This Monday evening (or at 3am if you were really dedicated), we were plunged headfirst back into the grimy and bloody world of Westeros, where everyone wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms and everyone has inexplicably great hair despite medieval hygiene standards. Oh, and everyone is wearing black. Does this anger the costumer in me? Somewhat. But I’m back at it again with another installment of ‘Game of Clothes’, and we’ve still got plenty to talk about this week in Westeros.
We start off with Dany’s Small Council, in the midst of a storm; a storm like the one that gave her the title of ‘Stormborn’ in the midst of her 13456 other titles. She’s in the same dress/jacket combination, with trousers and boots, but we really get a proper look at the detail here in her scene with Varys – and it’s so beautiful. Huge props to the embroidery department on Thrones; their work is so small and intricate, and sometimes their efforts are just lost. But here, we see it in all it’s glory. The lighting in this scene picks up on a lot more of the red tones, highlighting this embroidery; also making Dany that little bit scarier, considering she’s talking about roasting traitors alive in dragon fire. No biggie.
Varys is the only one of Dany’s Small Council not in black; which is refreshing. His robes from the finale episode of season 6 have been reused here – and this makes a lot of sense, considering Dragonstone isn’t currently the most hospitable of places, so it’s unrealistic to assume that they’ve loaded down their warships with a tonne of fancy clothes. This season is based mostly in the harsher parts of Westeros, and I love the simpler lines and fabrics that are used because of this. Varys has a very particular aesthetic to his costumes, and while they’ve gotten much simpler over the seasons, his costumes are still stylistically distinct – there’s a certain feminine elegance to Varys’s clothing, hinting at his foreign origins (he’s originally from Lys, across the Narrow Sea). His designs have gotten shorter, darker in colour, and less elaborate, but they’re still distinctly Varys; as he’s revealed his true loyalties, and true character, his costumes have become much less showy – more practical, and perhaps more realistic. You can really see his character development, and Michelle Clapton, the costume designer for Thrones has portrayed this beautifully.
Melissandre is back; after all, you can’t keep a good (red) woman down. She’s made her way to Dany, where we hear the first mention of Jon Snow: seems like Melissandre is still fond of him, even though he banished her from the North. When you compare Season 2 Melissandre to Season 7, you can really track her crisis of faith; in Season 2, she was swanning around Dragonstone in elaborate dresses, robes and very ornate jewellery, and over the past five seasons her look has simplified; the reds have dulled, her hair is much simpler and her jewellery almost non-existent. She’s been brought down a peg or two by her failure alongside Stannis and her banishment, and even the material in her cloak seems rougher than what she normally wears. She’s not the confident witchy priestess she was before. Still totally an old woman under that pretty face though.
Moving on over to Kings Landing, Cersei is still here, and still crazy. She’s not changing her look much this season; so far this dress, or variations of it, have been featured in each scene, with different jewellery or armour to change the look. This week, we’ve got silver pauldrons, with what appears to be lions heads on them; identical to Jaimes! So, I retract my statement from last week, that the costumes were symbolic of the twin’s drifting apart; it appears that they’re perhaps closer together than I thought. This costume matching is symbolic of unity – at least in front of the other lords of Westeros. It’s not like they’re identical – Jaime’s costume still proudly bears the red and gold of House Lannister; he’s still fiery and emotional, but Cersei’s black get-up hints not only at mourning, but a certain kind of death; a loss inside herself. She’s essentially dead inside; emotionless, and only her desire for power can keep her going now.
The Tarly’s are back too – kind of. Samwell Tarly’s father, Randyll Tarly is back, accompanied by a re-cast Dickon Tarly; remember Sam’s horrible brother? They’re back in Kings Landing at the beck and call of Cersei, who’s none too pleased about Dany and her foreign army. One of the things I love the most about Thrones is the ability to create a persona and aesthetic for each House, and the I’ve always found each House’s design fascinating. Each House has a specific look, shape and colour to it, and looking around the court of King’s Landing, it’s easy to pick out who is who. This distinct style is what makes the Dornish look so Mediterranean, the Ironborn so Viking-like, and the Frey’s look….well, like total idiots. (See last weeks blog for clarification of the Biggins cap.)
The Tarly men are outfitted in brown leather jerkins, with a darker brown belt, a red cape draped over one shoulder, and armoured bracers, which I have to admit I thought were tartan at first glance. I’m kind of disappointed they aren’t, to be honest; I was excited for Scottish Highland vibes from the Tarly’s. The Tarly’s are a House traditionally ruled by House Tyrell, explaining the Tyrell influence on their costumes, but the Tarly’s are a more rough-and-ready house. Dark, natural colours such as browns and deep reds are evocative of a family who pride themselves on masculine pursuits, which makes sense, as their sigil is an archer, as spotted on Randyll Tarly’s shoulder during his talk with Jaime.
