'Game Of Thrones' -- Gwendoline Christie Talks Digging Deep To Play Brienne
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in 'Game of Thrones' Season 2 (left), and at the 'Game of Thrones' Season 1 DVD release party in London (right) -- HBO/Getty Images
Just days before Gwendoline Christie made her debut as the female knight Brienne of Tarth in "Game of Thrones" Season 2, she was feeling all aflutter.
"I am so nervous about it being on," she told AccessHollywood.com, down the phone line from her native UK. "The character is very close to my heart and it's probably the first character that I've got to play, whereby, I can connect to so many of the experiences. It's a dream part for me."
For devoted fans of George R.R. Martin's literature series, it's easy to understand why the actress was filled with pre-premiere nerves. Like Season 1's Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark, the strong, complex and stereotype-defying Brienne of Tarth is one of the most beloved female characters in the, "A Song of Ice and Fire" books.
After a nail-biting wait, when her debut scene finally arrived, fans were treated to a marvelous unveiling. After defeating Ser Loras Tyrell, this golden-cased, towering sword-swinger removed her golden helmet, shocking the crowd as they saw that the person who bested the Knight of the Flowers, was a woman.
But while many in King Renly's court were shocked (though not the king himself), a select group of "GOT" fans were on the side of Gwendoline the actress, from the start.
"I was told that there was something online about me being discussed in relation to this part, and so I had a look and I thought, 'OK, I'll read the books,' and as soon as I read about this character and read about the part, I just wanted this part," Gwendoline told Access of her pre-audition interest. "I wrote on Twitter that I wanted to play it... I've never really done anything like that before, but I felt so passionate about the part and started watching the series when it came on... It's something I absolutely wanted to be a part of. So, I just committed to it entirely. I mean, going to the gym is something I haven't done regularly since I was a child."
Singularly focused, Gwendoline put in a fitness regime to rival "True Blood's" hunky werewolf, the 6'5" Joe Manganiello, sweating it out with a mixture of kickboxing, boxing and yoga sessions. She also ditched alcohol and underwent a diet overhaul that included protein shakes and lean meat, showing her dedication to - and transformation into -- Brienne.
While not an easy road, Gwendoline was able to draw on her athletic past, the very one that led her to acting in the first place.
"I was a semi-professional gymnast as a child. I did rhythmic gymnastics, but I sustained an injury and strained all the muscles in my spine," she explained. "When that happened, and I was told that I wouldn't be able to dance again at that level, I decided... I'd become an actress instead."