No television show gives its viewers more than Game of Thrones – more characters, more plot-lines, more sex, more violence, and more magic. The enormous production values scream from the screen. The frame cannot quite contain flapping dragon wings and exploding wildfire. The stories blend fantasy with The War of the Roses and Highland intrigues. The recently concluded season rendered more fan service than ever, rewarding beloved characters and clearing the deck of some of the more disagreeable or wearisome ones. The show-runners concluded the latest chapter with [spoiler alert] women in the clear ascendancy. A queen sits on the Iron Throne, another queen now commands a vast fleet chaperoned by the aforementioned dragons, and the newly-crowned King of the North owes his crown to his half-sister (or is she his cousin?). It is hard to consider GoT’s gender politics whilst being oblivious to similar rumblings in the real world. David Brooks, a New York Times columnist usually labeled as a conservative (though, this year, who knows what that really means?) observes that many male politicians around the globe are now coming off as incompetent and unhinged, and “many voters seem to be flocking to tough, no-nonsense women who at least seem sensible” such as “Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton and, now, Conservative Party front-runner, Theresa May.” In a recent New Yorker article, Jill Lepore describes how America’s current political landscape owes much to a long-term migration of women voters from one political party to the other. If one looked for a gender gap prior to World War 2, one would have seen women favoring the GOP by a substantial margin. Why that gender gap flipped is a narrative almost as dramatic as any of the doings in Westeros, and certainly a good deal more, um, real.
There was a different narrative at last month’s Women’s Health Litigation Conference. The conference was held at the Beverly Wilshire, where the film Pretty Woman was filmed. With raised eyebrows (not to say we were supercilious), we saw that the hotel offered a “Pretty Woman for a Day package.” One could stay in the suite where filming took place, shop on Rodeo Drive, glide in a Rolls Royce to a shoeless picnic, and enjoy a date night at the opera. Would there be a fairy tale ending? Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? We did not avail ourselves of this marvelous offer. Instead, we listened to the lawyers and took notes.