It’s the season of the women so far on Game of Thrones. While you do have your Jon Snow resurrections and your Tyrion dragon-storytime, the many powerful and distinct women of GoT are taking over the darn show, and it’s (thankfully) not on accident.
In the past, Game of Thrones has been fairly criticized for some pretty brutal objectification and exploitation of women, including a pair of rape scenes that many believed passed well over the line of narrative and into torture-porn. While the showrunners absolutely have the right to tell any story they want, it was clear that a balanced narrative was getting overlooked in the (let’s just be real here: ALL MALE) writing room of Game of Thrones, and it was time for a change.
Thankfully, in this instance, the writers behind GoT took the serious criticism to heart, recognizing it was not just fan-rage, and have taken steps to change how sexual violence, sexualization, and the women characters are all portrayed on the intense show. All this growth leads to something new and energizing on the sixth year show — the women have taken Westeros by storm.
So far in the new season, we’ve seen numerous women take huge strides forward in their stories. Margaery Tyrell, trapped in prison, has become a tower of strength, manipulating the disturbing High Sparrow, while all the while keeping her wits and her plans about her. Sansa successfully escaped her sociopathic husband, and while still clearly traumatized by her brutal treatment, immediately started slapping some sense into moody Jon Snow. (ICYMI, there was a scene where Jon was like “I don’t care about anything, I died.” And Sansa was like “So what? I was raped every night. Get off your butt.” And it was EVERYTHING.)
Oh yeah, then Daenerys responded to her “rescuers” by being like “ugh you guys are ruining my plans” and then burned down a hut full o’sexism.
Meanwhile, even the female villains are showing some strength. In Dorne, the wily Sand Snakes have overthrown the entire country, whereas Cersei, despite her grief over her daughter’s death and her enduring shame over her public humiliation, has rallied and is giving off the strong Mama Bear vibes that have always made her a complex, fascinating evil lady.
Now, Game of Thrones has broken our hearts before, and we’re not ruling out that backsliding into bad, trope-y, exploitative stories could happen. But currently, all the fire in this Song of Fire and Ice is coming from the ladies, and we cannot WAIT to see what happens next.