Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Kristian Nairn on the implications of Bran warging into Hodor
By Lightbringer on in Interview.

After being held captive at Craster’s Keep, in last Sunday’s episode Bran Stark came dangerously close to trading his shackles for a one way ticket to a shallow grave at the hands of Locke. With no other choice, Bran warged into Hodor to take control of the situation. While his first foray into his companion’s body was more innocent, this time he uses Hodor’s strength to brutally kill his captor in self defense.

In new interviews with Vulture, Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Kristian Nairn talk about their big scene, and the implications of Bran taking over Hodor’s body in a moment of need.

What was it like shooting that scene?

Isaac:
It was cool. For a teenage boy, seeing all these incredibly cool prosthetics and bones sticking out of necks is probably the coolest part of it. And it was really cool, even if it wasn’t really me, getting to see my character get some serious killing. That was Bran’s first kill. It’s about time Bran gets his violent streak on!

This is a far greater example of his power than we’ve seen before, though. And he’s exerting far more control over Hodor. How do you feel about that? Is taking over someone’s body like that a form of rape?

Isaac:
Yeah. It’s really terrifying — more so for Hodor, because Bran has effectively forced him to commit murder. If there were a U.N., they would be upset with the human rights violations in Westeros. It’s a very serious thing for Bran to do, to take another human being’s life in his hands and take full responsibility of it. You could argue that Bran seems slightly psychotic, smashing someone’s neck, but he has to do it, because he has to get to this place [in Jojen Reed’s vision], is my take on it. There is this absolute necessity to make it to these strange four peaks. He’s not entirely sure what it means, but on some level within him, he knows there are precise coordinates where he has to get to. But I think it’s a moment for him to realize, “Okay, I know I’m determined to get to this place, but I’m not in control of the world, and I better remember with great power comes great responsibility.”

That’s what they say in Spider-Man.

Issac:
Is it? [Laughs] Oh, yeah! Well, there we go — Bran is Spider-Man! And hopefully Bran doesn’t have quite the same malicious intentions as if you gave that power to Joffrey. Can you imagine if Joffrey had that power?! We’d be in serious trouble. But this is definitely not sadistic. It’s a moment of blind panic. He doesn’t have a sword. He doesn’t really have any other options. Well, he could push Locke down and run away. But all Bran is thinking about is saving himself, and saving Hodor and Meera and Jojen, and for him, the only way to do that is to kill Locke and get out of there quickly. It’s a moment of absolute chaos.

So let’s talk about the big scene in Sunday’s episode, when Bran wargs into Hodor and kills Locke.

Kristian:
I always say, the darker the scene, the more fun it is. And it was definitely fun to film, and it’s a different side of Hodor, even though it’s not really Hodor. But it was definitely a different note, acting wise. Bran gets the nod from Jojen, who’s his Yoda — he’s been teaching him how to use his powers — so he’s like, “Yeah, do it.” And Bran wargs into Hodor, and Hodor becomes a very different animal. He’s hugely strong, which he’s never gotten to use in a malicious way before, and he breaks the chains and he takes off after Locke. He knocks him flat with a single push, and Locke makes a move to stab him, so Hodor puts him in his Darth Vader grip — that’s what I like to call it — and completely collapses his throat and almost rips his head off, and throws him down like a rag doll. His head is completely separated from his spinal cord. Imagine a bear hitting a salmon with his paw. It’s just horrible. But it’s great, at the same time! [Laughs.]

How much do you think this is self-defense for Bran? Justifiable homicide?

Kristian:
In Westeros, that’s another day at the office! [Laughs.] But Bran has no option, because he’s being taken away from everybody. If he hadn’t done this, he never would have seen any of us again, and his journey would be over. No more walking. No more powers. And he’s hoping that he can find some magical way to get his legs back. And it’s just chaos. If he had time to plan, he might have done things differently, because he’s not a seasoned killer. And I don’t think it’s easy for him to use his power yet, but he can when there’s an emotional key. I think it’s time for something like this to happen Bran, you know? He hasn’t had a good time of things. He lost his family, his home, and he’s gone from being the lord of the castle to being basically a handicapped child. He’s lost, and he’s overdue for a little bit of payback. I’m sure deep down, Bran is probably quite scared and angry, and it’s out of desperation.

What about how Hodor feels about this?

Kristian:
When Hodor comes around and realizes what he’s done, he’s not happy. He’s not happy at all. As you see at the end of the scene, he looks haunted. He’s standing there with the snow blowing around him, looking at his hands, looking at the body. And what his internal monologue is, I mean, obviously, he would say, “Hodor, Hodor, Hodor,” but his internal monologue is saying, “I couldn’t. I couldn’t have done this.” He sees the blood on his hands, and he’s terrified. He’s completely confused. He’s looking at the corpse, his hands, and Bran, and he’s thinking, I couldn’t have done that. But I’m sure he knows he did, because he must have had some sort of backseat view, because he doesn’t like it. But I think he cares enough about Bran that he would have let him, under certain circumstances. He realizes that there is a battle going on around him, so his sense of duty kicks in and he snaps out of it.

