If you’ve been keeping tabs on Game of Thrones over the years, you should remember that time Brienne took on an actual bear in the Season 3 episode “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” Recently, actress Gwendoline Christie popped up on The Late Late Show with James Corden and talked about that crazy episode, which was shot as part of her long journey with Jaime Lannister. In the recent interview, Christie confirmed that HBO had cast a real live bear for the part rather than resorting to CGI. Apparently, the bear was a bit of a diva, and was given a lot of wild bonuses in order to keep it from eating Gwendoline Christie. Well that, or at least misbehaving.
It had its own trailer; it had been at the location in Los Angeles for two weeks to acclimatize. It needed to have country and western music from playing at all times to soothe it. This is real. And when it was good, it was fed cream in a frying pan with a really long handle. And when it came out from its trailer, you had to give it a round of applause.
While this story is making the bear sound quite highfalutin, Christie actually says she was terrified of being so near the animal. When they were actually filming the scene, there was only a short electrical fence separating her from the large wild animal, which was later removed in post production. She also told Corden the bear was terrifying, and we can see why:
Christie probably didn’t have too much to fear, though. Before appearing in Game of Thrones, the Bear—Bart the Bear, Jr.—had already been in a slew of projects, including We Bought a Zoo, Into the Wild and even Scrubs. He knows how to do what his trainers want in order to get that nice long pan full of cream. Christie had nothing to fear—at least nothing that an electric fence wouldn’t have stopped. You can catch the full interview, below.
During the Season 3 episode, Brienne was trapped at Harrenhal and was being ransomed. However, Jaime determined that the men would rather see her die from sport than anything else, and realizing she was in great danger he returned for her. When he got there, Brienne was already stuck in the bear pit with only a wooden mock sword to aid her. Clearly, the men were leaving her to die, and Jaime jumped in to save her, despite already missing a hand at that point. All ended well, thanks to one of Roose Bolton’s men aiding the pair, but it was a pretty tense and adventurous scene. It probably would have seemed less so if the show hadn’t used a real live bear.
There are unlikely to be any bears in the upcoming sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones, but we do know the dragons are going to continue getting bigger. Find our more about the upcoming season with our full what we know guide.