How Game Of Thrones Depicts The Ultimate Feminist

HBO’s Game of Thrones has just concluded another highly lauded season. I’m a fan of the show, so last week I began to break down some of the aspects of it that I’ve found most appealing and informative. This week I want to discuss another aspect of the show: its depiction of “girl power” and its engagement with feminism.

On my way to dinner on my campus a couple of weeks back I heard two girls talking about television shows that were worth watching. One then began trying to convince the other to start getting into Game of Thrones. Her reasoning?

“You’ll LOVE Daenerys so much! She’s, like, quite the feminist!”

My school is crawling with the kind of gender feminists whose reasoning we frequently question here and elsewhere in the manosphere. They all love to make specious arguments about patriarchal constructs in the show and/or misogyny, but at the same time they love the “empowered” feminist aspects of it. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the show’s producers are aware of the “girl power” potential certain characters have in the show and no question in my mind that they’re playing it up.

With that being said, I got to thinking about that particular girl’s statement and began to see its validity. George R.R. Martin’s Daenerys Targaryen is, in many ways, the archetypical Western feminist, and her depiction in the HBO series only enhances this image. Her connection to the modern feminist narrative is embodied in three primary ways:

1. She’s extremely privileged.


Feminism is a product of privilege. Not all feminists are rich and not all feminists can be called privileged, but the movement itself was clearly born of prosperity and, to this day, remains dominated by the daughters of such prosperity (white, upper-middle class females concentrated primarily in or around major urban areas, especially on the East Coast). They are entirely the products of success built long before them, and it is that same success (wealth, safety, etc) that allows them to wield the influence they do now. Feminism as we know it much less visible outside of the prosperous “developed” western world, and this isn’t a coincidence.

Daenerys is a princess, heir to a vast noble legacy founded hundreds of years before her. It is this privilege that provides her with the power (and the respect for it) that she wields in the show, and allows her to act as “empowered” as she does. She is entirely the product of successes built long before her, and it is that same success that allows her to wield the influence she does now. It is her privilege that allowed her to gain the assistance she needed to become the leader she is.

2. She’s bad-boy property.

You want to talk about pretty girls (particularly those of the Western variety) in love with “bad boys”? Meet the love of Daenerys Targaryen’s life:


3. Her persistence is due primarily to the actions of the men who support her.

Feminism’s persistence and success depends on male acquiescence. Without men to build and maintain the society in which they live while also protecting its inhabitants and creating the tools and technology they use, feminism as we know it cannot begin to develop, much less actually gain influence.

Daenerys is similarly reliant on men, who lay the foundation for her power and for her continued existence.


Her status as the wife of Khal Drogo provided her first taste of credibility as a leader and allowed her to gain her first subjects. It was also through her marriage with the Khal that she was able to acquire her dragons—they were a wedding gift.

Jorah Mormont, the exiled Westerosi knight who has advised her since her wedding with the Khal, has saved her life more than once. Though originally contracted to betray Daenerys in return for social and monetary gain, he goes back on this and continues to protect her. His advice not only facilitates her growth as a leader, but also keeps her alive on more than one occasion. She would be lost and likely dead without him.


Ser Barristan Selmy, also an exiled Westerosi knight, provides another example of a man without whom Daenerys would probably be dead.

In Season 3 following her proposal to trade a dragon for an army, both of these men question their queen in front of her trading partner. Their advise is sound, as is their worry—it does appear to all the world that she’s about to make a silly deal. She responds by threatening them with dismissal.

Though one can see where that threat is coming from, it is difficult to imagine her actually going through with it. Her threats, like those feminist calls for the “end of men” and claims of male irrelevance, are impractical. As mentioned earlier, feminists can’t persist without male labor and acquiescence. The entire ideology is the product of prosperity produced primarily by men, and it will die in the absence of that. Again, modern feminism’s general confinement to the prosperous developing world is not a coincidence.

Daenerys, similarly, can’t persist without men, particularly the two advisers she has threatened with redundancy. She would not be alive now without them and she wouldn’t last long in their absence.


It isn’t hard to see the appeal of this particular scene or of Daenerys in general to female viewers. They’re anxious to see signs of female power, and Daenerys seems to offer them. She wields tremendous influence and she scolds grown men like children. Her threat against Mormont and Selmy conveyed this quite well: two experienced, powerful fighting men left browbeaten by a dainty little girl who then goes off with a female slave by her side and tells her this as those men follow along sheepishly in the background:


She taps into the wannabe “badass” fantasies of many a Western woman. She is the ultimate feminist fantasy girl.


