I don't know about you guys, but I've hated seeing Daenerys imprisoned by the Dothraki Army on Game of Thrones . This Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains deserves better than to be shut away with all the other former Khaleesis, who are expected to live out their days as basically the shadows of their former selves. That's why I was anxiously anticipating Daario and Jorah's rescue mission to save Dany from her dull and depressing situation. But just like with so many other times on this show, Game of Thrones has a knack for surprising us — except this time it served as a positive surprise rather than one that makes you want to curl up in a corner and weep. Dany is now the new ruler of the Dothraki Army and the way she went about taking that title is one of the best moments this show has ever seen.
But while it was difficult to weather Dany's situation up until that point, that's what I love about this show. Here you are presented with a female character who looks like she's in need of rescuing, but then the storyline shifts and she, in turn, proves to be able to rescue herself without the help of Daario or Jorah. Those Dothraki men have degraded and demeaned Dany ever since they first laid eyes on her. In return, she locks them in their own hideaway and burns it down, only to walk away unscathed herself. It was so fitting to see her take back control and watch them burn to the ground. (Sidebar, Game of Thrones: why is the ground so flammable?)
Cut to Dany walking out of the burning building completely naked. But, it's not her body that everyone is in awe at. It's the act itself, proof that she can walk in the flames without getting burned. Proof that she can take on fully grown soldiers and be the only one left standing. Proof that she is the true ruler the people of Vaes Dothrak need. This scene was absolutely the most empowering use of female nudity in the history of this show.
In general, GoT has a pretty regrettable history of how the writers have chosen to use nude women in the story. None of us will be able to soon forget Cersei's demeaning walk of shame throughout Westeros, where she was verbally abused and harassed throughout her journey. And don't even get me started on all the numerous rape scenes, and threats of rape, that viewers have had to endure. Even Dany has been objectified on more than one occasion, starting with her marriage to Khal Drogo (prior to them actually falling in love).
That's what makes this moment with the Dothraki so incredibly meaningful. Yes, Dany wasn't wearing any clothes, but she has never felt so in control of herself and her actions as she does in this moment. No man can hold her down. No man can define her. And not even a lack of clothing can take away from this pivotal time of triumph. She is fire itself, and now everyone knows it.
Image: Macall B. Polay/HBO