HBO’s Game of Thrones has finally returned to our screens – and it has brought winter into our homes once again.
It’s a show that has sparked controversy in the past over its portrayal of its female characters: some felt that they have been objectified in nude scenes, that rape scenes were “gratuitous”, and that most women come to power through physical and emotional humiliation.
But Gwendoline Christie – who plays Brienne of Tarth(aka one of the most powerful, honest, and honourable women in Westeros) – disagrees.
In fact, she thinks that the show and its writers have given us some of our best, most compelling, and most empowering female characters to date.
Speaking during a special on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, Christie explained that – from the very first moment she read the scripts – she knew that Game of Thrones was going to do something incredible for women.
“This was a television show that would put women at the forefront,” she said. “We were going to explore female characters in a way that conventionally doesn’t happen.
“We were going to look at them in a three dimensional way.”
Christie continued: “We would explore their darkness, we would find them complex. And we would spend more time on them.
“They wouldn’t simply exist as the mother role, the girlfriend role, the wife role, or the sister. They would be people in their own right.”
She added: I think putting women to the fore is what has changed the platform for television now.”
In short, it’s a show that gives us full-realised women – all of whom have motivations, flaws, strengths, and detailed back-stories. We have women who are not intrinsically ‘good’ or ‘nice’, nor inherently ‘bad’. We have Lyanna Mormont championing feminism wherever she can. We have Arya Stark, hell-bent on vengeance. We have Cersei Lannister, unwilling to be anything less than she is – and unwilling to accept anything less than she feels she deserves. We have Daenerys Targaryen, leading an army (and dragons) across the narrow sea to reclaim the throne she sees as rightfully hers.
In short, we have women defying gender stereotypes and taking up arms, leading battles, taking over governments, and getting exactly what they want – by whatever means possible.
No wonder the women of Westeros hold all the cards, eh?