8:00am PT by Josh Wigler
Week in 'Game of Thrones': "Hold the Door" Dominates the Conversation
During "The Door," the fifth episode of Game of Thrones' sixth season, two developments occurred that left fans completely blindsided. We finally learned how Hodor became Hodor … and in the same reveal, we lost Hodor forever.
It turns out that Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was responsible for turning his beloved bodyguard into the one-worded man we knew and loved, but how? That's a question people are still wrapping their minds around, as it involves a heavy amount of time travel and even more heartache.
But Hodor's life and death is not the only main story from the past week in Thrones. Here's how the days have played out since closing "The Door."
Closing the Door
Who better to eulogize Hodor, formerly known as Wylis, than Hodor himself? Kristian Nairn spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his shocking exit from the show, saying "it had to happen" in order to propel the story into the next phase of the end game.
"It's a great move. It's bold and genius," he said. "It's the death of innocence. Hodor, in many ways … I wouldn't say he's the moral compass, because I think he needs more than one word to be a moral compass, but he was definitely a heart. There was a sense of warmth and humanity in him. That's now been murdered."
"Nice One, Bran"
If you're looking for someone to blame for Hodor's death, look no further than Bran. Isaac Hempstead Wright explained to THR that given the high stakes of his current situation, Bran won't have much time to mourn his fallen friend — but he'll certainly learn his lesson, after setting events into motion that not only killed Hodor, but several others as well.
"It's going to teach Bran a lot," he said. "I think in essence what this episode has done for Bran is essentially say: 'Right, have you had your fun? Do you understand now that this isn't a game? You're not a kid with these amazing powers you can mess around with. You're holding the atom bomb. If you drop it again, we're not going to be so lucky.' For Bran, he's realizing that. 'I have to ditch every emotion and every sense of free will in my body and act as I know I have to act.'"
Time to Move On
Beyond the emotional ramifications of the episode, "The Door" provided Game changing confirmation that, yes, Bran can indeed impact the timeline while he's traveling back to the past. When Bran warged into Wylis at Winterfell, it seared the "hold the door" message into his brain, turning him into Hodor. This is how Hodor became Hodor; Bran always traveled back in time to this moment, but was only experiencing it in his present for the first time.
It's a stunning development, and one that's difficult to entirely wrap your head around. Our video explanation below helps establish the rules a bit more, but Hempstead Wright described it even more succinctly: "We really took a turn for the sci-fi."
The True Nature of Evil
Among the many mind-blowing twists that occurred throughout "The Door," it should not get lost in the shuffle that the White Walkers' origin was finally revealed. It turns out that these nightmarish ice creatures were humans once upon a time, transformed by the Children of the Forest in their war against mankind. The Children's attempts to create a weapon clearly backfired, resulting in the terrifying army currently pursuing Bran and marching toward Westeros.
"I think it's a fascinating revelation, that they've been born out of so much pain," said Hempstead Wright. "Perhaps that's a neat little full circle there. This poor bloke, whoever he was, who then becomes the first White Walker, went through the most horrific and excruciating pain, to have that shard of dragonglass plunged inside him. It seems quite fitting that now they're like: 'You're going to pay for everything you've done. You're going to pay for the monster you've created.'"
An Apology of Sorts
While the world mourns Hodor, the gentle giant's legacy lives on, thanks to countless fans repurposing the expression "hold the door." That said, not everyone is entirely pleased with the rising prominence of saying "Hodor" to people standing in elevators.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, for example, are very apologetic for their role in reminding everyone "how annoying people can be," as they demonstrated during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Sam Story, Different Day
Turning toward the coming episode of Thrones, a different White Walker survivor returns to the fray: Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), only seen in one previous scene this season. Soon, however, he will step back into the spotlight, as he and Gilly (Hannah Murray) reach Horn Hill, the home of House Tarly … a home Sam is not exactly eager to revisit, given his contentious relationship with his father.
"When you see Sam with his father and mother and brother especially, he starts to make sense," Bradley told THR. "The character is contextualized. Why is his psyche the way it is? Why does he behave the way he does? Ever since you first saw him, he comes from this very sincere and heartfelt maternal love, and then there's this monster. You can see why he's so damaged. His emotional life has been pulled in so many different directions. He's so incredibly confused."
The Road Ahead
Beyond Sam, the next episode of Thrones, called "Blood of my Blood," promises to pack a ton of action into the equation. The King's Landing situation appears poised to boil over, with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) at odds. Will the Faith Militant finally fall apart, or is it House Lannister's time to come undone?
Watch the episode six preview below:
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