From the dragons to the White Walkers to the full-frontal nudity, Game of Thrones has a lot going for it. But one of the best things about this epic fantasy series is the strength of its female characters. In many medieval-style stories, women are confined to the sidelines, and if a female character does happen to take center stage, it's usually as a love interest or a damsel in distress. But the women of Game of Thrones are much more than romantic side characters, and if Arya or Daenerys ever need to be rescued, we'll know that all hope for Westeros is lost. Whether they're soaring through the sky on dragons, leading armies into battle or learning the art of assassination, the female characters in Game of Thrones are as fierce as they come, and they've delivered some of the most memorable lines in the series.
Here are 8 fierce quotes from the women of Game of Thrones:
8 You are small men...
Daenerys: You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki. But I am. So I will.
Most people surrounded by a group of Dothraki Khals with more collective muscle mass than a giant from Beyond the Wall probably wouldn't call them a bunch of small men unfit to lead their people. But Daenerys would, and that's what makes her the Mother of Dragons.
She is unfazed by the posturing of strong men, and puts more weight on the strength of a person's mind than the size of their biceps. It's these qualities that make her a strong leader — one fit to lead not just the Dothraki, but all of Westeros.
7 I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying...
Sansa: I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying, but that’s not the way you get people to work together.
Few characters have grown as much as Sansa Stark throughout the series. At the beginning of the show, she was but a child, dreaming of a future filled with princes, gowns, and ladies-in-waiting. But as the world darkened around her, her idealistic view of the world crumbled and she was forced to learn the wily ways of King's Landing. Since then, she's become a seasoned player in the game of thrones, leading armies and making big decisions for her people.
Despite some of the darker deeds she's had a hand in (like the whole "feeding her husband to a group of starving dogs" thing), Sansa knows that barbarism isn't the best way to create a sense of community, and when she delivers this line, she proves that she's become as wise a political mind as any.
6 The next time you raise a hand to me...
Daenerys: The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.
Daenerys is loathe to let an army of the dead push her around, let alone her own brother. When Viserys strikes Daenerys in the first season of Game of Thrones, she unleashes the dragon within and threatens him with her newfound power as the Khaleesi of the Dothraki. Eventually, her threats come to fruition and Viserys ends up with the golden crown he always asked for - but it's poured over his head as liquid metal. Be careful what you wish for.
5 Fear cuts deeper than swords
Arya: Fear cuts deeper than swords.
A sword can cut your skin but it can't infiltrate your mind in the same way as fear. At its worst, fear keeps us from being who we truly are - from being the best versions of ourselves. Arya realizes this at a young age and constantly pushes herself beyond her comfort zone, sailing across the Narrow Sea, learning the ways of the Faceless Men and returning to Westeros a changed girl - all before the age of 18. So, if Arya can master her fears and become a fierce assassin, can't we all? (Minus the assassin part.)
4 Woman? Is that meant to insult me?
Daenerys: Woman? Is that meant to insult me? I would return the slap if I took you for a man.
In Westeros, women are expected to stay at home and take care of the children. The place they're definitely not expected to be? On top of a dragon, claiming their right to the throne. Daenerys knows what people expect of women in her world, and she cares not one bit.
She is as ambitious as she is fierce, and although many try to force her into a feminine mold, she lives her life exactly the way she wants, whether that means freeing slaves, taking lovers, or fighting White Walkers. Dealing out the insults as quickly as she receives them, she lets no man boss her around. If they do, they've got dragons to contend with.
3 You're mine and I'm yours
Ygritte: You're mine and I'm yours. And if we die, we die. But first, we'll live.
All men must die. But not all live before they die. Ygritte was determined not to be one of these people, squeezing every bit of passion and excitement that she could from her life. With her spirit as fiery as the color of her hair, she lived for the moment and eschewed any expectations placed upon her. Although she did end up dying in the end (like most Game of Thrones characters we come to love), she accomplished her goal and lived one of the most adventurous lives in the series before succumbing to an arrow wound.
2 I’ve known a great many clever men
Olenna: I’ve known a great many clever men. I’ve outlived them all. You know why? I ignored them.
Olenna Tyrell may be an old lady, but she doesn't pull her punches. Delivering some of the sassiest one-liners in the series, she uses her thorn-sharp wit to critique those around her, from King Joffrey to her own granddaughter. No one is safe from her shrewd judgement, and she especially loves to target those in power.
Having outlived most everyone else in her generation, she decides to let Daenerys in on her secret to longevity: don't listen to clever men. She then goes on to call the Lords of Westeros a bunch of sheep. The Queen of Thorns indeed.
1 All men must die, but we are not men
Daenerys: All men must die, but we are not men.
Throughout the ages, women have been told to follow a different set of rules than men. Instead of being encouraged to study the nuances of political discourse, they were told that needlework was a more suitable pastime. Rather than training with a sword, they were taught to hone their housekeeping skills in preparation for married life. But Daenerys took this idea of dual roles and turned it around on its head. If different rules apply to women, then surely that must extend to all aspects of society - including the most often quoted line in the series. If all men must die, then what does that mean for women? There are worse ways for the series to end than an immortal dragon queen ruling all of Westeros.