A while back, the writers for the final season of Game of Thrones, which started filming a couple of weeks ago, were announced. And astonishing absolutely no one, there were no women writers on the docket. After 67 episodes of television, only 3.5 episodes have been written by women (i.e. one was co-written). And those by only two individuals: Jane Espenson and Vanessa Taylor. The most recent of those was episode 2 of season 3. Forty-five straight episodes without a woman writing a word of the biggest show on television.
Gosh, I can’t imagine why the show has been repeatedly criticized for writing women like shit while treating rape as a plot device more often than M. Night’s scripts contain twists.
Somehow it’s even more egregious than the problem of only bothering to have one woman director out of the nineteen who have worked on the series, because the transparently bullshit excuse of “well we’d hire women directors if there were any” doesn’t even nominally work on the writer side of the equation. Naturally, the series has had GRRM write a few of the scripts, because that makes total sense. He wrote the novels, and he certainly has the spare time since The Winds of Winter will never ever happen. So, we’ve established that being a fantasy novelist qualifies one to write the scripts for a fantasy television show, right Benioff and Weiss?
Well, have I got news for you. It turns out that women have been writing best-selling fantasy novels for at least the last year or two. Hell, the authors of the six 2017 Hugo nominees for best novel didn’t include a single white dude. Weird, right? Before modern electronics, it was admittedly almost impossible for women to write long form text, as mechanical typewriters could only cycle to a new line with the use of the cock socket, but we live in truly inspiring times. Despite the tragic disability of women authors being forced to type without the aid of a penis, many of them have not only written fabulously successful fantasy novels, but they often have included the three critical components of a Game of Thrones script: violence, boobs, and dragons.
So here are the six women writers who should write the six remaining episodes of Game of Thrones, along with recommendations on what particular storylines or episodes they would best fit into:
Kameron Hurley: Her space opera A Legion of Stars has no male characters whatsoever and has been described as “Fury Road in space”. Her “God’s War” trilogy is set on a matriarchal desert planet in the far future, with a culture and religion descended from Islam, magic based on psychic manipulation of swarms of insects, and a brutal assassin protagonist who makes Furiosa look like a teddy bear. If you’d brought Hurley in three seasons ago, she could have made Dorne the best part of the show by just adapting cut material from “God’s War”, but we’ll have to settle on giving her the obligatory Arya-centric episode of the season.
Jacqueline Carey: The difference between the Red Viper of Dorne on screen and on the page is basically like Pedro Pascal read Kushiel’s Dart and decided to make that his inspiration. Her books have sex and violence and darkness tinged with hope like almost no one else. And there’s a scene, one of my favorite scenes in fantasy that sells her writing for the screen. Joscelin, one of the greatest swordsmen in the world, has gone six hundred pages without drawing his sword. He has fought with his daggers, yes, but in the end, he and the woman he is protecting have been finally run down. And standing alone with neither armor nor allies, half starved and frozen on a field of snow, he turns to stand against a half dozen armored men charging on horseback. He draws his sword. And he is the only one to walk away. Have Carey write you an episode filled with lovers saying goodbye and last stands and it might be the best standalone episode of the show.
Naomi Novik: What if the Napoleonic Wars happened but, like, with dragons? I really don’t think I need to say more than that. Give her one of episodes with dragon battles and it’ll be golden.
Robin Hobb: Dragons and strange magics and parents and children and the endless games of power that GRRM named the first book about. Set Hobb the task of writing the political heavy episode of the season, the one in which Cersei finally goes down and Tyrion pulls all the heartfelt strings.
Kat Howard: She’s one of the more junior authors on the list, but her Roses and Rot was one of the best novels I’ve read in the last year. Her language is sparkling, the sort of description and dialogue you read over and over, turning around and tasting in your mind. But of particular perfection is her painting of the fae: terrible but intoxicating, the tricksters tying knots in the mortal skein, hiding just beyond the veil with their poisonous bargains. There’s got to be one more Bran episode dealing with his magic and the children of the forest, right? Give that episode to Howard and maybe Bran will be compelling for the first time since his cordless bungee.
N.K. Jemisin: Dark fiction, luscious and human. She’s the sort of author who writes slow burning novels that incrementally build a unique and stunning world to set up an ending that twines together tragedy and triumph as inevitable consequences of each other. Beg Jemisin to write the final episode of the series and it will leave such a bittersweet jumble of joy and sacrifice that fans will talk about it for years to come.
There. That’s how you write the final season of Game of Thrones. But let’s face it, if Benioff and Weiss somehow ended up hiring a woman writer for its last season it would just be Lena Dunham. Between the existing relationship with HBO, race issues, and rape apologizing, she’s practically been auditioning for the job for years.
Dr. Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at www.burningviolin.com. You can email him here.