Things are changing for the women of 'Game of Thrones' this season. Finally.

Who runs the Westeros world? GIRLS!WARNING: 'Game of Thrones' spoilers below.

If you thought the big reveal of "Game of Thrones" season six was John Snow not being dead, you haven't been paying attention.

The real news this season is that the ladies of Westeros are taking their rightful places as the badass conquerors, and no man — living or white walker — can stop them.


GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

There've been moments of badass women wielding power peppered throughout the series, but now the women of "Game of Thrones" are taking center stage like never before.

After many, many, many seasons of seeing female characters degraded and used as props and naked background decoration, we're finally seeing these amazing women get what's coming to them — namely, positions of high power, revenge, and most importantly, female solidarity.

It's like "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" but instead of chant circles and mint juleps, we have bloody body piles and dragon-scorched boats.

Ya-Ya! GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

Sansa Stark has transformed from a terrified prisoner into a military strategist.

This is perhaps the most exciting character journey of the season — Sansa has come a long way in just nine episodes and won't let anyone stand in the way of reclaiming her own autonomy and her home.

GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

Not only did Sansa manage to escape the clutches of the unnervingly evil Ramsay Bolton, but with the help of Brienne of Tarth, she made it all the way to her brother John Snow at Castle Black where she promptly schooled him on how to build an army. Of course, he didn't listen to her — because even the John Snows of Westeros can be pig-headed.

In the most recent episode, "Battle of the Bastards," rather than let her brother die (again), Sansa went behind his back to save his (and everyone else's) skin using her Aery army connections.

Of course, she does wait until the very last minute to teach her big brother the most important lesson: When dealing with a sadistic psychopath, you should always listen to his former wife.

Well-seasoned conqueror, Daenerys Targaryen, aka Khaleesi, aka the Mother of Dragons, may have begun this season working alone, but now she's aligned herself with another powerful woman: Yara of Ironborn.

GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

True, Daenerys has been burning her name into all the eastern kingdoms for several seasons now, but in season 6, she's really coming into her own. At the beginning of this season, she sought fiery revenge on the Dothraki leaders, took the remaining people under her command, and subdued the slave leaders with her dragon children.

In "Battle of the Bastards," Daenerys raised her dominating lady power to the nth degree when she combined forces with everyone's favorite sea-based ruler — Yara of Ironborn.

Boom! Solidarity sister mic drop! GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

This union is the feminist equivalent of the Ghostbusters crossing proton streams: Despite the fear of world implosion, we'll end up better and safer on the other side.

As if in response to all the public outcry against how the show handles rape, Daenerys explicitly called for an end to it, along with "reaving, roving, and raiding" in her pact with Yara.


Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island, who made her first appearance this season, is proof that even 10-year-old girls can lead armies.

Image from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

We all instantly fell in love with her because she's sassy (“Lady Sansa is a Bolton ... or is she a Lannister?”), but when it came down to it, she was willing to stand strong with her brethren and fight the ultimate battle.

And while Sansa, Daenarys, Yara, and Lyanna are all out there leading their people, they aren't the only female characters owning their power this season.

Margaery of Tyrell has spent this season proving that sometimes you can fight without physical weapons and still win major battles.

GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

After all, she's been dealing with a powerful religious fanatic (*cough* cult leader *cough*) who's taken control of King's Landing. Under such circumstances, she's had to play her hand close to the chest, but so far, it appears to be working.

And, lastly, having spent two seasons trying to become a girl with no name — Arya Stark is now ready to embrace the power that comes with owning her identity.

GIF from "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

Arya's training with, and subsequent epic fight against, the Waif in a series of terminator-style face offs demonstrate how size, gender, and age truly do not matter when it comes to being able to deliver heart-pounding action sequences.

Slick fighting skills are far from the only thing that's turned Arya into a pillar of strength, however. Her encounter with the playhouse actress, Lady Crane, taught her to trust her own judgement rather than leave her fate in the hands of the many-faced god.

According to HBO, this six-season journey toward Westeros' feminist future has been part of the plan all along.

"It’s the women that are the hope that we’re watching as the chess pieces move this season, and it’s very exciting,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly.

Given that for six seasons audiences have tuned in to see women being raped, tortured, blinded, and married off to horrible men over and over again — simply put, this shift is both incredibly welcome and long overdue.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

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Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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