Brienne of Tarth

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Brienne the Blue, of the Rainbow Guard. Art by Amok©

Alias The Maid of Tarth
Brienne the Beauty
Brienne the Blue
Allegiance House Tarth
House Baratheon of Storm's End
Rainbow Guard
House Stark
Born In 280AC[1]
Book(s) A Clash of Kings (Appears)
A Storm of Swords (Appears)
A Feast for Crows (POV)
A Dance with Dragons (Appears)

Played by Gwendoline Christie
TV series Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4

Brienne, the Maid of Tarth, sometimes mockingly called Brienne the Beauty, is a member of House Tarth. She is the only living child and heir of Lord Selwyn Tarth of Evenfall.[2]

Contents

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Brienne of Tarth
Brienne - by quickreaver ©

Brienne is distinctly unfeminine in appearance, and is considered extremely unattractive by Westerosi standards. She is very tall, muscular, flat-chested and ungainly, with straw-colored hair and broad, coarse features that are covered in freckles. Her teeth are prominent and crooked, and after her capture by the Brave Companions, two of them are knocked out. Her mouth is wide, her lips are swollen, and her nose has been broken more than once. Despite her overall ugliness, Jaime Lannister notices that her large blue eyes are surprisingly pretty and shine with confidence in battle.

When asked about her height, George R. R. Martin replied:

Brienne is well over six feet tall, but not close to seven, no. Just off the top of my head, I would say Brienne is taller than Renly and Jaime and significantly heavier than either, but nowhere near the size of Gregor Clegane, who is the true giant in the series. Shorter than Hodor and the Greatjon, maybe a bit shorter than the Hound, maybe roughly the same height as Robert.[3]

Brienne has spent most of her life as the object of scorn, rejection and – at best – pity. When she tried to dress and act like a proper lady, she was met with mockery and disdain for her unattractive appearance and lack of feminine social graces; when she turned to a career more suited to her talents as a warrior, she received only contempt and resentment for her gender despite her considerable skill.

Perhaps because of this background, Brienne is as awkward in personality as she is in appearance; Catelyn Stark notices that she has none of the easy confidence of some other warrior women, like Dacey Mormont. She yearns for respect and acceptance from others, and easily gives her love and loyalty to the few people who treat her with any degree of genuine courtesy. Renly Baratheon, Catelyn Stark and Jaime Lannister are among those who have won Brienne's friendship and service in this manner.

She can be headstrong and judgmental, but she is also honest, straightforward, loyal and determined. Although she has received extremely poor treatment from most knights, Brienne clings to a naïvely idealized concept of knighthood. Despite – or perhaps because of – the fact that she has no expectation of ever being recognized by society for her accomplishments and strength of character, she nevertheless strives to live up to the ideal of a true knight at all times.

History

Brienne was born the eldest daughter of Lord Selwyn Tarth, lord of Evenfall Hall, on the island of Tarth. Her mother died when she was so young that she doesn't remember her.[4] She had a single older brother, Galladon, who drowned when she was eight, and two younger sisters, both of whom died in the cradle. This makes her the only offspring of Lord Selwyn, a fact that naturally encouraged him to find a suitable match for her. Given her ugly and ungainly appearance and attitude, however, the task was a difficult one, especially since Brienne was bent on a martial life rather than a marital one, more comfortable with a sword than in the company of court society. She was tutored by a master-at-arms named Ser Goodwin.

Her father successfully found three men willing to betroth her, for her father's wealthy lands, though the first two fell through. A younger son of Lord Bryen Caron was Brienne's first betrothed. They met only once, on the occasion of their betrothal, when she was 7 and he was 10. The boy died two years later with his father, mother and sisters. Had he not died, Brienne would have been wed to him within the year of her first flowering.[5] The second betrothal was to Ser Ronnet Connington, who was six years older than her. Red Ronnet gave her a rose, and told her it was all she would have of him, breaking the betrothal.[6] The last man Brienne was betrothed to, Ser Humfrey Wagstaff, warned her he would insist she act womanly once they were wed. Though only sixteen, Brienne replied she would only accept such a demand from a man who could beat her in combat. In the effort, Ser Humfrey ended up with three broken bones and a broken betrothal.

