Nairn says that he was surprised when media picked up his interview with the WinterIsComing.net fansite as confirmation that he is ‘coming out,’ as his gay identity has been public since he was 16 and he told his mother when he was 12:
I couldn’t believe the nuclear mushroom. It’s always been the way. It’s not as if I suddenly went, ‘Hi guys’ and put a boa on.
While he intentionally mentioned it in the interview, he assumed people already knew:
I kind of had been waiting for it to come up in an interview question. But I sort of thought that people knew, because all you had to do—I started out doing a drag queen [act]. I DJ at a gay bar. Learn to Google, people. That’s all it is.
Still, he says he doesn’t want to diminish the positive reaction he received:
I don’t want to make light of it either because people have been in touch with me and they’ve been really…nice about it, and I’m really grateful. And also people said it inspired them. Because even within the gay community, there’s a stereotype even when you’re a gay person. You have to look a certain way. You have to be thin. You have to be tanned. You have to have small eyebrows. You have to look pretty. And that’s never been me. I just think it’s important to show the world that we are varied people, as everybody else. You don’t have to be any way. I think that’s really important, and people said that to me.
On the unexpected popularity of his Game of Thrones character:
[Showrunners] Dave [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] told me before the show. They’re like, “Your character’s not one of the main characters, but it’s probably one of the most popular—if not the most popular. Everyone’s going to say ‘Hodor.’” I was like, “Really? I don’t think so.” My mom’s a huge “Game of Thrones” fan. She was like, “I love Hodor. I think there’s more to him and something’s going to come out eventually along the line.” She was right. They were right. I was wrong.