As I am rewatching the first season of Game of Thrones, I am struck by the scenes after Ned is taken prisoner by King Joffrey. In particular, the scene with Sansa and Septa Mordane. It’s not a long scene; there is only a line exchanged each before they are interrupted by Lannister soldiers. Then Septa Mordane tells Sansa to run and bar the door, to not let anyone in unless she knows them.
Does this help Sansa getaway? Unfortunately not, as the Hound (Sandor Clegane) finds her and takes her to the King and Cersei; however, Mordane’s intent was for Sansa to be saved. I’m struck by this by the fact that most people tend to focus on Syrio saving Arya, and that women are still only typically praised when they are doing something grand. I do want to be clear that Syrio saving Arya is a good thing, a great thing, and does deserve the honor that people bestow on him. But why is it we don’t focus on the woman who tries to save the young child she grew up teaching?
People are more inclined to focus on the awe-inspiring actions of others. Mostly because those are the ones we see, the ones the media want us to see. The ordinary actions of most men and women are looked over as non-important, as only the people who are there to keep the household and hearth warm. We overlook their actions as unimportant because they are not grand or earth-shattering.
Yes, the ones who go off the war and stand up and yell can be great people, and some are deserving of our respect and loyalty, but more often than not we are left empty-handed by them at the end of the day.
Sadly, most people who are like this are women. Not always, of course, but we do tend to forget the silent strength that women have used over the centuries due to an imposing patriarchial system.
Syrio’s sacrifice for Arya is a great scene and brings up an often quoted phrase:
Now, I’m more moved by Septa Mordane protecting Sansa. A strict woman, who has taught this young girl (who can be a typical pre-teen girl) since she was young, decides to save her. Like a mother protecting her child. Septa Mordane will not be remembered by anyone, nor will her name be written down in any books, like so many women before her. So, it’s up to us to remember those women like the Septa, the women who may not roar like a mighty lion or snarl like a terrifying wolf, but the ones who stand up and say firmly this is my place, you will not move me.