The man who carried Bran on his shoulders says everything Hodor never could.
HBO: When did you learn about Hodor's fate? Did you get "the call" from series creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss?
Kristian Nairn: Actually, it was a three-stage thing. First I heard from friends, people who had read the script, some other cast members. I think I said laughingly, "So did I survive?” They just gave me a look, and I was like, "Whaat?" Then I had the call from David and Dan, the fateful call everyone gets when your number’s up. Then I read the script – which I loved. I loved the scene. I can’t think of a better way to go, really. He doesn’t give up. He never lets go of that door. For all costs, he’s going to stop them from getting to Bran.
HBO: Do you think Hodor resents Bran for what’s transpired or taking over at that moment?
Kristian Nairn: No. Hodor does not resent – not my Hodor. He doesn’t have that emotion. I don’t think he's very fond of the warging, but he sees the bigger picture. He’s not the most intelligent guy, but I think he can sense when things are important. He knows whatever Bran does is essential; it gets them out of some pretty tight situations. I think he’s more sad about what happened because he’s not going to see his friends again. But he also knows if he doesn’t hold that door for a second longer, they’re going to die.
HBO: How did Hodor of Season 1 evolve to the Season 6 one we've come to know?
Kristian Nairn: People always joke, "Oh you’ve got the easiest role, you don’t have any lines to learn." Anyone who knows anything about acting has been like, "You actually have one of the hardest roles." Because you have to articulate so much without words. But even me, after being off for a season, I just assumed it would be easy to drop back into character: Read the scripts, see what the flavor of the scene would be, and that would get me back into character. But no, it wasn’t like that at all, it was incredibly difficult actually after that year off. I learned to appreciate that Hodor has taken on a separate personality from me. He’s almost a different version, maybe a better version of me.
HBO: In what sense?
Kristian Nairn: He always puts others first. I don’t think he has a bad bone in his body. He’s just unaffected by the s**t that’s going on around him. Even when things were bad during the traveling, he always had a smile ready. It wouldn’t matter what he had to do, he was always happy to do it. I’m not like that. I’m horrible, I’m lazy. I resent people asking me to do things. I would like to be a little more like him.
HBO: When you and Isaac Hempstead-Wright [Bran] came back for Season 6, did you have to work to reconnect?
Kristian Nairn: Isaac and I are very close so we kept in touch during that year off. We saw each other a few times. We kept in touch by text. Whenever I’m in London, we'd meet for dinner. We're always in touch, it’s not just a working relationship. I think we’re friends for life.
HBO: Just like Bran and Hodor.
Kristian Nairn: Until they’re separated by death!
HBO: When we spoke to Isaac, he mentioned breaking your iPhone when you met. Good to know you don’t hold a grudge.
Kristian Nairn: I wouldn’t say grudges weren’t maintained. In Season 2, I think I hit his head off a tree. That might have been a bit of payback. I’ll get him someday. I never forget. The North remembers and so does Hodor.
HBO: What hopes do you have for Bran now that he’s on the brink of change?
Kristian Nairn: I think he’s a pretty poor student, to be honest. His studies to be the new Three-Eyed Raven, or whatever his future is – he needs to take it more seriously. At the moment, he’s more interested in seeing replays of the past.
HBO: Is there a time you’d like to have seen in GoT history?
Kristian Nairn: What it was like when there was a Targaryen on the throne. Obviously it was a bit crazy. To see how different things were in King's Landing when the Mad King was there, the time of Robert the Usurper. That whole time is interesting politically.
HBO: What scenes resonated with you over the past few years?
Kristian Nairn: I did love that scene in the cave. And I really did enjoy the one in the birthing hut, at Craster's Keep when we were taken captive. Bran has to use his warging powers to free us. That was a complex scene to play. I was really playing two people at the same time – Hodor, and Bran in between both somewhere. As an actor, that’s a dream come true.
HBO: If Hodor could express himself, is there anything he’d like to have said to Bran?
Kristian Nairn: If it were me answering, I would have said "no" a lot more: "Hey, pick me up." "No." I think he would have just said, "Take care of yourself little guy. Be safe."
HBO: Did you take any souvenirs to remember the experience?
Kristian Nairn: Taking a souvenir from the set is theft, and is frowned upon! I have a piece of the door, which broke off. That’s it, really. I just have my scars to remind me. It’s been such an amazing ride. I never dreamt it would take me to the places it’s taken me, the people I've met, and got a chance to work with... It’s been a dream come true and continues to create ripples in my life.
Rewatch Hodor's final moments in the clip below.
HBO: If you could warg into any character on the show, who would it be and why?
Kristian Nairn: I’d liked to warg into Daenerys because I want to see what it’s like to control the dragon. I think would do it better – nor would I leave them locked up in a cage; I would have them roaming free. I don’t care about babies.
HBO: Choose your weapon: magic, whip, sword or spear?
Kristian Nairn: Without a shadow of a doubt, magic. I play World of Warcraft. I always play a character who wields magic. With magic, you could control someone who maybe wields a spear or sword. You can do everything long range, and don’t have to be there covered in blood and gore.
HBO: If you were king, which character would you choose for your Hand?
Kristian Nairn: I'd definitely choose Brienne. She’s steady and loyal and she’s also a badass. Those are three qualities you’d want as a Hand.