It's never easy to lose a "good guy" on Game of Thrones -- are there any of them left at this point in the game? -- but it's especially painful to lose someone as innocent and self-sacrificing as Hodor. He gave his life to the Starks, and as we learned in Sunday night's episode ("The Door"), it was all part of his destiny.
[Caution: Spoilers for Game Of Thrones Season 6, Episode 5 ("The Door") lie ahead.]
At the end of the powerful hour, Bran Stark’s longtime companion was killed after heroically saving Bran and Meera from a nasty horde of wights. Hodor held the door while they escaped out into the winter, and we haven't been this devastated by a Game of Thrones death since Season 3's Red Wedding. Even then, there was a sense that Robb Stark played the game poorly and lost; Hodor, however, was just a victim of wrong place, wrong time. Because during the harrowing sequence it was revealed that Hodor's condition was caused by a time-traveling Bran all those years ago.
This is where things get slightly complicated. As Bran travelled back in time to Hodor’s youth in Winterfell, the combination of his time-travel magic, the death of the Three-Eyed Raven, and Meera's frantic pleas for Hodor to "hold the door" against the wights in the present timeline caused a devastating ripple effect for poor stableboy Wyllis. The massive seizure left him only able to say one word for the rest of his life: "Hodor," which roughly translates to "Hold the door."
So yeah, Bran was the reason Wyllis became Hodor, which is more than a little fucked up considering the half-giant spent all those years as Bran's personal chauffeur. It was a heartbreaking reveal and an even more tragic goodbye to a beloved character. However, Irish actor Kristian Nairn, who deserves some kind of Braavos Tony Award for saying only one word for five seasons, couldn't be happier with Hodor's heroic final act.
"I couldn’t have asked for a better goodbye to a character I love," Nairn told EW after the episode aired. "It’s incredibly sad. The minute you finally learn something about Hodor, they kill him!"
"I had tears in my eyes," the actor added. "I don't see myself on screen, I see Hodor. I always talk about him in the third person. I just saw the character die, and it was very sad. I think people are going to a) freak out, b) be very sad."
Yeah... that's an understatement, buddy. Of course, we may not have seen the last of Hodor. As Nairn points out, there's always the possibility of seeing Hodor in some form again, and honestly, isn't that like Game of Thrones? First, they kill a fan-favorite, and then they have him come back as a flesh-easting wight?
"The interesting thing is it's kinda left open," he said. "You don’t actually see him [die]. It’s implied. So who knows? He may come back as a White Walker, maybe he got away."
We're not so naive to think Hodor got away. After all, we saw the wights tear into his flesh. But it would be rather poetic for Bran to come face to face with Hodor as an undead wight, since it was Bran's selfish mistake that ruined Wyllis's life.
"It incapsulates the Game of Thrones world -- the nice guys who deserve looking after don’t always get it," Isaac Hempstead Wright told EW. "It's going to be mortifying when it airs. Bran would literally be nowhere without him.”
As our many-faced friend Jaqen H'ghar would say, does death only come for the wicked?