For more from Isaac’s interview including his thoughts on the moment Bran decides to stop calling out for Jon, the ashy snow they use on set, and the increasingly difficult job of making him look small, click here.

For more from Kristian’s interview including his thoughts on President Obama’s most recent photoshop gag, being the only person to dwarf the Iron Throne, and his reaction to Gay of Thrones branding his troupe Bran and the Winterfell Spice Girls, click here.


42 Comments

  1. serum
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    BRODOR!!!! This was one of my favorite scenes from the episode!

    Bran + Hodor for those wondering!

  2. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Was that really Bran’s “first kill”? Last season, when Bran warged into Summer/Shaggydog (both?) and killed the wildlings around Jon, was probably Bran’s first kill, imho. Then again, Bran may have just initiated the attack idea in the direwolves’ heads rather than fully executing it, like he did with Hodor. Is there any major difference between warging a direwolf and warging Hodor?

  3. Sunfyre
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Kristian Nairn is a really good actor. He totally sold this scene and my favorite part was his anguished look after he realized what had just happened. The warging adds such complexity to the Bran Hodor relationship. It is clearly a violation, but I love the thought that Hodor recognizes that it might be necessary for Bran to warg him in extreme circumstances.

  4. GeekFurious
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I think when they say “his first kill” they mean as a human, on a human.

  5. Snake
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    That’s probably my favourite scene from the last episode.
    Isaac’s performance was fantastic, from being helpless and angry watching Meera getting violated, to the desperation when he crawled to reach for Jon, and finally the sadness when he had to make the tough decision.
    Both him and Kristian really made that scene.

  6. andy smith
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    *Quote from second question* – Is taking over someone’s body like that a form of rape?

    *Sigh*

  7. Valyrian Plastic
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I love how Isaac calls it the “Darth Vader Grip” too. That was the first and only thing that sprang to mind for me in that moment, though I’ve now taken to calling it a “Bloody Head-Locke”. A few of the book readers seemed to pick up on how Karl’s death was identical to Biter’s in AFFC. Good spot, because I just called it a “reverse Witch King” (I don’t normally name deaths really). Speaking of which, this should be on Beautiful Deaths by now.

  8. jentario
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    I think there is definitely a difference. When Bran wargs Summer he gets into the mind of the wolf. He may have placed the idea in Summer’s head, but Summer was probably the one to go through with it. This time he got into the mind of Hodor- who probably fought him hard, not wanting to do it. So Bran had to take full control and kill on his own, with no help (with a hindrance, actually). So, yeah, I do think this is different.

  9. jentario
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Valyrian Plastic,

    That’s a bit of a spoiler. My brother noticed that too!

  10. Rickard Greyjoy
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Hahha yeah. Loved how Hodor was first meekly protesting and straining his chains then his eyes roll up and he’s Angry Hodor. The ‘hodoring’ stopped and he was all business.

  11. Valyrian Plastic
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Valyrian Plastic: …this should be on Beautiful Deaths by now.

    Oh, yes. :D

    http://beautifuldeath.com/

  12. Snake
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    andy smith,

    Yeah I don’t know why everything has to be associated with rape.
    Rape is rape and mind control is mind control, both are bad but are completely different things.
    But Isaac’s answer’s brilliant nevertheless.

  13. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Valyrian Plastic:
    http://beautifuldeath.com/

    I never knew about that site until now. Morbid but cool. Thx!

  14. Valyrian Plastic
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    We had a couple of articles on it when they were doing a 1-death-per-day for 30 days in the run-up to Season 4. I missed your presence quite a bit in that time; were you one of the Brotherhood Without Previews?

  15. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Valyrian Plastic,

    Wow. You noticed that I was absent in Feb & Mar? That is very kind, ser. I had a break from work so I disappeared into the wintry hills for a while to battle some demons. Sadly, my brotherhood alliances have been terminated.

    Now that you have reminded me, I’ll go back and revisit those posts. Thx again for the link! ASoI&F inspires such awesome creativity. Can’t wait for the artwork in TWoI&F.

  16. GeekFurious
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Snake:
    andy smith,

    Yeah I don’t know why everything has to be associated with rape.
    Rape is rape and mind control is mind control, both are bad but are completely different things.
    But Isaac’s answer’s brilliant nevertheless.

    Rape is a hot-button word. And it’s become the thing that drives hits on sites. Say “rape” in a “Game of Thrones” article and your views increase substantially.

    GOT and rape has become like politics and “patriotism” or “support for the soldiers” or “death panels”. It’s bullshit. It’s easy. And it drives eyeballs to your thing.

