Underlining (and Undermining) Feminism in Game of Thrones Season Six


So maybe it’s International Women’s Day that got me thinking about something I noticed in the season finale of Got Season Six (Spoiler warning!)

Okay, as it ends, I realized that pretty much every warring faction is now lead by a woman: Daenerys finally has her army sailing back towards Westeros, where Cersei finally sits on that iron throne she’s been coveting all these years. Theon has ceded his claim to the Iron Islands in favor of his more capable sister Yara, while Ellaria Sand has Dorne all sown up with her daughters’ help. Hell, the only male still in a position of power is Jon, who is in the weakest position by far.

So for the most part, this has a strong pro-women message in that it’s all female leaders.

But then I looked a little deeper and noticed another similarity: None of these female leaders will pass her rule on to a direct heir. Well, a new heir at least.

It’s been established that Daenerys is now barren, while I believe Cersei has passed out of her child-bearing years after losing all her children due to her failed plots for power. Ellaria also seems a little old and disinclined to start a new family (though she does have three current daughters), while Yara is definitely a lesbian (oddly enough, a plot point only introduced this season). In fact, the only female character of royal(ish) blood who is still of child bearing age is Sansa, who was passed over for the leadership role in favor of her bastard half-brother.

So although on the surface it appears that this season was really pro-woman, I do note a fairly modern subtext in that all these women are forgoing children in favor of their careers. Which I take to mean women can’t “have it all” even in fantasy settings.

There’s a good chance this is really a byproduct of the theme/ message of the old institutions/ families collapsing, but I thought it was still worth pointing out.

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MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, I have a suggestion...

 

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