While Game of Thrones is certainly no stranger to girl-on-girl action, female queerness on the show has traditionally been used for audience titillation and nothing more. But last night, we got to see a woman — tough-as-nails Ironborn warrior Yara Greyjoy — gleefully and unabashedly desiring another woman, in a way that didn’t feel like some sort of fantasy written by a horny teenager. It was great!
When we see Yara last night, she’s being mounted by a half-naked woman at some sort of coastal brothel as her PTSD-afflicted brother Theon looks on anxiously. “Nothing on the Iron Islands has an ass like that,” she observes merrily. Then, after leading Theon in a nice sibling pep talk and a round of the popular Ironborn drinking game Yara Cup (rules: Drink when Yara says drink, and drink it all), she heads off to enjoy her last night on the mainland. Or, as she puts it: “Now, since it’s my last night on shore for a while, I’m going to go fuck the tits off this one.”
While the show has had gay male characters before — Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell — both characters were defined pretty much exclusively by their gayness. It’s nice to see a character whose sexuality is introduced so casually and lightly, instead of being presented as a defining characteristic from day one. By the way, Yara (or Asha) isn’t gay in George R.R. Martin’s source material, so this would appear to be another innovation by the showrunners, who have been bolstering their progressive credentials this season.
Even if King’s Landing is currently ruled by the Westerosi religious right, we know that there’s all sorts of ways to live in the Seven Kingdoms (scatter my ashes in Dorne, please). And after spending six seasons inundated with horny, ribald men, it’s a pleasant surprise to have Yara Greyjoy, brawler and unapologetic ass woman, reminding us that it’s not just dudes who know a nice butt when they see one.