The Celebrated Sexist Narrative in ‘Game of Thrones’

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead 

The new and final season of Game of Thrones is well underway and nearing its close. Even though Game of Thrones is often glorified as one of the best series ever aired on television, it too cannot avoid blunders, and in this case, it makes quite a lot of them. The most glaring of them all is the sexist narrative that the writers deem as brilliant.

What makes Game of Thrones great is that one of the main antagonists of the show, the Night King, is responsible not only for greatly challenging all the characters but also for bringing them together (most of them, anyway). His role in the show is magnificent. He brings with him a large undead army with the ultimate purpose of ending humanity. However, despite playing such an integral role in the story overall, the writers decided that the Night King, the end of humanity, is not as bad as a woman’s ambition. Instead of the Night King being the final boss or villain at the end of the story, Cersei Lannister, an ambitious self-proclaimed queen who refuses to give up her crown, is far worse. She serves as the last main challenge for all the characters who refuse to bend the knee and swear their allegiance. 

Sexism continues to manifest throughout the show when the only woman of color, Missandei, is beheaded for both shock value and as a catalyst to drive fan favorite character Daenerys Targaryen, a white woman who Missandei is greatly attached to, into madness. This madness is then used to justify why other characters (especially white men) should betray and kill her in later episodes. 

The writers also downplay Sansa’s sexual assaults and abuses. Sansa states, “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life.” Sansa is essentially saying that had she not been sexually assaulted and mentally abused, she would not have grown from an innocent young girl to a clever politician, an assertation which is completely ridiculous. Women do not have to go through any forms of abuse in order to grow and understand the hardships of life. Women are able to grow without having their consent taken away from them. Sansa’s trauma should not be cast aside in order to try to convince the audience that she is no longer naïve.

Game of Thrones is an amazing show, but its recent tone-deaf messaging through female narratives is not only disappointing, but it is also disgusting in its celebration of toxic masculinity.