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Clothing and fashion in Game of Thrones adds a major new layer to the narrative: the A Song of Ice and Fire novels could only give relatively brief descriptions of clothing styles, but in the visual medium of television, this element becomes much more prominent. Costume designer Michele Clapton and her team were faced with the massive task of developing all of the unique clothing worn by characters across entire continents.

Clapton did speak with author George R.R. Martin during production of the unaired pilot episode, so she apparently consulted with him on the appearances of most of the initial major characters (the Starks, the Lannisters, etc.); but afterwards he did not visit the costume department very often, which has given Clapton's team some freedom to think out designs themselves.[1]

Costuming furthers the layers of the narrative in several major ways. First, it helps to establish a unique look for each of the Seven Kingdoms and other regions of the world, hopefully making it easier for viewers to distinguish between characters from the North, the Westerlands, or the Reach. Each of these unique fashions are also informed by the nature of each region, giving further visual detail about each of them, i.e. the North is cold but not very rich, so the Stark clothing style consists of heavy furs with little jewelry, while the Westerlands are very rich in precious metals, so the Lannister clothing style consists of more plate metal and jewelry.

Second, the costumes within the TV series are consciously intended to tell a narrative, and subtly reflect political allegiances. As Clapton explained, the ruling noble families are the trend-setters in each of the regions they rule over. There is no "unwritten rule" that all Westerlands characters dress like the Lannisters as a conceit of the TV series, as if the writers imposed a uniform on them. Rather, it is an actual rule at work within the storyverse, that other Westerlands families self-consciously imitate the fashions set by the Lannisters, other noble families from the Reach try to imitate the fashions worn by the Tyrells, and so on. The ruling families from each region are the trendsetters, and their vassals all try to emulate them. To a lesser extent fashions also trickle down to the smallfolk (commoners) in each region, even down to the prostitutes. As Clapton stated:

"The design of the nobles' clothes spirals outward; what they wear inspires the people around them, from the ladies-in-waiting to the household staff, on down to the peasants."[2]

While the major ruling families of the Seven Kingdoms set the fashions that their own followers wear, the royal court at King's Landing is where rivalries are played out between political factions from the different kingdoms. Thus, characters who have great influence at the royal court will become popular trendsetters, resulting in minor lords, courtiers, and even handmaidens imitating their fashions. Conversely, as characters lose influence at the royal court, fewer courtiers will imitate their fashions (it's not that different from school rivalries between social cliques, with the most influential being the ones who ultimately set the fashions). The primary example of this in the TV series is that during Seasons 1 and 2, all of the courtiers in King's Landing imitated Queen Cersei Lannister's clothing styles. As a carefully planned development by Clapton, however, as Season 3 progressed more and more background courtiers started gradually switching to Margaery Tyrell's new fashions, to reflect her rising social and political influence at the expense of Cersei.

This article is therefore intended to be a convenient collection in one place of any statements that Michele Clapton and her costuming team have made about the decisions that went into designing the costumes seen in the TV series, both how they reflect in the in-story cultural details, and subtle hints they intended about characters which they conveyed through their clothing styles.

The Seven Kingdoms

The North

The North is cold and not relatively wealthy, so Northmen wear heavy furs but few precious metals or jewelry. Most soldiers cannot afford metal plate armor, generally relying on chainmail and boiled leather. Northern noblewomen cannot afford expensive jewelry, but still have dignity and make a concerted effort to wear attractive fashions, so they compensate for this lack of jewelry with elaborate embroidery. The North is affected by the harsh years-long winters much worse than any other region of the Seven Kingdoms. It is also the only region of the Seven Kingdoms with a hostile border, with wildling raids often coming south of the Wall. With winter often a struggle for basic survival, the Northmen tend to be very dour, and dislike elaborate decoration, which they view as ostentatious. Even their Heraldry is intentionally much more simple than some of the more complex designs from southern Westeros. Similarly, even wealthier Northmen lords tend to dress in functional clothing, without much ornamentation.

The Northmen tend to wear mostly grey and blue colored clothing, murky colors for a winter climate. Because the Starks are a warm and good family unit, however, they wear friendlier, softer shades of blue and grey. There are also some warm murky browns, to match the color of the animal furs they wear, and the boiled leather they wear instead of more expensive plate armor.

House Bolton

House Bolton, in contrast, are vicious and traitorous (one of the closest to being straightforward "evil" in an otherwise ambiguous story), so they seem to wear more harsh black clothing. They also seem to wear a bit more leather, as seen in their unarmored clothing, where the Starks would wear heavy wool underneath their leather armor: the Boltons wear more leather as a hint that they enjoy flaying extensively. This is particularly evident with Roose's Red Wedding outfit, comprised of a padded leather tunic (long-sleeved to conceal the chainmail beneath) underneath a lether jerkin, leather breaches, and boots. His bastard son Ramsay also keeps to this motiff, but his jerkin is very dark purple, as opposed to his father's usual all-black ensembles - even the metalwork in Roose's outfits is tarnished so that it appears black.

The Bolton's sigil of a flayed man strapped to an x-shaped cross features heavily in Roose's wardrobe, and is prominently embossed on at least three pieces which he wears regularly: a black leather tunic, a steel gorget, and a clasp with which he fastens his fur cloak. In addition, the hilt of his sword is also wrought in the form of a flayed man, with the man's outstretched arms forming the crossguard. His new wife Lady Walda Bolton also begins wearing a flayed man broach following their marriage, although her's appears to be crude and hastily made, as it is nothing more than a metal silhouette as opposed to her husband's, which is finely engraved and highly detailed. Ramsay, as a bastard, wears no such broach, as he is not permitted to bear his father's sigil.
Roose frequently wears a cloak with the fur collar reversed, so that the beast's skin is showing on the outside: Another hint to the Bolton's torturous practices. This style is mimicked by Locke, and other Bolton soldiers.
In the books, Ramsay is known for his ostentatious taste in clothes; garbing himself in velvet, silk, and satin, usually in the Bolton colors - pink and red. This is seen as particularly unusual by other Northmen, who usually dress functionally even when they can afford more elaborate clothing - believing that a responsible lord should focus on surviving winter, not on his appearance. In the TV series, however, Ramsay's attire is considerably more subdued, in order to fit in with the established drab dress code for northern characters. That being said, the leather jerkin Ramsay wears in Season 4 is, in fact, a very dark shade of reddish purple: a subtle reference to his literary counterpart. Clapton explained in a Season 4 featurette that they wanted Ramsay's look to evolve over the seasons, instead of simply remaining static. Obviously, in Season 3 his identity was supposed to be a secret so he dressed plainly. In Season 4 he openly wears Bolton-style clothing, but it is not of particularly high quality, because he is a bastard (similar to the difference in quality between Jon Snow's clothing and that of Ned and Robb Stark). It's possible that now that he has been legitimized as "Ramsay Bolton" at the end of Season 4, in Season 5 Ramsay's style evolution will conclude with him dressing in ostentatiously rich clothing, as he did in the novels.

House Karstark

The Karstarks also have a distinct style of dress which distinguishes them from other Northmen. Lord Rickard, his son Torrhen, and most of his men wear "shredded" brown leather tunics. These garments appear to be fabricated from individual strips of leather which have been sewn together, creating a jagged, layered effect which could be intended to resemble the points of the Karstark sunburst; indeed, some even have it worked onto their fronts in white, and others have star-shaped metal studs hammered onto them. The Karstarks all wear burnished ringmail gorgets which also bear a resemblance to their sigil, rather than the solid metail pieces sported by Robb, Roose, and other northerners. Rickard himself possesses a woollen cloak in a yellowish-brown tone which is styled in the same manner as his leather garments, and bears the white sunburst of his house on the back. several of his men imitate this, and wear shades of yellow and green in their wool clothes. Unusually, the Karstarks are never seen wearing fur, but they compensate for this with hooded cloaks, which can't been seen on members of other houses.

Because the Northmen descend from the First Men and most still worship the Old Gods of the Forest, they typically won't be seen wearing a motif of the Seven-pointed Star symbol used by the Faith of the Seven.

Northern women are focused on practicality, and thus wear their hair long to retain heat. They wouldn't have an upswept hairstyle the way Margaery Tyrell of the Reach does, their ears would get cold.[3]


The crannogmen are the inhabitants of the swamps of the Neck, the southernmost part of the North which borders the Riverlands, in central Westeros. They are a unique offshoot of the First Men, who branched off from their Northmen cousins. They are ruled by House Reed as vassals loyal to House Stark. The crannogmen are so-called because they live in small villages in the deep swamps, formed of thatch and woven reeds which sit atop artificial floating islands made out of logs, which are known as crannogs.

The crannogmen are something of a unique hybrid culture between what is normally found in the North and the kingdoms of southern Westeros. As the southernmost region of the North, the climate of their home is not as cold and desolate as most of the rest of the North, but is instead humid, swampy, and overgrown with fish and game. The surroundings of their home thus shaped their way of life to be quite different from that of their cousins in the main parts the North. The crannogmen do not march into open battle, and if invaded rely on retreating their crannogs deeper into the swamps. The crannogmen will then use guerrilla tactics, poisoned arrows, and their superior knowledge of the difficult swampy terrain to bleed the invaders through attrition.

Crannogmen such as Meera and Jojen Reed have some finished iron weapons, but mostly wear simple animal skins taken from game they've hunted in the swamps. Because crannogmen rely on ambushing invaders into their swamps, their clothing is in colors of muted greens and greys, to blend in with their environment.[4]

In the novels, the crannogmen wear entirely green clothing, even their boots, to act as camouflage in the swamps of the Neck. Their favored tactic is to sneak right up to enemy armies in the swamp without being noticed, loose some well-aimed poison-tipped arrows at them, then melt back into swamp before their enemies can react. While it isn't clear if Meera is typical of female crannogmen, she is described as dressing no different from a boy, so female crannogmen may have no separate clothing style (instead joining their men on guerrilla raids). The crannogmen do have access to iron-tipped weapons but, similar to the Dornishmen, forego heavy steel armor in favor of speed and mobility, and what little metal armor they might wear is made of lighter bronze. More often they wear leather armor or no armor at all, and leather shields. Meera wears lambskin breeches, and a sleeveless jerkin armored in bronze scales. Meera does have an iron warhelm, but it is old and rusty, implying that it was acquired some time ago and they do not regularly produce such armor. Apart from their bows and poisoned arrows, crannogmen fight with the same tools they use to hunt wild game: three-pronged spears used for hunting frogs, and even nets. Meera was able to overcome Bran's direwolf in mock combat by entangling it in her net.


Clapton: "The Starks have less available to them and are in different circumstances as they live in cold, damp weather. Available to them is wool, leather, fur, and some dyes. They have to think about warmth and wear the high padded embroidered collars as status rather than jewelry. The village people wear a simpler form of this look. They are not ostentatious and are a loving family who are not trying to prove anything. Only Sansa disagrees with this and we see this as she is influenced in her clothing, mainly by Cersei and as the plot develops, she moves away from this.[5]

Clapton: "The North became, actually, probably the most 'English, Medieval' look. It's much blacker and darker. Lots of hand dyeing, quite muted colors, very practical, leathery, wool, very 'of the place'."[6]

Clapton: "I used medieval Northern Europe as a starting point, but the skirts in the men’s costumes have a Japanese look to them. We were never bound by the rules of any particular time period.

