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Game of Thrones’ Kristian Nairn Has 70 Different Ways of Saying ‘Hodor’

The gigantic character Hodor has become a Game of Thrones fan favorite in large part because the loyal Stark family servant is so harmless compared to the chaos surrounding him. “Hodor is such a lovely guy,” actor Kristian Nairn, who plays the behemoth on the show, recently told Vulture at HBO’s season-four premiere party for the series. “In fact, he might be the only gentle soul in all of Westeros.” But even Hodor can fall into a funk from time to time, which makes us wonder: Given Hodor’s singular vocabulary (he literally only says “Hodor”), how does he convey anger? How much can Hodor really say?

As it turns out, quite a lot. Nairn told Vulture that he actually has “about 70 different ways” to say his go-to word on the HBO show. Hodor?! Could this be like the urban myth that the Eskimos have 100 words for snow? Nairn laughed at our disbelief. “You have no idea,” he said.

“In the book, there are more intonations,” he explained, “and on the show, it’s more body language, because you can’t really do all of them without body posture.” As proof, Nairn said that he has a board up in the ADR room listing all the variations of body posture and intonation that he uses to express “Hodor,” with only 10 of the 70 being derived from pure intonation itself. Nairn started to rattle off some examples: “There’s angry Hodor, happy Hodor, sad Hodor, frightened Hodor, curious Hodor, bashful Hodor, sheepish Hodor ... and naked Hodor.” (That last one, you might argue, is purely physical, but Hodor does have a way to express himself verbally in that regard, too, in case he’s not alone.)

But no matter which way Nairn chooses to say “Hodor,” he claims that he never tires of the word. “Oh, I’m so happy to say it!” he chortled before lumbering off, presumably to dream up ways to use Hodor as a verb.

Photo: HBO