Kristian Nairn is dearly missed on Game of Thrones, and honestly, most of us are still not over his death in “The Door” from season 6. There, he died after holding a door closed against a zombie horde that threatened to rip Bran and Meera apart as they fled the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave. It was also in this episode that we learn how Hodor got his name — ahh, the goosebumps still come back, don’t they?
Speaking to Star 2, Nairn remembered the impact that scene had on people:
I was on a flight, and this lady – maybe in her 50s – made her way to me and said, ‘You made me cry. You made me cry for three days.’
Nairn is usually at a loss how to respond to comments like these (“Do I say thank you or do I apologize?”), but acknowledges how much the show has affected fans.
As was mentioned above, we also learn the origins of Hodor’s name during his final minutes onscreen. As present-day Hodor follows Meera’s command to “hold the door” against the rampaging wights, we travel with Bran into the past, where a young Hodor collapses in some sort of seizure. Bran’s warging opened a link between the two time periods, and Meera’s cry reverberates back through the years. Writhing on the floor, the young Hodor can say nothing but “hold the door,” which eventually turns into “Hodor.”
Prior to getting the script for this episode, Kristian Nairn had his own theory about Hodor’s name, although it was nowhere near correct:
So, I had my own theory – that he was a Clegane because he’s big like Gregor and Sandor Clegane – which was completely wrong. I was surprised just like everyone else when I found out what Hodor meant. But I never expected the reaction that came from all over the world.
As Hodor, Nairn had to express a multitude of emotions with only one word. It must have been incredibly difficult, but as Nairn remembers, it was always going to be worth it:
It was challenging in some ways but [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] told me, ‘You’re gonna be one of the fan favorites of the show’, and this was before we even started. I didn’t really understand; I was like ‘Really? But he just says one word, guys.’ But they turned out to be right.
It’s been a few years since Nairn’s final scene. Then then, he’s expended more energy on his DJ career and has even made a few television appearances. But with the final season of Game of Thrones fast approaching, the only question on everyone’s mind is: Will Hodor show up in season 8?
(If I do) I’d love to bite Bran’s head off – he didn’t treat me very well; he asked me to hold the door (laughs). I am perfectly happy to go back and cause some havoc if they wanted me to.
And we’d be happy to have him back!
Just like the rest of us, Kristian Nairn is a big fan of the series and saddened that it’s coming to an end, even with the prequel series on the horizon. “It’s hard to imagine a world without Game of Thrones. There are other stuff happening in the background, but the original Game Of Thrones is over and I think it’s very sad. But life moves on, I guess.”