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.
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.