Game of Thrones: Women’s Work

Warning! Spoilers lurk below this point!


Olenna got a warning and so did you.

Season five of Game of Thrones came under fire for its depiction of women, particularly the showrunners’ choice to depict graphic sexual violence against a main female character. It wasn’t the first time GOT received some flames for the sake of its female characters, but hopefully it will be the last.

Unlike previous season-ending episodes, Sunday’s “The Winds of Winter” not only brought a literal change of seasons, but also introduced the struggle that will dominate the rest of the series. That struggle is led by queens. Although women have been taking power throughout the season, “The Winds of Winter” put Cersei on the Iron Throne, confirmed a three-queen alliance (with matronly backing), and gave both Sansa (another potential queen) and Lady Mormont a good amount of limelight in the North.

Antlers are so last dynasty.

It’s a relief to see characters who spent the better part of the series behind the golden curtain join the fray. Although Daenerys has been an outright ruler since the second season, Cersei, Ellaria, and Yara were not head authorities until very near the end of season six. It’s difficult to say if this is a reaction to fandom-based criticism or if this was always in the works. I’m not sure I care, although it is lovely to image the showrunners took the audience’s suggestion to enhance the roles of their female leads to heart. Regardless, it’s a great, and logical, move.

In addition to the inevitable showdown of Cersei vs. Daenerys (+ Ellaria, Yara, and Olenna – the scariest of them all), there is Arya Stark running around with the power of the Many Faced God, Sansa still deeply embroiled in the game of thrones, Lady Brienne, and Lady Mormont, whom I mention again purely because she is a tiny, fur-wrapped goddess of bad-assery.

Half the size, twice the sass.

Many who have defended the show’s treatment of women in the past put it down to historical accuracy, which is a laughable motive in a show featuring dragons. While an entire article could (and probably should) be devoted to historical examples of female rulers, warriors, and leaders, suffice it to say that the claim of ‘historical accuracy’ isn’t as accurate as some would like to believe, especially in times of war and power shifts – which is the entire plot of GOT.

It’s exciting to see the show embrace the potential of all of its characters. Next season promises to be a truly epic showdown.

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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