Perhaps you, reader, are one of the many people that watch the HBO television show Game of Thrones on Sunday nights. Not to be rude, but odds are that you're not. But! The odds are strong that you are on some kind of social media platform, and saw a tweet or an Instagram or a Facebook post referencing something called Hodor or #HoldTheDoor this week. There are a lot of them!
As someone who maintains multiple social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram) but doesn't watch the Game of Thrones television show [Ed. note: OK, brag], I was truly baffled at the posts I saw popping up everywhere: a picture of a bearded man posted over the "door closed" elevator button.
Because I do not watch Game of Thrones, I turned to someone who does—Katie McDonough, Fusion's excellent political reporter and Game of Thrones recapper—to help understand this meme. This is what she told me:
Hi Michael. Hodor, whose real name was Wylis, was basically the body man for Bran, a character who became paralyzed after being pushed out a window because he saw two siblings doing it. Hodor helped Bran get around and protected him for six seasons. He also seemed to have an intellectual disability because he could only say one word: "Hodor."
This week's episode revealed that Hodor could only say "hodor" because it was a shortened version of "hold the door," which because of a weird and embarrassing plot development about time travel, was the last thing that young Wylis said before becoming the monosyllabic version of the character that he was for six seasons.
Long story short: Hodor died holding the door to keep White Walkers from attacking Bran. He died saving Bran, a fate he was condemned to, by Bran, at a very young age.
Got all that? Now, enjoy this invasive meme species taking over the wild.
And now you know.
Katie McDonough contributed reporting.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.