“Do you like pretending to be other people?”
Girls of Thrones is our weekly look at the women of Westeros. Read on our feminised take on Season Six, Episode Six, Blood of my Blood
There are spoilers ahead. Your choice.
Watching Episode Six’s opening scene, your heart went out to Meera Reed. She’s just heard Hodor die a horrible death, she’s being chased by horde of the undead and Bran’s still away with the ravens. But Meera battles on through the snow storm. She’s an underrated character, Meera Reed, as she’s mostly just been an adjunct to Bran’s plotlines. But there’s some real grit and bravery in that girl. We’re glad that she and Bran will live for now, following their surprise rescue by Bran’s surprisingly not-dead uncle, Benjen Stark.
On the topic of Starks, we can finally start calling Arya Stark a Stark again, rather than faffing about referring to her as A Girl. Arya couldn’t follow through on killing actress Lady Crane and, in that one act of mercy, proved she was no Faceless Man. Now she’s taken back her name and broken the assassin’s creed, Arya’s doomed herself to being hunted by The Waif. It was still good to see her reclaim her sword and her self, but who is that self? Lady Crane hit closer than she thought when she asked Arya “do you like pretending to be other people?” A’s moulded herself into a variety of roles since she left Winterfell. Who will she be now?
And now to the question we’ve been debating in the Emerald Street office this morning: is Margaery Tyrell pretending to be someone else? Specifically someone pious and down with the High Sparrow’s plan. It is possible that Marg has been brainwashed during her time in the cells, but we don’t buy it. First off, M is a lady who always knows what side her bread is buttered: she’s very good a cosying up to power. If that’s currently the High Sparrow, then that’s what it takes. Margaery has also seen what the walk of shame did to Cersei – and she’s too canny a PR strategist to take that (remember all that giving food to the poor and waving from balconies? Girl can spin like Malcolm Tucker). Poor old Tommen is probably the most suggestible and easily manipulated character in the whole show, so naturally he’s going to follow in his wife’s wake.
Over in Essos, Daenerys Targeryan gets to close the episode again. Dario (who looking less cocky as Dany gets more powerful) summed her up perfectly: she’s a conqueror. But it does make one wonder if she’s able to rule. She certainly lacks the political savvy of characters like Tyrion, Varys and Margaery, so is Daenerys a warrior pretending to be a benevolent queen? Plus, whilst circling over yet another of your armies on a dragon is undeniably dramatic, we’re starting to long for substance rather than style. Wind in the grand gestures, D, and get out of the desert.