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Lady Vengeance, Lady Love

Our look at the women in Game of Thrones. This week it's Season Six, Episode Five

From here on in, the door is wide open to spoilers… Chat on Twitter using #GirlsofThrones.

We would say this episode belonged to Lady Sansa Stark, but events overtook her. Still, Sansa was magnificent when she confronted Littlefinger. There’s a lot of sexual violence (and general violence) on Game of Thrones, but it’s rare for the victims to talk about what happened. “Did you know about Ramsay?” Sansa spat at Littlefinger. “Would you like to hear about our wedding night?”

Littlefinger, responsible for Sansa’s marriage to arch sadist Ramsay Bolton, did not want to hear. But Sansa was going to make him listen.

“I can still feel it. I don’t mean ‘in my tender heart, it still pains me so.’ I can still feel what he did, in my body, standing here, right now.”

This is really interesting. It’s been amazing to watch Sansa take control of her life and finally become a player, not a pawn. But her storyline skirted the awful cliché of ‘woman is raped, becomes a badass’. It happens so often: Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander, Veronica Mars, Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse. (And this list was compiled in 30 seconds with no Googling.)

Sansa forcing Littlefinger to listen to her turned things slightly. This was not a one-note character shift. She was both victim (“I can still feel it”) and aggressor (“What do you think he did to me?”). She was complicated, nuanced and had a voice.

That said, although it’s easy to understand why she did it, not telling Jon about Littlefinger and his army of Knights of the Vale does seem like a bit of rookie error in terms of battle tactics.

Also seeking vengeance: an unnamed junior actress in Braavos, willing to stump up the cash to have Lady Crane, her older and more talented, female colleague assassinated. This jealous act leads The-Girl-Formerly-Arya-Stark to the theatre, where she watches a play that’s nothing more than pro-Lannister propaganda, portraying her own father as a comic yokel and having to watch his execution again. Is A Girl really no one? Funny that A Girl has suddenly started asking questions again. “Who was the first Faceless Man,” she chirrups. “He was No One.” The religion of The Many-Faced God must be a frustrating one to learn about.

Still, Daenarys Targaryen, previously consumed with fire and vengeance, bestowed forgiveness on Ser Jorah for treason committed in Season One. Yara Greyjoy seems to have forgiven her brother after he acted as her hype man at the Iron Island’s Kingsmoot.

Finally, Meera Reed managed to take out a White Walker. Then Child of the Forrest, tree-woman Leaf, sacrificed herself to save Bran and perhaps to atone for creating the Walkers in the first place.

But the tears on our sofa were for Hodor. As powerless and voiceless as anyone on the show. Assigned a purpose at random. Heroic to the end. Hodor.


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