Women in Game of Thrones

Power, Conformity and Resistance


In stock

About the Book

Game of Thrones, one of the hottest series on television, leaves hundreds of critics divided on how “feminist” the show really is. Certainly the female characters, strong and weak, embody a variety of archetypes—widow queens, warrior women, damsels in distress, career women, priestesses, crones, mothers and maidens. However, the problem is that most of them play a single role without nuance—even the “strong women” have little to do besides strut about as one-note characters. This book analyzes the women and their portrayals one by one, along with their historical inspirations. Accompanying issues in television studies also appear, from the male gaze to depiction of race. How these characters are treated in the series and how they treat themselves becomes central, as many strip for the pleasure of men or are sacrificed as pawns. Some nude scenes or moments of male violence are fetishized and filmed to tantalize, while others show the women’s trauma and attempt to identify with the scene’s female perspective. The key is whether the characters break out of their traditional roles and become multidimensional.

About the Author(s)

Valerie Estelle Frankel teaches English at Mission College and San Jose City College. The author of 60 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

Bibliographic Details

Valerie Estelle Frankel

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: appendices, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9416-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1554-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: Controversial Issues in the Series 5
Gratuitous Sex? 5
Rape 8
Male Gaze 16
Fake Lesbian Scenes 23
Race 26
Independent Action versus Acting for Others 31

Part II: Exploring Archetypes and Tropes 37
Female Archetypes 37
The Strong Females 40
The Warrior Woman Archetype 43
The Warrior: Arya and Brienne 47
The Bodyguard: Osha and Meera 55
The Pirate: Asha/Yara 58
The Career Woman: Talisa 61
The ­Warrior-Anima 64
The Feminized Females 71
Widows and Mothers: The Chatelaines and Queen Consorts 76
Maidens: The Innocent, the Orphan, and the Femme Fatale 98
The Prostitutes 112
The Crones 121
The Seers 128
Tricksters: The Sand Snakes 139
Great Goddess: The Heart Trees 141
Monstrous Woman: Stoneheart 144
The Hero Queen: Daenerys 147

Part III: Gender Roles in Westeros 161
Women in Westeros 161
Men in the Gender Biased System 167
Women Despise Men by Despising Women 172
Men’s Attitudes Toward Women 174
Fan Reactions 177

Conclusion 182
Appendix 1. Cast 185
Appendix 2. Episode List 188
Appendix 3. Archetypes 190
Works Cited 193
Index 201

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Intriguing anecdotes…thoroughly researched and impressively analyzed…highly recommended”—Library Journal
  • “Pays full homage to the complex vision and plot mastering mind of its creator, George R.R. Martin”—Midwest Book Review
  • “A thought-provoking read. Anyone who is a fan of the novel series or show should read it to get an interesting perspective that is backed up with convincing evidence”—Against the Grain.