The Representation of Women in ‘A Game Of Thrones’
For my project I will be researching the representations of the stereotype that is women within the hit television show on HBO and the novels by George. R. Martin, ‘A Game of Thrones’. This franchise does portray women in different ways and at first it has a classic stereotype of gaining power and sexual objects but later has many storylines from women’s point of view. My research looks deeply to how women are portrayed or used within Game of Thrones, using websites and the novel itself to dive into the use of women how they are as they stereotypically would be portrayed and expanded upon women from their point of view. Game of Thrones is only for an adult audience due to violence and sexual nature which the books emphasises more than the television show with more cases and descriptions of crimes such as rape and killing of women and young children, this may be because the television show may not be able to highlight all these issues through visuals but can speak about them. Women are usually seen as objects for power and climbing the hierarchy of society through family marriage and land ownership, as well as sexual objects. They are often referred to as ‘whores’ and referred towards their ‘maidenheads’ (virginity) but as the book progresses many storylines such as Cersei, Brienne or Daenerys and many others talk about hardship of being a women but also how they have control and power over men too.
Firstly women may not be high in social hierarchy compared to men as a whole, but they can be very influential with their own “schemes and desires”. “Sure, there is an awful lot of sexism within the realm, but in both the shows and the books, Sansa, Cersei, Catelynn, Arya, Brienne, and Daenerys aren’t just “point of view” characters (meaning we experience the world through their eyes), but fully fleshed out, three-dimensional people who are just as capable of “playing the game” of power as their male counterparts. Sure, some are mothers and sisters to the kings, but their movement, schemes, and desires shape the realm.” (Brillson, 2013) The representation of women in the world has “sexism” but as a whole, women are deemed equal even if not at face value. Characters such as Cersei and Margaery represent this well coming from noble birth but actually using their intelligence too. “Behind every king, there’s an even greater woman. Renly had the ambitious, pragmatic Margaery Tyrell, who shrugged off his homosexuality by citing the urgent political need for Renly to “put a baby” in her belly. Stannis owes his success to his puppet mistress Melisandre—the only player in the game of thrones whose attack has successfully killed a king. Joffrey has his mother Cersei, who unsuccessfully advised that he spare Ned Stark’s life—a mercy which would likely have kept the Starks from declaring war on the Lannisters.”(Meslow, May 7 2012).
It can be debated that women are still not equals to men as there is still sexism and other tangibles. Can the representation of women be feminist? “Can a series with such gratuitous sex, violence, and sexualized violence truly be feminist? Can ‘real’ power be gained by female characters that must use sex as a means to getting it? Did you know there are fewer rapes in the TV show than in the book? Fewer rapes are definitely a win for feminism!” (Zeisler, June 7, 2013). Sarcasm is being used with “fewer rapes are definitely a win for feminism!” The quote is discussing if women can truly be treated equal if they still have to endure all the hardships and exploitation of the medieval type era, such as rape and forced marriage in “A Game Of Thrones”. Using sex to get “ahead” and progress through power may not be the “feminist” way, but it is one of the most successful ways as Cersei demonstrates in “A Dance with Dragons” over the Kettleblacks to gain power over men. “Women are raped, beaten, burned and trafficked. I suppose you could chalk it up to the barbarism of medieval times. And I’m sure many will claim that as the shows defence…or that the men face just as brutal and severe a life. I also recognize that there’s a difference between displaying sexism because it’s the time period and condoning said sexism.” (Anon, June 20, 2011 ) Women want to be treated the same as men in life; women are not often killed off so brutally and slaughtered so would that be represented as being treated equal? “Episode 10 Season 2” a character within the “red wedding” gets brutally killed with child and seen stabbed many times in the chest and the stomach.(HBO, 2012)
Anon. (June 20, 2011 ). Here There Be Sexism?: ‘Game of Thrones’. http://opinionessoftheworld.com/2011/06/20/game-of-thrones-and-gender/.
Brillson, L. (2013, May 17). Do Girls Like Game Of Thrones. Retrieved from Refinery29: http://www.refinery29.com/2013/05/47150/do-girls-like-game-of-thrones
HBO. (2012). Season 2 Episode 10. HBO A Game Of Thrones.
Meslow, S. (May 7 2012). ‘Game of Thrones’: The Women Exert Their Power, and Not Just in Bed. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/05/game-of-thrones-the-women-exert-their-power-and-not-just-in-bed/256825/.
Zeisler, A. (June 7, 2013). Does It Matter Whether Game of Thrones is Feminist? . http://bitchmagazine.org/post/does-it-matter-whether-game-of-thrones-is-feminist.