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Anastasia will develop early onset arthritis as a result of all the impossible sex positions.
What with all the weird bending and the fact that she bears most of Christian's weight when they have sex, her bones must be constantly on the verge of breaking by now.

Anastasia Steele is the granddaughter of Sarge Steel
Sarge Steel was a detective and spy in the sixties and would later go on to father a child with Bessie Forbes, who would later grow up to be Ray Steele's father, who changed his name to avoid being recognised as Sarge's son.

It was intended as a parody.
James knew exactly what she was doing when she made "Ana" – originally Bella – compare herself to Tess.
  • Unlikely, going by James' response to criticism. Claiming it was intended as satire would work in her favour a lot more than her claim that she was writing a romance.

Ana isn't a real person.

As evidenced by her Mary Sue tendencies, she's not a human being at all. She was a humanoid automaton designed by Grey to fulfil his sexual desires; a sort of Stepford Wife. The people in her life are either actors Grey hired to pretend to be her relatives, or strangers who befriended the naive young woman out of concern for her welfare. Think about it; the man's a billionaire - surely he of all people could pull off something like this. He probably wouldn't be too concerned about the ethics either, judging by his personality.

  • Expanding on this, she's an AU version of the Key from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In this AU, the monks weren't competent enough to give her a full identity like the ones in canon did with Dawn, so instead they gave her everything they could think of: seeing as they're monks and lived in celibate isolation from the world...

E.L. James is actually Stephenie Meyer

Their writing styles are way too similar to be just a mere coincidence. It will also explain how E.L. James was able to avoid copyright issues despite her work being originally a Twilight fanfiction. The person portraying E.L. James is actually an actress paid by Meyer.

  • Um, Meyer is a committed Mormon, and I don`t think Mormons are awfully comfortable with explicit sex scenes. Then again, 9% of FSOG readers where Christian housewives, so it might happen.

In a world where the Rapture never happened, Chloe Steele dyed her hair brown and changed her name to Anastasia.

Hey, Ana's dad is named Ray. Could be short for Rayford.

Anastasia could have extremely low self-esteem.

Why else would she allow herself to be used and abused by Grey?

  • This isn't even a theory; it's right there in the text. From the start Ana repeatedly stresses how she feels she's inadequate, unattractive, and unworthy of Christian.

E.L. James is actually Tara Gilesbie.

After My Immortal (and learning how to use a spell checker) she decided to write another fanfic...And it turned out to be an international bestseller.

  • And over a period of years, she slowly, painfully, actually improved. Yes, no-one is going to call this book great literature, but it's better than My Immortal.

The success of the series was due to a deal with a crossroads demon.

The series is horribly written with wooden characters (one of whom appears to have one brain cell and the other of whom is a manipulative abuser who says in canon that he uses sex as a weapon), negative character development (despite Ana's insistence, Grey gets creepier and more manipulative as time goes on, not better), scattered "plotlets" that last for all of a chapter (if that), massive amounts of discontinuity, errors so egregious as to make the author look ridiculous (as when Ana, a self-proclaimed expert on guns, confuses an application for a concealed-carry license with the ability to purchase a gun), and formulaic, repetitive, copypasted porn. Yet it was sold twice, despite most publishers refusing to republish work that has already been posted online, and many people bought it, despite the incompetent writing and despite better written and more entertaining erotica having existed for decades. The most logical conclusion is that ELJ made a Faustian Bargain, one of the conditions being that her refurbished Twilight fanfic would be wildly popular...for a while, anyway.

The crates sent to Darfur are not for charitable reasons.

Given that Christian made a huge deal about not telling anyone about his "donations" to Darfur, despite that it would raise awareness of the region and would be fantastic publicity for his business, it makes one wonder if he is actually engaging in illegal activity overseas that he doesn't want the Federal government to investigate. He wouldn't declare it on his taxes as a donation because then the IRS would look into checking its legitimacy. It would be entirely believable that Christian Grey is making money on the side by shipping arms and/or supplies to African warlords.

There will be books released with the genders swapped at some point.
Given Stephanie Meyer has just announced she rewrote Twilight with Bella as a boy and Edward as a girl, it's time for E.L. James to follow the leader once more!
  • Yep, there's one out now called "Grey", from the perspective of the eponymous abusive businessman who's misinformed about even the most basic aspects of his lifestyle.
  • "Grey" is more like Midnight Sun (2020), though. It remains to be seen whether James could bring herself to write a psychopath dominatrix who stalks a woefully innocent virgin man.

The first book does not have a case of early installment weirdness
Christian set up an interview with a college paper to try and find a new sub.
  • Jossed. It's revealed in Meeting Fifty Shades (and Grey) that Kate's father is a rather important business friend to Christian and decided to humor Mr Kavanagh and agreed to Kate's interview, just to keep her father on good terms with him.

Jack Hyde and Christian Grey share the same father
They are both described as having auburn hair and similarly fine facial features and their personalities are interchangeable, to the point of barely any difference being noticeable. This would also give Jack a better reason for hating Christian, thinking that he should have been adopted into a rich family, alongside Christian, because they are half-brothers and it would be 'fair'. Better than the idea that he hates Christian merely because they were in the same foster family for two months. This would also explain why EL James seemed incapable of writing the two like two separate characters, rather than the same character, but with a different name.

