'Game of Thrones' Throwback Photo: See Bran and Hodor Before They Held "The Door"

Game of Thrones Ep 5 - Kristian Nairn as Hodor-H 2016
Courtesy of HBO

[Warning: this story contains spoilers for episode five of the sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones, "The Door."]

Bran Stark has grown quite a bit over six seasons of Game of Thrones. Not just mentally and emotionally, but physically, too. Isaac Hempstead Wright began his journey through Westeros as a small child, and now, he towers over his co-stars — so much so that heading into the season, fans joked about the inevitable day Bran would be carrying beloved bodyguard Hodor on his own back, instead of the other way around.

"I would not like to see that," Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor from the very beginning of the series, told The Hollywood Reporter in April at the world premiere of season six. "He's got a long way to go before that happens."

Perhaps, but a look back at the Bran and Hodor of season two drives the point home of just how much the young Lord of Winterfell has changed over the years:

Forgive the pun, but it's a Stark contrast with where things stand now. Back then, in season two, Bran was still coming to grips with his paralysis. He was nursing wounds from his father's death. He was on the cusp of fleeing Winterfell following its takeover at the hands of Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). All traumatic incidents, to be sure, but through it all, he still was just a child, small enough to fit in a sack on Hodor's back.

Now, that childhood innocence is gone. Even if he could physically accomplish it, Bran's not holding Hodor on his back. Indeed, the only one holding anything is Hodor, holding the door and giving his life to keep Bran safe. Comparing the Bran and Hodor of yesterday with the Bran and Hodor of today only punctuates one of the show's all-time greatest tragedies even further.

"I think it had to happen, in a way, for Bran to progress," Nairn told THR this week about Hodor's death. "He needs to realize how important he is. I understand that Bran's a bored teenager. His life has been ruined. But whether it's been done to him or not, he now needs to know the gravitas of what's happening and how he can affect the world. I think it's going to hit home for him."

For Hempstead Wright's part, he told THR that Hodor's death won't end his real-life relationship with Nairn, a close friend of his ever since the first season: "I'm literally just about to go see him in a half an hour." And he made good on his word, as not more than an hour after the interview, Hempstead Wright and Nairn posted a selfie together on Twitter:


The Ironborn have a saying: "What is dead may never die." Bran's relationship with the Greyjoys is complicated, to say the least, and yet, the phrase aptly summarizes one of the most recognizable friendships in Game of Thrones history.

Watch the video below for more on Hodor's legacy.

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