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A Song of Ice and Women


When I was younger, I was a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction. As I grew up though, I found myself increasingly alienated by the genre which provided about four options for women:

1. The sweet, virginal (usually white and blonde) feminine lead usually awarded to the male lead at the end of the book.

2. The evil seductress who uses her body to get what she wants.

3. The wise old crone who gives enigmatic advice.

4. The warrior princess who is basically a man with shapely breasts.

It did not help that one prominent fantasy writer said that it was not “realistic” to write fantasy worlds where gender roles did not exist. Dragons and elves, it seemed, were more likely than strong women being respected in society.

So when I found George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, which was made into HBO’s Game of Thrones series, I was immediately pleased by the representation of, as one friend put it, a “constellation” of female characters. While Westeros and the GoT universe is undoubtably misogynistic, women are able to rise to prominence and influence the game of thrones, rather than merely being buffeted around by the actions of the men around them.