'Game of Thrones' casts fan favorite Brienne

Gwendoline-Christie

Image Credit: Getty Images

Another role has been filled on HBO’s Game of Thrones!

Actress Gwendoline Christie has been cast in the pivotal part of Brienne, announced Thrones author George R.R. Martin on his blog.

Brienne isn’t physically a very flattering character in the books, described as a large and piggish-looking woman with an awkward personality who’s mocked as “Brienne the Beauty.” But her character, who serves the late king’s brother Renly, is a fan favorite. Brienne is as tough and skilled with a sword as most men and longs for knighthood despite her gender. Christie is a relatively unknown actress who was in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and joins former Tudors star Natalie Dormer who was added to the Thrones season 2 cast a couple weeks back.

UPDATE: Here’s who will play Davos and here’s who is cast for Melisandre and Stannis.

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Read more:
‘A Dance With Dragons’ 10 burning questions answered
‘Tudors’ star joins ‘Game of Thrones’ cast — EXCLUSIVE

Comments (106 total) Add your comment
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  • tracy bluth

    She looks too pretty and thin to play Brienne. But George R. R. Martin seems to think she’s perfect for the role, so I guess I’ll have to trust him.

    • Renjick

      That’s why there’s this thing called makeup and prosthetics in the “bizzness”.

      • Missy

        Yes there’s such a shortage of “large and piggish-looking” women to play this role. Must give it to beautiful woman and ugly her up.

    • minister

      Do a Google image search; I think it will assuage your concerns, i.e. it won’t take too much work to make her Brienne.

    • kaduzy

      I agree! I knew they’d hire someone too pretty. I look forward to seeing how they “ugly” her up for the part.

    • Poo Face

      I’d hit that. Dork.

    • Strepsi

      Apparently she’s 6’3″ and athletic, so I like the choice.

  • charlotte

    She’s 6’3″. Perfect height. She’ll look eye to eye with Jamie. She’s mostly been in British stage productions. With armor, I’m sure she’ll look bulky enough and make up will ugly her up.

    • Tim

      I was scared crapless until you said 6’3″. I thought she couldn’t have been more wrong. When I imagined Brienne, I always sort of imagined WWE’s Chyna with no boobs.

      • Katlamos

        Gotta admit, I agree with you. However, I’m sure they’ll be able to make her look closer to Brienne. In armor, it should be fine, but I’m curious to see how they’ll make her look for when they put her in a dress. she shouldn’t be pretty looking then

    • jmo

      My though went to “how will she look next to Jamie?” I always imagined her slightly taller and knowing the actress is 6’3″ is a sigh of relief.

      • ashlee

        Although GW appears tall I was concerned. I am very relieved to hear she is 6’3″. I assume makeup will do the rest. Brienne’s character has a lackluster physical appearence but is very important in the 4th book. It would be disservice to the author and the book to make Brienne anything less than dowdy.

  • sabrina

    So…why choose a pretty actress to “uglify,” unless of course at some point the character will be cleaned up for a tacked on romance and/or HBO’s usual gratuitous sex? Why not cast a non-pretty actress to begin with because that’s the way she was originally written? Oh, right – I forgot; it’s HBO and it’s imperative for them to use an actress in pasties and a g-string to feature on their series site. Silly me.

    • charlotte

      You know nothing about this actress or this character. How many ugly 6’3 actresses, who have a strong theater background and are based in the UK are there?

      • hmm

        well if you knew TSoFaI longer than the serie you would know that fans casted dinklage tyrion years ago and so many other characters

      • charlotte

        And wasn’t it fans that basically helped get this actress cast? Her name was bandied about by them when they started casting for the first season.

      • Tim

        It’s ASOIAF hmm. A song of ice and fire. Not the song of fire and ice. Failsnark on your part.

    • Jeff

      OMG.. I can’t believe you went there. I’m sure there are TONS of ugly, mannish, tall actresses running around, but HBO mandated someone hot. Good grief

    • Eagle1

      You are a mental patient who is likely fat and ugly yourself and is jealous of attractive women.

      The chief consideration here was to find a very tall blonde with acting ability. That’s it. The fact that this particular actress attractive is irrelevant, and if you knew anything about Brienne, you know that there will be no scenes with her that can remotely be called sexy.

