The Beautiful Women of Westeros, As Seen in The Pages of Esquire
Game of Thrones fever is in full swing this week, after the premiere of the show’s seventh season pulverized all its previous numbers and set social media ablaze with a wildfire of raving fans and obsessive theory-mongers. But let's take a second to appreciate one of the aspects of Game of Thrones that makes us tune in to HBO every single week: the sexy and strong ladies of Westeros.
Game of Thrones' Most Beautiful Women: The Ladies of Westeros
If you’re well and done with your takedown of that Ed Sheeran cameo or your thoughtful explainer of why Sansa will become the next Cersei, we’d like to take a moment to direct your attention to some of the show's best aspects: Game of Thrones' beautiful women who are as strong as they are stunning. Our brothers from the international editions of Esquire have featured a few of them in their previous issues, and we concur with every single one: for each their own reasons, these women of Westeros are also Women We Love.
In its November 2015 issue, Esquire US bestowed the last Sexiest Woman Alive title to Emilia Clarke. Granted, she had already been given several more significant titles by then (The Unburnt, Rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons), but as the photos would prove, Esquire’s claim was no less valid. Clarke is also the only Thrones actress to have graced the US edition’s cover, unless you’d like to count Kit Harington (and his beautiful hair), who’s on their cover this month.
Due to a certain green complication, Margaery Tyrell is no longer in the running to be Westeros’ next top monarch. But during her time in the show, Natalie Dormer managed to make the Queen of Thorns one of its most beloved characters—beautiful, intelligent, free-spirited, and so charming that she could manipulate the kingdom’s most powerful men. As a Woman We Love in the November 2013 issue of Esquire US, she lived up to that role perfectly.
Cersei, on the other hand, is still going strong, and is decidedly Thrones’ most unpleasant female character. Good thing Lena Headey, the actress who plays her, happens to be a cool counterpoint to Cersei and the furthest thing from the incestuous, power-grabbing queen. Headey was featured in our US edition’s April 2013 issue, wearing her hair in its natural black, rather than Lannister blonde, and stirring in a lot of men the kind of feelings that Jamie struggles with. Well—okay, not exactly.
Birgitte Hjort Sørensen
Her role in Season 5’s Hardhome—where she played a wildling warrior who helped stave off the army of the dead before being devoured by wight children—was regrettably short-lived, but Danish actress Birgitte Hjort Sørensen still rendered a memorable performance in the few minutes of screen time that she was given. She was also featured as a Woman We Love in Esquire US’s February 2016 issue, where her Scandinavian charms flew off the pages.
Think back to the Red Wedding, where we last saw Talisa Stark—combat medic, highborn lady of Volantis, and the woman for whose love Robb Stark would break his oath and doom the North. Sure, it was a bad decision in retrospect, and one that would lead to a tragic turning point for the show’s entire plot. But one look at Spanish actress Oona Chaplin (who also happens to be the great-granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin) makes it difficult for us to blame the Young Wolf. And based on the feature of her in their April 2011 issue, Esquire Spain probably wouldn’t be so hard on Robb too.
Carice van Houten
Forget, for a while, that the Lady Melisandre is actually a decrepit witch whose magic powers allow her to morph into Carice van Houten. Then, all you’d see is Carice van Houten, and you’d be just as prone to her wiles as Stannis was. The 40-year-old actress was once on the cover of Esquire Netherlands in 2003, in a photo that looks like it could have just as easily been taken today, because she hasn’t aged a bit. Is it just us, or does that necklace look suspicious?