Kristian Nairn

Kristian Nairn44 posts

Kristian Nairn is a DJ and actor born in 1975 in Lisburn, County Antrim in Northern Ireland. He is best known for his role of Hodor on the HBO series Game Of Thrones. He headlines the Rave of Thrones dance music events with tour dates in Australia and the U.S., and has been a longtime resident DJ at Belfast gay club Kremlin, as well as DJing at many other events including supporting Mylo, Scissor Sisters and Calvin Harris. He is a dedicated World of Warcraft player and has appeared in the Channel 4 show The Salon and the BBC series Ripper Street.

3 Sep, 2014

Absent for season five

Nairn confirms that his character, Hodor, will be absent for the fifth season of Game of Thrones. He says the character of Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, a son of the high-born Stark family who is crippled and is carried by Hodor, will also be absent:

We’re not actually in Season Five, by the way. We have a season off. We have a year’s hiatus … Solely because, I imagine, our storyline is up to the end of the books. … So I get a year off now to do Rave of Thrones and gallivant all over the world.

The absence is not confirmed with Hempstead-Wright.

‘Seven-foot man who dresses as a woman’

Nairn says his drag act helped him withstand public attention after media misreported that he had come out during a fansite interview when in fact he had been openly gay since his teens:

It was interesting to me that the world seemed to care after that. I’ve never given a damn. A seven-foot man who dresses as a woman as a job is not interested in what other people think.

It helped him develop confidence and led to his DJing career and later acting roles:

I actually started off – believe it or not – doing drag, I travelled the world because I was a completely off the wall drag artist. It wasn’t feminine, it was just Marilyn Manson meets Divine meets some sort of monster from out of space, that sort of thing. And it was really popular, actually. It went down really well. Really it was a mask for me to perform behind, because I wasn’t very confident at the time.

Aug 2014

‘Where You Are’

Nairn releases the single Where You Are by Kash Simic & Kristian Nairn featuring Amanda Wilson via his Soundcloud page. The track features uplifting trance-style vocals by Wilson over a deep-house bassline, rising synths and ‘EDM’-style high hat.

Beachball bootleg remix

Nairn releases a bootleg version of the 1997 single Beachball by Nalin & Kane featuring Candi Staton on vocals via his Soundcloud page. The rework of the house classic features a deep-house style high hat, finger-clicking breakdowns and trance-influenced synth melody.

19 Aug, 2014

‘Hardest role in the show’

Nairn says playing a character with only one line – ‘Hodor’ – is a challenge in acting terms:

I did ask myself, ‘How am I’m going to do this?’ I knew it was going to be challenging. People’s concept of it is either that it’s the easiest role because of the lines, or if they know anything about acting they think it’s the hardest role for the same reason. I do sometimes really have to snap myself back into reality after filming. I really do love Hodor, he’s a lot of fun to play.

Carrying Hempstead-Wright, who plays the paraplegic character Bran Stark, is also becoming physically challenging as the child actor, who was 11 when the series started, develops:

I had a little trouble this season. I wouldn’t say Isaac’s heavy, but you can’t just shrug it off now. He could have sat in my arms all day in season one, but now we have to set up the shots differently. It’s a pain in the back, really.

Releases mixes

Nairn releases two mixes on Soundcloud which he says will resemble the tracklist for his Australia and U.S. Rave of Thrones tours:

It starts of with some nice vocal-based deep house and progresses up over the set. I’ll probably mix in some EDM for a lack of a better term into some progressive house. I started DJing in the ’90s so I’m very influenced by that – there’s a lot of piano stuff coming back around now which I really like.

Summer Night Mix 1 is closer to his DJing roots in piano-driven and deep house:

More uptempo mix of house music, and generally stuff I love.

Summer Night Mix 2:

EDM/ Electro focussed… A little tougher than Mix 1

23 Jul, 2014

Nairn: ‘EDM damaged music’

Nairn says the rise of ‘EDM’ has taken dance music away from its underground club and rave roots:

It’s great to see EDM become so big, but I think dance music is better in clubs. Dance music is an underground thing. I think house music in the early 2000s ate itself.

