GOT fans live for behind the scenes photos of their favorite characters hanging out. Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams (aka Sansa and Arya Stark) act like sisters IRL and their adorable friendship photos are basically Game of Thrones-set-in-present-day fanfic come to life. There was also that adorable Kit Harrington-Emilia Clarke selfie that prompted Mindy Kaling to repost it with the caption, "This photo from Emilia Clarke's Insta makes me so happy." Now fans have a new selfie to fawn after, this time of the actors who play Lyanna Mormont and Brienne of Tarth, and it's an inspiring photo for the future of gender roles.
Lyanna and Brienne are arguably the most badass feminist characters on Game of Thrones. During the first episode of Season 7, the young Lady Lyanna Mormont (played by Bella Ramsey) of Bear Island stood up to Lord Glover after Jon Snow suggested that girls would join The North's efforts to defeat the White Walkers. When Lord Glover scoffed at the idea of his granddaughter learning to fight, Lyanna stood up and said the best lines ever uttered on Game of Thrones — yes, it's way better than "bend the knee."
I don't plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I might be small, Lord Glover, and I might be a girl, but I am every bit as much a Northerner as you. And I don't need your permission to defend the North.
Lyanna's impassioned speech was the perfect way to kick off the penultimate season, which was possibly the most empowering one for women yet, and the whole time, Brienne (played by Gwendoline Christie) looks at her in an approving way.
Seeing Lyanna and Brienne together is likely heartwarming for fans, because the latter has been such an important character for young women. Brienne unapologetically defies gender norms, and she provides a unique role model to young girls. It's no wonder that the actor who played such a fearless young girl wanted to share a picture with the actor who plays Brienne, the dedicated swordsman, so flawlessly.
The feeling is obviously mutual, since Gwendoline Christie promptly responded on Twitter to share her love for the little leader.
Lyanna isn't the only character who connects with Brienne. Game of Thrones' latest season featured Arya asking Brienne to train with her, and it shows how impactful it is for young girls to have role models who fit into conventional standards of femininity. Brienne is a badass and an expert in combat, so of course she's the best choice to train Arya, but it's also more meaningful that Arya chose to train with a woman, because clearly she feels a connection with the way Brienne doesn't let her sex get in the way of doing things that are typically considered 'manly.' Arya has a connection to that, and Lyanna is another example of a young girl following in Brienne's footsteps.
The selfie that Ramsey shared is further evidence in support of the well-known fact that girls need, want, and deserve more varied female and gender nonconforming characters in film and TV. Brienne is a refreshing character who would likely be a great model for more young girls like Ramsey... if only GOT weren't so inappropriate for younger audiences.