First, you have to think about what they need, the practicality of it, what materials they have readily available. We also decided we’d have no jewelry, so there’s a lot of embroidery and embellishment in the women’s clothing, as well as these lovely padded neck pieces. As for the men, most of the armor is leather with some metal inside, but rarely close to the skin due to the cold. The fur collars were meant to be wolf pelts for the adults, the children have rabbit, and the peasants have collars stuffed with sheep’s wool.

We have a lot of blues and grays, murkier colors that seemed right for the harsh northern climates. The Starks represent a warm family unit, so the blues of their costumes are rather warm. But within the family, the various personalities are reflected in what they wear. For example, Sansa is in a slightly cooler blue. And the design of the nobles’ clothes spirals outward; what they wear inspires the people around them, from the ladies-in-waiting to the household staff, on down to the peasants.

It's important that the costumes reflect each character's individual journey. I always like to tell a story through the clothes, and I think it helps the actors, too. Sansa is a perfect example of this. She leaves Winterfell for a life at court early in the first season and begins to take on more and more of Queen Cersei’s traits as season one goes on. By the end of the season, she’s really starting to look like her. But in season two, her dresses are destroyed in the first half of the season, and Sansa starts reverting back to her childhood. The colors start coming down, and she’s trying to alter things back to where she was. So at the end of it, she’s wearing something closer to her mother’s look. She’s come full circle.

By contrast, Ned was never seen adopting any of the clothing styles of King’s Landing. He had four different looks, a couple of which were slightly smarter, but Ned generally chose to keep things functional and practical. To that end, he’d often be seen in the padded linen skirts with the leather doublet, sometimes with a cape. Later in the season, as he began to sense trouble brewing, he started wearing his leather armor."[7]

Clapton: "In Winterfell, the Starks are very blues and greys and browns, quite murky colors.[8]

Clapton: "Ned Stark has an elegance to him, but he's incredibly practical, I don’t want him to look like he ever thinks about what he’s wearing."

Sean Bean (Ned Stark): "What he wears, you know, says something about who he is. So he's not prepared to be flouncing about like the others in gowns and silks and stuff like that."

Clapton continues: "Catelyn, again, similar sort of tones, and very underplayed, quite simple clothing. Catelyn doesn’t think particularly about what she wears, she wears what she’s always worn, it’s a traditional way, and that’s her look.

It was quite nice putting [Sansa and Arya] initially in very similar costumes. You have these sort of tied, knotted tops, and of course Sansa's are knotted quite nicely with little embroidery bits on the end, and all very nice, and Arya's are just all messy and unknotted and falling apart, and she takes the sleeves off. It's quite nice to have the two of them very similar, then to split apart so far away from each other."[9]

Clapton: "Jon Snow's look initially came from Winterfell, but because he's the bastard, his clothes aren't quite of the same quality as his brothers and sisters.[10] [Jon's clothing isn't shabby, it's just not quite as good quality as Catelyn's children. Given that the Northmen dress functionally and without much rich ornamentation anyway, this doesn't stand out very much.]

Clapton: "Ramsay's look does evolve, he tends to look more like a Bolton, because he's finally acknowledged by his father, and there's obviously a step in that direction. He's proud to be 'the son' (of Lord Roose Bolton)."[11]

[Few quotes have been given about the design choices that went into crannogmen costumes]

Clapton, on the crannogmen: "Jojen and Meera, their costumes have always been on the verge of being quite organic."[12]

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The Westerlands

In contrast to the North, the Westerlands are the wealthiest of the Seven Kingdoms, rich in precious metals. Soldiers from the Westerlands can afford full plate armor, with complex movable visors. Apparently to distinguish the Westerlands from the "classic" European-style armor seen in the Reach or the Vale, designs from the Westerlands have a strong Japanese influence. Cersei is paranoid and tries to armor herself against the threats she feels are around her, so her dresses are layered like armor, often including (symbolic) metal plating, in addition to expensive jewelry. To give this "layered" effect, Cersei's dresses wrap around her, like a Japanese kimono. Cersei's dresses also tend to have long billowing sleeves, which she can hold out in front of her like another layer separating her from other people.[13] Other Westerlands noblewomen imitate Cersei's styles.

To correspond to the asymmetric look of Cersei's kimono-like dresses, Westerlands men wear leather tunics with asymmetric collars (seen on Jaime, Lancel, and Tywin). This kimono-like asymmetrically overlapped look, in turn, seems to have inspired the Japanese design influence for Lannister soldiers' armor.[14]

At the beginning of the TV series, Cersei is making at least some attempt to appear friendly, wearing blue or gold colors and bird motifs in her clothing, but as her hostility increases she starts dressing in progressively more overt Lannister colors, gold and red. By the end of Season 1 (such as when she dismisses Ser Barristan Selmy) she is wearing pink and gold, and by the beginning of Season 2 she is wearing her true colors: bold Lannister red, with gold highlights. During Season 2, Cersei fears she is losing control due to both external pressures (the Starks, Renly and Stannis) and internal pressures (Tyrion and the other Small Council members). Therefore as Season 2 progresses, Cersei gradually shifts to dresses which increasingly display her signature "layered", wrap-around look, as if to mentally shield herself in armor from all of the threats she sees around her. By the end of Season 2 during the Battle of the Blackwater, she has even incorporated symbolic plate armor into her dresses.

Tyrion is a dwarf, but because he was born into the wealthy Lannister family, he can afford to have richly decorated custom clothing made for himself which is fitted to his proportions.


Clapton: "Cersei is all about fashion and styling. She tends to wear very soft wrapped silks which are embroidered. The robes, it's a sort of origami: things overlapping, and folding in different ways. It's like a kimono style, but with a slightly medieval cut. And she has a lot of metal belts, because I like the idea that she's armored in a sense.[15][16]

Clapton: "The Lannisters are very wealthy, competitive, they live in the capital [King's Landing] and power is important. It's warm and on the coast which means there is trade and they don’t have to worry about keeping warm. They have a large staff with silks and jewels readily available to them. As Cersei influences the court and we notice her hatred for her husband, through Season 2 we start to see her style begin to shift as her role changes.[17]

Clapton: "Tywin is a little more opulent – I really like his look this season [Season 3]...There are a lot of really tough leather looks which were really detailed–they look rich. Some of the cut leather pieces are my favorite."[18]

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The Reach

Nearly as wealthy as the Westerlands, the Reach was also the cultural heartland of the Andals in Westeros for centuries. The Faith of the Seven even used to be based in the largest city of the Reach, Oldtown. As a result, the Reach's knights generally wear "classic" Western European-style armor, and other Andal kingdoms were subsequently given variant designs to set them apart from this standard look (i.e. the Westerlands wear Japanese-inspired armor). As the heartland of chivalry, and relatively wealthy, knights from the Reach often have fairly ornate armor.

Margaery Tyrell's fashion was designed to completely contrast with Cersei's, so viewers can readily distinguish when background courtiers switch from emulating Cersei to emulating Margaery. While Cersei wears layered, wrap-around, armor-like dresses, Margaery embraces her feminine sexuality as a political tool, exposing a large amount of skin. Margaery's dresses are backless and with plunging necklines, frequently including cutouts exposing her sides. Cersei's fashions included billowing sleeves, as if to shield herself, while Margaery's dresses are completely sleeveless, exposing the skin of her arms. This also reflects that the Reach has a somewhat warmer climate than the Westerlands and Riverlands (though not as hot as the deserts of Dorne).

Other noblewomen and handmaidens from the Reach emulate Margaery's style. Older noblewomen such as Margaery's grandmother Olenna, meanwhile, wear similar fashions but with another layer of clothing underneath, exposing less skin: Olenna also wears a crespine headdress to cover her hair, to maintain a further air of dignified age. Male clothing for non-martial occasions (seen on Loras and his father Mace) also tends to be the opposite of the Lannisters, with loose sleeves but a symmetric cut to the front of the tunic.

Other noblewomen from the Reach, such as the Tyrells, handmaidens, dress in the same style to emulate their rulers. After Margaery comes to King's Landing, during the course of Season 3 gradually more and more background courtiers switch from dressing like Cersei to dressing in Margaery's Reach-style, reflecting how Margaery's social and political influence is increasing while Cersei's is waning.

Noblemen from the Reach, such as Loras and Mace Tyrell, similarly seem to wear the opposite of the style worn by the Lannisters and their Westermen vassals. Lannister men wear tunics with an asymmetric cut (to reflect Cersei's assymetric, wrapped-in-armor look), so Tyrell men have a symmetrical cut to their tunics. Westermen tunics have simple shoulders, and the arms of the tunics are the same material as the rest. In contrast, Reachmen tunics have loose sleeves made of a lighter material than the rest, and instead of the sleeves integrating smoothly into the vest, the shoulders of the vest end in a wide opening which the smaller sleeves exit from (loosely resembling how Margaery's dresses have peaked shoulders - when they do have shoulders - though her dresses don't have sleeves).

Clapton usually dresses each House in the colors of their heraldry, which in the case of the Tyrells are green and gold. However, the Tyrells mostly wear teal instead of green in the first four seasons of the TV series. The idea is that the Tyrells are trying to appear gentle and not overtly threatening - even as they insinuate themselves into positions of power - and bold green is a strong color, so wearing it would make them appear more threatening. Therefore the Tyrells wear more teal colors in the first four seasons, because it is the softer end of the green color palette. The Tyrells do shift to straightforward bold green for war: one of the rare examples of them wearing green instead of teal is for Loras's sparring clothes in Season 3's "Kissed by Fire". The plan is for all of the Tyrells to openly switch to bold green colors starting in Season 5: reflecting that after Tywin died, with the crown and the Lannisters now dependent on their financial and military support, the Tyrells are now not even pretending to be nice to the Lannisters, but openly demanding greater concessions.[19]


Clapton: "Margaery Tyrell sweeps into King’s Landing and takes it by storm. As such, her wardrobe is very unique and very much at odds with everything else in King’s Landing [i.e. the Westerlands style, because Cersei used to be the trendsetter]. It’s a very structured look – the new style coming in after the war. For the first time in a long time, Cersei won’t be the trendsetter in the capital. It’s a fun way to reflect their future rivalry."[20]

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The Riverlands

The Riverlands were never entirely unified, but were a border region fought over by the surrounding kingdoms. As a result the local Houses of the Riverlands are very diverse, instead of there being one set "Riverlands style".

So far, the TV series has developed two unique fashions for Riverlands Houses: for the Tullys, and for the Freys.

House Tully

House Tully often works a fish motif into their clothing, from their heraldic symbol of a silver river trout. Tully armor is covered in leather scales, visually evoking fish scales.

Catelyn Stark is actually something of a hybrid design, as she was born "Catelyn Tully" but married Eddard Stark and has been living at Winterfell in the North for years, so she has to dress warmly (i.e. with raised collars). Though there are a few southern features to show her Tully connections: her raised collar actually features a repeated fish design.


