It may be one of the most intense series every to hit the small screen, but Game of Thrones has its uplifting moments — and one of the best occurred in last week’s episode, “The Spoils of War,” when Arya (Maisie Williams) squared off against the mighty Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) in an impromptu, friendly sword fight.
And as fun as it was for us to watch, it was “great fun” for the actresses to shoot the scene — even if their, uh, differences made for a unique challenge that neither of them had faced while shooting a GoT swordplay sequence before. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Williams and Christie recount the scene and how they prepared for it, or, specifically, how they dealt with the fact that they were fighting a foe that was either over a foot taller or over a foot shorter than them.
“She’s been fighting people around the same height as her, and I’ve been used to fighting people who were close to my height, so we both had a lot to get used to,” says Williams of Christie, who’s got 14 inches on Williams. But for Christie, the fight was so much more than a display of killer training and steel-flashing prowess: The Arya vs. Brienne match didn’t have a single bad vibe about it, and the fact that it was two women fighting in good form adds additional depth to a stunning scene.
“We got to really put some energy into it,” Christie recalls. “There isn’t a desire to hurt each other, it’s about a matching of skills. And I thought that was very enjoyable to show those characters who happen to be female that when they spar it’s not with any bad intention.”
Williams agrees. “It’s just a wonderful scene between two women who are both very skilled at what they’re doing,” she said. “I think Brienne is trying to keep it civil and trying to be grown up about it. The first half the scene is Arya nitpicking and trying to get a reaction and being annoying. It’s nice to see her show she’s a changed girl — which is what she’s been trying to portray to Sansa.”
Brienne of Tarth may be the Oathkeeper, but she’s also an excellent influence — and we can’t wait to see her positive impact on the Stark girls in future episodes.