Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau & Gwendoline Christie on ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3

The performers behind Jaime and Brienne tease the third season of HBO’s epic series.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau & Gwendoline Christie


When Gwendoline Christie entered the room to speak to the press, she looked glamorous and feminine as opposed to Brienne, the female warrior she plays on “Game of Thrones.”

Then Christie painfully banged her leg on the table, and her co-star, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau — who plays Jaime Lannister — couldn’t resist making fun of her. That was the tone of their interview as we assembled to talk about the upcoming third season of “Game of Thrones.”

Nicolaj Coster-Waldau: On her flight here from London she was told twice by the staff to be quiet.

Gwendoline Christie: That’s because I was with Charles Dance and Bryan Adams.

Coster-Waldau: Oooh.

Q: The airline told you to keep quiet?

Christie: I was laughing, we were all laughing.

Coster-Waldau: And as you can tell, her laugh is… loud.

Christie: And then you told me last night that you made that up.

Coster-Waldau: Well, it was true though, wasn’t it?

Christie: Yes, but you said the airline staff…

Coster-Waldau: So let’s talk about the show…

Q: When were the two of you first introduced to each other professionally?

Christie: Well, I mentioned this earlier. I heard that Nikolaj was on the set filming a different scene and he was in the makeup truck. So I went there to introduce myself, went to shake his hand and he just sat there very loosely in the chair and just went, “Hi.” and just sized me up. I felt really uncomfortable and thought well, this is a bit shaky.

Coster-Waldau: That’s not how I recall at all.

Christie: This is a bit shaky, but I’ll accept it and go with that. Then he just started to antagonize me, wrongfoot me.

Coster-Waldau: That’s not quite true though, is it?

Christie: Like before there would be a take, he would try to put me off.

Coster-Waldau: Gwen, God, you have to get out of that fantasy world. What really happened, I found this broken woman. Well, you weren’t in tears, but so insecure and scared and afraid of the work and I said, “Listen, we’re just actors. We need to bond. We need to spend some time together. You shouldn’t be afraid.”

Christie: Nikolaj takes 10% of my income and is my guru.

Coster-Waldau: No, that’s not true. I wouldn’t do that. You do get to bring me coffee, but that was because you like to.

Christie: And carry your handbag.

Coster-Waldau: Yes, and carry my handbag. No, I think earlier on, we kind of decided without discussing it that, the scenes they have, he’s being so rude all the time, so we kind of tested that, and you’re very good at being rude. So we’re just doing that all the time and it can be very, I guess…

Christie: Draining?

Coster-Waldau: Draining to other people around us because they think that we really dislike each other. Often that’s true though, isn’t it?

Q: How do Jaime and Brienne see each other at the beginning of the season, and how does that evolve?

Coster-Waldau: Well, it’s difficult to talk about how it evolves because that would be giving away information.

Christie: I think we can talk in broad terms.

Coster-Waldau: Oh yeah, okay, thank you. I think in the beginning of the season, I’ll speak for Jaime and then you’ll speak for her. I think that he is focused on getting out of this. On their way to King’s Landing, he doesn’t trust that she would be able to get him there safely and he believes that he has to get out of this situation and then he’ll make his own way, so he will do anything to get out of that.

The way he does it of course is the way he knows best, is to try and provoke her into losing it basically. But she’s very stubborn. It’s very difficult. He’s seen glimpses in the end of season two where she kind of surprised him and showed that she was quite good with a sword. But still, he’s very confident that he can take her out and that’s what he’s going to do in the beginning of the show.

Then of course in broad terms, that plan might not work out and things might change and they might be forced to spend a lot of time together. I don’t want to talk about it because it gives away what happens. He gets to know her better and there are surprises in that relationship.

Q: Does Brienne have any respect for Jaime?

Christie: I think when we first see – –

Coster-Waldau: What was difficult was when we did the scenes, you had to work so hard to get rid of your private personal respect for me. That took a while.

Christie: I don’t think you’re well. I think you’re having a psychotic episode.

Coster-Waldau: No, I’ve been asleep for three roundtables and suddenly I woke up. Please answer the question.

Christie: Thank you so much for giving me permission to do that. I think when we see the two of them together, she has no respect for him, both onscreen or off. No, she doesn’t have any reason. He has defied the knight’s code which Brienne has strived so hard as a woman to adhere to and to try to be taken seriously as a knight and to attain physical strength.

Coster-Waldau: Also Kingsguard, right?

Christie: Yes.

Coster-Waldau: No, but there is a difference though.

Christie: Yes, but she wants to be a knight.

Coster-Waldau: You were Renly’s guard, right?  

Christie: Yeah, I was one of his Kingsguard.

Coster-Waldau: And he is too. And he’s done the opposite of that.

Christie: Do you think I wasn’t establishing the point efficiently enough? You thought that you had to drag it over to show some kind of dominance?

Coster-Waldau: No. As always, I was just trying to help you.

Christie: I’m really sorry you had to witness this.

Q: So there’s a bear in the trailers. We’ve seen the bear.

Coster-Waldau: Really?

Q: What was the bear like to work with?

Christie: As far as I’m aware, there’s a shot of a bear, but I don’t see anyone else with the bear. So as far as I’m aware, it’s just a shot of a bear.

Q: If there were a bear, what kind of bear would it be?

Christie: I just don’t know. I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about.

Q: It looks real.

Christie: Yeah, it looks like it could maybe.

Q: If you’re fighting a bear, do you have anything to work with?

Christie: Why would I do that?

Q: I think some people have an idea what’s going to happen with the bear.

Coster-Waldau: But most people don’t. So we can’t talk about that.

Christie: A lot of people wouldn’t make any connection.