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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Coraline
The Cat is the Other Mother's Polar Opposite.
The Cat is the creator of the real vast world, while the Other Mother is the creator of her parasitic tiny empty world that "leeches" off his creation.

  • Think about it. As the cat "winks out" before the end credits, you begin to realise the other mother and he are supernatural opposing forces/beings. There are many comparisons that draw attention. Up front, the other-mother outwardly looks refined while the cat looks mangy. In truth, her true form is quite hideous and frightening, while the cat is splendidly noble. The Other Mother's eyes are dull lifeless black buttons. The cat's eyes are windows to the soul, so beautifully deep-blue you could fall into them forever.

  • The Other Mother puts on an impressive front with weasel words, while the cat in his own world remains perfectly silent. She violently forces people to love her and obey her, whereas the Cat will not interfere, but merely stare sadly and disapprovingly at those who disappoint him.

  • The cat's world looks barren at first glance, a depressing struggle of life and death, because he doesn't try to impress. On the other hand, the Beldam's world may look tempting and inviting, its all a lie, a cruel trap.

  • The Beldam's creations are sad miserable soul-less slaves to her will, where death through disobedience or failure is final, but the cat's creations have freewill graciously provided, and can do whatever they please during life, and even get to enjoy a life after death.

  • He loves his creations, hence assumes the form of a feral little cat, he wants them to love him out of freewill. As The cat himself cryptically spoke unto Coraline when discussing the Beldam's motives for wanting Coraline "she wants someone to love I think, someone that isn't her", he was referring to himself, and finishing that statement "Or maybe she just wants someone to eat." is referring to none other than the Other Mother.

  • No one may permanently leave the Cat through accident or curiosity. His creations will keep returning to him, hence why Coraline kept finding herself in her bedroom in the real world, much to her confusion. Its only when she deliberately rejects the real world for the Other Mother's, does she become physically trapped.

  • He's rather angry and put-out that the Other Mother has stolen three of his creations, the ghost children, and wants them back, constantly winking in and out of her world trying to find them, in what he dismissively calls "A game we play". The Cat is only finally content when his creations have been returned by Coraline at the ending of the story.

  • Also take note of the fact that he spends almost all his time before Coraline arrived, with the only child close to the house. Possibly to protect him just in case?
    • He starts to keep a very close eye on Coraline, staring jealously through the window as she deliberately leaves his world for the Other Mother's through the little door.
    • The Cat, however, ultimately respects his creation's freewill. He wants the ghost children back because they now regret what they've done, and want to return.
    • He does not directly intervene with Coraline's choices. However, when the calculating Other Mother goes as far as to kidnap her parents, does he then get involved. They never choose this, so the Cat purges the entire unpleasant ordeal from their memories once they are safely returned to his world.

Wybei is in love with Coraline.
Well, someone had to say it. This is mostly here as a break from the fantastic theories that makes people's heads throb more then before, but there actually is some rather obvious hints. First and for-most, guys don't just give dolls to girls only because of a resemblance. It seems more like an attempt to win her affection, or at least tolerance, than anything else.

The Otherword does not exist; it is the figment of a young girl's dreams and imagination.
I thought this one was fairly obvious. There are a few arguments about why this could not be possible, (Bobinski's mice, the other mother's claw at the end) but the majority of the weird happenings take place after Coraline has gone to bed and end after Coraline has woken up. It's not completely unreasonable to suggest that due to boredom, she takes advantage of her dreams and pretends that her home is a secret place full of wonderful (and sometimes frightening) things. For example, her father in reality appears to be a drone to his computer and work. The Other Father is manipulated by machinery such as the piano, and bossed around to do the Other Mother's bidding. The children's souls are just junk that a child could find and turn in to toys with some imagination. The cat only talks when in the alternate apartment. All of this is in Coraline's mind/fantasies as a way of dealing with her loneliness and feeling neglect from her parents (at the hand's of her clearly dominant mother, ergo why the Other Mother is the antagonist of her play-realm).

The Beldam created two types of Other people
Other Bobinski, Spink and Forcible were created to entertain. Other Father and Wybie, whoever, were created to love and care, and they did exactly what they were meant for. That's why they rebelled against the Beldam. Other Bobinski could've been a caring Other before, but had to become an entertainer do to real world conditions, since he himself didn't try and get Coraline, but the Beldam's rats did.
  • As far as I know, "beldam" just refers to a mean evil woman (ironically, from the french "belle dame" or beautiful lady). So I think the correct term to refer to her really is "The Other Mother".
    • The irony there is wrong, Beldam means witch.
      • It's short for "Belle dame sans merci"- a poem by John Keats. And probably one of the fair folk, but also generally a scary lady who is pretty and pitiless.
      • In the video game, halfway through the game they start referring to her as The Beldam in text boxes.
      • Beldam, until around 1570, meant "grandmother", the male counterpart being belsire. After 1570, it could be applied to any old woman... but keep in mind that the root word is still Old French belle. Remember, the whole reason we call them Fair Folk is because they do not like unflattering names...

