The Women of Westeros
Thanks to Emma Watson’s speech at the UN earlier this fall, a lot of incredible people have been talking about feminism lately, and we think that’s pretty cool. In honor of Hermione, Beyoncé, and Benedict, we thought we’d take a look at feminism in Westeros.
There are some pretty fantastic females in Game of Thrones, and almost all of them would pass the Bechdel Test (we checked!). Consider Danaerys, Cersei, Arya, Brienne, Catelyn Stark, even Margery Tyrell. These cunning and brave women defy the patriarchy of Westeros both brazenly and discreetly, proving there’s more to them than long braids and a love of lemon cakes. Each of them has learned how to follow her own rules in a world where misogyny is ubiquitous.
Literature is no stranger to fierce females who challenge gender conventions. One of our favorite fierce ladies is Jane Eyre. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will,” Jane says. We have a feeling the Mother of Dragons would give her an Amen! Danaerys was that bird after all, ensnared in her brother’s net and sold like a slave to her husband. Where is the Mother of Dragons now? Leading an army, calling the shots.
In A Room with a View, Lucy Honeychurch asks, “It was unladylike. Why? Why were most big things unladylike?" We know Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth were stifled by the rules enforced on good little girls to turn them into good little ladies. After all, here are two ferocious chicks who would rather fight with swords than needlepoint.
“I have brains and almost all the rest of the world are fools," Becky Sharp says in Vanity Fair, but it may as well have been Cersei Lannister who uttered those words. Sitting in the highest tower in King’s Landing, Cersei watches as men and boys around her fight clumsily for power while she’s only allowed glances at it through motherhood or matrimony. Evil though she may be, you gotta give that girl some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
We’re grateful to George R. R. Martin for many things, and blessing us with so many tenacious and kickbutt female characters is one of them.