Game of Thrones, Disability, and Hodor.Posted: May 24, 2016 Filed under: disability | Tags: disability, Game of Thrones, Hodor, Intellectual disability 4 Comments
There is a big spoiler in here. There is a big spoiler in here. There is a big SPOILER in here!
Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s continue.
Hodor. I’ve always liked his character, mostly because the writers at Game of Thrones didn’t seem to be trying to make him into the next Lennie Small. But after seeing the last episode, I liked his story arc even more.
Short breakdown: White walkers show up. Wise tree root dude, the “children”, Bran, Meera, and Hodor are screwed. Bran just happens to be traveling through the past via the magical tree. All kinds of death, fire and ice. Bran is still in warg mode sifting through the past, Meera and Hodor drag Bran towards a door to the outside through which to escape. Once through, Meera yells at Hodor to hold the door closed so that the white walkers can’t follow. Hodor holds the door and sacrifices his life for Bran and Meera.
At the same time, Bran witnesses Hodor, witnessing Hodor’s own death. Turns out that back when Hodor was a young Wylis, he had a seizure. Bran sees this: Hodor’s eyes go milky (like Bran’s when he is exploring the past) and he starts yelling “hold the door” over and over again. Hold the door. Hold door. Hodor. Did Bran’s presence in the past cause Wylis/Hodor to have the seizure, I’m not sure.
I’m also not sure that this clever little paradox that GoT has set up was meant to be a statement on disability (or at least not solely), but it is such a statement on disability. Given how passive Hodor’s character has been I wondered if Hodor’s final end wouldn’t come while Bran was controlling his body, but Hodor’s last and most important sacrifice is done fully aware—his eyes are clear. And there it is. Hodor’s greatest deed leads to his disability, and his disability leads him to his greatest deed. His intellectual disability is a means to his heroicism. He’s not a hero despite his disability and he doesn’t overcome his disability. His heroicism and his disability are both essential parts of his whole. Yin and yang, peanut butter and jelly, left and right! Ok I don’t want to overwhelm you with deep metaphors, I’ll stop.
Cheers to Game of Thrones for managing (again) for representing disability without resorting to pity and inspiration tropes. Except I’m still grieving over Hodor actually dying. That sucked.
The writing is so brilliant. I admit to being sucked into the discriminatory thought that Hodor was simply there for comic relief. I even became annoyed with him at times. The long, long, lead-in was actually a pretty good klunk over the head for me.
BTW I have been watching Season Five over again, and in watching it I realize how many of these set-ups are actually happening. The stories are multi-faceted, and it’s not just in the overwhelming number of characters.
Jisun have you read any of the books?
I sped through the books in a couple weeks and admit that I don’t remember it all, but I do recall that Hodor and Bran Have a different relationship in the books, correct?
I have never even seen the books! I am pretty new to GOT — began watching it when Season Five was already over.
Oh man, you should read the books! I’ve read that this current season is finally departing from the book timeline, but the rest has been fairly close (just talking about events, not details) and I bet you’ll find it interesting to see how the show reinterpreted the book. Definitely some differences.