The Ring Theory in Inception

So I decided to actually write up a few entries in this blog stuff, just stuff that I experimented with and figured out over the years I guess.

The first thing that I did was the Ring Theory in Inception.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically that the top is not Cobb’s totem, his wedding ring is his totem.

The top is Mal’s totem.  Think back to the scene of Cobb’s inception on Mal where he went into her safe and took her totem and started spinning it. This confirmed for Mal that this was a dream and the top was HER totem.

So the second part is that does the wedding ring really act as the totem?

For the most part yes, any scene in real life is without a wedding ring. All scenes where we know Cobb is in a dream he has his ring. We also know that he made his totem only after Mal’s death.

There are a few occurrences that are interesting:
 – During his flashback with Mal, he has his ring both when he was in limbo and when he woke up.
 – He has his ring on in the scene where Mal jumps.

Assuming that the wake up and the suicide were in fact reality, the wedding ring is his totem post Mal-death.

So now that we know Cobb’s real totem, do we see it at the end? Unfortunately, no. You never get a proper glimpse of his left hand during the final scene. While it seems very much that he DOES NOT have his ring on based on the appearances of his ring hand that we do see (while picking up his luggage and putting the top down).

Sidenote: If you actually know about the ring thing, you see that his hands are actually hidden from view a very large amount of time. When he does use his hands, he tends to use his right. While this might not be intentional, I think it’s curious but every known dream has at least one point where he shows his left hand confirming it is a dream. This might or might not have been intentional though. The fact that there seems to be very few times that he actually does show his hands for full viewing though makes me think it is.

tl;dr Wedding ring is his totem, the end does not show the hand appropriately so you cannot confirm if it is in fact reality.