I have to admit, I was not a Game of Thrones fan until a couple of months back. I have never read the books. In fact, I started watching the first episode on a whim just to understand what the fuss was all about. And for the first half of the episode, I didn’t quite get it 😉 and happily toggled with an old episode of “Friends” (Yes, I am ancient!) to keep things interesting. Just when I was about to dismiss it as a series not worth my time – free time being a luxury in my homeschooling SAHM universe – Bran fell off the wall and the wheels were set in motion.
Since then, I have watched Seasons 1 to 5 in a marathon binge and like millions of other Games of Thrones fans worldwide, I’d held my breath until very recently (last week to be more accurate) and had waited eagerly for Season 6’s drama to unfold.
Though watching this series pre-ordains my 4.5-year-old to be in bed and all my “Mommy-ness” set aside, I cannot help but revisit the characters with motherhood-tinted glasses because that’s what being a mom does to you. Seriously, I have lost count of the number of times I have drifted into my own world worrying about the feelings of the mothers in the series instead of focusing on the storyline in progress (Thank God for Pause and Rewind, without which I would be totally lost!).
Anyway, thanks to all the wait-time and tension leading up to the beginning of Season 6, I had ample time to run the series in my head in a loop and wonder about the parenting ways of the Game of Thrones Mothers. So, without further ado, here’s a study of the parenting styles of the GOT moms for you. Which one of the characters do you identify with the most, which one do you like/dislike the most? Check out my views and don’t forget to share yours in the comments section below.
Beautiful, intelligent, proud, strong and generous, Catelyn Stark is the quintessential epitome of mothering perfection. We all know a mother like her. Yes, the one who brings out the green-eyed monster of envy in us, the one who always looks put-together, has the best ideas, is never flustered and always knows how to raise her children right in a responsive yet demanding fashion. In return, her children are fiercely independent thinkers and know how to carve out their own paths and make their mother proud.
I know what you are thinking – No, she is not a hundred percent perfect. Yes, that’s true. For one, her maternal instincts are not all encompassing, Jon Snow being the glaring exclusion to her motherly love. Secondly, in her urge to do the right thing, she gets pushy sometimes like forcing Robb to marry the Frey girl. And last but not the least, if you really think about it, her intense need for justice and revenge is what got the wheel spinning to begin with!
Everybody loves to hate Cersei but no one can deny her truly unconditional love for her children. She is ambitious, shrewd, manipulative and willful, but when it came to her children, she is nothing but lenient, indulgent and permissive; so much so that Joffrey, her first born ends up being a total brat, tyrant, and a bully and could never balance his rights with his responsibilities.
Cersei’s unconditional love is equally evident when she let’s go of Myrcella before the war starts and is willing to kill Tommen when she believes they’d lost the war, both acts, a workaround of saving her children from fates worse than death. Her march of shame just so she could be reunited with her children at the beginning of Season 6 is something only Cersei could have pulled off. Who could beat such heartbreaking devotion?
Catelyn’s sister, Lysa is the polar opposite to Catelyn when it came to her mothering style. Her paranoid, cagey nature turns her into a helicopter mom to the core. She smothers and stunts her son’s physical as well as intellectual growth by forcing him to always stay inside the safe walls of the castle and makes him extremely dependent on her till her death.
Stannis Baratheon’s cold, unfeeling wife, Selyse is your typical detached, disengaged, neglectful and uninvolved mother who could never come to terms with her daughter Shireen’s illness as an infant and subsequent deformity. She blamed herself for it and was ashamed of her daughter’s disfigurement, so much so that she forced Shireen to a life of confinement. Selyse self-loathed herself for not giving Stannis any sons too.
Except for the brief moment when Shireen was at the altar ready to be burned alive and Selyse’s subsequent remorse and suicide, there is no sense of real connection between the mother and her daughter. Selyse is a woman who does give birth to a child but is never transformed into a mom in her lifetime.
Gilly doesn’t seem important, Gilly doesn’t get much footage and flits in and out of a few scenes. But what strikes you the most about Gilly is her willpower, courage and optimism in the face of adversity. When it came to the well-being of little Sam, Gilly was not once afraid to ask for help and bet her life for his safety. In her quiet, inconspicuous way, Gilly saves her son from the White Walker, walks miles to get to the wall with a newborn which (as any new mom would tell you) is no mean feat, survives the attack by the Wildings and fights off many advances from men at Castle Black, all the while keeping a positive outlook on life and never making a fuss about her situation. Her quiet determination is what makes her a mother extraordinaire.
This article would be incomplete without the mention of “The Mother of Dragons” Daenerys. Granted, her human child did not survive, but who could deny the power of that moment when she walked out of her husband’s funeral pyre holding three baby dragons?
From the meek, subservient girl to becoming a queen with a fearsome army of The Unsullied, her rise is a story to inspire women. But if you really think about it, when it came to her mothering style, she is our typical everyday mom who gets a few things right but mostly has no clue what she is doing.
She tries her best to keep her dragons in line, loves them, protects them, disciplines them when necessary but one close look at her parenting skills and you will know that like most of us, she is just “winging it”.
But then again, parenting is something which can never be put into strictly labeled and segregated boxes. It is way more fluid than that! One day you are Catelyn, the next Cersei, the next Gilly and on all others, perhaps Daenerys.
And every time you ask yourself “What the hell am I doing?”, all you need is one look at your 4.5-year-old’s serene face as he snores softly and you are bound to admit “Well, at least I got that one thing right!”.