All the Other inhabits were brought to the Otherworld by the Beldam.
The Other Father (And in the movies, Other Wybie) are the main source behind this little fan-theory. Both seem to have an "enough is enough" attitude when the Other Mother brings Coraline in, which is why both help try to help her, and both were destroyed in the process, so it's possible they were there since the beginning to get that state of rebellion. In the books, when Coraline finds Other Father's tortured form shoved in the cellar, the smell of burnt clay is described, implying they can be molded. There's various reasons why each of the inhabitants could have stayed in the Otherworld but here are the most popular: Other Spink and Forcible were failing dancers who wanted fame, Other Bobinski was a down-on-his-luck ring master that wanted an audience, Other Father lost his wife and child and was manipulated to stay ala your average abused spouse, and Other Wybie was a boy with parents so horrible that the trauma made him mute, and the welcoming arms of the Other Father and Mother made him decide to stay, although he, like the Other Father, realized what was happening was wrong, and tried to rebel. Terrible idea.
  • This can also extend into a theory concerning the Other Mother: in the real world, she was gangly and homely, no one hanging around her, and on top of that, she couldn't have children. She went insane when she heard this news, and began dabbling in dark magic, creating the Otherworld in her part of the flat, which is why it's bricked off and no one has bought it: It's haunted, and people who say this can prove it. When the bricks open, it takes whoever lives there into an alternate version of the flat. She started slowly, changing her appearance and seducing the Other Father into her world, then Other Wybie, and then the acrobats and Bobinski. After she got everyone she needed wrapped around her finger, she began bringing in the children for snacks. The reason she never killed her Others was because she just couldn't create living, breathing dolls, too advanced. And, somewhere deep in her cold, black heart, there's a tiny warm spot of the girl who lived in the flat, enjoying the love, family, and friends she always wanted.
  • Erm, the thing about the Other Wybie can not be entirely true. You'll notice at one point in the film you can see thread holding Other Wybie's lips together.

The Other Mother was a fey that built her traps of glamors and the worst fears of what a person hoped they wouldn't become.
Finding a thin place between the ethereal and the mundane world (practically stated in canon), the creature that would become the Other Mother adjusted the shadowed reflections of the real world into a house that would fit her purposes, fashioning the Other inhabitants from something close to who they were, a spell of glamor, and what they least wanted to be. The Other Father was a lump of dough imbued with cowardice, the man in the upstairs flat became a nothingness overshadowed by the rats that were far more horrid than any mice he would train, and Miss Spink and Miss Forcible were performance costumes, doomed to perform forever (or as close as makes no difference) and never to enjoy the rest of their retirement.
  • The Other Mother was a True Fae from Changeling the Lost and the other world was Arcadia.

The Other Mother was a Nightmare that either escaped when Morpheus was still trapped, or was luring children into her own pocket of the Dreaming.
In the movie, Coraline originally starts out visiting the Other Mother's world in her sleep, with it becoming more and more real each time she encounters it, a trait that has been used before in the Sandman comics.
  • The Other Mother was initially the same kind of Freudian nightmare that the Corinthian was, or otherwise a pleasant dream that was likewise corrupted in Morpheus' absence. She sealed herself off in a particular physical place rather than roaming about, making her absence far less noticeable.
    • Specifically, the Other Mother was a dream of comfort for children dealing with Abusive Parents, Parental Neglect, or other aspects of a Dark and Troubled Past, giving them hope with images of loving parents who always have plenty of food, toys, and attention to give. She might even have arisen from the idea of beloved dolls/toys, cared for by love-starved children, thus the button-eyes and the puppet-theater-like atmosphere of her world. As she became corrupted, her love became warped, and she decided that, if those precious children were so miserable in harsh, cruel Reality, then the best thing she could do for those poor things would be to bring them into worlds made just for them... and never let them go, even though she had gone from being sustained by their hopes/dreams to actively siphoning the life from them with her "love."

The Other Mother is the Dark Queen
Black eyes and looking as if she came from the Uncanny Valley, check. Taking on the appearance of the female protagonist's mother, check. Her "daughter", the Other Helena, could act as a rebellious substitute for the real thing in the real world. Arouses much less suspicion that way.
  • I'm glad I wasn't the only person who noticed the similarities.

The other Bobinski was eaten by the Other Mother's rats.
In the movie, anyway. In the book, he probably just was the rats (strongly implied by Gaiman's graphic novel adaptation).
  • Furthermore, by eating him, they somehow absorbed his mind and/or soul, which allowed them to mimic his voice and behaviour to an extent.
  • Possibly he was simply made of rats, much like the Other Father in the movie was apparently made from a pumpkin.
  • If you listen, the dialogue would seem to confirm that he was indeed eaten. Coraline tells him he's just a copy of the real Bobinsky, and his line after that is "no, not even that...anymore..." and on the "anymore" his voice becomes multiple voices.
  • Being 'made' of rats makes sense, since in the circus scene Other Bobinsky only appears at the end of the performance, and the 'mice' all go in under his clothing. When the Other Mother's magic starts to unravel, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to hold that form, eventually dissolving into the rat swarm. It works thematically with the Other Father being made from a pumpkin, and the Other Spink/Forcible being taffy.
  • He was eaten by his dreams! This seems to ring throughout the movie. People getting eaten up by their dreams. The very thing Coraline is trying to avoid.

