Now it’s their turn: On HBO’s Game of Thrones, the show’s powerful female characters are about to take center stage more than ever before. So for this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we go behind the scenes of the Emmy-dominating drama’s ultra-mysterious new season, plus profile six of the show’s leading ladies whose storylines are about to change Westeros forever.
“The women are rocking this season — and I’m not just saying that because they’re on your cover,” says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) always does, but also Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Arya (Maisie Williams), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Cersei (Lena Headey), Margaery (Natalie Dormer), and other characters too, like Yara (Gemma Whelan). They power this season. It’s organic to the storytelling, yet a radical shift. It’s the women that are the hope that we’re watching as the chess pieces move this season, and it’s very exciting.”
The ascension of Thrones’ female characters isn’t a new strategy. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, working from the narrative template established by author George R.R. Martin, introduced Westeros five years ago as a male-dominated world ruled by figures like Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). One by one, these strong and commanding men have suffered tragic turns of fate that have cleared the way for a fleet of heroines who have learned new strategies to survive and conquer in a brutal world. Off screen, too, the female actors have become breakouts — landing coveted roles in films ranging from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Christie) and X-Men: Apocalypse (Turner).
In EW’s new double-issue, we profile the women of Thrones, tease what to expect in season 6, provide catch-up and binging guides, plus take you behind the scenes in Northern Ireland and Belfast to reveal how Thrones team pulled off its biggest season yet (and the best, according to the showrunners) while trying to keep more secrets from its fans than ever before.
EW has plenty of online Thrones coverage planned, too – exclusive news, cast interviews, recaps, and more (without spoiling any of the significant twists to come). To continue reading more on Game of Thrones, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or you can buy your choice of the six collectible covers here – follow @jameshibberd for ongoing GoTscoop, subscribe to our Thrones email newsletter, and bookmark our GoT headlines and recaps hub.