Brienne of Tarth Gwendoline Christie Interview Season 4

Gwendoline Christie talks Brienne in USA Today’s Sunday Q&A

Gwendoline Christie is featured in the latest Sunday Q&A from USA Today. In the new interview Gwendoline discusses Season 4 of Game of Thrones, and portraying the empowering role of Brienne of Tarth.

As we have come to expect, Gwendoline doesn’t reveal much about Season 4, but says that Brienne will continue to be challenged, finding herself in King’s Landing where a secret is stronger than a sword. Gwendoline loves Brienne’s physicality, but also loves her continuing journey from being an outsider. She also reveals that despite her best efforts at scaring the crew, she has never suffered an injury on set, and that Thrones has made her a better secret keeper.

Q. I’m sure author George R.R. Martin and the rest of the Game of Thrones team is stalking everyone with an ax to make sure no spoilers get out, but what can you tease about where we’ll find Brienne in this new season?

A. Over Seasons 2 and 3, we’ve see a real growth of character, and Season 3 certainly saw her placed in situations she’d never been in before with the type of person she’d never been manacled to before — I don’t think she’d ever been manacled to anyone — and had gone on this very complex and lengthy journey with Jaime Lannister.

At the end of Season 3, we of course see that she delivers him back to Kings Landing, almost in one piece, and then in Season 4 it’s safe for me to say that is where we see them again. Brienne finds herself throughout Season 4 in situations that are unexpected and outside of her comfort zone.

What I love so much about the show is we really see the expansion of the character — we see her move through different stages of development and we see her at Kings Landing, which is perhaps not a kind of environment that Brienne is used to negotiating. It’s a world of secrets, of words, of intrigue, and Brienne is a women of physicality and physical action. We see the development of this person as they negotiate another new world that they have no experience of.

Also, yet again, Brienne is tested against great hardship — perhaps the greatest hardship yet.

Q. In Westeros, conflicts can often be very methodical and intellectual things. Will she get more involved in that or learn how to do that in her own way?

A. Brian… (Laughs)

Q. I guess you can’t go there.

A. What I love about what George R.R. Martin created is the progression of a character. I do say it because it’s true, in Game of Thrones the only thing you can ever expect is totally the unexpected. We see the punishing nature of human experience as people are tested again and again.

There is no shortage of action for her. And sometimes with comic consequences.

Q. Do you really dig Brienne’s physicality?

A. I love it. Certainly, it wasn’t something I did before I got the part — it’s something I did exclusively for the part, and something I’ve become more interested in as a consequence. I never played a really physical woman before, and that was something I was really interested and intrigued by and wondered how that might manifest itself, and the kind of challenges it’s posed have been enormous. (Laughs) You don’t just find yourself trying to act well but also be good physically too.

It’s exciting and makes you feel really alive. I’m never bored.

Q. It also seems like an empowering role both for you and for fans of the character. Not only just the physical stuff, but there’s some pathos and gravitas to her journey as well.

A. Brienne is an outsider, but for me she’s not just defined by her physicality, even though that defines her outsider status in the book.

Brienne’s outsider nature as a woman gives us something that many women can tap into: the struggle of inequality or the struggle of being marginalized or the struggle of just feeling like you’re outside the party.

We’re presented in Season 2 with this big, tall woman who has these male affectations, and as the story continues we actually see a woman — we stop seeing, oh, look at her physicality. We see her in the situation rather than the situation impacting on her.

Q. Have you had any nasty injuries yet?

A. HBO looks after me so well. My sword master C.C. Smiff is pretty much dedicated to my safety to the point that I’ve become like a stroppy child saying, “Oh God, I’m fine! I can walk up this mountain! I can do that!” (Laughs) I would be throwing myself all over the place and frightening them.

I’m very lucky in that thus far I have not received any particularly serious long-term injury. That’s boring, isn’t it? I wish I could say, “Yeah, actually filming Season 4, the top of my head was cut off and I had to stitch it back on — no one’s really noticed and thankfully the hair’s short, but it won’t ever grow past my ears.”

Q. Nicely played. Has being on Game of Thrones made you better at keeping secrets?

A. It’s so strange, I never think of it like that. It was a few weeks ago, but I realized I had never told anyone a spoiler. I’ve never said, “Oh my God, you’ll never believe what happens, and then this happens and then this happens…” And I know lots of people are big fans.

When people are excited to see it and to know it, what I enjoy is seeing their excitement, not delivering the news and them just going, “Oh, that happened. You’ve ruined it for me.” (Laughs)

I would hope it’s made me better at keeping secrets, but keeping secrets of the script is not an effort.

For more from Gwendoline check out the rest of her Q&A at USA Today!


  • Greatest hardship ever… will they really send her story so far as where the books have left her, or beyond even? I doubt that. Just makes me wonder what this hardship is, and this ‘unexpected’ bit. She still had plenty to do before SH, so I think it’s something pre-SH.

  • It would be really weird if that test is Stoneheart. It would make the lack of a resurrection scene in season 3 kind of stupid and it removes the awesome “yeah!” moment of the original reveal. I think it would be too much to take in all at once- Cat is alive, Cat is undead, vengeance is all she has left, she is a monster that has lost complete bearing with reality. Too much! Just too much… Also, the cast never talk about things that happen late in the season. I remember that Sophie said that Sansa will finally be happy in season 3, meaning her friendship with the Tyrells, but most fans took it to mean Sansa’s escape would happen in season 3- this might be referring to something else, something much more simple… Or not :(

    All in all, it doesn’t make much sense to finish Brienne’s arc this season and Brienne’s Stoneheart scene will end up leaving an overpoweringly negative effect rather than an uplifting one. At most, I imagine we’ll have Brienne meet Stoneheart through the exact same scene from ASOS (where she witnesses a Frey hanging) with the rest of the BrienneXStoneheart scenes to appear in early season 4.

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,

    I agree. Though I think you meant to say season 5 at the end there?

    It seems she will have enough hardship in season 4 dealing with general kings landing political maneuvering; cersei (and possibly Joffrey and tywin) being a bunch of c***s, and some ear and face biting to cap it off…. She’s got plenty to do without meeting her maker (so to speak)

  • After comparing the two photos in the post, I’d say the hair and makeup team deserves an Emmy just for their ability to ugly her up in the show.

  • She is very lovable. I hope that now she is listed as a regular, with the increase in her paycheck as well. I never would have thought that Brienne would be one of my favorite characters, but Gwen made it happen.