Until recently, you could make the argument that Game of Thrones was a stealthily feminist show. In its early years it might have lured in the typical male fantasy crowd with sex, violence and alpha-male characters like Ned and Robb Stark, Robert Baratheon and Jaime Lannister, but before you knew it a woman was on the Iron Throne, her main challenger was also a woman, and Westeros was stuffed full of female assassins, knights, wily politicos and Dame Diana Rigg. Sure, the show still asked us to ogle naked female bodies once a week, and there was still a worryingly relaxed attitude to rape, but we fantasy-loving female viewers have learned to take our victories where we can – and Game of Thrones was one of them.
Which is why it’s so frustrating to see the show slip back into its old ways in this final season. Coming off the back of The Long Night’s excellent twist ending – where Arya, rather than the expected hero Jon Snow, killed the Night King – the latest episode is especially disappointing. So many of the show’s strongest female characters were undermined by showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss, who also wrote this episode.