“Game of Thrones'” Season 5 finale is called “Mother’s Mercy,” which means viewers can expect motherhood to be a through-line in the episode. From the Mother of Dragons to the Queen Mother, “moms in charge” is a clear theme on the show.
While not all the mothers on “Game of Thrones” are good ones — here’s looking at you, Selyse Baratheon
— most of the main characters who have children actually do whatever is in their power to protect them. Of course, this is “Game of Thrones” we’re dealing with, so that usually doesn’t work out well for anyone involved.
Here are the five best moms on “Game of Thrones,” and why they’re deserving of such praise.
1. Daenerys Targaryen
Though Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) might be barren, she is arguably the most important mother on “Game of Thrones.” Her three children are dragons, and they’re in their troublesome teens in Season 5. She’s had to lock up two of them — Viserion and Rhaegal — for their own safety and the safety of her people, but her connection with eldest dragon Drogon is so tight that he showed up to save the day in Season 5’s penultimate episode. Clearly she must be doing something right.
2. Cersei Lannister
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is a horrible human being, but her one saving grace is that she cares deeply about her children. Sure, they’re children with her brother Jaime and yes, her eldest son Joffrey did turn out to be a monster, but Tommen and Myrcella don’t seem so bad. Though Cersei is a power-hungry individual, one of her main goals is to make her children’s lives to be better than hers.
3. Catelyn Stark
Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) was never a woman who craved power; she just wanted her children to be safe. Fortunately for her, most of them are — except for the one she died alongside. Despite the fact Catelyn and her firstborn Robb died at the Red Wedding (RIP forever), she always put her children before herself, for better or worse. If only Robb had listened to her about not breaking an alliance with the Freys, “Game of Thrones” could be telling a much different story.
4. Olenna Tyrell
Is it the Queen of Thorns’ (Diana Rigg) fault that her son Mace is such an imbecile? She knows what he is and might not treat him the best, but at least her behind-the-scenes dealings with her granddaughter Margaery prove that she’s trying to do what is best for their family. She also frequently comes in to save the day when her children and grandchildren are in trouble: Case in point, meeting with the High Sparrow after he arrested both Margaery and Loras. Westeros would be a better place if her “Queen” title was more than just a nickname.
Gilly (Hannah Murray) is the most down-on-her-luck mother on this list, and she and baby Sam aren’t in the safest place in Westeros, camped out at Castle Black. But it was Gilly’s love for her son that made her defy her father/husband Craster and escape with her baby in the first place, and that shows some serious guts. Gilly has been through so many horrible things in her life that hopefully there’s a happy ending for her and her son … though that might be a lot to ask for, considering this is “Game of Thrones.”
And one bonus mom, who viewers barely got to know but immediately connected with:
Karsi (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) only had one episode
to shine on “Game of Thrones,” but she made an impact on audiences as a Wildling leader who was also a mother. She put her child first when it came to rescuing her people from the White Walkers’ attack, and couldn’t bring herself to fight back against the Wildling children who had been turned into wights when they attacked her. She might be dead, but hopefully viewers will get to see her again
“Game of Thrones'” Season 5 finale airs Sunday, June 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.