It hasn't always been easy being female on Game Of Thrones, but if this week's all-female Entertainment Weekly Game Of Thrones Season 6 covers, it's that the women of Westeros are pulling ahead in the race for the Iron Throne. The magazine's latest issue, which has them interviewing six of the actresses on the show, reports that the women will be taking center stage this time around and their "storylines are about to change Westeros forever." Of course, this isn't too surprising to hear. George R.R. Martin, who pens the A Song of Ice and Fire novels that inspired GOT, has always had a knack for writing three-dimensional female characters, and the show's creators, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, have continued that tradition since its HBO debut in 2011.
For every terrible act of violence against a female character (Sansa's rape in Season 5, comes to mind) ,there have been feminist moments in Game Of Thrones that show the true power these women possess in a world ruled by dangerous men. It's the women who have fought their way to the top, while the men continue to kill one another off, leaving room for new rulers. But this female takeover that seems to be the theme of Season 6 comes at an interesting time.
When we last left the show, Khaleesi was in chains, Cersei had a walk of shame, Arya had been blinded, Sansa had finally escaped, Brienne of Tarth had gotten her revenge and Jon Snow — well, you know what happened to him. Most of these characters did not seem in a good place to be making moves for the Iron Throne, but their circumstance do force them to make some big decisions that could lead them there in the end. Season 5 left us with cliffhangers — some quite literally, since Sansa's jump from the castle does kind of resemble a cliff — that will force these women to make big decisions about their futures. And, hopefully, finally be able to take their fate into their own hands.
Change certainly seems to be the theme in the Season 6 trailer and for the show itself. Like every season of the show, this upcoming one is shrouded in mystery, but the show pulling away from its source material, meaning really anything can happen. (Though, don't worry, the creators swear it won't spoil the books.) So, while the trailer does not answer the million dollar question of whether Jon Snow is really dead, it does show us Melisandre working her black magic once again — though, she's not as confident as she once was, speaking about the great flames of war that she saw, but didn't equal victory. Khaleesi is back with the Dothrakis, but she is no longer their Queen; she is a prisoner. Arya is trying to re-gain her life now that she has been deemed no one. Cersei seems to have gotten her groove back, dramatically swearing "I choose violence" with the Mountain by her side.
But it's Sansa who seems to be in the best position to rule, and, after years of being the plaything of dastardly men, she may finally get her revenge. Hopefully, being able to defeat Ramsay Bolton and his family and finally regain Winterfell for the Starks in what the show is calling its biggest battle ever. Sansa Stark, Queen of the North certainly has a good ring to it. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, hinted to Entertainment Weekly months ago that Season 6 would be Sansa's time to shine. "I mean this season is a really, really big one for Sansa. It's probably her best season yet. It's her really coming into her own," Turner said. "She, this season, really commands the respect she deserves and she grabs a hold of it and runs with it and it's really good."
Respect seems to be the ultimate goal for the women in Game Of Thrones since they are too often underestimated by their male counterparts. But this is a game, after all, which means there are winners and losers, and this has been a game that has seen many people try and fail. "You're in the great game now, and it's terrifying," Tyrion says in the trailer, which may be a sign of the utter terribleness that is to come. This is the show that gave us the Red Wedding, after all so we're already prepared for the worst. This game is not for the weak of heart or those afraid to die, but this season shows that men aren't the only ones taking on this epic fight. The women are there too and have been there all along. The men may just wish they paid more attention to them sooner.
Image: Macall B. Polay/HBO