Gender is a lot more constraining in A Game of Thrones than it is in our world (we hope). The roles for men and women are pretty narrow: women are pretty and nice; and men are strong and capable of violence. At least, that's the way things are supposed to be. But since it's a George R.R. Martin book, nothing ever happens easily. Instead we're given a number of men and women who push against the boundaries of the roles that society has given them, whether it's tomboy Arya or sensitive Samwell. These characters don't always succeed in changing the way society thinks about gender (actually, they never really succeed), but they do make us pay attention to how rigid those gender roles really are.