STAYING IN – Is Game Of Thrones Bringing ‘Feminism’ To Fantasy?

Game of Thrones Staying In
Posted on: May 17th, 2013

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I haven’t read the books. So sue me. On the plus side, though, it means I won’t be dropping any book spoilers! But I will be dropping a tonne of spoilers about every episode of Game of Thrones that has aired so far. You have been warned!


Remember when GoT first started, a time before people were reading the books on every public transport vehicle in the western world, when the publicity campaign was all: “Look, Sean Bean and some naked chicks!”? It’s fair to say that HBO had a demographic in mind and they were whole-heartedly luring them in. Boromir and boobs and violence? Win!


Arya Stark: Flying the flag for feminism since 2011


For the entire first series, the show did itself absolutely no favours in the feminist stakes, with the infamous (and gratuitous) lesbian sexposition scene, a load of rape, and a bunch of jolly prostitutes. In series one, the only thing you could legitimately point to and yell “yay, feminism!” was Arya Stark. Dany was mostly naked, Cersei was a plotting wife in an unhappy marriage, Sansa was gooey-eyed over an obvious psychopath and Catelyn triggered the situation which basically led to all the trouble every character has experienced since.


Not that it stopped me from watching it. Game of Thrones is awesome, and my tolerance for gratuitous female nudity is very high, thanks to, well, society in general. But I was confused about why the book readers kept raving about the female characters in A Song of Ice and Fire – what did they know that I didn’t?


Then came series two and three, and I realised, with absolute delight, that just as Sean Bean was bait designed to draw in the fantasy sceptics, so too were the meek, naked ladies just there to hook a male viewership. The female characters have been evolving, and new ones have been added. Under everyone’s noses, HBO have got millions of viewers hooked on a brilliantly feminist programme.

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I'm a script writer and film maker who also writes for @starburst_mag and @badhaven. Occassionally I sleep, too.

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