Game of Thrones, a show that took no time to become beloved by many, was initially focused on a world where men dominated women and women played by the rules – the rules that were set by men. Instances of this were seen all over in the first few seasons when the young Daenerys was sold by her brother to Khal Drogo and when Catelyn Stark was held as a prisoner by her own son Robb because she freed Jaime Lannister to get her daughters back. Need I even remind you how Kranzys, the cruel master in Astapor, treated Missandei? But the reigns of men were just not enough to stop the women in the show to emerge victoriously.
Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor – A dragon is not a slave – Daenerys Targaryen
Eight years ago, Daenerys Stormborn – the Khaleesi of the Dothraki, walked into a fire. When the fire burnt out, she remained unburnt and her children were born of the same fire, making her the mother of dragons and an idol for millions across the world.
Daenerys fought for herself, her children and her people. She protected herself, her children and her people. It wasn’t just that she was born extraordinary, but that she had a vision in her mind and she did whatever it took to enliven that vision. She became the freedom that the world deserved. She believed in herself when no one else did, which is one of the most important things in life.
Through all the strength that Dany showed us, we saw her gentle heart. The heart that couldn’t punish Jorah and ordered him to safely return to his queen; the heart that began to care for Jon Snow and led her North to save him and the people of the North. She taught us that all that the strength we’ll ever need is already present inside of us and even though she didn’t get to rule the seven kingdoms, she won the hearts of millions of people.
As the seasons went on, the show also brought us little Arya Stark who defied all the social norms defined by society regarding what a lady is meant to be. She sailed across the narrow sea with nothing but her own customized needle and helped us get in touch with the explorer and warrior hidden inside all of us. After all, women today are their own best protectors. When we see a woman who doesn’t need a man to help her achieve her goals, we can’t help but love her.
Speaking of Valar Morghulis, if you know what I mean, every woman who watches the show has one favourite scene in particular. Yes, you guessed it right – it’s the one where Missandei says “Valar Morghulis” and Daenerys points out that – “we are not men”. It can’t be surprising if the fans were enraged just like Dany after seeing our sweet, free Missandei being beheaded in chains, as a prisoner. There was something about the chemistry between Daenerys and Missandei that spoke for female friendship all around the world. It stood for the motto that all women ought to stand for – “us girls gotta stick together”.
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die – Cersei Lannister
Cersei Lannister is one of the most complex characters in Game of Thrones. This woman was despicable and dangerous and one of the smartest women on the show. She knew one thing and one thing only – “we protect our own”. She lived by it and she died by it. She was the lioness who protected her children above all. She loved fiercely and unapologetically. Even after she had been publicly humiliated, she gathered her strength to fight the ones who stood against her. If that’s not praiseworthy, I don’t know what is. She had more guts than most of the men she was surrounded by and she refused to take any rubbish from them. Even though many of us may not like her, there is no denying that she was one of the strongest women on the show.
Speaking of strong women who protect their own, there is no one who can say that there could’ve been a better way for Lady Olenna to tell Jaime that she protected her own even though it meant killing Jaime and Cersei’s son. Lady Olenna cut through people’s fake-ness like Valyrian Steel. The world often requires that we do that with finesse. After all, it’s not everyone who can ignore all the clever men they know and outlive them all. It’s always important to listen to follow your own counsel. Lady Olenna taught us to be our true selves and to live and die accordingly.
The show creators brought us seven breathtaking seasons and one very sloppy season.
It’s one thing to know how to rule people and another to make them love you. There is no one better suited to this example than queen Margaery except perhaps Sansa Stark. How many of us can relate to being the teenager who doesn’t get involved in politics and chases after vanity? How many of us can relate to that little girl’s innocence being stripped off piece by piece as she is introduced to the fact that the world is not always a sweet place and there are people who like to outwit and torture you for the fun of it – just because they can?
Sansa Stark is the woman who was wronged by almost everyone who she thought she could trust. After she left her home, she was rescued from one horrible place only to be taken to another horrible place and then to another. It was extremely important for her to stay strong if she ever hoped for a better future. And she did. She learned from her past, she endured her present and she prepared herself for her future. Then one fine day, she took the North back. She freed the North and she will forever be known as the Queen in the North.
It is no secret that fans of the show will either cry in disbelief or get angry at the show writers, or both, when reminded of the final season of Game of Thrones. The show creators brought us seven breathtaking seasons and one very sloppy season. There is no excuse for what was done to Daenerys’ character towards the end of the show. Why? Just for the sake of making a man the king? Dany was a woman of honour. She dreamed of building a better world and freeing those who lived in chains. What the writers did to her – it was not only unjust but also without foundation and structure. The Dany that lives in our hearts wouldn’t stand for such injustice.
The stories of these women who turn emotions and strength into power will keep on inspiring generations to come. The North will remember. And so will the East, South and West.
This is not a representative list of women characters in Game of Thrones. Suggestions to add to this list are welcome.