When I started watching Game of Thrones I was appalled and even offended by the show of unbalanced female nudity, needless brutalisation of female characters and excessive rape. The infliction of pain on the woman and patriarchal norms have been manifested so effortlessly on the show that at times it used to be agonizing. However, seven seasons through and eighth running, GoT has come a long way, from portraying decorative prostitutes to building cult-defying female characters. It has certainly and most definitely proven to be a show for the feminist audience and my view on that stands unequivocal. The prominence of female characters on the show has been increasing over seasons so much so that GoT cannot be imagined without most of them now. I love the female characters for their strong, nuanced and powerful personas. I have watched a gazillion shows that lack general female representation and fail to qualify the Bechdel test. On those lines, the female streak on the show has its much-deserved attention. Let’s have a look at some of the female protagonists on the show that have made GoT worth watching!
The Targaryen who considers herself as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and is leaving no stone unturned to have it. She’s wildly and rightly ambitious, gentle, kind and one of the few characters on the show who values justice and integrity. She is drop-dead gorgeous, stunningly beautiful with silver hair and blue eyes. She is young but driven by ambitions and passion to rule the seven kingdoms. She inspires awe, makes men fall for her in the wink of an eye and also deals with her enemies ruthlessly. All hail, the Mother of Dragons!
Cersei is vengeful, unforgiving, ferocious, cruel and obsessed with the Iron Throne. She would have it by hook or crook. She is undoubtedly the most powerful female character on the show who believes “power is power”. She is a loving mother who would do anything for her children and devoted to the people by her side but she wouldn’t spare your life if you’ve done any wrong to her. She’s brutal and unrelenting. If you’re an enemy to her, she’d be the last person to pity or have any mercy on you. Her uncompromising determination to achieve what she wants is commendable. If you’re around her, patronise her and you live, boycott her and you die!
The third child and the second daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Tully, a girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. As they say, “Big things often come in small packages”, she does complete justice to the phrase. Her survival instincts and skills are killer, has an independent streak, and is a total tom-boy, very much adventurous and brave. She’s resourceful and somehow manages her way out of difficult circumstances. She adjusts, acclimatises and adapts. She rises above from the conventional and traditional female qualities and pursuits to an extent that she disdains and abhors them & finds them silly. She’s a treat to watch, be it her sword fighting lessons with Syrio Forel, her journey with the Hound, her expeditions with Jaqen H’ghar, watching her avenge the red wedding or looking her while she killed the Night King! She’s a rebel with a cause and throughout her journey in GOT stays true to her core self. She emanates warmth and is a few characters on the show who’s lovable.
She’s the definition of unconventional. She’s neither pretty nor attractive. She possesses no feminine qualities and many times in the show is ridiculed for it. She’s often mistaken as a man and her looks are made fun of. But Brienne of Tarth doesn’t hold back. She’s as strong as an ox and is a warrior soul. She plays the role of King’s guard in the show to the best of her abilities and capabilities. She truly shows us that it is not necessary to conform to the societal norms & abide by and adhere to the beaten track. She exemplifies that one should pursue his/her own path to glory and satisfaction & arise and outshine. For today’s generation, she’s quite a quintessential representation as she teaches us to be comfortable in our own skin. We had tears of joy rolling down our cheeks as she was sworn in as “Knight of Seven Kingdoms” by Ser Jaime Lannister! Ser Brienne of Tarth!
Barely 12-years-old, she’s the head of House Mormont, and rightly so. A loyal supporter of House Stark, she’s as ferocious as a lion and is savagely fierce. It’s an absolute treat to watch her, to listen to her. She’s a woman of actions and few words. She’s laconic, and never indulges in small talk, believes to cut the chase, rebuffs flattery, makes credible and remarkable speeches and is a loyalist and would do anything for honour and integrity. Though a pre-teen, she has always taken her audience by a storm. We have loved her cult-defying character even with her relatively lesser screen time. Her death in the latest episode was a heart-breaking screen to watch, however, she even made her death count while ferociously killed a giant white walker in her final moments!
The elder daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Stark, Sansa has always been one of the most prominent characters on the show. Her character evolution has undoubtedly been the best in the show. She was initially portrayed as a naïve character, always dreaming of her prince charming. Her love for pretty little things, romantic situations & everything classically termed feminist were highlighted at the beginning of the show until we eventually saw a transformation from her soft female character to her growing into a bold rebellious woman. She survived the worst on the show and set an example for every woman that one can go through hell and still bounce back. Like she said in one of the episodes “I am a slow learner. It’s true. But I learn.” She’s emerged as a stronger character by strategising and helping the Northerners win the Battle of the Bastards! Despite all the suffering, cruelty and betrayal that she’s been through she’s managed to keep the love and compassion in her alive and we so love that about her. She’s traditionally beautiful and the rightful lady of Winterfell.
Melisandre—the red priestess of R’hllor often referred to as the red witch aka red woman on the show had to make it to my list especially after the latest episode of GoT when she helped, in every possible way, win the battle of Winterfell by lighting the trench & giving flaming swords to the Dothraki warriors! She worships the lord of light and has made the dialogue “The night is dark and full of terrors” so popular among viewers. Until the latest episode, you may hate Melisandre but she sticks to the core of her belief and is fearless – she’s a wile and devious temptress who can manipulate or persuade one into doing what she wants. On one hand she’s sacrificed many innocent people and on the other hand, brought back Jon Snow to life and reminded Arya of her prophecy – some crucial things she did to end darkness in the world. Her bipolar and utterly strong personality sets her apart. With her being gone now, we can surely not expect magic that she used to bring about with her unique powers!
Out of the many female protagonists in the show, it was a task to pick my top 7! I only would like to see more of some of them who are still alive in the final few episodes of GoT. Who are your favourite female protagonists on the show who make the show worthwhile for you? Comment below and let me know!