[Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6, episode 5, “The Door.”]
Hodor is one of Game of Thrones most beloved characters.
He’s a lovable giant (but not a literal giant, because Game of Thrones has those and they’re throw-a-guy-into-the-side-of-Castle-Black-like-it’s-nothing big). He often carries Bran, who was paralyzed at the beginning of Season 1, on his back. And he only says one thing: Hodor.
He goes by Hodor (what with that being the only word he can use to introduce himself), but we learned this season that Hodor’s named used to be Wylis, and he didn’t always have such a limited vocabulary. Tonight’s episode finally explained how Hodor came to only say “Hodor” and warning: It’s devastating.
Bran has been taking vision quests back in time, and one of his favorite places to visit is Winterfell in the past, when his father and aunt were younger. Wylis grew up in Winterfell at the same time. This week, Bran also vision quested to the White Walkers, where the Night’s King saw him, touched him, and gained the ability to enter his magic tree fortress. As the White Walkers were coming to invade, the Three-Eyed Raven tries to squeeze in a few last vision quest lessons with Bran, who travels, mentally, back to Winterfell and Wylis’ youth. Bran wargs into Hodor’s body (from within the vision), to get Hodor to help carry his body to safety.
While this is happening, sounds from the real world continue to bleed into the vision quest, where Wylis eventually locks eyes with Vision Bran and falls into a seizure as Meera (in the real world) is yelling at Hodor to “hold the door” to keep an army of the White Walkers’s zombies at bay. In the vision, Wylis repeats “hold the door” over and over until it all blends into “Hodor” on repeat.
The saddest thing of all is the implication seems to be that Hodor experienced his own death as a terrible, debilitating premonition during that seizure and it changed him forever.
No one on the internet can deal. Because this is the worst of all the atrocities Game of Thrones has dealt us so far, including every time a direwolf has died (which another one did tonight, btw — RIP, Summer) and every time anyone has tried to get married.
People on Twitter almost immediately went ballistic.
There are also some lovely tributes to Hodor popping up:
RIP, Hodor. You succeeded; you held the door. You will be missed.