The movie!Other Mother was...
  • A spider that could move between worlds like the Cat, but decided to use this ability for power.
    • Wait, if that's the case..What the hell was the Other world before that? And why is this limited to animals?
      • The Other world was just a blank slate, like what happened when Coraline walked around the edge of the world. And who said it was limited to animals? just said these two particular beings had it (Cat because... it's practically canon, and the spider because of tunnelweb/bridge-web tropes).
  • A prototype sewing machine that became the first ever rogue robot.
  • A preying mantis that happened to use a floor that turned into a web. (just look at her when she's making dinner.)
  • The actual Beldam of a boarding school who died in a tragic knitting needle incident.
  • The T-1100.
  • The real twin sister. Everything else was just lies.
  • Coraline.
    • Kind Of.
    • Alternately, she was once a normal girl like Coraline who lost the people she loved and tried to replace them with dolls. Am I the only one who found Coraline lying in bed with mockups of her parents to be really creepy?
    • She is what Coraline may have become, if she had let the Other Mother sew buttons into her eyes. The Other Mother / Coraline went back in time to ensure that she becomes the Beldan, thus creating a Stable Time Loop. Because she has such control over her dimension, she can alter the rules of time so that the entrance to the Other World can appear, not neccesarily anywhere, but anywhen.
      • In the movie, just as Coraline was escaping, she yelled, "DON'T LEAVE ME, I'LL DIE WITHOUT YOU!" This is because Coraline has chosen a different path, so what would have been her future will be undone, and the Other Mother will cease to exist.
  • All Just a Dream.
  • Haruhi.
  • A Time Lor-- *CUE AUTOMATED SWIRLY*
    • A Carrionite.
    • The Other World is a TARDIS. The chameleon circuit disguised it as a small brick wall lodged inside a wall, behind a door. Aforementioned circuit broke when the TARDIS broke and died. How is there a whole dimension within a brick wall? Why, it's bigger on the inside, of course!
      • In recent Matt Smith episodes, the Doctor has been able to create rooms via a telepathic connection with the TARDIS. The Beldam has a telepathic connection with her TARDIS.
      • If the TARDIS died, how can she have a telepathic connection?
      • {{A Wizard Did It.}}
    • Whenever the Other Mother changes her appearance to look like a prettier version of the childs mother, she is actually regenerating.
  • the main friend on the other side
  • Could it be... SATAN!!!??!
  • An unstable sparklepyre who tried and failed to create her own foster-family after seeing how happy the Cullens were (she kept getting really hungry).
  • A relative of Jareth's. Think about it. Both like tricking young girls into dangerous games, get angry with subjects/creations that help the protagonist, and enjoy watching the protagonist's feeble attempts to win, until they actually do, then they go depressed/nuts. Fanfic exists of this, and it is good.
  • A being from the Macroverse. She's a giant female spider that uses illusions to seduce and ensnare children. They all float in the mirror'.
  • Is, or has some connection to, Orochimaru. The Other World is a giant-ass Genjutsu.
  • Well, with Keith David as the mentor figure, I don't think we can rule out a Reaper/Reaper construct and Indoctrination Theory. (Which would make the ghost children Catalysts, I guess.)

the movie Other Mother was a changeling - a fairy child that is left behind when fairies steal a human child.
She was raised as a human and was fond of them, but because of her nature she could never bear a human child and this drove her into despair. She resorted to kidnapping human children to raise up herself, but she only left behind dolls instead of changelings, and her fey background combined with her anger and isolation meant that she could not understand how to be a real parent and eventually she killed the children out of spite and frustration. The fey folk saw what she was doing and, feeling responsible for what she had done, locked her away so that she could not harm anyone else. They tied the pocket dimension they had locked her in into her old house, and eventually humans started living there again. The fey left the key in the house, confident that she could never escape...but she eventually found other ways to communicate with the children...
  • Why do the book and movie Other Mothers have to be separate? I can understand Coraline (movie Coraline has emotions, book Coraline doesn't) being different in the book and movie, but the Other Mother could be the same. If so, perhaps the Other Mother stole the fairy child away as her first victim because she was also a changeling, and the Other Mother wanted someone like herself to love.

The cat from this story is...
  • The same cat who protects the narrator's family from the Devil in Gaiman's short story "The Gift."
  • The Cheshire cat. He has dimension-hopping abilities.
  • The cat seen briefly in the opening of The Nightmare Before Christmas. They look pretty much exactly the same, and with his dimension-hopping abilities he could probably travel to Halloween Town if he wanted.
  • Kuroneko-sama

Other Wybie isn't really dead.
He changed his clothes and left them somewhere he knew Coraline would see them, so that Coraline (and therefore the Other Mother) would think he was dead. He was planning to hide and wait for the moment when Coraline needed his help again. However, the only time afterwards Coraline really needed his help was when the Other Mother captured her again; she made the deal with the Other Mother before he had a chance to help her escape again. The Other Mother later found the clothes and, deciding to use them to weaken Coraline's resolve, hung them in front of Mr. Bobinski's house.
  • This would definitely leave some more possibilities for the sequel Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick might be planning; after all, who wouldn't want to see adorable Other Wybie again?
    • ...Okay, it's almost definitely not going to happen, but a troper's allowed to hope, right?

Coraline will one day team up with Bod.
They're both child heroes who have experience with the supernatural, and, under duress, tend to come up with efficient and sometimes ruthless solutions to the problem at hand. They Fight Crime!

The Other World is Negative World
All of the Other People are really monsters in true form as seen with the Other Mice, the Other Father, etc., who serve the Other Mother.

The cat belongs to the herd of the Cat Shepherd
Unlike the others, he just pulls double duty and watches over Wybie and Coraline.

