(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on unless you’ve watched Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”)
“Game of Thrones” is notorious for mercilessly killing off likable characters, but Sunday’s farewell to Hodor was a difficult moment for even co-creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
Benioff told Entertainment Weekly that the “death call” for the likable giant, who has been protecting Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) since they escaped Winterfell in Season 2, was “particularly tough.”
“[The Hodor twist came] from one of our conversations with [author George R.R. Martin],” he said. “This is one of his ideas that he told us in Santa Fe. We thought it was f–king fantastic.”
In Sunday’s episode, titled “The Door,” the White Walkers invaded the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven while he and Bran are in the past. Bran was able to hear Meera’s plea for help in his vision, and warged into Hodor. The climax of episode not only explained the lovable giant’s past, but also why he is only able to say his name, which is actually a command: “Hold the door.” Hodor sacrifices his life to do just that, and fend off an army of the dead while Bran and Meera escape.
Weiss added that he thinks “people will be surprised how hard it hits them emotionally.”
“He’s not somebody you think of as a main character, but he’s slowly, stealthily become an integral association with the show,” Weiss said. “‘Hodor’ is the one word you can say to somebody and immediately evoke the show or the books. And he’s just been quietly there in Bran’s storyline, being lovable with his delivering the hell out of many, many ‘Hodors.'”
Even Wright thought the moment was “so sad,” blaming Bran’s “selfish actions” for the loss of yet another likable character.
“We learned Hodor really is this vulnerable soul, who had such potential to live a happy life,” he said. “First, through [Bran’s] selfish actions, going to the White Walker vision in the first place, I’ve screwed him over. He didn’t pick up that he should get out of the dream. And then Hodor sacrifices himself. He’s been through all this and he’s still having to do this.”
“It incapsulates the ‘Game of Thrones’ world — the nice guys who deserve looking after don’t always get it,” he said. “It’s going to be mortifying when it airs. Bran would literally be nowhere without him.”
But Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor, loved the way he went out, and isn’t entirely sure the character is gone for good.
“I couldn’t be happier how he has gone out. The interesting thing is it’s kinda left open. You don’t actually see him [die]. It’s implied. So who knows? He may come back as a White Walker, maybe he got away. But it’s a really good way to do it,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better goodbye to a character I love. My favorite part is it ties up the question of why is Hodor ‘Hodor.’ Why does he say the word “Hodor”? Only George R.R. Martin or David and Dan could have come up with this. It’s incredibly sad. The minute you finally learn something about Hodor, they kill him!”