WEIRD FAN THEORY: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory edition

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This theory is a no prize* answer as to why Willy Wonka goes to such outlandish (and arguably murderous) lengths to find a successor to his international chocolate empire.

Recently, I learned that there is a culture of people called the Huanca, who live in Peru. That’s a little bit south of the region where cacao was first cultivated, but not by much, and chocolate was popular in Peru long before the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s. My weird fan theory about Roald Dahl’s classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is that Willy Wonka’s surname is an Anglicization of the word Huanca. The reason why it is imperative that the famed chocolatier find the right heir to his company is because it has been a family tradition for centuries, and it is all that he has of that cultural heritage after many generations of living in the U.K. Not having any children himself is therefore a massive deal.

Some readers will recall that Willy Wonka has an elderly father, Dr. Wilbur Wonka, a dentist who forbade his son from eating candy. The young Willy ran away and came back to a home that was literally no longer there. The two are estranged until Charlie reunites them. In my theory, however, it is Wilbur who is the black sheep of the family. Dahl does not say that the young Willy Wonka spent the rest of his growing up on the street or in foster care. It is probable, therefore, that he moved in with other members of his family, all of whom are long gone by the time of the novel. Too much sugar does over time have severe health costs, tooth decay included. Wilbur may have rebelled after losing loved ones, and alienated his surviving loved ones in the process. There is damage on both sides.

This no prize, however, does not explain why Willy Wonka, or Roald Dahl for that matter, had such hatred for seeing children chew gum. Violet Beauregarde does not deserve to be punished for her enthusiasm over something so innocent.


* No Prize: an explanation for why an apparent plot hole or unreasonable character motivation is not a mistake at all. This type of fan theory was popularized by Stan Lee.






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