(Photo credit Jeff Kravitz)

Kristian Nairn  is a Northern Irish actor and DJ. He is best known for his portrayal of Hodor in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. Fans are still reeling at Hodor’s demise in “The Door” from season 6. There, he perished after holding a door closed against an onslaught of White Walkers feverishly focused on dismantling Bran and Meera apart as they escaped the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave. Though his character spoke very little and language reduced to one word “Hodor”, his presence was large. And not just because the actor is a (really) large man (6’10) but because of his sweet, simple, gentle, and fatherly nature. In person, Kristian is just as humble and caring.

We caught up with Kristian at a GoT media event at Boston’s AT&T flagship store ahead of the Season 8 Premier (4/14). We talked World of Warcraft, the culture of Game of Thrones, fan rage and a few other subjects to which he offered insight and humor.

It’s pretty well known that you’re a big World of Warcraft fan. But what’s not well known is the important question: Horde or Alliance?

Oh, that’s a GOOD question. At the moment I’m defiantly 100% HORDE. But I’m really into PVP. My shared server HORDE is just dominate, so I like to be the under dog, so I went Alliance… there’s no queues for battleground, there’s so many horde to kill. So I’m ALLIANCE at the moment because I want to be the underdog.

What was the behind-the-scenes culture of Game of Thrones like?

It’s VERY professional. There are 4 or 5 units running at once at all times. The amount of organization is just phenomenal. You just can’t be messin’ around…. like you can’t put a pie in the camera man’s face and have a laugh… you can’t do that sort of stuff, it’s very serious. INTENSE is a good word for it! But I LOVED IT, I really did. It’s so well done and the subject matter is so intense. But you get very bonded with everyone there. The cameraman, the producers, the directors, and actors you become a family. Oh… and the set’s smelled right. That farm smell… it’s really easy to put yourself into that universe.

>What is your most endearing memory of the show?

Really, it was just the relationship with the Stark boys… and his sorta quite fatherly role. He looked after them, he fed them the nuts for his nut sack … which is a very strange thing to say in this day in age *laughs* that’s a WHOLE different documentary…but ummm.. he was a fatherly protector of them in a way. There were many sweet moments there. I think that’s what I connected to the most.

After your character’s death, fans turned the hate towards your co-star, Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran. How was that experience, being a part of the internet’s blame game?  Why do you think the internet gets so up-in-arms about what characters do and then attack the actors for it – Why is it such a phenomenon?

It’s not just Game of Thrones. You’re right, it’s a phenomenon. It happened back when I was a child watching the Australian Soap Operas and the villainous actors use to get stuff thrown at them in the street and stuff. It’s exactly the same thing. But I don’t get it, I don’t understand it. To me there’s a huge demarcation between that and reality. But that just shows you how much people invest in these parts. It speaks to how well actors do their job. But really… are these people gonna have a go at this person (referring to co-star Issac Hempstead AKA Bran Stark) at Starbucks, sit in front of them and say “You killed Hodor!”. It’s the barrier of the Internet that protects them… it’s a bit of a fantasy world in itself transmitting what you’re feeling . I mean, I don’t blame Bran, so why should they? Bran is the three eyed Raven now, he’s got a lot more on his mind than saving poor Hodor.

If Hodor had lived longer, what would you have liked your character to experience?

Sun. Just a little bit of sun. Just once. I would like to have taken that god forsaken rug off… for 10 minutes lay in the grass in get a bit of sunshine.

What is one thing that goes under appreciated?

There is a degree of discomfort being an actor. The costumes are either too warm, too hot, or too cold. There’s no happy medium. There’s scenes in Game of Thrones, I dunno if you noticed, I think there’s one with me, Sam and Gilly, and were given the dragon glass daggers… you’ll notice we’re in a ice tunnel and this was actually in the middle of summer and we were wearing these outfits and we had these torches, so it was unbearably hot… so like we’re in this ice tunnel and if you look, sweat is beading off our heads. That’s not an ice tunnel! But yeah, it’s the discomfort of the costumes and the sets and the weather you have to deal with is definitely something people should realize.

Given the available choices now left – who do you prefer for the Iron Throne?

Brienne of Tarth!


The Final Season of Game of Thrones returns Sunday at 9pm on HBO.

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