The fifth episode of Game of Thrones’ season six, was easily the most shattering since The Red Wedding. When the latter was aired, GoT fans went into a state of tizzy, watching their beloved Starks get betrayed and butchered mercilessly. I remember throwing quite a fit myself. I mean, it was unnecessary and unfair, right? Watching the characters, you are rooting for, get slaughtered like that? Needless to say, the big bosses thought of it necessary; and we all know how George RR Martin annihilates a character right when they are in the middle of some kind of action.
And now, the death of perhaps the most innocent character of the Thrones world devastated one too many souls. But it is as they say, in the game of thrones, you either win, or you die. So Hodor died this time, along with Brandon Stark’s direwolf Summer. It was an emotional adieu because Hodor aka Wylis happens to be an oddity who died a heroic death.
So without much ado, let us get to thepi tipng point. Brandon, while warging with the three-eyed raven learnt the truth about the first White Walker – how he was created by the “children” to fight human beings. But the children – also called the “leaves” – never knew they were breathing life into monsters – a Frankenstein experiment gone wrong. The raven had warned Bran to never warg alone, lest he risks being stuck inside his visions for eternity. But a bored Bran later did exactly that, and it was pandemonium.
While projecting astral, Bran found himself in the company of the Night’s King and his army of wights. A terrified Bran tried to flee but was held firm by the King, who left his mark on his wrist. The mark was a giveaway – a tracker of sorts – that allowed the King to harbour into Bran’s asylum that was no longer safe. It was a matter of time before the army of the undead attacked the trio – Bran, Meera and Hodor.
And attack, they did. They marched right into the cave, when Brandon was training (one last time) with the raven. In their vision, the two were back in Winterfell where Bran saw his father, uncle and a young Wylis. A frantic Meera, meanwhile, kept jolting him, hoping he would wake up and warg into a petrified Hodor. Meera’s words permeated Bran’s vision who – while being deep under – decided to help. He warged into Hodor, who then sledged him to safety. Unfortunately, the wights, who were inching close, caught up to them. Meera urged Hodor to help (considering he is a burly giant), by “holding the door”. Hodor held the cave’s door while Meera sledged Bran away to safety.
Inside the vision, Meera’s words echoed through Bran – who was perhaps acting as a medium between the stable boy Wylis in the present, and the future Hodor. Wylis heard Meera’s words – hold the door – and fell on the ground convulsing. He kept repeating them until the words slurred into one – “Hodor”.
The episode was insightful, considering it established a few theories and rebuffed others. It put the very essence of time into perspective by showing that travelling back in time is possible but events cannot be altered. Everything is pre-destined and Brandon is only a catalyst.
Nonetheless, the death of Hodor was heart-breaking and upsetting, to say the least. The only character who had harmed nobody, was uncharacteristically loving and adorable, died a gallant death. He had one job, to hold the door, and he did it. Hodor’s death was so shocking that the showrunners issued a heartfelt apology too.
Rest in peace, Hodor and Summer. You will not be forgotten.