Mainstreaming dance music hasn’t helped the genre develop:

Shapeshifters had a song called Lola’s Theme and it kind of really accelerated house music into the charts over here and started a lot of clones. It kind of damaged music and I’m not blaming Shapeshifters for that by the way — they’re great — but it was just a public trend.

Won’t wear costume

Nairn says that while Rave of Thrones features props based on the TV show and the crowd is encouraged to come to the gigs dressed in costumes, he won’t be wearing one:

I don’t think I need to — I’m f—ing Hodor after all. I’m not wearing a f—ing sack.

Australian tour dates

kristian-nairn-RoT-australiaRave of Thrones Australian tour dates are announced. The themed DJ tour featuring Nairn as headliner kicks off at Hi Fi in Sydney on Aug. 28 then heads to the Secret Warehouse, Brisbane on Aug. 29, Villa, Perth on Aug. 30, Prince Bandroom, Melbourne on Sept. 4, Discovery, Darwin, Sept. 5, and finishes up at Zhivago in Adelaide on Sept. 7.

15 Jun, 2014

The Children

Nairn appears as Hodor in The Children, the tenth episode of season four, with Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, and Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick as Jojen and Meera Reed. The group are continuing their journey north of the Wall of Westeros, and as they reach the point of exhaustion Bran realises that they have found their destination, the heart tree that he has seen in his dreams. They are suddenly attacked by undead creatures that rise out of the snow, but a mysterious child comes to their rescue. The group is forced to abandon one of their members, but the rest find safety in a cave with the unknown girl and other children. An old man reveals to Bran that he is the three-eyed raven who has brought him visions in his dreams.

6 May, 2014

The Old Gods and the New

Nairn’s character Hodor appears in The Old Gods and the New, episode six of season two. He carries Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, to safety along with his younger brother Rickon Stark, after they are freed from captivity by Osha, played by Natalia Tena.

4 May, 2014

First of His Name

Nairn appears as Hodor in season four, episode five, First of His Name. His character is imprisoned by mutineers from the Night’s Watch along with the characters of Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick as Jojen and Meera Reed. Meera is threatened by mutineer Karl, played by Burn Gorman, but the mutineers come under attack from Night’s Watchmen who have come north to disrupt their rebellion. The Night’s Watchman Locke, played by Noah Taylor, who is secretly a double agent for a former Stark ally turned traitor, attempts to kidnap Bran for his master. Bran uses his psychic powers to enter Hodor’s mind and use his body to kill Locke.

27 Apr, 2014


Nairn appears as Hodor in season four, episode four, Oathkeeper, with Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick as Jojen and Meera Reed. North of the Wall of Westeros, Bran uses his psychic powers to enter the mind of his direwolf, Summer, to investigate the sounds of a child crying nearby. Summer is trapped by mutineers from the Night’s Watch who have taken over a keep north of the Wall. The rest of the party is then also captured. Bran is forced to reveal his identity as a Stark. The mutineers torment Hodor as he is chained to a wall.

13 Apr, 2014

The Lion and the Rose

Nairn appears as Hodor in season four, episode two, The Lion and the Rose, with Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick as Jojen and Meera Reed, and Natalia Tena as Osha the wildling. North of the Wall of Westeros, Bran uses his newfound psychic powers to enter the mind of his direwolf, Summer. As the group travels, and Hodor carries Bran to a weirwood tree they find during their journey, where Bran sees visions of his family and events occurring in a future Westeros. After the vision, Bran decides that the group must continue to head north.

9 Apr, 2014

#TakeTheThrone: Hodor

Nairn stakes Hodor’s claim to rule Westeros for HBO’s #TakeTheThrone interactive fan challenge:

He’s the only nice guy in the entirety of Westeros, he’s trustworthy, he’s kind to children … he’s hardworking, he’s just a solid, nice guy, he totally deserves it.

25 Mar, 2014

‘Second coming-out’

Nairn says that he was surprised when media picked up his interview with the 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.

