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Meet Gwendoline Christie, Your Maid of Tarth

Buckle Buckle Swash Swash

If you don’t know Song of Ice And Fire (better known to the mainstream as Game of Thrones), like I do, you might not be that interested in Brienne Tarth, but here’s why I am suddenly interested in her:

Brienne Tarth is the only daughter and heiress of Lord Selwyn Tarth of Evenfall Hall; she had three siblings, none of which survived childhood. Larger and stronger than most men, Brienne is a skilled warrior and longs to be a knight. She has an awkward personality, but is also honest and stubborn. She holds a naïvely idealized notion of knighthood despite the insults she receives from many knights, who call her “Brienne the Beauty” to mock her ugliness.

So, yeah, I have a weak spot for not-overtly-sexualized skilled fighting women with giant swords.

George R.R. Martin had this to say about Gwendoline Christie‘s casting when he announced it last night:

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 a writer interested in creating female characters who can perform the same narrative roles (like the Guide, for example; the Young Sidekick; or Papa Wolf) as male characters, I’m very aware that one of the easiest ways to do it is to remove her sexuality, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to make her unattractive (and not in the Hollywood Homely sense, either). It’s a technique that is problematic, to say the least, but when I read and watch current media, it’s one I am willing to put up with, until our culture grows up a bit and the majority of our female action heroes aren’t either boobtacular or infantilized. Or both.

Bring on Brienne!

(via Super Punch.)

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