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For a series very much about war, dragons, and the naked female body, Game of Thrones has a strong following of not just men, but women too. George R. R. Martin, author of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, is a master at developing strong female characters.
We’re drawn in as an audience because we’re given a variety of characters that are strong and manipulative, devoted wives and mothers, and smart political strategists; but most of all the female characters are human. Who will choose as the strongest female in Game of Thrones? Here are our top picks:
Lena Headey does a fabulous job portraying a cunning and powerful woman born to a male-dominated family. She wants power more than anything, but as the series goes on, she’s not proving herself as a good leader.
She goes to great pains to conceal the fact that her three children are fathered by her twin brother, Jamie. In the first season, she arranges the death of her husband, convinces her lover/brother to push a young boy from a window, and arrests an honorable man for treason.
In season 2, Cersei’s character develops further. We watch as she breaks down in front of her brother, Tyrion, because she blames herself for Joffrey’s insanity. Deep down, we see that Cersei’s motivation is the love of her children, and it’s bound to be her downfall.
Daenerys Targaryen is a survivor. She and her older brother are the only survivors of their family, until her older brother gets killed, leaving Daenerys the sole survivor of the Targaryen family. Wed to Khal Drogo, a barbarian king, she grows close to him and falls in love with him. But he dies, and again she’s left to survive and figure out how to make it on her own.
Daenerys’ confidence grows stronger as her character develops. She stands up for herself, and gets her dragons back. Who doesn’t love a female character that goes from a meek young teen to a powerful queen?
A middle child and a tomboy, Arya would rather fight with a sword than wear an evening gown or learn to sew doilies. Luckily her brother and father recognize her personality and support her by giving her a sword and lessons on how to fight with it. Little do they know, the training will save her life.
Viewers relate to and like Arya because not only is she independent, but she’s smart, adventurous, and brave too. She makes friends with common folk and ends up hiding out as a commoner. Lucky for her family, it was the spunky nine-year-old that ended up fending for herself and not the elder sister, Sansa.
Brienne of Tarth
With a tall and muscular build, Brienne isn’t considered pretty by Westerosi standards, and she gets mocked for her physical appearance. She grew up learning to fight and wants to be a knight instead of a lady. Brienne beat the Knight of Flowers in a tournament and became one of Renly’s Rainbow guard.
While not pretty on the outside, Brienne is very loyal to whoever she chooses to serve. She swears an oath to Catelyn and becomes her sworn sword.
A red-headed Wildling living north of the Wall, Ygritte has mad survival skills, a quick wit, and a resilient attitude. She’s also not afraid to use her sexuality to get what she wants. She becomes Jon Snow’s prisoner, but escapes when he can’t bring himself to kill her. We grow to like Ygritte as she taunts Jon calling him a “bastard” and makes fun of his vow of celibacy. The two quickly form a connection despite their constant bickering.
Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones is all about the strong women characters. Who will you vote for as your favorite?