he actually went insane

Tell me your worst procrastination story!

I’ll go first.

One time in college, I flew to visit my friend in another country during reading week (the week before finals that you’re supposed to spend studying). I was set to come back to school the night before my final, which I thought was a take-home final. On the last day of my visit, we went out and got really drunk (her fault… probably). Next day, I drag my hungover ass to the airport in total agony, get to my gate, sit down, open my laptop to study for the first time and realize that I had been mistaken. My final the next day was in class. Not take home. And I had not studied at all. And I was too hungover to function. Well, I thought, I guess failing isn’t the worst thing in the world. There’s a first time for everything.

My flight was delayed, and I ended up not getting home until 9pm. Still hungover, I begrudgingly stayed up most of the night trying to scrape together what I could in hopes of pulling off a miracle. After all, I’d spent years honing my procrastination craft. Don’t fail me now!

I went in the next morning aggressively ignoring my classmates. The last thing I wanted to hear was how hard they had been studying. The professor passed out the exam, and as I flipped through it I realized, holy crap, I can do this! I don’t know how I am possibly about to get away with this, but I am! 

As I walked out, I heard a few classmates remark how hard they thought the exam was. I couldn’t believe it. I ended up getting an A- and my favorite story of my entire academic career. Thank god for my insane BS-ing skills.

So, since I’m procrastinating right now, what are your best procrastination stories?

 … 1 Year Later.

It’s been about a year since I ventured over the wall, but with the autumn colours falling once again, I think it’s high time to return. What kinds of things did I notice this time around? Besides the gorgeous atmosphere and October mood dripping from everything?

Well, while I don’t think I’m the first to find all this, I think I have strong case here for 3 specific things:

1. Why most of the characters are there
2. A theory about Wirt and Greg’s last name
and
3. What “the loveliest lies of all” really means/ What the show is really about

Ready to dive back over the wall of the Eternal Garden (which, as Cartoon Conspiracies pointed out, is the name of the graveyard in chapter 9)? To go into the Unknown? 

… To experience true darkness?

Popular Fan Theory: The Unknown is Purgatory

Everybody know this theory. It’s the idea that when Greg and Wirt fall into the river after a lucky miss from the train, their spirits enter into a kind of purgatory– a realm between life and death. If they’re successful, they can return to the land of the living. If they fail …

Thank goodness that didn’t happen.

By this logic, the colourful cast of characters we meet in the unknown are lost souls as well, often said to be looking for their final resting place. 

It’s a good theory. Whenever Greg and Wirt are in danger, you’ll see a pair of shining lights (the dog’s eyes, Lorna’s eyes once she’s possessed, the Beast’s eyes), and this could be said to remind them of the train’s headlights. Tumblr users also pointed out that in Chapter 9, we can see Quincy Endicott’s headstone in the Eternal Garden graveyard. If Endicott’s dead, that seems to prove it, right?

Right. But, there’s one detail that I think people are missing, or at least not talking about as much. But, I’ll get to that later. Right now, I want to go into why everybody’s there, and what kind of backstory we can gain from what we get to see of them.

Be warned, though. I tried to base these guesses in fact, but you’ll see a few leaps in logic here and there, and a lot of it is just guessing, after all. 

The Potsfield Pumpkins: All the skeletons dancing around, celebrating, wearing pumpkins– you can either interpret them as souls who’ve accepted their deaths and have moved on, or, more interestingly, souls who haven’t. Spirits who make bodies out of pumpkins and enjoy the festivities to keep from remembering their fates. To forget. More on this later.

Ms. Langtree & Jimmy Brown: If I had to guess, I’d say Jimmy died before Ms. Langtree, forcing her to wait for that man of hers, and only be reunited in the afterlife.

The Tavern’s Folk: These are people absolutely obsessed with their roles in life. If this really is purgatory, I don’t think they’ll ever move on unless they forget who they were– but they’re pretty insistent on their roles. The cobbler, the baker, master and apprectice– it’s how they would’ve been known when they were among the living.