17 Mar, 2014

Discusses Hodor audition

Nairn discusses auditioning for the role of Hodor on Game of Thrones at Comic Con:

I auditioned for a movie called Hot Fuzz, which I’m sure you all know, and Rory (McCann) got the part, anyway about four years later the casting director Nina Gold called me back and said ‘try out for this part on Game of Thrones‘. So I got 15 minutes notice … I was in a restaurant having my lunch and then my agent – ‘agent’ – called me and said ‘we need to find a child … for you to carry, and I had to go to this 40th birthday party where there was a child and there was this ring of 40-year-old people around me and I was carrying this child, who I didn’t know, and they were all calling me in different directions and I had to demonstrate different emotions, and then I had to lift a table above my head to prove I was strong enough for the job. So it was truly random, but it got me the part.

11 Mar, 2014

WinterIsComing interview


Nairn says in an interview with that his first musical passion was glam and thrash metal such as Poison, Sepultura, Obituary, The Cult and Danzig. He modeled his guitar playing skills after Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and others, and says that his DJing influences are ‘anything that creates an emotional reaction’:

At a gig recently in Pensacola Florida, as I was standing looking over the crowd, it dawned on me that it feels like I’m shooting emotional laser beams out into the crowd. When they respond, it’s the most amazing feeling, and conversely, when a crowd doesn’t get it, it can be like “WHY DONT YOU GET WHAT I’M GETTING?!” We all have gigs like that though, but thankfully more of the former.

His World of Warcraft character is a ‘green goblin hunter with a spectral pet called Jupiter or Hannibal’:

I’m currently on Thrall U.S. [WoW server], on the Horde side!

However the comment that generates the most interest is when he appears to come out about his gay identity. Asked if he is aware of his following in the gay ‘bear’ community:

Well, in all honesty, when you talk about “the gay community,” you are talking about MY community, haha. I AM aware of it yeah, and I think it’s really lovely. There’s not a day that I don’t get a few messages, but 99% or more are super sweet and nothing smutty at all! Again, it’s a privilege, and I really mean that. I’ve never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, cos it’s not something you just blurt out. I’ve tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!


So In Love With You remix

Nairn releases his remix of So In Love With You, the 1997 Duke classic that charted at number 1 in the UK. The uptempo rework keeps the original’s vocals but scraps its pop-driven bassline in favor of a harder deep-house rhythm track and buzzing bass synths.

21 Sep, 2013

Savior Of The Universe

Nairn releases his original track Saviour Of The Universe on his Soundcloud page. The instrumental features a driving deep-house bassline with robot-like synths overlaid.


Jump Start remix

Nairn releases the Jupiter Ace and Kristian Nairn remix of Belfast pop-dance band AJ Suzuki’s Jump Start on his Soundcloud page. The track adds a bass-heavy house beat and breakdown  to the analogue synth-driven vocal original

Don’t Call Me Baby remix

Nairn releases his remix of Madison Avenue’s Don’t Call Me Baby over Soundcloud. The rework of the 1999 U.S. Billboard number 1 hit, which also reached number 1 in the UK  and charted in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, features a trademark driving deep-house bassline under the original vocals by the Australian duo.

21 Jul, 2013


Nairn releases his July 2013 mixtape on Soundcloud, featuring his trademark house vocal and piano house sound alongside electro, progressive and EDM-driven influences. The mix features tracks from Adam K and Soha, My Digital Enemy, Laurent Garnier, Fedde le Grande, Armand van Helden, Knife Party and Eric Prydz.

20 Jun, 2013

Revvlon – Princess of Darkness

kristian-nairn-revvlonA website describes Nairn’s drag act, DJing as ‘Revvlon – Princess of Darkness’:

Revvlon is a drag queen of immense proportions, unlike any you have ever seen or are likely to see. Standing at eight feet tall (in heels) she has been quoted in the gay press as the tallest drag queen in Europe, not to mention the most intimidating.

