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Somewhere out there I like to think that George R.R. Martin is hunched over his typewriter like Jessica Fletcher, frantically bashing out the last few pages of the last book in his Game of Thrones series. Having seen the avuncular gentleman’s appearance on the GoT panel at Comic Con I’m afraid he’s probably taking his own sweet time to finish his fantasy epic and we’re just going to have to wait until he’s good and ready to tell us who wins the throne.
But in the meantime here's where I think he's going with it...
I believe old George is building up to a gigantic climax where he makes the statement that the world would be a safer, peaceful, more humane place if women were in charge. So Arya, Daenerys, Brienne etc will rule Westeros in coalition - because they are braver, stronger and smarter than the men. And with this fictional ending he'll make a point about the world we live in too.
Daenerys has really evolved as a character during season 3 - she is relying less on her advisors and trusting her own instincts more, freeing the slave army and gaining their absolute loyalty and facing up to hideously sexist, arrogant leaders with courage, dignity and brains. Her strategies are both savvy and humane - a compelling combination that suggests she is best suited to rule the seven kingdoms.
While the men in Game of Thrones are ruled by their lusts and egos, the women seem more sensible, rational and long-sighted. They are so often regarded as second class citizens, property to be traded like cattle in exchange for cash or land, with their sole purpose to produce an heir (or, if they're a courtesan, to cater to their master's every whim, no matter how depraved) but they still manage to carve out an emotional space for themselves and retain their dignity.
One of the most fascinating relationships that evolved over the season was between Brienne and Jaime - captor and captive who develop a bond through mutual respect for their fighting skills and courage. Stubborn and proud, but fundamentally honourable, she brings out Jaime's good side (who knew he had one?) and I can't wait to see how things progress in season 4. She would make an excellent lieutenant for Daenerys.
To me George seems like Joss Whedon in his subtle support of the female way of doing things, and none of his characters are ridiculous cartoony Lara Croft-style fantasy women (preposterously strong AND smart AND with a hot bod).
The GoT women are realistic – they have flaws as well as the strengths that they learn to play to, whether that's Brienne of Tarth's courage and skill as a warrior or the wily, Machiavellian mind of Margaery Tyrell (which she surely got from her kickass grandma, Olenna Tyrell, played with Maggie Smith-worthy panache by Dame Diana Rigg).
I love the way that Martin makes no distinction between men and women when it comes to their ability to handle themselves in the wilderness, as Meera and Osha demonstrate so effectively as they guide their young charges towards the frozen north.
And yes, there is lots of nudity in Game of Thrones but I think the point George is trying to make is that these girls and women are striving DESPITE the hideously sexist world they live in - they never give up, and nor should we.
And I'm not saying that women always make better leaders than men, just that in the real world, power and politics are so largely in the hands of men, it would be interesting to see how different things might be if things were a little more... balanced. Instead of female leaders being the exception, almost a novelty (Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Julia Gillard), wouldn't it be wonderful if half our politicians, CEOs etc were women?
But they like to tease you, those naughty GoT folk, don’t they? Every season ends up taking your expectations and confounding them completely, so I could end up reading this in a couple of years time and cringing at how wrong my predictions were.
So maybe the specifics won’t be exactly correct – I’m sure the axe is hovering over the heads of half my favourite characters, but I’m confident that my overarching hypothesis is on the money: women will end up ruling Westeroth and far more humanely and successfully than their menfolk ever could.
So what do you think? Am I on the right track with my theory? Who's your favourite GoT character (apart from my massive girlcrush on Daenerys, I love Tywin Lannister - he's so cool!)