Season 6 of Game of Thrones is jampacked with huge moments — Jon Snow’s resurrection, the Battle of the Bastards, the explosion of the Sept. And yet as impressive as those setpieces are, it’s the “hold the door” scene that will be remembered as the season’s most intense gut-punch.
Inverse spoke with Ellie Kendrick (Meera) about her character’s father, the mysterious Howland Reed, filming of the “hold the door” scene, her favorite Game of Thrones fan theory, and more.
What aspect of the “hold the door” scene surprised you the most?
I was so moved by it. Normally you do a scene and, of course, you’re feeling it as your character and you’re invested in the scene — but you end up spending a long time filming, and it can be sometimes hard to kind of keep that energy going. But with this, we were all just so sad, because Kristian [Nairn] is a big part of the show and we all loved him. He’s such a part of the family. So knowing he was going was sad, as well as the [in-character] Hodor aspect.
In addition to your scenes on Game of Thrones, you also did the DVD narration for the backstory for the Great Tourney at Harrenhal. Did you know that story before?
I knew a little bit about all that stuff, because I read some of the books. […] And my god, those guys have done their research. They know all of those worlds totally inside out — so it’s great to be a part of the project which allows people who are interested in those worlds to really find out more.
Of the side stories, I’m really intrigued by Meera and Jojen’s parentage. Who the crannogmen are, who Howland Reed is — because we haven’t really seen him. I’ve got no idea, but I hope we get to a place where we can find out more about their backstory. It’s so mysterious. And in the books, Meera has a trident and a net — that’s how she fights people — and they eat frogs, they’re like these crazy kind of characters in the books. I want to find out about the crannogmen and the weirdness going on with them.
Do you keep up with any of the fan theories that float around?
I don’t really get as involved in them, purely because it would drive me mad, because I’ve got no way of knowing whether it would be true or not. Because we genuinely don’t get told; the secrecy is so intense. Sometimes I wish I could give people answers when they’re like ‘is this theory true?’ and I’m like ‘I dunno, it might be?’ I mean, that Jon Snow and Meera theory, it would be lovely for me if it were true, because it would be a really interesting thing for Meera. But I haven’t been told anything about it. I think what we’ve been told about Jon’s parentage would imply that it kind of disproves the theory. But it’s impossible to know with these things.
Are there any particularly outlandish theories you’ve come across that made you laugh?
The really weird ones are the fun ones, the absolutely crazy ones like ‘Hodor is actually a wolf’ or there was one weird one about Jojen, that he didn’t exist. It’s the ones that are really fantastical I enjoy, because people get so creative with it. I think its amazing that there’s a show which has captured people’s imaginations in such a way that they come up with these fantastical ideas for it. which is why, you know, I like it. That there’s such secrecy around it because that allows people to use their imaginations and create these really fun storylines.
This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.