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Game Of Thrones


The Women of Westeros

19 July 2017
Who rules Westeros?

If anyone’s playing the game of thrones in Westeros, it’s the women. Jon is in danger of making the same noble/naïve mistakes that Ned and Robb did; Davos, and Tyrion are quite content and well suited to be advisors/hands to their respective king and queen, while every man who sat on the Iron Throne in the series thus far (Robert, Joffrey, Tommen, and Tywin as Hand of the King) is dead. Even many of the men who’ve wanted to claim the throne, have snuffed it (we’re looking at you Viserys, Stannis, and Renly). Valar morghulis may mean all men must die, but to paraphrase Daenerys Targaryen in Season 3: they’re not all men.

So who runs the world (of Westeros)? We think it’s these women.

  1. Arya Stark

Since Season 1 Arya’s always been a tough cookie – choosing swords and arrows over dolls and needlework. It’s stood her in good stead, along with her time training in Braavos, making her a force to be reckoned with as she works her way through her kill list. However, as the scene with the Lannister soldiers in the Season 7 premiere demonstrated, no matter the dark acts she’s witnessed and performed, her heart has not hardened completely.

  1. Brienne of Tarth

Brienne may be big, brawny and brave, but the lesson we can learn from this lady is perseverance. As she herself will admit, she didn’t do the greatest job protecting Renly Baratheon, Catelyn Stark or Jaime Lannister. Arya Stark also wanted nothing to do with her. But Brienne’s never let failure get her down. Her tenacity has led her to Sansa Stark, who’s finally accepted her support, enabling Brienne to keep her promise to Catelyn.

  1. Cersei Lannister

She’s been queen in one form or another since Season 1, but now (in the words of Margaery Tyrell) she’s THE queen. She lording it (ladying it?) over King’s Landing, but she’s a dangerous foe. Of course, she always has been – being responsible (directly or otherwise) for the death of Robert Baratheon, Sansa’s direwolf, Margaery Tyrell etc. etc. – but now that she’s lost her children and gained the Iron Throne for real instead of by default, she’s a greater threat than ever. As the show creators said: “What prevents [Cersei] from being a monster?...Nothing.”

  1. Daenerys Targaryen

Speaking of monsters, Dany’s the one born of a mad king, but although she’s used “fire and blood” (her house motto) to destroy many of her enemies (or simply those who stood in her way), her compassion and reflection have kept her power play in check. What’s more: unlike Cersei, Dany heeds the counsel of her whip smart advisors (Ser Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister) and has unwavering loyalty in the form of Missandei and Grey Worm. Less reckless than Cersei, less naïve than Jon, and armed with a trio of dragons, Daenerys Stormborn seems set to claim the Iron Throne. But how will she be received in Westeros?

  1. Ellaria Sand

Ellaria has vengeance in mind and she won’t let anyone stand in the way of her getting it. Still furious at the death of her lover Oberyn Martell in Season 4, and his brother’s refusal to seek vengeance for it, Ellaria has taken matters into her own hands. Together with the Sand Snakes, she’s formed a wary alliance with Olenna Tyrell in order to get back at the Lannisters for all the harm they’ve inflicted on the Martells.

  1. Lyanna Mormont

Mentioned in Season 5 and formally introduced in Season 6, the Lady of Bear Island may be barely a teenager but don’t let that fool you. Smart, tough, incredibly loyal and justifiably sceptical, she won’t let any man or woman tell her what to do.

  1. Olenna Tyrell

No-nonsense granny Tyrell may not have wanted to sit on the throne herself, but she certainly wanted her house ascending to the highest eminence in King’s Landing. She succeeded for a time when her granddaughter Margaery Tyrell married first King Joffrey and then King Tommen. But with her family wiped out by Cersei’s wildfire at the end of Season 6, Olenna Tyrell is hell-bent on revenge.

  1. Sansa Stark

We already noted in our Season 7 A to Z guide that Sansa is really the one pulling the strings in the North. Even the show creators pointed out that Sansa feels she ought to get more credit for the massive part she played in the Battle of the Bastards. And as we saw in Season 7 Episode 1, she had no qualms about making her opinions known to Jon, even if she didn’t choose the best time or place to do it. Still, after everything she’s been through – and the way she shut down Litlefinger in Episode 1 ("No need to seize the last word Lord Baelish, I’ll assume it was something clever”)  – Sansa has the potential to be as blunt as Olenna and as ruthless as Cersei.

A woman now sits on the throne, but how long will she stay there? Will she be usurped by Dany or Jon? Keep on watching to find out.

Game of Thrones Season 7 airs every Monday simulcast at 03:00 and in prime time at 21:30 on M-Net.

You can also watch it on DStv Now or on DStv Catch Up.

For more on Season 7, click here.