Revvlon’s act incorporates visuals based on Nairn’s 6’10” frame with his driving progressive house sets:

Revv’s music style is a mixture of deep, funky progressive house always pounding bass, with her own twists added. She has a tremendous ability to sense what the crowd wants to hear and always keeps one step ahead. This combined with the sight of the visual explosion behind the decks that only Revvlon can achieve with her devilish movements and furnace-freezing stares makes for a truly multimedia experience.

9 Jun, 2013


Nairn’s character, Hodor, appears in episode 10 of season three, Mhysa. He accompanies Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Reed, and Jojen and Meera Reed, played by Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick. The group take shelter in a castle on the Wall that has been abandoned by the Night’s Watch. They encounter Samwell Tarly, a Nights Watchman played by John Bradley-West, and his companion Gilly, a wildling woman played by Hannah Murray. After initial mistrust the two groups realise that they are no threat to each other. Samwell gives the other group a valuable gift of magical weapons that can assist against the undead White Walkers north of the Wall. The groups separate with Samwell and Gilly remaining south of the Wall and Bran, Hodor, Jojen and Meera heading north.

2 Jun, 2013

The Rains of Castamere

Nairn appears as Hodor in season three, episode nine, The Rains of Castamere with Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark, Thomas Sangster as Jojen Reed, Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed, and Natalia Tena as Osha the wildling. They take shelter in an abandoned tower to hide from a group apparently made up of wildling tribespeople who are raiding into a stretch of land south of the Wall. Hodor becomes panicked by the sound of thunder and his shouting threatens to reveal their location. Bran is forced to use a newly discovered psychic power to quiet Hodor. The party decide to separate with Bran, Hodor, Jojen, Meera and Bran’s direwolf Summer heading north of the wall to search for a raven that Bran has dreamed about. Osha, Rickon and the direwolf Shagggydog will seek shelter at the stronghold of a Stark loyalist family south of the Wall.

12 May, 2013

The Bear and the Maiden Fair

Nairn appears as Hodor in season three, episode seven, The Bear and the Maiden Fair, with Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Art Parkinson, Natalia Tena, Thomas Sangster and Ellie Kendrick. Conflict arises between the group as Jojen Reed, played by Sangster, tells the rest of the party that they must travel beyond the Wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros from the wilderness to the north.

5 May, 2013

The Climb

Nairn appears as Hodor in The Climb, episode six of season three, with Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Natalia Tena, Art Parkinson, Ellie Kendrick and Thomas Sangster. Hodor is distressed when the characters of Osha the wildling and Meera Reed argue over hunting and skinning rabbits, until Bran Stark intervenes to calm the situation.

7 Apr, 2013

Dark Wings, Dark Words

Nairn’s character Hodor appears in season three, episode two, Dark Wings, Dark Words with Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark, Natalia Tena as the wildling Osha and two new characters.  Bran Stark dreams that he is walking and hunting in the woods and attempts to shoot a crow with an arrow. An unknown boy – played by Thomas Sangster – appears in his dream and tells him that he cannot shoot the crow as it is himself. Bran awakes, startling Hodor. The boy later appears in real life and is revealed to be Jojen Reed. He is accompanied by his sister Meera Reed, played by Ellie Kendrick, and after an initial confrontation the two are revealed to be part of a family that is loyal to the Starks.

3 Jun, 2012

Valar Morghulis

Nairn appears in the tenth episode of season two, Valar Morghulis, with Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Art Parkinson and Natalia Tena. Hodor, Bran Stark, Rickon Stark and Osha emerge from their hidingplace in the crypts of Winterfell to find the castle on fire after a siege and battle, and their household staff dead or scattered.

13 May, 2012

A Man Without Honor

Nairn appears as Hodor in season two, episode seven, A Man Without Honor. After their escape from Winterfell, he accompanies Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, his brother Rickon, played by Art Parkinson, and the wildling Osha, Natalia Tena, along a riverbank. Hodor cracks a walnut for Bran using the palms of his hands, showing his giant-like strength.

29 Apr, 2012

The Ghost of Harrenhal

Nairn appears in season two, episode five, The Ghost of Harrenhal. His character Hodor accompanies Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who gives advice to his subjects at Winterfell after the departure of his older brother to march south towards Kings Landing, and continues to be troubled by strange dreams.

