While I can see that it still kind of feels like they didn’t dare to cast someone who is really ugly (I guess the number of really ugly actresses is somewhat limited, I’ll admit and is up to personal preference) so they just went for someone who is not the type of woman they would usually cast. But still far from what I imagine Brienne to look like. And just because a whole lot of (spoiled) viewers who are used to people on screen looking exclusively like models would consider Christie ugly (in comparison) doesn’t mean it fits the character.
It doesn’t ruin Brienne for me it’s more a general point of portraying a character accurately and the obsession with women looking perfect in television.
And, as good as Dinkelage is, it still bugges me with him as well. At least recently Sansa and Margaery explicitly said (series) Tyrion is not ugly, which at least kind of redeems this for me.
I guess Tyrion is much more about being a dwarf (and as such not normal and not a warrior) where Brienne’s character is very much focused on her being ugly next to her being a female warrior which is why it still bothers me more with her.
Honestly, the way you’re going at this is a line of reasoning that never fails to really irritate me, because what makes a person “ugly” is incredibly subjective, and everyone’s look will appeal to someone. You could put almost anyone in that role and people would complain that they aren’t ugly enough, because a lot of the time what make a person appealing or not is a matter of presentation.
As much as people poke fun at the whole “make over the plain girl and suddenly she’s a sexy model” thing, PRESENTATION REALLY DOES MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN HOW A PERSON IS PERCEIVED. Most people dressed in an unflattering manner with poor grooming or personal hygiene will look “ugly”, where in flattering clothing with competent finishing touches regarding hair and makeup that person could be very attractive. Just look at those “porn stars without their makeup” lists,
Knowing how to present yourself as “attractive” is pretty key part of what makes someone attractive.
Yes Gwendoline Christie did some modelling, but I feel like people who cite that as proof that she shouldn’t play Brienne don’t actually know much about the circumstances of the shoot. Modelling =/= automatic conventionally attractive person, and Christie was approached for the shoot on the grounds of her unique stature. At 6’3”, she’s too tall to even be a successful male model, and she agreed to participate in it because she felt uncomfortable and “genderless” in her own skin and thought taking part in a photo shoot of that nature would help her come to terms with her body. The entire subject of the shoot was exactly what I’m talking about here, celebrating the beauty of someone who doesn’t fit into the narrow mold of what makes an attractive woman and feels self conscious about it.
Nothing they describe about Brienne’s appearance in the books says, to me, that she is a really, truly, unattractive person. When I was reading them I hard a hard time picturing what she was supposed to look like, because they’d make a big production out of everyone guffawing about how ugly she is, then give a physical description of what sounded like a fairly handsome woman. The series could have maybe tried a little harder to pull off the broken nose and jacked up teeth, but other than that Brienne being “ugly” sounds more like a combination of her personal insecurity combined with her stubborn will and Westerosian standards of female beauty. She is tall and masculine and self conscious about trying not to be self conscious. She’s trying to occupy a traditionally male space, and she’s talented enough at it to get attention but insecure enough about it to be a target for mockery. She is willful with no desire to be the obedient wife to an arranged suitor, and her object of affection is a gay man with no romantic interest in her. She’s uncomfortable with herself and her unstable station in life and men and just generally becomes a target.
I suppose in short, even though Gwendoline Christie looks like this
Gwendoline Christie, actor and model, is not Brienne.
Brienne does not have Gwendoline’s confidence or fashion sense or professional hair and makeup artists taking her appearance in a feminine direction. Brienne has not had the opportunity to learn to feel comfortable in her body, and Brienne doesn’t live in a world where physically strong, career driven women with alternative beauty standards are celebrated. To Westeros, Brienne is ugly.
This is a good read, and I totally see the point that Westeros’s beauty standards are so narrow that Brienne is cast as hideous. but I don’t know, like, why can’t she be just be ugly? why does she have to be actually beautiful? I feel like gingerhaze put it a lot better than I can:the thing about Brienne is, I’m certainly in favor of beauty ideals being expanded, but I’m getting a lot of people arguing that she’s not REALLY ugly (in the book) and it’s just like, that’s it, that’s exactly what I was talking about.
It’s just that if you get a description of a woman in a book and it says she has a face “like boiled ham” that could “curdle milk” (approximate quotes from the book, spoken by a character that actually likes and respects her) and she has huge crooked teeth, swollen lips, and a big squashed nose, she’s six foot seven and heavily muscled with a thick neck and giant hands, and literally every character who comes in contact with her makes a comment about how unattractive she is, she is a spectacle when she rides through towns, she’s referred to as “freakish”…like, why would you even need to rationalize how she’s secretly hot and is just being unfairly judged? It’s certainly not relevant to the story. Why does the twist ending have to be “she was beautiful all along”? Why can’t we just let her be brave and strong and awesome and loyal and determined and kind and ugly?
Even if you are well-intentioned and mean it to be a sort of “everyone is beautiful” message, it still kind of feeds back into a culture where a person - and specifically a woman - has to be physically beautiful to be valuable.
I like Brienne because she flies in the face of that. She doesn’t have to have her makeover moment. She has the purest and most noble heart of anyone in the series, she’s a fantastic fighter, she’s valuable - and she’s ugly.