Spoiler Alert: This article discusses Season 6 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid potential spoilers.
For many fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Episode 5 (entitled “The Door”) of Season 6 was a particularly hard one. This was the episode when the reason behind Hodor only every being able to say “Hodor,” was revealed. However, imagine how hard it would have been for the writers of the TV series to convert that heart-wrenching moment into other languages? Because how does “hold the door” even translate? Let’s have a look and find out.
Episode 5 of Game of Thrones revealed that the reason Hodor (Kristian Nairn) only ever uttered the one word is because of Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) time traveling. Fans saw Bran travel back in time during a scene where he, Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and the Children of the Forest were trying to escape the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) and his wights. As Meera is dragging Bran out of their hiding place, she shouts back to Hodor to “hold the door” as they escape. But before this can even happen, Bran has to warg into Hodor as a child in order to get Hodor to move. As a result of this, Hodor ends up getting confused between his present day self and the self that Bran has warged into, creating a time paradox where all he could ever mutter was “Hodor,” a warbled contraction of “hold the door.”
This episode of Game of Thrones was eloquent, sad, and answered the long held question of why Hodor can only ever say “Hodor” in Game of Thrones. But how does this scene translate in other countries? After all, Game of Thrones is a show written in English, taken from a series of books also written in English. How did the show’s translators deal with the language barrier?
Well, a very dedicated Game of Thrones fan took to Imgur to post the translation of “hold the door” morphing into “Hodor” in 21 languages to compare just how well the translators got it right — or wrong.
Some translations were smooth. In German, “hold the door” translates to “halte das tor.” A stretch of the imagination can easily be made here. Along with some of the Scandinavian languages from which George R. R. Martin likely borrowed Hodor’s name from for his Game of Thrones book series. The Danish translation sees “hold the door” translate to “hold døren,” as it does in Norwegian as well. However, the Finnish translation is completely off with “pidä ovi suljettuna.” In fact, it appears the translators didn’t even try with that one.
For other translations though, there were some very clever translations where the words were changed to suit the scene in order to get the translation to sound very similar to Hodor’s name by the end of the scene. For the Swedish translation, it was just a matter of changing it a little to “shut the door.” The Polish translation used the phrase, “hold the dead as long as you can.” In Russian, Meera was calling out, “shut the entrance,” and in Spanish it was “block the passage.” In Italian, they used the creative, “block the horde,” in order to make the translation from “blocca l’orda” to “orda,” and, finally, to “Hodor.”
What do you think of the Game of Thrones translations for the scene that revealed why Hodor only ever says “Hodor?” Which was your favorite? Let us know by commenting below.
Game of Thrones will return to HBO with a shortened Season 7 in 2017.
[Image via HBO]