It seems to me that the women of Westeros (and Essos, keeping it technical) spent their off-season leveling up. So far in Season 6, these ladies are badass. They are having none of it, they are claiming power, they are kicking ass and they are 100% taking names. And? It. Is. Glorious. It bears repeating that Season 5 was a bit of a hot mess with respect to female representation and that fans weren’t happy about it. I’m genuinely pleased as both a fan and a feminist to see that HBO, the producers, and the writers seem (so far) to have received the memo and have given the amazing women of Westeros agency and hope and complex plans.
Obviously this being Game of Thrones, and Westeros, I fully expect it to all fall apart and end in death, destruction and sadness. And I’m fine with that. I love darkness, and bittersweet endings and victories that are all wrapped up in tragedy. If I didn’t, my bookshelf would probably have fewer post-apocalyptic novels, and I almost certainly wouldn’t watch Game of Thrones. The point is the momentary joy of seeing fully realized, layered women make bold choices. Seeing them stand up, take power and push back. Seeing them framed as potential killers, potential rulers, instead of always just potential victims. Oh, and they are moving the plot forward. Thank all the gods, old and new, for that. Daenerys may have lit the literal fire this week, but everyone is contributing in their own way. Here are some examples of my favorite ass kicking ladies of this season of Game of Thrones.
I can’t tell which one of us is more bored of listening to the High Sparrow and his self-righteous blathering: me or the Queen. If she confesses, it will probably be just to get him to shut up for one freaking minute. Watching her go toe to toe with Mr. High and Mighty, quoting scripture and offering zero apologies for who she is, gave me faith. Faith that she is getting out of there, hair and dignity intact. The look on her face when she saw what they have done to her beloved brother Loras was perfection. Rage, fear, anger and love all in one. Your reckoning is coming High Sparrow, and her name is Margaery Tyrell.
It’s interesting to me that Queen Margaery may end up getting help from the most unexpected of places. Cersei has no love for Margaery herself, of course. But she won’t stand to see her son miserable, nor will she stand to see the nobility dragged through any more mud by the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. Never mind that it’s a bed entirely of her own making. Cersei lives in the moment, and this moment calls for new alliances. And you will make them with her and her brother. She doesn’t care if you like it. I loved the way she walked into the Small Council and just spoke all of these things as facts. No equivocation, no negotiation. Just the plan.
Brienne of Tarth
Brienne killed your king, Davos. And she’d do it again. Stannis was a kinslayer and she swore an oath. Not that any of that matters in the least now. There’s still the real war to be won and her blade is pledged to Sansa Stark. Brienne has always been strong, and has always been confident in the righteousness of her cause, and it’s just delightful to see that combined with the goal of putting a true Stark back in Winterfell. Also, Tormund? I think she mostly finds you confusing and strange. Perhaps try talking to her instead of eating a chicken leg at her. I think Brienne will still turn you down in the end, as all true paladins do. But it will be fun to watch, and it’s lovely to see a man admiring, and even desiring, Brienne for all the things that have always made her an outsider.
Dany has had enough of your nonsense, dude Khals. She’s not impressed, and she certainly has no intention of sitting around in a tent offering sage advice until she dies (not that there is anything wrong with that life choice). Also, she lit you on fire and swayed the entire Dothraki people to her side. I think the Great Masters of Yunkai and Astapor have bigger problems than figuring out how to end the slave trade in seven years.
And finally, Sansa. Sansa has been honing a steely edge underneath her lady’s courtesy for a long while now. No more hiding. She is taking back her home, she is overjoyed to be reunited with Jon and she is ready to confront Littlefinger. I hope she stabs him right in his smug face. I’ve been a staunch Sansa supporter since Day One, and I am so proud of her right now.
I hope this trend continues and I hope that season 6 of Game of Thrones ends in glorious chaos after these ladies break all the rules. Tune in the next week for what trouble the lads have been getting up to!
Tell us in the comments if we missed anyone or what we got wrong!