MAJOR SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen last night’s Game of Thrones yet and don’t want to know anything about it, do not continue on.
“Hold the door.”
Now and forever, those three words will be ingrained into your brain as a reminder of sacrifice and sadness. Never again will a stranger innocently call to you on an elevator without you turning into an emotional mess. And, of course, we have George R.R. Martin to blame for that wonderful, awful scene. Though it’s not shocking that such a gut-wrenching moment came from the author (even though the current sixth season is operating “off book”), it is amazing that one fan predicted it a number of years ago.
With the sixth season of Game of Thrones finally surpassing the books, we are in uncharted territories when it comes to source material, so we don’t know exactly what is coming from the HBO adaptation (which does not always follow the books), and what is coming from the unreleased, unfinished sixth book, The Winds of Winter, in George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. But in the show’s “Inside the Episode” video series, show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said that the origin behind Hodor‘s name came from Martin.
Benioff talked about what it was like when Martin told them the sad truth of Hodor’s condition:
“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. I just remember Dan and I looking at each other when he said that, and just being like, ‘Holy shit.'”
Yeah. No kidding. I sat on my couch in silence for 30 minutes after the episode ended.
“It was just one of the saddest and most affecting things. Even sitting in a hotel room having somebody tell you that this was going to happen, in the abstract, 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.”
So for years we’ve all made Hodor jokes, and found the simple-minded but loyal man with some giant in him as a fun source of comic relief when we needed it, and as a big-bodied shell for fighting when times got dangerous. Meanwhile this entire time his whole life has been a sacrifice for the greater good of mankind.
Good grief. It’s hard to imagine how a silly little name like Hodor could be so meaningful, and how it could leave us reeling, but yet one fan actually did imagine it. We ran across this incredible prediction at IGN, and it was made by writer Michael Ventrella back in 2013.
He shared his story of meeting Martin on his website VentrellaQuest… the story about the time he told Martin that “Hodor” was short for “Hold the door.” Yes, he really did. He posted it in April of 2014 (so he’s not just claiming to have done so now after the fact), but he said it happened in the fall of 2013 when he met Martin at a convention. The two kept running into each other on the elevator, and one of the times Martin said to him, “I always wanted to be an elevator operator. If the writing thing hadn’t worked out…”
The last time Ventrella saw him there they had this exchange:
Ventrella: I finally figured out why you have a character named “Hodor.”
Ventrella: I was thinking about your comment about wanting to be an elevator operator. It’s clear to me now that “Hodor” is short for “Hold the door.”
Martin: (laughing) You don’t know how close to the truth you are!
What. The. ****.
Now, Ventrella joked that if it turned out he was right it would have something to do with an elevator, but that doesn’t matter. He gets to claim this forever. “Hold the door.”
I can’t believe what those words ended up meaning, and I can’t believe someone predicted they were coming. Now if Ventrella can just tell us the next awful thing that will happen on the show that would be great, because we’d like to be a little bit more emotionally prepared for it.
What did you think of this sad revelation? What about Ventrella’s prediction? Tell us in the comments below.