26 Feminist Moments On 'Game Of Thrones' That Prove The Ladies Are The Real Stars

When I originally watched the Game Of Thrones pilot many years ago, I had not read a single A Song of Ice and Fire book or even heard of the HBO series. My then boyfriend, now husband, was a fan of the books and thought I would like the show. I watched the pilot and was, to put it lightly, not into it. Daenerys’ graphic rape by her husband after a dismal wedding made me sad. Young women get forced into marriage all the time, I told him. This was not “entertainment.” A year went by and friends kept telling me that Khaleesi was going to become empowered and that the show was actually feminist. I was hesitant, but I gave it another go, and they were right. Game Of Thrones has had some of the most feminist moments on television.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it has been rough going for a feminist watching Game Of Thrones, some episodes felt more like a soft-core porno and some of the rapes (like Sansa’s) and deaths have been arguably gratuitous — as they have meandered from the book. Theon’s castration was another controversial plot on the show, since Theon has all of his original parts in the book series. But, the women on this show are some of the strongest on television. They survive the adversities that so many women face even in 2016 and become masters of their own fate. The women on Game Of Thrones are not victims. These women are feminist characters, they are knights, mothers, rulers, and even villains with non-cliché motives. Females are strong as hell!

With so many women who have so many motivations on Game Of Thrones, it’s hard to narrow down some of the show’s most powerful moments. But, I tried anyway. Here are 26 of the most feminist moments on Game Of Thrones.

Daenerys Targaryen

1. “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.”

When Daenerys said this to her abusive brother, it was a powerful moment for the portrayal of violence against women on Game Of Thrones.

2. “All men must die, but we are not men.”

YASS QUEEN!

3. Freeing slaves.

Being a feminist means supporting the equal empowerment of all humans. So, a woman ending slavery? That’s about as feminist as it gets.

4. Mother of freaking dragons.

She turned stone to dragons (Hello, Azor Ahai!).

5. She is unburnt and topless.

Imma let you finish, but Dany emerging unburnt and topless after burning the Dothraki Khals was the most feminist television moment of all time. She was unapologetically a woman, and she unapologetically took power.

Arya Stark

6. When she hit Joffrey.

Even as a little girl, we knew Arya wasn’t going to conform to what a girl "should" be.

7. “Not today.”

Not only did Arya escape King’s Landing like a fencing prodigy with Needle, she went on to survive on her own in the woods for weeks. Most adults could not do that.

8. “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell.”

“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell.” Drops mic. She named herself and then went on to take names. (Looking at you, Walder Frey.)

Sansa Stark

9. Her letter.

Sansa’s eleventh hour back up won the Battle of the Bastards for Jon Snow.

10. When she told Littlefinger, “No.”

I love watching that coward beg for Sansa’s approval. Littlefinger is all about self-preservation and aligning with power. And look who he has to suck up to now …

11. When she stood with Jon.

Sansa, a woman, stood beside her brother, a bastard, and laid claim to their name: House Stark. Because screw the patriarchy.

12. When she let the dogs out.

That may have been one of the most satisfying moment’s in GoT history.

Meera Reed

13. When she hauled Bran around.

Remember she out-ran the White Walkers while hauling Bran? She still is pulling him around like a boss, and because she wants to.

Brienne Of Tarth

14. Her honor.

Everyone envies Brienne of Tarth’s commitment — especially Jaime Lannister. She is a real knight in shining armor.

15. The time she fought a bear.

She was thrown into a pit with a bear and lived to tell about it.

Yara Greyjoy

16. When she named herself Queen

Which wasn’t a popular opinion at home, but she didn't care.

17. When she and Dany flirted

And everyone 'shipped hard for a Dany and Yara relationship. I could definitely see a spark, and I loved that Yara was unapologetically herself.

Ygritte

18. Her sexual empowerment.

Most of the sex scenes on Game Of Thrones prior to Ygritte were pretty exploitative when it came to women’s bodies. But Ygritte was empowered and in charge of her own body. She knew what she wanted and even taught Jon Snow a thing or two…

The Sand Snakes

19. Their power.

OK, the Sand Snakes are terrifying and evil. But, it is pretty interesting to see a show use a group of young women as assassins without motivations based only on something like boys or sex.

Lyanna Mormont

20. From the moment we saw her.

Lyanna Mormont had an undeniable presence the moment she walked on the screen! Lyanna was not intimidated by Jon Snow or Sansa. And, she didn’t need a bearded face dude to explain things to her. I want to be her when I grow up.

21. Her Bolton mean mug.

She impressively stared down Ramsay Bolton.

22. When she named Jon the White Wolf

She could command a room of men with the same authority — or more — than Jack Donaghy.

Gilly

23. When she learned to read.

Gilly’s step toward educating herself and her child is a feminist victory for the character.

Margaery Tyrell

24. When Margaery wore the crown.

Again, and again, and again. She has been queen to many kings a few times over. She had her eye on the prize, and was not afraid to go after what she wanted. R.I.P.

25. Her relationship with her grandmother.

Depicting the Tyrells as a matriarchy, despite the fact that Margaery’s father Mace is alive, is pretty great. It’s also nice to see a bond like Olenna and Margaery’s that crosses generations and exceeds the stereotypes of a grandmother and granddaughter relationship. The women have a love and respect for each other and communicate about power — not boys.

Cersei Lannister

26. When Cersei took the Iron Throne.

While Cersei was the Mad Queen in the last episode, blowing people up and staging a coup for the Iron Throne, she was unpopular but still feminist. She’s not an evil queen from a Disney movie threatened by beauty and youth. She was afraid of a younger queen taking her power. Feminism means creating roles for women without sexist clichés, even for villains, and Game of Thrones exceeded here. I can't wait to see what Season 7 brings for the ladies of Westeros.

Image: HBO; Giphy (12)