Gwendoline Christie submitted herself for an Emmy “as a testament” to Brienne of Tarth

Helen Sloan - HBO (12) Brienne
Helen Sloan - HBO (12) Brienne /

From the start, Gwendoline Christie seemed destined to play Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. Even before she heard about the part, fans were suggesting her as the perfect casting choice, and after she heard about it, she was determined to make it happen,” she tells The Los Angeles Times in a new interview, “but where the work had to go was into the differences, which was all of the physical elements and all of the physical strength. I was very scared to go near my androgyny, my masculinity and my physical strength — and the strength with which I felt some of my own opinions, especially some of my opinions about women.”

"It was the opportunity to do something I knew I needed to do, which was to undergo a change and undergo a transformation and get in touch with who I truly was and how I’ve been made physically and who I am as a person. I felt that even if the show didn’t go anywhere, it didn’t matter, because I would get to do a job and I’d get to investigate that as work. That, to me, is what being an artist meant."

Eight years later, and not only did Brienne of Tarth survive the entire series, but she’s become a cultural icon beloved by millions of people around the world. For her part, Christie never expected either of those things to happen. “I didn’t think that’s what audiences wanted, because we’ve been told that’s not what audiences want,” she said.

That independent spirit may have been part of the reason Christie decided to put herself forward for an Emmy Award for her work in Game of Thrones season 8. As she says, nominating yourself isn’t at all inappropriate, so why not? “I truly never expected it to manifest in a nomination and I don’t think anybody else did either. But I just had to do it for me. And I had to do it as a testament to the character and what I feel she represents.”

But it did manifest in a nomination, in this case for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. In fact, several Game of Thrones stars who submitted themselves for Emmys consideration walked away with nominations, including Alfie Allen (Theon) for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama and Carice van Houten (Melisandre) for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. When the Emmys roll around, it’s going to be a Game of Thrones-heavy night.

“I wanted the possibility of being recognized for everything that character represents, for what she’s meant to me and for the part I feel she’s played, in some small way, in the burgeoning landscape we have in entertainment of seeing women in a different way,” Christie continued. “A more realistic way and a more unconventional way. I’m really, completely overwhelmed. What an extraordinary way to round out this phenomenal, mind-blowing experience that has changed all of our lives.”

Honestly, the Emmys are so stacked with good options from Game of Thrones this year that I don’t know who to root for. In the Support Actress category alone, Christie is facing off against Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark). But if Christie took home the gold, I’d have zero cause to complain.


San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner Game Of Thrones Night's Watch Bobblehead
San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner Game Of Thrones Night's Watch Bobblehead /

San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner Game Of Thrones Night's Watch Bobblehead

Buy Now!

Buy Now!

Christie also weighed in on one of Brienne’s final scene, where she tearfully asks Jaime not to return to King’s Landing and her sister Cersei before Daenerys attacks the city. Some fans saw this as Brienne showing an unacceptable amount of weakness, but Christie doesn’t see it that way at all:

"When you’re about to lose something that has truly meant something to you, it can destroy you, and I don’t think there’s any weakness in that. What I liked was that happens, but then she goes back to work. She doesn’t follow him, does she? She stays with Sansa and she does her duty. And she did get her happy ending, and her happy ending wasn’t defined by a man. What completes her as a character and what makes her three dimensional as a character is the fact that she becomes open about her feelings."

The 71st Emmys air on Fox on September 22. I will be watching, and I will be torn.

Next. Con of Thrones: What did Game of Thrones fans think of the ending?. dark

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Watch Game of Thrones for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels