FANTASY GIRLS – TOP 10 GIRLS OF GAME OF THRONES (PART 1)
Game of Thrones. Need I say more? And just in time for the new season!
Of course, you saw this – and winter – coming. Adapted from George R. R. Martin’s (unfinished) book series A Song of Ice and Fire, executive producer David Benioff jokingly suggested a tagline of The Sopranos in Middle Earth.
Or perhaps, I’ll make my own Middle Earth – with blackjack and hookers!
It is particularly notable for the number and variety of female characters or protagonists, only some of whom are hookers, although almost all of them appear naked or topless.
So without further introduction…actually, there is some further introduction. I don’t know about the Night King, leader of the White Walkers, but I definitely could get behind a Night Queen – hence my title image. Of course, my primary reason for my title image was because I didn’t want to choose any individual entry from my top ten for it – although the top spot will be no surprise, particularly as she already featured in my Top 10 Girls of Fantasy & SF.
However, it does prompt me to some Game of Thrones lore, albeit more from the books. In the television series, the White Walkers we’ve seen have been male – and not particularly attractive, somewhat like frozen beef jerky zombies in appearance. In the books, however, they are potentially more attractive – inhuman perhaps, but eerily beautiful at times, like dark elves or “Sidhe made of ice” as Martin described to artist Tommy Patterson for a comics adaptation. There have also been female White Walkers, at least in legend – indeed, the Night’s Queen herself. You see, the title of the Night King given to the leader of the White Walkers in the series seems to have been an adaptation of the title given to the legendary figure of the Night’s King from the books, but the latter was a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who was seduced to the dark side by a female White Walker, “with skin as white as the moon” but “cold as ice” and “eyes like blue stars”. He brought her back to the Wall, reigning as the Night’s King with her as the Night’s Queen, while binding the Night’s Watch to him by sorcery and human sacrifice – until House Stark under the King in the North joined forces with the Wildings under the banner of a King-Beyond-the-Wall to defeat them.
Anyway, these are my top 10 girls of Game of Thrones, with or without White Walkers.
Of course, some of you may be asking – who?
Admittedly, she does not have much of a role – just two episodes in the sixth season, albeit including the infamous fifth episode “The Door”. (“Hold the door!”).
She was Sansa Stark.
Not in the series itself of course, but in the play of a street theatre troupe seen by Arya Stark in Braavos (apparently titled The Bloody Hand and apparently also by a filthy Lannister propagandist by the way it got my Stark blood to boil).
So some of you may not have noticed her – but I noticed her! O yes – I noticed.
She didn’t have much of a role as Sansa in the play either – which accounted for Arya’s presence at the play, as the Faceless Men assassins had been hired to kill Lady Crane, who played the much bigger role of Cersei in the play. Or so Arya supposed, as she spied the jealous understudy mouthing all of Cersei’s lines. It’s not exactly hard evidence and doesn’t make much sense that an itinerant theatre troupe actor could afford the most elite assassins in the known world for such a purpose (or alternatively that their fees are so low that anyone can hire them for the most petty purpose).
And she’s not in the book either (although neither was Ros, everyone’s favorite s€xpositional hooker until she ran afoul of Joffrey’s crossbow target practice).
(9) LYANNA STARK
Basically, I’m going to cram as many Stark girls in this list as possible because…because THE KING IN THE NORTH, that’s why! House of Stark forever, baby!
However, Lyanna Stark well deserves her place in the top ten, although her fabled beauty has not been particularly well showcased in the series. Up until season six, all we saw of her was her statue in the Stark family crypt at Winterfell (and which King Robert insisted upon seeing at the outset of his royal visit with which the series commenced).
And when we finally saw her in the flesh in the sixth season (for that long awaited revelatory R + L = J), she was obviously not at her best either, dying from complications in childbirth – and extracting that promise from her brother Eddard or Ned Stark at her deathbed.
However, her fabled northern beauty was such that it had a profound narrative impact on events in the series – by inflaming the passion of Rhaegar Targaryen, prompting him to forsake his wife Elia Martell and “abduct” Lyanna, in turn igniting Robert’s Rebellion (as Robert Baratheon was betrothed to Lyanna), overthrowing the Targaryen dynasty and placing Robert Baratheon on the Iron Throne.
(8) TALISA STARK
Yes, it’s another Stark girl (bring our total to two so far, three if you count Bianca as Sansa Stark) – this time by marriage, to Robb Stark, THE KING IN THE NORTH and the Young Wolf.
She was adapted from Jayne Westerling, Robb’s bride in the book and a girl from a minor noble house. The latter actually made more oath-breaking sense, since Robb was effectively placed between dishonoring his oath to Walder Frey and dishonoring the girl’s house (as she was pregnant).
In the series, Talisa was not native to Westeros but a former resident of Volantis who had seemingly taken up her vocation as the Florence Nightingale of Westeros (and being Westeros, had her work cut out for her).
Of course, all that came to an end at the Red Wedding – particularly graphically for Talisa (and their unborn child)
The North remembers. O yes, the Freys may have paid, but the North remembers…
(7) YGRITTE (GILLY)
And now it’s time for some girls gone Wilding!
Ygritte gets some grief from fans – particularly, I suspect, from fangirls for touching their precious, pretty Jon Snow.
Of course, Ygritte herself was a fangirl for Jon – although they were star-crossed lovers from the outset.
However, I found her to be an intriguing character and she’d probably earn her place in this top ten for her catchphrase alone, so often quoted as to evolve into an internet meme – “You know nothing, Jon Snow”.
And I dare even the most hardened fangirl not to be moved by the inevitable conclusion of their doomed relationship, lamenting that they should have never left that cave…
While on girls gone Wilding, it would be remiss of me not to give honorable mention to Gilly. I have a soft spot for Gilly, because she has one of the few good hearts in the series and because she has helped Sam Tarly to be something better – with the narrative impact of learning the effect of dragonglass on White Walkers. And as a born survivor, she might just see the series out unscathed.
Missandei came very close to being ranked higher. For one thing, she’s fetchingly played by Nathalie Emmanuel (thankfully adapted up in age from the young girl in the books).
For another, she’s another of those few good hearts in the series – possibly one of its gentlest and most decent characters, particularly in her touching platonic relationship with Grey Worm.
Of course, viewers know her as Daenerys’ right hand(maiden), with her gift for languages and social etiquette – akin to a much s€xier and less useless C3PO.
However, sadly she lacks the narrative importance of the top five…
TO BE CONTINUED – TOP 10 GIRLS OF GAME OF THRONES (PART 2)