Game of Thrones: Who Run Westeros? Girls.

By AT&T Digital Media Productions editorial team

The women are taking center stage in season 7 and Westeros might never be the same.

If the trailers for Game of Thrones Season 7 are any indication, its women are about to get medieval on Westeros. The show has always notably put its female characters in positions of power, but also subjected them to staggering abuse, defeat, and loss. With winter having finally arrived, it would seem that a tide has turned as well. GoT’s downtrodden heroines are poised to reclaim their agency while vying for vengeance, justice, fire, and blood. 

Sansa Stark

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Once a sacrificial lamb for Westeros’ patriarchal establishment, derided as a frivolous little girl, Ned’s eldest daughter has become a cold and cunning political powerhouse who everyone is rooting for. With one of the show’s darkest character arcs, Sansa has suffered in silence as the world around her constantly crumbles. In contrast to her sister Arya, who wields her pain as a weapon, Sansa has drawn her suffering inward, reforging and burnishing it. She now stands ready to emerge, to speak, to fight, and even to kill. The menacing strut Sansa adopted after feeding her abuser Ramsay to his own dogs looks to have stuck with her. A little dove no longer, the Lady of Winterfell just graduated from perpetual pawn to major player. Littlefinger had better watch his back.

 

Arya Stark

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Last seen at The Twins serving sweet revenge (and savory pie) to Walder Frey, Arya is on pace to finally return to Winterfell in Season 7. Sporting the classic Stark leather armor, Arya has clearly become Someone again, and while we don’t know if a family reunion lies ahead, we may at least see Arya cross paths with her long-lost direwolf, Nymeria. In a world as vicious as Westeros, we’ll take what we can get. Ned Stark always urged his children to stick together: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” A lone wolf for so long, the fall of winter is a poignant backdrop for Arya’s homecoming. For most of Westeros, winter brings instability and brutality. For House Stark, it means certainty. Their time has arrived. 

 

Brienne of Tarth

Brienne

The truest knight in the Seven Kingdoms, Brienne is also in the North, fulfilling her oath to Catelyn Stark by protecting Sansa. If Arya does reach Winterfell, it will be a long overdue win for Brienne, who failed so valiantly to find and save both Stark daughters. Brienne has always been a star-crossed character in search of her next mission. Will Season 7 see her find a purpose (and joy) outside the line of duty, achieving her full humanity? At the very least, let the woman finally hook up with her soul mate Jaime Lannister!

 

Ellaria Sand & Olenna Tyrell

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After violently usurping power with a promise that weak men will never rule Dorne again, Ellaria Sand has forged an alliance with Highgarden’s Olenna Tyrell to support Daenerys Targeryen’s bid for the Iron Throne. Dorne was once the only kingdom in Westeros to retain independence after Aegon’s Conquest, so there are some questions as to how Ellaria and the Sand Snakes will appeal to Daenerys. Will Dorne secretly seek sovereignty, or will they fully back Dany with their own female-led revolution, because game recognize game? Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how Olenna Tyrell interacts with Daenerys, considering her general disdain for young people and tremendous admiration for strong women. At the very least, the Queen of Thorns has the sharpest tongue in Westeros, so there’s bound to be some great dialogue.

 

Yara Greyjoy

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Another member of Team Targaryen with a considerable endgame role approaching, The Artist Formerly Known As Theon’s Little Sister is likely the most experienced sea captain Daenerys has at her command. With her murderous uncle Euron hot on their trail, it’s somewhat troublesome that Season 7 trailers show Yara frozen in fear under what looks to be a great ball of fire. Yara will no doubt have to fight her own people, whose hard-earned respect she once commanded with ease and swagger. With Euron Crow’s Eye in line to be the next great villain of the series, Yara is an invaluable asset to Daenerys in her quest for the Iron Throne.

 

Daenerys Targaryen

At long last, Daenerys Stormborn, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and All Those Other Titles returns to her ancestral home of Dragonstone. Speaking of dragons, one major concern is her ability to control them. She has a psychic bond with Drogon, but the others, Rhaegal and Viserion, will need riders as well. Is this where her trusted advisor Tyrion Lannister becomes most useful? How will Daenerys react when face to face with Jon Snow—and will she know he’s actually her nephew?

Back in Season 2, Daenerys entered Qarth’s House of the Undying and saw the Iron Throne covered in snow (or was it ash?). The show is finally close enough to the endgame for this vision to come full circle. An abandoned, wrecked throne room doesn’t seem worth winning, not with the real war against the White Walkers on the horizon. Look for Daenerys to weigh her desire to reclaim her father’s throne with her duty to save her people from a wintry un-death. With her Dothraki khalasar, army of Unsullied, Dorne, the Reach, Ironborn reavers, a host of capable advisers, and—oh yeah—dragons at her side, fire is at long last poised to clash with ice on the big stage. 

 

Cersei Lannister

In Game of Thrones, gender equality means the women can be just as monstrous as the men, and with nothing left to lose, Cersei is bound to be more awful than ever in Season 7. Last seen atop the Iron Throne after blowing up half of her city along with all of her enemies, Cersei looks ready for more carnage. And she’ll get it. Back in Season 5, a woods witch warned a young Cersei that a younger and more beautiful queen will cast her down. Margaery Tyrell was killed for this imagined crime, but now Daenerys and her fire-breathing weapons of mass destruction are gunning straight for Cersei's seat.

Her younger brother Tyrion once promised Cersei, "A day will come when you think you’re safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth." With only Jaime and her position on the throne left, Cersei's joy is certainly gone, and her Trial by Wildfire is probably not the last time King's Landing will be covered in ash. Cersei always considered herself the sibling most like her father Tywin, but will she suffer a similar downfall at the hands of Tyrion? Or (gasp) Jaime?

With only 7 episodes in the new season instead of the usual 10, all indications are that Thrones will dive straight into its singular kind of action. With the Hour of Girl Power upon Westeros, look for the women to take control like never before. Valar morghulis: All men must die. But these are not men.