Sure, Robert Baratheon ruled all of Westeros, Khal Drogo had his khalasar and Ned Stark was Warden of the North.
Obviously, the men are the ones who literally rule in HBO and George R.R. Martin’s world seen in Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean the women of the realm don’t also rule in a less literal sense of the word. Whether working though their roles as ladies or shunning the traditional roles expected of them, the women of Game of Thrones are the ones who really rule.
Catelyn Stark - Though her actions are oft criticized, Catelyn’s choices, though not always best, are intended to keep her family safe. She truly exemplifies the Tully house motto, “Family, Duty, Honor.” She protects Bran when a man attempts to take his life, and she attempts to make peace with Renly and Stannis Baratheon for her son. She was even prepared to accept whatever fate awaited her when she released Jaime Lannister in hopes of exchanging him for the safety of her daughters. While many were enraged by her actions, Catelyn wasn’t concerned as she put her family first.
Arya Stark - Though young, Arya has already realized that being a lady is the last thing she’s concerned with. The only needle she has an interest in is her sword that shares the name. While her attitude early on in the series certainly earns Arya a place among other ladies that rule, its her determination as her situation gets worse that really shows how much Arya rules. From disguising herself as a boy and traveling with the Knight’s Watch to serving as Tywin Lannister’s cupbearer, Arya is smart and determined as she tries to find a way to return to her family.
Sansa Stark - The well-behaved counterpart to Arya Stark. Where Arya shuns what is expected of her as a lady, Sansa embraces and excels at it. In two seasons viewers have watched Sansa go from a girl who believed her life might end up like the songs she so loved, to a young woman faced with the hard truth that would never happen. She’s been beaten and abused at the hand of her once-betrothed Joffrey Baratheon, and still perseveres as a lone wolf in a den of Lannister lions. While she may not be a fierce fighter like her sister Arya, her fight to keep on in the Red Keep is no less impressive.
Cersei Lannister - Cersei is one of the few women in Game of Thrones who truly are in a position of power as she rules through her son as queen regent. Often times she isn’t as in control as she’d like to believe, but that doesn’t stop he from persevering. Sometimes cruel and always ambitious, Cersei’s actions may be despicable at times, but she always acts for the love of her family.
Brienne of Tarth - While we’ve only briefly begun to get to know Brienne, but she’s probably the strongest female character when it comes to physical strength. Much like young Arya has begun to do, Brienne has shrugged all conventional roles expected of her as a woman. Exceedingly loyal, perhaps even to a fault, Brienne’s continued travels with Jaime Lannister will certainly be entertaining to watch this coming season.
Margaery Tyrell - While readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire series don’t get to know Margaery until much later in the books, we’ve been able to get a better sense of her in the television series. She intends to do whatever it takes to put herself, and her family, in a position of power. First this includes taking on a husband who fancies her brother more than herself, and more recently we’ve seen her betrothed to the loathsome Joffrey Baratheon. It’s clear Margaery wants to rule, and has no intentions of letting anyone or anything stand in her way.
Daenerys Targaryen - Frequently a fan favorite, Daenerys is a woman who knows what she wants, and that is to reclaim the Iron Throne. We watched her grow from a girl who was sold by her brother for a crown, to the mother of dragons. The beginning of season two saw her left in a dismal situation, but by the end we saw the dragon that Daenerys is when she took action against servant Doreah and Xao Xhoan Daxos for their betrayal after reclaiming her stolen dragons. Hopefully we’ll be seeing much more of this fierce Daenerys as she continues on her quest for Westeros.