As a colleague in politics said to me when he was looking for women to lead an organization of which he was a member and leader: “Just let the women lead, because frankly in my experience, they just often do it better”.
Women leading, forcefully and confidently was CLEARLY the theme of last night’s of Season 6, Episode 4’s Game of Thrones.
Now if you haven’t seen this episode yet, be gone with ya, I’m about to spoil an episode:
As I said last night’s episode had all the ladies of Game of Thrones taking a page out of Beyonce’s book and getting in Formation.
- Margery Tyrell and Loras Tyrell
So Margery (Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and wife to King Tommen) and Loras have still been stuck in the jail where sinners go to die or repent for their sins thanks to the Faith Militant order (a group that is most easily explained as what would happen if the Vatican combined with the old school Jesuit Order ).
High Sparrow thinks Margery can convince her brother to repent. Queen Margery, ever the defiant wily woman we all love, thinks differently.
Because she has convinced the High Sparrow of her seeming willingness to repent, she gets to see her brother Loras.
Loras is laid out on the jail cell floor looking miserable and worse than Margery.
Margery tries to lift his spirits: ” You are the heir to our house!!” But Loras ain’t trying to be lifted, he’s just depressed and curls up in her arms.
About right then, all the viewers are like “girl, we know you are smart enough to run this house, it’s not like there isn’t precedent!”.
Queue the precedent…..
2) Grandmother Olenna Tyrell & Cersei Lannister
Everyone’s favorite, Grandmother, Olenna, who has run House Tyrell due to incompetent and/or dead male heirs, and is also grandma to Margery and Loras, sits on the King’s Council along with Cersei’s Uncle, Ser Kevan.
Cersei got a heads up from her son Tommen that Margery may have to do the naked Walk of Shame at the order of the High Sparrow, that Cersei had to do last season.
While there is no love lost between Cersei and Margery, a combination of Cersin being confined to the Red Keep since her own naked Walk of Shame, and seeing her son so miserable and feckless without Margery has Cersei pretty much done with the Faith Militant.
Cersei tells Olenna of the High Sparrow’s plans for her granddaughter and Olenna is like: “NOPE”.
Jamie Lannister who is with Cersei, starts discussing plans with their Uncle, Ser Kevan also on the King’s Council, about waging war with the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. Ser Kevan, despite one of his sons being a completely brainwashed servant of the Faith Militant, has a naturally vested interest in seeing the High Sparrow gone, but is hesitant to see people die.
Olenna, ever the practical woman: “Many will die no matter what we do. Better them than us.” Cersei agees.
Cersei and Olenna don’t like each other at all either. But put those two on the same team, with their combined determination, and their lack of fear of going to war to get what they want, and it easily persuades the men to go big, or go home.
3) Sansa Stark and Jon Snow.
FINALLY after 5 seasons and 4 episodes into Season 6 a Stark reunion!!
Okay it’s a mini Stark reunion of Sansa Stark with Jon Snow when Sansa finally gets to Castle Black with Brienne of Tarth, but STIL considering how many near misses we had with the other Stark siblings in the last 5 seasons this is glorious even though it’s a tiny reunion. And Sansa and Jon never got along well as children, but clearly all that is forgotten after years of war and separation.
The reunion is even better because even though Jon Snow is tired of fighting, (especially after experiencing the whole murdered and back from the dead thing) Sansa is ready for blood and to take back what is the Stark family’s: Winterfell.
Her quench for justice grows especially after they get a letter from her husband, Ramsay Bolton
Ramsay, ever the charming butcher/torturer that he is, writes he’s got baby Stark sibling, Rickon, threatens to have his soldiers rape Sansa repeatedly and kill Rickon, because he’ll go to war with Jon if he doesn’t return Sansa.
Having Rickon changes things a little for Jon, plus that he doesn’t like Ramsay, but the best moment is Sansa, tired of being yanked around and powerless coming into her own as she has over the last few seasons.
