Throughout seven seasons of Game of Thrones, fans have learned never to get too attached to your favorite characters. From the beheading of Ned Stark to the Red Wedding to the murder of Jon Snow, literally no one is safe. Still, when Hodor died in season 6, it hit hard.
Here’s a refresher, in case you needed a good cry today: the Night King and the army of the dead attacked the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran’s direwolf Summer gave his life so Meera Reed and Hodor could drag Bran safely to the back entrance and escape certain death. They made it out the back door, but someone had to stay behind and hold it shut, and since Hodor is the biggest and strongest person there…
The last we saw of Hodor, he was living up to his name and holding the back against the wights as they tried to claw their way out, allowing Bran and Meera to escape. And also Bran was in the past accidentally breaking Young Hodor’s brain and rendering him unable to say anything but “Hodor” for the rest of his life; it was a whole thing.
Now that we’ve properly upset you, there’s more. Entertainment Weekly spoke to Game of Thrones storyboard artist Will Simpson, who shared the artwork behind Hodor’s last stand, revealing what was intended to happen after Bran and Meera got clear of the cave. “When you read the scripts, you realize the importance of certain moments,” Simpson said. “You want a character to go out well. I’m getting myself invested in the characters. I want to feel it in the drawings, so that when a director looks at it, it helps with the next step.”
Below, you can see the door has been destroyed by the frenzied wights, who pull Hodor through the wreckage:
“I wanted to concentrate on him holding the door, being up against it, and also the fact that he wasn’t gonna get away,” Simpson continued. “I didn’t want it to look like he could escape. The way I drew him is with his back to the door, and then the hands come through to grab him. We’ve seen that kind of thing in horror movies, but it was so important at this point.”
Mission accomplished, that scene is terrifying.
They storyboarded the wights pulling Hodor onto his back? These are hard to look at, but that’s what Simpson was gong for. He tells EW that he was trying to convey the fact that when Bran leaves Hodor’s head for the last time, Hodor is left there at the cave entrance, all alone, knowing he’s about to fulfill his destiny; he’s going to die so the future Three-Eyed Raven can live.
I’ve always wanted to know if Hodor was simply killed by the wights and then resurrected by the Night King to serve in his army, or if they just ate him. Do wights eat people like walkers do on The Walking Dead? That looks like what they’re doing in the storyboard above. Food for thought, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Oh, gods, Hodor!
“[T]hat’s always been his destiny,” Simpson said of Hodor’s heroic sacrifice. “In the past, when he’s been living a happy life as a big guy saying ‘Hodor,’ we didn’t know that’s the future hitting the past until that moment.”
I’m glad the show didn’t take it quite this far. Watching the wights claw at Hodor through the door was bad enough; I didn’t need to see them swarming his body and tearing him apart.
Rest in Peace, you big beautiful gentle soul, you left a hole in our hearts that not even a thousand Wun Wun’s could fill. Oh god, now I’m thinking about Wun Wun’s death. Send help.
You can see more of Simpson’s storyboards at Entertainment Weekly. Bring plenty of tissues.