Actor Kristian Nairn plays Hodor on the HBO series Game of Thrones. Because we live in a universe of majesty and wonder, he's also a DJ who was in town last night to Hodor his way through a two and a half hour set, aptly dubbed the "Rave of Thrones" (although “A Dubstep with Dragons” would also have worked). We were there. It was so freakin' Hodor.
Nairn is famous for playing a simple-minded half-giant whose entire speaking part consists of repeating the ambiguous word/name "Hodor" again and again on the acclaimed high fantasy/political drama/softcore porn series. Despite the somewhat limited range of the part, fans adore Nairn, perhaps because he's a fascinating guy: Nairn is 6'11, openly gay, hails from Belfast, knows sign language, and when he's not giving small children piggyback rides through danger he's an internationally touring DJ, hence last night's show. He describes himself as a high school metalhead and his turntable style as "shooting emotional laser beams into the crowd." Like we said: a universe of majesty and wonder.
Anyway. Last night's venue, 1015 Folsom, is one of those uber-cool, perpetually dark dance clubs, so there's something strange and glorious about the outspokenly nerdy Nairn—on top of his Thrones pedigree he's an avid LARPer and World of Warcraft buff—packing in an adoring crowd there. Indeed, last night was a bizarre mixture of the trendy and the geeky (and the trendily geeky), far exceeding the usual level of cosplay acceptable at any SoMa dance club (which, to be clear, is none, unless you're at Trannyshack). On display: Lots of crowns, swords, "wolfskin" capes, surprisingly large dragon masks and wings, and some direwolf masks that looked suspiciously like re-purposed panda hats. Best-dressed award goes to the guy in full, authentic-looking Unsullied armor. Worst: A tie between the guy in the "Crows Before Hoes" t-shirt (classy...) and the guy in the off-topic Aztec headdress (he must not be a fan). The bars served themed drinks, including Lannister Gold—Goldschlager and Red Bull—and Fire & Blood, which was just whiskey and orange juice.
It's hard to say how big the turnout was, but a rough headcount came out to Way Too Many, which is what happens when you've got a five-room club but everyone wants to be in just one room. Everyone seemed to have a good time, most of all Nairn, whose enormous grin suggested a man who loves his work and everything else in life. When he launched into a synth remix of the Game of Thrones theme song hundreds of people sang along, an impressive feat given that there are no lyrics. This was the only relief from the "Hodor" chants he was hailed with the rest of the evening.
Dozens of people braved a mosh pit to get high fives from him, a hazardous endeavor given the company. Would you take your chances with moshers who painted on Dothraki tribal tattoos? Remember, a Dothraki rave without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair. As more and more people came in it became clear that a Hodor concert is a lot like the Night's Watch: way easier to get into than get out of. "Now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death, for this night and all nights to come..."
Always one to give the people what they want, Nairn got on the mic and shouted his obligatory "Hodor" and said this was his first time in San Francisco and after eight hours he was already in love with it. If the night was any indication, San Francisco loves him right back. Don't be a stranger, big guy.