Will Girls Run the World on Game of Thrones This Season?

Photo: Maya Robinson and Photos by HBO

So far on Game of Thrones, most of the power players pulling the strings in Westeros have been men. Slowly but surely, though, women have been exerting their influence and are starting to do so in ways that will have far-reaching consequences. With Tywin's death, boy king Tommen is caught between two women: his soon-to-be-wife Margaery and his mother Cersei, the queen of bad decisions. Westeros has, in effect, two queens, and the struggle between them will shake up church and state in unforeseen ways. Elsewhere, two forgotten daughters — Sansa Stark and Myrcella Baratheon — find themselves in a position to strike a blow for their respective families. (Especially in Dorne, which recognizes female primogeniture.) And across the sea, Tyrion and Varys are on the run, with an eye toward supporting a dragon queen, Daenerys Targaryen. Could the War of Five Kings turn into the War of Five Queens? And what role would women warriors such as Brienne of Tarth, Prince Oberyn's daughters the Sand Snakes, and trainee assassin Arya Stark have to play? We asked the GoT cast at the show's London and San Francisco premieres for their thoughts on the rise of female power.

Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth)
Do you know what? It's really exciting. And I think Maisie plays a brilliant part. Arya Stark is a really exciting, inspirational part, because she has the determination and focus to do things her own way. I love Brienne of Tarth because she's outside of the usual classifications of female characters that we've seen so far. She says, "I am not a lady." She is consciously choosing to be something else. And she's dedicated to that. And it isn't about her. She's a good one. I love her.

Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark)
Sansa's finally got this power. She's finally a manipulator and then this season, there's a lot of pitfalls for her. It's difficult to keep it up because she's put down again, and again, and again, and it gets difficult for her this season. That's real life.

Jessica Henwick (Nymeria Sand)
It's certainly a big component of it. Game of Thrones has always been about female empowerment, but it's nice to see, certainly with the Sand Snakes, three strong women who are working together. Usually when you see a strong woman, she's an ice queen, or a tomboy, or she hates women, or something ridiculous like that. They have their differences, but they're united by their quest for revenge

Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)
Tyrion likes the ladies. He would love women in power.

Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
The rise and rise of girl power [is] one of the strong things about our story.

Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)
I think not just for the women, but for the men as well, it takes so many turns this year. You think you know who's on top and then it changes, you think someone's got the upper hand and then it changes. I think that's the lucky thing about the show — all the characters are written so well and so realistically that whether they're female or male is completely irrelevant, which is how it really should be. People should be able to pick their favorite characters whether they're female or male, and not really have to think about that. That's the nice thing about this year. Everyone is getting the power and the upper hand, and it changes every episode.

Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant)
If the female is strong enough, she will take the power. In Game of Thrones, there are some pretty strong females in there, and I know at least one of them has dragons.  

Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen)
This season, at least for Daenerys, you get to see her really understanding the balance of what it is to be a powerful leader. I think she's using her feminine wiles as well as her kind of masculine Targaryen strength to get that balance right. As she bloody should be!

Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon)
The women have got a lot of power, especially this season. Margaery [Tyrell] especially, because if she marries Tommen, that means she's got a right to the throne. Some things you see, it's all about the men and their strength, but the women, they're really, really clever. People like Cersei, they're on it.

Keisha Castle-Hughes (Obara Sand)
In terms of gender, there isn't really a divide. Like women are absolutely as capable of being warriors as they are at being mothers and lovers, and so I'm excited to see that aspect in the show. I really hope women have a chance at ruling Westeros. Wouldn't that be the greatest? It's completely possible. There are a lot of really strong women who are absolutely capable of the job.

Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar)
Jaqen's always in favor of female power. [Laughs.] Who isn't?