the movie that his grandmother never accepts children, not since her sister had gone missing. Wybie had also given Coraline a doll in the beginning of the movie. 

The doll was shown to be sewn by the other mother, portraying Coraline to be the possible next target. Mrs. Lovat possibly saw this as an opportunity to keep Wybie safe and she took it. She allowed Wybie to give the doll to Coraline where the doll then led her to the small door.

A theory that corresponded with this theory was that Coraline’s parents wanted her in this alternate world too. They were very neglectful and maybe wanted to get rid of her, Coraline’s parents were the only ones with kids for a while in The Pink Palace. They also let her do whatever she wanted. They didn’t seem to care. Things obviously didn’t go to plan as they found themselves trapped as well. 

With so much of Coraline left up for interpretation, it allows fans to open a world of ideas and has sparked a lot of creativity.  What’s your favorite theory?