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Gwendoline Christie

Gwendoline Tracey Philippa Christie (born 28 October 1978) is an English actress and model. She is best known for portraying the warrior Brienne of Tarth in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones since 2012, and the First Order stormtrooper Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).

In July 2011, Christie was cast as the warrior Brienne of Tarth in the second season of HBO’s fantasy TV series Game of Thrones. Her character – an unusually tall, muscular, and plain-looking woman – is a favourite among many readers of the novels, and Christie had been proposed for the role by fans long before auditions took place. Christie said that she could draw on her own experiences of having been bullied for her height and androgynous looks to play the part of Brienne, a role that she was passionate to play after reading the A Song of Ice and Fire novels which the show adapts. To prepare even for the auditions, she started wearing unisex clothing to help her get into her character’s more masculine mindset, and took up an intensive training regime, gaining over a stone (6.4 kg, 14 lb) of muscle mass. According to series co-writer, producer, and author of the novels, George R. R. Martin, she obtained the role practically without debate after an arresting audition at which she appeared already made up and costumed as Brienne. After being cast in the role, she prepared for it by working out extensively, taking horsemanship, sword-fighting, and stagefighting lessons. 
Christie with her Game of Thrones co-stars Carice van Houten (left) and Liam Cunningham at the San Diego Comic Con International in 2015.
Her debut was in the second season’s third episode, “What Is Dead May Never Die”, which aired on 15 April 2012. Her debut performance was well received by critics; Nina Shen Rastogi praised her “eloquent and economical physical performance”, noting that her walk, stance, and mien effectively conveyed Brienne’s single-minded devotion to her self-given quest to become a knight. For her performance as Brienne in the show’s third season, Christie was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television in 2014. As a part of the cast, she was also nominated for a total of four Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (she was not a part of the nominated cast on certain years depending of her number of appearances each season).

In addition to her role in Game of Thrones, Christie appeared in the British science fantasy series Wizards vs Aliens by Doctor Who writers Russell T Davies and Phil Lord from 2012 to 2013, in the main role of Lexi, the 17-year-old Princess of the Nekross, the alien species invading earth.For the role, she wore heavy make-up, although she also appeared with her usual physique as Lucy, the human form of Lexi. She also had a minor role in another Terry Gilliam movie, The Zero Theorem, released in 2013.

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