‘Game of Thrones’ Big Hodor Twist Didn’t Actually Spoil the Books, Says George R.R. Martin
We’re still processing the fallout from Game of Thrones Season 6's tearful “The Door,” amid news that the title revelation serves as one of three unpublished twists author George R.R. Martin gave to HBO, but there may yet be another wrinkle. “Hold the Door” reveals the origin of Hodor’s name, but one Martin says will unfold under very different circumstances in the actual books.
You’re warned of full spoilers through Sunday’s “The Door” from here on out, but where showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss confirmed in a post-show featurette that Song of Ice and Fire author Martin provided them with the “Hold the Door” explanation for Hodor’s name, neither writer necessarily meant the circumstances of its use in the books. In fact, Martin reportedly addressed as much at an event for author Joe Hill (via Vanity Fair), as an attendee wrote:
Someone asked him about the show’s Hodor name reveal. He said that his name reveal in the books will differ in the context and how it happens. So while the name will still mean the same thing (Hold the Door), it will be very different from the show’s reveal.
That’s about the size of what Weiss and Benioff seemed to say in the video, that while “hold the door” makes for an effective and heartbreaking twist on Hodor’s condition, that particular backstory could be introduced in a variety of situations. So while we’re still trying to wrap our heads around Bran’s apparent ability to influence the past, there’s no explicit guarantee that Bran’s temporal meddling or the Night King invading the Three-Eyed Raven’s Weirwood tree will come to pass.
The same can be said of another unpublished twist Martin offered to to the showrunners, as while Stannis may have burned his daughter Shireen in a futile effort to appease the Lord of Light before battle, the literary characters are currently hundreds of miles apart; Shireen still at Castle Black, with Stannis preparing, but yet to formally engage the Boltons in battle.
It’ll be years yet before we can map out exact points of divergence between HBO’s adaptation and Martin’s completed saga, but could the author’s “hold the door” explanation end up somehow more heartbreaking than the show’s?