Proof? When they assume Wirt’s the lover, they’re ecstatic because “there’s work for all when little boys get married!“ They can relive their roles again! Huzzah!

Quincy Endicott & Marguerite Gray: This one’s interesting. In life, it wouldn’t seem that these two would even be close to one and other. Wirt notices Ms. Gray’s home is “French Rococo style,” which clashes with Endicott’s “Georgian sensibilities” in his opinion– which gives us a cool little clue. 

These styles of interior design were popular around the same time, in the 18th century, which means they were alive in the same period, but most likely in two different areas of the world– Ms. Gray in France, and Quincy in America, where his headstone would eventually be.

We can’t know for sure how involved they would’ve been in each other’s lives, but when they finally met at the end of Chapter 5. Mad Love, they recognize each other as business competitors, whose mansions grew so large they intertwined. Maybe that just means in life, their companies grew so large, they were in direct competition with each other, given that their geographic locations wouldn’t have matched up for their mansions to actually grow that large in reality.

Before he died, I think Quincy went insane. It’s what he’s worried about the entire episode, perhaps worrying that his past has finally caught up with him (“Do you know what I did for this money? The things these filthy hands have done?”). But, you say, this can explained away by the fact that he literally thought he saw a ghost. Maybe. I still think he went insane in real life, because he mutters “maybe the doctors were right” when looking for the ghost with Greg. 

Plus, he’s also very quick to call Greg “nephew” after Greg starts calling him “Unkie Enidcott.” Maybe, at this point, Quincy doesn’t want to seem as if he’s lost his mind– I mean, if Greg really was his nephew, and he forgot, that would surely mean he’d gone insane, wouldn’t it? He’s willing to go along with it out of the fear that it’s really true, and he just doesn’t remember.

Lorna & Auntie Whispers: My guess is, Lorna died due to a terrible illness of some sort– represented in the Unknown by an evil spirit that possessed her body that made her appear pale and gave her a bad cough– and Auntie Whispers was her nurse. 

Remember that Aunite Whispers isn’t actually Lorna’s aunt- she says so herself. And, the fact that once the spirit’s gone from her body, Auntie Whispers is worried Lorna won’t need her around anymore “to look after [her].”

Also, Auntie Whispers only looks the way she does because she ate the turtles. The dog from Chapter 1. The Grist Mill transformed back into it’s original form after spitting out the very same turtles that Auntie Whispers eats later. We can guess that, in reality, she probably looks like her sister, Adelaide. 

Adelaide herself is harder to pin down, because we only know what she does now– trapping children to work as her servants because of the Beast. It’s pretty interesting, though, that one sister spends her time caring for children, while the other wants to use them as servants …

The Woodsman & His Daughter: Hard to say. We can speculate that the Woodsman has been blaming himself for not watching over her, letting her wander off into the woods as seen in the opening song, but beyond that? I can’t really say. All we can do is guess that he was a father who lost his daughter far too young, and has been paying for it ever since. 

Beatrice & Her Family: Whatever the reason, it’s all Beatrice’s fault. I don’t know if there are any clues as to what it was in real life, but Beatrice’s family is trapped as bluebirds because Beatrice threw a stone at one, right? I think that’s just a way of saying she blames herself for their deaths: she can’t move on until she fixes it, and they can’t move on without her. The thing is, they don’t leave Purgatory/The Unknown when they’ve returned to human because they’re still dead, and Beatrice still can’t accept that.

Again, a leap in logic, but it’s a thought.

Greg and Wirt’s Last Name?

Yeah … this isn’t a strong theory at all. Still, it’s the closest thing we have to a canon name for them, so why not pretend?

These boys are from the opening music number if you remember, and some say they represent Greg and Wirt (just because they’re designs are similar, and they’re around the same age). 

If that’s at all true, we’ve got a case. We know that their toy boat is the same boat from Chapter 6. Lullaby in Frogland. Now on the back of the boat, towards the end of that episode, what do we see?

