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'Game of Thrones': Gwendoline Christie on Brienne's rousing return

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Helen Sloan/HBO

This post contains a revelation from the end of the Game of Thrones season 6 premiere.

After so much struggle and disappointment, Brienne of Tarth finally accomplished one of her vows to Catelyn Stark. In the season 6 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the warrior rescued Sansa Stark from being recaptured by Ramsay Bolton’s men, and then was accepted into Sansa’s service.

“After season 5 people would come up on the street moaning about why Brienne wasn’t doing more, and I’d say, ‘I’m terribly sorry I’m not really in charge of that,'” star Gwendoline Christie tells us. “It was really exciting to see Brienne burst forth again. I loved seeing Brienne fighting again. There was so much action and it’s quite brutal and it’s very exciting to dedicate myself to that moment to overcome that obstacle and rescue Sansa.”

Director Jeremy Podeswa tells us he was particularly proud of the scene — which drew a cheer from the show’s Hollywood premiere audience earlier this month — since it works on so many levels. Brienne saving Sansa is a rousing action sequence, but also shows character development and has an heartfelt tug. “It’s great when you can marry something that has a lot of action with something that’s quite emotional,” Podeswa says. “Theon shows his own agency and protects Sansa, you get to see Brienne throwing down a charging horse with her bare arms, and then there’s [the oath].”

For Christie, Brienne’s exchange with Sansa was a major moment in her character’s journey.

“When she pledges her oath to Sansa and lays her sword down for her, I found it very touching,” Christie says. “I have so many fond memories of working with Michelle Fairley [Catelyn Stark]. This is a mirror of that oath and this time Sansa accepts it and she can see how dedicated Brienne is to her. It was really gratifying to carry on that oath for Catelyn Stark and finally to find one of the Stark daughters and so she can try to keep her safe.”

More coverage: EW has its GoT recap for “The Red Woman” up. Also, we have an interview with Gwendoline Christie on Brienne’s rousing return. And be sure to check out our season 6 post-episode podcast (new episode to be posted Monday).