You’re the son of the last true warden of the north. A monster has taken our home and our brother. We have to go back to Winterfell and save them both.”–Sansa Stark
With 2,000 Wildlings and a giant vs Bolton’s 5,000, the match of Snow v. Bolton has been set, with thanks to Sansa.
4) Yara and Theon Greyjoy
So Prodigal Son redux aka Theon’s return to the Pike Islands is less than a happy reunion for Yara and Theon at first.
Yara, already grumpy that not only did her father die but she was pushed aside for the throne of the Pike Islands by her father’s brother, is not thrilled to see her own brother.
Two seasons ago, Yara tried to rescue Theon from Ramsay Bolton and Theon thoroughly
terrified and brainwashed into believing it was another trick that Ramsay was trying to play on him, refused to go. The consequence of Yara’s sneak attack? She lost a few valuable men. A fact of which she reminds Theon.
Theon ever the contrite and changed man for his suffering at Ramsay’s hands,( and in stark contrast to the arrogant Theon, Yara knew from earlier seasons) says that Ramsay: “broke me into pieces”. Yara says she knows and saw one of those…. pieces, which stuns Theon silent, in shame.
She is still angry and yells at him, suspiciously demanding if he too wants to claim his right to the Pike Island throne. Theon finally says he’s there to be home and to support Yara’s claim to the throne.
Now it’s Yara’s time to be stunned silent.
Ah holla! Girl get your throne
5) Daenerys and the Khals of the Dothraki
We return to Daenerys’ time hanging out with the Dosh Khaleen (aka the Real Housewives of the Dothraki show). There is some general chiding from the women about her being the different wife, who thought she had to go off and run the world, when she should have retired from life like the rest of the Dothraki wives, once Khal Drogo had passed.
There is some general talk amongst the wives, about the brutality and misogyny of the Dothraki husbands, one young girl whose ribs were broken by her husband. Daenerys realizes she was probably lucky with Khal Drogo, all things considered.
Jora and Daario, finally get into Vaes Dothrak to rescue her from Dosh Khaleen exile and she’s like please hold “I got an idea”.
Later that night, the Khals gather to consider whether they are going to let Daenerys live out her days with the Dosh Khaleen. While Daenerys patiently listens to them blather, she finally interrupts them and reminds them of the powerful man Khal Drogo was, and his vision to take over Westeros with her by his side and their heir.
Daenerys concludes by saying:
“You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki.”
And then she concludes: “But I am. So I will.”
They laugh, they mock her, they then threaten to do what Dothraki men are used to doing (particularly misogynist men) when a woman has stepped out of line. They threaten to rape her as Khals repeatedly, then to let their bloodriders rape her, and then if there is anything left, let the horses rape her.
Daenerys responds by smiling. She reaches her hand into the fire lantern in front of them, stunning them silent, as they see she is unburned.
Continuing to smile, Daenerys pushes the fire lantern in front of their disbelieving faces. As they race to go to the door to get out of the building, it’s been locked (thanks Jorah and Daario). And they burn to death.
Danerys then walks out of the now burning structure, to the awe of the Dothraki women and men, unburnt.
Just like that, Daenerys reasserts her power by symbolically burning down the patriarchy.
To be fair, it remains to be seen whether these women with their newfound power will use it well.
Cersei is a consummate example of women who can use power foolishly ( eg. getting herself thrown into the Faith Militant jail after empowering them against her own enemies).
Daenerys’ reign in her adopted city of Mereen hasn’t been without its hiccups.
However, it is a step in the right direction for Game of Thrones, that the powerful women are reclaiming or claiming what is theirs by right and confidently.
An up and coming singer named Halsey whose song “Castle” was used for the film “Huntsman” would have been also been a great rousing relevant closing to Episode 4 of Season 6, particularly it’s Chorus
I’m headed straight for the castle
They wanna make me their queen
And there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying that I probably shouldn’t be so mean
I’m headed straight for the castle
They’ve got the kingdom locked up
And there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying I should probably keep my pretty mouth shutStraight for the castle
Enjoy the full song: