It’s been a long, hard journey for Bran Stark and his companion Hodor since they escaped from Winterfell at the end of the second season. After saying goodbye to friends and family, a capture and an escape, a whole lot of walking, and some necessary warging, they finally reached the three-eyed raven as the fourth season came to a close. What will happen next is anyone’s guess, but without a doubt, their world has been changed.
Kristian Nairn recently spoke with GQ about how Hodor has evolved over the past few seasons, and also shares his theories on what might be hiding underneath Hodor’s seemingly simple exterior.
A lot has, uh, gone down in the last four seasons—how do you think Hodor has changed?
He’s been pushed to the edge of his physical strength. He’s gone from his comfort zone of Winterfell. I think he’s a little depressed, to be honest. And then this whole warg-ing situation, Bran uses him to do these violent acts, he doesn’t enjoy that very much. Obviously, he’s very loyal to Bran and that sort of overtakes that. Bran really is the only thing he has left of home.
That moment with Locke was the first time we got to see Hodor angry.
Oh, it was fantastic. That was one of my favorite scenes so far, if not my favorite. And it was nice to see the whole range of emotions there. It was something completely different from Hodor’s usually docile self. I definitely got some aggression out that day.
One of the most upsetting moments for fans this season happened at the mutinied Craster’s Keep: Hodor getting tortured by the ex-Night’s Watch guys.
Yeah, people were pretty upset by that. Because he is the only innocent person in the series. You know, people don’t like to see the goodness being speared. It’s like, I don’t know, taking one of your family members, tying them up and spearing them. People don’t want to see it. It’s like kicking a puppy—I think that’s the best way to say it. He didn’t deserve it. People don’t like bullying. Basically, it was like schoolyard bullying on a bigger level. And people definitely identified with that. I remember there was like a Twitter campaign of “if Hodor dies, we riot.” So yeah, there was a lot of that sent around. People were pretty pissed.
Poor Hodor—though he may not be as simple as we assume.
Obviously, this is only my theory. It’s not even a theory; it’s just spitballing. I think there’s something there, keeping him almost hidden. You know, keeping his real personality down. Maybe he’s someone important. I definitely think he’s a sleeper character. That’s only my opinion. That’s not the official George R.R. Martin version. It might be nothing. He might just actually be stupid. In my version, I don’t think he is. I think there is something else there.
Kristian also spoke with the Sydney Morning Herald about his character being so beloved, working with Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and if Hodor was to speak any other words, what he would like them to be.
Your character is probably the only character on Game of Thrones who is universally beloved. The others divide opinion, but everybody just adores Hodor.
They do. I couldn’t figure it out at first. But he is lovable. He’s got everything, he’s got loyalty, he’s got purity, there’s really no downside to him. I’m very lucky to have a character like that really.
You have a good working relationship with young Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran. Does that inform your on screen relationship?
Yes. I can see it even more now, in the performance. I love Isaac, I’ve been with him now for four years and he feels like my little brother. In real life I’m immensely protective of him, I definitely think that comes across in the character. He’s an amazing actor, an incredibly talented little kid. I’m calling him a little kid, because when I first got to know him he was nine, but now he’s 14, coming on 15 years old, which is incredibly scary. I feel like almost his surrogate parent.
Would you like to see Hodor have another line of dialogue, and in what context?
Yes! I would like, you know, it’ll be in his future, whatever happens, to say something really emotional to Bran like “It was always a pleasure to look after you”, and then just to be snuffed out. I think that would be really emotional… an epitaph, almost, something that would really pull the heartstrings.
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