The Other Father ate too much pumpkin pie, and that's why he turns into a pumpkin.
Y'know how eating too many carrots will make your skin turn orange? Same basic principle.
  • So The Other Mother turned into a scary spider from eating so many invertebrates? That could work!

Coraline is the great-granddaughter of Indiana Jones.
Talented in finding lost things? Check. Good with improvised weapons? Check. Talkative ethnic sidekick? Check. There is simply no way she isn't related to Indy.
  • Last name? Check. ;)
  • Cool hat? Check.
  • A weapon of choice that was originally meant for another purpose: Indy's Whip, Coraline's Hedge Clippers (Sorta)? Check.

There is an Other Coraline.
The one from the book! Seriously! It's been pointed out that Book!Coraline and Movie!Coraline are completely different people. In the movie, Coraline is quick-witted, a little feisty, very playful, and not very well-mannered. In the book, Coraline has hardly any personality to speak of ("Yes, no, I'm an explorer"). She behaves like an automaton, going through the motions of the story without any apparent rhyme or reason. And when her parents disappear, she seems to take it awfully well, not freaking out like a normal kid would - and like Movie!Coraline did - but just kind of taking it all in stride and writing creepy stuff on her dad's computer. I'm calling Beldam-related shenanigans on this one.
  • So I'm not the only one who preferred movie!Coraline and thought that book!Coraline was a bit of a Creepy Child? It's also interesting to note that book!Coraline has a moment where she wonders if there's an other her before concluding that there's just her. Creative Sterility / lack of imagination, perhaps?

Movie! The Cat is...
  • The Arbiter. The cat is immortal, and after he's bored with guarding the house he uses his 1337 teleporting skills to go to another planet. Once there, the harsh conditions forces him to undergo Hollywood Evolution, until he looks like The Arbiter. Plus they have the same voice.
  • Sgt. Foley. The cat either has shapeshifting powers, or he and Foley are a part of a Hive Mind. In Modern Warfare 2, Foley shows absolutely no fear of death during the evacuation of civilians from Washington DC because if he dies, his mind still survives as the cat is (presumably) immortal. They also have the same voice.
  • A Time Lord. Because somebody's got to say it.
    • Let's see... Virtually unrestricted inter-dimensional travel at ease? Check. Ability to communicate with all sorts of sentient lifeforms (his explanation about 'talking' with Other Wybie may not be overt, but it does seem to to suggest telepathy)? Check. What else?
  • Dr. Facilier. As stated on the WMG page for that particular film. He was sucked into the Other World by his main "Friend", the Beldam, after he failed to uphold his end of the deal with her. Once he was there, she proceeded to turn him into a cat as further punishment, and he's been fighting her ever since. Plus, like Foley and the Arbiter, he's got the voice actor connection going on.
  • Another Fairy; like the Other Mother, but with nicer intentions.

Coraline is an odd metaphor for step-parents/divorce.
It sounds odd, yes, but think about it for a minute. All that talk of 'other mothers' and 'other fathers'? Doesn't it remind you of politically correct terms relating to divorce?

Coraline's 'Other Mother/Father' might be symbolizing the 'new parents' she might get if her parents were divorced and/or she ended up getting step-parents, possibly playing on a subconscious fear Coraline might have of her parents separating, for whatever reason.

It'd certainly give throwaway phrases like "You know I love you, Coraline," as well as "You're NOT my mother!" and "I want to be with my REAL Mom and Dad!" a lot more symbolism...

  • Also note that Coraline seems to have a better relationship with her father than with her mother. The Other Father is, er, the un-evil one, and from the beginning he was trying to help Coraline. In the movie it's pretty much obvious that Coraline's parents are having problems, so that also could back this up.
    • The Other Mother is evil, powerful, and initially tries to manipulate Coraline into genuinely liking her, before getting upset with Coraline for rejecting her totally unreasonable demands and rules, which take away a defining aspect of "her" child. She then puts her foot down, reveals her true nature, and takes control (or tries to). The Other Father is goofy and mildly submissive towards the Other Mother at first, before at the end telling Coraline he wants to be on her side - but being out-powered by the Other Mother and forced by her to help her hurt and dominate Coraline. Does This Remind You of Anything? In the right words, it sounds a lot like the stereotypical evil-stepparent scenario - the child reaches out to their "real parent" for help, but the parent is blinded by love and (deliberately or inadvertently) sides with their new spouse while trying to reassure the child they still love them, although to the child their parent's actions speak louder than their words.

Because she could see through the doll, why not her other creations? When Other father (and, in the movie, Other Wybie) were helping Coraline, The Other Mother could see exactly what was going on the whole time. The only person she could trust to help without pulling out its or his or her or their eyes was the cat, not because they were untrustworthy, but because it would be like making secret plans with someone who had a CCTV feed input implanted in their optic nerve leading straight to the Big Bad's security room.

The movie takes place in an alternate Modern Warfare universe.
The Russian invasion force was reinforced in time and managed to break through the defensive line on the East Coast, which is why Coraline's family moved west to Oregon. They picked a nice old apartment on the countryside because the city is becoming crowded with refugees and parts of it are used for the war effort. There were probably be scenes where people say things like "I hope the Russians don't get here", etc. but they were cut since it would spoil the game and get the movie rated R.
  • Also, judging by the easiness of acquiring military-grade weapons in Modern Warfare 2, we'll assume that the glove that Coraline wants to buy is actually a shiny new AC-130 gunship ACR with M203, Silencer, Heartbeat Sensor and ACOG.
    • Which means that Up also takes place in the Modern Warfare 2 universe since Carl was able to acquire a crapton of balloons and helium tanks overnight despite being recently sued for physical assault.
  • The Cat sounds a bit like Sgt. Foley. Insert a relevant joke at your own expense.
  • The post-invasion US is probably not going to be very friendly to Mr. Bobinsky...

