Are the Women of GAME OF THRONES Finally Coming Out on Top?
By James Milin-Ashmore
For a show famed for the amount of naked flesh on show, it’s growing increasingly likely that the women of Game of Thrones may actually be able to make a positive change while keeping their clothes on.
In a society traditionally controlled by commanders and Kings it’s a refreshing change of pace, and it’s interesting to see what the women have to offer.
The ‘Battle of the Bastards’ might have been fought by the men, but Sansa Stark won her personal war against her former tormentor. Ramsay Bolton suffered the irony of being eaten by his own hounds, while Sansa finally had the opportunity to take control of her destiny.
It’s a marked change from her usual submissive state, and she was the one who was able to identify the true strength of the enemy. Calling for an army of her own to aid Jon Snow as he faced total defeat in his skirmish was also pretty helpful.
Arguably, it all changed for her when she teamed up with Brienne of Tarth, and it allowed both to banish some of their personal demons. She now has an enforcer to carry out her orders, and Brienne got to honour her vow to Catelyn Stark.
The five kings who battled for Robert Baratheon’s crown may have long hit the dust, but daughters and wives are now the ones making power plays, and it’s noticeable across the entire world. In the (happily) forgotten Dorne, the Sand Snakes helped Ellaria to take control after they sensed weakness from their King, and it means another great house is now led by a woman.
Astride her dragons, Daenerys Stormborn is making a strong case for staying on her good side, (hint: It doesn’t go well otherwise) while it seems like she might be open to the idea of handing back control to the seven kingdoms if they ask nicely. The concept would be completely alien to somebody like Tywin Lannister or Robert Baratheon, who preferred to approach most situations with an iron fist.
During her parley with the all-conquering Khaleesi, Yara Greyjoy managed to successfully broker a powerful alliance with the Queen, while flirting shamelessly. She offers a different option to her uncle, who plans to wed, bed and dead the Targaryen princess. (Let’s face it. He has no chance.)
It makes sense for the women to team up, and it’s probably the best chance for the Iron Islands to survive in the long-term.
It’s worth noting that both have great advisors in the form of the loyal Theon and Tyrion, who saw their best efforts come to nothing when they were the ones charged with taking the lead. (Though Tyrion performed admirably in his role as Hand of the King.)
Arya Stark’s time with the faceless men has been yawn-inducing, but she now has the skills needed to survive in a dangerous world. She no longer needs a protector, and she’s arguably one of the deadliest remaining pieces on the board.
For a girl who had to watch powerlessly as her father was executed in public, it’s a great juxtaposition to see her reclaim her identity, while holding onto the strength and experience she’s accumulated along the way.
Even smaller female characters have been shown positively in recent weeks. The young lady Lyanna Mormont is ridiculously strong-willed for her age, while she chose to align herself with the winning side in the latest war in the North.
Her appearance at the meeting between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton underlines her strength of character, and she’s way more competent than than her male counterparts. The tiny Lord of the Vale seems addled, while the less said about Joffrey, the better.
Each and every one of the women above has found themselves thrown into power they may not have been expecting.
Sansa just wanted to marry Prince Joffrey, while Daenerys was sold into slavery in the pilot episode. Yara saw her father murdered and her chance to lead snatched away, while Lyanna’s parents were killed, forcing her to take charge of a troubled house. Arya just wanted to dance with Syrio, and he ended up giving his life to protect her.
They’ve all stepped up to varying degrees, and they’re battling back against a system that kept them on the periphery.
Even Cersei Lannister has drawn a line in the sand (or the Keep), refusing to play along with the High Sparrow’s games. It’s likely that her plans will blow up in her face if Tommen’s true identity (as an incest baby) is revealed, but it’s better than being trapped in the carefully laid web spun by the religious leader.
She has the Zombie Mountain (Zombmountain?) to protect her, and she’s always going to go down fighting if the truth comes out during the finale. Margaery Tyrell is another who has failed to be taken in by his pious act, and his comeuppance could soon be incoming.
Game of Thrones has never shied away from showing the patriarchal themes of the source material, but it seems there’s now a real chance for the women of Westeros to enact positive change across the land.
With the impending threat of a White Walker invasion in the near future, it looks like it could be down to the women to unite a populace that has been shattered by civil wars and endless violence. Winter is definitely coming, and they need to prepare for war.
Of course, things never seem to go to plan in the GoT universe, and it’s just as likely that they’ll be crushed by their numerous adversaries. If they truly want to break the system, the women to put aside the differences that were so hard for their fathers and brothers, and unite for a common goal against the army of the dead.
It could ensure the safety of the realms, and it would be a fitting conclusion for one of the best shows in recent memory.