It might be difficult to read in the picture here, but the boat’s labeled “McLaughlin Bros.”(pronounced mick-glock-lin, for those who haven’t seen it wirtten before)

Again, this is a stretch, I know, but that’d make their full names be Walter and Gregory McLaughlin– or at least Greg. They’re half brothers, so Wirt would’ve been born with a different surname. Still, if he felt close enough, he could’ve adopted the name for Greg’s sake (not legally, I mean just to make Greg feel better).

I know, I know, probably not. Still though …

“The Loveliest Lies of All” Revealed

So … what does that even mean? At first glance, you might assume it means the story never happened, that Wirt and Greg collectively dreamed up that fantasy world somehow, but that it meant nothing. 

That doesn’t explain how Jason Funderberker (the frog) still has the bell glowing inside him at the hospital, though, so what could it be?

Denial. The most important piece of the puzzle. Once you have that, it all sort of comes to together. Let me explain.

If we’re to believe the theory from earlier, that everyone in the Unknown is dead and in purgatory waiting to move on, then why don’t they disappear in the end, when their stories are resolved in the closing song? 

When the Woodsman is finally reunited with his daughter, isn’t he at peace? Shouldn’t Beatrice and her family move on when they’ve returned to normal? I mean, if this is purgatory, then that should logically mean once they’ve fulfilled they’re purposes there, they should be able to leave for the next world, whatever that may be.

But they don’t.

Like I said, the Pumpkin people might be avoiding their grim fates by partying. The tavern folk are too focused on their jobs in life to consider anything else. Quincy Endicott is obsessed with his sanity, and meeting the business competitor he might’ve loved had he not been so focused on his business. They’re all lost in the fantasy of the Unknown, without even knowing it.

And the Beast wants to keep them there.

Remember, the Beast keeps asking the Woodsman for the lantern. You think: Wait. Why would he want the lantern? Doesn’t he want the Woodsman to have it, and keep it lit for him? He does. But, he also wants the Woodsman to think there’s something precious in there, something that he wants to protect, so he’s manipulating the Woodsman into believing it’s important that he keeps it, not the Beast.

This is the same kind of manipulation he’s using to keep the Woodsman in the Unknown.  At the end of Chapter 7. The Ringing of the Bell, the Woodsman says, “There has to be another way.“ 

To which the Beast replies, "No, there is only me. There is only my way. There is only the forest, and there is only surrender.”

He’s trying to convince the Woodsman that this is the only reality there is. 

He later wants Wirt to do the same, “wandering the woods aimlessly” just to keep the lantern lit. Forever. 

And this theory holds up. When asked about the Purgatory theory, Patrick McHale said that the story wasn’t just about life and death, but also fantasy and reality. What’s real and what’s not.

That’s what Greg was there for. Had he given up hope, and surrendered to the feeling that they’d never get home, they would’ve been lost long ago. In fact, Greg’s more important than Wirt, when you think of it like that. Still, people think of him as a sidekick. Ain’t that just the way.

So, there you have it. My theories are likely full of holes, and I know I’m probably not the first to make them, but that’s the fun of returning to a world like this. Every time I rewatch Over the Garden Wall, it’s a trip into the surreal, and can take on whatever meaning I assign. It’s been a wonderful visit this year, and for that reason, I know it’s far from the last.

The whole thing about the Matt the Radar Technician character is that it makes Kylo Ren a lot more interesting.

Yes, this man once got so paranoid and insane he actually went UNDERCOVER to find out what even the lowly stormtroopers thought of him.

And weird, socially awkward Matt is just his nice, less evil and milder alter ego.  

It’s canon. Even if it technically isn’t, you know?

Yesterday my mom baked Christmas cookies and EVERY YEAR my little sister eats them all before anyone else gets a chance to have any. My dad is actually insane, so this year he went out and got a safe to put the cookies in? Without telling anyone?? Why? I honestly have no clue, maybe the cookies are just that good? Anyway, this morning my sister woke up before anyone else and while everyone was sleeping apparently she was downstairs training to be an international jewel thief or something ‘cause she was laboring over this safe trying to guess the code. She got it on her 617th try … and I- I have literally never been more impressed by someone’s dedication in my entire life.