Think about it. She is a loving mother who will give you everything...But she needs life, and she has a habit of going psycho on you at very bad times...And she has button eyes. Maybe her creator had a bad childhood,and thought up an idea for a world where everything is perfect, and there is a loving mother controlling it...Until he realized this dream would be impossible without lifeforce and she would have to have button eyes, as he only had buttons on him and no non creepy eyes. Now, on the side of the genius idea.

She was a genius who was really, really good at making dolls. Then she realized, "Hey, children would love dolls who can talk and play!" So, she made a machine that could make dolls that are alive, and she tested it with herself. It didn't go very well.] After finding out she has effectivly turned herself into a horrifying, uncanny valley esque doll/spider creature she bricked herself inside a room and hoped she would die before her humanity died. Then she got another Inspiration moment and built a machine to subvert the real world, so that she would turn into a human again. Once she found out this could only work if she still had her eyes, she crossed the Despair Event Horzine and decided it would be perfect if she had some kids, to keep her sanity and humanity and tried to contact a girl in the real world. This worked, and found out her doll/spider self really, really enjoyed Lifeforce.

Yeah. Because this is so what would happen in the WOD universe.

Coraline took the cat in.
Pretty self explanatory.

The Beldam sees via buttons.
Not that she can see through the button eyes of her servants, but buttons actually function as her eyes. Let's see: She spies on her victims via the doll, which has button eyes, her own eyes are buttons, and just about everything "alive" in her world has buttons for eyes, allowing her to see through them and command them when they attack Coraline. Makes sense to me.

The only exceptions to this would seem to be the creatures she creates with some kind of free will, or those that already have it. Examples being the Other Father, the Other Wybie, and the ghost children. The others are just puppets created to entertain.
  • What evidence is there that they're exceptions? If you look at half of what the Beldam says as toying with her prey, of course. Mind games, and all.

The whole thing is just a game played between the cat and the Beldam.
The cat has lost three times, and the Beldam has now lost once. The cat didn't care about Coraline, he only cared about winning. He never cared about any of the other children either. He does say that its a game they play, in the movie. Wybie is the only person the cat has any sort of affection towards, which is why the Beldam hasn't tried to take him- the cat has made it very clear that he is off limits.

The "Neil Gaiman is a Scientologist" rumors are...
Fabricated by Disney / Dreamworks / Fox / Sony / Studio Ghibli to nudge a dozen percent or so off the movie's rating.

The Other Mother is Makarov.
Ability to manipulate a whole world without even appearing? Check. Weird eyes? Check. Impossibly hot? Hell yes, check.

The Cat was a Big Daddy.
The creators experimented with the teleportation plasmid to allow him to follow his Little Sister easily. This mutated him even further until he looks like a cat. Since Big Daddies aren't too intelligent, the side effects of gene splicing drove the level of sanity so far back that it ended up at the other end of the scale. He left Rapture on a bathysphere before the Civil War and continued his life at a certain apartment in Ashland, Oregon.
  • Also, the look on the Other Mother when she sees the Cat being thrown at her is similar to the look on many BioShock players' faces when they see a Big Daddy charging towards them.
  • Alternatively, The Cat is Schrodinger from Bioshock 2. Judging by leaked audio diaries for BioShock 2 DLC, cats were spliced as well for cosmetic reasons so why not splice speaking abilities into the cat? he just keeps quiet when not in rapture or in the otherworld because it would freak people out.

Coraline — both the film and the book — is a Take That to Twilight from the past/future!
Twilights wish-fulfillment message is so bad (and badly written) that the Powers That Be got the book written a decade prior and got the movie into production five years before Twilights in an attempt to take it down in two mediums simultaneously in 2009. Sadly, both the book and the movie of Twilight ended up being much more successful than Coraline. Also, the movie of Twilight didn't have to compete with a much more hyped-up, family-friendly movie made by a studio that everyone practically worships on three times its budget.

Their first experiments with the portals involves altering the subject's DNA so that they can create portals with their mind. His DNA was also altered to allow him to speak (an earlier experiment with this turned Chell into a Heroic Mime). During the testing, Gla DOS malfunctioned and starts killing everybody. The Cat escaped with a teleporter to Ashland, Oregon. The DNA altering tests were aborted and Aperture starts testing the Portal Gun as a cheaper alternative.
  • Or maybe even ... !

The Cat was the cat from Half-Life 2
They got a black cat and tested it in their teleporter. It malfunctioned, threw him through the Other world, and afterwards he came back, talking and teleporting through holes into different parts of the world and into the Other world.

Barney has nightmares about that cat because he's not an animal person, and talking teleporting animals that talk about button eyes and creepy people eating children (things I would assume he would talk about after looking into the Other world) are not average things to talk about. And are creepy. Especially when said by a weird talking black cat.

The Other Mother is related to the witches from Stardust.
Instead of eating the hearts of stars to stay young, she sews buttons into children's eyes and eat their souls to keep the Otherworld running. In the movie, she moved from UK to the US a few years before the events in Stardust since no one has created world-portals there and there have been quite a lot of world-portals in the UK. In the book, she stays in the UK, the house is actually located on the witches' former lair.

