SPOILER ALERT: Yes, there are Game of Thrones spoilers in this story. So if you’re not caught up yet, come back when you are!
The Game of Thrones episode “The Door” will go down in history with “The Rains of Castamere” (the red wedding) and “The Dance of Dragons” (when Stannis sacrificed Shireen) as one of the most emotionally jarring episodes in Game of Thrones history. But “The Door,” the episode in which we learned the origin of Hodor’s name, was originally going to be even more horrific, according to the episode’s director, Jack Bender. In the episode we saw, Hodor saves Meera and Bran from the wights by sacrificing himself and it wrecked our hearts. Could it have really been worse than that? Apparently, yes.
In an interview with the Observer, Bender explains:
“I talked about it with Dave and Dan [Benioff and Weiss, series creators and showrunners] a lot. I said, ‘What the dead would be doing to Hodor would be ripping his clothes off once they got through that door. They would be ripping his flesh off. If the dead can go through wood, they’re going to be tearing Hodor apart.’
And they said something to me that really stuck. Which was ‘If it’s too horrific, we’re not going to feel the loss of Hodor.’ And that was my compass the entire time, to make us really care at the end.”
Well, they were right. We DEFINITELY cared. (And apparently so did the actor who played young Hodor, Sam Coleman, because he wrote an incredibly sad song about it.)
“I still wanted to make it scary enough, see Hodor surrounded and engulfed by these skeletal arms and long fingers, that were eventually going to smother and kill and rip him apart, or whatever they were going to do that we didn’t see. But to not let the horror of it overwhelm the emotion of losing that character and making it really land on the idea that he was sacrificing himself so his friends could get away. That was the dominant idea.”
We’re SO relieved it wasn’t as graphic as Bender had initially proposed. I’m not sure we would have ever recovered.
There are only three more episodes left in this season, but we have a feeling the sadness isn’t going to end any time soon. The next three episodes will allegedly be titled, “No One,” “Battle of Bastards,” and “The Winds of Winter,” according to ComicBook.com. If Arya or Jon Snow die (the latter for the second time) we will LOSE OUR MINDS.