This was the best episode of the season, in my view, and I cannot remember an episode that has lingered more in my mind. Before this season, I generally knew what was going to happen because I had read the books, but this season has been more of a wild card since a good bit of the story has exceeded George R.R. Martin’s published works. Yet nothing had prepared me for the ending of last week’s episode.
In short, I found it to be the most moving moment to date on Game of Thrones. I’ve read plenty of blogs that assumed this was an invention of the show’s writers, and that we won’t learn the origins of Hodor in the books. But show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have debunked that expressly. In the commentary after the episode on HBO On Demand, Benioff said:
“We had this meeting with George Martin where we’re trying to get as much information as possible out of him, and probably the most shocking revelation he had for us was when he told us the origin of Hodor and how that name came about.”
Then Weiss added:
“It was just one of the saddest and most affecting things. Even sitting in a hotel room and having someone tell you that this was going to happen in the abstract, and in some way, and that ‘hold the door’ was the origin of the name Hodor. We just thought that was a really, really heartbreaking idea.”
If true, this is the first time the show has revealed (or spoiled) a MAJOR event in the books (since we all suspected Jon was coming back). I wish that hadn’t happened, but it won’t be the last time since the show will continue to outpace the novels. Part of me hates this, but I can’t imagine the book version would have been more moving—or haunting—than what we saw last Sunday.