What happened was that my mother, knowing I’m an unrepentant nerd for Game of Thrones and its source material, brought home this book from the library (where she works) that was all about analyzing the female characters of the series. It appeared to be someone’s doctoral thesis, or something, and the question it endeavors to answer, is basically whether the series—both books and show—are sending a feminist message, or whether it’s just more patriarchy.
I read a little bit of it, and I found that little bit rather tedious. Not that it was wrong, just that all of what I saw was stuff that either a) I have already written about, in quite a lot more detail, on this blog, or b) didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m not sure whether the author is keeping in mind that comparing GRRMartin’s characters to archetypes is likely to be complicated, as GRRMartin is committed to fucking with popular fantasy tropes, rather than honoring their traditions.
But like I said, I only read a very little bit of the book before putting it down. So perhaps the author understands much better than I do the extent to which GRRMartin is successfully fucking with our tropes the way he intends. I think the real problem with trying to give a definitive answer to a question like this is not that the question isn’t worth asking (I seem to have some strong opinions on the feminist/patriarchal dynamics in the series), but that, at this stage, there are too many moving parts to bring the discussion to a resolution.
Shorter version: the series isn’t finished yet. We still have two more books and three more seasons of the show before we see how all these characters turn out.
How thoroughly can we analyze what kind of messages we get from the character arcs of Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister, Asha/Yara Greyjoy, et cetera, when we don’t yet know how these characters end up? I have some ideas of what’ll happen to Cersei, Arya, and so on, but making predictions is a separate issue from feminist criticism. For those of us who are interested in social justice and like to talk about Game of Thrones, we’re analyzing the story’s messages based on only 5/7ths of the story. That certainly doesn’t stop us from taking part in the conversation, but we expect to keep having that conversation until after we’ve experienced the story to its end. We try to answer a question based on incomplete information, we get an incomplete answer.