Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Song of Ice and Gender

I just, finally, finished A Dance With Dragons. (Dang you, Martin).

Before doing so, I re-read the entire series. I got to thinking about something. Sex and gender is a stronger theme in the books than I at first realized. (And no, I don't just mean the fact that people in that world have sex and talk about sex a lot).

The role of women, their place in the world, is expressed in all kinds of ways. The female characters range from Sansa, who only wants to be a lady, to the assassin-in-training Arya, to the Maid of Tarth (a personal favorite). And, of course, there is the dragon queen herself.

At the same time, we also have Cersei Lannister to prove that women are in no way immune to the corruptions and temptations of power (and, of course, of sex).

The truth is that there's actually a surprisingly strong feminist undertone to the books that it took several readings to uncover. The women of this world are finding their strength and stretching their wings, and both facing the darkness and becoming it.