After that, Lord Selwyn stopped trying to arrange a marriage for her.[7] Brienne's only positive encounter with a man occurred when the Tarths' liege lord, Renly Baratheon, visited their island during his coming of age tour. He crossed paths with Brienne and treated her courteously, and she fell in love with him.[5] Some time later, Lord Selwyn sent her to be fostered at Storm's End. [8]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Brienne of Tarth - by Rene Aigner ©

When Renly Baratheon declared himself king at Highgarden, Brienne joined him in his march to King's Landing. In Renly's camp, Brienne is continuously mocked. Some of the young knights wager on who will be the first to get her maidenhead, until Lord Randyll Tarly puts an end to it, warning Brienne that her very presence is the cause of the problem.[9]

Later in the march, Brienne proved her mettle with a morningstar in a great melee of 116 knights at Bitterbridge, defeating the Knight of Flowers as well as many of her mocking suitors. She asked to join the Rainbow Guard as her prize, becoming Brienne the Blue. She sharply reminded Catelyn Stark of the courtesy due a king, and was later dismayed when Renly denied the need for an escort for a stroll after the night's feast.[10]

At Renly's parley with his brother Stannis at the Siege of Storm's End (299), Brienne was his standard-bearer. After the negotiations failed, she was assigned to do the same in the upcoming clash, riding in the van alongside Loras Tyrell.[11] The next day at dawn, she was arming the king for battle against his brother when a shadow entered his tent and killed him. She was accused of the murder, but Catelyn Stark was able to convince those present that she was innocent and took Brienne with her when she fled the camp.[12] When they arrived at Riverrun, Brienne wanted to leave to take revenge on Stannis for Renly's death, but Catelyn convinced Brienne to enter her service instead.[13] Brienne is present when Lady Stark speaks with the Kingslayer in his cell, and grants Catelyn her sword when it is asked for.[14]

A Storm of Swords

Brienne: Jaime Lannister in the bath half a corpse and half a god. Art by Cabepfir

At Riverrun, after receiving news that her sons Bran and Rickon were killed, Catelyn decided to free Jaime Lannister, making Brienne escort him on his way to King’s Landing to fulfill the promise made by the Hand, Tyrion Lannister, to return her daughters Sansa and Arya if the Kingslayer were freed.[15]

Brienne defended Jaime ably, and learned much of his history that is little known to Westeros at large and the two developed a grudging respect for each other. They made for the city by boat, throwing off pursuit from Riverrun when Brienne scaled a cliff and rolled boulders onto Ser Robin Ryger's pursuing galley[16] and continued by land[17]. At the Inn of the Kneeling Man, Brienne's wariness prevented the group from taking the "innkeeper"'s travel advice, as he was in league with bandits and attempting to lead them into ambush. Later, in the Crownlands between Maidenpool and Duskendale, they were ambushed by different outlaws. Their companion, Jaime's cousin Cleos Frey, was killed and Jaime tried to escape, dueling Brienne with Cleos's sword. Manacled and out of practice, Jaime couldn't manage to beat Brienne, who was holding his head underwater when they were captured by the Brave Companions.[18]

Jaime rescues Brienne - by Marc Simonetti ©

The unscrupulous sellswords chop off Jaime's sword hand, which swings against Brienne's breasts as it hangs from the Kingslayer's neck and the two are made to ride face-to-face on the same mount. His fighting ability truly gone, Jaime despaired for his life, but Brienne convinced him to live for revenge. In turn, Jaime prevented Zollo, Rorge and Shagwell, three of the Companions, from raping Brienne. At Harrenhal, the two shared a bath and several tales including The Wildfire Plot which Jaime revealed to Brienne. Lord Roose Bolton sent Jaime on his way, but kept Brienne as Vargo Hoat's prize. Jaime, however, soon returned and rescued her.

After their arrival in the capitol, the pair were confronted by Loras Tyrell, who still believed Brienne guilty of Renly's regicide. Jaime had Brienne arrested for her own protection, and arranged for Loras to speak to her; this finally dispelled Brienne's blame. After Catelyn's death at the Red Wedding, Jaime entrusted Brienne with the Valyrian steel longsword given to him by his father Tywin, naming it Oathkeeper. He sends her out to seek the vanished Sansa Stark, to fulfill his promise to Lady Catelyn. As Oathkeeper was forged from the metal of Ned Stark's greatsword Ice, Brienne's is using Stark steel to rescue the Stark girl. Along with this, Jaime gives her two bags full of coin, a mail hauberk, a Lothston shield, and a letter signed by King Tommen saying that she is on a royal mission.[19]

A Feast for Crows

Podrik and Brienne - by mustamirri ©

Brienne begins her search at Duskendale, where she allows Podrick Payne, the squire of Lady Sansa's husband Tyrion Lannister, to join her quest. She also has her shield repainted to the arms of Ser Duncan the Tall. She thinks of Lady Catelyn and what she had told Brienne of her daughters. She swears to Catelyn’s restless shade that she will never stop looking for Sansa:

I will find her, my lady. I will never stop looking. I will give up my life if need be, give up my honour, give up all my dreams, but I will find her. [7]

Her next stop is at Maidenpool, which she only enters with the unwanted aid of Ser Hyle Hunt, one of the knights who had mockingly courted her in Renly's camp. There she finds Lord Randyll Tarly dispensing justice; he begrudgingly allows her to continue her search. At a tavern she meets Nimble Dick Crabb, who leads her after "a fool" (whom she believes is Dontos Hollard, who might have Sansa with him).

