Describe the plot of Game of Thrones in one sentence.
Heaven and hell on almost earth.
What’s your favourite memory from being on set?
My favourite memory of being on set actually preceded filming. When I first got the part, I had to travel to Belfast a few times a week to learn how to sword fight. I worked with a brilliant stuntman called C. C. Smiff, and that’s when Brienne first started to come to life for me. I learned a different way of moving, of speaking, even of breathing.
How has the role of the female characters in Game of Thrones evolved throughout the series?
When I first read Game of Thrones, I found it explosive, largely because it contained so many different feminine points of view. I assumed, because of the world that we live in, that those characters would be removed with the male parts remaining at the forefront of the story. I was wrong, and it was just so refreshing. Those characters have definitely become stronger and more confident as the seasons have progressed.
What was your biggest challenge while filming?
Definitely all of the physical work. When I auditioned for the role, the biggest difference between myself and the character was her strength, and it was clear that that was where my energy needed to go. All of the physical training and horseback riding and learning to sword fight. It was so thrilling to have a set of challenges outside of my own existence.
Which qualities do you most admire in Brienne of Tarth?
She’s just so, so dedicated to an overriding sense of good. She has the strongest moral compass, and she’s one of the few genuinely altruistic characters in Game of Thrones. That’s what I love about her.
Which crazy plot twist from Game of Thrones surprised you the most?
It’s a little obvious, but it was probably the beheading of Ned Stark. It was then that I understood that this was going to be a television show like no other. Everything you thought you knew was going to be turned on its head.
What would your house sigil be in real life?
Well, because I feel strongly in the power of love, it might be a heart, but, more probably, it would resemble the “talk to the hand” emoji.
Which Game of Thrones character is most relatable?
I would probably say Tyrion, actually. He’s flawed, but he’s charismatic. You can recognise your own questionable behaviour in him and forgive his indulgences.
Which Game of Thrones character is the sexiest?
Yara Greyjoy, because she’s a powerful female. She doesn’t care what people think, and she’s pretty brazen. And I like that in a woman!
Which Game of Thrones character is the most underrated?
Lyanna Mormont. She’s a brilliant character, and she’s so well played. Everyone was captivated and fell in love with her from the moment she appeared on screen.
What’s your favourite girl power moment from the series?
I just loved the sparring between Brienne and Arya. It was thrilling to see the growing respect between those two characters and to see how both of their capabilities have grown through the series. Particularly Arya’s!
If you had to sum up the experience of working on Game of Thrones in three words, what would they be?
Intense, brutal – and liberating.