The world of Game of Thrones is one that is practically dripping with forms of masculinity. The Mountain being a main character for this. However, you don’t have to be a male character to have some sort of masculinity forced upon you. In this case, Arya has been put in several different situations where she has to exert some form of masculinity. The main ideas that will be used are based off of ideas from Freud’s theory of penis envy and Berry’s Feminist Criticism because both go well with each other. Freud’s theory of penis envy is the concept that women, in some way have an envy to have or feel as though they have a penis in some way. This would mean that they want to share that masculine trait for one reason or another. The other issue stems from Berry in that there is the idea that even though we have a female character, she is subjected to having some form of masculinity placed upon her on her path through the Hero’s Journey. One of the best places to find both of these is when Arya is fleeing King’s Landing with one of the Night’s Watch. During this time she must pretend to be a boy and use the bathroom where no one would be able to see her and make out that she is in fact female. She is also advised that if they find out that she is a female that half of the men there would rape her and then try to hand her over to the queen for a pardon. She has to assume a masculine role in order to be safe and by doing so she must sacrifice some of the features that would make her seem female. Those being that her hair is cut short and that she must not be seen using the bathroom.
This next scene is one where Arya is no longer pretending to be a boy, however she is pretending to not be Arya. Here we see more of her interests in the warriors of old Westeros and that she has no interest in the other tasks that girls would prefer such as sewing. By making Arya more masculine than feminine in these scenes it continues to shape her as more of a warrior. In the Game of Throne’s universe to be a warrior would mean that that person would have to be a male of some kind or prove their worth in combat situations. Though, to prove themselves by beating boys in single combat is looked down upon because there is such an emphasis of women being “lady” like. Even her father gave in to her being more of a son than how she would have been if she continued to teach her to be a proper lady and had her take sword lessons while in King’s Landing.
The Game of Thrones series makes it harder to think of what it really means to be a hero or in this case, a heroine. Arya is not the conventional heroine, but she does provide a way to express how a female character is still bound to a masculine world and how there is a pressure to fit the social norms for a person’s biological sex. Arya however challenges those conventions by getting into fights and horsing around with the other boys.