March 11, 2014 at 7:52 PM ET
Actor Kristian Nairn plays faithful and gigantic servant Hodor on the HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones," where his character says only his own name over and over. But when Nairn spoke to fan site Winter Is Coming for an interview published Tuesday, he had many things to say, including that he is gay.
When asked about his following among the Bear subgroup of the gay community, Nairn said that the gay community was his community. "I’ve never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact," said the Belfast-born actor and DJ. "And I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview (because) it’s not something you just blurt out. I’ve tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!"
Nairn's representative confirmed to TODAY that the actor gave the interview.
"(I am) really surprised by the reaction," Nairn told TODAY, reiterating that his sexuality is "not something i have ever hidden. however, I'm happily overwhelmed by the response, and hopefully if it can help even one person feel a little better, or a little stronger, then it's worth it"
Nairn told Winter Is Coming that his personal life hasn't been an issue on the show.
"I had an upbringing to respect other people’s privacy, and their right to be and choose what they want, and I expect — no, demand — no less for myself," he said. "It’s a very small part of who I am on the whole, but nonetheless, in this day and age, it’s important to stand up and be counted. I have and always will stand my ground. So, yeah, people have been great, on the show, but I don’t see why it would be an issue."
(Possible spoiler ahead.) Nairn also said that some fans have told him Hodor is the easiest character to play on "Game of Thrones," while others disagree, saying playing a near-mute man must be difficult. And although his interviewer asked about an upcoming episode in which Hodor appears to be beaten up, the actor kept mum.
"There is literally nothing I can say here without spoilers or being beheaded by HBO," he said. "Let’s just say that (Hodor) didn’t walk into a door!"
Nairn later posted on Twitter that he'd discuss the interview Wednesday on his podcast, "Two is Company."
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on April 6.