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Friday, July 1, 2016

Woman of the Month: Margaery Tyrell


Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones
SPOILERS 
This is the first time I've changed the candidate for Woman of the Month at the very last minute – sorry Eliza Hamilton, you'll just have to sit tight until August. It's also the first time I've chosen a posthumous character, which makes this entry something of an "in memorial" post.
But in light of the most recent Game of Thrones episodes, I felt it was only right to showcase Margaery Tyrell.
There were many things I enjoyed about this character, the first being that she's a rare example of the show actually doing a better job with characterization than the books. George R.R. Martin's Margaery is something of a cypher, whereas Natalie Dormer's portrayal is a much more three-dimensional being.
She's also one of the few female characters in the show (in fact, perhaps the only one) who was totally comfortable with her own femininity and sexuality. She understood the restrictions that were put upon her by her society, but she knew how to work them to her own advantage. One only has to examine the way she interacts with other characters to see her talent in reading them, discerning them, and then adjusting her own behaviour to fit their expectations.
This goes hand-in-hand with her powers of manipulation. There's no doubt she was a manipulative, scheming, calculating person, but the fascinating thing is that this trait wasn't reviled by the narrative. How often can you say that of a manipulative female character? Usually they're condemned as deceptive and evil.
Yet Margaery more often than not used her abilities for good – either in advancing her own family or in the more general sense. Which is the final thing I appreciated about her: she was a genuinely nice person. Perhaps the most devastating thing about her death in the season six finale is that she probably could have saved herself easily enough: but she broke character in front of the High Sparrow in order to save everyone else gathered there, including her own brother.
I have a fairly popular post on Tumblr that features the expressions made by female characters when they realize what the writers have in store for them – I sporadically add more when the occasion presents itself, but I won't be doing so for Margaery Tyrell. Yes, this was a tragic end for her character – but not an unexpected, undignified or out-of-character one.
As has been said elsewhere: she was always the smartest person in any given room (certainly smart enough to understand the gravity of Cersei's absence in the High Sept), but conniving means for little when up against the blunt force of crazy.
Still, she died protecting her brother, trying to save a roomful of people, and death-glaring the guy who put them there – all things considered it's not a bad way to go.

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