Gwendoline Christie on why we should celebrate “unconventional” women like Brienne


Emmy season is upon us, and with a whopping 32 nominationsGame of Thrones is bound to snag at least a few statues at this year’s award ceremony. One nomination that stands out is Gwendoline Christie’s for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, for her work as Brienne of Tarth.

Christie is one of three Game of Thrones stars who self-submitted, and she’s spoken repeatedly about she put herself forward as an “homage” to her character. In a recent interview with The Wrap, she delved into why she feels Brienne deserves such recognition.

"I didn’t expect HBO to submit me. But as it was the last season, and particularly because of the relevance that I feel the character has in our society now, I wanted to do it. I’ve seen the number of women who come up to me and talk about how the character touched and empowered them. It’s not my natural place to put myself forward for things, and a lot of people, particularly women, find it difficult to do that."

Helen Sloan – HBO (12) Brienne

This, then, is her homage to Brienne: Doing something that most women would “find difficult to do,” much like becoming the first female knight in Westeros. Brienne is known for defying gender norms — as well as societal expectations in general — and Christie’s willingness to put herself forward checks both of those boxes. Just as Brienne is an inspiration to young women who don’t fit into the box society puts them in, Christie is serving as a role model to those looking for validation and empowerment.

The actor dove further into why she related to Brienne in the first place, mirroring the experiences of many fans. “She’s a completely unconventional female character who works outside of the cruel realms of the patriarchal society that hates her because of who she is. I wanted to explore that role, because I was a woman who had to deal a lot with my shame over the way I looked, my androgyny, my height, the inconsistencies of my face, the scars on my face, my body type, my opinions that I felt too shy to put forward…”


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And Brienne doesn’t just offer a pillar of strength for fans to look up to. She also shows them that such women can be vulnerable and have happy endings, even if there are bumps along the road. For instance, some critics were upset with Brienne’s emotional goodbye to Jaime Lannister, but Christie said she was pleased with the scene, as it showed that “Brienne has allowed herself to love someone.”

"I don’t think there should be any thought that loving someone and being in pain when that person leaves her should be painted as a weakness, ever. She showed strength in every different area. Why shouldn’t she be allowed to be devastated?"

Brienne writes in the book. HBO

In fact, she’s pretty satisfied with the final leg of Brienne’s journey in general. “She is knighted, and I love that that stepped outside the conventions of gender roles. I was pleased that she took the chance to explore a sexual world and be in control of that and for her to activate it. And I was delighted that at the end she fulfills her dreams.”

Really, what more can any character ask for? Personally, I’m hoping that that Christie will defy the odds one last time and take home the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress.

Next. Alfie Allen looks back on Theon’s journey, gets hyped for his first Emmy nom. dark

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