If you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll know that we eat up Game of Thrones tidbits like Sansa Stark does lemon cakes. So the last few days have been particularly good to us, with Mother of Dragons Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline “Brienne of Tarth” Christie dropping interesting tidbits about their characters in interviews in The Wall Street Journal and Elle UK, respectively. Plus another actress is being upped to series regular for season five.
Both Clarke and Christie opened up about how they relate to their characters, Clarke noting that when Game of Thrones first began she’d carry around a copy of George RR Martin’s book (the first one, presumably), as something like “a cheat sheet.”
I took it everywhere with me and kept referring to it, looking for more clues… [Daenerys’ story is] the growth of a girl into a woman. She’s being thrown into the deep end, to see if she can sink or swim, and she decides to do it her way. It was wonderful to see a character with such humble beginnings, and such low self-esteem, beginning to trust herself. So my feelings within filming it were echoed—in a much more dramatic way, obviously.
For Christie, the connection to her character was more personal. Clarke’s never been on a quest to claim her birthright (or eaten a horse heart, though she did she try robin heart once, and “it wasn’t very good.”), but Christie, like her Game of Thrones counterpart, grew up bullied over her tall frame. Brienne “is the part I always wanted to play but never knew existed,” says the 6’3″ actress. “All the things I had wanted to cloak about myself, that I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed about, had been bullied for, these things had a place they could live—in Brienne… What [people] said was cruel, but actually they were just confused and shocked. My father always said, ‘You can do anything a man can do.'”
That wellspring of self-confidence is one of the reasons that, when she was 20 years old, the then-model consented to due a nude photo shoot. “I thought I only wanted to take my clothes off if I had an amazing body and I didn’t,” Christie recalls. “But there was another part of me—intellectual or intuitive—that said, ‘This is exactly why you should do it. We can examine female beauty in a different way, and this is me, warts and all.'”
If you are somehow not yet convinced that Christie is the perfect Brienne (did season three not do it?), read about the actress’ relationships with Michelle Fairley and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who play Catelyn Stark and Jaime Lannister, and feel your jaw drop. Via WinterIsComing.net:
After landing the role she quickly made friends with her co-stars. Of Michelle Fairley she says: “I adore her, she really took care of me. Not only is she a very intelligent, kind, interesting and funny woman, but she has a strong nurturing aspect to her. She was gorgeous to me.”
And her off screen relationship with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau sounds much like her on-screen one: “Nikolaj likes to wind me up until I’m screaming at him!”
That’s basically Brienne’s relationships with Catelyn—her mentor/friend/mother figure—and Jaime, except without all the death and emotional pain you’ll find in Westeros. Think about the Red Wedding, then read that quote about Fairley again, and be sad. Be so, so sad.
But, when you’re an actor, people aren’t always so supportive. Clarke shared an amusing anecdote involving a disgruntled fan and a supposedly sub-par version of the birthday song. Via WSJ:
“It was his birthday, and he was drunk,” the 26-year-old actress says. “And he said, ‘Please, Mother of Dragons, sing me “Happy Birthday.” ‘ ” After Clarke obliged, the tipsy stranger offered an impromptu critique of her Thrones work: ‘You’re doing it all wrong, you know? You’re f—kin’ it up,’ ” Clarke recounts, mimicking the carouser’s gruff-bloke tone, before breaking out in a laugh. “I kind of wanted to pursue him and ask for notes: ‘What exactly did you mean?’ “
Can we take a second to appreciate the fact that a drunk fan asked Clarke to sing her ‘Happy Birthday’ and she did it?
To wrap up this roundup, another actress has been upped to series regular status for season five, assuming Game of Thrones gets a season five, which of course it will. That would be Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Daenerys’ translator Missandei. That’s wonderful, and I’m happy for her. But can Gemma Whelan get a similar promotion, please? Yara Greyjoy was in season three for all of three minutes (a marvelous three minutes though they were), and I’m not optimistic about the Queensmoot storyline being included in season four. I’m starting to get antsy here. I need more crossdressing warrior women who don’t care two whits for politics.