It’s pretty much taken me about a week to fully wrap my head around what exactly happened between Bran and Hodor in Game of Thrones’ fifth episode of this season entitled “Hold The Door”. It took me a while, and for the following episode to be a bit boring, but I finally think I have my theory on what exactly Bran did to Hodor. Granted, I’m offering my opinion having not read what the directors/writers/actors/GRRM have said so, for all I know, everything I’m about to say may be complete and total rubbish but, hey, that’s what 89% of the internet is anyway so, if you want to come down the rabbit hole with me, read on.
If you’ve made it this far I’m assuming you are a fan of Game of Thrones or, at the very least, the books upon which its based, George RR Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. Either that, or you love reading fan theories/explanations to shows you haven’t watch and have no point of reference to in which case I admire your mental sink or swim policy. Anyway, this is how I interpreted what will go down as one of Game of Thrones’ most memorable scenes.
Essentially, I believe Bran took Hodor’s mental capabilities and warg’d them through time in this particular universe/timeline and had the unenviable task of watching what his powers had done to make Hodor, well, Hodor. Stuck in the greenvision and unable to leave since he had to absorb as much of the Three Eyed Raven’s (TER’s) powers as possible, we see Bran basically unlocks Hodor so he can get up and move around autonomously and not just sitting there mumbling Hodor to himself. Even though this doesn’t link up with the chronology of actions in the show, I believe what Bran did was essentially restore Hodor’s cognitive abilities by warging them to now adult Hodor and replacing them with the Hodoring Hodor’s mind. We see this depicted by Bran making eye contact with young Hodor before his eyes roll back and he begins convulsing on the ground.
What that means is Bran, had always and always will in this universe’s storyline, need to use Hodor as a mule and so, in a never ending loop, is forced to steal Hodor’s mental abilities so that he can make his final heroic stand in the snow and ice, as well as carry Bran’s legless body around for seasons 1-5 1/2. It is, in a way, a beautiful and sorrowful destiny as well as being an allegory for how nobility, or elites, need to use their subordinates and, ideally, keep them as dumb as possible so they obey, is established. However, where most people are removed from confronting the societal cost of their comfort and actions, Bran is forced to see his with his own eyes and realize how much the pursuit of power and the war against the Others costs not just him but those who help him, and not necessarily just their lives in the present but in the past and, you must assume, in the future.
In a twist, Hodor’s final moments, if this is held true, are not those of a mumbling simpleton but of a man who has fully regained his cognizance just in time to be torn apart by the undead while his younger self has now been made into a docile, yet physical gifted, servant who’s life purpose have been reduced to serving and then saving Bran Stark. Uplifting right? Hodor has the ability to run from that door. He can try to escape, he can give in, but decades of it being his mantra meant he stayed at his post and follow his commands to the last and with what we can only assume is superhuman endurance and bravery.
In a weird way this also explains why TER and Bran are dicking around in the Winterfell of yesteryear. I heard a lot of fans of the show complaining that Bran was wasting time to see old family movies instead of learning something profound but, as TER said, the ink is already dry. He knew that Bran would tip off the Night’s King, he knew what Hodor was and what he would become, he knew that he had to teach Bran all he knows before he died. Which also means he knew he needed Bran to be in the Winterfell courtyard to send Hodor’s undamaged mind into the future and replace it with one that commanded only one thing from him; to hold the door.