Movie! Mr. B was Zakhaev's former co-worker.
Both of them were VV troops who helped contain the radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Mr. B stayed longer near the reactor, which later turns his skin blue, while Zakhaev left to help evacuating 50.000 people from Prypiat, though he was irradiated enough to lose his hair. Mr. B then joins a circus as an acrobat, while Zakhaev builds a private army of mercenaries and corrupt army/Spetsnaz members and starts selling nuclear materials to the Ultranationalists.

Spink and Forcible are Splicers.
They came to Rapture as burlesque performers. During their stay there, they were spliced for cosmetic purposes. They escaped Rapture on a bathysphere during the Civil War, shortly before Ryan shuts down the service. They continued to work as burlesque performers on the surface, but the long-term effects of gene splicing caused them to be a bit.... eccentric.

The Other Mother is an ally of Rapture's elites.
She supplied her powers to Fontaine, which he marketed under the guise of "plasmids" (because irrationality is not allowed in Rapture). In exchange, he gave her the souls of the brainwashed Little Sisters (hence their glowing eyes), since she's unable to directly take children's souls by herself thanks to Wybie's great-aunt declaring the apartment off-limit to children. Her magic stays in the victim/user's body, allowing Fontaine to use the Little Sisters to extract the magic ADAM from dead bodies. They are protected by Big Daddies, who were actually Ryan's enemies whose souls were taken by the Other Mother and turned into the hulking faceless monsters in Bad Ass diving suits we all know and love. She continued to work with Sofia Lamb ten years after Rapture went to hell, giving back the souls of some of the little girls so that Lamb could brainwash them into abducting more little girls from the surface. As for the scientists who supposedly worked on the plasmids and Little Sisters such as Suchong and Tenenbaum, let's say that they're paid or brainwashed to lie to everyone.

The Sequel is going to be set in Rapture
Come on, so many people are talking about the characters being from Rapture, it'd be disappointing if they didn't mention it! I could just imagine it...

Wavvy Wavvy Wavvy...

Me: Wow, that was amazingly stupid.

Wavvy Wavvy Wavvy.

OK, maybe not....Yeah.
  • Thanks a lot for the fanfic idea!

The Other Mother is one of The Gentry
The Changeling: The Lost links in this book are very, very clear, I think. Coraline might think that she managed to escape, but in fact, it was just another of the Keeper's tricks. Eventually, she will escape to this world as a Wizened...
  • Wouldn't you mean as a Darkling? The Other Mother doesn't seem inclined to put Coraline to work with mechanical contraptions. Anyway, she may well have actually escaped - plenty of Changelings do, after all. Coraline just happens to be extraordinarily lucky to not have been replaced with a Fetch or had time go extremely wonky during her brief imprisonment.
    • Wizened, because of all the games played with the Keeper for her "freedom".
    • Or perhaps an Elemental, specifically a Manikin. The Beldam does love her dolls. Until she gets tired of them and puts them away and forgets about them, of course...
  • Considering both Changeling: The Lost and Coraline are drawing on the old tales of Faerie, The Beldam being one of the Fair Folk is virtually guaranteed. As The Cat said, "There's no guarantee she'll play fair, but her kind of thing loves games and challenges."
  • Mention of the Gentry reminds me that Neil Gaiman once co-wrote a book with Terry Pratchett and is demonstrably familiar with the Discworld. One of the Discworld novels is The Wee Free Men. In which the Queen of the Elves, a recurring Big Bad in Pratchett's writing, seeks to steal an earthly child to raise as her own, only to have her ass kicked by a badass ten year old girl who enters her world, defeats her, and rescues two stolen boys. Sounds familiar? Could the Other Mother be an intrusion into our world of the Discworld Elf Queen, who thinks she's safe here as there aren't anyt witches.... and then she meets Coraline, Tiffany Aching's Earth avatar...

The cat is Aslan
Because he is a very powerful noble feline who loves children. And Aesops.

Movie Bobinsky is a Time Lord who used the Chameleon Arch.
Zakhaev, who knew that he was a Time Lord, sent his mercs after him to exploit his powers. Mr. B used the Chameleon Arch in his TARDIS (the mice circus tent, which is why it was bigger inside in the Otherworld). His biological informations were stored in his Hero of the Soviet Union badge. Also, he was blue because when he was helping to contain the radiation from the Chernobyl disaster, he was hit by a level of radiation that would've killed a normal human, though it was far less than the radiation that killed the Tenth Doctor, which killed him quickly.

The Other World is really...
...The Other Side

[[WMG: The vampire Scotties are the precursors to Weeping Angelsnote  After Coraline took down the Other Spink/Forcible by shining a flashlight at the Scotties, causing them to fly into Other Spink/Forcible and turning them into sort-of stone, the Other Mother (assuming that she didn't die immediately after her hand was destroyed) used what's left of the Scotties to develop a new method to fuel the Otherworld. The results were the Weeping Angels. Learning from the incident, the Other Mother gave them the quantum lock (which turns them into sort-of stone when a living creature looks at them) and the ability to remotely manipulate light sources, allowing them to maneuver under the cover of the darkness. The potential energy they gain from their victims? It's channeled to the Otherworld, giving power to the Other Mother.

