New GoT fan here and I can't help but notice the women on this show are astonishing.
So, I'm late to the Game of Thrones party. After time and time again trying to watch the first episode I just couldn't get into it. Recently, my cousin sat me down and was like, "You need to watch this." Needless to say, now I am hooked...
It's clear from the Pilot, that the womenfolk on the show are low-key fed up with the blatant misogyny of the Seven Kingdoms. I've been sitting patiently waiting for them to revolt.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
The first sign of revolt came from Khaleesi (my queen!), portrayed by Emilia Clarke. About halfway through Season 1, Khaleesi decides she's done putting up with her brother. Khaleesi, like many of the women on the show was victim to the patriarchy right in her own home. Being abused by her brother Viserys, Daenerys remained silent (mostly) and obedient (mostly), when her brother married her off to a total stranger that Daenerys did not want to marry.
Following her marriage, Daenerys proved her strength again and again. She adapted to her new people incredibly well. She's done what so many of us have been forced to do as women which is make the most of a bad situation.
Though Khal ended up being a wonderful partner (in my opinion), Daenerys is taught early on by one of her servants how to please Khal and is taught that this will help give her power in the relationship. When Dany looses Khal and her baby, her resilience and determination to be a leader is admirable. Not only does she walk into fire to hatch her dragons, she marches on with few followers in order to build an army to take back the Iron Throne.
Sansa. Stark. Is. Under. Rated. When I first started watching GoT, I took a quiz to see what character in GoT I was. I was Sansa who is portrayed bySophie Turner. I complained about that to some of my fellow GoT fans at the beginning. I thought she was bratty and entitled, but a las I was wrong and Sansa has probably one of the best arcs I've seen on television.
Jack GleesonYou see, Sansa Stark is all of us. She just wanted to marry the heir to the throne to create a nice life for herself and to do right by her family, instead, she gets caught up in a whirlwind of fragile masculinity that is Joffery Baratheon. Constantly being verbally abused by King Joffery, anytime Sansa is asked about the King, she replies with fondness and loyalty.
She maintains composure and poise as he constantly reigns terror on her because she knows it's what she needs to do to survive. Tyrion even comments on her strength saying, "You might survive us yet." I don't know how many times I've held my tongue while a significant other had a temper tantrum over his short-comings. I repeat, Sansa Stark is all of us. I hate seeing her swallow the abusive treatment, but her resilience and understanding of the system just makes me wonder, when she's going to turn it upside down.
When I first started watching GoT, I thought I was going to loathe Cersei, portrayed by Lena Headey. I even actively tried to, yet I still secretly admired the "cold-hearted" queen. Cersei falls victim to something many women fall victim to. Her "coldness" and directness leads people to assume that she is bad or evil; however, many of the scenes between her and Sansa are proof that isn't the case.
Cersei and Sansa
Cersei is a woman with strong beliefs and especially a strong belief in family. More than anyone, Cersei understands how the system fails women and knows her place and how to use her place to her fullest advantage. She tells Sansa, regardless of Sansa's almost-rehearsed line about loving King Joffery, that she could never love Joffery and to just focus on loving her children, because that's all she'll have.
I think it's sort of tragic that as Joffery becomes a man, Cersei has to watch him become the monster she feels his father was. Cersei has also fallen victim to not being given the same opportunities as her brothers. She tells her father that she's always been best suited to lead, but the same opportunities have not been given to her because she is a woman. She argues that both of her brothers are unfocused while she has paid close attention to her father's countless lectures in hopes that she would one day carry on the family legacy.
It's clear from the Pilot that Arya, portrayed by Maisie Williams, couldn't care less about the patriarchal system. It's only there for her to bust down. When King Robert greeted her and her brother and proceeded to tell her brother that he'd make a greet soldier one day, the side eye Arya gives them both made me howl. We've all been there.
Arya and her father Eddard
The other characters on the show seem to disapprove of Arya's fighting spirit from the beginning of the series. Even her father who seems to understand her best tells her, "You will marry a king and rule his castle, and your sons will be knights and princes and lords and, yes, perhaps even a High Septon," after asking if she can be Lord of a holdfast. She replies with a simple, "No. That's not me."
Arya Stark & Sansa Stark
Arya's interest in sword fighting and what's described as "wild nature," comes in handy when Eddard is convicted of treason and is killed by Joeffery because she is able to escape. She has proven time and time again that she is not only a survivor but a thriver and is constantly breaking gender roles in the Seven Kingdoms.
Margaery, portrayed by Natalie Dormer, is arguably the most composed of the ladies of GoT. She seems to think she has the entire system figured out and while at first I didn't trust her, I start to believe her as her arc progresses.
Season 3: Joffery and Margarey
She intends to rule and to bring power to her family and if it means having a terrible husband, she's prepared. In fact, when her and her grandmother ask Sansa about Joffery, when Sansa finally comes clean about what a monster he is, Margaery simply takes in the information like Sansa has just told her about the weather.
She also seems to have a power over Joffery that Cersei notes as manipulative that Cersei's father notes as a good quality. Margaery tricks Joffery into becoming a people's king something he would never be capable of on his own because of his violent and entitled nature. She is walking proof that behind every great (ehh) man is a great woman.
Shae and Tyrion
Shae, portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, proves time and time again to be a faithful lover to Tyrion even while he hides her because of her lowly social ranking. She continues to be a faithful friend and handmaiden to Sansa even when she marries Tyrion unaware of his relationship with Shae. No #girlshaming for the ladies of GoT.
Talisa, portrayed by Oona Chaplin, is introduced in Season 2 as a medic on the field for Robb's army who she later marries. Most assume that Talisa is a commoner because she is in the thick of war tending to the soldiers; however, it is revealed later that she is of noble birth and chose to practice medicine instead inspired by a slave who saved her brother making her realize that the whole charade of nobility is a waste of her time and she'd rather be helping people. Yas #ladyboss.
Long story short, though the treatment of women on Game of Thrones can be appalling at times, it mirrors themes that we deal with everyday IRL. The ladies of GoT are diverse and have different strengths that are each admirable in their own way. I think that the show calls misogyny out and represents women truthfully and powerfully. I can't wait to see what's in store for these amazing woman.