I love Game of Thrones! There are so many shows that I love that people are not into because of the violence, rape, nudity or unremitting bleakness. I’m not here to convince you to love it. If you hate it, don’t read any further. Warning: spoilers to follow.
If you managed to make it to Season 6, all our dreams came true! Daenerys showed everyone that she is boss. The dragons are free, flying together and burning ships. Samwell went to college, and Gilly is taking courses online. Arya became an independent contractor without having to pay back her boss in exchange for killing the annoying person at work that everyone hates, but can’t get rid of. Yara lost the election, but kept the ships and partied until she found friendlier shores and hit on the boss bitch, Khalessi, who flirted back. Tyrion finally got respect. Sansa killed her husband. Cersei gave herself a promotion and maintained the separation between church and state. Bastard bowl.
By the end of Season 6, de facto or de jure, mostly women, but also people who were derided for being different (a dwarf or a eunuch) or not a leading part of the status quo (bastards) were in charge of every kingdom. You’ve come a long way, baby! What I adore about Game of Thrones is that being a woman or not being part of the status quo does not automatically equal good, but they are people who are allowed to have flaws without it stigmatizing the entire group. Season 7 was about how everything is fun and games until the fighting starts. Don’t count your kingdoms before they hatch.
Cersei started off being slapped around by her husband, sneered at by her father or using power through her male relatives only to be disappointed by their ineffectiveness and left in prison then forced to walk naked in a street while people jeered at her, but now she is ruling just by sheer will and pettiness. She has no legal right to the Iron Throne (hi, Gendry), but she can do whatever she wants because she is still standing and has possession of the throne. By Season 7, like Queen Elizabeth I, she uses her singleness as a possible reward in exchange for men doing things for her, but has no obligation to do anything for anyone. She is openly incesty, but makes it clear that she is in charge, not her brother. She may be the smartest of them all: “Let the monsters kill each other.” She stays in her lane and sticks to shoring up her resources because she knows that she can’t beat dragons, the Dothraki and the Unsullied, but if they get weakened enough in the war against the White Walkers, maybe she can. I hate Cersei, but I can’t hate her plan, and I like that she paid her student loans expeditiously. If they can’t beat the White Walkers, she definitely can’t.
Side note: stop being dreamy about Jaimie. He is hot, but just because he is the best person in a room full of awful people does not mean that he is not trash. The Hound felt bad for stealing from a farmer and his daughter who then died. Jaimie did that to an entire region. He threw a kid off of a tower. He killed an old lady who was a relative by marriage. He kills allies/relatives if he needs to when in prison. Yes, he lives by a code of honor, but his honor is pledged to his wife, i.e. HIS TWIN SISTER!!!! He tried to stab a woman in the back with a javelin! He sucks! This is why we don’t trust the producers of Game of Thrones to make a show about the Confederacy. They think that we can’t root for one character against the other. Si, se puede! He could have drowned. I want the incest twins to lose, and I don’t care if all their birther, dog whistling allies go down with them. Jaimie’s 11th hour exit is good, but not enough.
Dani started off being sold off by her brother to a Dothraki husband and raped nightly, but she can make something out of nothing, always manages to turn it around and come out on top, and fulfills all her threats to the letter. Everyone who has ever crossed her later regretted it and died screaming. She got not one, but two armies, by tricking men who kept calling her bitch in the bad way, objectifying her and threatening to rape her. She burned one group of men alive without her dragons after they threatened her. She started off with three dragon eggs and a sackcloth dress to a great winter clothing line and able to single handedly beat almost anyone riding Drogon into battle. She convinced the Dothraki to get their horses on ships and to adjust their historically renown fighting formations to deal with fires and a dragon flying overhead without being shook.
I am sick to death of people wondering if she is out of control. From the day that she was born, she was chased from her homeland, her entire family slaughtered and victimized by someone at every turn, but now that she is on top, you’re worried that she is out of control. GTFOH! Dani always gives a warning and actually is showing more mercy than those who oppose her would show her if the tables were turned. Varys and Tyrion need to act right because I am rooting for them! Y’all weren’t worried about your former leaders being out of control because if you said that to them, you would have been dead. Her Color Purple speech to Jon was not just talk. It was a recap. Dani 2020, Valar Morghulis, Team Cockless! She has pledged to defeat the Night King, and while she may have met her match, she has beaten the odds so many times and delivered on her big promises that I think that she can do it.
Side note: straight up, I don’t care if everyone dies, including Dani, but the three characters that I did not want to die were Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. I’ve known them since they were eggs. For seven seasons, I’ve watched them grow up. Sorcerers kidnapped and imprisoned them. A dragon never did anything bad to me. They burned up slave traders and holders. I think that the Meereen masters paid that man to lie on them, and I’m retroactively angrier at Dani for locking two of them underground. At least let them stay in the throne room where they can see their mom and the sun. I wanted to form a dragon DCF and take them from her. Finally in Season 7, they could just fly around together and act like giant sea gulls. They are an endangered species and our only hope against climate change. Why are they not being protected? Dani is too careless with their lives and does not treat them like vulnerable living beings. I still want Bron dead for nicking Drogon, and I like Bron. Whenever they are in danger, I scream, “NOT MY BABIES!”
