Women in Film and TV – Game of Thrones VII/1-2

Caution – this post contains spoilers for those who haven’t yet watched the new episodes.

 

Game of Thrones is back and thus, the women get a great comeback too.

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is in the very first sequence (of VII-1) crystallizing herself out of Walder Frey (David Bradley)–a wonderful theatrical trick to bring us back into the style and tempo of the series. At the same time, this gives a short summary of one of the main events of the Stark-narration which were happening before. Arya is still shown as an independent and brave character. She joins soldiers after being invited, she eats and drinks like men, and she is not panicking when surrounded by a horde of wolves. Dressed like the little but strong sister of Jon Snow she works on her revenge. In contrast to Cersei (Lena Headey), Arya is acting neither blindly nor driven by bitterness. As in the seasons before, she is shown as a character who is careful but not afraid, able to plan her steps and being precise and prepared for what she is about to confront herself with. Arya seems to be the less traumatized, less play-acting figure within the ensemble of main characters. And—in contrast to Sansa—she refuses to be protected. The character is still designed as independent and trusting to be able to protecting herself best. And trusts that she is able to protect herself.

 

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)–back in Winterfell and safely protected. Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) is always close by having a watchful eye on her. She, Brienne, still a strong, confident character, true to her oath and principles but caring as well. Thus, she still has feminine features. Dramaturgically seen she can be understood as an older variation of Arya, a dramaturgical pendent to her.

Sansa is shown as still torn between her desires for power thus including revenge and being the good-good girl[1]. Since her brother, Jon Snow, was made King of the North she has to learn to act in the shadow or at the side of her little bastard-brother, closely observed and thus provoked by Lord Baelish/Little Finger (Aidan Gillen). She is always on Jon’s side but does not always conform with his decisions. Arguments between them again give us information, backstories and potential developments, on the threats they are facing—every one of them emphasising a different threat. Sansa is shown through these two new episodes as a young woman with a strong will, stronger than her wounds. Interesting is her admiring Cersei, telling us she has learned a great deal from her. What does this mean for Sansa and her future steps? Will she develop towards a Stark-version of Cersei? No matter her desire to rule her character is designed in a way that she was taken by surprise when Jon announced her to be his substitute whilst he will be away, meeting Daenerys (Emilia Clark).

The cliff hangers for episode three are pointing us to the question of how the meetings will act out between Arya coming back and being confronted with her sister who betrayed her in the beginning, and Jon meeting his half-sister Daenerys, which both are not aware of.

Cersei Lannister-Baratheon is still shown as mainly hungry for power. Thus, she appears a thus crazy as she was developed to during last season. She wants to start a dynasty lasting 1000 years, anyhow there are no Lannister children who could take over who are still alive—as far as we know at present. Her decline of Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) proposal initiates a catastrophe to the Martell-Women from Dorne magically relocated to Dragonstone; and Asha Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan). Following the implicit principles of the series, it is no wonder the attack happens exactly when Asha and Ellaria Sand (Indira Varna) are about to start kissing and touching each other. Homosexuality always get’s punished and ends with torture and death given the implicit codex of this series[2]. Thus, the daughters of Ellaria are killed during the battle—by Euron himself, the man who just proposed a heterosexual marriage. The fate Asha Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand ate facing will be reviled in one of the next episodes. They seem to be the precious gift he promised Cersei he would come back with.

Daenerys Targaryen arrives at Dragonstone, the place she was born, on a stormy night. Accompanied, surrounded and counselled by her entourage. All the time, as during the last seasons, this character is already oscillating between using and misusing her power, becoming more and more the daughter of the ‘Mad Kind’; and following men’s advice to get back on track of humanity. When Lady Olenna Tyrell, who was also arranged to be at Dragonstone to become an ally against Cersei, advises her to ignore men this would open the door to Daenerys the Mad Queen one could estimate after the dramaturgical development of the character during the last seasons.[3] It is told that the character Daenerys understood and internalised that announcing her use of violence and death threats gives her power. She is the populist using the feelings of the people—represented here by Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) to ensure her personal power. Thus, her anti-establishment actions are on the surface giving freedom to the common people, but by replacing the former governing elite by herself.

Lady Olenna Tyrell is portrayed within the Dragonstone-sequence as not being so convinced by this potential new queen. In her eyes the perfect queen and thus a role model would have been her granddaughter Margaery (Natalie Dormer). Margaery truly went to meet the common people, the poorest of the poor to do a good deed to them. This is how Margaery should be remembered. And this is a character clearly opposite to the one Daenerys is representing.

Overall the female part of the main ensemble is arranged in a wide diverse group of characters. One can be curious about how long Lady Olena Tyrell will withstand the intrigue set up by Cersei against her—dramaturgically seen she could be one of the characters who have to leave the game soon; the same is true for Asha Greyjoy and Elliana Sand. It is to be expected that the latter will find an end/their death soon not only because they came in late and consequently have to leave earlier than the earlier introduced main characters; but also because of their homosexual behaviour and extramarital love affairs.

Another dramatic highlight in episode VII-3 will be the meeting between Jon Snow-Stark-Tagaryen—who was not made aware of Daenerys Tagaryen expecting him to bow his knee to her—and Daenerys.

 

Bibliography

 

Gelfert, H.-D. (2006). Typisch amerikanisch: Wie die Amerikaner wurden, was sie sind (3., aktualisierte und um ein Nachwort Amerika 2006 erg. Aufl., Originalausg. ed.). München: Beck.

Stutterheim, K. (2017). Game of Thrones sehen – Dramaturgie einer TV Serie. Paderborn Fink Verlag / Brill

 

[1] Cf. (Gelfert, 2006)

[2] cf. (Stutterheim, 2017)

 


 
 
 

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