The director for the recent Game of Thrones episode that destroyed nearly all its viewers in revealing the true meaning of ‘Hodor’ said his original plans for the character’s demise were much more graphic.
Cinematographically, Jack Bender told the Observer, the whole scene was going to be shot using single shots pushing closer to the faces of both Hodor and Wylis (across the time divide). But his ideas for what that shot would reveal, as he first told Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, were horrific.
“I said, ‘What the dead would be doing to Hodor would be ripping his clothes off once they got through that door. They would be ripping his flesh off. If the dead can go through wood, they’re going to be tearing Hodor apart,’” Bender recalled. Then Benioff and Weiss told him, “If it’s too horrific, we’re not going to feel the loss of Hodor.”
“I still wanted to make it scary enough, see Hodor surrounded and engulfed by these skeletal arms and long fingers, that were eventually going to smother and kill and rip him apart, or whatever they were going to do that we didn’t see,” Bender continued. “But to not let the horror of it overwhelm the emotion of losing that character and making it really land on the idea that he was sacrificing himself so his friends could get away. That was the dominant idea.”
The developed concept was certainly for the best. A grisly, gruesome death for Hodor would have made for a very different episode, and fans could surely appreciate the poignancy of Hodor’s loyalty more without the signature Game of Thrones gore.