Game On! An Analysis of the Women in “Game of Thrones”

Season 2 of the fantasy novels turned acclaimed TV series “Game of Thrones” is coming to it’s conclusion. As we four are all fans of the show and love a good heroine, we’re going to do a little breakdown of the female characters!

SPOILER ALERT! Readers beware! Plot points are discussed in this post, so make sure you’re caught up on all the episodes before you read on.

Several images courtesy of

Cersei Baratheon (Lena Heady) 

Queen Regent of the seven kingdoms. Through all her plots and scheming, she’s still foremost a mother. There’s no denying she loves her family ;), perhaps with the one exception of her younger brother Tyrion (possibly the most popular character of the series). She’s not particularly likeable, but she’s a force to be reckoned with and there’s no denying that she knows how to play the game. 

The word that most describes her: Political

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) 

Tomboy, warrior, her father’s daughter. She’s been extremely clever in evading detection as she’s been attempting to return to Winterfell. She’s quite sharp and so is her sword. These skills have helped her navigate some very tricky situations. Best line of dialogue: when asked what her father died of, Arya responds “loyalty.”

The word that most describes her: Nimble

Daenerys Targaryan (Emilia Clark) 

She had a great story arc throughout the first season; she’s the one character that grew and changed the most. Season 2 has slowed for her and she’s started to sound a little like her brother with the repetition of phrases like “I am The Mother of Dragons!” She has potential to turn into something fierce, she just needs a little more time. It won’t be long before her storyline explodes.

The word that most describes her: Smoldering

Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) 

Likeable, honorable, respected, and controlled, Cat is an all-around stand-up lady. Her children are a reflection of her and also her greatest potential weakness. Her family is the source of her strength, but since she left Winterfell, they’ve been scattered to the winds. As a result, her judgement is clouded. In her attempts to bring them all back together, she’s making poor decisions.

The word that most describes her: Maternal

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) 

She started out a little vain and weak, but she’s coming into her own now that she’s been stranded in King’s Landing awaiting her impending marriage to a sociopath. Realizing the peril of her situation, she’s toughened up fast and deduced that, if she sticks to the script, she’ll survive.

The word that most describes her: Capable

Shae (Sibel Kekilli) 

She’s enigmatic & illusive, but also resourceful. There appears to be a lot we don’t know about her and I’m curious to see how that all plays out. But for now she’s keeping up with the silver-tongued Tyrion and assisting Sansa in navigating shark-infested waters.

The word that most describes her: Mysterious

Osha (Natalia Tena) 

Coming from north of The Wall, Osha is a survivor. She has no misconceptions about her place in the world and recognizes the unpleasant things one must do to survive. But she’s also kind. She’s gone out of the way to protect the two youngest Stark boys when she has no need to.

The word that most describes her: Survivor

Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) 

Brienne is the embodiment of loyalty and a bone fide ass-kicker. She is, first and foremost, a soldier who dedicates her life to the people she loves and places duty above all else. She knows she’s a black sheep but would NEVER let anyone laugh in her face. There hasn’t been a lot of depth revealed in her thus far, and I’m curious if we’re going to get a little more backstory.

The word that most describes her: Loyal

Ygritte (Rose Leslie) 

We haven’t seen much of Ygritte yet, but her time spent with Jon Snow has been pretty entertaining. She’s a fast-talking, slippery little Wildling who enjoys getting under Jon’s skin and it’s fun to watch him squirm. It’s like watching a cat play with a mouse before it kills it, even though she’s the one who’s a captive. I look forward to seeing more of her.

The word that most describes her: Sly

Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) 

Her introduction was pretty messed up! Who let’s their estranged younger brother fondle them when they know who he is?! Weirdos. Weirdos do that kind of thing. She’s an experienced sailor who’s highly respected by her father and her men, which shows she’s a capable individual but she’s not very nice. Next to Brienne, she’s the least feminine character of the show.

The word that most describes her: Hard

Ros (Esme Bianco) 

Constantly naked, but then again, she is a prostitute. It seemed like the writers were going to give a little more to do at the start of season two but they let that plot line run cold. I just really don’t want to watch her finger-bang anymore whores. It detracts from the more interesting plot lines.

The word that most describes her: Naked

Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) 

We don’t know much about Lysa, except that she’s Catelyn Stark’s sister and her husband is dead. But I’m not sure I want to know more than that, because I can’t get the image of her much-too-old son suckling on her breast out of my mind!! Talk about an effective visual for a character introduction!

The word that most describes her: Creepy

Several of my friends (mostly men) were raving about this show saying how great it was. Eventually I submitted to their peer pressure. I’ll admit that I started off a wary of this show, particularly in regard to Daenerys, since she spent most of her screen time in the first few episodes naked and being forced to have sex with her arranged-marriage of a (giant) warlord husband. I anticipated many of the women in the show would serve the same purpose as Ros, which is to say, walking sets of boobs. But I’ve since discovered this show is chock-full of interesting characters and I plan to keep on watching!