Clapton: "Each place we go, we try to create a different look that we identify with that family. So because of the fish sigil [of House Tully], we decided to do leather scales. We wanted some browns and greens and we textured them so it's mostly leather armor.

The Blackfish is one of these characters that lives, sleeps, does everything in the same costume. You really believe he doesn't take it off; he swaggers in and clumps down. You feel a real sense of security with him. Edmure is more fancy pants."[21]

Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark): "This is a wonderful neck piece that Michele Clapton, who is the costume designer, has got made. And if you look closely you'll notice it is fish. Fish represents the Tully sigil.[22]

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House Frey

House Frey only became a noble House about six hundred years ago, when their ancestor began construction of a fortified bridge across the Green Fork of the Trident River, which became known as the Twins. They rapidly increased in wealth and power from exacting tolls on trade passing over the bridge. As a result the older noble families in the Riverlands look down on them as uncouth upstarts.

By the time of the TV series, the Freys are not actually a poor family, but they have a very grubby and worn-down look: the idea is that Lord Walder is too cheap to buy nice things (the Freys got new-rich by being miserly, not by spending money on themselves). In contrast, the North isn't very wealthy, but they still make an attempt to look nice or at least well-maintained; they don’t have jewelry but they at least try to supplement their clothing with embroidery. Walder Frey is shameless and doesn't care about his appearance (even to attempt to project an image of wealth; people know he has wealth) so he has no problem with letting his family be seen wearing grubby, worn-out clothing.

A common feature among the Freys (both men and women) is a skullcap with a crow's peak and long sides which hang down, though Walder himself doesn't wear one.


Production designer Gemma Jackson discussed the visual look of the Freys' home castle, the Twins, though this aesthetic seems to extend over to their costuming: "In Season 1, we built a grubby little space. It was really old and painted and water was coming down - it was rather sinister. We wanted to get an aspect of that again. Because Lord Walder is mean, we did this beaten up, old leather [for the furniture]. We used his sigil on the arches - you can see very old bits of paint just coming through. The idea is the place is getting incredibly shabby, and he doesn't want to spend any money on it."[23]

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The Stormlands

The Stormlands are the most heavily forested of the Seven Kingdoms, wracked by storms blowing across the Narrow Sea separating Westeros from the Free Cities, but they lack advantages such as the gold of the Westerlands or the fertile fields of the Reach. Therefore, the Stormlands have had to become one of the most militaristic of the Seven Kingdoms in order to survive, and as a result their costumes generally appear to be utilitarian. Their helmets and armor are frequently decorated with small metal stag horns, from the Baratheon sigil of a crowned black stag on a yellow background.

The Stormlands are not as wealthy as the Westerlands but also not quite as poor as the North, so their armor has a bit more of a shape to it. Stormlander helmets are more refined than the bucket helmets of the Northern footmen, though they don't have the intricate movable visors of the Lannisters. Their helmets are a single piece, but unlike the Northmen helmet, include shaped brims and cheek guards.

Not much information has been revealed about the overall design theme for Stormlands costumes, nor the underlying reasons behind them. The Stormlands and the Iron Islands are also the only two regions of the Seven Kingdoms for which no particular female costume styles have been developed, i.e. courtly fashions. Brienne of Tarth is a Stormlander but her costuming is unique. Stannis's wife and daughter wear simple, functional clothing: the in-universe explanation for this is apparently that Shireen is sickly and spends all of her time hidden away in her chambers, and similarly, Selyse spends most of her time in secluded prayer - so neither of them really need to dress ornately for social appearances.

A major reason that no set "Baratheon style" of costumes has been set in the TV series is due to plot mechanics: the narrative has not been able to focus on "normal" Stormlanders, or a unified House Baratheon. Robert Baratheon has his own unique clothing style after becoming king, and the TV series does not show how "typical", non-royal Storm Lords dress. Cersei's three children (believed to be Robert's) dress in rich styles unique to the royal court, not from the Stormlands (see the "King's Landing" section for information on Joffrey, etc.) Cersei dresses in Lannister styles (indeed, sets them) instead of shifting to however Baratheon women would dress.

Clapton explained that the main theme around King Robert's clothing is that at heart he is a soldier who won his crown on the battlefield. He isn't familiar with the trappings of life at a royal court even after all of these years, and he doesn't try to dress in fancy styles. As a king Robert can afford clothing of the best quality and make, but it is downplayed, and not richly decorated. He doesn't wear large amounts of gold and jewels.

Fundamentally, the War of the Five Kings is a civil war within House Baratheon. So after Robert dies (who had his own unique, royal clothing style anyway) the Baratheons split between those who support middle brother Stannis and those who support the youngest brother, Renly.

Stannis and Renly are complete opposites: Stannis is a stern military commander, dressing in dour, dark, and utilitarian clothing. Stannis doesn't give much thought to empty pomp and ceremony. Robert dressed simply, but at least wore a little gold trim and warm brown leathers. Stannis, meanwhile, cares nothing for fashion, so while his clothing is similar to Robert's, it has even less decoration, and is more sober slate grey to black. The only decoration they have are Baratheon heraldry designs, including Stannis's new personal sigil on their breast plates: the crowned black stag of House Baratheon, enclosed by the fiery heart of the Lord of Light. As Clapton explained, this is in contrast with how Joffrey dresses opulently as if to emphasize his royal status, and repeatedly shouting "I am the king!" (as Tywin pointed out, any man who has to insist "I am the king!" is no true king). Stannis doesn't feel a need to convince other people that he is the rightful king by dressing in fancy clothing: Stannis knows he is the rightful king, and what other people think shouldn't make a difference to the law (if nothing else - barring those who say Robert usurped the throne from the Targaryens - as Ned Stark pointed out, Stannis is obviously his older brother Robert's rightful heir).

Renly, meanwhile, was a child when Robert became king, and grew up in the royal court, so he is a very fashionably dressed man. Renly is noted for holding masquerades and dance balls at court (as actor Gethin Anthony explained in a Season 2 featurette, the idea behind Renly is that he knows how to be a courtier, how to dress well and be charming, diplomatic skills which Stannis lacks - though at the same time, Renly is not meant to be foppish or effete).

Renly even went so far as to assemble his own rival Kingsguard, with their own unique armor (basically a more expensive version of the regular Baratheon armor design).

Therefore, Renly and Stannis take the (loosely defined) original Baratheon designs seen with Robert and push them into two opposite extremes. Renly's followers tend to use the brighter colors that Baratheon soldiers wore under Robert: warm browns to burnt orange. Stannis's followers, in contrast, dress in dour greys with more simple designs.


[Few quotes have yet been provided from official sources explaining the design choices that went into design of costumes for the Stormlands as a whole.]

Clapton: "King Robert, although he's living in King's Landing, I wanted to make it that actually at least he and Ned weren't so far apart."

Mark Addy (Robert Baratheon): "He'd rather be in the boiled leather armor, getting his hands dirty with the guys, that's where he's the most comfortable."

Clapton: "So though he's slightly grander, and you know, the fabrics are slightly better, it's not going to be lots of pomp and ceremony about him, I don't think that's what he's about. He's a soldier that's become a king."[24]

Clapton, on Stannis: "I don't think Stannis is a sort of "Joffrey": he's not trying to show that he's king, he just believes he is. This is his look, and what it always will be."[25]

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The Vale

The Vale of Arryn has a proud, arrogant aristocracy, who place a greater value on ancient blood (mostly Andal but also a few First Men families such as House Royce) than any other region (even the Lannisters aren't very obsessed about bloodlines, having intermingled from the start). They are an impoverished aristocracy, however: the isolation of their mountains has allowed them to sit out major wars and maintain their blood purity, but their mountains are not rich the way the mountains of the Westerlands are.

As a result their costumes look ornate, but faded and old. They tend to wear whites and blues (so faded that they appear practically gren), from the colors of House Arryn's heraldry (a white falcon and moon on a blue background). Men tend to wear plain white surcoats over unadorned steel armor: they can’t afford the elaborate embellishments of Lannister or Tyrell knights.

Valemen costumes tend to include long capes, visually evoking a falcon's wings, because House Arryn's sigil is a white falcon. Both aristocratic men and women in the Vale have long open sleeves, nearly capes, hanging from the shoulders (not the back of the neck) - again evoking a falcon's wings. These sleeves hang down below the arms, then loop back up to attach to brooches in the middle of the chest.


[Few quotes have yet been provided from official sources explaining the design choices that went into the costumes of the Vale, even though they first appeared in Season 1.]

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Iron Islands

The Iron Islands are cold, wind-swept rocks, and the ironborn spend much of their time on the windy decks of ships at sea. Thus their clothing focuses on protection from the wind, including not capes but full ponchos, oiled with grease to keep out the elements. The Iron Islands are also quite poor, so their common warriors cannot afford metal plate (though ironborn nobles that can afford armor plate wear it on their ships, unafraid of drowning at sea).

Yara Greyjoy dresses in the style of ironborn men, though her armor has been customized slightly to fit a woman's physique. Yara is very unique in ironborn culture, which usually frowns on female warriors, but she is the only ironborn noblewoman to prominently appear in the TV series. Thus the TV series has not really established a fashion style for "civilian" ironborn noblewomen, at their castles outside of military action.

Theon Greyjoy starts out wearing Northmen-style clothing in Season 1, because he has been living at Winterfell for years, but after traveling back to his family in the Iron Islands in Season 2 and switching allegiance to them, he also starts wearing ironborn-style clothing to reflect this.

The Drowned Men, the priests of the Drowned God worshiped by the ironborn, appear in the TV series as they are described in the novels: they wear tattered roughspun robes of mottled green, grey, and blue, the colors of the sea.

Michele Clapton has stated that the ironborn costuming was officially one of her favorites to design in the entire TV series.


Clapton: "After his baptism, he [Theon] takes on the style of the Greyjoys, which look like the rocks of the island they live on. Padded, studded jackets, oiled with grease, heavy coat pieces, which they can wrap in and protect themselves from the elements.[26]

Clapton: "If they live on a windy, rocky island, like the Greyjoys do, then they dress accordingly: They have costumes made of heavy, densely woven cloth that are waxed and painted with fish oil to help keep out the wind. Everything has a reason for being there...I loved dressing the Greyjoys [in Season 2]. Those costumes were so organic and so crunchy. We wanted them to look like the rocks on the island — they have no ambition for anything, everything is completely practical.[27]

Clapton: "I think the look for the Iron Islands is my favorite. As we do whenever we’re designing a new look for a specific region, we examined their surroundings. In the case of the Iron Islands, it’s damp and drafty, rocky, surrounded by sea. So the costumes are wind resistant as opposed to warm – thin, padded linen pieces. We have a lot of armor on this show, so it was important to make each look distinct, so you can identify it immediately when you see it. Rather than using metal armor, we used riveting and studding, which we would assume is padded behind and therefore pretty resistant to arrows or blades. Then there’s a metal breastplate, covered in leather, with the kraken sigil branded on it. Instead of a cape – we’ve done so many capes – it’s a piece that can be sculpted around the actor, so it becomes windproof; stiff but fluid, too. And Alfie [Allen], in particular, looks great in it – it makes him move in a different way. I didn’t want them to have too much ephemeral stuff. Very simple, not particularly cheerful. As for the color, it’s the color of the rocks – grey, with some yellowy patches. It works well – and feels very much of the world."[28]

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Dorne is very different from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, and this is reflected in their clothing. It has a hot desert environment, or at best in Sunspear on the east coast a very arid Mediterranean climate. Therefore, unlike the highly constructed fashions of King's Landing, Dornishmen wear clothing that is more loose-fitted and open, allowing them to cool more easily. Both men and women have low necklines on their clothing. Women also have exposed arms or slit sleeves, not the billowing cape-like sleeves of Cersei Lannister (somewhat like the Tyrells in this respect, but Dorne is even hotter). The Dornishmen also have much more relaxed views about sexuality than the rest of Westeros: in many respects their clothing is more revealing simply due to living in a warmer climate, but they also find revealing clothing less scandalous than, for example, the Westermen or Valemen.

