Game of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie Breaks Down Brienne's Heartbreak

The relationship between two characters took a major step forward—and then backward

By Chris Harnick May 06, 2019 3:52 PMTags
Game of ThronesHBO

Like you, Gwendoline Christie has been confused about the relationship between her character, Brienne of Tarth, and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in Game of Thrones. Things were finally cleared up in the fourth episode of Game of Thrones season eight.

"I haven't been certain of the relationship between Jaime and Brienne. It hasn't been a love story. It's been this strange relationship between a man and woman that's never been able to find its true form. Brienne has also felt something of an obligation toward Jaime due to losing his hand to save her honor. It's something he chooses to do, but she's sensitive and aware of it. So there is something that seems tangible between them, but she's never had a relationship before and he's only had a relationship with his sister," Christie told EW.

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"So, you're dealing with two people who are not terribly functional in the emotional world. I think going through sharing the experience of surviving the war together and saving each others' lives continuously proves to be a very heady combination. Physicality often releases emotion and I think that's what happens — working together unlocked them," Christine continued.

After the celebratory dinner at Winterfell, Jaime and Brienne found themselves together.

"I think the Jaime/Brienne relationship has always been fascinating to us because they're such dissimilar characters, and yet there's a real chemistry between them," executive producer and co-showrunner David Benioff said in a behind-the-scenes video.

D.B. Weiss, executive producer and co-showrunner, said the vulnerability the two characters show is polar opposite of who they are as people. Christie said the most important part of the scene for her was "how" it happened.

"I felt it was important to see a moment of choice from Brienne where she chooses to do this. Brienne is a virgin. As far as we know, Brienne hasn't had a sexual or romantic encounter before…It's important that she choose to explore life in that way and have that experience. I was pleased that if something happens between her and another character that she wants it. I like that she instigated it. As an unconventional woman that we've seen grown, I enjoy that she decided to grow in a different way," Christie said.

Jaime decided to stay behind with Brienne, and Weiss said it's a choice he intended to keep. And from there, it looked like they would finally be able to be together. But Jaime decides to leave and return to King's Landing and Cersei (Lena Headey).

"When he hears what Cersei's done, I think that's the turning point for him," Weiss said. "At that point, Jaime has to take a really long, uncomfortable look at who he really is," Weiss said.

"As much as Jaime cares for Brienne, and admires her and loves her, he's got almost an addiction to Cersei that he just can't break," Benioff said. "So, even though he's given kind of a chance at happiness, and some kind of different life for himself, he can't take it. He makes the choice to go back to Cersei."

Christie said she was "so upset" for Brienne.

"I know it's just a character and I'm an actor who's lucky to do her job. It's so heartbreaking. But it's life isn't it? Life is heartbreaking. I never assumed they would be together," Christie said. "I didn't think that would happen. And now I can feel a million hearts breaking."