Game of Bad Ass Bitches

After months of peer pressure, I finally caved in and started watching Game of Thrones. I thought it was going to be eerily reminiscent of Lord of The Rings, which isn’t particularly my cup of tea. My dance with “fantasy” and “sci-fi” starts at The Hunger Games and ends with Harry Potter. Sue me.

Before I started watching the show, I came upon a quote from an interview between George Stroumboulopoulos and George R.R. Martin. Martin, who wrote the books that GoT is based off of, was posed with this question: “There’s one thing that’s interesting about your books. I noticed that you write women really well and really different. Where does that come from?”

To which Martin replied: “You know, I’ve always considered women people.”

I had also seen women discredit that quote for the incessant violence against women that occurs in the show. In the shows defense, GoT is set in a (albeit fantasy) medieval world. There was patriarchy, women were raped, and they were subservient — that’s reality. Every female character in GoT is an actual badass in her own respect, and I live and die for each one.

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The thing that I appreciate most about the women of this show is that they have their own strengths, no matter their struggle. Despite the choices Cat Stark made, she became a matriarch to her family in the wake of her husband’s murder, and only acted with her children and her house name in mind. At the end of it all, she died in the name of the Starks, which isn’t a terrible way to die.

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When Cersei loses Myrcella to the Martells, she does not bend, but instead stays resilient for the sake of her other two sons. I see her evil as empowering; she could have wasted away after the death of her husband, but she chooses to thrive. She just so happens to be terrible to your favorite characters, so what?

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Sansa Stark is a badass bitch too. It’s subtle, but it’s there. She takes charge as a leader and does what she can to protect other women. While she acknowledges the male dominance, it’s clear that she doesn’t accept it as being the only option. Keep in mind: technically the oldest (living and biological) Stark is now queen of the North. My hopes is for her to one day eat soup from Joffrey’s head, but that’s just me.

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Arya Stark and her never ending adventures pose a significant gender commentary. She completely disregards what it means to be feminine, in that she refuses to be “delicate” and always needed to be cared after, and instead learns how to fight and protect herself. After her father’s public execution, she completely cuts her hair to “become” a boy, saving her own life as Arya, but endangering her new life as a peasant boy. Ideally, she probably wouldn’t have been tortured as Arya Stark, just held captive with her sister. But she instead chooses a more dangerous path of “freedom” versus a life where she could have been sold into prostitution or married away to pay off her father’s transgressions.

Easily one of my favorite characters is Brienne of Tarth. Brienne kicks ass, takes names AND doesn’t follow any kind of gender binary. More importantly, she stands for equality and what’s right, and that’s really why she’s my favorite. Not once does she bend to the definition of “femininity,” nor does she reject women who do. A lot of times, the “strong female character” can only appear as such when she’s belittling other, less strong women, but Brienne refuses, and treats everyone (even Jamie Lannister) as equals.

I can’t write about the women of GoT without talking about the baddest of them all, Daenerys Targaryen. Shall we clock the ways?

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After enduring extensive sexual and emotional abuse from both her brother and her new husband, Dany reclaims her sexuality and uses it to reach self-actualization, aka evolve to be the HBIC she was destined to be. Sexually and emotionally she becomes her husband’s equal, but after he dies, she refuses to falter. Instead Daenerys does everything within her power to enrich the lives of her people and to conquer the land that is rightfully hers. Even in the face of temptation, nothing assuages her determination to be not just good, but great.

Her behavior is one to admire; she is a harsh leader because she knows there are men waiting to take advantage of her, so she makes sure the world perceives her as nothing less than a serious threat. She’s collapsed entire cities on her own, but had their people embrace her as their leader. As the true mother of dragons, I can’t see Dany not being successful and avenging the Targaryen name.

Honestly, I can’t see any of these female characters (with the exception of Cat) not succeeding. They all exemplify what it means to do more than just exist as a woman in a male dominated society, and I don’t think you see that enough in mainstream media these days. I’ve yet to turn off an episode without feeling this instinctual need to conquer a nation, but hey, that might just be me.

And no, my name ain’t baby, it’s Daenerys, Khaleesi if ya nasty.

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