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Compromises and changes had to be made between HBO's smash hit Game of Thrones and its source material, author George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books. That's what happens when making the leap to the screen and that's definitely what happens when adapting something that hasn't actually been written or released yet. Differences come with the territory. One of the more interesting differences that've been recently revealed revolve around a fan-favorite character: Hodor.
Bran's bodyguard/vehicle with a vocabulary of exactly one went through a lot for his young Stark ward. But at his end, when he died literally holding the door to block the wights from ripping apart the kid who would be king, fans learned about his origins, his word choice, and the tragedy of what happened. And it's all a little different than it'll play out in Martin's next book.
Revealed in James Hibberd's new oral history Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series, Martin's ending for Hodor will be a bit less literal.
"I thought they executed it very well, but there are going to be differences in the book," Martin said. "They did it very physical — 'hold the door' with Hodor’s strength. In the book, Hodor has stolen one of the old swords from the crypt. Bran has been warging into Hodor and practicing with his body, because Bran had been trained in swordplay. So telling Hodor to “hold the door” is more like “hold this pass”—defend it when enemies are coming — and Hodor is fighting and killing them. A little different, but same idea."
This is also when fans find out that Hodor used to be House Stark servant Wylis, who — after a mysterious boyhood seizure — became known as Hodor because it was the only word he ever said. This came about because, as Bran warged into his mind (taking him over), he warged back in time — causing the seizure and implanting the phrase "hold the door" (AKA "Hodor") into his mind.
For those working on the show, their version was a bittersweet moment to shoot. "For our purpose, holding the door is visually better, especially because we have so much fighting," said co-producer Dave Hill.
"My favorite part is it tied up the question of why Hodor is Hodor," said Hodor actor Kristian Nairn. "Why does he say the word 'hodor?' It’s incredibly sad. The minute you finally learn something about Hodor, they kill him!"
But at least Nairn stood out as an undeniable favorite from the show: everyone knows what they're talking about when a "Hodor" is uttered. But does Nairn have a favorite?
"There was a 'hodor' I really like where Meera and I are talking about sausages. This guy loves his sausages, clearly, and bacon. His face lit up, and he started talking about food," the actor said." I also enjoyed the 'hodor' in Season 3 with Osha. She’s complaining about having to build the camp, and he did this 'Why you telling me?'–type 'hodor.' That was a fun one. I can’t believe I can actually isolate two 'hodors' from all those times."
Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon is out in bookstores now.