Fresh off our examination of the shortage of female superheroes in Hollywood (see here), there’s news this week that Season 5 of the popular fantasy show Game of Thrones (which is currently in production in Belfast and due on screens in April 2015) will deviate from the books and exclude an important female character.
Stop reading here if you don’t want spoilers but if your curiosity needs to be sated, we can report that HBO confirmed in a press release that the character of Arianne Martell, niece of Oberyn and heiress to the city of Dorne, will not be included in Season 5. Even though she is a crucial part of the storyline in George R.R. Martin’s books and even though other members of her family, including her father Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) and brother Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian) have been cast, Arianne’s character does not get any screen time. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the fictional kingdom of Dorne, which is different to the other Seven Kingdoms in that it recognizes female rulers, will become a pivotal location in Season 5. But instead of concentrating on Arianne’s character, it seems the producers have decided to replace her with her bother Trystane as the heir to Dorne.
And fans of the Game of Thrones books are not pleased. Time reported that: “The exclusion comes as a surprise to fans, not just because Arianne is a major player in the fantasy novels’ numerous plot twists, but also because she was a strong, complex female character in a fictional universe that doesn’t have too many of those..” We can congratulate George R.R. Martin for including strong female characters in his books such as Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, and the deliciously wicked Cersei Lannister, but TV producers shouldn’t be cutting them out to concentrate on the guys instead. Bring back Arianne!