If you aren't fully caught up with HBO's Game of Thrones, there will be plenty of SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk. Two weeks ago, Season 6 of the hit series reached its halfway mark with The Door, which served as a double-edged sword for fans of the lovable character Hodor (Kristian Nairn). Today we have new details from that episode's director, Jack Bender, who also directed last week's Blood of My Blood, with the filmmaker teasing that their original idea for the Hodor twist was actually much different. This is your last chance to avoid SPOILERS, so turn away now if you haven't watched the last few episodes.
Hodor was first introduced in the series premiere back in 2011, a lovable giant who could only say one word, "Hodor." No real insight was given as to why this massive character could only utter that one word, but we got new details this season, through one of Bran Stark's greensight visions. We learned that, as a child, Hodor's real name was Wylis, and that he actually could talk. At the end of The Door, we learned that Hodor's condition was actually caused by Bran, since he went back to Hodor's youth in Winterfell and ordered him to 'hold the door,' which lead to a seizure that allowed him to only say one word for the rest of his life.
As Hodor fulfilled his destiny to "hold the door," preventing the white walkers from getting to Bran and Meera, he was ripped to shreds and ultimately killed. As it turns out, though, that scene was almost even more brutal, as director Jack Bender revealed in an interview with The Observer. Here's what he had to say about the initial plans for Hodor's death.
"Early on I had the idea to make it one shot that just pushes in and gets closer and closer, and then the parallel high shot that gets closer and closer to Wylis, who became Hodor. I talked about it with Dave and Dan 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. 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."
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently revealed that Hodor's death was one of three huge twists that author George R.R. Martin revealed to them about the two books he has not yet published. Another twist was the fiery death of Stannis Baratheon's daughter Shireen, while the third will be saved for the very end of the series. We'll have to wait until Sunday's episode The Broken Man to see if any new twists are revealed.