'Game of Thrones' Star Gwendoline Christie Says the Show Was a Game-Changer for Women

"This was a television show that would put women at the forefront."

Though Game of Thrones has not been without its controversies, the sprawling ensemble cast allows for the kind of depth and variety of representations that can actually, well, mean something. It's something show star Gwendoline Christie, who plays the doleful but stalwart Brienne of Tarth, would especially know about.

As part a special GOT segment for PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), Christie explained why she thought the show was important when it came to a larger exploration of female roles on TV. In short, there weren't just a couple of women on the side of the show's story; they were front and center, and covered more than the Madonna/whore archetypes (opens in new tab) most pop culture consumers can instantly recognize:

One might think, of course Christie feels this way; her character Brienne gets a flattering badass heroine edit throughout the show. But it's not only explicitly "heroine" characters like Brienne and Arya and Daenerys who get love from fans, as Cersei and Yara and Melisandre show.

And while Game of Thrones wasn't the first show to cast a variety of roles and functions and ages for its female characters, it did so in a way that (generally) honored the story's real thesis: that anyone could exist in, but no one was safe in a dangerous and unpredictable world. Onto season seven!

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I'm the night shift at Cosmopolitan.com and a writer and reporter around the web. I spend my daylight hours playing music, crafting, cooking, scheming, and rearing my pet chameleon.