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Hodor Will Have A Different Fate In The Game Of Thrones Books

The final episode of HBO's juggernaut TV series Game of Thrones aired in May of 2019, but it won't be the final story told in that world. We already know that there's at least one spin-off series, House of the Dragon, set to follow the rise and fall of the Targaryen family. There's also a much more literary way we'll be revisiting these stories, because George R.R. Martin hasn't even finished writing them yet.

Yes, after five seasons, showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff had to craft Game of Thrones' final two seasons without Martin's source material, save for some notes about where the author planned to take the Song of Ice and Fire series next. As you might imagine, that made it so the book and the show would be further apart than ever.

Even before that point, Game of Thrones broke with the books all the time. Talisa Stark (Oona Chaplin) wasn't at the Red Wedding in the books, much of Sansa Stark's (Sophie Turner) cruel turns were originally those of the barely-seen-in-the-series Jeyne Pool, and of course, Lady Stoneheart is nowhere to be found on the show at all.

Now we're seeing the opposite — the books breaking with the show. George R.R. Martin recently revealed one major change to one of the show's most beloved characters, Hodor (Kristian Nairn). Over the course of six seasons, Hodor proved to be one of the Starks' most stalwart allies. Despite the strange limitation of only being able to say his name, Hodor protects Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) on his long quest to understand his place in the world as the Three-Eyed Raven. We've now learned that his journey in the books will be a little different.

Spoilers for both the Game of Thrones TV series and the upcoming books follow.

The difference between physical and emotional strength

On the show, Hodor meets his end during the season 6 episode "The Door." Using his psychic abilities, Bran Stark instructs Hodor to literally hold a door as an onslaught of undead wights try to break through and kill both Bran and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick). Some fans may have already noticed that the name "Hodor" sounded like "hold the door," and it turns out that, yes, the entire reason Hodor can only say one word is because his psyche was accidentally broken across time by Bran in this moment with their lives on line. His destiny fulfilled, Hodor dies a hero.

Writing for Entertainment Weekly, James Hibberd confirmed that for the behind-the-scenes book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, Martin revealed how Hodor's journey would be different. "I thought they executed it very well, but there are going to be differences in the book," Martin said of the Game of Thrones creative team. "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 change is subtle, but grants both Hodor and Bran a little more agency than we saw on the show. We'll find out more details when this scene occurs in either The Winds of Winter or A Dream of Spring.