      • myprettypony

        the character is supposed to be ugly and man-ish. I honestly pictured a younger version of the football coach on Glee. Geez even the actress who played starbuck on BSG would have been a better choice.

      • daisy

        sorry myprettypony but I think maybe you are mistaken or you cannot see that picture. Ms. Christie (man I hate having to insult the woman, but that is what this is gonna sound like) is far better for Brienne than Kara Thrace. Ms. Christie is not more attractive. In fact, I do not think she is in any way attractive, so take off the heavy makeup and bulk her up just a bit and she will be perfect. you dont want someone so ugly you cannot look at her.

      • MikeB

        Someone like Miranda Hart. She’s comedy though and has her own show so she’s probably too busy.

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    • Ironist

      The books are LOADED with sex (which of course, doesn’t diminish their greatness; it’s just a fact). HBO didn’t need to add sex; there’s plenty there.

      Also, they have all the actresses from their series in pasties and a g-string on the site? Are you freaking kidding? You must have seen a Nancy Marchand layout that I missed.

      • herba

        There are some sex scenes, but I would not go has far has saying “loaded”. Maybe like 10 scenes in book 2 and if you would make a TV series with everything in the book it would be 30 episodes so in the book there seem to be a lot less sex than in the 10 hours TV series.

    • Jenn

      I think she will do. I just think its funny that people say shes not ugly enough.

      I bet she doesn’t feel the prettiest being cast a “ugly” person role lol. Also, no one wants to think they are ugly, so why would you go try out for a role indicating so haha

  • mink

    She’s very tall, has blue eyes, freckles, very small breasts and without makeup looks rather plain. She’s not that thin either. If you look at her arms in some other pictures you can see they’re thick and healthy. After she does some fencing and builds some muscle, and without makeup, she should be perfect for the role.

    • Kimsie

      … that picture above makes her look horrid and kinda outa place. Ick to the hair, ick to the lipstick.

      @sabrina — you said the same thing about tyrion? oh, wait, you didn’t. shaddap.

    • herba

      She need to add a bit of muscle indeed.

  • mink

    Sabrina, you kidding me, right? This lady is not drop-dead ugly, but if you’ve ever seen non-glamour shots of her without the hair and makeup she is a rather ordinary, kind of odd looking woman. Certainly not a Hollywood babe who could star in Transformers.

  • Rhaegar

    Well… she’s too pretty but I’m sure the make-up artists can handle that. I hope she does a good job.

  • boohoo

    Is she really a fan favorite? I don’t recall many people saying Brienne when being asked who their favorite POV characters are.

    And yeah, on this picture she looks way too thin to play Brienne.

    • Ghost

      Brienne wasn’t really fat… she was muscular.

      • Aerun

        Ooh. I love Coldstone. Our closest one csoeld last year , but we have some Tim Hortons/Coldstone combos, so it’s all good. I love anything with mint ice cream!

    • Herba

      The Jaime / Brienne arc is one of my favorite one in book 2 and 3

      • Laurie Mann

        Tyrion is my favorite character over all, but Brienne really jumps out of books 2-4. In some ways, she is something of an “inverted Tyrion” – a tall, powerful woman who is very honorable.

  • Olive

    I happy with this casting. She should bulk up a little bit but otherwise I can see Brienne.

    • Bulan

      Love, love, love the desk in the fourth image…has such great maznigae sgtorage underneath! what about that cougar(?) head too…pretty wild (haha).I love ‘timber’ pieces…they add such warmth…nothing wrong with that!xo J~

  • @boohoo

    Everyone I’ve talked to who has read the books say Brienne is a favorite POV. There is something very redemptive in her relationships that develop later in the series with other characters that makes you love her and the other characters when you thought at the beginning of the story that there was no hope for them. Just that transforming power that is written into her makes her a favorite of many. I think this actress has the right look, as I’ve always thought that Brienne was judged to harshly for being a strong healthy woman.

    • m.

      I didn’t like her character and considered her POV chapters a filler. But I guess there is always someone who likes some character and there is also someone who doesn’t.

