Millennials might not know about Max von Sydow’s legendary acting career. The Swedish-French actor has starred in films as diverse as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), The Exorcist (1973) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
In 2016, von Sydow reappears in another medieval style drama, Game of Thrones.
Spoiler alert for Game of Thrones, season 6 !
Playing the role of the Three-Eyed Raven, von Sydow leads the young Bran Stark through a mystical adventure of destiny fulfillment.
In the scene below, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven journey through time to witness an incident that shapes the noble Hodor’s life… and death.
The adult Hodor is a gentle giant with a disability. He understands what others say but can only speak the word “Hodor.” He is a loyal companion to friends but seen as a ‘simpleton’ by foes.
Because the past and present are linked in a temporal loop, Hodor’s adult death retroactively causes the onset of his boyhood disability.
Before his death disables him back through time, the youth speaks perfectly. But the event of his death ripples back to adolescence, causing him to undergo something like an epileptic fit. And this brings on his speech impediment.
The only word Hodor speaks as an adult is also the name everybody calls him by, “Hodor.” This is a portmanteau of a repeated cry heard just before his death:
HOLD THE DOOR!
In his final hour, Hodor sacrificially holds a wooden door shut to prevent evil creatures from killing his friends. His friends survive but the wily creatures hack through the door and destroy him.
This development left me spellbound. The implications are grand. Especially when we consider that time is relative. And not just in sci-fi but in science.
The Hodor cycle got me thinking about how people struggling with difficulties, psychological or otherwise, could actually be doing some kind of noble service in ways – and on other levels – that we are only dimly aware of.
Most MDs and psychologists would probably dismiss this as “unscientific.” And fair enough. But can we fully understand the human predicament from the perspective of a microscope, test tube or brain scan?
I don’t believe so. And it would be equally unscientific to ignore alternatives, no matter how far-fetched, without giving them a fair hearing.