…daughter of death, bride of fire, mother of dragons.
I’m only reblogging this so I can rant.
So basically Daenerys Targaryen, one of the strongest female characters on television, is ‘great by birth’ (i.e. who her father is) ‘greater by marriage’ (i.e. who her husband is) and ‘greatest still is her offspring’ (i.e. who her ‘children’ are).
Women can be great on their own terms. Daenerys isn’t great because she’s a Targaryen, She’s not great because she married Khal Drogo. She’s not even great because she has dragons.
She’s great because she’s a young woman who knows her own mind and who is determined and intelligent. She perseveres through a whole load of shit and she frees slaves and sacks cities. To say that what makes her great is her relationships to other men (who aren’t even as good as she is, anyway) seems very odd to me.
I fully agree. Whoever made this image is a sexist piece of shit.
Whoaaa whoa, okay - I get that yelling sexism is a hell of a lot easier than using Google, but here, I’ll lay it all out for you.
Because, idk, maybe it’s a surprise but I actually put a lot thought into the graphics I make and usually that thought is not or ever ‘lol chix can’t do shit//matter cuz ther proximity to penises’.
My response is largely to being called a sexist piece of shit. Like, if you want to call me that and you don’t want to check the quote, at least check out my fucking blog first, dude.
Okay, this is the goddamn epitaph of motherfucking Empress Matilda, a royal woman who fought a thirty year war to reclaim a throne she felt was rightfully hers, would have been the first woman to rule England, and who has more than a few similarities to the character of Daenerys Targaryen.
- they are both closely tied to their lineage as conquerers
- they both have brothers who die, leaving a succession crisis in their wakes
- they both are sent off to marry foreign leaders at the age of 14
- those foreign leaders command huge followings and both are given positions of high administrative power in their courts and become loved by their people
- both those husbands die
- it’s open to debate whether Matilda gave birth to a stillborn child; she was still seen as marriageable and as the heir to the english throne with no challengers in her way, she still came across many suitors
- both then married rich, vain, attractive, self-centred men for territorial and military gain, and these marriages were both loveless
- both had their thrones ‘stolen’ from them by previous allies
- both have family members and allies in their homelands who they feel will support them upon their return
- both are unable to return to their country of origin without first amassing a military force to help them win back said thrones
- both are tenacious and determined to pursue their birthright but are criticised for disorganisation and having more passion than substance
- both have three children; these children are boisterous and distracting and make it difficult to amass said army on account of their going through adolescence
- for both of them, the eldest child is the strongest, the most difficult to tame but ultimately their key to victory (‘victory’ here for Daenerys being (I will predict) her winning back her throne, for Matilda it was in asserting that her son, Henry, would become king)
Beneath Matilda’s epitaph it is written: here lies daughter, wife and mother of Henry.
Now, I’m not going to launch into a full scale discussion of the sexism the Empress Matilda faced in attempting to assert her claim. The Middle Ages were a sexist period. I assume people generally know this - even if they don’t bother to use Google.
The text on this image SPEAKS FROM A MEDIEVAL PERSPECTIVE. IT WAS WRITTEN IN 1168. In the context of high-medieval femininity Matilda’s epitaph represents the uppermost summit of a woman’s aspirations IN A PREDOMINANTLY MASCULINE WORLD - becoming widely revered through all crucial responsibilities expected of a noblewoman - being an obedient daughter, being a helpful consort and being a loving and productive mother.
A feminist did not write Matilda’s epitaph, yeah? It was, in all likelihood, written a man (maybe even her son), though it could have been her personal construction too being that she was a powerful product of her times and her times were sexist as all hell.
This was the legacy DESIGNED for her in a world where her grandfather was a conquerer, her father was king, her husband was an emperor, and her son ruled over the largest English territory yet known. She lived in a time when ‘queen’ was not a female-synonym for ‘king’ but literally meant ‘wife of a king’. She was defined by her relationships to men because the men in her life were supreme rulers - the honour in her epitaph suggests to its medieval audience that she was a woman who was not just a QUEEN, but a PRINCESS, an EMPRESS and a QUEEN MOTHER. The terminology that existed could only accomplish signifying her unheard-of level of influence and respect by heaping on her three-fold proximity to absolute male dominated rule because that was the only rule that existed and literally nothing else could be imagined.
Today, that is an incredibly obtuse way of conceiving the world. In the time since Empress Matilda we have had Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I, Queen Anne, Elizabeth II - the idea of a royal female head of state is something that’s a canon of the times we live in. That, however, would not be possible without the lengths taken by Matilda in the twelfth century, who planted the seed in the medieval mind-set that a woman had all the potential to lead a military campaign and sit on a throne and rule with poise and intelligence. She didn’t accomplish it, but she was still revolutionary.
Daenerys is similarly revolutionary in her world. Maybe you’ve noticed that Westeros is pretty similar to medieval Europe, in that it’s male-dominated, sexist and incapable of imagining a serious female rule without significant male supervision. It is exactly the sort of society that would say this in hindsight about Daenerys Targaryen, because her bravery and her singularity cannot be denied but the visible legacy she inspires at a popular level is, at this time, based, not on her personality, but in her unique ascension from the daughter of death to the bride of fire to the mother of fucking dragons.
I made this graphic using a canonical perspective. Good job, you’ve isolated that it’s a sexist commentary for a woman, because it is, because canonically the world of ASOIAF is sexist. I, however, am not. I’m a historian who studies medieval dynasties in all their horror and glory.
I am not just copy-pasting apocryphal sounding crap or making up assonancy sayings to slap onto my graphics. I actually think about them for a quite a while, and you made a judgment about me in a second. Please review who is the piece of shit here.