While it’s certainly cable television’s most beloved abode for battles, betrayal, and bare breasts, HBO’s Game of Thrones also boasts a cast of females characters that are defiant, independent, and courageous. From the calculating and icy Cersei to the dangerous “Mother of Dragons” Daenrys, these medieval mamas are more than just run-of-the-mill “spunky” chicks. They are cunning competitors worth watching. Here are some of my favorite GoT girls. [Season two spoilers ahead, please do not read on if you’re not fully caught up to season three.]
Playing a coy coquette doesn’t occur to Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Cersei. The Kingslayer Jaime Lannister’s tumultuous twin sister and long-time lover is direct about what she thinks, what she wants, and the ruthless lengths she’ll go to. Her vindictive behavior is boundless: for sending her daughter to Dorne she delighted in abusing the woman she was deceived into believing was brother Tyrion’s lover. Faced with certain death as Stannis’ bannermen stormed King’s Landing, Cersei was fully prepared to end her life and murder her son to save them both from the horrors the enemy soldiers. (Good thing daddy Tywin showed up to save the day.)
Adorned with adorable baby dragons and corn silk silver hair, Daenerys Targaryen’s disarming facade opened the gates of Quarth to her after she pitched a giant Stormborn-hissy fit and threatened to someday rain fire and blood, and blah blah blah. All that whining deluded her adversaries’ view of the Khaleesi and allowed them to assume the striking young queen was vulnerable. Poor Pyat Pree didn’t know that Dany had been diligently training her dragons and now the House of the Undying will have to change its name.
The Starks are the epitome of honor and duty. Matriarch Lady Catelyn Stark defies her son, and newly pronounced King of the North, Rob, during a campaign against the Lannisters to barter back her daughters. Catelyn’s fearless little girl Arya has a fire in her heart fueled by hatred of those who’ve wronged her and her family, chillingly lulling herself to sleep by reciting the names of those she’ll strike down. Lovesick Sansa is no longer blind to sniveling little snot King Joffrey’s power trip. Though she’s been freed from her engagement so that Margaery Tyrell can take her place, Sansa’s insistence on loyalty to the crown cannot merely be a symptom of a girlish crush. Does she have revenge for her father’s beheading on her mind?
It could get really nerdy up in here– there is no shortage noteworthy woman in George R. R. Martin’s series, for whom vengence and valor, power and pain, are paramount. Are you more a fan of steadfast warrior Brienne of Tarth or gutsy ginger wildling Ygritte? Share your favorite characters in the comments, below. —Casandra Armour