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Why the women of Game of Thrones hold all the cards

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Kayleigh Dray
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HBO have officially confirmed that Game Of Thrones will end after its eighth season.

The seventh season - made up of seven episodes instead of the usual 10 - is expected in summer next year, while the final season will be in 2018.

It remains unclear as to how many episodes will be included for the big finale, although it has been hinted that it will, like the seventh season, be a shorter run.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s conference, programming chief Casey Bloys said: "We'll take as many as the (producers) will give us.”

Despite the fact that all good things must come to an end, many people were devastated to hear that the award-winning show is coming to an end – especially as it features such strong female characters.

That's right; you might think the men are the big players in a Game of Thrones, but it's actually the women of Westeros who hold all the cards.

From lioness Cersei Lannister to Daenerys, the unburnt Mother of Dragons, we've rounded up the strongest, most badass, female characters in Game Of Thrones.

Are you ready for this?

  • Warning; spoilers to end of season 6 ahead 
  • Daenerys Targaryen

    Best line: "All men must die… but we are not men."

    Daenerys is the ultimate feminist in Game of Thrones and, while she may not exactly be in Westeros per se (she's only just started sailing across the Narrow Sea, in fact), there's no denying that she's a serious force to be reckoned with.

    Beloved by all those who follow her, an expert in military tactics and the literal Mother of Dragons, she has definitely made her mark - and we can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the seventh season.

    Image: HBO

  • Lady Lyanna Mormont

    Best quote: “House Mormont remembers. The North remembers. We know no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark. I don’t care if he’s a bastard. Ned Stark’s blood runs through his veins. He’s my king from this day until his last day.”

    Lady Lyanna Mormont, aka the bold leader of Bear Island, definitely stole the show in season six of Game of Thrones – and she’s only ten years old. Not only did she personally lead her sixty-two men into battle alongside Jon Snow, but she was also the one who called for him to be named the new King in the North.

    In short, she’s a total badass – and she’s definitely the hero we’ve all been waiting for. All hail, Lyanna Mormont.

    Image: HBO

  • Lady Olenna Tyrell

    Best quote: “You've lost, Cersei. It's the only joy I can find in all this misery.”

    The wiliest, canniest, and sassiest mover and shaker in King’s Landing, Olenna Tyrell has proven time and time again that she would prove to be a powerful ally – and a terrifying foe.

    She married off Margaery to Joffrey, sure, but she wasn’t prepared to let her granddaughter suffer at his hands; instead, she became the stealthiest Kingslayer around when she poisoned Joff’s wine on their wedding day.

    We also saw her try to rescue Sansa Stark from the Lannister family’s grip, not to mention survive Cersei’s attack on the Sept – and immediately join forces with Ellaria Sand to plot her revenge on the new Queen of Westeros.

    Throw in all of those verbal acrobatics and sassy putdowns and you have one of the most glorious female characters ever penned for the small screen. We can’t wait to see what Olenna has in store for us next…

    Image: HBO

  • Sansa Stark

    Best quote: "You said you would protect me... I don’t believe you anymore, I don’t need you anymore. You can’t protect me."

    Sansa Stark started life as a lovesick young girl, who quickly found herself manipulated by the Lannister family and the glamour of King’s Landing. But, since her betrothal to Joffrey – and her horrifying marriage to Ramsay Snow – Ned and Catelyn’s eldest daughter has hardened like a diamond.

    She’s finally taken control of her own destiny, convincing her brother Jon to leave the Wall and march upon Westeros – and it was her quick-thinking that saw them win the Battle of the Bastards. We also watched her force Littlefinger to acknowledge that she’d been raped, and saw her twisted revenge on her abuser, Ramsay Snow.

    Now? Now we have no idea what to expect from Sansa Stark – although it’s been hinted that she isn’t too happy that Jon Snow has been named the ruler of Winterfell in her stead. Could she be set to grasp power for herself at least?

    Image: HBO 

  • Meera Reed

    Best quote: "Some people will always need help. That doesn't mean they're not worth helping."

    Meera Reed may not have the same warging abilities as Bran Stark, but, without her, there’s no doubt that the young lord would have died in the snowy wastelands beyond the Wall. Using her skills as a warrior, she managed to slow down the vast army of the dead when they fell upon the Weirdwood cave – even shattering one White Walker with her spear.

    The hardy young woman then grabbed Bran and carried him away from the deadly battle, which saw everyone else in the cave – including the Three-Eyed Raven, Leaf, Hodor, and Summer the Direwolf – perish. And it was her quick-thinking that saw them reunited with Benjen Stark, not to mention set back on a safe path.

    No wonder so many people are starting to speculate that Meera could, like Jon Snow, have ties to Targaryen royalty, eh?

    Image: HBO

  • Cersei Lannister

    Best line: "When you play the game of thrones you win, or you die. There is no middle ground."

    After a little experiment with wildfire (and genocide), Cersei Lannister has now been crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms - although her power has come at a devastating price.

    Nevertheless, there's no denying that she's an expert player in the Game of Thrones.