15 Apr, 2012

What Is Dead May Never Die

In season two episode three, What Is Dead May Never Die, Hempstead-Wright’s character Bran Stark experiences a strange dream in which he sees through the eyes of his direwolf Summer. As Summer, Bran follows Nairn’s character Hodor into his own bedroom and looks down at himself sleeping.

1 Apr, 2012

The North Remembers

kristian-nairn-north-remembersIn episode one of season two, The North Remembers, Nairn’s character Hodor carries Bran Stark, played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, to the Stark family’s godswood after Bran has a dream that he is in the sacred grove and sees his reflection in the grove’s pool transformed into his direwolf, Summer.

19 Jun, 2011

Fire and Blood

Nairn’s charater Hodor appears briefly in season one, episode 10 of the series, Fire and Blood. He accompanies Hempstead-Wright’s character, Bran Stark, who has had a dream that his father Lord Eddard Stark, played by Sean Bean, has been killed.

5 Jun, 2011

The Pointy End

Nairn’s character, Hodor, is shown in a full-frontal nude scene in season one, episode eight, The Pointy End. Bran Stark, played by Hempstead-Wright, and the wildling Osha, played by Tena, are discussing the ‘Old Gods’ worshipped by the people of northern Westeros when Hodor appears naked after bathing in a nearby pool and then forgetting to dress.

8 May, 2011

Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things

Nairn’s character Hodor the stableboy receives his first major screentime in episode four, season one of the series, Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things. Hodor, who is portrayed as mentally challenged and only able to say his own name, is chosen to carry the character of Bran Stark – Hempstead-Wright – down the hall of the Stark stronghold Winterfell after Bran is crippled in a fall.

Cast as Hodor

Nairn confirms he is cast for the part of Hodor on the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.


Kremlin DJ residency

Nairn spins at Belfast gay club Kremlin in a 12-year residency. After studying DJing at music school, he starts out working at Kremlin and fills in for a DJ who calls in sick, carrying his CDs to the club in a toolbox. He currently guests on Saturdays and Sundays in the club’s Red Square room when his Game of Thrones filming schedule allows.

I’m very much a house purist. Everyone’s all about deep house these days, but I’ve loved deep house for 15 years. House is a very big, broad [classification] – from EDM, progressive house, right down to broken beats, really commercial stuff. I don’t see why you can’t play a bit of everything in your set. My sets very much pan across house, but they very much work together – it’ll go from piano house to EDM, to deep house, to everything, really.


Gay identity

Nairn’s mother is aware of his gay identity from a young age:

When I was 13 my mum knew that I was gay and she just always knew. I used to play Wonder Woman with her when I was a kid and I was always Wonder Woman. I always stopped short of the outfit, thank God.

25 Nov, 1975

Kristian Nairn born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland


Kristian Nairn is born at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He is raised an only child by his mother Patricia. He spends most of his childhood growing up on a farm near Lisburn. He has childhood hearing difficulties:

I was partially deaf when I was a child, and often in school, before I was fixed, I had to read context and emotions from people’s faces and body language.

Growing up during the Irish Troubles helps him develop humor:

It doesn’t shock me, I grew up in Northern Ireland, Belfast…I’ve seen some really shocking things in my life. There was a college in the middle of Belfast and every week, every week, there’d be an evacuation with a bomb, or else it would actually go off, and it’d just be a matter of fact that you’d be blown out of your desk or you’d be lying on the floor…You sort of grew up hearing of people being maimed and that sort of thing…It’s pretty dark, it’s pretty dark to grow up with…I think that’s why people from Ireland have a really good sense of humor, I think we’re resilient and that’s why I’ll always call it home.

He loves glam and thrash metal as a teenager and plays the guitar:

I studied players like Yngwie Malmsteen, Ty Tabor, Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Jake E. Lee, so much, that I could pretty much play on a level with them at one stage, but sadly, at that point, no one really was interested in hearing that from a guitarist anymore.

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