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The 9 Game of Thrones Characters Who Are Also Ultimate Global Citizens

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

We know — Game of Thrones is a television show that takes place in an imaginary realm. 

There are dragons, people coming back to life from the dead, and whatever the hell the Three-Eyed Raven is. 

But even in fictional Westeros there are many parallels to the "real" world, and a few select characters who embody the characteristics of Global Citizens, demonstrating care for the environment, dedication to women’s empowerment, a commitment to literacy and public health, and a quest to build a peaceful, more sustainable (made-up) world. 

Global Citizen campaigns on these issues, and more. You can take action here

And so, Global Citizen is counting down the Game of Thrones characters who are also Global Citizens, because it never hurts to be on the lookout for Global Citizen qualities, and because, well, Game of Thrones is great: 

1. Daenerys Targaryen: 

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The breaker of chains who freed an estimated 8,000 slaves in Slaver’s Bay, Daenerys is the ultimate Global Citizen. She’s an empowered female character whose success was not won on the back of a man, but rather through her own merit — and with a little bit of help from her dragons. 

In the current season, her “war council” is made up of three-quarters women, even in a world where there’s still a clear gender divide in politics. 

She’s also a master orator who believes in self-determination for all people: 

“The Masters tear babies from their mothers' arms. They mutilate little boys by the thousands. They train little girls in the art of pleasuring old men. They treat men like beasts," she said before liberating Slaver’s Bay. “Slavery is real. I can end it. I will end it. And I will end those behind it.”

Take Action: Call on the UN Human Rights Commissioner to Establish a Commission of Inquiry That Collects Evidence

2. Brienne of Tarth:

Based off real-life Joan of Arc, Brienne of Tarth is dedicated to flipping gender norms and showing that women can be bad-ass fighters, just as men can. She’s also loyal, and sometimes even snarky. 

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Read More: Taraji P. Henson's Newest Role Shows That Women, Too, Can Be Lethal Assassins 

For young women in Westeros, like fellow swordswoman Arya Stark, but also women and girls who watch the show, Brienne shines bright. 

“Through her, we have seen gender binaries blurred,” Bustle’s Marie Southard Ospina wrote. “Brienne is not a stereotype for femininity, and that's precisely why she's invaluable to young women everywhere.” 

3. Jon Snow: 

If Game of Thrones is taken to be a not-so-veiled allegory about the dangers of ignoring climate change, Jon Snow is Westeros’s Leonardo DiCaprio. Jon is not thinking about the political skirmishes of today, but the shared challenges of tomorrow. 
His epic crusade against the White Walkers is perhaps overshadowed by his frantic attempts to convince the rest of the world that they are real. 

Actor Kit Harington, who plays Snow, has also opened up about the challenges facing communities around the world. 

Take Action: Call on the UK Prime Minister to Protect the Oceans

“We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is here," Harington said. "We got there and we were lucky to get the snow we did, because in our world, winter is definitely not here.” 

"I saw climate change and global warming with my own eyes, and it is terrifying," he added.  

4. Arya Stark 

Much like Brienne, Arya Stark eschews gender roles and instead chooses to chart her own path. 

This much is apparent from the show’s early seasons. She names her direwolf after a feminist warrior queen, Nymeria, and her sword “Needle” in a subtle jab at the men in her life.  

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As her jousting skills improve, so too do her feminist credentials. Unlike many in Westeros, Arya’s ultimate goal is not to take power, but rather to remain nameless and to fight for those who are wrong or discriminated against. 

5. Sansa Stark

The specters of sexual assault and child marriage have both haunted “Game of Thrones” throughout its run. The violence at some parts was so extreme the National Center on Sexual Exploitation denounced the series for “misogynistic dialogue” and “depictions of sexual violence and torture so savage as to be unrivaled in television history.” 

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Sansa Stark is perhaps the worst recipient of this violence — being married off twice before her 18th birthday. 

Take Action: Let’s Act in Unity With Girls All Over the World

But she is, perhaps more than any other character in the show, adaptable and resilient. 

“She has probably had it worse then [sic] any other Game of Thrones character, but somehow she's still alive and kicking,” Romper’s Chrissy Bobic wrote

Her capacity for survival may, in the end, save many more innocent lives than her own. 

6. Shireen Baratheon

Despite being thoroughly marginalized for her appearance, to the extent that she was locked away in a tower for much of her childhood, Shireen Baratheon had a heart of gold. 

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Shireen, a bookworm, taught both Gilly and Davos Seaworth to read and write — a literacy campaign that, unlike most of the military campaigns in the series, prioritized increasing access to education over pursuing the spoils of war. 

Maybe if Westeros focused on educating its population, instead of political squabbling, real progress could be achieved. 

Take Action: Tell Leaders How Important Education in Emergencies Is

7. Samwell Tarly 

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Lost in the mania of the newest season of “Game of Thrones” is an unheralded medical breakthrough by none other than the portly Samwell Tarly. Sam figures out how to cure “greyscale,” which has been compared to leprosy, by referencing an obscure medical text. 

In any other world, this highly-contagious disease would surely be the subject of vigorous scientific research, but not in Westeros. 

Sam, a pioneer in his own right, had the audacity to embrace science in an era of superstition, and that alone deserves a round of applause. 

8. Lyanna Mormont

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A 10-year-old leading an army of more than 60 men? We’re about it. 

Lyanna is the latest, and the youngest, character to join the ensemble of bad-ass female characters taking Westeros by storm, including: Daenarys, Arya, and, yes, Cersei. 

9. Hodor 

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With three simple words, Hodor may have done more than any other character to save the realm. 

The world will never forget you.