"Game of Thrones" returns this Sunday to kick off season two, as if you needed to know (here's six clips, the Best TV Poster Ever, the Seven Devils trailer, a "Game of Thrones"-inspired "The Simpsons" intro, and a whole lotta photos). One of the many George R.R. Martin characters we are looking forward to returning is Hodor, who has somehow become both character and mantra. What does the "Hodor" mantra mean? There are a lot of interpretations, but when I hear "Hodor" being repeated, what I hear is this: "Sack up, peons. You're about to get an eye-full of awesome."
Hodor himself is the show's lovable dolt. He's a stableboy and servant to the House of Stark. His responsibility is to provide mobility to a paralyzed Bran Stark. Hodor is capable of only one word: "Hodor." He is slow of wit, gentle, and unyieldingly loyal to the House of Stark.
It's a familiar archetype: The big dumb lovable and loyal lug. It's been around in literature forever: Queequeg in Moby Dick, Morgante in Don Quixote, Lennie in Of Mice and Men, and even the Ents in Lord of the Rings. Some Hodors are played straight; and in some, there are subversive twists. What's remarkable about all these Hodors in films and television, however, is how they're all fan favorites. Everyone loves a Hodor.
In honor of the Giant with a mind of a child in Game of Thrones, we look back now at film and TV's 10 Greatest Hodors of All Time.
10. Francis Lawrence "Larry" Kubiac III, "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" -- Originally a big dumb bully, the 6 foot 7, 270-pound dolt with a sweet disposition eventually came around as Parker Lewis' biggest defender, often providing muscle for Parker Lewis' schemes.
9. Mongo, Blazing Saddles -- Initially an enemy to Bart, the black railroad worker, Mongo becomes his assistant after Bart defeats him. Mongo is an immensely strong and loyal assistant to Bart. He can also punch a horse in the face. In a twist on the archetype, Mongo is also surprisingly philosophical.
8. Warren Jensen, There's Something About Mary -- Mary's brother Warren is actually mentally retarded, doesn't like his headphones being fiddled with, and can never seem to find his wiener.
7. Jayne Cobb, "Firefly"/Serenity -- Cobb is a physically intimidating mercenary, a simple thug under the naive belief that his knit cap is conniving. Although he fits most of the archetype's elements, there are hints of an undercurrent of complexity to his character.
6. B.A. Baracus, "The A-Team" -- The muscle for "The A-Team," B.A. Baracus is an intimidating force, but he's also surprisingly cuddly, terribly afraid of flying, and he loves milk. He's actually most loyal to Murdock, with whom he disagrees most.
5. Sloth, Goonies --Sloth, the most lovable monster of your childhood, is the deformed brother of those dastardly Fratellis. He eventually befriends Chunk and becomes the slow-witted defender of The Goonies.
4. Ludo, Labrynth -- Ludo is a giant beast who looks terrying, but is actually gentle and playful. He speaks in broken English, and although he's not very bright, he has the ability to summon rocks and defeat goblins in defense of Sarah.
3. Hagrid, Harry Potter -- Not quite as dumb as the typical Hodor (in fact, he's eventually made a professor), Hagrid is a half giant wizard who is easily duped but a fierce defender of Harry Potter, Dumbledore and Hogwarts.
2. Chewbacca, Star Wars -- Even less verbose than Hodor, Chewie is as fond of giving bear hugs as he is tearing people apart. After Han Solo rescued him from slavery, Chewbacca becomes a loyal and lifelong companion.
1. Fezzik, The Princess Bride -- A simple giant and another lovable dolt who speaks in broken English, Fezzik is at first an enemy to the main protagonist in The Princess Bride, but becomes loyal to him after losing a fight. He later helps Westley infiltrate the castle and rescue Buttercup. He is a better Hodor than Hodor.