A lot of fans
latch onto Jon’s seeming disdain for a certain kind of woman, “a willowy creature who sits up in a tower…waiting for some knight
to save her,” as an indictment of “weak” women. I’ve even seen
people call Sansa a “princess
in a tower” as an insult, and I can’t help but think that the
dedication to hating Sansa has led them to miss the bitter irony that it
is Jon’s mother, the woman he has longed
for his entire life, who died, locked away in a tower.
women face in ASOIAF is hammered into us over and over, because in this
story, it doesn’t matter what kind of woman you are, having a sword, being a
warrior, even having dragons doesn’t save you from the predations of men. To
celebrate one kind of woman as innately superior to another is to miss this
point entirely. Lyanna and Elia both
died. Lyanna, Sansa, Dany, Cersei (the list goes on), are all promised to men they have no interest in marrying. Personalities, the ability to ride or fight, the love of songs or the
desire to be queen, none of that makes a difference. This idea that in a
society that robs women of power, Sansa is at fault for not having any, is
The sentiment I
see so often justified with Jon’s words isn’t something we’re meant to adopt as
our own. Repeatedly in the text we see the better men seek to save
the women who are powerless, and when that fails, demand justice, dying in the attempt to secure it.
Having this repeated in the stories of Brandon, Oberyn, and Jon should alert
readers to the idea that maybe the problem isn’t the woman, but the world she lives in.
that some readers attach to Jon’s words isn’t even what Jon believes
himself. Jon uses his position to empower Alys, denies he
has/refuses to “steal” a wife, rejecting the unique ways
the cultures he’s straddling victimize women. He doesn’t offer scorn, but
action. Using his words to shame women who are denied the means to protect
themselves is accepting the horrifying aspects of the society that we are
meant to recognize as evil.