Season 7 of HBO's hit fantasy show, Game of Thrones is promised to be the biggest yet, and so far, it is not a disappointment. With long-awaited meetings and reunions soon to be underway, along with the biggest battles we've seen yet, there's no confusion as to why fans are so excited. But the most exciting thing about the season? One word: women. The ladies of Westeros are finally being empowered in a way that we have never seen before. In fact, in ways that are quite uncharacteristic for the world we've come to have a love/hate relationship with. Many of our main and even secondary female characters are shining in new ways. Leading armies, ruling the world of politics, exacting justice and more, women are dominating Game of Thrones right now. And it's about time.
The Queens of the Seven Kingdoms are forces to be reckoned with.
For the past six years, while #DaenerysTargaryen was across the Narrow Sea, we've really known nothing but patriarchy in Westeros. But the War of the Five Kings has ended, and what has emerged? Two Queens. And while the two are divided by many differences and are at unwavering odds with each other, there's no question that both Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen are extremely powerful, and have gone through Seven Hells to get here.
Cersei refuses to be a pawn.
Cersei Lannister, who has for many seasons been considered one of the lead villains in the series has somehow also remained a fan favourite. How? Well, quite frankly, her journey is pretty badass! During her childhood and throughout most of her adult life, Cersei has been used and abused as a pawn in men's games. Be it her father's, her brother's, her husband's, and even her son's. She's certainly committed some atrocious acts, but in many ways, she's been a victim, like most of the women of Westeros. But no longer. She has taken what is hers and the men who once scoffed at her now bow down to her. While many expected she would jump at Euron's proposal (including her brother/lover), she declined, not only making the intelligent political move but also exerting her power. She won't be toyed with any longer. She worked too hard for too long to be Queen, and suffered under the rule of idiotic men while doing it. She won't let go of her crown. And, knowing Cersei, this is only the beginning. Her thirst revenge is insatiable. Hear her roar!
Daenerys is breaking the wheel.
Fans have waited six seasons for Dany to reach Westeros, and now she finally has. Currently biding her time on Dragonstone, we see her more levelheaded than before. She's both careful and forceful, listening to the advice of her counselors,but above all else following what she knows to be the right path. In short, she's acting like a Queen. She's determined to take the Iron Throne, but refuses, as she says, to be "Queen of the Ashes." Daenerys Stormborn is no longer the conqueror we once knew, and she is far from a little girl. She's a strong woman who has surrounded herself with other strong women: Olenna Tyrell, Ellaria Sand, and Missandei, to name a few. Having left her paramour, Daario Naharis back across the Narrow Sea, nothing will stand between her and her Throne. And no one will stop her from crushing the patriarchy. She will demand loyalty and fealty, but her goal is not to see House Targaryen rise from the ashes. It is to reclaim what is hers, and give the people what they deserve. She is the perfect balance of gentle and fierce, exactly the Queen that Westeros needs.
The Stark sisters show very different types of power.
If the fans can agree on one thing, it's that House Stark has suffered the most blows. No one is safe in Westeros, but the Starks seem to have had extra bad luck. The women most of all. Both Sansa and Arya have, for so many years, been out of control of their own lives, lost and unable to go home. But Season 7 has brought Sansa back to Wintefell, and given Arya an opportunity to be reunited with her family. The two girls are incredibly different, but both are undeniably strong, for many different reasons.
Arya is taking justice into her own hands.
Arya Stark has always marched to the beat of her own drum, ever since Season 1, when she was a tomboy who preferred swords to sewing. Since then, we have seen her escape the clutches of countless men, make her way to Braavos to become a Faceless Man, and be trained in the art of becoming no one. But Arya is back in Westeros now, realizing that she is a Stark at heart, and the North Remembers. She has perhaps the highest kill count of the season so far, and that's saying something! She's ruthless, determined to find justice in any way that she can. And she can't count on anyone but herself for that. Having killed the entire Frey family, Arya is not only merciless (with good reason), but one of the most independent characters on the show. And she makes it look like it's nothing. Independence and fearlessness are second nature to her, next to fighting, that is. She doesn't take orders from anyone, and based on what we've seen, that isn't about to change.
Sansa is a true leader.
Sansa Stark has suffered the most pain in the show and most judgement from the fans. But each season, Sansa has grown, becoming more confident, more intelligent, more manipulative, and more powerful. This season, to quote Sophie Turner, "Sansa is woke." Jon may be crowned King In the North, but he is not the only leader. Winterfell is Sansa's birthright, after all, and the North has not forgotten it. She knows the Northeners better than Jon does in certain ways. They listen to her in a way she has never been listened to before. And with Jon now away to meet with Daenerys, the North is in Sansa's hands. Sansa is perhaps the best example of female empowerment. For years we have seen her brutalized and savaged, manipulated and used by countless men. Now she is ruling the North. Her people actually listen to her, look up to her, and despite what many may think, she has more control over Littlefinger than ever before. Sansa is not an ignorant little girl. She is a powerful leader, a master of politics. A woman who, like Cersei, knows how to play the Game of Thrones.
Sexism is all but eradicated in the North.
The King in the North is certainly doing right by humankind with one of his first decrees. A decree that states everyone shall be trained in combat in order to fight against the White Walkers, including girls and women. This is unheard of in Westeros. Female warriors have been a rarity, but thanks to this decree, that may not be the case anymore. Of course, there's no question as to who should help lead these exercises. Two names spring to many of our minds: Brienne of Tarth and Lyanna Mormont. Lyanna, though only a child, is strong and outspoken. She refuses to tolerate ignorance or sexism, and as any true Northerner does, she stands for honor and justice. With training, no one, not even the Night King, will want to face her in battle. And as for Brienne? She is one of the true heroes of Westeros. A knight who actually stands by her oaths, no matter what the cost to herself. There's no end to Brienne's noble and incredible deeds. If she helps to train young women in the art of combat, the White Walkers should be very afraid.
Missandei and Grey Worm are proof of the lessening brutality.
Episode 2 of Season 7 gave us an unexpectedly tender scene between two of our favourites, a scene that has been now dubbed revolutionary and one of the most feminist scenes on the show. But some people are confused as to why. Let's take a look at the show's sexual history. In the first episode, we saw one of the main characters raped. Rape has continued throughout the seasons, and even when sex has been consensual, it has almost always been from a man's perspective. The love scene between Missandei and Grey Worm is quiet and tender. There is passion, but there is no violence. It's very much from Missandei's perspective, and in many ways, she takes charge. She undresses herself, instead of having the clothes torn off of her. It's these details that may seem small that are actually huge leaps forward in the Thrones world. Ones that deserve to be celebrated.
A show that has often been criticized for its sexism, unnecessary violence against women, and more, the writers of #HBO's #GameofThrones have clearly been listening to the pleas of their fans. This season has already proved to be the most feminist yet, and it's incredibly exciting and fulfilling to watch so many characters become empowered. It'll be exciting to see what happens next!