The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: English Studies: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Glenn Davis

Second Advisor

James Heiman

Third Advisor

Matthew Barton

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Martin, Game of Thrones, Women, Power


George Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series utilizes the appropriation of historical influences, medieval conventions and fantasy tropes to create a rich and brutal world that both revitalizes and defies its genre. Martin’s work focuses on the importance of the struggle of the human condition. His construction of a patriarchal and misogynistic world while reminiscent of the Middle Ages, uses a stark realism and harsh flavor to draw attention to the conflicts his characters fight to survive. Within the confines of his fantasy setting, this work examines the opportunities for agency and power that exist for the women, in spite of the patriarchal setting. Under the right conditions women, particularly mothers, can find agency as peaceweavers, intercessors and nurturers. And on rare occasion, when the proper conditions are met, maternity affords these women real public authority. Using medievalism as a point of reference this work focuses on the struggles of the women, particularly Daenerys Targaryen, within the texts to achieve agency and power. Her struggle to rise above the fray and find influence in a male dominated world, allows us to examine the impact of medieval cultures on both popular culture and modern society.