Warning: This post contains spoilers for the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
“The Door,” the fifth episode of Game of Thrones‘ sixth season, gave viewers a crash course in the rules of time travel in the universe of the HBO drama. Unfortunately, this knowledge came at the price of the life of one of the show’s most beloved characters, Hodor.
After Bran Stark made the mistake of tapping into his Greensight — his ability to venture into visions of the past, present and future — without the guidance of the Three-Eyed Raven, he was marked by the Night’s King, setting off a devastating chain of events. As the Three-Eyed Raven made a last-ditch effort to impart as much of his knowledge as possible onto his young mentee, the White Walkers and their army of wights showed up to wreak havoc on the residents of the cave under the giant weirwood tree.
Hearing Meera’s cries for help, Bran warged into present-day Hodor while still stuck in a past vision with a young version of the gentle giant. This allowed young Hodor to see Bran, hear Meera and experience what was happening to his future self, causing him to go mad. Thus, as present-day Hodor was killed while blocking a door to allow Meera and Bran to escape, his past self was seen thrashing on the ground while repeatedly screaming, “Hold the door,” until the words merged together to become, “Hodor.”
It was a shocking twist for most fans, but as it turns out, at least one saw it coming. Back in 2008, a commenter on the “What Does Hodor Mean?” thread in the A Song Of Ice And Fire wiki, came pretty close to predicting the origin of Hodor’s name. “The poor guy is just asking someone to hold the door for him, since he’s always carrying someone else around,” Myrddin wrote. “After a while, ‘Hold the door’ became ‘Hold the doorHold the doorHoldoorHodoor. Dammit! Hold the door!’ His mind finally snapped, and now all he can say is Hodor.”
Obviously, the actual mystery of the meaning behind “Hodor” turned out to be much more tragic, but this is still an impressive guess.
“Blood of My Blood,” the sixth episode of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, airs Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.