The Maid of Tarth. Brienne the Beauty. Those are some of the names given to Brienne Tarth of Evenfall Hall, swordswoman of Renly Baratheon, who makes her first appearance in the upcoming season two of Game of Thrones. Now there's another name for her: actress Gwendoline Christie.
Although she auditioned like every other actor, Christie was helped by her appearance. And it's not just because she's 6'3".
George R.R. Martin wrote in his blog:
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.
Fans who have noticed her sparse IMDB page (her only credit is "Classy Shopper 2" in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) shouldn't worry that she was only cast for her looks. GRRM mentions she "played in Shakespeare's CYMBELINE at the Barbican theatre" (although he didn't say which role).
She joins Natalie Dormer (Anne Boleyn, Tudors), who will be playing Margaery Tyrell, daughter of a House Tyrell.
This leaves one question: How much makeup will it take to turn the beautiful Christie into the unattractive Brienne?