This article will contain spoilers from the latest episodes of Game of Thrones.
So just a few days ago the Season 6 finale of Game of Thrones debuted, and man was it amazing! From from blazing wildfire, to satisfying deaths and tension tightening musical scores, I think Season 6 has proved to be the most successful one of the series yet. As the show is coming to an end, we can see longstanding questions being answered, and enigmatic mysteries being solved. Each episode, we see how another piece of the puzzle fits together, and leaves us nodding our heads in approval. After having read the books, and now watching the series from season 1, it’s bittersweet that the journey is nearly complete. So many characters have come so far, but what I noted the most is the progression and development of women in the series, and how the finale of Season 6 places immense power into their hands.
We hate her. Everyone does. If you don’t then I question your morality. The woman is a sadistic, self interested harlot who finds pleasure in the warmth of her brothers arms (yech!). But she is also a devilishly shrewd, diabolical, political and tactical mastermind. At the start of the series, she stood next to Robert Baratheon as queen, and used her position to harness her desires. With cloak and dagger tactics she killed him, just as she managed to kill Ned, and then so many others as the series progressed. Eventually, she was placed into a cell for her sins, but a cell could not hold her.. After performing a walk of atonement, that should have humbled her, she was instead enflamed with a new hunger for vengeance.
At the start of the episode she had it, while drinking red wine, and wearing a sinisterly appropriate black dress, I might add. She killed the Sept of Baelor that punished her, and all of his religious followers in a glorious blaze of emerald flame, as well as Queen Margaery, one of her most hated rivals. In his torment, King Tommen walked off the balcony, and while she mourned for him, Cersei may as well have killed him herself. With no one left to rule, Cersei takes the Iron Throne as the Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and with the Gold Cloaks and The Mountain at her every beck and command, she is nigh untouchable.
Arya has no throne, but nor does she want one. She is a girl who has learned to be no one, and yet could not let go of Arya Stark, as Arya Stark is scorned girl with a list of names on her kill list. She whispered the names before bed every night when she was young, weak, and vulnerable. She vowed to remember. While her training began with Syrio of Floren, she was hardened by her travels with “The Hound” and wisened by the teachings of Jonquil in the Hall of Faceless men. She now travels as no one, only revealing herself as Arya Stark to the owners of the names on her list. Deadly with a blade, she skulks in the shadows, and crowds as a faceless assassin, ever approaching those she hates. Currently these skills make her one of the most dangerous characters in Game of Thrones.
She’s grown immensely. No longer is she the timid girl with juvenile notions of baseless love. Prince Joffrey and Ramsey Bolton’s evil shaped her into a callous, nigh emotionless woman who understands that love is a lie, and that there is always a means to an end so long as she, a proud Stark is alive. She has used her name to become one of the most powerful figures in King’s Landing. She used Petyr Baelish’s love for her as a means to save her brother and reclaim Winterfell. By rights, she owns Winterfell, but it was only by her words that Jon Snow was instead named King in the North, but regardless, she’s made a name for herself and it shows.
The Unburnt, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons, and Queen of Mereen- Daenerys Stormborn. A girl who at a young age learned of the harsh realities of being a woman in several cultures, starting with The Targaryens, to the Dothraki, and Mereen, and then overcame all of those roadblocks. She grew in wisdom and personal strength. She learned what she represented and refused to let anyone tell her otherwise. By far, Danerys earned more genuine respect than perhaps anything in all of Westeros or Essos, and it speaks not to her possession of beasts as dangerous as Dragons, but to her fortitude as a strong woman. At the end of Season 6 I had chills watching her fleet finally sailing to Westeros where she vows to take her rightful placed upon the usurped Iron Throne. Of course, she is going to need to go through Cersei to get there.
There are other powerful woman of note in the series including Lyanna Mormont Brienne of Tarth, and the Women of Dorn, but the major point I am wanting to get across here is that the show’s turn in this direction in an era and land of patriarchy is empowering, and the themes needed to be spoken on. Women stepping out of their stereotypical boundaries in Game of Thrones is necessity that would’ve given the show a sour taste of misogyny otherwise, and I love it. I love seeing Arya get her revenge and Brienne besting the best of men. I love seeing Lyanna Mormont galvanize multiple houses and Daenerys Stormborn free slaves. Women are powerful, and Game of Thrones shows it well.