How Many 'Game of Thrones' Episodes Pass the Bechdel Test?

Women really do have it worse than men in Westeros.

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For all the feverish love and acclaim Game of Thrones has accrued over the years, the show has also taken plenty of flack for its gender politics. The criticism of its gratuitous use of nudity and sexual violence reached a peak two years ago, with the rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) widely slammed as an offensive misstep, a sexual assault that was used to motivate a male observer—Alfie Allen's Theon—rather than the female victim.

And while the Game of Thrones writers have made some serious amends over the last two years, a fascinating new report by Broadly suggests that women are still far worse off in Westeros than men. In addition to compiling every single instance of rape, death, and nudity on the show (which, yeah, I'm exhausted just thinking about this task), the report took a look through every single episode to see how many pass the Bechdel Test.

In case you're not up to speed, the Bechdel Test is a quick (and by no means perfect) way of measuring gender bias in media. In order to pass, a film or TV episode must: a) contain at least two named female characters, b) who have a conversation, c) that isn't about a man. Not passing the test doesn't automatically make a project sexist, any more than passing it automatically makes a project empowering to women, but it's extremely telling how much classic pop culture doesn't pass the test.

With that caveat...Game of Thrones did not do well, guys. Just 18 episodes out of the 67 to date pass the test, with seasons one, five, and seven all managing four Bechdel-approved episodes apiece. While the report doesn't say how many Game of Thrones episodes pass the Bechdel Test in reverse—i.e. manage to contain a scene in which two men discuss something other than a woman—I'm going to go ahead and guess it's every single one of them.

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Emma Dibdin

Emma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who writes about culture, mental health, and true crime. She loves owls, hates cilantro, and can find the queer subtext in literally anything.