Dorne also has closer ties with the Free Cities, just east across the Narrow Sea, plus unique local dyes: therefore their clothing is more brightly colored. They tend to favor orange, with yellow/gold and red highlights, reflecting the sigil of House Martell: a red sunburst pierced by a golden spear, on an orange field. In many ways the Dornishmen are the opposite opposite of the Northmen: in the North, the designs are meant to retain heat, in Dorne they are meant to shed heat; the North has dull blues to emphasize that they can't afford foreign dyes, while Dorne has easy access to bright color dyes.

The Dornish do have access to steel plate but if they wore full heavy armor they would die of thirst in Dorne's desert sun. They prefer light armor made out of only copper or leather, as seen in Oberyn Martel's dueling armor, to allow for greater mobility in the harsh desert heat.

Dornishmen often wear turbans when traveling through the hot countryside. This is not a deep-seated cultural institution and they don't wear them all the time. Turbans and head-scarves are a universal adaptation that many different real-life desert-dwelling cultures have independently adopted to avoid getting heat stroke. Even Crusader knights who settled in the Levant had to start wearing head-scarves to adapt to the hot local environment. Just as heavy furs need to be worn in cold, snowy environments, head-scarves and loose robes are the sensible clothing to wear in a hot desert. Jaime Lannister and Ser Bronn travel to Dorne in Season 5, and while there they dress in Dornish fashion with head-scarves due to simple practicality.

Quotes Oberyn Martell: "It's actually quite a feminine look, but he wears it in a really masculine way." The big point with Dornish armor is that it values mobility, so (as in the books) it is lighter.

Oberyn's battle armor is snakeskin. The tassel of his spear is python-skin (in-universe, that is: in real life they're made out of leather treated to look like snakeskin).

"The costumes for Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand are some of my favorites this season [Season 4]. The introduction of Dorne is something I've been waiting for, and I've been deliberately holding back on using their colors - the ochre yellow and the wonderful tans. We wanted them to have very distinctive looks; it's incredibly important to have those immediate visual cues to help you as the viewer. It was great to have these two characters lead into the next season [Season 5], when we'll be going to Dorne and we'll have a chance to really push things creatively.

There are a lot of [Southeast-Asian] Indian influences, particularly with the fabrics. We sourced a lot of the fabric for the Dornish characters in India.. I like the sand-washed silks, the weight of it and the depth of color.

Ellaria was an immensely interesting character to me. I think she moves a bit like a sidewinder [snake] - I always picture her disappearing over a dune or something. I liked the strength of her outfit, being able to lift the cape away to this very simple, sensual elegance, cut to the navel without revealing too much. It's a very assertive piece, both in movement and in color. I love to think of what Cersei's reacting is when she sees it - after all, her daughter (Myrcella) is now in Dorne [i.e. she worries if her daughter wears revealing Dornish clothing now.]

Despite the substantial nature of some of the fabrics and the inclusion of metal sigils, Oberyn's costumes were in some ways quite feminine. There is something about the way that Pedro Pascal (Oberyn) wore it, his masculinity, his total lack of fear of the feminine element, that made it so strong and deeply masculine on him.

His armor was one of my favorites of all the armors - the contrast between the weight of the Mountain's armor versus the lithe soft leather covering during the duel is visually exciting. Giampaolo Grassi [the armor master] and his assistants stamped all the leather with the design and hand cut all elements. Being able to talk about it on the dummy, manipulate it around the shape of the body, the changes in the ratio of the symbols - it evolved in the workroom, and their input is immense. I think being part of that process leads to some of the most creative work. You can make replicas of Roman armor forever, and it can be beautiful, but it's not the same."[29]

Clapton: "Ellaria Sand's style is very different from anything we've previously seen. And so it's quite revealing, and it's actually sand washed silk, so it has a lovely flow, it's almost like a weightiness to it."

Frank Doelger: "It's a southern climate, it's a very luxurious kingdom, it's a world of pleasure-seekers. So we went for things that were very loose and very sensual, and were also inspired a little bit by Indian or Persian outfits. Just looking at some of the fabrics taht Michele [Clapton] chose, they bespeak a world of luxury and sensual pleasure, and again, that's a new element for us."

Clapton: "For the wedding, [Ellaria] has a really lovely sort of chained headpiece, which I just thought, my God, it's such a great look. It's this thing of trying to find new areas of how people should look, because we've obviously done so much now."

Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell): "What Michele's done is so brilliant. There's something about Oberyn that's very 'Other' as far as King's Landing is concerned, and she really manifests that in his look."

Clapton: "It's quite an Indian feel, like the crossover-coat. Pedro just wore it brilliantly, because it's actually quite a feminine look, but he wears it in a really masculine way. Big sashes and belts. And the colors, it's also orange; like burnt oranges, and yellows, and golds.

Clapton: "It's quite fun just to start a look and then next year [Season 5] we can sort of go into it, but I think it will have a big Indian influence."[30]

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King's Landing

The Royal Court

Clapton: "They're near the sea, they can trade, they have silks, they have colors, much more sort of Mediterranean feel. There's more jewelry. But it's just the color is really lifted...We decided really, through the buildings, through the architecture, and through the climate, to make it much more "Persian" I guess in feel."[31][32]

Clapton: "Cersei is all about fashion and styling. She tends to wear very soft wrapped silks which are embroidered. It's like a kimono style, but with a slightly medieval cut. And she has a lot of metal belts, because I like the idea that she's armored in a sense...The court often wear very similar pieces to her, the wraps and metal belts, and then that's copied in ways to the working class.[33][34]

Page 70 – “Costuming King’s Landing” – “One of the mandates early on was to make King’s Landing very distinct from the traditional medieval courts and cities one usually finds in these types of stories. It’s warm and sunny; the climate is somewhat Mediterranean. It’s a lot of fun to do because King’s Landing is a port city, so we have access to color, silks, much more variety. And the Lannisters are a huge presence, so there’s a lot of red, but also pale greens and saffron yellows, and you can use jewelry. There are a lot of choices.

As with Winterfell and other regions, I started with the most prominent characters because, in theory, the people are influenced by the head of the society. So Cersei has these kimono-style, wrap-around dresses that influence the other ladies at court and in the city. Even the prostitutes in Littlefinger’s brothel wear a similar-style dress, albeit in a different way. Then there’s Jaime, with his asymmetrical coat, whose influence trickles down to the male characters.”

Page 70 “This was a challenge, as I’ve never designed armor before. We started with the Kingsguard, which are totally white in the books. But we felt that wouldn’t translate well on-screen, so we worked gold into the design, while still keeping the signature white cloak.

Page 70 Simon Brindle, costume armor supervisor: “The Lannister armor is more militaristic, intimidating, sinister – with a Japanese influence that’s quite disarming. With the Gold Cloaks, there’s a Persian influence in keeping with the Medeterranean look of the city.”

Simon Brindle, costume armor supervisor, page 70: “I loved the opportunity to work on this series, as you’re not tied down to any one period. This was so freeing. I was intrigued by Michele’s initial designs for the Kingsguard and the Lannister guard. She was looking at eastern influences, Asian, Indian – unusual references for this sort of thing –w hich she mixed with recognizable touchstones from western medieval European armor.”

[During Season 3] in King's Landing, Margery [Tyrell] is beginning to influence the dress of the younger girls in court, whilst the older girls continue to follow Cersei [Lannister], even though she has shifted her style to a previous Margery-like look. A cruel blow for her and this makes her hate Margery more!

Kingsguard armor isn't pure white because that would be difficult to film:


Joffrey’s looks just get increasingly more opulent because he’s an arrogant fool (contrast with that Robert wore expensive and high quality materials, but generally his clothes were mostly functional, as he was at heart a soldier who won his throne on the battlefield).

Joffrey's hair is cut short in the TV series, to make the actor look younger.[35] Joffrey's hair is a bit longer and curly in the books (compare with how Jaime, Ned, or King Robert wear their hair longer). Joffrey is 12 years old in the first novel, and most of the younger characters were aged up by about two years in the TV continuity (Arya is 11 instead of 9 years old), but this would still make Joffrey 14 - and actor Jack Gleeson was 18 years old when he filmed Season 1. The producers hired an older actor because Joffrey was a major role which would bear a large amount of narrative weight, requiring a more experienced performer. The series made other attempts to make this fit: Joffrey is later stated in dialogue to have been 16 years old in Season 1: four years older than his book counterpart instead of only two, and only two years younger than Gleeson's actual age. It also helps that Joffrey has the personality of an insane, petulant toddler in a teenager's body, so it's not as if he "acts his age" in any context.

King's Landing under the Targaryens

Page 161 – “Regarding the family sigils, we generally wanted to avoid having characters wearing them on their chests, like Superman or something, but Viserys is the one character who sports this huge [dragon] sigil doublet. He wears it the whole time, as if to scream, “I’m a Targaryen!” And it gets more battered and dirties as the season goes on and he gets further and further waway from what he wants. It’s a lovely way to reflect this blind hope; the costume fades with him.” Viserys, there's a sort of link to King's Landing, I mean he remembers, he's older, he remembers the styles that were worn then. The cut is actually quite similar, very sort of clean lined, with very much a dragon emblem, and ready to go back and claim his throne.

The Purple Wedding Joffrey's wedding costume was supposed to be ostentatious, opulent and almost distasteful. Joffrey's wedding crown has Baratheon antlers but subtley, creeping roses and vines within it, and Margaery's crown is all rose fines, implying that Margaery is wrapping her control around him.

Margaery's wedding dress: "I wanted it to be sort of quite traditional dress in a funny way. But then again roses can be so pretty, and I didn't want her to be pretty, I wanted her to be slightly dangerous, because I think she is. And it just literally grew from there." - hence the metal rose vines running along her dress, which subtley are spiked with metal thorns if you look closely, showing her danger underneath.

"Cersei is pulling back a little bit. She's not the sort of powerhouse that she was, and it was just, I wanted her to be slightly quieter. Very beautiful, just not rocking the red so much. It's just a sort of slightly muted look to her."

"Tywin actually does very red, which is very rare for him. I think in this moment, this is sort of securing up the throne, and so he's brought out the red."

"I supposed I wanted the Tyrells to look very much 'of a group'. I tried to formalized it with a sort of rose [print] fabric, because it's the fabric of their family, and this was being done for family."

