The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Brienne of Tarth

I very much enjoy the character of Brienne! A great portrayal of a strong woman with heart! Her athletic skill exceeds any existing female, but in fantasy writing, things can be exaggerated for the author's purposes, correct? At any rate, I thought her great physical strength was effective as part of her character.

I am fond of Brienne as well, and have a lot more in store for her. I'm glad that you've enjoyed the character.

Some people say that she suffers from giantism and other physical abnormalities, and is possibly not genetically a woman. They say she must be close to seven foot or perhaps past it. However, I often bring to mind the passage that describes her as "six foot of freckled, frowning, horse-toothed disapproval".

Am I out of line to claim that Brienne is likely six foot six or under, citing the "six foot" description?

I would go crazy if I measured all of my characters to the inch. Brienne is well over six feet tall, but not close to seven, no. Certainly not above it.

Actually, I think it is unrealistic to specify heights to an inch. Hell, even if real life I don't know =exactly= how tall anyone is except maybe a few close friends. When we meet people, we perceive them in general terms -- tall, short, of medium height, huge, fat, skinny, what have you -- and not in terms of inches and pounds. We frequently perceive them as they relate to ourselves.

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.

I'll admit that I am fond of her character and identify with her as a woman. Theories such as "she really has XXY chromosomes" are something I would like to ask about. Could you state that she is female?

She is female.

This is the Middle Ages. They don't know about DNA. Their knowledge of genetics revolves around theories about a person's "blood."

If I start worrying about Brienne's chromosomes, the next step is trying to figure out the aerodynamic properties of dragons, and then the whole thing falls apart. Brienne is a huge, homely woman, a freak of nature by the standards of her own world and times... they can't explain her, and neither should I.

PS - - Go Giants!

Thanks for the good wishes, but... sigh...

Thanks for your note, as ever.