Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has a slightly different ending in mind for fan-favorite character Hodor in his books. The author is still working on the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, on which HBO's Game of Thrones was based. In an interview for a new behind-the-scenes book, Martin revealed that Hodor's infamous "hold the door" finale will actually look a little different in his next two books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Martin spoke to reporter James Hibberd for his new book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series. He discussed a wide range of things that will be different or the same in his books, admitting that even plot points which are believed to be his own creations won't look exactly the same in the books. A prime example is the death of Hodor, which showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said came straight from Martin. Martin told Hibberd what Hodor's death will look like in the books, but fair warning: this is objectively a spoiler.
"I thought they executed it very well, but there are going to be differences in the book," Martin said. "They did it very physical — 'hold the door' with Hodor's strength. In the book, Hodor has stolen one of the old swords from the crypt. Bran has been warging into Hodor and practicing with his body, because Bran had been trained in swordplay. So telling Hodor to 'hold the door' is more like 'hold this pass' — defend it when enemies are coming — and Hodor is fighting and killing them. A little different, but same idea."
The showrunners likely knew about this distinction, but still made the choice to veer away from Martin's vision for the purpose of the show. Producer Dave Hill said: "For our purpose, holding the door is visually better, especially because we have so much fighting."
In Martin's narrative, however, having Bran fight with a body that is not his own plays into the magic and mythology a bit better — especially in the books where these elements are more fleshed out. The series' most recent book, A Dance With Dragons, puts particular emphasis on the costs and limitations of Bran's abilities as a warg, a greenseer and whatever else he is becoming.
Martin is reportedly hard at work on The Winds of Winter, reporting via his blog that he has made steady progress while self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic. Martin spoke at length about the books, the show and his creative process in Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, which is available now in print, eBook and audiobook formats.