Coleman portrayed a young version of the character, famously showing how Hodor became Hodor. The sequence, however, is one of the most heartbreaking and confusing moments in the show, also introducing the idea that Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) may be able to influence the past.
While Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) visit a past vision of Winterfell, the cave in which their present-day bodies are staying is attacked by White Walkers and an army of wights. In the present, Meera (Ellie Kendrick) calls on Bran to warg into ― or rather, enter the mind of ― the older, present-day Hodor (Kristian Nairn).
Though Bran is occupied with a vision in the past, he hears Meera and apparently does what she orders. In the present, Meera, Hodor and Bran find a door that leads outside the cave. As she drags Bran away, Meera yells back to Hodor to “hold the door” in order to stall the pursuing wights. But all this time, Bran is still in the vision of the past, where Young Hodor, known then as Wylis, somehow seems to notice him ― and he’s able to hear Meera yelling “hold the door,” too. Wylis/Young Hodor then appears to have a seizure, and starts saying “hold the door” repeatedly as older Hodor, in the present, is overwhelmed by wights and killed.
Back in the past, Young Hodor eventually shortens “hold the door” to “Hodor,” and that’s how the complicated, and sad, scene ends.
It’s a lot to wrap your brain around ― so much so that even Coleman isn’t sure exactly what happened.
During a Reddit Q&A, the actor was asked whether Hodor saw his future, or whether Bran warged into the character in the past. “Not really clear on how he became so traumatized?” the questioner wrote.
“I wish I could clarify this for you! TBH, I am as clueless as the rest of you! I didn’t even know Kristian [Nairn’s] character was going to die until the episode aired!” Coleman said.
The actor did his best to explain, saying it all had to do with Bran staying too long in the past. This made his connection weak, and “the past and future began to merge.”
“As a result he heard the call to warg into Hodor and, not wanting to leave the lure of the past, either thought he could do it whilst still being in the past or thought he could access present Hodor via Wylis,” Coleman explained, adding, “or he was losing control of his thoughts and his conscious and unconscious mind were starting to merge or something trippy like that.”
Bran’s connection to Hodor became strong enough that Wylis took notice, according to Coleman, and this “messed Wylis up” and “pretty much fried his neurons into a simple amplifier for what Meera was saying.”
You can read the actor’s full response below, though he also adds a disclaimer: “But honestly, I have no idea!”
Whatever you believe the explanation is, we can all agree there was never anyone better at holding a door.