Clapton, on Sansa's special necklace at the Purple Wedding: "I looked actually at lots of art deco and art nouveau necklaces, even Margaery's [necklace] as well was inspired by the same period. It's actually very exciting, I very rarely design jewelry."[36]

Mourning clothes

Mourning clothes: Cersei is black and dagger-print, the Tyrells switch from teal-green to black...but still have flower patterns! It's fake mourning.[37]


It’s also interesting to look at Littlefinger’s [Aidan Gillen] journey — he started off very much as a courtier, he was always very organized with his little chain and his notebook, and then suddenly he actually stopped wearing the mantle. He had just little glimpses of turquoise beneath his costume and the slit was cut slightly higher. ... Slowly you realize he ran brothels. His costumes, just slowly, became a little richer.

Clapton, on changes in Littlefinger's clothing after returning to the Vale in Season 4: "He just becomes more opulent, it's his look but it just gets bigger and grander, and he carries himsef - actually his cloak is incredibly heavy, and it sort of gives him this bearing."[38]

The prostitutes

How do you dress a medieval fantasy prostitute? Same way as you dress everyone else, but with a slight twist. In King’s Landing, for example, they wear similar costumes to the hand maidens–the difference is that they come off much more strategically. “[Just like] you see with contemporary prostitutes,” Clapton said. “They wear something similar to someone going out for the night–it’s just what they do with it and how they wear it.”

Jaime's prosthetic hand

The genius of Jaime Lannister's golden hand next season, which we also get a sneak peak of in the video above, snuck up on Clapton, for example. His sister, Cersei, gifts it to him as a replacement for the one that got chopped off last season. In that vein, Clapton designed it as something Cersei would choose to disguise a deformity that she fears. It's beautiful, ornate, and feminine.

But, the prop actually turned out to embody Jaime's personality in a way Clapton didn't expect. "It became the right thing for Jaime. He's not just this sort of a brutal, sarcastic, callous man. He actually has a really sensitive, quite interesting side." In this case, the character became more like the costume Clapton designed for him. "It was really beautiful in a way," she added.

"Because Cersei commissioned it, I wanted it to have a sort of beauty to it, so we actually took the reference from her armor that she wore last year, we took the patterning from that and then applied it to the hand.

Because he could take it on and off himself, I think eventually Nikolaj quite quickly got used to it. It took a month to make. We took a cast, and then we had to make an iron hand based on Jaime's cast, and then hammered the brass around it."[39]

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Faith of the Seven

The Faith of the Seven is the dominant religion in Westeros. It is the majority religion in all of the Seven Kingdoms except for the North (which follows the Old Gods of the Forest) and the Iron Islands (which follow the Drowned God). The Old Gods simply have no priesthood, and the Drowned Men who serve as priests of the Drowned God dress simply enough that they are are covered in the costuming section on the Iron Islands. The Faith of the Seven, however, has a large and hierarchically organized clergy, meriting their own separate section.

The Faith of the Seven has both male and female priests, known as "septons" and "septas", respectively. The head of the Faith is known as the High Septon, who resides at the headquarters of the Faith of the Seven, the Great Sept of Baelor, which is located in the capital city King's Landing. The ruling council of the Faith is known as the Most Devout, who also reside in the Great Sept. The Most Devout rank just below the High Septon, but are responsible for electing a new High Septon when the current one dies.

Common septons and septas tend to dress relatively plainly, in standardized religious habits. Septas have been seen to wear a wimple that covers all of their hair. The leaders of the Faith, however, are often corrupt, using their high offices to amass great personal wealth. The Most Devout have been known to wear rich robes and expensive jewels. The High Septons in particular have been known to wear opulent clothing, flaunting extravagantly expensive jewelry even as the poor struggle not to starve in the slums of Flea Bottom on the other side of King's Landing from the Great Sept of Baelor.

There are several monastic or devotional orders that believers in the Faith of the Seven may belong to. One of the most prominent of these is the Silent Sisters, a separate all-female monastic order devoted to the Stranger, the aspect that represents death. The Silent Sisters are responsible for dressing and preparing dead bodies for funeral rites, and have taken vows of silence and chastity. Silent Sisters are separate from the regular clergy, and are not considered to be septas.

The novels describe the Silent Sisters as shrouded in grey, and keeping their entire faces covered except for their eyes (combined with their vows of silence, this has led to the old superstition that they have their tongues pulled out, which is untrue). The TV series went further to add the detail that they wear elaborate backbraces displaying the Seven-pointed Star, the symbol of the Faith of the Seven.

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Maesters, formally known as the Order of Maesters, are an order of scholars, healers, and learned men in the Seven Kingdoms, dedicated to scientific and intellectual pursuits. The maesters are a secular organization, not a religious order, though they do swear sacred oaths to follow the duties and restrictions of their office. Unlike certain other organizations such as the Faith of the Seven, which has male and female priests, women are not allowed to join the maesters, and thus its membership is all-male. A maester is appointed to every major castle and town in the Seven Kingdoms, serving as a resident healer and counselor. The headquarters of the order is the Citadel, located Oldtown in the Reach, which is the second largest city in the continent. They are ruled by the Conclave, the council of Archmaesters.

Maesters must shed all past allegiances when they join the order, similar to the Night's Watch and the Kingsguard. As a sign of this, they dress humbly in loose grey robes. Maesters serving in the Night's Watch dye their robes black (though there are currently only three maesters in the watch, because it only has three active castles left).

Maesters wear a chain around their necks composed of various metals to signify their personal expertise. Each link indicates a different field of study. Maesters personally forge each link themselves. Maesters are expected to wear their chains at all times, even when sleeping. There are hundreds of recognized fields each with a different representative metal, including: silver (medicine and healing), gold (money and accounting), iron (warcraft), black iron (ravenry), Valyrian steel (the "higher mysteries" i.e. magic), and many more.

The Grand Maester is the maester appointed to the Red Keep in King's Landing, to serve the king on the Iron Throne. The chain of office worn by a Grand Maester is a ceremonial symbol of their office, containing numerous links from many fields of study. Because the chain is ceremonial, it actually does not represent the specific areas of knowledge that the current Grand Maester has studied. For example, the Grand Maester's chain contains an iron link representing study of warcraft, even though the current Grand Maester might not have studied warcraft (because he is a peaceful man who rose to prominence as an archmaester of medicine, economics, etc.). In practice, however, the candidate that the Conclave chooses to be the new Grand Maester is usually one of the most senior and leading members of the entire Order of Maesters, and is usually someone who happens to have attained most if not all of the links represented in the ceremonial chain of the Grand Maester.

According to Julian Glover (Pycelle), the ceremonial chains of office for the Grand Maester which he wears are made of real metal links, and thus the prop is very heavy. Therefore, straps are concealed under his costume which connect behind his back (which he compares to a bra), so the weight is distributed across his shoulders, instead of having to support a heavy metal chain with nothing but the back of his neck for long periods of time. Glover also said that his heavy roughspun maester's robes can be very uncomfortable at times, particularly considering that many of the exterior scenes in King's Landing are filmed in warm Mediterranean climates such as Malta or Croatia.[40]

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Beyond the Wall

Night's Watch

The Night's Watch are the sworn all-male order who defend the Wall, located at the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, from whatever dangers lie beyond. Due to the very cold and snowy climate at the Wall, they wear thick furs and heavy wool padding.

Members of the Night's Watch wear all-black clothing, the rejection of Heraldry and all prior allegiances. Due to the decline of the Watch in recent centuries, they cannot afford standardized gear, so new recruits have to simply dye black what clothes they brought with them. Some like Jon Snow or Samwell Tarly came from noble families and thus brought fairly high-quality winter clothing with them. Most new recruits, however, were taken from the prisons of the Seven Kingdoms, and simply came to the Wall with the clothes on their backs - which often were not intended to protect against cold weather.

The Night's Watch doesn't wear a lot of metal armor. Apart from the simple fact that they cannot afford it due to the decline of the Watch, even the highest ranking officers don't wear much metal, because metal armor is impractical in very cold weather (it doesn't retain heat well, and at freezing temperatures it harms the skin).


Clapton: "These men couldn't all wear the same color, the same shade of black. The Night's Watch is deteriorating, their numbers are dwindling, they have no money, so the clothes needed to reflect those circumstances. We worked with the idea that they've dyed their clothes black, which gives you different shades. And, of course, they have furs to keep warm, but everything always has to be drawn from what they can get nearby. It's all very dirty, very raw.

We also decided we'd keep the recruits in their own clothing, aside from crude standard-issue sparring armor. They don't don their black garb until they've passed muster and taken their Night's Watch vows. Many of the new recruits are plucked from prisons, so they don't have a cape or cloak. So within the recruits, there's a mixture of colors and fabrics, depending on where they came from. Sam, for instance, coming from a noble background, has a much higher standard of clothing.

Jon Snow's look initially came from Winterfell, but because he's the bastard, his clothes aren't quite of the same quality as his brothers and sisters. When he goes to the Wall, he keeps the same costume but introduces some new dark elements. Then of course, he goes fully black once he takes his vows. He retains his original black cape throughout the series; it's a piece of home, which makes sense for his character, I think."[41]

Clapton: "They were mostly padding, fur, not really metal armor. Because you can't wear that in cold, it's impractical. But it's not a 'uniform', because they're not funded enough to do that anymore. But as long as it's black, it's enough for them to wear.

They sort of live, eat, sleep in the same clothing, so [the costume has to look like] they almost smell. Pyp always looks cold, he's got very thin clothing, he wasn't planning on coming to the Wall. Wealthy people will bring clothes with them that are probably more suitable, the others actually often arrive in a thin jacket. That's all they have. Jon Snow is planning [on going], is really excited about it, so he's dressed warm, because he has an understanding of where he's going."[42]

Clapton also pointed out just how bizarre it is that the Night's Watch members (generally) do not wear hats, even in such cold weather - which is purely due to filming concerns, rather than strict realism: "Another issue is [the] principal [actor's] hat-wearing north of the wall. Of course they should wear them but, as it is explained to me often, we would not see who was who.[43] In contrast, the wildlings at least have the excuse that their costumes have built-in hoods, and they're usually seen wearing the hoods while traveling, but could plausibly pull them down if they wanted a better look around.

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"Wildlings" is what the people living in the Seven Kingdoms south of the Wall call the semi-nomadic tribes who live in the lands beyond the Wall. These people, who call themselves the "Free Folk", are actually descended from the First Men, just like the Northmen (such as the Starks) and to a lesser extent many other people living in southern Westeros. The Free Folk are just the descendants of people who were unlucky enough to be living north of the Wall when it was built. The lands north of the Wall are harsh, including vast taiga forests, mountain ranges, and eventually sub-arctic tundra, to which the wildlings have adapted as best they could.