Dany’s Small Council are meeting and talking, again. And again, almost everyone is wearing black. We get that it’s wartime, but seriously guys? The only person showing any kind of pizzazz is Ellaria, dressed in a fabulous brocade jacket, with a little peekaboo bralette underneath. The bralette is Dornish yellow, the same colour of the Sand Snakes costumes, and representative of the Sun, the sigil of the Martells. It’s a familiar silhouette for Ellaria; her costumes often feature a structured shoulder, and the peekaboo bralette is also familiar, worn memorably at Joffery and Maergery’s wedding in Season 5, with a fabulous chained headpiece. Ellaria’s costumes are my favourite, which I’m sure is obvious from this paragraph. They’re a beautiful blend of traditionally masculine and feminine lines, and she’s strong and powerful without abandoning her femininity or sexuality. It’s a pity that the Dornish storyline wasn’t handled better on the show, as the Martell’s have some of the most interesting and dynamic characters in the books (Ariane, any of my book reader mates? Hello?)
Grey Worm and Missandei! Finally! In a scene that had a lot of people saying ‘Awwww’, and a lot of people angry at romance taking up precious screen time usually saved for blood and war, the two finally hooked up. How sweet. Very little to say about costume here, as the point of the scene was it’s removal…but I do have a nice, safe for work screenshot of lovely detailing on Missandei’s sleeves.
Not much to talk about costume wise for Sam and Jorah either; except props to the make-up department for making me want to vomit during Jorah’s greyscale removal. And the transition into the pie? Why are you like this, Game of Thrones. Pies are officially ruined for the foreseeable future.
Back at Winterfell, our King In Da Norf, Jon Snow, has received a summons from Daenerys to come to Dragonstone, where he’s just discovered a hoard of dragonglass is stored. Exciting times ahead; it looks like Jon and Daenerys might finally meet, and I for one, am absolutely thrilled about that. And yes – I know they’re aunt and nephew. I also know that this is Game Of Thrones, and if you think this story is going to end without more incest, you haven’t been paying attention. It could be worse; they could be brother and sister. That’d be messed up.
Back to costumes; I love the distinction the show makes between Jon Snow and King Jon Snow. In quieter moments, when he’s not holding a meeting with the Lords of the North, Jon is dressed as ordinarily as ever. Sure, he’s moved away from black leather to brown and grey, but he’s not pompous, and he certainly hasn’t taken to roaming around in a crown. However, when he’s in front of his bannermen, he dons his Stark gorget (upper neck armour) with the direwolf sigil, and his heavy cloak. He makes himself physically larger; more intimidating, and while this isn’t a crown, it’s still symbolic. He’s dressed like a Stark, and dressed like a true Northerner; it’s a statement of his belonging to the North, and with that, a statement of his rule.
Sansa and Littlefinger’s costumes remain the same this week as well; Sansa still has her circular chain necklace and her Cersei hair, and Littlefinger, ever the drama queen, is still swanning about his fancy winter robes. Littlefinger looks decidedly Southern, but the contrast isn’t hugely noticeable until he’s in the crypts of Winterfell beside Jon. That’s when the difference between the men becomes clear. Jon tells Littlefinger that he doesn’t belong there, and he doesn’t. He looks so out of place in the crypts, a place that’s so indicative of Winterfell and the North. Littlefinger is all clean lines, neat fur, no armour, only brocade, whereas Jon casts a larger, intimidating figure, with unkempt fur, long cloak, heavy armour and boiled leather. He’s ready for the Long Night, and I can’t forsee Littlefinger standing up against the coming storm all too well. And let’s be honest, we all loved seeing him get roughed up by Jon. Let’s not lie about it.
Just a quick point before I get back to costumes; Yara and Ellaria are the power couple I did not know I needed until now, and I hope to G.R.R. Martin that they both make it out alive. I love how strong both of the characters are, and Thrones has done a great job of presenting strong female leaders that are sexual without being objectified, and I love the practicality of female dress in this world. No skimpy, stupid, impractical armour (hello, certain video games); instead, they’re wearing clothes and materials realistic to their setting and time.
While I love Yara and Ellaria, I got a certain degree of satisfaction from seeing Euron take out two of the Sand Snakes. It’s no fault of the actors; just poor scripts when it came to Dorne, and the characters felt lost within the story. Poor, poor Theon is left floating in the water, as his uncle kidnaps his sister, and sails victoriously away to the totally mental Queen Cersei.
All in all, a fantastic episode, with lots of lovely costumes and lots of fodder for my speculation fire.
I’ll be back next week for another Game of Clothes, but until then, have this screenshot;
Can’t wait for next week.
Till next time,