    Manipulative, powerful and a true lioness when it comes to protecting her family's name, Cersei is the sort of character we love to hate - and there's no denying that her story is one of THE most interesting in Westeros.

    Image: HBO

  • Catelyn Stark

    Best line: "On my honour as a Tully, on my honour as a Stark, let him go or I will cut your wife's throat."

    A devoted mother and fiercely protective of her children, this mother wolf was one of our favourite characters until her shocking death at the now infamous Red Wedding. But, while Catelyn may be gone, she is certainly not forgotten - and we will always remember how strong she remained in the wake of Ned's death, leading her eldest son into war and essentially committing treason to ensure the safe return of her two daughters.

    Image: HBO

  • Brienne of Tarth

    Best line: "All my life men like you've sneered at me, and all my life I've been knocking men like you into the dust."

    Brienne of Tarth is physically powerful, beating almost any man who faces her in hand-to-hand combat, and fiercely loyal - she is undoubtedly one of the most honest, and most honourable, women in Westeros. Anyone else a big fan of her and Jaime's friendship? It's nice to see a woman that doesn't tumble headfirst into a romance for once!

    Image: HBO

  • Yara Greyjoy

    Best line: "I'm going to march on the Dreadfort. I'm going to find my little brother. And I'm going to bring him home."

    What is dead may never die - and we think Yara sums this up amazingly. A skilled commander of her own fleet, she's beloved by her father AND by her people - which is no mean feat, especially in such a misogynistic culture as that of the ironborn.

    As we saw in the sixth season, Yara has now joined forced with the Khaleesi herself - and there was even the hint of a romance when the pair came face-to-face for the first time.

    We can't wait to see what these badass women will do now that they're sailing into Westeros together...

    Image: HBO

  • Melisandre

    Best line: "Death is coming for everyone and everything ... a darkness that will swallow the dawn."

    A powerful eastern priestess, Melisandre is capable of seriously dark magic (shadow assassin, anyone?), cold-blooded sacrifice (oh, Shireen), and ultra-manipulative tactics. She's also got some pretty nifty shape-shifting abilities - and, when she finally removed her necklace to show her true (and elderly) form, it quickly became clear that Melisandre has been around a lot longer than we could have ever guessed.

    In short, the Red Priestess has proven herself to be a dangerous foe in the Game Of Thrones - although we're prepared to forgive her anything after watching her bring Jon Snow back from the dead.

    Now that she's been sent into exile, we can't help but wonder what Melisandre will do next. Will she still seek to serve the Lord of Light? Or has she got another scheme up her sleeve...?

    Image: HBO

  • Arya Stark

    Best line: "Stick 'em with the pointy end."

    Arya Stark may be one of the youngest characters in a Game Of Thrones, but that doesn't make her any less powerful. Skilled with her sword Needle, she was clever enough to manipulate Jaqen, one of the Faceless Men, not to mention earn his respect. And there's no denying that Arya is willing to do whatever it takes to survive - as she proved when she submitted herself to complete and utter darkness so that could kill the Waif.

    We last saw her slitting the throat of Walder Frey, the very same man who murdered her mother and brother, Robb, at the Red Wedding. Could Arya's next quest be one fuelled solely by revenge for the Stark family? She does, after all, have a long list of names that she needs to take care of...

    Image: HBO

  • Ygritte

    Best line: "You know nothing, Jon Snow."

    A woman of the Free Folk, Ygritte was beautiful, cunning, quick witted and resilient. She was also a born warrior- and the only woman able to turn Jon Snow's head, despite his strong feelings about fathering a bastard child.

    True to form, she fired arrows at the Stark bastard when he revealed that he had no intention on staying with the Wildlings, proving that a broken heart would NOT ever break her spirit - although the arrows fired on her at Castle Black definitely did.

    May she rest in peace.

    Image: HBO

  • Osha

    Best line: "Any boy his age who needs his sister to protect him, is going to find himself needing lots of protecting."

    A skilled spearwoman, Osha defied our expectations and proved herself to be a goodhearted woman of the free folk, putting her own safety in jeopardy to protect Bran and Rickon Stark when Winterfell crumbles. We loved how she manipulated Theon into aiding their escape - and we especially loved that she was willing do anything to ensure her "little lords" reached The Wall.

    However we were a lot less enamoured with her fleeting appearance in the sixth season of the show, which saw her killed by Ramsay Snow. At least she went down doing what she always did best; protecting the little boy in her care.

    Image: HBO

  • Margaery Tyrell

    Best line: "I don't want to be a queen. I want to be THE queen."

    Margaery was as clever as she is beautiful, which - looking at her - was definitely something worth bragging about. Not only did she manage to manipulate Joffrey Baratheon into behaving like a human being (at least to her, that is), she also won the hearts of the people of King's landing… although she tragically earned Cersei's wrath in the process. 

    We respect her for being the only person at the Sept to realise that something truly terrible was afoot - although her words of warning fell on deaf ears; she, and all the hundreds of people in there with her, were all killed by Cersei's wildfire in the end.

    Image: HBO 

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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