The wildlings have a very hardscrabble existence, so their clothing is made from heavy furs and skins from animals, to protect against the cold and snow. They are focused on pure functionality moreso than any display of fashion. The wildlings are not sophisticated enough to forge iron, so as a rule, their costumes do not contain any metal - save for weapons which they have scavenged from dead Night's Watch rangers. Occasionally, some wildlings also trade with smugglers along the coasts, exchanging furs and other resources for iron weapons. Otherwise, most wildlings wield weapons made of wood or animal bone, or decorate their clothing with wood and bone.[44]

Wildling society recognizes no class of hereditary nobility, unlike in the Seven Kingdoms south of the Wall, so their clan leaders don't tend to dress very differently from their regular warriors. Obviously, a successful war leader will have access to better weapons (ripped from the dead hands of fallen enemies) and somewhat better quality furs, but overall, there is little difference. For example when Jon Snow first entered King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder's tent, he did not recognize Mance by his attire, and assumed that one of his lieutenants (Tormund) was actually the king.

The wildlings are actually fairly diverse, split into about 90 or so different clans at the time when Mance Rayder united them. Most come from the Haunted Forest immediately north of the Wall and therefore look similar, but those from the coasts use more pieces of shell and other items from the sea in their clothing. Wildlings from up in the mountains also dress differently. Other more isolated subgroups dress much more differently, though all include adaptations to the extremely cold weather.[45]

While as a rule wildlings do not possess metal weapons (except for what they have scavenged or traded for), the Thenn people are a major exception: while the Thenns are not sophisticated enough to forge iron, they are capable of forging bronze. Thenn warriors thus wear basic bronze armor shirts, not actual plate, but discs of bronze strung together as a vest. While this is not as effective as steel plate produced in King's Landing, it is much better protection than most other wildlings possess. They also possess their own distinctive bronze axes, all of the same style because they produce them themselves, instead of the haphazard, scavenged metal weapons the other wildlings use.

The Thenn people in the TV series are basically a condensation of two separate wildling groups from the novels into one group: the Thenn, and the Ice-river clans. The Thenn are the most sophisticated of the wildlings, knowing how to forge their own bronze armor and weapons, and organized under lords with established laws. They are dangerous because they are the best equipped and most well-disciplined of the wildlings. In complete contrast, the ice-river clans are savage cannibals, considered half-feral by the other wildlings. The TV series anachronistically combined the two - or at least, elements of them. The TV-Thenns retain the costuming that the Thenns have in the novels, sophisticated enough to forge their own armor of interwoven bronze disks and bronze axes, but the show version also made them cannibals. Though the difference is that the ice-river clans live in the harsh polar fringes of human habitation, so they eat other wildlings for food in order to survive, while the TV-Thenns apparently do this as a terror tactic against their enemies. The TV series also invented the detail that the Thenns decorate their bodies with ritual scarification patterns. The scarification pattern that the Thenns use matches the pattern etched into the bronze disks that make up their armor.[46]

Female wildlings sometimes wear skirts, but spearwives (female warriors) such as Ygritte do not, for added mobility in combat. It is common for wildling women to fight beside men in raiding parties. Skirts are seen being worn by mothers and old women in Mance Rayder's camp looking after young children, but female wildling warriors dress the same as male warriors.[47]

Clapton explained that she gave the non-combat female wildlings skirts, the mothers taking care of young children in Mance's camp, because otherwise with their heavy winter furs it would be difficult to discern that they were women - and a major point they wanted to get across is that Mance's army camp consists of the entire remaining wildling population, including family groups, because their entire society is trying to force its way south of the Wall to flee the White Walkers.

Clapton explained that the wildlings wear their furs the same way as Inuit tribes, fur side in and skin side out, to retain the most heat.[48]

There are basically six separate groups or subdivisions of wildlings that the costumers defined by their dress. The Thenns are one group, but the others haven't been clearly enumerated. Clapton has mentioned in passing that groups meant to be from near the coasts decorate their clothing with shells, those from the main region of the Haunted Forest dress in heavy furs, and those from further in the interior decorate their clothing with bones (the Lord of Bones's group).[49]


Clapton: "We've all read the books and we look at it to a point, but sometimes a written description of a costume doesn't necessarily translate well to the screen. Since it’s such a complicated story, the looks had to enable the viewer to know where they are, who these people are and who they represent. We made all the costumes for [characters from] the north [of the Wall] from skins. For research, we looked at the Inuits and at Tibetan tribes — we try and look at peoples in different times in history to see how they would have dressed in that environment...

...I also looked at Lascaux cave paintings in France — they have these wonderful animal paintings. We decided that every time they killed an animal, the hunters would have to paint an animal onto their costume. The better the hunter, the more covered in these drawings he would be, which I think visually is really strong. We’re always looking for ways to show who the leader is."[50]

Tommy Dunne (armorer): "In five foot snowdrifts it would be impossible to have a thirty-two-inch blade. As you drag it, it would just become an ice block and get heavier. I also thought of the wildlings more as a guerrilla force, attacking and moving on quickly, so we didn't worry about the larger weapons used for sieges." -- Even wildlings equipped with steel swords scavenged from dead Night's Watch rangers had to adapt the blades by shortening them.[51]

Clapton, on costuming female wildlings: "We made [animal] skin skirts, and some of its fabric that we've waxed, it's not, you know, "fashion". I just wanted to show that they were all women; if they all dress the same [in heavy winter furs] you can't tell."

Rose Leslie (Ygritte): "While we were on location yesterday, I saw one of the other wildling women, she had a skirt, and I got really envious, I was like, 'I want to be feminine! Where's my long skirt?'..."[52]

"We have weavers, embroiderers and printers so a lot of costumes are created from scratch. Craster’s wives costumes for instance, were woven from raffia, rabbit skin, and feathers which were then aged in our breakdown rooms.[53]

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The non-human race of giants live in the far north of the lands Beyond the Wall, in the tundras north of the Haunted Forest where most of the human wildlings live. Mammoths also dwell in these tundras, and the giants have learned to tame them as beasts of burden and war mounts. The giants allied with the human wildlings under King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder, and now form part of his wildling army.

Giants simply swaddle themselves with whatever skins or pieces of cloth they can find, giving them an almost mummified appearance, though they leave their heads and hands exposed.

In the novels, giants have a drastically different, more ape-like appearance. They tend to be about twice as large as a very tall human, about 12 to 14 feet in height, but not monstrously huge. A single giant is as strong as a dozen humans. They generally resemble descriptions of the Sasquatch (Bigfoot) or Yeti. They are not as intelligent as the average human, though they are capable of speech.
The giants in the novels wear no clothing, but instead are covered in shaggy fur pelts, which are thicker below the waist. The fur of older giants becomes grey and streaked with white. They do not generally possess technology more advanced than simply grabbing a large tree log and wielding it as a club. Some of them, however, are smart enough to tie large stone boulders to the end of the tree logs to make crude mauls. On a few occasions these are even sharpened to form basic stone axes. Otherwise, they do not produce any clothing or tools.
The TV series (possibly due to budgetary restrictions) depicts the giants as much more human-like, though with blocky facial features (created with make-up prosthetics). The giant "costumes" are actually full body prosthetics which have to be assembled around the actors. By the end of Season 4, only two of these expensive suits have been produced: for the giants Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg and Dongo.


Clapton: "I always think giants in costume look really corny. I wanted their upbringing to be different, as if as children, they were swaddled and wrapped in anything. And so on when they get bigger, they just keep wrapping and wrapping and wrapping. By the time they get to this age, they're just massively wrapped in fabrics and antlers and bones and grass. So the wrapping isn't clothes as we know them, it's protection. For me, that's what differentiates them from the wildling humans."[54]

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Children of the Forest


Clapton: "I always thought the Children of the Forest should be really old children. Personally I took my lead from Jojen and Meera, their costumes have always been on the verge of being quite organic. And so the costumes that I've made are out of feathers and leaves.

Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark): "It's all sort of greeny, huge, curls, all over the place [gestures to his head], but in a sort of very tree-like, root fashion.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed): "They look in some ways similar to wildlings, but they look more ancient, like more of an ancient race."

Clapton: "They don't have any way of fashioning clothes, how would they do that? So it's almost like, it's supposed to look like they've rolled in it. And this beautiful lichen, it's just sort of little bits of mold and lichen and things growing on them: they're like little trees, trees with feathers on them."[55]

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White Walkers


Clapton, on the White Walkers in Season 4: "David and Dan said that now that the White Walkers know they're in danger, that there is obviously something that can kill them, that they should be armored.

I went back to samurai a little bit, I looked at the way they tied things and put things together. I also looked at Egyptian.

It has these sort of very sharp, cut-out pieces. It's almost like a fender, like a car fender. It's quite unusual I think."[56]

Benioff and Weiss, on the mysterious White Walker leader seen in Season 4's "Oathkeeper":

Weiss: "We wanted to kind of evolve the White Walker look. He is of a group of almost ageless creatures."

Benioff: "It's an interesting mix between something frightening, obviously, but also regal, something aristocratic about Him. We wanted a distinction from the other White Walkers that we've seen."

Weiss: "And we went back and forth for a long time, until we hit upon something that was, if anything, moving in a more human direction, while maintaining a generally horrific look."[57]

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Free Cities

The Free Cities are located on the western coast of Essos, across the Narrow Sea from Westeros. Costumes of the Free Cities have not been extensively developed in the TV series yet. The Free Cities are loosely comparable to the medieval Italian city-states, densely urbanized and focused on trade. Each of the nine Free Cities (presumably) have their own unique clothing styles.

What little was seen of Pentos in the first episode of Season 1 is shown to be adapted for a relatively warm, Mediterranean climate. Braavos was first briefly seen on screen in Season 4. Much more of the Free Cities will be seen in Season 5, now that both Arya and Tyrion have fled east across the Narrow Sea.

Volantis has a very large slave population: Volantene slaves are tattooed on their faces with symbols indicating what occupation they have.[58]

In the novels, Volantene slaves who drive carts have wheels tattooed on their cheeks, slaves in the city guard have tiger stripe tattoos, prostitute-slaves have tattoos of teardrops falling from their eyes, slaves who sweep dung from the streets have tattoos of flies, etc.
Tyrosh is one of the major producers of color dyes in the Free Cities, and its people are known for wearing very colorful clothing. They even commonly dye their hair different colors: Daario Naharis is Tyroshi and he actually dyes his hair blue in the novels - the TV series chose not to include this, believing it was too distracting.
Myr is famed for its textiles and finished goods. Myrish lace is expensive finery, prized across the Free Cities and Westeros.
Norvos was founded by a strict religious sect and remains a conservative theocracy; its people also dress conservatively because it is one of the northern Free Cities. Norvoshi men of all social classes frequently wear long, upswept moustaches, while the ruling priests wear long beards. Norvoshi women, as well as all slaves, shave their heads entirely bald (though noblewomen will wear wigs when in the company of foreigners).

Braavos is one of the northernmost Free Cities, located at around the same latitude as the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn, so it has a colder temperature than the others, and its costuming in the TV series seems to reflect this.

Braavosi women braid their hair up into buns on both side of their heads. The coils of the braids are on the sides, and collect into buns above the temples.

In the novels, Braavos is a fairly egalitarian society in which slavery is outlawed, and instead of a hereditary nobility their society is dominated by powerful bankers and merchants (who elect the Sealord). Perhaps as a result, wealthier Braavosi actually dress in dress in relatively dab colors: "charcoal grey and purple, blues that were almost black and blacks as dark as a moonless night". The materials used for their clothing are of high quality, but they prefer subdued fashions. In contrast, the young street-fighting swordsmen (known as Bravos) of the lower classes dress in flamboyant colors. The TV series generally matched this description by having the Iron Bank representatives dress in more subdued colors.


