Gwendoline Christie hopes Brienne paves the way for more complex female characters


Gwendoline Christie is still out there promoting her Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, an honor she received after putting herself forward for consideration for her work as Brienne of Tarth in the final season of Game of Thrones. “I just really wanted the possibility of the opportunity,” she told PEOPLE about why she submitted herself. “I really wanted the possibility of the opportunity as a testament to the character. And also, I worked really hard. So I checked it wasn’t an inappropriate thing to do, I was told it wasn’t — people do it all the time.”

“I don’t think anyone on earth thought it would happen,” she added. “And it has and it’s genuinely one of the best things that’s happened to me in my life.” Considering she’s going up against actors like Lena Headey, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner in her category, I have no idea who I’m going to root for, but I’m definitely glad she’s being recognized.

And I’m glad that Brienne, a character the kind of which we don’t see very often on TV, is being recognized. Christie sounds like she agrees. “I love that she has so much unabashed physical strength, but we also see the complexity of her struggle with her physical self and how she fits into a man’s world,” she said.

"I have been really encouraged by the response from women to that warrior. A woman who is a warrior but who also has a very deep sensitivity, a very strong moral sense and a deeply rich emotional world which she struggles to hide. I hope what it means is that we see more three-dimensional female characters, and I hope this signals the end of female parts that are merely the girlfriend and mother."

Brienne might have a hard time putting an end to that trend by herself, but with the rest of the Game of Thrones cast behind her, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Christie also talked about Brienne’s experiences with Jaime Lannister in the final season of the show, which included her choosing to lose her virginity to him. “Personally, I’m glad that Brienne elected to have her first sexual experience,” she said. “It was something that she consents to and I’m glad we see her leaving herself open and having an honest, emotional response to that — and recovering from it. And, ultimately, superseding her expectations and no longer being in service and protecting someone else but being in control.”

"I love that Brienne elects to have this romantic moment with Jaime Lannister and that it’s her choice to have that. And, ultimately, what was my favorite point was that she gets the promotion that she’s always wanted. She is Lord Commander of the king’s guard. And how it ends is not about her relationship with a man, but about her fulfilling her destiny and her work. And that’s delighted me. That the woman goes back to work!"

The 71st Primetime Emmys will air on Fox on September 22.

And by the way, if you want to see more pics of Christie from this photoshoot, you can pick up a copy of the latest PEOPLE!

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