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Monday, May 23, 2016

Game of Thrones 6.5: Origin of a Name

A true beauty of an episode - 6.5 - of Game of Thrones last night, with a haunting time-loop employed to explain one of the minor mysteries of the series.

Why does Hodor, who has been Bran's mobility lo these many seasons, keep saying his name, Hodor?   A time-travel of the mind has already been established this year, with Bran traveling back to Winterfell to when he was a boy, when his father Ned was still young, and of course Bran had not yet been thrown off the tower.   A younger but still fairly massive Hodor is there, too.

Now, the key to this connection across time is that the current Bran has some mystic connection to his earlier self and that scene, in which he can not only see what's going on but maybe influence earlier events as well.  In episode 6.5 this two-way street is opened wide.  As Meera pulls Bran to safety from the White Walkers and whites, she shouts constantly to Hodor to "hold the door" so that the pale horde can't follow and overtake Meera and Bran.  In the past, Hodor, still at this point named Wylis, hears the shouts and repeats them in his simpleton way.  I realized after a few rounds of this that Hodor was a compression of hold the door.

It's a memorable origin-of-a-name story, with the name coming from the future, and tied to the saving of Bran's life and the sacrifice of Hodor's in the narrative bargain.  All of these years we've been hearing Hodor say Hodor, and now we know why.  Of course, in our reality, there's no way that the future can influence the past, and reverse cause and effect, but this is a good reminder that Game of Thrones is not just pseudo-historical drama, but fantasy.  I find this kind of reminder in some ways more appealing than the dragons.

But speaking of which, there was also a memorable scene between  Daenerys and Jorah, in which she commands him to find a cure.   Would that beating some strange illness were so easy in the real world, but, again, this is fantasy.   I haven't read the novels beyond the very first, and I hope that Jorah, one of my favorite characters,  is able to comply with his beloved Queen's command.

This has been a thoroughly satisfying season of Game of Thrones, so far - one of the best.

See also Game of Thrones 6.1: Where Are the Dragons ... Game of Thrones 6.2: The Waking

And see also Game of Thrones 5.1: Unsetting the Table ... Game of Thrones 5.8: The Power of Frigid Death ... Game of Thrones 5.9: Dragon in Action; Sickening Scene with Stannis ... Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale: Punishment

And see also Games of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Salient Points ... Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit? ... Game of Thrones 4.3: Who Will Save Tyrion ...Game of Thrones 4.4: Glimpse of the Ultimate Battle ... Game of Thrones 4.6: Tyrion on Trial ... Game of Thrones 4.8: Beetles and Battle ...Game of Thrones 4.9: The Fight for Castle Black ... Games of Thrones Season 4 Finale: Woven Threads

And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.

Also: CNN article, "How 'Game of Thrones' Is Like America," with quote from me

"I was here, in Carthage, three months from now." 


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