  • Except she had to throw the flashlight to get the dogs to attack, and after it all the whole theater went gray. Don't tell me stoning is contagious by contact...

The Other Mother used to have a child of her own...
But something happened to it (probably died of sickness or something) and the Other Mother was so overcome with grief that she tried to replace her lost, true child with other children. Wanting them to stay and not leave her like her true child had, she showered them with gifts and attention, and sewed the buttons on their eyes. But when the buttons were sewn on, she saw the button-eyed child looked nothing like her real one, and killed him/her in a fit of rage, grief, and insanity.

The winged ghost child was The Other Mother's original daughter.
In the graphic novel adaptation of Coraline, at least, the winged ghost child is drawn to look like a fairy, and, of course, The Other Mother is heavily implied to be of fey nature herself. Of course, considering that this girl was locked away with the two previous children, in this situation, The Other Mother might have somehow been displeased with her daughter. She killed her, and used her powers to search for someone who might be able to replace her as a "perfect" child. When one of them displeased her, she killed them. The human boy and girl clearly did not suffice - and neither did Coraline.
  • It seems possible, even likely, that there were more, perhaps earlier victims than just those three; maybe Other Mother always fed on human children, and her daughter was unhappy with it. Perhaps one day she was caught trying to help a future meal escape and Other Mother punished her with death? It's possible that being a fairy/fae rather than a human like the rest allowed her spirit to linger for longer than a human's would have lasted.

The Other World is somehow connected to Wonderland.
The Cat's ability to vanish behind objects and reappear elsewhere is a variation on the Cheshire Cat's vanishing abilities. And the reason Coraline was able to win the game and handle the Other World? It's in her blood — somewhere in her family tree is Alice Liddell (or Pleasance, if you want book!Alice).

The Cat is The Cat
  • Ability to travel through walls and worlds? check
  • fond of/mentors girl hero? check
  • Deadpan snarker? check
    • clearly Movie!Cat glamored his eyes, as purple-eyed cats in Coraline's world would draw more attention than bright blue.

The Other Mother is Princess Nehema.
She initially takes up an innocent appearance and creates a world that seems sweet and cheery, but its true darkness reveals itself bit by bit. And when you've realized there's no escape, she reverts to her true form and eats you. Sounds pretty familiar.

Both Coralines (And to an extent everything else) exist in Alternate Timelines.
The Movie Timeline is basically our own, nothing out of the ordinary save the other world. The book takes place in a timeline where America lost the Revolutionary War (Book obviously takes place in England, and America is never even mentioned despite being normally very important to commerce/ pop culture), African enslavement was nigh impossible (They got some sort of forewarning and boobytrapped the countryside/hid.) and were allowed to live in Africa freely, And modern child education focuses less on spelling and grammar ("Turned into sossajas The End.") and more on advanced problem solving and acting very creepy in public.

The Other Mother really does love the children she takes in...
But she can't help swallowing up their life energy, either because her hunger is too strong or it's not an active process.

The Cat has supernatural powers all his own, unrelated to the Other World.
At the end, right before the credits, he pull his teleport trick through the mailbox. Based on this, one can conclude that all cats have such powers and are determined to defend the youth of the world from supernatural beings like the Other Mother.

The Other Mother has something to do with Fear.
Pretty self-explanatory, really...

The Other Mother has something to do with Nyarlathotep.
Dreams, rats, a scary house, a dreamworld... it's all there.

The house and the Other World have something to do with House of Leaves.
Strange that this hasn't been brought up yet...

The Other Mother is the creator of the Lalaoopsy Dolls.
They look awfully like her handy work, She must be using them as a new method of collecting children and they were a big seller this hoilday season, when a parent buys the doll for their daughter, she waits when the time is right to have it lead the child into a portal to the other world, and then...

The Beldam is related to the monster in Stephen King's It
She just uses a different tactic to get her food.
  • There is a lot to suggest this. It's explicitly stated that IT is female. The final form is a spider. It shape shifts for the purpose of Mind Rape. The other world could be near to the deadlights. Even the setting could be a cryptic clue to the Beldam's true nature. Oregon has doubled for Maine before, this is just Neil Gaiman (a Stephen King fan) doing the same with Derry as he did for Castle Rock. He only gave the setting as Ashland to keep the clue cryptic.
    • And the cat could be a reference to the turtle, the intelligent, perhaps omniscient, animal who lives in I Ts world and counteracts her will. Man, this is getting clearer and clearer.

That isn't Coraline's parents writing "Help us" on the mirror.
It's the Beldam trying to keep Coraline's interest. Coraline's parents would have actually written "Save yourself" rather than lure their child into danger.
  • Not everybody's perfect.

The Other Mother was originally just a normal child.
She said that she put her mother in her grave...so maybe her 'mother' was the original 'other mother', and she was her last victim. But after being in the other world for so long, she went crazy and ran off to build her own worlds and feed off of other children...it's a possibility.

The Other Mother's mother...
...was the Thing in the passageway between her world and the real one.

The whole thing takes place in the same universe as Doctor Who
Other dimensions? Weird creatures that want to suck the soul from humans? Sounds like a job for the Doctor if you ask me! The only reason he didn't show up was because he was busy helping another little boy with his nightmares...