Like most such displays of feminist “empowerment”, however, there is much more to the story. Regardless of the desire for “girl power”, Daenerys (like her real-life feminist counterparts) will always owe a significant debt to men. The “End of Men” is not near, no matter how many “feminists badasses” try to indicate otherwise.

Read Next: What Game of Thrones Says About Morality And Necessity

50 thoughts on “How Game Of Thrones Depicts The Ultimate Feminist”

    1. Strange that, even to this day, I still find Uhura (original series, not Zoe Saldana’s take . . . yuck) to be a credible role model for women.

  1. Women love royalty and vampires. Perhaps in coming seasons she will die in childbirth or get beheaded for not producing heirs, as was common in pre-industrial monarchies.
    Off-topic but ForeignBride and I watched the orginal “Tarzan” starring Johnny Weismuller. Fascinating, given its production date of 1932, in showing so-called “female hypergamy”.
    Jane : “You are the most horrible man in the world Tarzan”, as they frolic nude in the river and shortly before he drags her to his treehouse crib (that is after he treats the audience to his “loincloth”). I’m serious, there is a nude swimming scene, complete with “nipples”. Jane clearly prefers Tarzan to her stuffy English suitor. Then, savage dwarves and stampeding elephants.
    It was the first movie to gross $1 million. ForeignBride loved it. Definiitely a movie to put in the “VCR” when you have female company.

  2. I’m conflicted about Game of Thrones. In terms of social structures and gender roles, the show is incredibly realistic compared to the Middle Ages in Europe. The historical relevance is a hoagie slap directly to the face of modern feminists complaining about senseless and trivial things today (e.g. “Women should be spelled wymyn! Sign of patriarchy!”). Women have no idea how easy life is compared to any other point in human history.
    On the other hand, the “girl power” scripting and making a woman seem like a badass simply for the sake of making a woman seem like a badass is a huge turnoff and detracts from an otherwise compelling storyline.

    1. They dint even have toilet paper. Consider that spices were prized simply to mask the smell of putrid meat, thus leading Columbus and Magellen to seek alternate routes to the “Spice Islands” so they could get around those pesky Arabs. The rest is history.

      1. Yeah and the English (and probably many other Western Europeans) didn’t even shower so the smell really stayed…

    2. Prove it! And while you’re at it explain why anyone in their right mind would waste their time watching a stupid TV show.

  3. its ludicrous to view game of thrones through a modern ideological lens, from either end of the spectrum. daenarys represents ROYAL privilege, not “female” privilege–just like elizabeth the 1st in england. an untested PRINCE whos sole reason for power was a historical bloodline to which he had yet to contribute would be just as privileged and, if SMART, be just as reliant on GOOD advisors for assistance. thats the best part of game of thrones, zero modern ideology. because westeros is loosely based on england in the time of the war of the roses, it incorporates the possibility of female monarchs. not all monarchies allowed females to inherit the throne, most euro ones did, maybe that has something to do with why feminism took root so strong in europe and uk??

  4. Here’s the thing with Daenerys. Obviously the whole sense of entitlement is obvious. Then she is also a slut, sleeping with many an alpha male, Drogo, Daario, etc, who show swagger, peacocking, game, etc. On the other hand, in the books, the plain, hairy, yet loyal Jorah is spurned and friend-zoned, then later banished. I have a big problem with the TV depiction of Daenerys, because the writers have made her a much whiter character/heroine and played up the feminist aspect much more than it actually exists in the books, while they have made the other main challenger to the throne, Stannis Baratheon, who is actually kind of an alpha male who is mostrously just and unbending, yet very non-emotional etc into a pussy begging for sex from the red woman. There was no reason to do this except to play up to modern liberal cunts. GRRM’s world is a lot better/ safer from the feminist regime, but the TV world in order to cater to the masses is not so much.

  5. I don’t want to be that guy, but later books go into just how badly she performs as a ruler.
    What I think is more interesting and worthy of an article is how “feminists” who watch the show identify more with Dany, a spoiled brat, and less with the best female characters in the series who prove they can do everything that men can: Brienne and Arya.
    Just sayin.

  6. I don’t want to be that guy, but later books go into just how badly she performs as a ruler.
    What I think is more interesting and worthy of an article is how “feminists” who watch the show identify more with Dany, a spoiled brat, and less with the best female characters in the series who prove they can do everything that men can: Brienne and Arya.
    Just sayin.

    1. because they are ugly, like real women who are actually on the end of the spectrum where women display male competence or rationality for the most part

    2. I guess it’s because Brienne and Arya don’t whine or complain enough about how society isn’t fair for modern feminist tastes. They’re willing to take their lumps and earn what they want.
      I’ve heard more self-identified feminists say how much they like Cersei Lannister, who I think is even more representative of what a feminist REALLY looks like than Dany; spoiled, petty, arrogant, and not nearly as smart/capable/badass as she thinks she is.

