Warning: This post will contain spoilers for Game of Thrones.
Two weeks ago, Game of Thrones left fans with a devastating and shocking reveal that not only revealed the origin of Hodor’s name and his disability, but also led the character to his death, as he held the Three-Eyed Raven’s door against a horde of Wights until his friends had escaped. The character’s sacrifice was heartbreaking enough as it was, but to learn that he had been destined to die there the entire time, was even harder to digest.
As it is with most of Thrones‘ more eventful sequences and scenes as well, it turns out, the original idea for the sequence was much darker and bloodier than what we ended up seeing, something that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss thought better of.
During a recent episode with The Observer about the episode, director Jack Bender revealed that his original idea for the sequence involved a much more darker depiction of Hodor’s death than what ended up being shown in the episode itself:
“I said, ‘What the dead would be doing to Hodor would be ripping his clothes off once they got through that door. They would be ripping his flesh off. If the dead can go through wood, they’re going to be tearing Hodor apart.’”
Bender revealed that it was the showrunners though, who stopped him from doing the sequence like that, pointing out that making the scene too bloody and disgusting, would take away from the sequence’s overall sadness and heartbreak.
“I still wanted to make it scary enough, see Hodor surrounded and engulfed by these skeletal arms and long fingers, that were eventually going to smother and kill and rip him apart, or whatever they were going to do that we didn’t see. But to not let the horror of it overwhelm the emotion of losing that character and making it really land on the idea that he was sacrificing himself so his friends could get away. That was the dominant idea.”
So all we really ended up seeing, was the hordes of the undead surrounding the door and starting to break through, but the character’s death ended up happening mostly off-screen, and ended up being probably for the better in the end. If they were going for something similar to Oberyn’s death at the hands of The Mountain, which was intended to be more shocking than sad, then they might have shown him being ripped apart. As a longtime fan of the series though, I’m glad they knew when to show restraint with this sequence and let Hodor’s face say more about what was happening than anything else ever could.
Game of Thrones airs every Sunday night on HBO.
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