Even in fantasy worlds, women have a hard time attaining power. On Game of Thrones season 8 premiere night, a Democratic strategist conducted a flash (meaning one-night-only) poll of 506 GoT-watchers, asking them who they support #ForTheThrone. ("I acknowledge that this is a little extra," Danny Barefoot of Anvil Strategies said about his poll.)
The poll asked fans who they think should take the Iron Throne — not who they predict will ultimately win at the conclusion of the series — and allowed people to choose among the characters seen as the top eight contenders.
The results: Jon Snow 26%, Tyrion Lannister 19%, Daenerys Targaryen 17%, Arya Stark 11%, Sansa Stark 8%, Jaime Lannister 7%, the Night King 7%, and Cersei Lannister 5%.
These results invite a comparison between the fictional world into which so many fans have escaped, and the real, arguably even more gruesome and depressing, one.
"I think this poll really mirrors the current state of politics," Barefoot tells Refinery29. "Using even pretty objective criteria, the women in Game of Thrones seem to be best positioned to lead. They aren’t getting support in spite of that. I also found it hilarious, and awful, that people would rather the entire Game of Thrones world end (by the Night King winning) with everyone dying than allow a flawed, establishment woman, Cersei, to keep the crown."
To many, Cersei Lannister is more than a flawed ruler — she's a vicious and unstable one. But Sansa, as the GoT-lovers at R29 will tell you, grew up to be arguably the smartest person in Westeros, because she learned how to play the Game of Thrones from some of the best political minds in the series. She would make a better ruler than Jon and Tyrion. In other words, she's like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, minus the cycle of trauma and abuse at the hands of two of the worst characters in Westeros. It's also telling that while Daenerys, Jon, and Tyrion have been at the center of debates over the saga's main prophecy, the men are positioned as the ones fit to rule.
"The fact that the qualified women are sandwiched in the middle of the pack behind mediocre white men is honestly almost too on the nose," Barefoot tweeted. "Like LOL, but also kill me."
Game Of Throne season 8 airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic and is available on Now TV