Well, Rhaegal and Viserion, who have always been together, are no longer best buddies because Viserion died and is horrified in dragon heaven, while I sob inconsolably on my couch, that a dragon is a slave to the Night King so his steroid ice-powered undead body will be forced to face off against his family in Season 8. Hopefully the dragons are not sentimental, won’t be too shocked by this development and be able to fight back without hesitation, but in my heart, I know that no dragons will live at the end, and all my family and friends failed attempts at consoling me this year will have to resume in Season 8. The dragons were the best family in the seven kingdoms so I’m still broken up about this death. The night that Viserion died, I replayed all the dragon clips while weeping. I’m not the only one!
Sansa started out wanting to be a Disney princess then landed in a Grimm fairytale or an Anne Rice novel. Worst take your daughter to work day ever! While in captivity, she went from daily psychological and physical torture to nightly rape yet she managed to survive, learn and get a PhD in treachery from the greatest connivers in every part of the region: Cersei, Tyrion, Oleanna and Margaery Tyrell, Littlefinger, and the Boltons. Equality is all well and good in theory, but Jon, her bastard brother (NOT, her cousin), kept forgetting to practice what he preached even though she won the Battle of the Bastards. Unlike Arya, we never see her list, but she clearly has one, and she is working her way through it. Season 6 was her husband that she had eaten alive by his beloved dogs. Season 7 was her mentor and creepy uncle in law, Littlefinger, slashed with his own knife by her sister, Arya. Season 8 may have a brother killing Cersei, but will Sansa be the one pulling the strings? I hope so. I don’t know why the show tried to create suspense by depicting the sisters as hating each other. I just kept thinking, “They’re not stupid.” I know that they were trying to trick Littlefinger, but some of those scenes occurred behind closed doors so I feel cheated from seeing the siblings trade war stories by the tree. Whatever! I was right. The pack is reunited!
Side note: Season 7 had the best fight scene that I have ever seen in movies and television in my life: Arya vs. Brienne! It was like an autobiography of Arya’s life from Season 1 through Season 6, and their pure joy at fighting each other was beautiful. Here were two women who had to overcome class and gender expectations to stop acting like a lady and become the women that we see today, but Arya is a little thing, and real talk, Brienne fought a bear…literally, that is not an euphemism or an expression. She fought a bear in a dress while being jeered by a group of hostile men who were hoping to rape her! Maisie Williams, who plays Arya and is right-handed, not only learned how to fight, but to beat a giantess convincingly left-handed. She acted so well that she BECAME AMBIDEXTROUS!!!!!!!!! FYI: shout out to Meera who did not get to meet her soul sisters and dragged a grown ass man across the tundra. Little Lady Mormont is going to learn how to fight, y’all! If her sword skills are as sharp as her tongue and stink eye, watch out!
Season 7 was not a victory for all the women wielding power at the end of Season 6. Yara and the Sand Snakes are big talkers, but at the end of the day, skill can’t beat crazy, and Euron is fucking insane (please never find a dragon horn—I haven’t read the books, but I have read the book spoilers). Side note: Euron is a fun villain because he knows that his fortune can turn in a second and is totally fine with it as long as he can act like a rockstar and talk shit. He talks a big game, but delivers so I believe that he drowned and died before we saw him do it in Season 6. He is so hard pressed to marry a queen that I feel like in another world, he and Margaery could have made a very warped couple. Oh well. I feel bad that Yara was brought low. She always held herself with dignity and was a good fighter, but now…..The Sand Snakes were lucky that they got Cersei on a good day. I thought that they were going to end up in the Mountain’s basement so being poisoned and stuck with a corpse is sad, but you didn’t have to kill a kid and your brother/uncle so…..Lady Oleanna went out like a champ! She lost everyone and everything, but could still talk the most shit and not give a fuck. Talk about die with dignity. She could read the entire room and hurt a doorknob’s feelings. I’m going to miss her, but at least she lived like she died-wielding more power than the men with their swords and strategy.
Does anyone actually care about Theon’s redemption arc? Crickets.
Caveat: Jon is legally the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Even if he knew that, I don’t think that he would care. If the women were never on top, I wouldn’t care, but I’m going to be salty if all the women finally got power just to hand it over to this noble, handsome, but least savvy man. Samwell was in the room when someone mentioned a prophecy about the Drowned God (Euron) killing Aegon the Conqueror. Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen so I’m rooting for Jon to die, and I’m hoping that Dani is The Prince(ss) Promised, the one who must defeat the Night King; however I cannot ignore that Jon is literally a song of ice (Stark) and fire (Targaryen). Part of the prophecy surrounding this Prince is that the weapon will be forged from his wife’s heart, and if seven seasons of a badass Dani culminate in her dying for Jon to be great, I’m going to be pissed. Dani can die, but not for THAT reason. If Jon died for THAT reason, I would be fine with it because technically, he is already dead, and women are always self-sacrificial except for Jesus. It would be nice to see a man who isn’t the Son of God to do it for a change. We’ll see…eventually (whispers Clegane Bowl and please live Tormund).
Sarah G. Vincent is an infovore who is originally from NYC and has lived in Massachusetts since 1993. She received an A.B., cum laude, in History and Film Studies from Harvard University in 1997 and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000, where she was also an editor and arts reporter at the Crimson/FM and worked at the Harvard Film Archives. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she published “The Cultural Context of the Shopping Mall: Tension Between The Patron’s Right of Access and the Owner’s Right to Exclude.” She is in a committed, exclusive spiritual relationship with the Triune God and for more information, directs readers to look at the Apostle’s Creed.