Last year, Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie enjoyed an opportunity envied by all in the realm: She and author George R.R. Martin, who penned the fantasy novels on which her HBO series is based, had a heart-to-heart.
The topic: the relationship between lady knight Brienne of Tarth and her one-handed, morally conflicted, sharp cheekboned traveling partner, Ser Jaime Lannister.
Martin “said what he wanted to do was to take the traditional format of Beauty and the Beast and change the roles — and also the genders,” she says. “That really excited me.”
The question of who’s the beauty and who’s the beast — as well as what’s ahead for the duo in Thrones‘ upcoming fourth season (which bows April 6 at 9/8c) — made for a lively chat when TVLine recently spoke with Christie. Read on for more.
TVLINE | When we pick back up with Brienne, she’s in King’s Landing — and she’s not wearing her armor.
She and Jaime will have been filthy, and she is given some clothes to wear… So we worked on the assumption that she would have had something made for her. Jaime would have allowed that to happen or commissioned that to happen.
[Brienne is going to Joffrey's wedding], so she would wear a dress. And then [series costume designer] Michele [Clapton] struck upon the excellent idea for being culottes, so it’s a physical manifestation of the character Brienne. She’s not, again, being masculine. She’s not being conventionally female, which I felt worked perfectly. And then she wear a leather jacket over the top which is tied very securely with a long belt, and the boots, which are maintained.
I felt very happy with that. I felt it was something that with Brienne, it felt perfectly in context. That Brienne would be entirely respectful to the society that she was in but still maintaining her individuality and being true to the person that she is.
TVLINE | In the season’s first episode, Brienne and Olenna Tyrell share a scene. Margaery’s grandmother seems to take a liking to her.
Yes. And reading the script, it’s so cleverly written that when I was reading it, it was a surprise to me that Olenna would change and have that opinion, but then, as ever, it makes total sense that she should be so embracing of a woman of power, as she is herself, albeit of an entirely different form.
TVLINE | If I recall correctly, this is your first scene with Dianna Rigg.
Outside of this, I never dreamt I would — and obviously within the context of the show, I didn’t see how that would happen. [So] I was overwhelmed that I would get to work with this phenomenal icon. And just in that short time that we filmed together, you are made totally aware of this woman’s brilliance. The wealth of experience she has, of her natural talent, and the incredible skill that she has –and I was obviously nervous, but she but me at such ease, because she’s so brilliant at her job. She treated me with such sweetness and respect. It’s definitely a complete highlight of my career so far. And she’s a lovely lady.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about Jaime and Brienne. That relationship exploded last year, especially after she saw him in a very vulnerable state. Can you tease what’s ahead for them now that he’s home in King’s Landing?
Those two with their relationship, only they know what has gone on. Only those two share the experience. And what I find so attractive about it is it is so unspoken… Brienne’s perspective is that she senses that it would be very easy for Jaime to return back to his old way of being, back to his old mode of behavior, and she wants him to uphold the man he has become rather than go back to being the man he was, because she sees that beneath these seemingly impenetrable layers, there is a man of honor and of heart.
So she wants him to continue with that journey. Brienne is a woman that has dedicated her life to honor and to the moral good, and is altruistic. And she sees that in him also and wants him to maintain it. She’s a very pure character. It will be interesting to see the journey that she goes on. It will be interesting to see if she remains that way, if it’s possible for any human being to remain that way.
TVLINE | In that situation.
In the world of Game of Thrones, which is a ramped-up version of our lives. Quite heavily ramped-up.
TVLINE | She’s pure, as you say, but she’s not naïve. She knows how things go.
She’s not naïve but she does have an innocence, and I think that comes from a lack of emotional experience… She’s put in a situation which I think is possibly the most testing for Brienne. She goes through lots of physical testing situations, but the moment that she’s in with Cersei is possibly the worst thing that Brienne could imagine.
TVLINE | It makes me wonder: Was she more comfortable in the pit with the bear than when she has to engage with Cersei?
Definitely. [In the bear scene,] she says to Jaime — that line is only slightly audible, so I don’t know how it registered with the audience — but when Jaime grabs her, she says, “What are you doing?!” He says, “Get behind me,” and she’s angry because she was dealing with it. [Laughs] She was dealing with it. She appreciates his help, but she was dealing with it.
TVLINE | I hear the bear didn’t smell great.
[Looks puzzled] No, I didn’t notice anything bad about the smell of the bear.
TVLINE | Funny — Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said it was smelly.
Well, he is very sensitive. [Laughs]