The long-awaited premiere of Game of Thrones season seven confirmed what began to be established in season six — women are taking control of the seven kingdoms. After five seasons of being overshadowed by men, regularly sexually assaulted and degraded in every other way imaginable, it’s about damn time.
Episode one of the new season of the HBO series established that the feminist tides have turned with one killer — pun intended — cold opening focusing on Arya Stark. From that point on, it seemed like there was hardly a scene without a powerhouse woman usurping control over the men who previously lorded over them. No doubt feminist fans of the show found it as satisfying as watching Ramsay Bolton being eaten to death by his own dogs.
Here are 6 of the most cheer-worthy feminist moments from the season seven premiere.
1. Arya annihilating all of Walder Frey’s men
Who could forget the moment when Arya Stark slit Walder Frey’s throat during the season six finale? The events that unfurl right after that perfect vengeance greet audiences in season seven.
Using her training under the Many-Faced God, Arya takes Walder Frey’s face and holds a feast for the rest of his men. Doing one heck of a good Walder impression, Arya toasts their triumphs. But as the toast goes on, one by one, the men start coughing up blood, having been poisoned by the wine. She then takes off Walder’s face, reveals herself to the kitchen maids and Walder’s current wife and utters this bone-chilling line:
When people ask what happened here, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.
2. Lyanna putting the men of the north in their place
Despite being only 10 years old, Lyanna Mormont is a force to be reckoned with, and she made that clear the moment she first appeared on the scene in season six. All that hard-core commitment and dead-pan bluntness returned in spades in the season seven premiere during the northern leaders’ discussion about how to handle the White Walkers.
When Jon Snow suggests every principality train both men and women from ages 10 to 60 for battle, it causes a bit of an uproar among the other male leaders. So wee little Lyanna jumps in to school them on the abilities of women.
I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me. I might be small, Lord Glover, and I might be a girl, but I am every bit a Northerner as you. And I don’t need your permission to defend the North. We’ll begin training every man, woman, boy and girl on Bear Island.
Mormont mic drop.
3. Sansa goes up against her brother Jon
Ever since Sansa escaped the evil clutches of Ramsay, she’s been on a mission to reclaim her power. Now that she’s back at Winterfell, she’s making it clear her opinions deserve to be heard.
When the heads of the northern houses are discussing how to manage a siege from the undead beyond the wall, Sansa firmly suggests the castles of men who fought for Ramsay Bolton should go to families that stayed faithful to the Starks. Jon and Sansa hit an uncomfortable standstill on the subject in front of all the other heads, and Jon eventually pulls rank on her. However, that doesn’t stop Sansa from confronting him later. She even goes as far as to compare his actions to Joffrey’s, which is finally what gets Jon to hear her.
You have to be smarter than father. You need to be smarter than Rob. I love them, I miss them, but they made stupid mistakes and they both lost their heads for it.
It’s not the most overt feminist moment, but it suggests that Sansa and Jon may end up sharing the crown more often than not.
4. Cersei’s a woman against the Westeros world
Cersei may have lost all her children, but that doesn’t mean the current occupier of the Iron Throne has given up. She’s planning to take on all her enemies to the north, south, west and east whether or not her brother and lover Jaime agrees to stand by her.
Should we spend our days mourning the dead? Mother, father and all our children? I loved them, I did, but they’re ashes now, and we’re still flesh and blood. We’re the last Lannisters. The last ones who count.
As they argue on top of a giant map of the seven kingdoms, Cersei keeps her voice chillingly calm and casually pushes back on every one of Jaime’s concerns. In the very next scene, she drops the Euron bomb on him, aka that she’ll entertain marrying Euron for his ships.
Regardless of whether or not Cersei has a fighting chance at winning this war, her villainous power is undeniable.
5. Sansa puts Littlefinger in his place
There’s a small but palpable exchange that takes place between Lord Baelish and Sansa while they’re surveying the Winterfell grounds. He tries to weasel his way back into her good graces by telling her he wants her to be safe and happy. It’s obviously his way of introducing an idea that would ultimately serve him, but Sansa refuses to let her icy walls down.
As her protector Brienne comes up the stairs, Sansa utters the ultimate retort to someone like Baelish, who always seems to get the fun ending lines:
No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I’ll assume it was something clever.
Boom. Not even a consummate wordsmith can come back from that.
6. Daenerys’ show-ending three words
Daenerys may only show up in the final few minutes of episode one, but the moment, while mainly wordless, is as powerful as it gets. She and her army arrive on the shores of Dragonstone — her birthplace — and, with steely grace, she leads them up the winding stairs into the castle. With a swift tug, she pulls down the banner of the last conquerors, goes through the throne room, and then walks into what can only be described as the war room — a room made up almost entirely of a detailed strategy map.
Her words, which cap the episode, encompass how much power she wields.
Shall we begin?
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