After several seasons of troubling character starts and vocal backlash after season 5, the women of Westeros are now “running the show.”

“In the beginning it starts off with something of a stereotypical view of women, ss the wives, the girlfriends the ones that are always under other people’s control,” Sophie Turner explained to Variety. “And as the show moves forward you see these women rising to power and the evolution is phenomenal.”

Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, realizes the progress “Thrones” made while maintaining the world it inhabits,”It’s still very much set in a man’s world. What I love about it is how the women play by the rules, weird rules that have been set out, these gender rules. And they still come out on top.” 

Missandei, played by Nathalie Emmanuel had a front row seat to one of the more powerful character transformations, Daenerys Targaryen. “There’s nothing more powerful than a woman whose survived awful things and had to build herself and put herself back together.” But despite being faithful to her Queen, Emmanuel also has plenty of love for Lena Headey, aka Cersei Lannister. 

Where did the change stem from, the fans. “We heard what audiences want, and what they want a are more female characters,” Gwendoline Christie said. “And they want more complex, female characters.”