Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Damn, It Sounds Like Game of Thrones Actually Improved on Something From the Upcoming Books

Kristian Nairn as Hodor in season six of Game of Thrones.
Kristian Nairn as Hodor in season six of Game of Thrones.
Image: HBO

Game of Thrones might have been the most popular show on television for awhile, but nowadays it’s looked at as something of a mixed bag. This is mostly because of the final season, but other decisions in seasons six and seven contributed. Hodor’s swan song was not one of them but it turns out that’s partially thanks to a change the show made from the books.


In the new behind-the-scenes book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon (via Entertainment Weekly), author George R.R. Martin shared new details on how Hodor’s death scene from the season six episode “The Door” will play out in A Song of Ice and Fire (obviously, this means book spoilers for The Winds or Winter or A Dream of Spring, the final two books in his planned series).


According to Martin, the show’s decision to have Hodor literally “hold the door,” giving Bran Stark and Meera Reed a chance to escape, is not how it’s going to play out in his version. Instead, Bran’s order to “hold the door” is more of a general command to hold the line.

“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.”

It sounds like it’ll have the same outcome in the end, but the visual symbolism and impact of having it come from Hodor literally holding the door was such a brilliant move. It marked one of the most powerful moments of Game of Thrones in later seasons. However, don’t give the writers too much credit.

Another tidbit from the upcoming book focuses on how the show writers were surprised that Daenerys Targaryen’s “breaking bad” moment didn’t hit as well with audiences as they expected. As reported by Winter Is Coming, writer and co-executive producer Bryan Cogman shared that he and other members of the team were surprised that Dany’s execution of Randyll Tarly and his son Dickon wasn’t perceived as a bad thing. Instead, many audience members saw it as a slightly disturbing but still understandable consequence of war—a brutality reflected in other characters, including Sansa Stark when she had Ramsay Bolton killed by his own dogs.


“In our minds, we thought the Randyll Tarly scene was disturbing. Then I watched it with a crowd of people at a friend’s house and they were cheering. Weirdly, the audience just didn’t care. They loved Dany,” he said.

Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon is currently out and available to read.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.


Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I don’t know why they are surprised when they built the scene to not impose guilt. The scene was specifically set up with no choice for Dany. The Tarlys refused to bend the knee and refused to take the black. Realistically Dany could have imprisoned the but the show never presented this as an option. If Dany had been given a choice and killed them anyway then it would have fit the end goal better.