The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.
September 8th, 2015
Episode 82 of 186 episodes
Like Sailor Moon and Ron Swanson before him, Hodor belongs to a special league of TV characters who have become memes. When Kristian Nairn received the casting call for a role in which he would only utter one word over and over, he was ambivalent. “Do I really want to do this?” he asked himself, feeling apprehensive about playing a verbally challengedgiant who can only say “Hodor.” Fans ofGame of Thronescan thank Nairn’s mother who, as an avid reader of George R. R. Martin’s novels, convinced him to take the part. There’sfan art, asmartphone app,GIFs,supercuts, and even a joke in theofficial Google search resultsfor “Hodor.” “That stuff really takes me to the fair,” Nairn says of his Hodor’s second life online. “I just think the character is endearing. Out of all the people in Westeros who are trying to cut each other’s throats, he’s really a pure soul – the only warm, fuzzy feeling you’re going to get.” Nairn is well-aware of how much power he yields as the actor behind the most beloved character on the internet’s favorite TV show — the most pirated show of all time. And he’s using this unique position to promote his other passion:house music. When Nairn isn’t shootingGame of Thronesin Ireland, he’s touring the planet spinning house. It’s a grueling schedule that has taken its toll. “I had to stop at one stage there because I was going to die. I hadn’t been home for nearly seven months.” Nairn is still touring regularly, but in smaller bursts. And he’s embracing the world’s bottomless enthusiasm for his other gig. His tour is titled “Rave of Thrones” and fans are encouraged to come dressed up as their favorite characters from the show. “Don’t blame me for that,” Nairn says, acknowledging the theme wasn’t his idea. “People are going to think you’re some twat,” he says. “I have this opportunity to have a supercharged DJ career. Who in their right mind is going to say, ‘No, I don’t think so.’” Nairn has had more time to focus on music in the past few years as his character’s storyline has been put on hold byGame of Thrones’ writers. “I missed him last year. I missed the costume, even though it smells,” Nairn says, pointing out that his woolen getup reeks of death. After an episode featuring Hodor and his gang slaughtering rabbits, the wardrobe department covered his already-thick costume in rabbit carcasses. “If you look closely, you’ll see little rabbit feet and asses. There’s ears and stuff hanging off the costume. There are little faces. It lives in props and you can literally smell it before you see it." Hands: Hodor vs. Sean Rameswaram (Sean Rameswaram)