A great confrontation is coming to Game of Thrones, one that’s been signaled since Jon Snow first walked into the throne room of Dragonstone and laid eyes on Daenerys Targaryen. Jon, meant to warn the Mother of Dragons of the great threat of the undead, instead fell in love with her, eventually bending the knee. It was a move that was sure to rub Jon’s sister Sansa Stark, the Lady of Winterfell, the wrong way. As official images from the upcoming eighth season show, Daenerys’ arrival at Winterfell may not be all that welcoming, as far as Sansa is concerned.
We don’t know how their meeting will land, and perhaps we’re all anxious for a rivalry that will not come to pass. But still, to counteract those potential bad vibes, we’ve compiled a list of happier moments between the ladies of Game of Thrones. Moments of solidarity, of interpersonal connections, of sisterhood. Because the women of Game of Thrones don’t have to be neck-and-neck, and very often aren’t. This is a celebration of those times.
Brienne bows to Catelyn
Shortly after the death of her beloved Renly, the fiercely loyal Brienne of Tarth finds a new leader to champion in Catelyn Stark. “You have courage,” Brienne says to her. “Not battle courage, perhaps, but a woman’s kind of courage.” Catelyn smiles at this, takes her hand, and vows that Brienne will always have a place in her home and at her table. And thus, a beautiful allegiance is formed, one that carries over to Catelyn’s daughter Sansa after her death in the Red Wedding.
Sansa and Margaery bond
Sansa finds a mentor figure in Margaery in season three after she fully sees Cersei for the monster that she is. Desperate for kinship in King’s Landing, she attaches herself rather quickly to Margaery, even after she succeeds Sansa as Joffrey’s betrothed. Margaery is fiercely opportunistic, and has her eye on the throne, but is also good-hearted at her core, and their friendship is touching. They can’t save each other in the end, but their moments together prove that Sansa has love for female friendships in her heart.
“We are not men.”
After Daenerys purchases the Unsullied in Astapor, she quickly befriends translator Missandei, whom she also technically owns. But she makes it clear right away that she is not like the other slavers, and that she intends to set her army and Missandei free once she has claimed the throne. When Dany warns Missandei that she may fall sick or even possibly die on their journey, the translator responds with the famous High Valyrian phrase, “valar morghulis,” or “all men must die.”
“Yes, all men must die,” Dany repeats. “But we are not men.” The friendship between Dany and Missandei is still strong five seasons later, the longest and most honorable female friendship depicted on the show.
Shae tells Ros to protect Sansa
We knew that Littlefinger was not to be trusted the moment he betrayed Ned Stark, but this was something Ned’s daughter Sansa had to learn over the course of many seasons. But before she could, she was falling for his traps left and right. She wasn’t yet keen to his dastardly deeds, but his brothel employee Ros and Tyrion’s secret lover Shae saw through him. After reminiscing over how far they’ve both come as sex workers in Westeros, Ros tells Shae, who is now Sansa’s handmaiden, to watch out for the girl. “I always do,” Shae replies.
Oleanna compliments Brienne
Margaery’s grandmother Oleanna is a fan favorite on Game of Thrones and for good reason. She’s full of life and always delightfully above it all. In this moment, when she first encounters Brienne, we also see her admiration for strong women on grand display. “We know who you are, we’ve heard all about you,” Oleanna says to Brienne. “But hearing is one thing. Aren’t you just marvelous? Absolutely singular.” Compliments are rare in this world of death and despair, so Oleanna’s words are pure joy.
Shireen teaches Gilly to read
It breaks our hearts to even think of poor Shireen, whose fate is among the most tragic in all of Thrones (which is really saying something). But we love the sweeter moments she shares with other characters on the show, like Davos, whom she teaches to read. She also teaches Gilly how to read and the two share a touching bonding moment because of it. It’s always lovely when characters with such tragic lives are able to relate to one another.
“The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
It’s hard to watch this moment and not feel a punch to the gut. After seven seasons, the Stark sisters are finally reunited at their ancestral home, but both have endured so much that it hardly feels like a victory. Their parents are dead, half of their brothers are dead, and they are staring down the barrel of a terrible war. But when Sansa repeats one of their father’s many noble sayings—”When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives”—we’re offered a brief moment of hope that maybe these sisters will be okay at the end of it all. At the very least, they’re in this together.