What are the relationship lessons we can learn from the women of Game of Thrones and how they conduct their lives?
Here is the archetypal evil queen with her golden hair and her designer gowns. She is first seen wearing gowns in red and gold to show her status as a queen and later on starts dressing in a more authoritative and intimidating manner.
She does everything wrong in her relationships. She doesn’t make any effort in her marriage. She gets into an incestuous relationship with her twin. Her relationships with her children are also distorted. She is so blind to her son’s sadistic tendencies that he uses this as a license to run amok.
Her relationship with her daughter-in-law, Margaery, is the most interesting and possibly something to learn from. When her son is engaged to Sansa she is relaxed because Sansa is a sweet, innocent girl. But Margaery is a different ball game altogether. Margaery manages to get both Joffrey and Tommen under her spell. Probably Cersei is jealous of Margaery because she herself could never bring her own husband under her thumb in spite of her beauty and power.
I think that a lot of women do get on the wrong side of their daughters-in-law because they feel their authority threatened and also they fear losing their son. This especially happens when their own relationship with their husbands is fraught with issues and they are emotionally dependent upon their son. They should learn to step aside and let the son find happiness with his wife.
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To add insult to injury, the Lannisters need the finances and the army that Margaery brings with her. Also Margaery is very popular among citizens because she is genuinely concerned about their welfare. This entire cocktail makes Cersei look weak and dependent upon her daughter-in-law. She is incredibly short sighted in trying to overthrow Margaery from her position. She builds up the high Septon and his moral police and thus unleashes forces that she can’t control. The one thing that one can learn from this is to build one’s own life independent of attachment to one’s children. If she had just left Margaery and Tommen alone, it would have been better for her as well as for the kingdom. They would have made good rulers. Instead she destroyed her whole family with her cunning and petty politics.
She is beautiful and from a powerful family. She is very happy to be engaged to Prince Joffrey who is a prize catch. She gets taken in by his looks and his family’s position. But she is disillusioned when her fiancé executes her father.
When Joffrey dumps her for Margaery, she is forced to marry Tyrion. She hates him because he is old and ugly. But she realises that appearances can deceive when he is very kind to her. She goes against her gut feeling and listens to Peter Baelish and marries Ramsey Bolton. This is something that most girls should learn from. We often don’t know how to say no because we either want to please or we allow other people’s opinions to overcome our own. This is a classic example of a girl becoming a pawn in somebody’s game. We all see her walking to her doom. This is a warning to all women to follow their own instincts about someone.
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What one learns from Sansa’s relationship with Ramsey Bolton is that she follows all the right things to escape from his abuse. She knows and acknowledges that she is actually being ill-treated. Most victims of abuse refuse to acknowledge it and keep hoping that their tormentors will improve. She takes help from whoever is willing to help her. Most victims are too afraid to seek help. She knows that the maid remembers her family and will help her. She talks to Theon Greyjoy into helping her escape and knows Brienne is watching for her. She remains mentally strong through the torture that her husband inflicts on her, waits for an opportunity to escape and is successful in protecting her brother. What is admirable about Sansa is that she doesn’t break after so many failed relationships. She reassesses her goals and pursues them, which is remarkable.
She is brought up in a protected household and submits unequivocally to her brother for an arranged marriage with Khal Drogo. The marriage is for advancing her brother’s political advantage.
They start out with a lot of apprehension and misinformation about each other. She is afraid of him as he is morose and non-demonstrative. He treats her as a typical wife who will look after him and bear him children.
In this background, they still manage to have a successful marriage. It teaches us that fears and misconception about the spouse can be overcome with some effort on both sides.
On their wedding day, he gifts her a horse. She knows that this is a very valuable gift as the Dothraki clan value their horses more than they value their women. She also knows that her husband has just sent a message to his clan to respect her and she is an important part of his life. She, on her part, realises that she is inexperienced and actually takes classes to overcome this. Even though the Dothraki are very different from what she is used to she shows respect for their way of life. She also starts influencing her husband by her opinion on fair play and justice. He starts respecting her when she prevents his soldiers from raping women. Both the ingredients for a successful marriage – mutual respect and love – come into play. And what begins as a marriage of convenience ends up with two of them being very much in love.