Traveling through Crackclaw Point, the trio arrive at the Whispers, the ruined hall of Nimble Dick's ancestors, encountering a band of Brave Companions remnants led by the fool, who is actually Shagwell, the psychotic jester. Shagwell kills Nimble Dick. Using Oathkeeper, Brienne manages to kill Pyg and Timeon, and forces Shagwell to dig a grave for Dick; she kills him as well when he turns on her. After the fight Ser Hyle Hunt joins her party, having followed her from Maidenpool. [20]

Brienne - by Chris Dien ©

Following the sellswords' information, Brienne heads back to the Riverlands to find Sandor Clegane, who was reported to be with a girl, unbeknownst to her to be the wrong daughter. At Maidenpool they join with Meribald, an itinerant septon, who accompanies them to Saltpans. From there she visits the nearby Quiet Isle, where the Elder Brother assures her that the Hound is dead.

At a crossroads near the Trident, Brienne fights another group of Brave Companions led by Rorge, who has been masquerading as Sandor while raping and murdering in the Riverlands. Brienne kills Rorge, but is grievously wounded by Biter, who chews the flesh off her cheek.[21] After Gendry rescues her from Biter, he and the remaining members of the Brotherhood Without Banners take her captive.

The undead Catelyn Stark, now leading the Brotherhood as "Lady Stoneheart", does not believe Brienne's tale of her search for Sansa and judges her to be a traitor who is serving the Lannisters. Brienne was given the choice of killing Jaime Lannister to prove her loyalty, or to hang. Brienne refuses to choose and is sentenced to hang. After seeing Podrick Payne hanging near her, she shouts a single unknown word as they are about to do the same to her.[22]

A Dance with Dragons

Brienne appears briefly at Pennytree when Jaime camps there, whatever word she shouted apparently making the Brotherhood spare her. She asks Jaime to help her save Sansa Stark from the Hound, claiming they are a day's ride away. She tells Jaime, however, that he must go with her alone, or the Hound will kill Sansa.[23] The scenario she describes, however, seems unlikely to be real, as Sansa was last seen by readers in the Vale and the Hound is apparently dead.[22]

Quotes about Brienne

I knew Brienne when she was no more than a girl playing at her father’s feet in Evenfall Hall, and I knew her still better when the Evenstar sent her here to Storm's End. She loved Renly Baratheon from the first moment she laid eyes on him, a blind man could see it.[8]

Cortnay Penrose


There is a sweet innocence about you, child.[14]
Catelyn Stark


Loras: Draw your sword, woman!

Jaime: Best hope she doesn't. Or it's like to be your corpse we carry out. The wench is as strong as Gregor Clegane, though not so pretty.[24]

Jaime Lannister to Loras Tyrell


Brienne's ugly, and pighead stubborn. But she lacks the wits to be a liar, and she is loyal past the point of sense. [25]

- Jaime Lannister


Loras: Renly thought she was absurd. A woman dressed in man's mail, pretending to be a knight.

Jaime: If he'd ever seen her in pink satin and Myrish lace, he would not have complained.
Loras: I asked him why he kept her close, if he thought her so grotesque. He said that all his other knights wanted things of him, castles or honors or riches, but all that Brienne wanted was to die for him. [25]


It is said that your father is a good man. If so, I pity him. Some men are blessed with sons, some with daughters. No man deserves to be cursed with such as you.[26]

- Randyll Tarly


The queen remembered the Maid of Tarth, a huge, ugly, shambling thing who dressed in man's mail.[27]
Cersei Lannister

Family tree

 
 
 
Selwyn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Endrew
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Galladon
 
Arianne
 
Alysanne
 
Brienne
 
 

Speculations

There is widespread speculation that Brienne descends from Ser Duncan the Tall. A shield bearing his personal arms was in the armory at Evenfall Hall, and Brienne later used these arms when she was traveling in the Riverlands.[7] Though Martin confirmed that a descendant of Dunk appeared in the books he did not give a name.[28][29]

See Also

Brienne of Tarth/Theories

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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