  17. Valyrian Walker
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    this was inspired by listening to last monday’s episode of Game of Owns
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZJJBNJa5b0

  18. jentario
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Valyrian Walker,

    Straight to GOT Laughs

  19. Valyrian Plastic
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    jentario,

    Along with this too, LOL!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC6jU_09eOA

    Also, you know that thing you love the most…

    http://coiaf.tumblr.com/

  20. Snake
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I know Kristian [Nairn] had an accident this year, and he got hurt quite badly, and I think it’s been tough for him when he’s had to pick me up, so I’m constantly singing him SpongeBob songs, like “Goofy Goober Rock.” [Laughs

    Well this is just too adorable.

  21. House Mormont
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Why’s Bran calling the 3EC’s cave four peaks? Is that something extra?

  22. jentario
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Valyrian Plastic,

    Those are great, but I must admit I was expecting a more extravagant pile of dragon shit. The colors are to bland… Where are the greens? Where are the reds?

  23. jentario
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    House Mormont,

    This is kind of spoilery on your part- it being the 3EC’s place and it being a cave. It’s rather tame, but still a spoiler. and no I don’t think it means anything important.

  24. Turncloak
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  25. Jack H'Ghar
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a very interesting use of Bran’s powers although as a book reader it took me a little getting used to. The whole journey is very interesting, with more happening than in the books. Not to take away from that (extra SPOILER warning if you haven’t read ALL the books)… I think the show has generally missed an opportunity to show Jojen as the really fascinating character he is in the books. In the books he is meeker, more focused on the metaphysical rather than the physical (and thus more in need of his sister). In the books I getter a better understanding of his greenseer abilities. In the show he seems like just another character in the show, a glorified guide, only now showing some of his powers. He also has less composure than book Jojen (afraid in the tower and then excited about Bran’s Hodorg abilities in season 2). There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not the same. But of course Bran’s trip just got much more interesting than it was in the books, which is great.

  26. Turncloak
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I just watched episode 5 last night and Hodor killing Locke was probably my least favorite part. The shot seemed kind of awkward imo. I loved The Karl vs Jon fight though. Karl using two dirks like a boss

  27. Daniellica
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    The word “rape” has long been used as an analogy or metaphor or synonym for “extreme violation.” It’s nothing new, and this usage was certainly not invented to generate hits when discussing GoT. We just have a heightened sensitivity to it because of the recent uproar, as do journalists and others, no doubt.

    And I have to call bullshit on that uproar…again. I just started watching Bates Motel, and in the first episode there is a [SPOILERS] violent depiction of rape, then the discovery of a journal filled with sexual torture and bondage, then in the next few episodes the fantasy Norman has of sexually violating his English teacher, finding a woman sexually tortured in someone’s basement, then re-finding her on some boat. I do not recall the OUTRAGE for all of this.

    WHERE IS MY OUTRAGE???

    And I have seen sexual violence in many films/television without near as much righteous vitriol. People have the right to be offended by it–people have the right to be offended by whatever they damn well please (topiaries do me in, personally; surely even shrubs have a right to dignity). But the dismissive nature with which so many approach any number of things with this show pisses me off. “Ugh, more filler.” “Ugh, more gratuitous rape.” “Ugh, more completely ignoring the integrity of the books for making this character nicer/handsomer/uglier/barkier/more interesting/more dull than I wanted him/her to be.”

    I know it’s easy to bitch about the lawn once you also have a pool, but god damn we are one lucky bunch of mutha flippin’ fans.

  28. Zack
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard:
    Was that really Bran’s “first kill”? Last season, when Bran warged into Summer/Shaggydog (both?) and killed the wildlings around Jon, was probably Bran’s first kill, imho. Then again, Bran may have just initiated the attack idea in the direwolves’ heads rather than fully executing it, like he did with Hodor. Is there any major difference between warging a direwolf and warging Hodor?

    Holy shit, am I forgetting a major detail here?

    Are you sure Bran was controlling the wolves, or were they just being protective of their human family? What’s the evidence for the former?

  29. Luka Nieto
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Zack,

    He was explicitly controlling them. Watch the scene again. Jojen convinces him to do it and he does.

  30. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Luka Nieto:
    Zack,
    He was explicitly controlling them. Watch the scene again. Jojen convinces him to do it and he does.

    Yeah…I agree. Bran had to have a taste for blood (from a direwolf perspective) before Hodor, in book and show canon.

  31. Zack
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Luka Nieto:
    Zack,

    He was explicitly controlling them. Watch the scene again. Jojen convinces him to do it and he does.

    Ah, you’re right. I don’t know how I forgot that–it really isn’t very ambiguous, watching again.

    As to the other debate going on…it is a more ethically murky act to warg a human than an animal but there isn’t really any scenario where forcibly hijacking the body of another being is a clear cut ‘right’ thing to do I think. It is a kind of ‘mind rape’.

