10 Most Powerful Female Characters In The Series
Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers of Game of Thrones but not of House of the Dragon.The women of Game of Thrones started as the hidden powerhouses of the show, but House of the Dragon has taken a different approach, and as its debut season nears its conclusion, the women have taken center stage as the most prominent players in the battle for the Iron Throne.
Some women in the original Game of Thrones series may not have wanted the throne themselves, but the power they held over the people around them had huge impacts on the game being played. As more female contenders were legitimized and the power dynamics of the Westerosi houses became clearer, it was obvious that the true power was in the hands of some of the series’ most influential women.
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The Starks were one of the most powerful and influential families in all of Westeros, claiming rulership over the North. Ned Stark may have been introduced as the head of the family in the first season, but after his abrupt death, Lady Catelyn Stark continued on as the heart of the Starks and a chief advisor to its official leader, her son, Robb.
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The Lady of Winterfell wielded her power through her relationships in ways that initiated the large-scale drama between Westeros’ most influential families. From telling Ned about her suspicions regarding Bran’s fall all the way back to how she “raised” Jon Snow, she set more in motion than she ever could have imagined, showing just how much power she sometimes unknowingly held.
Brienne of Tarth
From the moment Brienne of Tarth beat Loras Tyrell in combat, earning herself a spot as one of Renly Baratheon’s greatest Kingsguard members, it was obvious that her role in the show would be very different from the other women who had been introduced.
Standing over 6 feet tall with proven combat skills, her prowess in battle should have been unquestionable, yet she was often underestimated because she was a woman. She was just as smart as she was physically strong and was loyal to the ones she pledged herself to. In keeping her vow to Catelyn and avenging Renly’s death, Brienne made an impact on many of the other power players in the show.
Olenna Tyrell’s acerbic wit and almost complete disregard for many of the rules and customs that she was expected to abide by made her a close contender for one of the best characters on Game of Thrones. She knew how to play the game, and she played it well.
A woman who can take down a king and then flaunt his death to his father in her last breath is nothing short of a power player. She also mentored Margaery into becoming queen, helped Daenerys take Casterly Rock, and had otherwise spent her entire life plotting and playing politics, earning her an insurmountable amount of power.
Anyone who dared underestimate the young Lady Mormont quickly realized their mistake. Everything about her was powerful and every time she opened her mouth, awed listeners could only watch as she put that power on display.
Lyanna demonstrated more courage than many of the older Lords of the Northern houses. Her speech to them, recognizing Jon as The King in North, is one of the show’s most powerful and satisfying moments to watch. Lyanna may have died in the Battle of Winterfell while fighting an undead giant, but her courage and contribution to Jon’s rule will never be forgotten.
The youngest of the Stark sisters had one of the most unusual journeys over the show’s eight seasons. Her role as the misbehaving younger sister changed to a deadly assassin by the end of the last season. Her kill list was only the beginning, paving the way for her deadly pursuits.
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Arya didn’t need recognition of her abilities, she only wanted revenge. However, that drive and the skills she learned at the House of Black and White gave her a power that went beyond her revenge pursuits and was seen when she held her own against Brienne, killed the Night King, and outwitted Little Finger before delivering his satisfying execution.
Melisandre initially placed herself at King Stannis Baratheon’s side in the battle for the Iron Throne until it became clear that she chose wrong. She preached of The Lord of Light while practicing dark magic that helped move her Lord’s plans along.
The power Melisandre had over the people around her (specifically the men) was rooted in her sensuality and persuasive way with words. She convinced Stannis to burn his own daughter alive, resurrected Jon Snow, and, in the Battle of Winterfell, she offered aid that eventually led to the Night King’s death. As a voice in the ear of significant players, she wielded her power behind the scenes in order to see through what she said her lord commanded.
If there was ever a Game of Thrones character who was good, true, and pure, it would be Lady Margaery of House Tyrell. She did what she had to do (with Olenna’s help) in order to survive the environments she was thrown into. Her intelligence and likability helped her pull the strings of the weaker-minded people in her life but used that power for good instead of evil.
The Lady Margaery appeared in five seasons before she died in one of the most devastating death scenes in the series, but five wasn’t nearly enough. She had the knowledge and charm that could have carried her through to the end, but she unfortunately got in the way of an even more powerful character who had no problem using darker methods to get what they wanted.
Sansa Stark was a character that needed to grow on audiences and all it took was extreme trauma to vault her into maturity that somehow made her more likable. When looking back on her character’s development, it’s clear that she suffered more than many of the other characters on the show.
Sansa’s power potential was there while she did all she could to survive in the Red Keep, but it was the Battle of the Bastards that showed the true weight of the power and influence she learned to wield. She helped Jon win that battle, acted as a voice of reason when his judgment was clouded by his feelings for Daenerys, and even became the well-deserved Queen in the North. It was a drastic change from the young, boy-crazy and entitled Sansa from season one.
Very few people would dare challenge Cersei without expecting her full wrath in return. As first the queen who sat by Robert Baratheon’s side then the mother to the impressionable child kings that followed and later the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, her influence knew no bounds.
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Cersei’s power manifested in the most diabolical of ways. She was ruthless in obtaining information, seeking revenge, and playing mind games that drove people to do unspeakable things. She assisted in some of the most brutal Game of Thrones moments and even became a mass murderer after blowing up the Great Sept.
Every time Daenerys’ power grew, a new title was added to her name. By season eight she was Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains.
Her fate may be one of the most disputed plot points in television history but up until that abrupt spiral, she deserved the Iron Throne. She had a legitimate claim and had been using her amassed power to do good, freeing slaves, and becoming the queen that people chose. Unfortunately, she fell victim to the Targaryen curse and allowed power, grief, and anger to drive her to madness.
Next: House Of Dragon And 9 Other Shows With Powerful Queens