Frank Doelger (Executive Producer) "Once we decided we were using the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th century as the model for the buildings of Braavos, Michele then picked up on that, and designed the costumes for Braavos along the same lines."

Clapton: "I quite like the idea that banking is a dirty business. Once they come into the bank, they put the (sable?) on, because it's where they're working. And the men are in these very pleated skirts, and metalic roughs.

D.B. Weiss (Executive Producer): "...From the moment we read about the Iron Bank, and Tycho Nestoris the representative of the Iron Bank, we loved it because it was such an atypical element - banking doesn't really factor into most High Fantasy. But it's very modern, I mean the lines are very clean and Dutch Protestant, and the way they dress is inspired by the Dutch Golden Age, and they're a bit more advanced than most of the people in Westeros - which is perhaps why they're in charge of everything."[59]

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The Dothraki, mounted nomads from the central plains of Essos, primarily wear clothing artfully woven from the plentiful tallgrass of the Dothraki Sea. All Dothraki warriors must wear riding chaps made from horse leather.

The Dothraki traditionally fight with curved swords known as arakhs, and also employ bolas, daggers, and whips, or huge, recurved bows with impressive range and striking power that can be fired from horseback. They also shun armor, considering speed and freedom of movement to be more important in battle. Some Dothraki warriors wear light leather armor jackets or woven-grass shirts, but many ride into battle bare-chested, such as Khal Drogo. Even those who fight bare-chested, however, typically wear leather armor that protects the vulnerable area of the abdomen, while leaving their pectoral muscles upward exposed.

What precious jewelry powerful khals such as Drogo might have, such as his belt of gold medallions with horse images engraved on them, are often made in the Free Cities then given to the Dothraki as tribute.

Dothraki khalasars (clans) sometimes differentiate themselves by decorating themselves and their horses with different colors of paint. For example, Khal Drogo's khalasar used blue paint, but Khal Jhaqo's khalasar uses red paint.[60] These pigments (made from crushed stones) are expensive so they often only use them for special occasions, such as wedding feasts and religious ceremonies.

No mention is made in the novels of the Dothraki using colored pigments to adorn their bodies and horses, this is an idea that the TV series costume team came up with. Dothraki khalasars usually dissolve on the death of their khal, so they do not have any long-standing histories or deep-seated affiliations, or even names (just "Khal Drogo's khalasar"). Thus for all we know a hundred years ago Drogo's grandfather's grandfather's khalasar might have used green paint. Clapton's explanation is that blue color pigment is the rarest and most expensive that the Dothraki have access to, which makes blue the Dothraki power color (similar to how purple was the color of the Roman Emperors, because purple was the rarest and most expensive color dye at the time). Drogo and his khalasar use blue because he is one of the most powerful and successful khals and can thus afford it.

Dothraki warriors wear their hair in a long braid and only cut it when defeated, so the world may see their shame.  Very capable warriors therefore often have a very long braid.

In the books, the Dothraki adorn their long hair braids with various small bells, adding new ones for each victory. Jason Momoa (Drogo) said the bells weren't included in the TV series because they weren't very scary in real life: the constant jingling noises were somewhat comical, and it was felt they detracted from the performance.[61]

Clapton said that the clothing style of the Dothraki took elements from African, Bedouin, and Native American designs, but a mixture of many different elements so there is no one-for-one equivalence. Nomadic mounted peoples share certain common design elements (i.e. anyone who rides a horse all day absolutely needs to wear leather riding chaps).[62]


Clapton: "Khal Drogo, he's very practical, with the leather trousers, very basic, very simple, lots of lacing on."[63]

Clapton: "The look for the Dothraki changed a bit between the original pilot and the filming of the series, and it was a tricky one to get. There was danger of going too far in one direction, too far into strictly African or Native American. Originally, their look was a bit more theatrical, but we brought it down by taking it straight back to their environment. What do they have access to? Well, there’s grass from the grasslands; the women weave. And there are skins from small animals.

All the colors were quite natural and one with the land, but we wanted to give it something else. So we developed this blue paint, this pigment, that maybe they developed by crushing stones, and that they used relatively sparingly for celebrations – like the wedding in Episode 101. Visually it became much more exciting, this blue within this very barren landscape.

We also looked at a lot of images of Afghani horsemen, which inspired the Dothraki riding boots. We imagined their footwear would be designed to accommodate riding first and foremost, since they’re a horse culture. So they have these heels that keep their feet in the stirrups. And, if you’re riding, you need trousers – leather trousers – even Daenerys had them under her skirts, as do some of the other Dothraki women. But we didn’t want to be frivolous about it – the weaving was practical and gave it a nice texture."[64]

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Qarth is a rich city far to the east of Westeros, so its fashions are very exotic and opulent. The city is east of Slaver's Bay, south of the Dothraki Sea (and separated from it by the Red Waste). Qarth is located on straits which separate the Summer Sea from the Jade Sea: control of these vital trade routes, taxing all merchant ships passing from the west to the east, has made Qarth fabulously wealthy.

Clapton explained that she wanted to show that the Qartheen are very opulent, but also that it is all a facade and for show. Thus Qartheen men wear vests which are lavish and ornate on the front to impress others when they face them, with extravagant gold tracing, and even large gold pieces shaped like insects and encrusted with jewels. However, they don't bother to decorate the back of their clothing at all, which is plain and unadorned: they are merchant-princes who care only about appearances.

Both Qartheen men and women wear wide metal belts around their waits of elaborate, interlaced filigree, with chains of beads and jewelry hanging from them. Qarth has a warm climate, so women wear sleeve-less dresses with plunging necklines and backs.

While there is no one-for-one equivalence, Clapton said that Qarth's costume designs took inspiration from Persia and the Middle East.[65]


Clapton: "I always in my head, saw Qarth as a sort of mirage, so with that in mind, it's a sort of case of taking to Gemma about the architecture, obviously the climate. We started actually with the fabrics, really. We dyed all the silk, and then printed, it's almost like gilded gates on it, and then I had a painter who came in and actually painted the sort of fronds and the flowers and the gold behind the gate. With their underskirts, we actually had them baked in clay and then shook them out, and so it gives this lovely crumpled sort of weight to the fabric, that you really can't get any other way. And then with those costumes I wanted them to be able to be worn in different ways, so when they come out of the gates they lift it up over their heads and it protects them from the heat, and other times they can be down and the jacket takes prominence.

And then again I wanted it to be like a facade, like a theatrical piece, so that when they turn around a lot of the backs are just linen, or hessian [burlap], so it's all a front, it's all a show."[66]

In the novels, Qartheen women (all of them) are described as wearing a style of dress that leaves one breast bare. Daenerys Targaryen adopts the Qartheen-style of dress for women so they won't disparage her as an unrefined savage wearing Dothraki leathers. Clapton actually went so far as to design the very revealing Qartheen dress described in the books, but the producers then told her they weren't going to include that in the adaptation. First, while Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) had done nude scenes in the show since Season 1, it was felt that having extended dialogue scenes in which she had one breast exposed would be too distracting, as well as damaging the integrity of the scenes. Second, every Qartheen woman in crowd shots would have to dress in this fashion to match, and for practical reasons this would run into difficulty with local obscenity laws, etc.

Question: "Is there a certain emphasis on sexy that you need to keep in mind? In some cases the sex is even toned down — for example, the Quartheen gowns in the book that Daenerys wear expose one breast?"

Clapton: "I had actually designed the dresses to reveal one breast and was surprised when they didn't want to go in that direction. But actually, we filmed that in Morocco and it would have been very difficult to find the number of women required to do it. Even to just film it would have been hard."[67]

At the Game of Thrones panel for San Diego Comic-Con 2012, Emilia Clarke jokingly gave the explanation to author George R.R. Martin that she didn't wear the breast-exposing Qarth dresses as described in the books because it was a "warmth issue".[68] The real reason, as Clarke explained in a separate interview, was that it was felt that having Daenerys spending entire scenes wearing a dress that left one breast exposed would detract from the integrity of the drama and of Daenerys as a character:

"I remember when I was filming in Croatia seeing a copy of book 2, and the front cover picture was of Dany in the ‘traditional Qartheen fashion’ and you could say that I was rather taken aback. There are lots of things to bear in mind when adapting a book for the screen, and yes we all agreed that if this was kept as a visual reference, it would take away from the drama and integrity of Dany’s storyline as she grows into such a strong Khaleesi."[69]

See the article about the "Qartheen gown" on A Wiki of Ice and Fire. It includes the official cover art image that Clarke was referring to, as well as fanart (there is an inordinate amount of fanart based on this costume, for reasons which should by now be all too obvious).

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Asshai is located at the far eastern edge of the known world, a feared city of secrets inhabited by sorcerers and shadowbinders. Qarth is the furthest east that traders from Westeros travel: beyond the Straits of Qarth is the Jade Sea, but the lands around it are only half-legendary to men from Westeros and only heard of second-hand, such as the fabulous wealth of Yi Ti east of Qarth. Asshai is even further east than Yi Ti (the only place said to be east of Asshai is Carcosa, a strange city ruled by its Yellow King).

Characters from Asshai such as Melisandre and Quaithe, wear fashions with a distinctive motif of elongated hexagons.

Quaithe's mask was designed to display a stylistic link to Melisandre, because both of them are from the region of Asshai. Melisandre wears an ornate neck piece featuring a repeated design motif of elongated hexagons. Quaithe's mask was constructed using the same hexagonal shapes as links, though filled in with metal. Further, the dresses of both Melisandre and Quaithe have the same hexagonal design motif (elongated so they are taller than they are wide). Melisandre has different dresses, and she usually wears an all-red one, but the one with hexagons which match her neck piece appears prominently in "The Night Lands" when she has sex with Stannis.[70]

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Slaver's Bay

Slaver's Bay is the hub of the international slave trade. It is located on the eastern side of the Valyrian Peninsula from the Free Cities, south of the Dothraki Sea, and west of Qarth. Slaver's Bay used to be part of the ancient Ghiscari Empire, but it was conquered by the Valyrian Freehold five thousand years ago. After the Doom of Valyria four centuries ago, the city-states of Slaver's Bay reasserted their independence, much as the Free Cities did to the west of Old Valyria. The three great slaver-cities are, from south to north: Astapor (whose rulers call themselves the Good Masters), Yunkai (ruled by the Wise Masters), and Meereen (ruled by the Great Masters), which is bigger than Astapor and Yunkai put together.

The slave-masters of Slaver's Bay wear a clothing style with a repeated motif of rings which the fabric of their clothing is interwoven with, visually evoking slave chains. They are often dressed ostentatiously to display their wealth, wearing fine silks and jewels. They seem to favor colors such as green, teal to light blue, bright yellow, and beige.

The slaves themselves are typically dressed very poorly, though slaves who work as artisans or house servants can possess better clothing. The slave population is very diverse, having been brought in from captives taken in many distant lands (or descended from those taken captive). One notable feature is that the clothing provided for slaves has been designed to outright incorporate their slave collars into them.

