Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones has spoken up about her experiences and her character’s journey through the show.
See the excerpts of the interview, as shared by The Hollywood Reporter:
About her experience in terms of the reactions to her character, she said:
It’s been incredible. I’ve been so happy. I’ve never had such a response to work, and also, I couldn’t be more delighted that in the final season of Game of Thrones, I was given such good material to play. I have been very open about how I’ve loved this character from the beginning, and what she represents. She’s literally stepped out of the shadows and started exploring a different side of herself — who she is as a woman. It’s another dimension added to the writing. What’s so amazing about Game of Thrones is how they take characters and put them in the most unlikely situations. We’ve seen that done particularly acutely with this character this season. I couldn’t be more grateful.
While we were shooting, I was really delighted to have this material to work with. I was really glad it had arrived. I’ve never before felt such love from people, just walking down the street. It’s an amazing testament to the character George R.R. Martin created and the work that [creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss] have done with the writing, and how they brought it to life with all the creatives and cast this show is so lucky to have. I truly feel so lucky to be a part of this show. It’s a phenomenon that will probably only happen once in any person’s life. I feel really lucky to be a part of it.
About her expectations and what she thought of Brienne’s fate in the seasons, she said:
I really didn’t know if that would happen. I wasn’t necessarily hoping for it. What I’ve always loved about playing that relationship with Nikolaj is that it’s so unlikely. It’s so unlike the kinds of relationships we see in our mainstream entertainment. No one’s really known what kind of shape it would take. That’s what’s captivated people for so many years. From my perspective, although I’ve known what I was playing in a given scene, I haven’t had an overriding goal of wanting them to end up in bed together or in a relationship together. We never knew where it was going, so we always played it moment by moment.
Of course, I had wondered where [the story between Brienne and Jaime] was going, and all sorts of other things. What was it Brienne wanted? Companionship? Did she want to be alone? To be with a man? A woman? What is it she wants in life? All I’ve known is I really loved the relationships she’s formed, particularly with Jaime Lannister. Playing it has been incredibly exciting, because I never know where we’re going to end up in a scene. I could be laughing uproariously with Nikolaj, or I can end up wanting to scream at him and claw his eyes out. (Laughs.) It’s been so entertaining to play. I’ve been so lucky to play these scenes with such a brilliant, mercurial actor. It’s what made the scenes so good; they move around, and neither of us ever really knew where it was going to go.
About her character’s fraught relationship with Jaime, she said:
I love a challenge. When you read it, you think, “How can I go there? How can I go on that roller coaster and make it happen?” That’s what’s so exciting about an acting challenge. Those things do happen in life, and that’s what you get to work with. I thought it was phenomenal and typical of Game of Thrones that in a space of one episode, after seven years of building this relationship, it not only comes together but also falls apart. Those things do happen in life. It was very much about putting ourselves in a situation of not knowing how to play it that allowed us to let it happen. [When Jaime arrives to her room], Brienne is just going with it in the moment. She’s going with her feelings, going with something that she as a character has never really done before. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she’s committing to it. As an actor, that’s what you do: you just commit to it.
I’ve been very open about how much I love this character and how protective I am of the character, and I know I’m just an actor and this is just a character in a TV show, but I can’t help but be invested because of how much I have invested to make this character come alive. The idea of her being brutally hurt [by Jaime], what I really loved about it and what helped in the playing of it, is that Brienne made the decision to be with him. Although he comes to her room and it’s all a bit overwhelming, she chooses to have the experience. I loved that. She elects to go for it. She’s not stupid. She’s really aware that this is a conflicted man on many levels. But she wants that moment. She’s just cheated death; she managed to survive the battle. She decides to give herself that experience.
In leaving herself so open and so raw, the pain is so acute [when it ends] because she’s taken such a risk. She’s done something for herself. For once, she’s really done something that was all about her, in an area where she has no experience at all. She’s hurt in the worst way possible. Even now, when I think about it, it makes me feel… (Pauses.) You know, it makes me feel. It was a glorious acting challenge. It wasn’t easy to play at all. I feel like this character has given a voice to people who maybe don’t feel like they fit in, or feel marginalized, or feel they don’t fit into a patriarchal mold of what it is to be considered attractive; I don’t know. There are lots of people who identify with her. It means a lot to me.
We laughed a lot on the day, shooting [the love scene], because it’s ludicrous! You’re in there with a medieval fireplace and a hundred people in the room… it’s ludicrous. (Laughs.) But that’s also what was so thrilling. Somehow, you connect with the suspension of disbelief. In that moment, you just let the characters live. It’s what was so thrilling about playing the writing.
About her future prospects, she said:
I feel really buoyed by this experience to try some new things. I’m really delighted to come away from this with a little bit of confidence. That’s the most incredible gift of all: to feel some confidence and acceptance to go forward. I want to play all sorts of extraordinary women. I want to look into the darker recesses of human life and explore those, and explore what we’re not supposed to talk about and look at. I’m really excited to explore more unconventional characters. It’s thrilling to be getting back on stage again and to explore reality in a live space, with such a revered theater director in the form of Sir Nicholas Hytner. It’s exciting times. Mostly, I’m really looking forward to the projects I feel passionately about with auteurs and artists who really speak to my sensibilities. I want to create more content myself, and be more involved in a creative role. That’s what I’d really like, going forward. Quite genuinely, I’m really grateful to have been employed over these past several years, and I’ll forever be grateful to Game of Thrones for giving me the opportunity and the platform. It means a great deal to me. I just hope I keep working. (Laughs.)
And she said a lot more. Read it all here.