Sexist tropes are ruining Game of Thrones' female characters

Why can't the powerful women of Westeros be noble heroines and not cunning manipulators?

The Breaker of Chains
(Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO)

As the end of Game of Thrones fast approaches, the question of who will control Westeros has morphed into a far more interesting dilemma: Who should control Westeros? Sadly for fans rooting for the Breaker of Chains, a shadow was cast on Daenerys Targaryen's moral claim to the Iron Throne during the season eight premiere. On top of the fact that she is not technically the rightful heir, she is also, it seems, a selfish and power-hungry leader.

This moment in Daenerys' story arc was a long time coming; I, like many others, have wondered with concern about her tyrannical streak and her rather incendiary sense of justice. I'm nevertheless disappointed in how her character has developed, and, more broadly, how the narratives for the show's strong women are devolving. As season eight's opening episode demonstrated, the heroines of Westeros are increasingly being portrayed as scheming, power-hungry, destructive women. In other words, the Game of Thrones writers are falling back on tired and sexist tropes so often used to dispatch with ambitious female characters.

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