My Favourite Game Kristian Nairn
He may not talk much as Hodor, but the actor and DJ has plenty to say about Blizzard and an on-set iPhone mishap “He was like, ‘Oh, can I do Expelliarmus?’ So he made the motion and the phone went flying”
Standing at six feet and ten inches tall, Kristian Nairn is the perfect fit for the role of Hodor in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. But when he’s not playing mule to Bran Stark or DJing alongside the Scissor Sisters, you’ll find him playing games, through probably not Pokémon.
How did you find yourself playing Hodor on Game Of Thrones?
It was an audition I did four or five years previously for the film Hot Fuzz. Nina Gold – she was the same casting director [on] Game Of Thrones – remembered me for the part and said, “Would you put yourself on tape and we’ll have a meeting?” And the rest is history.
Do people play games on set at all?
Isaac [Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark] would tend to bring his iPad but I don’t bring any technology to set, because Isaac would probably break it. He’s broken an iPhone. My iPhone. The first day I met him, he broke my iPhone. I had the Harry Potter Spells app and, in fairness to him, I had this ridiculous Diesel case, and he was like, “Oh, can I do Expelliarmus?” So he made the Expelliarmus motion and the phone went flying through the air. But that’s a good way to meet your co-star…
What’s your earliest gaming memory?
I was always an Atari fan. Not the consoles, mind you. I had the computers, the 800XL. I always liked to try to write my own shitty little programs. I remember games like Galaxian, Defender – PacMan, obviously. There was a game, it was literally the most basic game you could imagine, it was called Leggit. It was a stickman and there were maybe 12 lines onscreen, and it would have moving holes, which you had to jump, trying to get to the top of the screen. Dude, it was the most addictive game!
Which machine came after that?
Well, I’m a musician, so I moved on to the Atari STs and STFMs for music production, but the first proper console I had, I think, was a Super Nintendo. I had a Mega Drive as well. I was kind of spoiled for choice at that stage. That was when my addiction really started. I loved all the Sonic games. I still don’t think, in some respects, Street Fighter II and the original Mario Kart have been bettered.
How have your gaming tastes changed?
Well, I ended up getting the original Xbox, and I got addicted to Jet Set Radio Future. I thought the music was incredible; it had all that sort of Japanese-style music in it, like Cibo Matto. I would love them to do a version for Xbox One, which I have now. I’ve had two 360s, two Wiis and two PS3s. I would buy a console, play it for a while, sell it, get the next one, and then a game would come out I wanted to play, and I’d have to buy another.
Are there any types of game that you won’t play?
I don’t get on with Pokémon. I’m just not very good at being tactical. I brought my 3DS over to LA the last time I went to see Jake [Stormoen], and we played a lot together and he kept beating me. One day on the aeroplane, we were travelling between DC and LA, and I said, “Fuck this! Never again!” And that was true.
What game are you most looking forward to in 2014?
I’m really looking forward to The Elder Scrolls Online. I didn’t love Skyrim; well,
I did love Skyrim but I prefer it to be more guided. Not on rails, but I sort of got lost after two hours of gameplay and went, ‘Fuck this, I’m going to play Warcraft’. But I love the idea of it being online like a whole universe. I’ve been playing WOW since about three weeks after it came out. Just like with everything, I get bored with it sometimes, but I love it just as much as the day I got it.
Out of everything you’ve ever played, what’s your favourite?
I’m going to go with World Of Warcraft. I have to. Just because there’s so much to do. You can go off in your own little world and you can sink so much time into it and it’s neverending, and I like that.
What do you think Hodor’s favourite game would be?
It’s definitely not Words With Friends. I’m thinking like a childish game; he’d probably like Mario. I think he’d like the pretty little flowers and the Venus flytraps, and the mushrooms. I wonder if he had a few too many mushrooms at one stage and that might be the problem.
Nairn did stage work before taking on Hodor. Working with such limited lines, he has to rely on his physical performance to convey the thoughts and emotions of Bran Stark’s dogsbody