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Game of Thrones’ Kristian Nairn recalls surviving Belfast gay nightclub shooting incident



Game of Thrones has had a lot of characters and about almost as many deaths, but there’s one that ripped all of our hearts out, and that’s of the beloved oaf, Hodor. The actor who played the character, Kristian Nairn, is as amazing in real life, and like Hodor, he too had a close brush with death. Thankfully, he survived to tell the tale.

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Kristian Nairn remembers witnessing the infamous Belfast gay nightclub shooting

In a recent interview with BBC, Nairn recalled the horrifying incident when Darren Bradshaw, 24, was gunned down in Belfast’s Parliament bar in May 1997 – the city’s only LGBT venue at the time. He said, “It was an amazing place, there was nowhere else like it. We were there every Saturday – at one stage every night of the week. You’d walk into the bar downstairs and it’d be absolutely rammed.”

“We hadn’t been there long, we’d probably had our first drink. We were sat down just having a bit of a laugh.” Kristian had earlier noticed Darren Bradshaw – a regular at the bar. He remembers seeing a man entering the room sporting a shoddy disguise of a “weirdly drawn-on beard”.


“Me and my friends were just like ‘look at the state of him’. He was nervous-looking, he was definitely looking for someone.” The man walked up to Darren and shot him in the back three times at close range – Kristian recalls a “very loud bang-bang-bang”.

“The music carried on for a second before it came down – I remember a girl stood at the bar covered in blood,” he says. “This guy just legged it out, sort of kicked the doors open. I made eye contact with him, I think we all made eye contact with him as he was coming out. It happened so fast. It was just like stunned silence, just like a bomb had gone off.

Kristian Nairn was thrown out of his house for being gay

After surviving the horrific nightmare, it wasn’t over for Nairn yet. He recalled, “I told my grandfather I’d been in a shooting and he was like ‘I’m glad you’re okay’ and all that. But he was quite a gossipy man in his time and he was around telling his old farmer friends. One of them had obviously been watching the news and he was like ‘that was a gay bar’. And that was how my grandfather found out I was gay, and he threw me out of the house.”

What is Kristian Nairn doing now?

Nairn recently played a major role as a pirate in Taika Watiti’s ‘Our Flag Means Death’. He also had a cameo role in the horror film Unwelcome where he played himself. He is also an active DJ and played at the first official Game of Thrones convention in LA.

Read Next: Kristian Nairn (Hodor) wants to play Solomon Grundy in the DC Universe


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