Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn, known for his role as the gentle giant named Hodor, recently attended San Diego Comic-Con and moderated the hit TV show’s panel on July 21.
Nairn’s character, Hodor, was Bran Stark’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) helpful companion who carried him around and ultimately sacrificed himself in one of the most tragic deaths in Game of Thrones history.
The Northern Irish actor moderated the panel which included Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Hempstead Wright, Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) and Conleth Hill (Varys). The panel attracted 6,500 people.
Nairn was interacting with his old colleagues but the cast remained tight-lipped about the current season and the next, which is planned to be the series’ last.
He also recently made his Las Vegas pool party debut as the DJ on July 23 at The Linq Hotel.
In honour of last Sunday’s performance, a throne made of pool noodles sat in front of the DJ booth, huge inflatable golden dragons floated in the pool, and Game of Thrones banners were pinned up around the pool deck.
Global News spoke with Nairn about his time playing Hodor on the HBO show, the new season of Game of Thrones and his upcoming projects.
Global News: Hodor’s death was an emotional ride for fans. Would you say it’s going to be one of the show’s most emotionally charged moments, and are you proud that you were a part of it?
Kristian Nairn: Hodor’s death was definitely an epic moment for the character and the show in general. Even though this was a sad moment, I felt that Hodor’s character completed a full circle and the resolution was satisfying. And of course, I am happy for the chance to play Hodor’s character, despite the character’s death.
Can you explain why GoT fans love a mute brute so much, especially without knowing Hodor’s history until literally the last minute?
I think Hodor’s character was a mystery for the fans, and they realized that his character had a bigger role. In addition, Hodor was loyal and a great friend to Bran and he played a significant role in Bran’s journey to fulfil his destiny.
Were/are you nervous that people would always view you as Hodor going forward in your career?
Well, Hodor is a memorable character in one of the biggest shows on TV. And being on the show has made so many positive changes in my life, so I am really happy for the opportunity. On the contrary, Hodor has helped open new doors for me.
Are you watching the new episodes religiously? Have you seen them already, and did you get them ahead of the premiere date?
Now that we’ve seen Khaleesi sailing towards Westeros, I think it’s safe to say we’re headed towards a climax in the plot. So, there’s a lot of excitement in the storyline to be revealed soon. Since I haven’t seen it myself, all I can say is there’s an amazing team of talented, creative people who have yet to fail us with an amazing, gripping, endlessly entertaining storyline. This time around, I’m really excited to be able to watch the show from the other side, a regular viewer, and to experience some of the twists and turns.
I think that some people are really invested in the show, and it has many fans who are passionate and excited about the show. But, the fun part of watching the show is getting to experience the surprises that come along in the plotline.
Do you miss working on the show? What new projects do you have coming up?
I had grown quite close to the small group of cast members over the course of my time working on Game of Thrones, so it’s a bittersweet moment and it’s hard to say goodbye.
I was a resident DJ in Belfast prior to working on Game of Thrones, but being a well-known cast member of Game of Thrones has really enabled me to play at bigger venues and reach more ears with my music. I’m happy to be gaining more recognition as a great DJ, and it’s something I hope to continue building in the future. I also have a horror movie coming out soon and a sci-fi show on Netflix coming in autumn.
In a less serious vein, and more out of curiosity, did it get harder to carry Isaac as he grew up on the show? (I know you guys got the sled, but still..)
Yes! In real life, I don’t think I would have been able to carry Isaac (Bran) for that long…
Who wins, you or the Mountain?
This is a tough one! The Mountain is quite scary and strong, but I think Hodor’s big heart wins!
Nairn has also teamed up with SodaStream on a new video that sheds light on important environmental causes.
In the video (below), The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik is on a quest to learn the ridiculous habits of Homoschlepiens (played by Nairn) — a newly discovered tribe with a peculiar behavioural anomaly.
[This interview has been edited.]