In the seriesEdit
Hodgson first appears welcoming Sir John Franklin and Commander James Fitzjames on board Terror along with Lt. Edward Little. Afterwards he is seen below decks and later when Terror's officers are invited to dine with Sir John and Fitzjames. He is also present when the officers from both ships confer about how to proceed after Erebus is damaged due to hitting an iceberg. (Go for Broke). After the ships become stuck in pack ice, he leads one of the treks to try to find open water, but fails (Gore). Hodgson is present on the deck of Terror when Sir John's hunting party comes under attack from the Tuunbaq and he is later part of a rescue party to find him (The Ladder). Hodgson is seen outside operating a cannon with Thomas "Tom" Hartnell, and Robert Golding. Later with their help alongside with Sgt. Solomon Tozer, they fire the cannon at the Tuunbaq when it climbs the mast of Terror almost killing Thomas Blanky (First Shot a Winner, Lads).
A couple weeks later Lt. John Irving gives a report about the remaining provisions with some of the other officers and Hodgson is pleased when Irving mentions the Christmas pudding made the week earlier using Lady Jane Franklin's recipe (A Mercy). In April, 1848, the order is given to abandon both ships and move south overland. Cornelius Hickey discovers something is wrong regarding the canned provisions and begins planning a mutiny. Hodgson is courted by Hickey as a potential mutineer. Hickey convinces him that it will be easier to survive in a smaller group, tells him that Captain Francis Crozier had intended to desert, and shares a meal with him: the body of Neptune, the ship's dog. Hodgson later leads a hunting party alongside Irving which includes Hickey, Thomas Armitage, Thomas R. Farr, and Francis Pocock. The parties split up to cover more ground during which Hickey murders Irving and Farr (Horrible from Supper).
After Hickey claims that Irving and Farr was killed by the Inuit, Hodgson and his men massacre a nearby family, although in the ensuing investigation, he comes to realize that Hickey has tricked him, although he still shows alarm at the prospect of an Inuit attack (Terror Camp Clear). Nevertheless, after the expedition is split in two, Hodgson joins Hickey and the mutineers out of desperation and hunger. Hickey clearly has little regard for him, and has him manhandled and almost killed to force Goodsir to butcher William Gibson. He partakes in the cannibalism of Gibson's body, sitting apart from the others, and is disturbed by the experience. Afterwards he recounts to Goodsir about a Catholic mass he attended as a child. (The C, the C, the Open C). He later partakes in the eating of Goodsir's body. He is one of the men chained up and forced to drag Hickey's boat, which results in his death when the Tuunbaq attacks as he cannot unlock his shackles quickly enough and doesn't heed to Crozier's warning of staying still, allowing the Tuunbaq to shake him to death, apparently breaking his neck then devouring him (We Are Gone).
In the novelEdit
- He has relatives who are secret Catholics, and relatives living in America.
- Hodgson can speak French and says "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are". A quote by lawyer and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
- In real life, Hodgson, like Fitzjames, fought in the First Opium War, in which he was "slightly wounded in a personal encounter with a Chinese".
- A table spoon and a dessert spoon that belonged to Hodgson were recovered from Erebus Bay in 1859.