Episode 1: The Red Woman Episode 2: Home Episode 3: Oathbreaker Episode 4: Book of the Stranger Death is a common occurrence in Westeros. Over the course of many seasons, we’ve had noble deaths, badass deaths, stupid deaths, huge deaths, small deaths, bloody deaths and most of all, shocking deaths. Rare have we had a sad death. The kind that brings tears to your eyes, that pulls your heart. A death like the one that ended episode five, the cunningly named ‘ The Door ’.
Hodor was one of the few characters who could be called ‘innocent’. A gentle giant, Hodor never hurt anyone; the only way he ever fought was because Bran warged into him. His sweet, duo-syllabic intonation of his name spoke volumes. You wondered why anyone else talked when Hodor said so much with so little.
Honestly, I had him not only surviving this terrible game, but ascending to the Iron Throne! Because if anyone deserves it, it’s the kind man who never sought it in the first place. He was lovable, his motivations were easy – protect Bran – and, outside Westeros, he is a DJ who threw parties nicknamed Rave of Thrones! What’s not to like?
And in the end, his was the most bittersweet death. Escaping from the zombie army of the Night’s King, the Three Eyed Raven dead and the Tree compromised, Hodor held the door. He held it long enough to allow Bran and Meera to escape into the darkness. He held the door despite his face and bosy being slowly torn apart by the groping claws of the uncaring undead. He held the door despite how easy it would have been to flee.
He held it because he had always held it. Always would hold it. Since the beginning of time, since before the first frame of the show five years ago, Hodor had been marching a direct path towards that very door. After all, time is the flattest of circles. His death is heartbreaking because forces beyond comprehension put him there. Hodor has been warged into before, but never like this. Imagine you are being possessed by a friend, but in addition to possessing present you, that friend also possesses you from thirty years ago. You’re just a lovable kid named Willis one moment and the next, you not only see your death, but you live it. Over and over and over again. For the next three decades. Of course your mind is going to tear itself apart.
Time is a flat circle.
Hodor was a casualty in the advancement of Bran’s powers. We have seen the Stark boy aseem to be a presence during past events, such as the Tower of Joy when Ned Stark maybe, just maybe, heard his son’s voice whispering on the wind. Hodor’s death confirms the non-existence of free will in Westeros. If Bran chooses to go back again – recall there is a moment in season 1 when Rickon says he saw a ghost in the Winterfell tombs – it will be because Bran has always gone back. There is a chance that everything is his fault. Perhaps he could have prevented himself from being tossed out of the tower by Jaime back in the first episode. Perhaps he tells Ned to…well, we’ll get to that. Perhaps he is the legendary Bran the Builder, who created the Wall because he knew the Children would one day create the White Walkers and so on an so on.
Whatever Bran has or has not done, he has already done or not done it. And will continue to do or not do for all the turnings of the world. And good people like Hodor will always die because of it.