If you were anywhere in the greater New York metro area the other day, you perhaps heard a very loud, very long squeal. My bad, guys. That was me finding out that Game of Thrones is coming back on Sunday, April 24 on HBO. But my excitement aside, this show is not for everyone. GoT is not a show for the faint of heart. It's also not a show for someone easily scandalized by lots of naked lady-boobs.
Like the books it is based on, the show pulls absolutely not punches when it comes to depicting a cruel, brutal world, and that includes its treatment of children. Case in point, the first episode of the first season ends with a child getting thrown out a window. (Does it count as a spoiler if it happened in the first episode of season one five years ago? I just don't think so. Fair warning for the rest of this article, though: spoilers abound.) But despite the fact that this show can be downright traumatizing for a parent to watch, it's also a show in which many if not most of the main characters are, in fact, parents. So it stands to reason that there would be a lot of opportunities for moms and dads to connect what's going on in Westeros to what's going on in their own lives... hopefully with a lot less murder, rape, and incest.
"Where Are My Dragons?!"
It felt like Dany spent literally all of her screen time Season 2 angrily demanding to know where her dragons were. (So much so that it inspired a meme.) But what mom doesn't know that feeling at some point? Maybe your ex is late for a drop-off. Or perhaps it's 3:07 p.m. and the bus usually drops them home at 3:04 p.m. on the dot. Maybe you lost them for a minute in Target. All trace of equanimity vanishes because, bitch, where are my dragons?!
Cat Going All Stone-Hearted After Someone Hurt Her Babies
Ain't no vengeance like mom vengeance. You mess with our babies and we will destroy you and everything you love in the most emotionally excrutiating way possible.
Cersei Worried For Her Daughter, Myrcella
When Myrcella was betrothed to Trystane Martell and had to be sent away to Dorne, Cersei was furious. Not only because this marriage was arranged without her consent or even because she loathes the idea of arranged marriage in the first place (#FeministCerseiLannister), but because the girl was now outside of the Queen's protection... and Cersei knows how cruel the world can be, especially as far as women and girls are concerned. Mothers are in the necessary but unenviable position of knowing how scary the world can be and having their hearts walking outside of their bodies in it in the form of their children, who are often blithely unaware of all they are up against.
Daenerys Using Her Dragons As A Trick
When our favorite khaleesi needed to raise an army, but had no money with which to do so, she made a bargain: She would trade her largest dragon to a slaver for an army of super-soldiers. As soon as she was declared "the owner" of her men, she commanded her dragon baby to set the bastard on fire, declared all her men free, and then instructed those who wished to fight for her to kill all the slavers in the city, emancipating the entire population because that is how Daenerys Targaryen do. While I have never used my children to immolate anyone, I think of this as something moms can relate to. Because all moms sometimes use our kids to get out of something we didn't want to do. In Dany's case, it was paying for an army. In our case, it's getting out of having to spend much time at your weird Aunt Bethany's house because it smells like cabbage and is covered in yellowed photos of George W. Bush. ("I'm sorry she's crying so much, Aunt Bethany. I think we have to go home and put her down for her nap...")
Cersei's Fierce Love Of Her Children
For all her crappy qualities, Cersei's love of her children motivates about 80% of her actions. Hers isn't the warm and fuzzy love we sometimes associate with motherhood, but the visceral, righteous, and unbreakable desire to protect her babies that all good mothers feel at the core of their being.
Ned Giving Up Everything To Save Sansa
Guys, I can't even look at this gif too long because I will go into a depression spiral about Eddard Stark because it isn't fair!
*Disappears, re-emerges five hours later with red puffy eyes*
OK, I'm better now. Anyway. Ned valued honor above all else. That was kind of his thing. But when the Lannisters had his daughter in their custody, he gave up his good name, confessing (falsely) to treason in order to save her. And then Joffrey killed him anyway!
*Runs away screaming. Disappears another five hours*
Melisandre's Shadow-Baby Birth
George R. R. Martin somehow came up with the perfect description of childbirth. It's like having an angry shadow demon clawing its way out of your vag. (Or, in the case of a c-section, tearing its way from your abdomen. Lucky me, I've experienced both!)
Lysa Keeping Her Child Locked In An Impregnable Stone Fortress On Top Of A Mountain
Accessible only by a winch and pulley system, the Eyrie has never been taken (except kind of once, by Queen Visenya Targaryen, who flew in on dragonback as a show of force). As such, Lysa keeps her son Robin locked away in the fortress, far from those who would do him harm. Granted, homegirl takes it just a wee bit far, but wouldn't it be lovely to know you can keep your child so completely secure. You're cray, Lysa, but I get you.
Daenerys And Cersei Realizing Their Babies Are... Very Naughty
When Dany is brought the charred bones of sheep and then, eventually, a small girl, she realizes that her free-range dragon, Drogon, may be a bit out of hand. Cersei realizes the same when her horrible son Joffrey becomes king. I'm not saying we all raise monsters...but at some point, all children can be a little monstrous. Pretty much every mom has had to stare into that abyss at some point and be like, "Oh God. What the hell am I going to do about this one?"
Theon's Inept Enthusiasm
Not a parenting moment, technically, but I can think of no better analogy to parenthood than Theon's delusions of grandeur in asserting himself as the future Lord Greyjoy and conquering Winterfell. You start out all cocky because you assume this whole thing is your natural destiny, but once you're into it you come to realize very quickly that you have absolutely no effing clue what you're doing and that everyone around you is going to make it their mission to knock you down a couple of pegs.
Stannis Sacrificing Shireen To R'hllor
Because who hasn't sacrificed their only child to an angry fire god to ensure victory in a boondoggle of a crusade? No? Really? Anyone?