Kristian Nairn, aka Hodor, was in India this week for the Delhi Comic Con, where he spoke to various local media outlets about his role on Game of Thrones, what to expect from Season 6 and his views on homosexual rights in the country, which makes same gender sex punishable by law and carries a life sentence.
“I read about it on the flight over but I was a bit puzzled by the contradictory accounts. I wouldn’t say I’m an activist by choice,” Nairn told The Indian Express. “It’s bewildering to me that we need a movement because, according to me, every person is the same; we’re all people. I recognise that, while I was fortunate enough to grow up without any discrimination or stigma attached at all, other people haven’t been so lucky.”
Nairn was also interviewed by The Pioneer and spoke about his Hodor audition, his struggles with hearing disability as a child and the problems faced by homosexuals in the society.
Pioneer: What did they ask you to do at your audition for the series?
Nairn: In my audition I had to demonstrate that I could show a huge range of emotions through my body language. I was required to do it in a natural way, not in a melodramatic, over-the-top fashion. Actually, it was a very unique audition! Funnily enough, I also had to find a child to carry on my back!
Pioneer: You have spoken about struggling with hearing disability in childhood. How does it help you play Hodor?
Nairn: I had problems in hearing as a child. Today, that experience definitely helps me. Part of sign language is using facial expressions and body gestures to get meaning across without using words. That helps me because Hodor doesn’t use words to communicate too. It also helps in understanding and enacting the reactions. In fact, that has been invaluable when playing Hodor, with all the little nuances.
Pioneer: You like talking about being homosexual and never hiding it from anyone your whole life. What was your childhood like?
Nairn: That’s not entirely true. I had said that I’m happy to talk about it because I believe it’s important to be visible; particularly visible to the people who need to know that they aren’t alone. But I’m a very private person, so to say that I like talking about it isn’t exactly true. Whether I’m gay or straight, in an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to talk about your personal life. But that’s not how things are, unfortunately.
He also spoke about his terrific relationship with Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), but now that he’s all grown up, piggybacking Bran has taken a toll on Hodor’s back.
“It was a nightmare. It’s good I don’t have to carry him anymore (Spoiler?). It was okay when he was a kid but he is nearly six-feet tall now. But though it has destroyed my back, I am still glad to have done it,” Nairn told The Times of India.
“He is like my little brother. I have loved Isaac from the minute I met him, though he had smashed my phone screen 10 minutes into the meeting. Yes, the clumsy kid did that. He feels like one of my children. He comes to me for advice regarding acting and even teenage issues,” he added.
Of course, he was also asked about Jon Snow to which he replied:
“Tell you what! I know nothing about Jon Snow”.
He may not actually be lying, considering that the ‘dead’ bastard of Winterfell isn’t exactly his favorite character.