You guys, I basically spent all day yesterday waiting for this content to appear. James Hibberd at EW just posted the slightly expanded version of his interview with Gwendoline Christie on her role as Brienne. I’m gonna go ahead and chuck all the text in here, so everyone reading this blog can see what I see:
Brienne is done waiting around in the snow. Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie spoke with EW about her character’s storyline in the upcoming sixth season, and revealed Brienne of Tarth is going to have a more active arc this year.
“After season 5, people would come up on the street moaning about why wasn’t Brienne wasn’t doing more,” Christie says of her character, who spent the back half of last year patiently watching for a distress signal from Sansa (Sophie Turner). “I’d say, ‘I’m terribly sorry, I’m not really in charge of that.’ I got the scripts for season 6 and I thought the story was so fantastic. It’s really exciting to see Brienne burst forth again.”
Of course, more screen time on Thrones also typically means a character faces more dire peril. Up until now, Brienne’s ferocious combat skills have kept her alive despite being saddled with traits that usually prove quickly fatal in Westeros (you know, like being a decent person). This time, she won’t be able to rely just on her brawn to survive, an evolution that Christie embraces. “Brienne is so unique and unconventional and so strong, and I love the writing hasn’t allowed her to just rest there,” Christie says. “[Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] are so terrific about how they develop characters. We see her develop like the way a human being might through life.”
And once again, Brienne will be encountering characters she has never met before (speculate away). “So many characters for so long had their isolated storylines and as a fan of this show as well, I’ve been wanting and dreaming — ‘I wonder what it would be like to see this person interact with this other person?’ And that’s what starts to unfold.”
Last season’s relatively modest on-screen duties did have benefits, however, as Christie was able devote time to her coveted big-screen roles as Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2and playing the chrome trooper Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens — with more to come in Episode VIII (Brienne may never earn a royal title, but Christie could be dubbed The Franchise Queen).
Yet for Christie, high-profile roles are not just about her own career — the actress says she felt like an unusual-looking outsider prior to joining Thrones and hopes her rise helps inspire Hollywood to create more diverse roles. “Women talk to me about how Brienne is important to them and they’re really happy it illustrates an unconventional side of femininity and womanhood compared to what we’re used to seeing,” she says. “There’s a shift in the kind of things people want to see in entertainment, and I hope this breeds in people’s minds and we see more different incarnations of women.”
And while she’s keeping busy with other roles, Christie says she has zero interest in exiting Thrones to work on movies — if she can help it. “I really am in a position now where I’m very lucky to do other things,” she says, “But I don’t ever want to stop playing this part.”
I am totally here for Brienne meeting new people, and having to use skills outside of her skull-cracking ability to survive. I’m sure she’ll crack skulls! She’ll be mowing down some Boltons, at the very least. But I appreciate Hibberd’s insight that a) Brienne is a decent person, and b) decent people tend not to live very long in Westeros.
But this is not to say I’m worried about her chances for survival. She’ll be fine at the end. I’m looking forward to seeing her encountering new people and having to deal with them in other ways than swinging her sword.