Before and after Gwendoline Christie transformed into Brienne of Tarth for Game of Thrones

When British actress Gwendoline Christie was named to play Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones, the reaction from fans was that she was too pretty. George R. R. Martin describes Brienne in the books as the “ugliest woman in all of Westros,” which is a difficult role to be cast in for sure. At 6’3″ Gwendoline does fit the description of towering over a lot of men, but after years of the model life she definitely wasn’t buff enough the play Brienne. The main issue with Brienne isn’t her ugliness anyway, it is with her perceived ugliness in the Westros world, which isn’t very accepting of tall, masculine women.


“This was another one of those cases where there was hardly any debate. The day the first batch of auditions went up for the role, we looked at a dozen actresses who were reading for Brienne and one actress who WAS Brienne,” George R.R. Martin said about the casting. “Gwendoline gave a great reading, and her look was just perfect….She came in looking… well, like Brienne.”

She did have to make some changes to fully get into the role. She cut off her long, blonde hair and trained hard to put on about 20 lbs. of muscle. She did a lot of horseback riding and learned sword fighting as part of her training so she could easily be convincing as the kick-ass female knight. She did find cutting off her hair to be “deeply upsetting.” She still looks amazing with the short hair!

Gwendoline also landed the role as Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of her outside of GOT.


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