Hodor was never meant to snap Locke’s neck — that satisfaction was originally supposed to belong to a bear. Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss revealed on Sunday at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, that Locke, played by Noah Taylor, was slated to leave the show much earlier than he did.
Benioff and Weiss sat on a panel at SXSW with fan-favorite GoT actors Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), answering questions about the show’s upcoming seventh and eighth seasons and about how far they’ve already come. When asked about whether or not they’d ever changed their minds about killing off a character, Benioff and Weiss said that Taylor’s Locke was actually meant to die during Season 3, Episode 7, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” Obviously, he didn’t.
No answer was provided about why this change was made — it just happened. But it’s easy to assume one of two things: Either Benioff and Weiss really liked the cut of Taylor’s jib, or it turned out Locke was going to be useful for a little while longer.
Locke ends up being killed by Bran while he’s using Hodor as a proxy for his warg powers in Season 4. Bran-Hodor snaps Locke’s neck so aggressively that it almost tears Locke’s head from his body. Later, Jon Snow and some of the Brothers burn Locke’s body upon finding it, his treachery unknown to them.
Death by bear may have been a less violent end — so at least Locke got a taste of his own medicine by sticking around a little longer.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16.