"A few weeks ago on Game of Thrones, when Brienne of Tarth became a knight and Arya Stark decided to have sex for the first time, it seemed like the show committed to an idea that’s been building in recent seasons: that female characters can be defined by something other than marriage or sexual trauma, and they can be powerful outside of their familial relationships with men," says Kathryn VanArendonk. "Brienne wanted something other than a mate, Arya took charge of her own sexual destiny, and both of their desires were validated. In a show full of rape and driven by women tearing each other down to gain power, 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms' suggested that women could be defined by something other than their pain. Then, in Sunday’s episode, 'The Last of the Starks,' all of that beautiful character work went straight to hell." VanArendonk adds that Sunday's episode "suggests that Game of Thrones, eight seasons in, still cannot conceive of a way for most women to exist in its world beyond being sexual partners, being mothers, or tearing one another apart. For a short period on this show, it looked as if Sansa, Cersei, and Daenerys might be the figures of strength left at the end, a trio of women who might rid themselves of the idiot men whose battles shaped the map of Westeros. Now, it looks as if they’re all just another layer of obstacles who will destroy one another so that Jon Snow can take the throne."