Preparing for the role of a sword-fighting warrior required changing her body in a way "that wasn't conventionally, aesthetically, pleasing," the actress says.

By Faith Brar
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As anyone who watches Game of Thrones knows, Brienne of Tarth is one of the most fearless, badass warriors on the Emmy Award–winning fantasy saga. Those are pretty big shoes to fill-and actress Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne, is fully aware of that. (Related: These Game of Thrones Fans Took Binge-Watching to a New, Fit Level)

During an interview with Giuliana Rancic on the Emmy's red carpet, Christie opened up about how difficult it was to physically transform herself for the iconic role. "I was paired with a strength and conditioning expert to totally change my body," she said.

In fact, before she began filming the show years ago, her goal was to put on more than 14 pounds of muscle, the actress previously told Games Radar. "[My trainer] tailored my workout specifically so I'd develop the kind of body structure of someone that rode horses and did sword-fighting," she said previously. (Related: 15 Celebrities Who've Gained Weight for a Role)

Making her body more traditionally "masculine" impacted her emotionally, too. "It was very challenging, actually, because it meant changing my physical size in a way that wasn't conventionally, aesthetically, pleasing, and that wasn't always very pleasant," she told Rancic.

But at the end of the day, Christie found that it was totally worth it to bring a character to life that challenges so many standards of beauty. "Being in pursuit of an artistic ideal, and bringing a woman who was outside of the realm of what we consider conventionally attractive, into an entertainment arena, that was really what mattered to me," she said. (Related: The Workouts That Prep Natalie Emmanuel for Game of Thrones)

Major props to Christie for confidently defying gender stereotypes and people's expectations with her performance as Brienne. We can't wait to see what she has in store for the much-anticipated season eight.

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