Warning: This article contains spoilers from Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 5. Read at your own risk.
If Game of Thrones fans are having a hard time accepting the death of Hodor, then you can only imagine how Bran Stark feels about causing it. Even actor Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran, as well as showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, feels heartbroken after losing both the character and actor Kristian Nairn to the latest episode of the current season.
Bran Stark’s longtime and friend died in Sunday’s episode titled The Door after making the ultimate sacrifice to protect Bran against the White Walkers.
Nairn may be happy about his character’s exit, thinking it’s an awesome way to leave the show, but it has been rough for Wright, Benioff and Weiss.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Weiss described Hodor’s role in the show:
He’s not somebody you think of as a main character, but he’s slowly, stealthily become an integral association with the show.
‘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.’ I think people will be surprised how hard it hits them emotionally.
Benioff added and shared how they came up with Hodor’s death:
It’s always interesting when we do the death calls; the Hodor one was particularly tough … [The Hodor twist came] from one of our conversations with [author George R.R. Martin]. This is one of his ideas that he told us in Santa Fe. We thought it was f–king fantastic.
What’s more tragic about seeing Hodor’s death is seeing how Bran had been the cause of it, as well as why Hodor can only say “Hodor.” Bran stayed too long in a vision of the White Walkers, which allowed the Night’s King to learn where he is. When they attacked, Bran had to control Hodor’s mind by commanding the young version to “hold the door,” thereby accidentally rupturing Hodor’s brain.
Asked about the pivotal scene and his character’s role in Hodor’s death, Hempstead Wright had this to say:
It’s so sad! We learned Hodor really is this vulnerable soul, who had such potential to live a happy life. 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.
Meanwhile, Hempstead Wright also shared how he feels fans will react to the episode and admitted Bran would “be nowhere without” Hodor:
It incapsulates the Game of Thrones world — the nice guys who deserve looking after don’t always get it. It’s going to be mortifying when it airs. Bran would literally be nowhere without him.
While it seemed the ending of season 6, episode 5 seemed the end for Hodor, Kristian Nairn (Hodor) did say that the interesting thing about the episode is how it’s left open.
I guess we could still the character again, either as the old Hodor or as a White Walker.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.