The Other Mother is much better at illusions and acting than she seems, and Coraline is, at the end, still in the Other World.
The Other Mother knows that few people would be content with leaving their world behind for an eerily perfect new world, and even fewer would be content with it even after the caveats come into play. If she presents an illusions of an eerily perfect world and allows her captive to fight out of it and into a moderately more pleasant version of reality, the captive will accept it much more easily and might not even notice that anything is wrong. It's likely that, in this situation, the Other Mother is capturing a child to adopt and doesn't intend to eat Coraline (at least not immediately, or physically).

This is how the beldam reproduce.
A continuation of an earlier WMG. Much like True Fey in Changeling: The Lost, beldam-kind turn humans into their own. They steal children until one makes the same bet Coraline did and loses, then becomes their real parent retroactively by twisting The Power of Love. Which would explain why the other mother apparently killed her own mother—once her idea of love got fucked up enough it seemed like a loving act. Or the pressure of 'loving' a monster got too much. Or killing everything and emptying their world is the last step in Becoming . . .

The Beldam is a Witch.
The Otherworld is her Barrier/Labyrinth. Her familiars are stuffed dolls, as well as all the Other!people. Her Witchkiss mark is the button-eyes effect. Depending on how you look at it, Coraline is either very lucky or unlucky that Kyubey wasn't there to make a Contract with her.
  • Expanding on this, the Beldam's wish was to be rid of a teenage pregnancy. Over time, the guilt got to her for 'killing' the unborn baby, so when she turns into a Witch, she snatches children as Replacement Goldfish to try to assauge her guilt.
  • What if the cat is an incubator?

The story is the same as Ubik.
Coraline is obviously dead from the car accident at the beginning of the story, and placed in half-life. The Other Mother is the same as Jory, constructing a world to entertain people until she consumes them. That's why she needs Coraline to take the buttons fast, because keeping the other world consumes vast amounts of energy. The proof? At the very end, when the Other Mother begins to weaken, everything unravels. The cat is, of course, another half-living spirit trying to help Coraline from being consumed.

The Entire Story is an Allegory for Coming of Age, much like Labyrinth
First off, Neil already loves his symbolism. It's all over the book and movie. But could it be that Neil had intended this to be one huge symbol for growing up? First of all, Coraline is moving to a new home in a new state where she has to restart her life. I mean, that alone is a plot for a coming of age story. But each element of the story ads to it.
  • The Other Mother and the Other World are symbols of childhood. The Other Mother is the promise that if Coraline doesn't grow up, things will be just as she wants them and that she doesn't have to be mature if she doesn't want to. But we know that's not true, because the other mother and the other world both change drastically as Coraline goes deeper, realizing that staying immature and childish won't make things go back to the way they were, or the way she wants things to be.
  • The Cat is basically a snarky Jiminy Cricket. He acts as Coraline's literal conscience and guide through the Other World. He's an allegory for adulthood and how it should be. Cool, collected, but laid back and easy going. He's there to prove that growing up doesn't have to suck.
  • The children in the closet were never real, just symbols to show Coraline that staying in the Other World won't solve anything.
So that's my two sense, and I think that Neil might be trying to convey those themes.
  • All very interesting, but I think the part about the ghost children is off. Everything in the Other World that didn't come from the real world is a construct by the Other Mother, and the only reason the Other Mother makes something is to entice Coraline to stay (which the children wouldn't). I believe a better way of looking at them to fit your theory would be that one, they are real, and two, they serve as examples of the horrible consequences of refusing to grow up and staying dependant.

The whole thing is a Take That / Deconstruction /Inversion of the Chronicles of Narnia, particularly the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
In the Chronicles of Narnia, a benevolent, nigh-omnipotent being (Aslan) creates an idealized world populated by inhabitants with free will, who are allowed to live in freedom. Human children come to it, are saved by the world's benevolent creator, get a happy ending, and are forced to leave to return to their normal world. In Coraline, a malevolent (or crazy but intending to be benevolent) being creates a Crapsaccharine World populated by inhabitants with free will, who are only permitted to do what assists their creator's cause. A human child comes to it, is entrapped by the world's malevolent creator, things go from idyllic to terrifying, and struggles to leave to return to her normal world. There are also more subtle similarities.

The Other Mother is an evil/twisted version of Dame Eyola from The Neverending Story
Eyola is a non-human motherly figure, who helps people facing hardships, by giving up some of her abundance and lets them go, when the time is right. Contrary to this, the Other Mother lures in children that face hardships by pretending to be helpful, taking their energy for herself and forcing them to stay. Also Eyola encourages her fosterlings to change, while the Other Mother (as explained in an earlier WMG) instead encourages to stay children forever.
The Beldam is not just related to It She is her Goody Two Shoes sister.
Let's look at the similarities:
  • Both are shapeshifters.
  • Both can warp reality as they see fit.
  • Both are evil one way or another.
  • Both eat children.
  • And both have a final form related to Spiders.

Now let's see their Differences:
  • It feeds on fear, Beldam feeds on love.
  • It got beaten by 7 kids and died twice, Beldam got beaten by one, but survived.
  • It can live 30 years without food, Beldam can live 60.
  • It takes form of the fears of her victim, Beldam takes on the form of people her victims love or trust.
  • It doesn't require free will to devour kids, Beldam needs to sew button eyes on them first.

The Cat is Sissel.
The Cat has Sissel's trademark ability of passing through and travelling through objects.
  • Not to mention that Bobinski is blue... perhaps a relative of Sith's?

The Beldam was just a dummy Big Bad.
Confessions of Georgia NicolsonWMG/LiteratureCordwainer Smith

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