As George R. R. Martin continually tries to remind us, it can be hard being born a woman. And yet, so many of his own characters manage to stand up and make use of their talents, despite his constant attempts to strike them down and put them in their place. If you’ve read the books, you can truly appreciate how much stronger these ladies are on our screens, and how, despite their writer, they overcome their obstacles with just as much strength and intelligence as all of those men.
Lady Margaery of House Tyrell
In her unrelenting attempts to become a Baratheon, the beautiful Lady Margaery is determined to join House Tyrell to the royal family. With the doddering Mace Tyrell as her Lord and father, it’s clear who the brain behind the whole operation really is. Beneath her pretty and kind exterior is a cunning and calculating seductress who knows how to use both her wiles and her wits to her favour. And that’s a good thing too, since her path has given her some incredibly vicious enemies. A true rose of House Tyrell – thorns and all.
Lady Olenna of House Tyrell
The matriarch of her house. She is the wisdom and experience behind her rising granddaughter. Having been a master of court politics and intrigue throughout her life, she is the only person in Westeros, man or woman, with the smarts to challenge Lord Tywin Lannister. I can only hope to be as cool when I’m old.
Lady Arya of House Stark
Unlike many of her fellow noble-born ladies, Arya knows what it’s like to starve, to walk thousands of miles with little rest, and to run, fight, and kill. It’s clear that she was born into the wrong life, but instead of sitting on her arse and complaining of her misfortune, she has stood strong, gripped Needle, and taken what is owed to her. She may be a little girl, but she’s certainly not one I’d want to run into down a dark alley.
Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen
Daenerys Stormborn, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Dothraki, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. From her humble beginnings as the Sister of the Beggar King, she has ruled a Khalasar, hatched three dragons, defeated sorcerers, burned cities, raised an army, and freed thousands of innocent slaves. It seems that there’s no stopping her as she readies to take back the Iron Throne. Strong, just, and a natural ruler, she’s definitely the top contender. Oh yeah, and she has those dragons. I’d like to see Stannis’s red witch burn them.
Princess Yara of House Greyjoy
With her older brothers gone and her little brother taken by the Starks, Yara took the commanding role in their stead. A successful captain, respected by her countrymen, and the contested heir to the Iron Islands, Yara has had to fight for every ounce of respect and title awarded to her. But, despite her thankless family, she’s fiercely loyal and ready to stand for those she holds dear. She may not have the high aspirations of other royal women, but she will fight for her birthright when the time comes.
Lady Brienne of House Tarth
Not all women need a man to keep them safe. Lady Brienne’s strength and loyalty ought to influence every young girl who’s tired of being bullied by all the smelly boys at her school. Instead of resigning herself to a loveless marriage and life she would be ill-suited to, Brienne picked up a sword and brought honor to her name and family another way. She may not wear frocks or know how to needlepoint, but her strength, spirit, and loyalty show that she really is a trueborn nobleman’s daughter.
Lady Meera of House Reed
It’s pretty easy to forget that this swamp-spawn, frog-sticking, wild-haired huntress is in fact the eldest daughter of Lord Howland Reed, a banner-man to House Stark. A lot of magic revolves around the Reeds of Greywater Watch, and Meera takes it upon herself to be its protector, and particularly the crusader of her little brother Jojen. It’s a shame she never met up with Arya – I’m sure they’d get along.
Ellaria Sand of House Martell
The beautiful paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell and mother to the Sand Snakes of Dorne. Unlike the delicate ladies of the north, Ellaria and her daughters have never let the title of ‘bastard’ get the better of them. Instead, they make the most of it – holding places of honour throughout the Dornish court. Ellaria is at the forefront; with a sharp eye and a strong sense of survival, she knows how to play the game of thrones far better than most of her noble counterparts. And with ties to both Daenerys Targaryen and Myrcella Baratheon, who knows which strategy House Martell will choose.
Lady Melisandre of House Baratheon
The mysterious Lady Melisandre is the true driving force behind Stannis Baratheon’s war campaign. Although she claims to be simply a vassal for the Lord of Light and his champion, it isn’t always clear who the true leader is. Love her or hate her, she is one of the most dangerous women in Westeros, equipped with otherworldly magic, a cult following, and the control of an army with a King at its command. She can also birth creepy shadow men that can slip into the tents of her enemies and stab them in the heart. Don’t get on her bad side.
Princess Myrcella of House Lannister and Baratheon
The daughter of the once-powerful Cersei Lannister, she’s now in a far greater strategic position than her mother. As Cersei begins to fall deeper and deeper into the madness found in a bottle of wine, it’s left to the golden princess to save her family. Engaged to a Prince of Martell, where the eldest inherits, regardless of gender, Myrcella has her own opportunity to wrestle the Iron Throne away from her brother. She may only be a pawn for House Martell, but with the blood of Tywin Lannister flowing thickly through her veins, there may be more to her than meets the eye.