Photos via NV Concepts
If anyone noticed a larger-than-average gentleman donning a black, fur-lined cloak indicating membership in the Night’s Watch hopping out of his dad’s minivan in front of Prime Boston on Sunday night, they might’ve presumed a Magic: The Gathering tournament or some such sword-and-sorcery-centric event was transpiring within. They would’ve been sort of right. Before his dad returned to retrieve him sometime after 2 AM, the same night’s watchman danced badly, pleaded with bouncers after they ejected his buddy, and groped someone I presume based on her far more modern fashion choices that he had not been previously acquainted. So it was almost like a Magic tournament, except there was dancing. And nobody played with any cards.
In truth, Prime was hosting Rave of Thrones, a touring EDM shindig headlined by Hodor, a 6’ 10” Irishman who could become a WWE special attraction or Santa Claus if only he had the spare time. On Game of Thrones, Hodor serves as protector and best pal of the mystical child Bran, one of the last remaining scions of the Stark bloodline. A bit of a simpleton, Hodor can only speak his own name, sort of like how Groot can only say “I am Groot.” Coincidentally, Groot and Hodor have had sex.
In real life, Hodor pretends to be Kristian Nairn, who can say innumerable words and had carved out a respectable career as a deep house DJ in Belfast well-before he landed the GoT gig. Most of the time, actors have predictable musical predilections. No one was surprised by Bruce Willis’ Huey Lewis-parroting dump in the 80s. Jared Leto was emo and shitty before Thirty Seconds to Mars. Of course Zooey Deschanel would play twee pop. Duh. So you’d expect the GoT cast to perform dorky fantasy metal, but they do not. Instead, Hodor is a deep house DJ and a savvy, if not somewhat opportunistic, marketing wiz. By touring under the Rave of Thrones banner, he draws denizens of GoT fandom and the raver community—a subcultural cross-pollination that makes a welcome glitch in the Matrix.
Clips of a Rave of Thrones Sydney date had me expecting the onstage presence of a towering White Walker, a Daenerys Targaryen-lookalike go-go dancer, and an Iron Throne mockup. Either because Prime has no stage, or because Hodor’s touring budget doesn’t allow for such accessories, we didn’t get any of that craziness. The room itself also lacked big blue zombies and chairs made of old swords, but it was practically lousy with Daeneryses, Melisandres, and Jon Snows. One guy clearly abandoned shaving for a few weeks to pull off a slightly pudgy Drogo.
The event encourages revelers to dress up (“cosplay,” if you will) as citizens of Westeros. Around the 10 o’clock doors, a low-budget Renaissance faire gathered under the wandering red and green spotlights of Prime, establishing a downright incongruous atmosphere in the swanky Financial District nightlife complex’s fourth floor. Prime is one of those places with gratuitous mirrors above the bar and hanging off the columns, plus video screens flashing its namesake and logo in case anyone forgets where they are. Here, we had a club that tries too hard to be sexy, half-filled with patrons who—with the exception of one woman presumably taking her “sexy dragon” Halloween costume for a test drive—weren’t trying to be sexy at all. Then the neon T-shirts, V-necks, seasonally-underdressed women, glowstickers, and selfie-takers started trickling in about an hour later, because nerds are more punctual than ravers. By 11:30, those who showed up for Hodor the GoT character and those who came to hear Hodor the DJ were indistinguishable. The “Rave” handedly eclipsed the “Of Thrones” aspect of the evening. Also, a couple of dudes showed up wearing skull and lucha libre masks, which have nothing to do with GoT. Maybe they heard it was a costume rave and figured “whatever’s clever,” or maybe they always wear masks when they go out.
Meanwhile, Hodor followed up sets by local support DJ Tao and Dudenguy by turning knobs and dials up in the booth, steadily nodding his head, occasionally mouthing along to lyrics, and refusing the occasional high five from overzealous and intrusive revelers, as DJs are wont to do.
I don’t know the difference between house and dubstep (Is there a difference between house and dubstep?), and won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by pretending to know enough about EDM to credibly critique Hodor’s music. For what it’s worth, I thought some of what he played the was kind of fun! Other people seemed to really enjoy it, so I guess it was good? It bugged me that he kept retreading those two generic backbeats every DJ runs into the ground, but since they all do that, maybe it’s a technical necessity of some kind? As celebrity DJs go, I can make an educated guess that Hodor’s wares are far superior to those of Paris Hilton and Pauly D, because Paris Hilton and Pauly D are bad at everything else they do, and Hodor is not.
Futuristic imagery reminiscent of Tron kept blasting by on the video screen show. Except for the occasional fiery reminder that “Winter Is Coming” and inquiries as to “Who Will Survive?” and “What Happens Next?” and so forth, the visuals had nothing to do with GoT.
Also unlike GoT, it was easy to predict who wasn’t going to make it through this episode. For whatever reason, guys in plaid shirts were disproportionately likely to do something silly and draw the ire of security. A couple of women who looked like they turned 21 last week and were apparently going through a sexually experimental phase scurried out in a huff midway through Hodor. But say what you will about kids who do the “invisible ball” dance with their glowing plastic jewelry and light-up toys. They might be walking stereotypes on stilts, but Jesus fuck, they can dance for a really long time. There’s no way that’s all because of drugs, either. That’s admirable cardiovascular endurance, in addition to possible drugs. If Stannis Baratheon had built an army of ravers instead of dumb grunts with swords, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten schooled at the Battle of the Blackwater, but he didn’t, and he did, because Stannis is totally stupid.
Barry Thompson accidentally dressed as Legolas. Follow him on Twitter - @barelytomson