Ladies, leave your men at home! Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, and more leading ladies of HBO's Game of Thrones have declared the ongoing season 5 as the "year of the women." Here, Us Weekly finds out why strong female characters like Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark will finally have their golden moments on the series, as opposed to the men.
As seen in the April 12 season 5 premiere, "the Spider" Lord Varys corrects Tyrion Lannister when he presumes the next ruler to take the Iron Throne will be a male. "Who said it was a 'he,'" Varys slyly asked Lannister, hinting of his support for Targaryen (Clarke).
"It is always the year of the women," Conleth Hill, who plays Lord Varys, elaborated to Us Weekly last month at the event. "You have all strong women on the show."
Mother of Dragons Clarke, meanwhile, told Us that Dany's latest developments prove why she's one of the most powerful characters on the show. "You'll get to see the fire in her belly," she noted. "You'll see a bit of the Targaryen coming out. And her dragons, bloody teenagers! They are beginning to act up and she's beginning to understand how to wield their power."
That's right — Clarke told Us that her character is ready to rule Westeros. "I think she's getting ready for the Iron Throne," she mused to Us. "That's for sure. She has a very clear idea this season and we're getting there. I think it is finding the right balance of good and evil, because you need them both to be a good leader."
There are, however, multiple obstacles obstructing Clarke from the Iron Throne, including the Lannisters, the Tyrells, the Starks, and other competing families in the realm. "Her quest is what it has always been to get to the Iron Throne and sit on it," Clarke noted of the Targaryen princess. "What she has to be afraid of this season are the people of Meereen. She thought she could please everyone by doing what she perceived to be good, but she's now beginning to understand that you have to please both sides of the coin if you are going to be a leader."
Meanwhile, Dany will have the support of her loyal sidekick Missandei, played by actress Nathalie Emmanuel. "[Daenerys] gave her a calling and a purpose, so yes, I think [Missandei] is 100 percent loyal to her," Emmanuel told Us. "I've been given no reason to think otherwise. They are both very strong women and they recognize that in each other, so [Missandei will never] go against her."
Adorably, Emmanuel told Us that the two have developed a strong bond in real life. "Emilia is so much fun and she's such a joy to work with," she told Us with a giggle. "We have such a good time together and I couldn't ask for a lovelier girl to work with. Walking into a production like this can be quite intimidating, and she's taken me in like a big sister. I just love her."
Dany's empowering characteristics also spill over to real life. "We love Beyonce," Emmanuel said. "She's very girl power and we often have a little sing and dance that's very girl power on set. So we always have a laugh at that."
Meanwhile, another strong female lead spoke to Us about her latest character developments. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, said this season would be one of adaptation for the youngster — as if the last four seasons weren't harrowing enough for the Stark family.
"I think it's time she had a little bit of a change. I hope people go with it instead of saying I miss the old Arya! It's not really new Arya, it's just broadening and adapting," she told Us. "Just because she's wearing a dress, I don't think she's more girly. And this new Arya, I like to think she's more like me because she's a lot more tactical. Arya before kind of made a decision and dealt with the consequences afterward. But this new Arya thinks about things a bit more and I like that. Arya this season is like a sponge, because she's learning. Before she'd say I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that. But now she takes a step back. And I think she's letting that soak in for this new season."
Clarke told Us that she would eventually like to see her character cross paths with the headstrong, independent Arya Stark — but not to compete for the chance to rule the seven kingdoms. "I think they would get on quite well," Clarke said. "She's one to watch out for, that's for sure. But I could see a meeting of the minds."
The new episode will air Sunday, April 19, at 9 p.m. ET. on HBO.