[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 6, “The Iron Throne.”]
“I am slightly, pathetically thrilled that I got it right,” Christie said in an interview with IndieWire. “When I read the script, I gasped and thought, ‘Oh, I was right.’”
To be completely honest, Christie had expected to be disappointed and “it would probably end up being Daenerys or Jon Snow” ruling the Seven Kingdoms. That’s why she was vindicated when the Westerosi council voted for Bran to be king.
“I thought it would be Bran because I thought it would be the least likely person. In my mind what ‘Game of Thrones’ has always done is subvert narrative,” she said. “As viewers we’ve really not known what’s going to come to us and we’ve not known how to predict it. That’s what’s made it so intoxicating. It’s the idea of the final ruler being someone who isn’t interested in power, who isn’t ambitious and therefore is entirely unlikely to become corrupted by power. That’s what I thought that George R.R. Martin would go with.”
As for Ser Brienne of Tarth, the first woman knighted in the realm, her finale is bittersweet. She is now serving as the highest-ranking knight, Commander of the Kingsguard, but she also lost someone she loved, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). In her final scene of the series, she’s seen writing in the The Book of Brothers, finishing the entry that lists Jaime’s knightly accomplishments. While this is a touching way to honor his memory, many viewers wondered why Brienne didn’t start her own page in the book.
“Well, there’s two reasons. One is that I do not believe that a knight writes their own entry. I might have made that up, but I don’t believe that to be the case,” she said. “But I also think Brienne is too modest to write to her own entry.” [Editor’s Note: In George R.R. Martin’s books, Jaime is able to update his own entry, although that rule may not carry over to the show.]
Christie also emphasizes that the moment is tied closely with Brienne completing her emotional journey that had begun in earnest when the two share a romantic night together in King’s Landing before he abandons her for his sister.
“When Jaime comes into Brienne’s room, she chooses to push that action forward and it’s very clear that she is consenting. More than that, she wants it, and the kiss is passionate and she is filled with desire in that moment. And when Jaime leaves her, she feels extreme pain in the way that human beings do when they put themselves on the line, [when] they invest themselves and things don’t work out as planned. And then he dies,” she said.
“I think writing is Brienne’s way of not only of honoring someone that she loved, but of honoring her own love — the relevance of the experience that she had with someone where she saw a different side to this human being that other people didn’t and wanting to preserve that,” she added. “And she’s taking a real pride in overcoming her own feelings of pain and anger and all of the complexity, to do the right thing, to feel good about that, and then to go back to work as Commander of the Kingsguard and the Small Council to do that. She carries on.”
Besides, love might not be totally out of the question for Brienne’s future. Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) had shown great interest in the “big woman” and might have had a chance if it weren’t for his rival… or a certain bizarre story about breastfeeding from a giantess. “Yeah, maybe he has a chance, but she would really make him work,” said Christie. “I mean, you know, she’s landed her dream job. Also, the story about the giant’s milk might take a little bit of getting over. But maybe not.”
As with many actors who got their breakout role on “Game of Thrones,” Christie feels immense gratitude for the doors it opened. But for her, it’s not just about having the impressive resume, but also the way the role of Brienne opened up her own mind to the possibilities of what a female character could be.
“I never expected people to get behind Brienne of Tarth. I truly didn’t think that she would be embraced because she wasn’t conventionally attractive, and she wasn’t sexy or cute or sassy,” said Christie. “I feel like we saw this incredibly unconventional character and we saw her display all the behaviors that we’re taught as women not to display. She was purely herself and in pursuit of behaving in a way that’s noble, doing what is truly right, and being happy to sacrifice her own immediate wants and needs for the good of others.”
She also marvels at how “Game of Thrones” was part of the wave of movies and TV shows that responded to people’s cries to “see ourselves represented in our stories.”
“There’s that beautiful line from the show, ‘There is nothing as powerful as a good story.’ And that’s what we’re seeing,” Christie said. “I feel the success of ‘Wonder Woman’ was a big indicator to all of those people that are in control of the money for creating that different sorts of narratives do make money. Women leading do make money. And I think that ‘Game of Thrones’ has been an element in that landscape that has shown that audiences want something outside of our previous conventional patriarchal construct.”
Christie loves Brienne’s character arcs in the third, fourth, and final seasons. She has no regrets except to just have lived with the character more. “We’ve seen her rise to a position of power and take that very seriously, and I would really love to see where she goes from there,” she said. “I also would have liked to have seen her do some more, badder murderous fights. But that’s for me to do in something else.”
Perhaps Christie would be the author of that new opportunity for “murderous fights.” Inspired by playing Brienne and the possibilities for storytelling and representation, the actress is looking to push her creative endeavors further. “I really, really would love to develop my own stories and that will give me the opportunity to tell the kind of stories that I would like to,” she said. “I’ve been inspired by the idea that anything is possible, that we can break outside of the convention and we can break outside of the patriarchal mold. I don’t just want to be an actor, but I truly love being an actor. I feel very excited about the possibilities of the future.”