      • Rien

        I gotta say, other than the red wedding, and her tyrion interaction chapters, some of Catelyn chapters bored the heck out of me.;)
        The photo of the actress kind of suits the description of Brienne; wasn’t she (isn’t she) wholly unremarkable with the exception of her eyes? I always thought, had it not been for her size and the scarring nature of her profession, she would not have been deemed too ugly–rather just plain. The actress, above is decked out for some premiere, no? I think, she might be well-suited to the task. Can’t wait to see !

      • jj

        wow. you definitely are in the minority on that one.

    • Tajah

      I agree! Brienne is a favorite character of mine and I also think that she was deemed ugly just because she dared to challenge the female stereotypes of the day.

    • Turner

      I think Gwen C. is perfect. She’s broad shouldered & her pic w/ no makeup shows a slight smattering of freckles. The book emphasizes her ugliness, compared to the petite tiny women that are supposed to be beauties. I’ve never imagined her as hideous. I’ve always envisioned her very similar to how Gwen C. looks. Slightly irregular features, but ‘pretty’ in her own way. Muscled, large women can be pretty…although she doesn’t have the buck teeth that GRRM writes about…I think I’ll be okay w/ out them. :-) Btw, YouTube her & you’ll find some neat clips of some of her work.

  • Robin

    The only issue is her thin build, other than that she is perfect. Brienne does have a certain beauty to her even though she is plain.

    This actress without make-up and with some dirtying up and TV magic will look great for the part.

    • Bill G

      While Brienne might be said to have an inner beauty she was never described as anything more than butt-ugly. So ugly that people openly mocked her. The woman pictured looks nothing like the character I pictured.

  • Bibi

    Brienne is one of my favorite characters. New book out next Tuesday, I’m so stoked! I think this actress will be fine. The casting so far has been brilliant. I’m so happy they’ve stayed true to the book(s).

  • James

    I’m not that big of a Brienne fan (I find her too simplistic and her chapters are a little too “road movie” for my taste), but I think Christie will do fine. It’s height and build that are key; take away the makeup, dirty her up and put her in chain mail and it’s a slam dunk.
    And let’s be realistic: It’d be almost impossible to find a suitable actress with Brienne’s exact, uh, physical specifications. I remember reading the books thinking it’d be an extremely challenging role to cast.

    • georgialei

      A youngerand blonde, Dot Marie Jones (Coach Bieste from Glee) is what I kept seeing in my mind as I was reading the books

      • Taymalin

        Me too! Dot Marie Jones as a younger blonde is exactly how I pictured her.

      • Sue

        I’m starting the fourth novel now. I pictured her as a younger and blonder Camryn Manheim.

      • Snsetblaze

        I pictured her as a younger Camryn Manheim.

  • Hong

    The only casting misstep to me, so far is Renly. He’s a fine actor but I think the producers wussed out and sissy-fied Renly to match his implied sexual preferences in the books. Physically, he was supposed to be a spitting image of a young Robert—so basically a pretty impressive physical specimen. It would’ve been refreshing, as it was in the books, if the producers held true to that. Having a very masculine looking and acting guy, who’s also very dashing and gallant who also happens to be gay would have been mildly ground-breaking and definitely out of the norm, which is kind of what this series is about.

    • Jay

      Spot on analysis. I had the same thought. Hopefully the actor can display more of Renly’s charisma next season.

    • Kimsie

      Renly’s dashing enough, and RAKISH enough in my opinion. doesn’t look enough like robert, but doesn’t look like a sissy.

      More pissed with Loras… Can that man even STAND in armor?? Let alone fight?

      • Gabriel

        I totally agree re. Loras. A gay friend of mine who loves the series did not think those scenes were hot at all because the Knight of Flowers really looked like effeminate twink.

      • ks

        I sure pictured Loras much differently as well, I think this actress can pull it off! Look at Cat’s sister-Perfect! and Lena Headly-great!

    • Ethan

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  • graco

    based only on this picture she looks too weak and unathletic.

    • James

      Thank goodness it’s just the one picture then, huh?

  • Robert Lowell Russell

    She’s a lovely woman (makeup can fix that), and more importantly, it seems she can act (what were they going to do, cast a body-builder?). I’ve seen a few photos of her (some pretty revealing) and I bet she’ll fill her armor, perfectly. I can’t wait, and I’m counting down to book #5.

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