Statuesque actress says playing her on-screen ‘badass’ character is a dream come true.

Game of Thrones

star Gwendoline Christie has won her own cult following for her statuesque androgynous warrior, Brienne of Tarth.

Standing at an imposing 1.91m, the English actress, and sometime model and singer, is not your traditional beauty.

She's proud of her physique. "You have to own it," she grins. "I've never seen my height as being anything other than positive and a unique selling point.


"And, what can you do? But come to think of it, a couple of times fans have actually been disappointed that I wasn't taller."

Her androgynous knight has become one of the show's most beloved characters - one who stands out among Game of Thrones womenfolk, and not just because of her height.

"I love that she isn't conventionally attractive so that makes her very unlike female characters we've had on television.

"Brienne is a real badass and the reason we fall in love with her is due to the choices she makes rather than the way that she looks. So for me I'm more than thrilled to be playing the part.

"Young people who watch the show see her as a character and so it becomes an archetype; it becomes part of society. Perhaps it means we'll have a more encompassing viewpoint and representation of women in modern culture."

Christie trained as an actor after her dreams of becoming a gymnast were shattered following a spinal injury. She had little screen experience before auditioning for Brienne who was first seen in season two.

"I got to cough and spit in a Terry Gilliam movie (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and I've done some theatre in England. But getting this role really was a dream come true and I'm very lucky so many people watch it because of course, as an actor, you don't get a lot of job security."

Brienne ended season four having won a duel with The Hound/Sandor Clegane in an effort to free Arya Stark, only to see her run off.


Christie can't say much about what season five brings, though her next combat challenge seems to involve Sandor's big brother, Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane.

Christie has other screen battles to fight in the coming year. She's playing Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 and then she has an unnamed role in the new Star Wars film.

"I'm really sorry but I can't talk about it," she says, "other than to say the experience of filming it was absolutely spectacular."

If Christie starts swinging a light sabre the way Brienne wields her sword, "Oathkeeper", in Game of Thrones, then she risks stealing the show in another epic fantasy.

Getting back into the Game

Battling warriors and wrangling dragons on Game of Thrones is easy. Weathering the bitter cold north of The Wall is a snap.

Brienne of Tarth left Sandor Clegane in a bad way. Photo / AP
Brienne of Tarth left Sandor Clegane in a bad way. Photo / AP

What's difficult is keeping track of all the storylines and remembering how things were left hanging when last season ended all those months ago.

As Thrones returns for its fifth season on SoHo, here's a reminder of what some of the characters were up to, way back then. And if you're not caught up, spoiler alert:

• Jon Snow was attempting to broker peace with the wildling army of Mance Rayder, self-styled King-Beyond-the-Wall, when Mance's camp was attacked by troops led by One-True-King Stannis Baratheon.

• Mance Rayder was taken prisoner by Stannis, who ordered him to kneel in surrender, something Mance, a stubborn sort, refused to do.

• Stannis Baratheon left the strong impression, yet again, that he's not the forgiving type.

• Tyrion Lannister, often dismissed for his diminutive stature but tough as nails, let loose a couple of fatal bolts from his crossbow at his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, who had it coming. After this execution, Tyrion was whisked away by Varys, a eunuch, and the two set sail for freedom.

• Brienne of Tarth, a towering woman and would-be knight, was determined to fulfil her pledge to save the headstrong girl Arya Stark from the grip of thuggish Sandor Clegane, as she nearly killed him in a brawl. But Arya refused to join her and vanished from sight.

• Arya Stark, hardened by the difficulties of her life on the run, took vengeance on her captor, Sandor, by refusing to put him out of his misery with her sword as he lay gravely wounded after his rumble with Brienne. She left him dying in agony as she took off solo for the city of Braavos.

• Sandor Clegane - aka The Hound - was last seen begging in vain for Arya to "Kill me!"

• Queen Daenerys Targaryen realised to her dismay that she could no longer restrain her beloved pet dragons from creating havoc. She led the smaller two into the catacombs beneath the city, then, weeping, locked then in chains and left them there. But Drogon, the largest and most aggressive, went missing after skewering a child with his fiery breath.

- AP

TV profile
Who: Gwendoline Christie who plays Brienne of Tarth
What: Game of Thrones season 5
When and Where: Soho today at 1pm and 8.30pm. Also screening on Sky's Neon from 8.30pm.