Kristian Nairn: Hodor, a man of few words


“Hodor”. We can only hear this word coming from the mouth of a very special character from “Game of Thrones”. We don’t know much about Hodor, why does he keep repeating that word or where does he come from, but we know that he would do anything to protect Bran Stark, especially since he can’t walk by himself.

Hodor is portrayed by Kristian Nairn, who has been working in the entertainment business all his life. He is also a DJ, who performs all over, but mainly in Belfast.

In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Kristian spoke about how he prepares to portray Hodor, his relationship with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead) and his job as a DJ.

How did you start acting?

Really, I’ve been working in the entertainment business all my life!  One thing led to another and acting felt like the next natural step for me.  I did some live music and musical theatre, and my agent at the time put me forward for dramatic auditions as well.  Although I admit it was a privilege to be able to take my first step into one of the biggest shows in the world!!

How did you get the opportunity of being on “Game of Thrones”?

I did an audition for the Simon Pegg Movie, Hot Fuzz, about 5-6 years before, and I literally got a call from nowhere, that they wanted me to try out for the part of Hodor.  It was the same casting directors Nina Gold and Robert Sterne.

How would you describe your character Hodor?

Hodor is a man of few words, but is a very enigmatic character.  No one knows his true origins, and why he only says the word “hodor”… which actually isn’t even really his name!  It makes it fun to work with, as an actor, as you can truly create your own back story for your character!

As you’ve said, Hodor doesn’t talk much, so you have to make more a physical work, how is it like portraying a character like that?

It’s definitely an exercise in “how to act with body language.”  It’s a unique challenge and I really enjoy it.  The directors are very specific about what they want, and finding the right balance without overplaying, is interesting!


How do you prepare yourself for that role?

For me, the only way to be Hodor, it’s to be as real as possible.  I try to take it right back to a place of innocence and trust.  I was a shy/quiet kid, so I try to call on that a little for the role as well.

What can you tell us about the relationship between Hodor and Bran?

I love the relationship between them.  I think it has definitely grown since season one.  I think now Hodor has developed family feelings and protectiveness towards Bran, and definitely feels a sense of duty towards him.

How is it like working with Isaac Hempstead?

vIsaac is a joy to work with.  He and I are very close off camera, and we have a lot of fun!  It’s nice to get on so well with the people you work with!

How is it like being a part of a popular show such as “Game of Thrones”, since this is one of your first appearances on TV?

Haha, I mean, it’s incredible.  It has totally changed my life in ways that I never dreamed possible.  Every single week, something will happen and even after 4 seasons, I still have to pinch myself and say “is this real?”

Without spoiling anything, what can we expect from Season 4?

This is going to be an amazing season.  I think the one thing that is different is that really there is non stop action throughout the entire season and not just the usual crescendo!!  For me it feels like, more than ever, that everyone, in every department is 100% on the money, and the show just feels more polished.

Besides acting, you’re also a DJ, what do you like the most about working in music? Where do you play?

I think I will always work somehow in music, even in the background.  Playing live is just the most amazing feeling.  It’s great to have an instant response from your audience, and being able to interact with them to a certain degree.  I’m playing all over at the minute, but my main spot is a Kremlin, in Belfast.

Samantha Schuster