Gwendoline Christie on Brienne’s big moment, relationship with Jaime Lannister


The most recent episode of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” was a tearjerker, in no small part thanks to the scene where Jaime Lannister, a man who once pushed a child out a window, knighted the woman who played perhaps the biggest part in showing him the error of his ways, Brienne of Tarth. Few people have ever been more deserving. “A character that was good actually got something good for a change,” actor Gwendoline Christie told Vulture. “And on a personal level, it really spoke to me. As someone that’s been very open about the struggles of my past…about not fitting into a normal society. It’s being allowed, being credible, being given the incredible opportunity to play this part that I truly love, that’s true to me. It really touched me.”


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For the occasion, Christie broke out an actorly tool she almost never gets to use on Game of Thrones: the smile. “Well, throughout the years and seasons, Brienne of Tarth hasn’t had much reason to smile,” she said. “The position she’s been given in society has not been one automatically of power. She has not been naturally appreciated by the patriarchy. She’s a woman that’s really forged her own path, on her own terms in service of an idea larger than herself. Of wanting to protect and restore the Stark girls for their mother. So that’s been her reason for living. And within that, she hasn’t really sought out personal joy. She’s never been a creature of her own desires — other than the desire to serve others. Brienne has one of the few pure souls in the world of Game of Thrones. She’s one of the few truly good characters from what we’ve seen so far.”

That purity of spirit is one of the things that consistently makes fans worry that Brienne might die at any moment, and with the Battle of Winterfell just around the corner, we’re more nervous than ever. Christie understands why fans would be nervous, but obviously didn’t give away any spoilers about what’s coming. Let’s just enjoy the first time Brienne gets to participate in one of the show’s battle spectacular episodes and hope for the best.

And when that happens, Brienne will be fighting alongside Jaime Lannister, who in Christie’s view is “a broken man reformed.”

"[W]hat I think what people love about him, and why I think he is one of the great characters of the show, is that you never know what to think of him. Even eight years after Brienne starts her journey with Jamie Lannister, I don’t know quite how to respond. I don’t quite know what to say, I can’t say whether he’s good or bad. I truly can’t. You can say that about all the characters, but with him truly there has been the depths of depravity — pushing a child out of a window — to seeing past the superficial patriarchal constraints that that society places on women to form a respectful, deep, mutual bond with a woman and not have sex with her."

Indeed, the relationship between Brienne and Jaime has been built on mutual respect What’s Christie’s take on their connection? “If [Brienne] was clicking on a Facebook profile, it would say ‘It’s complicated.'”

"Brienne doesn’t really operate in that sexual realm. It’s the night before the battle. The stakes are really high and people are allowing themselves to feel things that they wouldn’t necessarily feel. She is experiencing all manner of things, but as usual, she’s not quite sure where to put any of it. What’s been marvelous about the relationship between Brienne and Jamie has been that we haven’t been able to contextualize it."

It must be interesting for Brienne, who was ridiculed all her life for stepping outside the norms of society and suddenly has two hot guys competing for her affections…although only I’m pretty sure only Tormund thinks it’s a competition. “It’s an amazing relationship between Tormund and Brienne because what they do so well is that kind of unbridled desire toward someone,” Christie said. “It’ll be interesting to see which way the barometer will swing.”

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And then there’s other important man in Brienne’s life: her squire Podrick Payne, who revealed himself to be an excellent singer as well as a capable swordsman on Sunday. “I really don’t feel we’ve really begun to scratch the surface of what [actor Daniel Portman] is capable of doing,” Christie said. “[A]nd that day, he was extraordinary. We hadn’t heard the song, we hadn’t heard him rehearsing the song, but we were told. You know, it’s high stakes. People want to give their very best performances, you’re aware there’s the limitations of time, you’re aware you are working with brilliant people. So, there can be an element of pressure. They did maybe 20 takes and Daniel had to nail it every time. And he did.”

Twenty takes? That man is a champion. And hopefully some of those show up on the blooper reel.

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