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The Maid of Tarth

I see you guys are just as sharp as ever. The long layoff between first and second season casting hasn't made you rusty. Once again, you nailed my obscure hints within minutes.

Well, okay, I did fool a few of you. For a couple minutes, anyway. But others correctly puzzled out the casting. The part of Brienne, Maid of Tarth, will be played by British actress GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE.

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. Gwendoline gave a great reading, and her look was just perfect. No, when she auditioned, she did not look she does in the photo above. She came in looking... well, like Brienne.

As for my clues... Christie played in a music video called DAMARIS, which includes a song about Isabelle, the She-Wolf of France (wife of King Edward II, for the history nerds out there), and played in Shakespeare's CYMBELINE at the Barbican theatre. She also posed for Australian photographed Polly Borland for a show called "Bunny."

She also appears in the recent IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSAS, though I did not use that one in my clues.

Gwendoline will be a great Brienne. It's a thrill to have her join the cast.

Congratulations to everyone who figured it out... and for those who guessed wrong, well, better luck next time.


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Jan-Erik Ella
Jul. 9th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
The Maid of Tarth
I'll certainly trust your judgment, Mr. Martin!

Good acting and a little help from competent makeup artists is all it takes to turn this lithe beauty into a brilliant Brienne, methinks.
Jul. 9th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
I don't think she will make a great Brienne. She is not... ugly.
Jul. 9th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
She's beautiful! I can't wait to see her in maille!
Jul. 9th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
They're going to have a hard time making her ugly. She's got the height down pat though. ;)
Jul. 10th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
Oh ,she is definitely who i imaged Brienne would be. Well, done. I truly can't wait till the second season. I am on the fourth book, and can not put them down. My husband complains he never sees me because I usually keep myself in the bedroom reading these books.

fantastic stuff! Love it. :)
Jul. 10th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
ahhh, reading through the comments people seem to be miffed about how pretty this girl is. However, I think it is important to remember that they need an actress to play the part. I can't imagine they can take some average joe off the streets, who is "ugly" enough to play Brienne, and have her play true to the character. This is just what I think.

Jul. 10th, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
I'll repeat myself :p but :

C'mon :p
Jul. 10th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
She is not model thin, you have to see her in more recent pics next to other people to fully appreciate her height and build.

Michael Gasiewski
Jul. 10th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Not concerned
Someone mentioned Calamity Jane from Deadwood could play Brienne. This got me thinking, the actress who plays Calamity Jane is actually very attractive when not playing that role (check "Robin Weigert" in Google Images), so with that said I have full confidence that the make-up artists of HBO will be able to do the same for Gwendoline.
Jul. 12th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
She is quite cute, but nothing to make you look twice, but that sounds like thats the point. Question though..who is her character on the show? Who is Brienne? Everyone seems excited about her and while I love the show I don't know much about books.
Jul. 13th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Akin to several opinions already expressed here, I do feel extremely disappointed -not to say bitter- with this choice. And this let me ponder the perception of Brienne character that I had, in regard to the one of a majority of readers here or what she's really supposed to embody as a symbol.

I will try to convey this shortly, however difficult this task is, granted all the affects this character seems to raise.

What are the specific features of Brienne?

She's tall, she has blue eyes, she's in her early twenties. Three characteristics which the actress indeed shares with Brienne.

But Brienne has also horsey and coarse features, a large jaw, she's also broad shouldered and larger than most men, she has guileless eyes and her general attitude is very manly and awkward (which is a specificity larger people often share).
These are characteristics Gwendoline Christie obviously lacks.

Of course, you can't find an actress who will match all those uniqueness, however I find the latter so much more important than the former, and I would also add that it is those latter features that make Brienne a character which is visually so striking because out of the ordinary.

And, while talking about SFX, if you can "ugly" up a person you can as easily change her eyes color, her apparent size and even make her look younger. But this is all a matter of priorities.

Obviously, those latter non-typical fantasy archetype features, were neither the priority for a lot of reader (who, I fear, view Brienne as a huge Kara Thrace), neither yours, George.

The actress does play well enough, and she will surely do her best to be as manly as she can, but this will seem fake to me because this person is *very* womanly, and I would have preferred someone more naturally manly because I believe Brienne is an introverted character who does not express her feelings and her thoughts (much like Cat), and she embodies the melancholy of the knight errant.

Imo, her manly awkward movements should not feel like they are something forced (like in Monster, the movie), but rather natural... Which would have been probably more plausible with a tougher actress.

Lastly, I also find it rather insulting for "ugly" labeled people to have one of their most proud and cool representative embodied by a homely play girl... Now this does shatter Brienne's symbol. I really felt like the role was given to Caprica6 here.

But, again, it makes me ponder the true literary purpose of my favorite knight... Maybe she wasn't after all, and as I naively thought, a fighting and brave warrior for the "not good looking" socially rejected crew (especially women who probably suffer more of this), giving them symbolically the grounds to fight against hollywood-based aesthetic prejudices. Or more broadly put: who cares about being attractive when you can kick some ass.

Sorry for the long unhappy post, I however hope I succeeded to convey some consistent thoughts against the “beauty happy” majority.
Jul. 16th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
she looks like as Brienne in my mind :-) good choice
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George R.R. Martin
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