Gwendoline Tracey Philippa Christie is an English actress, best known for playing the role of Brienne of Tarth in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones (GoT). She has also appeared in other prominent roles such as the First Orderstormtrooper Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). The actress along with two of her other GoT co-stars, Carice van Houten and Alfie Allen -- recently self-submitted for the 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards and received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, one of the ten nominations Game of Thrones received in the acting categories, for its final season. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the 40-year old actress spoke about her self-submission,
"It's something I find hard to do, like everyone else, but I would like to be in charge of my own destiny. And I would like to endeavour to give myself opportunities. Particularly when working very hard on something very special and you've pushed yourself beyond your limits."
Before submitting herself, Gwendoline said she had checked "it wasn't an inappropriate thing to do" and that she wasn’t actually expecting to receive a nomination but had wanted to make a "testament to the character."
In another interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the actress reflected on her journey on the HBO drama series and her character. While responding to a question on how her connection with Brienne started, she revealed that during her training in drama school, she had been told, “If you're lucky, once in your life, maybe, you come across a character that speaks to you.”
“I read about Brienne and it was this character. I felt that my experiences as a woman, with the way that I look, and [the feeling that] my experiences of life somehow weren't relevant and didn't have a place, and somehow didn't mean success. All I knew was I had an extreme emotional connection to her. I wanted to play this part because, for me as an actor, I felt like this was a character with something to say, that allowed me to speak my truth. When the job started, I was so grateful for it, just to go through the process and see all these things about myself that I had always, frankly, been ashamed of — my height, my size, scars on my face, my position in the world as a woman, what I believed in — and face all those things, and expose myself,” she added.
Gwendoline further said that when she read the script of the final season of Game of Thrones, she was thrilled that Brienne had “such a full storyline” and had prepared for “working the hardest” to “bring that to life, because it was happening for the last time.” She also said that she just wanted the opportunity of being nominated and wanted to do it for the character.
Narrating how she felt after receiving the news of her nomination from her publicist, she said, “ I experienced every single emotion known to man” and “I just could not believe it. It means a huge, huge amount to me, and HBO has been very supportive as a consequence of the wonderful nomination.” She added that what women can learn from the story of Brienne and her own Emmy nomination is to put themselves forward and “maybe that's what we need to take the courage to do in order to see a greater diversity in the world. We can empower ourselves by putting ourselves forward for something we never believe is going to happen.”
Brienne of Tarth
Brienne of Tarth is a warrior of House Tarth, vassals to House Baratheon, and the only daughter of Lord Selwyn Tarth on the Game of Throne series. In the second episode of GoT's final season, Brienne of Tarth receives a knighthood from the man she loves, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), during an impromptu ceremony on the eve of a great battle, which no one expects to survive. She not only survives but is the first woman to earn a knighthood in the Seven Kingdoms. She also assumes the position of Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, solidifying her status on the show.