Unlike most people who watch Game of Thrones, I wasn’t heart-broken by Hodor’s gut wrenching death, but instead it left me puzzled, and I was initially unable to put a finger on my source of confusion.
For the two of you who don’t watch Game of Thrones but are reading this post, a little background on Hodor.
Hodor is a mentally disabled character in the show who is only capable of saying “Hodor”, though he understands what other people say. He is the stable boy of one of the royal families called the Starks, and is like a valet to one of the Stark boys called Bran Stark.
The mystery of why Hodor can only say Hodor was explained in the last episode. Bran Stark who is physically disabled and can’t walk is trapped in a cave with a bunch of white walkers trying to get there and kill him.
Bran has the capacity to travel back in time, and watch events although the people there can’t see him, nor can he interact with them. Additionally, he has the ability to get into the minds of other people and animals and take control of what they do. This ability is called warging.
Towards the end of this episode, Bran wargs into the mind of Hodor to make Hodor pull Bran out of this white walker infested cave, while simultaneously going back in time, and witnessing a scene from the past where Hodor can still speak and act like a normal kid.
The present Hodor pulls Bran out of the cave, and blocks the door to stop the white walkers from coming out. Bran’s friend yells repeatedly at Hodor to ‘hold the door’, and at the same time the young Hodor starts to get a fit while he yells ‘hold the door’.
The white walkers are able to punch holes in the door, strangle Hodor, and kill him, while the young Hodor is having a fit, and screaming ‘hold the door’ repeatedly, which gradually morphs into ‘Hodor’ until he stops screaming upon the death of the current Hodor.
This is a very well done scene, and can be quite saddening specially from Bran’s perspective because not only does Hodor eventually die saving Bran; he lives most of his life mentally disabled because of Bran.
However, Hodor got mentally disabled because he witnessed his own death while rescuing Bran, but he would not have been rescuing Bran had he not been mentally disabled in the first place.
So, it’s necessary for Hodor to die and witness his death to be disabled, but it is also necessary for him to be disabled to die and witness his own death.
I believe Bran shouldn’t feel bad after all, and this is also the reason scientists say backwards time travel is not possible.