The latest episode of Game of Thrones gave us the intriguing revelation that Hodor did not always “Hodor”. It turns out he used to speak a variety of words, just like anyone else.
Now, because Game of Thrones fans are nothing if not enterprising and George R.R. Martin moves at a snail’s pace, there has been ample time between books to brew theories. “Home” addressed two that are longstanding — that Jon might be Azor Ahai reborn and Tyrion might be a secret Targaryen — but the Hodor scene speaks to one that’s less widely discussed, because it’s far more bonkers.
It posits that Hodor isn’t the endearing simpleton he seems to be; he’s secretly the god of the White Walkers or an agent doing his nefarious bidding.
May the Lord of Light, the Many-Faced God, and the Seven all bless whichever enterprising fan came up with that. It sounds insane, but it actually doesn’t not make sense when you break it down.
The Great Other
The Great Other is the enemy of the Lord of Light, aka Melisandre’s god (and now maybe Jon’s, if he wants to show gratitude for his resurrection). The Great Other stands for darkness and the White Walkers are referred to as his “cold children.” He’s basically their god, then.
Nobody knows the Great Other’s true name, because, like Voldemort, it must never be spoken. Enterprising fans have pointed out that if Hodor’s real name is Willas, the word “Hodor” is something else entirely. And coincidentally, in Norse mythology, “Hodr” is associated with winter and kills Baldr, who is essentially their version of the Lord of Light.
George R.R. Martin certainly knows his fantasy lore and weaves it into the story, with the abduction of Lyanna Stark being a Helen of Troy narrative. Who’s to say he didn’t dabble in the Nordic pantheon?
An agent of evil
Most fans believe Hodor himself is not actually The Great Other. Rather, Willis’s mind was damaged because a being known as Hodor wharged into him and took it over or he wandered into the Winterfell crypts where it dwells and was so frightened, he can now say nothing but its name. He acts as its agent and is leading Bran beyond The Wall for nefarious purposes.
More on The Great Other and Winterfell
One Reddit user goes a step further and uses this theory to explain why there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Many years before the War of the Five Kings, the first time the Long Night came and the White Walkers were defeated, the Starks used blood magic to bind The Great Other to Winterfell. It keeps him in, and therefore, the phrase “there must always be a Stark in Winterfell” is even more important than it sounds. As Willas wasn’t a Stark, perhaps he wandered into the crypts, encountered this sinister being, and was so scarred from the process, he can only repeat the creature’s name.
When we spoke to Isaac Hempstead Wright, he said, “Clearly something catastrophic must have happened to make him the way he is now. It definitely opens up a lot of questions about this character we previously thought was sort of one-dimensional.” When we asked if we’ll find out what this “catastrophe” was, he was coy: “We might, we might not!”
Hodor is most likely not an agent of evil … but we now know there’s more to him than meets the eye. And that would be a damn good plot twist.