After the birth of Phoebe, Christian will dump Ana because she can no longer satisfy him.
Despite what EL James (and the more rabid defenders) says, Christian has not changed. He is still controlling with no concern for others' autonomy or opinions. He is still also resistant to change as the epilogue of "Freed" has shown, so it would not be surprising if his relationship with Ana follows the pattern of his previous ones. He has finally molded Ana's personality to fit his wants, so the conflict that fueled their courtship is gone. Another strike against Ana is the more than likely diminishment of her sex drive due to the various stress that her relationship with Christian caused. Arthritis and other long-lasting injuries caused by incorrectly done BDSM, fatigue after child birth, and even her low self-esteem will contribute to a low sex drive. After the birth of Phoebe, Ana will eventually lose all the things that drew Christian to her and Christian's mind and penis will wander to someone who can sate his sexual appetite.

Ana is actually a mentally ill patient, and Christian is her carer. The story of FSOG is all Ana's fantasy.
I base this on the movie version, as I haven't read the book. Ana is not actually an independent person, but a developmentally challenged young woman, who has to depend, 24/7, on the care and attention of her full-time carer, Christian. The story of FSOG is her sexualising their professional relationship in her head. This explains why a man who is apparently a millionaire owner of a business empire has nothing better to do but to follow Ana around all day every day; why his millionaire career seems so unconvincing (how would developmentally challenged Ana know what an important millionaire businessman does?) and why he makes everyday decisions for her. It also explains why Ana's world centres around Christian almost immediately. If she is a developmentally challenged person, he might be the only man she knows, literally the centre of her life. It also explains the strange nature of their relationship: why he needs to control everything around her, and why he has to restrain her sometimes, why he has to discipline her physically since she is too developmentally challenged to know any different way of distinguishing between what she should be doing and what she should not (or potentially he is abusing his position). Either way, the story of FSOG is the love story construed in the head of a developmentally challenged girl, between herself and her carer.

The Fifty Shades trilogy is tied in to the Batman Universe.

"Christian Grey" is an obvious false identity. We're watching the story of either Tommy Elliot/Hush or Anton Knight/The Night Slayer. The ending of Fifty Shades Darker is foreshadowing a Justice League mission to take down Grey Enterprises and its villainous CEO.

Christian Grey is the reincarnation of Heathcliff
  • Both are Tall, Dark, and Handsome, intensely emotional boyfriends who were adopted by rich families. The difference is that Emily Brontë saw how screwed up a person Heathcliff was, but E.L. James couldn't see it in Mr. Grey.
This was never Twilight fanfiction.

That was just a ruse to create publicity. In fact, Bella knew it perfectly well when she was going to get raped quite early in the first book, whereas Anastasia never grasped Tess Of The Durbervilles or any other Thomas Hardy novel for that matter. You heard me right: Bella was savvy, if only by comparison to Anastasia Steele.

The ones responsible for messing up Christian Grey are...

Grace and Carrick. While they can claim that they saved Christian from his rough childhood, the Greys actually compounded his issues. It was never indicated that he received therapy after his mother's death or after his time in foster care. Even when Christian was selectively mute, they did nothing for it for two years. There was no evidence that they even made an attempt to correct Christian's ever worsening behavior, even when he physically attacked Elliot as shown in "Grey". In fact, Grace and Carrick were afraid that Christian was going to hurt the infant Mia. They made token attempts by sending him to therapy when he was getting into trouble at school for his violent mood swings, but the damage was already done. The fact that Christian says that he only learned self-control and discipline under the hand of Elena Lincoln is rather damning evidence of the Greys' negligent parenting. Say what you will about Ella, she tried as a single mother with limited resources. For all their money, the Greys didn't do a thing to help Christian overcome his trauma, instead enabling his bad behavior.

The books are not quite a cry for help, but more like whining after the fact.

Obviously Anastasia is not into BDSM at all. Since James writes from her own experiences with BDSM, it is likely that James herself was never into it. Maybe she is writing this shit as a form of psychotherapy. Maybe we should cut her some slack.

  • It doesn't seem like it. If James was writing it as someone who didn't get into it, then why were the prominent "doms" unpunished for their enjoyment of it? Aside from falling out of Christian's favor, Elena Lincoln essentially gets away with statutory rape and Christian continues to dominate Ana, even getting away with spanking which was a point of contention for Ana. Take into account James' dismissal of the books' critics, many of whom had reasonable concerns about her romanticizing domestic abuse, and this theory just doesn't make sense.
  • Maybe it was an abusive ex she had intense — but ambivalent — feelings for. The books could be imagining an alternate ending to the real story: what-if they stayed together and she figured out how to fix him.

Anastasia is neurodiverse.
She was brought up as though she was neurotypical, so being abused seems like just the way things are supposed to be for her.

Christian Grey is not really a CEO.
Grey never built a company and he doesn't actually manage any businesses. Rather, his fabulously wealthy family is giving him a generous allowance and letting him keep an office in a building they own so he can pretend to be a self-made entrepreneur in order to feel better about himself and impress women. This explains why we never see Grey doing anything related to his business; he doesn't have a real business, just a crapload of money from his family.