    But there are fan theories out there figuring that Bran is headed down a dark path, using his warging of Hodor as a prime example. I think there might be truth to that. If we continue to see Bran ‘use’ bodies without asking consent, and he doesn’t seem bothered by it, they might be foreshadowing something ominous for him.

    I think it would be a very cool way to take the story.

  32. Matt
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    On the question about Bran warging into the wolves to save Jon, was Bran warging into both Summer AND Shaggydog or was Shaggydog just following Summer’s lead?

  33. Patchy Face
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone think that Rast may reappear at some point as a wight?

  34. freoduwebbe
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Patchy Face:
    Does anyone think that Rast may reappear at some point as a wight?

    Me me…. I wondered about that. they found 10 bodies, then Ghost killed Rast, then they saw Rast – they sure left an opening for Rast to not have been burnt. I’m waiting to see if that goes anywhere.

    I also figure that Craster wife that spit on the ground is going to show up again. She’s too intense not to.

  35. Patchy Face
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    freoduwebbe,

    Maybe a few of Craster’s wives but have we seen a female wight yet (other than the little girl at the very beginning of S1)?

  36. King Stannis
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Daniellica:
    The word “rape” has long been used as an analogy or metaphor or synonym for “extreme violation.” It’s nothing new, and this usage was certainly not invented to generate hits when discussing GoT. We just have a heightened sensitivity to it because of the recent uproar, as do journalists and others, no doubt.

    And I have to call bullshit on that uproar…again. I just started watching Bates Motel, and in the first episode there is a [SPOILERS] violent depiction of rape, then the discovery of a journal filled with sexual torture and bondage, then in the next few episodes the fantasy Norman has of sexually violating his English teacher, finding a woman sexually tortured in someone’s basement, then re-finding her on some boat. I do not recall the OUTRAGE for all of this.

    WHERE IS MY OUTRAGE???

    And I have seen sexual violence in many films/television without near as much righteous vitriol. People have the right to be offended by it–people have the right to be offended by whatever they damn well please (topiaries do me in, personally; surely even shrubs have a right to dignity). But the dismissive nature with which so many approach any number of things with this show pisses me off. “Ugh, more filler.” “Ugh, more gratuitous rape.” “Ugh, more completely ignoring the integrity of the books for making this character nicer/handsomer/uglier/barkier/more interesting/more dull than I wanted him/her to be.”

    I know it’s easy to bitch about the lawn once you also have a pool, but god damn we are one lucky bunch of mutha flippin’ fans.

    When it’s popular and as a Goliath show as GoT is right now. Some will find ways to bring it down by trying to point out flaws rather then enjoying its greatness

  37. GeekFurious
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Daniellica:
    The word “rape” has long been used as an analogy or metaphor or synonym for “extreme violation.” It’s nothing new, and this usage was certainly not invented to generate hits when discussing GoT.

    I never suggested the word was “invented” for that purpose. It’s overuse now is an exploitation of circumstance and definitely used to generate hits on sites.

  38. Easteros bunny
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Bran isn’t a killer.

    Jamie raped cersei, they are slowly destroying characters for shock value.

  39. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Easteros bunny:
    Bran isn’t a killer.

    How can you possibly state that and believe it? Given his lineage, his growing warging power (direwolf and human) and greensight, his coming understanding of how his kin were murdered, his own tragedy, and especially his tutelage by Bloodraven, I doubt he is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize. His rebellious, ominously powerful years are ahead and he knows the taste of blood through warging. The show is simply cementing that part of Brans’ story.

    Bran’s, Arya’s and Sansa’s (and Jon’s) arcs are about how they use and temper the power that is within them. Their arcs will always be intimate with violence.

    —–

    Regarding J/C, just no…how can you possibly judge a relationship that you cannot possibly understand…and from only one PoV in the books? ASoI&F’s PoV structure is fraught with misinterpretations and falsities, by design. Even so, I always thought the act was incredibly lustful and deranged when I first read it…as so portrayed onscreen. Who the fuck cares that they didn’t state every word from the text during the scene? Cersei only pulled away because the fake hand touched her face (and the location). Can you imagine the secret, intense and lustful trysts that occurred in the past that created Joff, Myrcella and Tommen, probably right under Robert’s nose? That kind of dysfunctional passion was part of their soul…and curse.

  40. Zeus
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    My father was killed by a possessed simpleton who snapped his neck. How dare they depict this on the show.? My feelings were hurt

  41. dragonreborn
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know about the gay of thrones recaps! why didn’t you share them? I fell off the chair in s03e10 recap’s ending :))

  42. Tatters
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Easteros bunny,

    Buhuu, Jaime is a monster buhuu.
    I wish you could have told me that three years ago, i might have believed that.
    This fandom, seriously.


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