      1. purely on a looks basis, i’d say real feminists tend to look more like tyrion lannister…

        1. touche. But the handful of feminists that are easy on the eyes tend to also be the most dangerous.

      2. And in the books, an over the top plotting, vindictive, jealous, petty slut with major daddy issues and penis envy. They’ve really toned it down in the show, attempting to make her more of a victim.
        Typical Amerikan TV: the women are empowered, the men are buffoons. It would go without notice if we didn’t have the books for direct comparison.
        And of Daario….at least in the book, shows decent displays of cocky/funny game, but also p.whipped in the show.

    3. Hah, you didn’t really spoil much for me, as this is exactly what I was expecting to happen. They’re playing her up as a feminist icon so they can bring her down.

    4. “What I think is more interesting and worthy of an article is how
      “feminists” who watch the show identify more with Dany, a spoiled brat,
      and less with the best female characters in the series who prove they
      can do everything that men can: Brienne and Arya.”
      Where are you getting that info from? Brienne and Arya seem to have plenty of fans. As do some of the more “traditional” female characters like Catelyn and Sansa.

  7. I’ve only seen snippets of the show, but didn’t she used to get repeatedly raped by that big dude whom she fell in love with?

  8. Solid article, though no mention of something I’ve always noticed; rarely does an episode go by where she doesn’t have her hand out, imploring the men to help her just because she happens to be a hot, young female.

  9. “3 Her persistence is due primarily to the actions of the men who support her”
    Fuckin gospel.
    One can be assured that 99% of super empowered women out there in the real world are *empowered* by men who are secretly propping them up in some way.

    1. Well. That’s not really unique to women, a succesful leader always has good people supporting them.

  10. Carry on watching the show. She fucks up, hilariously.
    spoilers:it involves daario

  11. Men have been socially conditioned for so long that it is hard to find a broadly educated male with some leadership potential (both in the public sphere and the family unit). Having come to understand this, I have actively tried to remedy such deficiencies, though I’m far from perfect. Problem is, most men don’t try and aren’t inclined to with the feminist BS shoved down their throats. I’m not sure I can even blame them, though we are all going to suffer for it in the end, with a society that will become increasingly lawless before tyranny is imposed to remedy the lawlessness. See where this [email protected] rubbish is going?

  12. I don’t watch GoT but have just discovered “Borgia” on NetFlix. I’ve put time into Borgia after getting a book “An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Niccolo Machiavelli.” The Borgias ruled during M’s youth and early career.
    The great thing about “Borgias” is that there’s little of this feminist claptrap (so far.) The women are used and useful, and do their plotting with sex and poisons, of course, but remain the vassals of the strong men.

  13. Watch Rome. Rome is Game of Thrones without the magic and strong women. And with only some nudity since it doesn’t use nudity and homosexuality as fillers to make up for bad writing.

  14. You like Games of Thrones don’t you? Read the books last year, didn’t care much for it myself. But:
    >the movement itself was clearly born of prosperity
    This is important, and bears repeating. Less developed societies are less feminist not necessarily because they are “backwards” or inferior, but because exposure to the harsh demands of day to day life make feminism look like the privileged angst of those out of touch with reality.

  15. You guys are pretty bad, but the feminist movement was worse with their extremity. Social change is like a pendulum. Swinging one way, less as far the other way, and on and on until a healthy middle point is reached. Luckily, you guys aren’t swinging quite as far as feminism did.
    Let’s debunk the bullshit parts:
    1. This isn’t a feminist narrative. This is a narrative that applies to power in general. A priveleged, stubborn person who is raised up by other people and makes bad decisions with their love life.
    2. The “women-have-power-because-men-gave-it” story is true, but makes a fatal flaw. It’s treating power over other people as a good thing. Fuck that. Freedom is better.
    Here’s a radical idea. Fulfilling our natural mascuilinity and femininity, but also realizing that everyone is of equal worth — while accepting that certain people have talents and flaws. That’s right, you can be a million times more talented, and still be of equal worth. Sound crazy? It’s because you’re so close to society you can’t see it for what it is. Give it 30 years.

      1. Okay, I know I came off as pretentious. But this is the Internet, no one’s going to pay attention if I’m a neutral little pussy about it.

      1. It’s not an objective truth, there’s nothing to prove. You’re more than welcome to treat people as fundamentally inferior or superior, but it is all in your head.

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