Ghost of Thornton Hall Theories
Most of the people looking through the Nancy Drew tag are probably looking for MID updates and not more Ghost of Thornton Hall theories, but it’s summer and I have too much time on my hands, so here we go. (All pictures are from the game or an email @nancythedrew sent to HeR)
The Incest Theory
This theory has been around for awhile, but I’m going to explain it in case you don’t know it. It has to do with who Clara’s father is. This is how they describe it in the game:
For some reason, Rosalie refused to tell her daughter anything about her father, even if it meant Clara would be orphaned. Wade actually got the story a bit off though. If you look at the family tree-
Clara was actually five, not around ten, when her mother died. Wade could be confusing the death of Rosalie with the death of his (and Clara’s) grandmother, Whitney. Rosalie was nine (about ten) when Whitney died. Or maybe this was just a mistake by HeR (but I doubt it).
The incest theory is that Jackson, Rosalie’s father, is also Clara’s father. When Clara was born, her mother was 25 and her grandfather/ father was 51. Some how in some way Jackson got Rosalie pregnant. Now when I first heard this theory, I dismissed it. It was probably just some crazy fan theory someone made up. But then they mentioned this note that you find in the cellar-
Later in the game, it’s revealed that Clara (accidentally) killed Charlotte by starting a fire. In the game, they say it’s because Charlotte wrote Clara out of her will and Clara was afraid of being rejected from the family. In the theory, Charlotte tells Clara of her suspicions and that’s what made Clara start the fire.
As creepy and gross this note seems, some of you may still be skeptical. HeR has to make for ten year olds! They wouldn’t have a secret subplot about a guy doing his daughter.
The Virginia Theory
The big reveal at the end of the game is a will- Charlotte’s will.
What I find interesting is that Charlotte had the estate to give. If she has all the money and land of the Thornton’s, that probably means that she ran the family business too. At first, it made sense to me that Charlotte inherited the estate because Jackson, who was probably the previous owner, died in 1988, the year before Charlotte died. But then I took closer look at the family tree-
When Jackson died, Charlotte and Clara were 20, Harper was 17, and Wade was 15. Doge and Marianna had died four years before (1984), and Rosalie had died fifteen years before (1973). But Virginia was still alive and breathing at 47! So why would all the inheritance go to a orphaned 20 year old instead of a 47 year old? It’s the 80′s! Doesn’t Charlotte want to go to college or something? Don’t just hand all that responsibility off to someone who can’t legally drink.
You could argue that HeR probably stretched the story a little bit so they could set up all the drama with the will, but goshdermit imma make this my own theory.
So if you do the math, Virginia was the oldest of the three sisters. The middle sister was Rosalie (who was two years younger), and the youngest was Marianna (who was two years younger than Rosalie and four years younger than Virginia). So if we assume that the incest theory is correct, and Jackson really did impregnate his daughter when she was 25 (which would make Virginia 27). Maybe Virginia caught wind. Now I’m not saying that she definitely saw something big- but she probably picked up on some small hints and put it together.
Wade, her son, is disgusted by the greed and darkness of the Thorntons. Maybe he learned to be that way from his mother. Maybe it was a mixture of the factory accident that killed 54 workers, the implication that the Thornton’s used slaves (or at least “hired people that couldn’t afford to quit”), and the incest between her family that drove her away.
I think that maybe Virginia and Jackson probably had some argument that resulted in Jackson changing the will and giving everything to Charlotte. The question is, when did they have the argument, and when he change the will? Did it all happen around the time Charlotte and Clara were born or did he change it right before he died? My guess is that Virginia kept pretty silent until Rosalie’s death in 1973, when she finally confronted him. Then he changed it to Marianna. In the between Rosalie’s death and Marianna’s, Jackson would be about 56-67. If we look at the book about Dodge and Marianna-
Marianna seems to do all the legwork. My guess is that Jackson was aging and he didn’t want to travel around making deals (This meeting in the book would make Jackson 67) so Marianna helped. Jackson still ran the business, and he probably had final say in every matter. When she died in 1984 (Charlotte was 16) he changed it to Charlotte. He probably expected to live long enough that Charlotte could be well into adulthood (or at least well into her 20′s) before taking on the task of owning and running the Thornton’s money, land, and business.
Virginia probably didn’t even know that he had changed the will until he died and Charlotte told her that she inherited everything. By then, she probably realized that Charlotte was too young, but she couldn’t go against the will. Charlotte began to suspect something was up, but Virginia refused to tell her about the incest. But after they talked a few times, Virginia accidentally dropped a few hints and that’s why Charlotte began researching Jackson.
A couple months later, Charlotte dies and Virginia figures that she’s going to be mentioned in the will. But to her surprise everything is given to Clara. At first she’s shocked, but then she realizes why. Charlotte always knew that she hated the Thornton’s factory and wanted to distance herself from it. She also suspected that Jackson mentioned that Virginia shouldn’t get anything in the will, and Charlotte was trying to respect that, even if she didn’t know why. Virginia wondered if she should’ve told Clara who her father really was, but she just couldn’t do it. Clara was 21. She had a daughter and an entire business to run. Virginia didn’t know what would happen if she ever learned the truth. Maybe Clara would lose her mind like Harper. And then who would be there to run the factory? Her? Her 16 year old son? Virginia didn’t know that Clara already knew.
Speculation about people’s last names /Theories
Charlotte, Harper, Clara, Wade, and Jessalyn all have the last name Thornton, even though they are connected to the family tree by their mother. Although I’m all for non conforming to the patriarchy, the Thorntons seem to be a very traditional family. It makes sense that Clara would have the last name Thornton because she never knew who her father was. Jessalyn knew her father, Austin Neely, but maybe Clara and Austin were never married. We never hear from or about Austin and he seems to be just a place holder in the family tree. But it doesn’t make sense that Charlotte or Harper have the last name Thornton because their father, Dodge, was present in their lives. The only explanation I can come up with is that Jackson took guardianship over them after Marianna and Dodge died in 1984. Charlotte and Clara were 16 and Harper was 13. We don’t know too much about Jackson, but maybe he was so proud of his roots that he changed the names.
But why does Wade have the Thornton name? Shouldn’t he be Wade Atchison? He hates the Thornton family business. This is a bit of a stretch, but maybe Luther didn’t want his son to be tied to his name. Wade mentions that his father-
My guess is that Luther didn’t know how to handle money too well and he knew that giving Wade the last name Thornton would give him more influence and respect. Virginia probably never explained all the dark things that happened in the Thornton family to Luther. So when Wade was born they just gave him the Thornton name.
Now maybe I’m over thinking this. Maybe HeR just called them all Thorntons so that the main characters could be part of the ‘Thornton clan’. But still, for the sake of the story line, I’m going with this.