The beginning of Game of Thrones season 8 saw nearly an even number of male and female main characters still alive, but many of the season's most significant moments centered around the women of Westeros: After witnessing Brienne of Tarth be knighted, we saw Arya Stark kill the Night King, which led to Daenerys Targaryen facing off against Cersei Lannister for the Iron Throne, and Sansa Stark ultimately being crowned Queen in the North. Yet, as the BBC reports, only 22 percent of the total lines in the final season were spoken by female characters, according to an analysis conducted by research group Ceretai.
As reported by Forbes, Ceretai has been tracking the percentage of lines spoken by both men and women since Game of Thrones first premiered, showing that the series has never had an even split between the sexes—or even close to that—when it comes to dialogue. Here’s what Ceretai found:
Season 1: 24% female dialogue Season 2: 29% female dialogue Season 3: 28% female dialogue Season 4: 27% female dialogue Season 5: 26% female dialogue Season 6: 26% female dialogue Season 7: 31% female dialogue Season 8: 22% female dialogue
This data is pretty surprising, especially considering that while most of the women in the show overshadowed their male counterparts in season 8, the final season also marked the biggest disparity between male vs. female dialogue.
Forbes, in trying to come up with a reason for why this might be the case, pointed out that while Cersei was thought to be the big bad throughout the series, she was missing entirely from a couple of episodes. Sansa, too, was a bit on the sidelines and given little importance beyond making her thoughts about Daenerys widely known (and sharing Jon Snow's true identity with Tyrion Lannister). As for Arya: she was apparently too busy fighting the Night King and getting to King’s Landing ahead of everyone else to say very much.
Despite the disappointing statistics, Game of Thrones's final season did feature some of the best woman-led scenes in the series; women played just as important a part in the Battle of Winterfell as the men did, and they regularly emerged victorious. The ladies truly stole some of the best moments in the final six episodes—even if they didn’t have to say much to do so.