As far as the political stuff, I need a little more time to articulate my first idea, so let me start this blog with a small review of the May 22 Game of Thrones episode, “The Door.”
For those who for some reason don’t already know this, Bran Stark was continuing to develop his psychic powers within the great tree, as he had been doing in previous episodes. In one of his visions, he’d gone back in time and seen the younger version of his father, Ned Stark, Ned’s sister Lyanne, and “Wyllis,” a stableboy who Bran realized was Hodor, but still normal and able to talk. In the present, Bran tried to find out what happened to make Hodor “Hodor,” but of course Hodor couldn’t tell him. In this week’s episode, Bran’s psychic travel took him into the present where he confronted the White Walkers and their zombie horde, and at this point, their leader, the Night King, grabbed Bran’s arm. When Bran woke up in the tree, he realized the armprint was still on his wrist. Bran’s mentor, “the Three-Eyed Raven”, told him the Walkers were now able to enter their sanctuary and that he should go back in the past to learn as much as he could while there was still time.
So Bran’s mind goes back to the Stark estate while Meera and the tree spirits vainly try to fight off the zombie hordes. Meera desperately tells Bran to wake up and “warg” into Hodor’s body so he can use his strength to help fight. So Bran, while still watching Wyllis in the past, possesses Hodor’s body, creating a link between himself, Hodor and Wyllis, and as the Raven, the tree spirits and Bran’s direwolf are killed, Hodor covers Meera’s escape to an exit corridor as she drags Bran off on a sled. And as he closes the door behind him, the last thing Meera says to Hodor is “Hold the door” – while in the past, Bran watches Wyllis suddenly collapse. As Hodor is being ripped up by zombies, Bran sees the other peasants gather around Wyllis as he goes into convulsions, screaming over and over again, “Hold the door, hold the door” – which eventually gets turned into “Hodor.”
This climax has staggering implications. Not only has Bran demonstrated the power to affect the past (though he’s not in much position to do so right now), in the process of doing so, he created (or resolved) a time paradox in which he turned Hodor into “Hodor” before Bran was even born.
Personally, the horrific manner of Hodor’s death means I’ll never be able to think of that line in the same way again. It was of course a joke. Like, some of us were wondering if Martin was ever going to publish that next book so that we would finally get the Hodor point-of-view chapters. There were some fans who would actually carry on online conversations using just “Hodor.” The thing was, if the word didn’t really mean anything, then really, it could mean anything.
Throughout the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire series, the recurring mystery has never been, “Who were Jon Snow’s real parents?” It was always “What the heck does ‘Hodor’ mean, and what happened to make him that way?”
And now the Great Mystery is finally revealed. And now all the suspense is gone.