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26 Comments on “Game On! An Analysis of the Women in “Game of Thrones””

  1. Anonymous
    June 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    You also realize the role of Ros in the show is to put the viewer in scenes that are only hinted at in the book. Because of the way the books are written (which are specific POV’s and therefor, for instance, if Tyrion [who has a POV chapters] isn’t in the room with Balish [Who does not have POV chapters], we never actually read those scenes. But Balish in the show is a super important character and needs to be made so), almost every single scene we see Ros in is a scene that is only referenced in the books. In fact, The character of Ros doesn’t even appear in the books at all. She is actually just a condensation of a multitude of other whores. She is a tool in both plot and in story telling for the show. She may be naked, but like you said, shes a prostitute. She probably wouldn’t be very good if she was clothed. So, even though you disliked the finger banging scene, it did serve a purpose.

    Rock on Arya.

    • June 4, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      Having not read the books (yet) I didn’t realize that Ros was a combination of characters. But it makes sense. Her character has mostly been used as a sounding board for characters to reveal personal information, like Grand Maester Pycelle and especially Balish. I agree, the finger-banging scene did serve a purpose. It is a revelatory moment for Balish’s character. He gives a great description of himself and reveals his whole plan to Ros and the other prostitute, without even being phased by what they are doing. But his words are drowned out by the background noise and thus, they have less impact. And THAT’S what really bothered me; the two women ended up being the focus of the scene when it should have been Balish.

      Rock on indeed.

    • October 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      I’ve never read the books either, but I do like Ros’ character. She is strong and clever, cunning to survive in an essentially dangerous (and thankless job). I love Osha’s character too, possibly simply because it is at odds with the character she plays in Harry Potter. Did you forget the red witch (bitch) or did you omit her on purpose, Bryce? Just curious…

  2. September 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Having read been a sci-fi/fantasy read for a long time, I started with the books first. Martin does an excellent job of female character development. I especially understood Daenerys better, particularly in the first book where her marriage night was better explained. And Catelyn Stark just rocks….

  3. September 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    I’m reading the books now, I found the excessive boobage and sexual encounters somewhat offensive. I feel like they objectify women way to much. If they are going to do that, they should at least be fair. However, on the other side this is the way the books were written so far. The tv series actually kind of tons it down to be honest. Oh well. I watch it. I wouldnt say its my favorite show but its okay. I liked ur analysis of all the characters. I have to write my own paper on Game of Thrones later in the semester. ❤

  4. September 10, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    Thanks for taking tim look at my blog. I’m amazed at the response. I thought no one would be interested in the subject. Your photo is absolutely wonderful. You are beautiful – all four of you. Sorry I can’t join in the reviews of the program. But… nice to get to know you. Cheers!

  5. September 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by and liking my blog, I watched game of thrones, and also planning to buy the books too. so excited for new season.

  6. October 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    This is a great break down of the female characters in GOT – which is my most favorite of all TV series so far. I cant wait for the season 3 – Ive just started re-watching season 1 – its amazing what you miss the first time – I recommended watching it again!

  7. October 5, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Thanks for stopping by my place, ladies. 🙂

  8. October 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    I just love GOT! As for the women, they’re complex. Cersei is actually fairly stupid, which is her downfall.

  9. October 6, 2012 at 4:13 am #

    Love the series too. Enjoyed the way you picked out each female character and examined her significance and primary quality. Thanks. And thank you for stopping at my site too. Looking forward to more

  10. October 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I read the books before seeing the show (I don’t have HBO) and it was okay, Personally, I thought the books were much better, but you have to understand that the actions/situations last 2 books run concurrently, not one after the other… they fill in stories of some you think might have been left out… He hasn’t finished the last book at that I know of… I read all the paperback and the last one was hardback.

    PS. Thanks for stopping by my blog today for a moment. I appreciate your time.

  11. October 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    I’ve never heard of this series; neither book nor TV show. I’ll have to look into this.

  12. Anonymous
    October 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Great breakdown. I LOVE how Martin create these female characters with strong qualities. I personally relate to Arya and Dani the most. Love the HBO series, they are doing a great job translating these characters, places and events to the screen!

  13. October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Great breakdown. I LOVE how Martin create these female characters with strong qualities. I personally relate to Arya and Dani the most. Love the HBO series, they are doing a great job translating these characters, places and events to the screen!

  14. katepstollery
    October 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    I have to agree with your opinion on the characters. Great post!

  15. October 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Hi there – just a quickie – thanks for stopping by and liking my blog.

  16. October 13, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I think your site is great and I wanted to thank you for your comments and visiting my blog. I hope you will continue to check out my work.


  17. October 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    First of all, you four are awesome. What a neat idea, collaborating on a blog. This not only alleviates the pressure to post, but gives your readers multiple perspectives on things. I’m kinda wishing I’d thought of that. 😉

    I have yet to read Games of Thrones, but am very much looking forward to it. These descriptions are quite enticing.



  18. November 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Very funny 🙂 Love this show!

  19. Maggie
    May 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Just had to say that from an anthropologic perspective, kids would breastfeed until they’re 7…it’s common in some cultures! I personally know several moms who nurse until their kids are 3 or 4, and the World Health Organization recommends nursing until AT LEAST age 2…so don’t hate on breastfeeding! It’s so good for mama and baby! Makes me sad when it’s portrayed in such a negative way. Plus, she was nursing her son in the book, so at least they’re sticking to the story line…


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