Hodor Interview Kristian Nairn Season 4

Kristian Nairn on his Season 4 journey, and theory of a not so simple Hodor

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.

For more from Kristian on Hodor, fans, and filming in Ireland visit GQ and SMH.


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  • Hodor!

    (Probably the only time I feel comfortable/slightly less annoying posting that comment… :P

  • My Hodor theory is he was the Oldtown whore that was assaulted by Whoresbane Umber, severely damaging his brain. Whoresbane’s real name is of course Hother which is close in sound to Hodor. Hodor is just trying to tell us who hurt him!

  • Love Kristian, and the way the show has allowed him to stretch a little as an actor this season.

    And I agree, Hodor going full hulk on Locke was the best.

  • I like the character, I like the actor… I just hope Hodor gets horribly killed to spite the fans who “Hodor” constantly.

  • monsieurxander,

    Hodor can’t die. He is more than just a human being, he is an idea. When his body will die, his name will live on in all of us. HODOR! HODOR! HODOR!!!

  • I really like that last paragraph, it would be both epic and sweet. And as he walks away he could look back and say… “the name’s Walder, btw”.

    Really happy to see a bit more HODOR SMASH! Kris conveys his innocence and power very well. And when he gets hit by stuff Im like Dx

  • Kristian Nairn is absolutely right when he said ppl were upset when Hodor was disparaged by Locke’s (or Karl’s, I forget) minions at Craster’s Keep. There was something deeply upsetting about that, even more than say when Jamie pushed Bran out of the window in S1…

    My fave Hodor moment (I think it was S3 though), Bran: “Hodor – stop Hodoring!”

  • I think it would cheapen the character, not to mention be massively cheesy, if he suddenly came out with other words. I really cannot imagine GRRM doing that.

    I like the idea of him having a history that we don’t know about yet, and of course he does have a huge amount of inner (and outer) strength, but the idea of there being more to him than meets the eye in terms of his mental capacity would actually massively diminish him for me.

  • Matt:
    Hodor’s only non-”Hodor” line should be “Bran.”

    Just to massively contradict my own last post, that actually would be quite nice, if done well. But nothing more.

  • Hodor must be part giant. He must have giant blood in him. He’s huge and when he gets to exhibit it, has almost super human strength. Plus I believe the actual word “Hodor” is magic and has something to do with the final battle in this story. So, Kristian is right. It’s entirely possible that the “Hodor” character is viewed as one of the most heroic ones in this entire story one day.

  • jentario,

    Good God, Jentario! Reading your post made me wanna yell HOOOOODDDDDOOOOOORRRRRR!- Breaveheart style.

    I can’t wait to see Bran, Meera
    and Hodor next season. Will Bran realize inhabiting Hodor is plain wrong? And I like Nairn. Only has one line word the whole series… Yet we all made the Hodor a dialog at some point!

  • Strider,

    So far in the show Bran has only skinchanged into Hodor to save their lives. So It’s entirely justifiable.
    But we will see if things will change next season.