For those of us that have read A Song of Ice and Fire, I think we can all agree that The Creator, George R. R. Martin, does an excellent job of portraying strong female characters. There are many who exude strength and prove themselves as strong and capable leaders. Sometimes it may take a while to find her voice as it did with Sansa Stark or she may be born with determination like her mother Catelyn Tully. A woman’s strength might also come from pain and revenge like Arya Stark or it could even come from love and loss like Daenerys Targaryen. Whatever the reason may be, GRRM has done an excellent job in giving a strong voice to female characters. But what HBO’s mummer’s farce of a show has done is provide you with lessened versions of these women. Game of Thrones has done little and less to show you how powerful some of these characters may be and it is time that we rectify these egregious errors by turning to the books!!
While fan favorites Arya and Daenerys are represented fairly well as they were originally created, let’s talk about two characters that have been grossly misrespresented: Asha Greyjoy and Arianne Martell. Each of these characters is a strong, important woman in her own right and both have been ruined by the book burners D&D for reasons unbeknownst to me. Lets start with Asha first since she has at least sort of been seen on the show.
Asha Greyjoy is the only daughter of Balon Greyjoy and to many, the only living heir of Balon since Theon is presumed dead. In the book burning program, Game of Thrones, the show runners CHANGED HER NAME to “Yara” Greyjoy to avoid confusion with the wildling “Osha”. Really? REALLY? Do D&D think that people are so stupid that they can’t remember the difference between two completely different characters? Others take me. Asha is a fierce and loyal warrior and the captain of her own ship, the Black Wind. Her father respected her determination and courage and thus raised her as his heir after his two eldest sons were slain and Theon was sent to Winterfell as a hostage. During Balon’s assault on the North, it is Asha who commands the greatest fleet of ships and is entrusted to capture Deepwood Motte. Unlike other Ironborn, Asha displays compassion and empathy for her captives like Sybelle Glover and her child and treats them gently and insists that others do the same. Asha is fearless in battle and unlike her HBO counterpart, Asha Greyjoy would NEVER run away from dogs!!!!! The pathetic assault on the Dreadfort to rescue Theon is by far one of the most ridiculous scenes in the history of the show. Every detail of that scene contradicts the very essence of Asha Greyjoy. She is not some craven that will run away at the sight of dogs!!! She would take her suckling babe from her breast and place it right between the eyes of any man that stood in her way!!! After the untimely demise of Balon, the Iron Islands were in need of a new ruler. Though Asha is clearly the heir of House Greyjoy, each of Balon’s brothers, Euron, Victarion and Aeron, had many supporters that believed he should sit the Seastone Chair. What happens next is probably one of my favorite parts in A Feast for Crows, the Kingsmoot. Now, I am not going to delve into details about the Kingsmoot because “we do not spoil” (You see what I did there, right? RIGHT?) here at angrygotfan dot com, but it’s pretty awesome and easily one of the best depictions of the Ironborn. The show runners have said they were planning on omitting the Iron Islands “subplot” from season 5 so maybe we can hope for them to appear in season 6, but that’s looking pretty grim.
As far as Arianne Martell is concerned, unless you’ve read A Feast for Crows or A Dance with Dragons, you probably have no idea who she is since the Dornish were only recently revealed. Arianne Martell is the oldest child of Prince Doran Martell and the heir to Sunspear. Unlike their Westerosi counterparts, the Dornish hold true to the practice of primogeniture, which sounds like a fancy SAT word, but basically means it doesn’t matter if the first born child is male or female when it comes to inheritance. This is important to the Dornish story line. Extremely important actually, as it is the impetus of a crucial events which involve the Lannisters. This is one of the reasons why cutting Arianne is a grave mistake. For a bit of background, Arianne feels that her father does not respect her and is planning on passing over her in favor of her younger brother Quentyn (another omitted Dornish character) and she sets certain events in motion to try to reclaim her birthright. Instead, the show runners decided to carve up Arianne’s story like a Thanksgiving turkey and divide it amongst the Sand Snakes and her uncle’s paramour, Ellaria Sand. This is why the storyline for season 5 makes no sense. Obara, Tyene and Nymeria, only want revenge for their father! They aren’t trying to start a war over who succeeds Doran! And to add even more insult to the Dornish storyline, including Ellaria in this foolishness is just insulting to her character. Ellaria wants peace and gives one of the most eloquent speeches about vengeance in A Dance with Dragons. Now, while Asha Greyjoy is a hard and steadfast warrior, Arianne Martell is more demure and subtle when exercising her influence. Described as a great beauty, she is not afraid to use her physical appearance to get ahead. While some may look at this in a derogatory manner, think of Cersei Lannister, she does the same thing. When you play the game of thrones, all options are on the table. Arianne, much like her uncle Prince Oberyn Martell, is the exemplification of their House words “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Clearly Arianne still has a part to play as she is a POV character in The Winds of Winter. How this will translate to the show remains to be unseen.
What we do know though, is that two female characters that were so well written and embodied the very essence of female strength in their own respective ways, have been defiled. Asha Greyjoy is more than what she has been portrayed as on the HBO series. And the show watcher will never get to experience the character of Arianne Martell. But there is still hope! For after the blasphemous book burning show is at an end, the books shall remain forever!!!!
By Lady Shelly
Graphics by @3eyedcr0w