The Women of Westeros and Why TV Needs Them

“The women are the strong ones, truly.”

I was going to blog about the women of the Game of Thrones series, but when someone else does all that work for you and is far more eloquent with the words and stuff, why should I get in the way.  So go on over to GeekQuality.com and read this.

And women aren’t just protagonists in the Game of Thrones universe, either. There are women like Cersei Lannister, the ice queen everyone loves to hate. Her cool, calculating nature is a wonderful example of the myriad ways a woman can be a mother, sister, wife, and daughter. When we compare Cersei and Cat Stark, for example, the differences are staggering, and that is so refreshing. These women could have easily been relegated to the roles of “doting wife and mother,” but they’re not carbon copies of each other. They are fully realized people, whose personalities, upbringings, and motivations shape their choices and give depth to their characters. Cersei’s character development throughout Season 2 has been an absolute delight to watch. It’s becoming more clear that she’s not simply “the bitch” of the series, but that she cares deeply and fights fiercely for her children and her family. She is cut-throat and vindictive, but not entirely unsympathetic. It may seem ridiculous, getting so excited over the fact that a female character in a popular television show is treated as a multi-dimensional human being, but damn it, it is something worth celebrating.

Now, that said, I wanted to approach this in terms of comparison to the books. I am extremely pleased with the way the women are being handled in season two, especially considering how low they started on the series, with tits-in-our-face-doggy-style-sex being the standard way we were introduced to the majority of the female characters. There’s no easier plot device than showing a woman at her lowest to emphasis her subsequent rise above (right Joss?).

Fortunately, the gratuitous sex didn’t last too long in season 1, and even more fortunately, in season 2, the writers of the show have truly uplifted the women, even further than they were in the books. Despite their  lesser status, which Cersei drunkenly explains to Sansa towards the end of the season, the women of Westeros have always shown strength – some more than others. But the series has chosen to given them even more, altering some characters slightly. Most notably, Maergary Tyrell, Sansa Stark, Jeyne Westerling and Brienne of Tarth.

While Cersei was softened a bit to make her more of a mother with ambition who loves her children and less of a straight up beotch, these other women have been given stronger personalities to define their roles. Sansa is not quite the timid little bird she is in the books,  we see far more of Jeyne and understand clearly why Robb broke his vow for her, Maergary, mostly a trophy in the books, is clearly gunning for the throne, and Brienne. Ah Brienne. She is everything the book made her, but without the naivete that Jaime was able to prey on so easily.

It’s a pity this season has been so short, but, I’m definitely looking forward to the next to see where they take the Women of Westeros. Especially since Dany is on fire in book 3!

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