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The power behind the thrones

Game of Thrones season five is so close we can almost smell Flea Bottom. So, if you’re just sitting on the sofa waiting for it to arrive, here are Standard Issue writers on the best-eros of Westeros, to help you pass the time.

Brienne wielding a swordBrienne of Tarth

Brienne of Tarth would be my spirit animal, if my spirit animal was a giant fighty Amazonian warrior with the sword-arm of a gladiator and the body of an angel. She kicks ass and wins hearts without relying on a flash of side-boob to speak for her.

I’ll forgive her crush on Jaime Lannister (Christ, she’s human) and her appalling record at keeping her charges alive, because she’s the most honest, direct, loyal badass in Westeros.

While the other women are swinging their tits around and playing games, she’s fanny-deep in mud fighting a bear. Her strength is matched only by her restraint in not killing Podrick, who would have gone over the first cliff if I’d been in charge. She’s a woman of her word, a tower of feminism who made the Hound look like a puppy. And I dare anyone to argue.

Daisy Leverington

Tyrion Lannister

Let’s put aside the fact that Tyrion Lannister is the smartest, most compassionate and just character in Game of Thrones since Ned Stark got his head chopped off. He’s also the one with the most righteous, beautiful moments in the show. Remember when he slapped Joffrey, the snivelling King of Misery, right across the face? Then he did it again. He slapped Joffrey in the face. Twice.

His guile won the Battle of the Blackwater. He’s the only one who lays truth smackdowns on Cersei. He sees through the twisted theatrics of the nobles at King’s Landing, and hangs out with rogues and sell-swords. He pretty much loves Pod, his squire.

Tyrion sitting in a dungeonTyrion also gives out the best advice: “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour and it can never be used to hurt you.”

Bisha Ali

Daenerys Targaryen

As a real girl who, as a kid, had imaginary dragons, it’s hard for me to feel anything other than burning empathy for an imaginary girl who has real dragons.

The people of Britain love her so much, they’re even calling their daughters Khaleesi (meaning warlord’s wife, which isn’t very empowering) and Daenerys (which no-one can spell).

Daenerys with a dragonShe will never check to see if her foundation contains an SPF, or style her victory braids to hide the neck blister where she caught her GHD straighteners, or singe her fingerprints off on a hot pan lid, because – and I’m sorry, Katniss Everdeen – Daenerys Targaryen is the original ‘girl on fire.’ If you’re in hot water, you want her in there with you and not just because you’re enjoying a bath and the boiler’s run out of steam.

Her many conquests and dignified acts of bravery show that she really can take the heat, earning her the title ‘The Unburnt’.

Daenerys Targaryen is a shining example of what any woman can achieve with a little self-belief, rock solid morals, and a C or above in A-level Dothraki.

Elizabeth Bower

Jamie Lannister

Would I like Sir Jaime in real life? Of course not. Is he the best thing in Game of Thrones? Absolutely. Handsome, laugh-out-loud funny and living off a successful parent’s wealth and reputation, the oldest Lannister son is the Roger Sterling (or Sterling Archer) of Westeros, if they’d also fucked their sister, crippled a child and murdered a cousin with their bare hands.

Jaime standing at a deskDespite barely being in the second series, Nikolaj Coster Waldau still got most of the best lines – his first meeting with Brienne of Tarth (“Is that a woman?”) is a shite-smeared treat. It’s this relationship that went a long way to humanising him and in a series where people were getting bits lopped off left, right and centre (sorry Theon) it was the loss of Jaime’s hand that resonated the most.

But, if pulling “the great beast of a woman” out of the bearpit made you think the Kingslayer was a changed man, what happened next to the corpse of Joffrey proved he’s still as screwed-up and violent as ever. But it did show he’s capable of change for the better, which, in Westeros, is exceedingly rare.

As he says himself: “There are no men like me. Only me.”

Hannah Dunleavy

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Written by Various Artists

Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.