By Claire Downs
In first five seasons of Game of Thrones, critics and fans denounced the show’s violence against women as well as the abundance of female nudity versus almost no male nudity. This gender disparity came to a head last season after the aggressively graphic and sickening rape of Sansa by sociopath Ramsay Bolton (which wasn’t even in the novels). As a result, Game of Thrones endured months of rightful backlash, thinkpieces, and feminist nerd culture site, The Mary Sue even pulled promotion for the show.
Now, after the internet has spoken and it seems the writers heard them loud and clear. Game of Thrones Season 6 is awash with wonderful moments of female empowerment, leadership and ass-kicking! I should also mention that Episode 5 (R.I.P. Hodor) featured the first closeup of a penis this season (although it was warty) – that’s progress, people. Even Emilia Clarke, AKA Khaleesi, chimed in about this season’s new take on feminism. She told Entertainment Weekly, “There are women depicted as sexual tools, women who have zero rights, women who are queens but only to a man, and then there are women who are literally unstoppable and as powerful as you can possibly imagine…It shows the range that happens to women, and ultimately shows women are not only equal, but have a lot of strength.”
Clarke might’ve been hinting at the epic speech her character Daenerys gave to the army of Dothraki men that now follow her in last night’s episode, “Blood of My Blood.” Oh did we mention she led this prep rally while sitting on the back of her dragon. Boss!
So before a fun character dies unexpectedly, let’s look at the most feminist moments of Game of Thrones Season 6!
Khaleesi Is Lit
Don’t get me wrong – the Dosh Khaleen seemed like a totally chill environment – a bunch of widowed queens, living out their days in a dope yurt. A little judgy and prison-y, sure, but what yurt isn’t? When Dany visits the man-hut where the Khals are hanging out, they not only undermine her, they threaten to rape and kill her. Dany replies like a boss: “You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki. But I am. So I will.” Then, in a moment that felt like it could have been in “Lemonade,” she knocked over their flaming man sconces like they were piles of paper towels on display at the supermarket. Wouldn’t you know the whole yurt catches fire, including the men and Daenerys’ clothes, and she comes out – naked, fearless, and the presumptive Dothraki Khaleesi.
Yara Greyjoy Runs For Queen
Yara Greyjoy made her case for claiming the throne of the Iron Islands – she’s qualified, daughter of the former King, and has some actual policy plans for Pyke. A gruff bystander dude heckles her during her speech “We’ve never had a queen.” Yara responds, “There are many things we’ve never done.” SLAY
Sure, she only got legitimate cheers after her brother, Theon -a man- endorsed her. Before Yara could get an #ImWithHer hashtag started, her uncle (and known misogynist), Euron, pulled the woman card against her, and she lost. Joke’s on him though – while the men of Pyke played “the drowning game”, Yara took the best boats and set sail leaving her enemies stuck.
Sansa Leans In
Though Jon is newly resurrected, he’s no longer about that dying over castles and thrones life. In the fourth episode of this season, “Book of the Stranger,” Sansa, tries to school him on the horror their family has experienced since he’s been at Castle Black. She wants him to go Winterfell and take back their home from the evil Ramsey Bolton. “Winterfell is ours, and Arya’s and Bran’s and Rickon’s, wherever they are,” Sansa tells Jon. “It belongs to our family. We have to fight for it.” Jon isn’t convinced, but Sansa lets him know she’s serious.: “If you don’t take back the North, we’ll never be safe. I want you to help me, but I’ll do it myself if I have to.”
A Girl Has No Chill
If there’s one thing the GoT viewers know about Arya Stark it’s that she’s the toughest, most resilient character on the show. Arya can do anything she sets her mind to, and it looks like she’s getting ready to take on faceless assassins after disobeying Jaqen H’ghar order to kill Lady Crane. Clearly, Ayra is done taking orders from this callous man and spared another life in the sisterhood. Cersei Commands Respect http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlNIy_f8IRU Back in King’s Landing, everybody’s bowing down to the High Sparrow (who is a dead ringer for Pope Francis, btw) and pretending everything is fine. But it’s not fine. Once again a woman, Cersei, instigates a plan that will stop this madness. Cersei doesn’t even like Queen Margaery, but she’s in the Red Keep telling Kevan, Oleanna, and Jaime that she’s going to stop the crazies, free the imprisoned leaders, and get the citizens of Kings Landing wearing shoes again ASAP. [/item]
Meera Doesn’t Mess Around
All season long, Meera has had to put up with Bran’s year “studying abroad” in the space-time continuum while actually being cooped up in a giant nest. She’s been nothing but patient until Bran decided to go rogue and accidentally invite the White Walkers over for a house party. But did Meera freak out? No, queens. She (and the tree woman, whose full name is Leaf) snapped into action. Meera dispatched Leaf to help, stabbed a White Walker and commanded Hodor to “hold the door. *tears* Ultimately, she kept Bran alive and fulfilled her mission of helping their cause.
Sansa Confronts Little Finger
“Did you know about Ramsay?” Sansa cross-examines a blank-faced Little Finger, “If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot. If you did know, you’re my enemy.” It was the most satisfying words Sansa ever uttered on GoT. Peter Baelish, the man who promised to “protect her” what the hell he was thinking marrying her off to a ruthless sociopath. By the look on Little Finger’s dumb face and his stammered replies, he well knew he had royally screwed up. Although Sansa never used the word “rape,” her words cut deep like Valyrian steel. “I can still feel it. I don’t mean in my tender heart, it still pains me so—I can still feel what he did, in my body, standing here right now.” These words echo the feelings of many survivors of rape and abuse. Sansa not only confronts Baelish for breaking his vow, she refuses to let her story be silenced.
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