The Unsullied warrior-eunuchs produced in Astapor are brutally trained to be utterly selfless, gladly falling on their swords for the slave-masters if commanded to do so. To reflect this lack of individuality, that they are seen as interchangeable and expendable, a key point is that they wear face-obscuring visors.

There are also regular non-slave soldiers, who seem to make up the bulk of the private guard of the slave-masters. Unlike the Unsullied, they do not wear face-obscuring visors. Their chest-plates also have a prominent circular disc shape in the middle of them, apparently another representation of the slave manacle motif that the slave-masters wear in their own clothing.

Missandei, a slave taken to Slaver's Bay from Naath, initially dresses in a slave costume but after being freed and entering the service of Daenerys Targaryen, she switches to Daenerys's unique style. When Missandei is first introduced, her hair is bound up, to visually evoke how constrained she is as a slave. During her second appearance, however, in which Daenerys takes her into her service, Missandei's hair is unbound, large and frizzy, to symbolize how she isn't constrained by slavery anymore.[71]

In the novels, the masters of Slaver's Bay have wiry hair which they tease out into various exotic shapes, if not outright foppish and impractical designs (i.e. broad wings that stand away from the head). This is a sign of their high social status. After Daenerys takes over Meereen, those who wish to display loyalty to her shave off their old hairstyles as a symbol of embracing the new social order she wants to set.
One of the more famous costumes in the novels is the "tokar" worn by the slave-masters of the region. It is a long, loose, toga-like sheet wrapped around the body. A tokar is wound around the hips, under an arm, then over a shoulder, and must be held in place at all times with the left hand. The dangling fringes of the end hanging down from the shoulder are decorated with expensive materials and jewels. It is difficult to wear a tokar: if wound too loose, it might unravel and fall off, but if wound too tightly, it might tangle and trip the wearer. Even a properly wound tokar must be always held in place with the left hand, and requires walking with small balanced steps to avoid tripping. The entire point of a tokar is to be impractical, for the slave-masters to show off that they do not need to perform any manual tasks themselves. Daenerys frequently wears a tokar once she becomes queen of Meereen, in order to be taken seriously as a ruler by the former slave-masters.


[Few quotes have yet been provided from official sources explaining the design choices that went into the costumes of Slaver's Bay]

Clapton: "I really enjoyed doing Meereen. It's just much more opulent and wealthy, it has a color range that's greater and brighter."[72]

Clapton: "The uniform of the Unsullied, an army of elite warrior eunuchs, which was inspired by beetles, can fit many different body types, but not at the expense of a metaphor. "The final piece that really made it come together was the idea of obscuring the face," explained Clapton. "This really removed all personality, it sort of felt that it was the perfect ethos to be Unsullied--all personality removed."[73]

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Major characters

The costumes of most major characters in the Game of Thrones TV series are covered in the above region-by-region sections. A few characters, however, go through such extensive or unique costume changes during the course of the series that they defy simple categorization - and which have such significant notes that it is more convenient to treat them separately.

Daenerys Targaryen Daenerys starts as this very innocent, beautiful young girl, and I just wanted a real elegance of cut, and a simplicity. Certainly not medieval, it's almost slightly Grecian, but it's her own particular style. I think it's from when she takes the initiative with Drogo, she then becomes Dothraki. “For the first time she’s her own person, so she begins to develop her own style, with some reference to what we’ve seen before,” Clapton told us. “She has control of herself and control of her look. It’s very different, quite a strong look. [There are] references to dragons in the texture [of some of the looks].” And if you think you’ve noticed that Daenerys favors blue, it’s not your imagination. “I like to put blues on her because they’re a reference back to Khal Drogo [her dead husband] and the Dothraki, because blue was their special color. We decided [in season one] that it was a rare natural pigment available to them in their region, so it’s sort of her weird tribute to him,” Clapton said. “So yes, blue is a very important color for her, and I think she’ll carry that through for a while.”

One piece is even made out of fish skin that Clapton thought looked like dragon scales. After the journey across the desert to Qarth, out of courtesy Daenerys accepts some Qarth-style dresses. As she gets stronger and more sure of herself, she adopts the men’s Qarthian coat style over a gold corset and her Dothraki leather pants, completing her style evolution. “She needs to have a strength to her but also vulnerability,” Clapton said. “We’ll take her [look] even further as she finds herself.”

Clapton said of the look, “The trousers are practical. The Dothraki are nomadic so they ride every day. The dress is based on the Quarth shape–it’s the only other shape of dress she has seen so she has interpreted into her individual look.”

Daenerys’s slave-style simple gown was actually a Vionnet gown with a few neckline alterations: they didn’t have time to invent a new dress from scratch, but Clapton saw it in a store window and Dubrovnik and loved it; it was very similar to some concepts they’d been discussing, and feels it was “meant to be”, to find it at the last minute.

Daenerys wears Queen Rhaella Targaryen's ring: Emilia Clarke: "This ring is, fundamentally, the only thing that Dany's had from day one, Season 1. It's her mother's ring."

Michele Carragher on embroidery: On creating the dragon-scale pattern for Daenerys: "I started to be involved in embellishing her costumes in season three. The decoration on her costume develops from a subtle texture, and as she increases in power and strength, this texture becomes more defined to map out her journey in the story. ... As Dany grows in strength with her dragons, the texture becomes more embellished and grows down the costume." Page 158 – “Costuming Daenerys” – At the start of the series, Dany has lived most of her life being told how to dress, initially by her brother. She has two key dresses in the first episode: her “viewing” dress and her wedding dress. The “viewing” dress is essentially designed to make her look naked, as Drogo’s come to see the goods, basically. It’s accented by these dragon-head brooches, which also hold it up. As for the wedding dress, it was meant to unwrap, as if Drogo is opening a present. And, of course, at the end of the first season, she burns in it, which is rather poignant – the end of her story with Drogo. Dany steps into Dothraki society and grows within it. Her costume throughout the season reflects that. She starts off with a basic Dothraki outfit, but as she evolves, she ends up having a bit more ornamentation. When she goes to the market in Vaes Dothrak, she buys what looks like a dragon-skin top and starts to create her own look, within the Dothraki style. Dany takes what’s presented to her, adapts it, and evolves with it. In season two, she arrives in Qarth, completely broken, and she is initially won over by the Qartheen style – this beautiful, revealing, turquoise dress…but then realizes it’s not quite right. It’s not her. So she starts wearing this gold corset over her Dothraki costume, then eventually a leather corset over a Qartheen man’s top, blending the two cultures and creating her own style.

Clapton: "The inspiration for Dany's costumes and their evolution is very much her story. The color choice was dictated by the fact that the Dothraki precious color is blue, so that's really been the basis of her palette. The change in her clothing style is partly about her journey of becoming a woman and a leader, but also the practicality of it. She has been leading a nomadic life and with the riding she has to wear boots and she has to wear leather trousers. The fact that they lend such strength to her look is great, but I wanted the shape to create a sense of her femininity. We looked at so many elements, and we played with dragon scaling embroidery and the sleeves seem almost like the hood on a snake. I wanted to draw in the dragons, but also create a sense of armor, something protective about the choices she makes.

After Qarth, where it was designed so that it felt like she had made a mistake in style choice, Dany starts to take on more elements from the male style of dress - because that's where she feels the power is - and then make them her own.

It's a very organic process, so when she gets to Meereen, you start to see similarities between Missandei and Dany. [Missandei] is still a young woman and she would want to dress like the woman she perceives as her friend, someone who has proved herself as they traveled together. Dany wants to erase the idea of slave and the separation it causes and that is part of it as well."[74]

Daenerys's long white (platinum blonde) hair is a wig, as actress Emilia Clarke has naturally black hair. It is by far the most difficult wig to care for. As hair designer Kevin Alexander said, it is particularly difficult in any scene involving smoke: apart from being white, the wig is very porous, so it very easily gets dirty and turns grey. The team has to rotate between three different wigs during filming, depending on which is the cleanest that day. Daenerys started out with plain hair but after entering Dothraki society started braiding it in their fashion. She briefly stopped doing this in Season 2 when she was experimenting with Qartheen clothing styles, but from Season 3 onwards she abandoned Qartheen fashion and returned to developing her own unique style, including a return of her Dothraki braids - reminding her of where she first learned her own sense of power and selfhood. Alexander explained there are also practical considerations for this: unlike Cersei or Margaery (who are mostly at court), Daenerys is frequently riding around from place to the next in outdoor, on-location filming - if she wore her hair loose and unbraided, it would fly about wildly in the wind (see this tutorial on how to braid your hair like Daenerys).[75]

It takes about two hours to apply Emilia Clarke's wig:

Daenerys's wedding dress in the first episode is supposed to be pale like the color of the moon, because of how Drogo later calls her the "moon of my life" (and he is her "sun and stars".

"And Dany, once she's there [in Meereen] and has her own penthouse, you actually start seeing her dressing for certain occasions. So she's very formal when she's in the main hall, she wears really soft wraps and wafty things when she's in her private apartment. We see Missandei sort of growing closer to her and adapting a similar style.

She's developing a wardrobe and a taste now. We're still keeping it to blues and silvers. But there's more dragony-skin inspired embroidery....I think it's nice, it gives such a different look to her."[76][77]

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Brienne of Tarth

Brienne of Tarth

With Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), for instance, she is a woman but we want to mistake her for a man; however, no matter what you do, women have hips. We just started making the lines on the armor go away from her waist and slowly she began to look more masculine — at the same time, the armor also had to be functional. "Brienne's new armor: Jaime I don't think has a great deal of imagination, so we didn't think he would come up with anything particularly fanciful. It's based on the shape of her original armor, but it's just made by better armorers, being King's Landing." Brienne's original armor was from mismatched sets because they weren't made for a woman's body shape, while the new one she gets is a complete suit intended for her female proportions (wider hips). "[Brienne] has this pretty epic journey. She obvioulsy keeps her armored look, but there’s one scene where she actually dresses quite differently," Clapton said. "The interesting thing is she has to dress in a way that she dislikes intensely and therefore feels stupid in, but actually it was very important that she actually doesn’t look stupid--she looks fab." So we'll assume it's a dress then? "Yeah, she's in a gown and very feminine," Clapton continued. "It’s just that she doesn’t like to look that way. Although it’s referred to as her looking 'ridiculous,' she doesn’t!"

Putting Brienne in a dress in Season 3 to show her discomfort "Yes, Brienne does wear a dress, and it is given to her," Clapton told us over email. "So we imagined that it was an old dress left behind by someone else, probably stored in a trunk, so it was important that it looked a bit dusty and aged and faded. Velvet is great for this and we trimmed it with moth-eaten fur. It had to not fit properly, but actually we also wanted to make Brienne look good, not because she wanted to but actually in spite of herself!"

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Cersei Lannister

Queen Cersei Lannister is paranoid and tries to armor herself against the threats she feels are around her, so her dresses are layered like armor, often including (symbolic) metal plating, in addition to expensive jewelry. To give this "layered" effect, Cersei's dresses wrap around her, like a Japanese kimono. Cersei's dresses also tend to have long billowing sleeves, which she can hold out in front of her like another layer separating her from other people.[78] Other Westerlands noblewomen imitate Cersei's styles. To correspond to the asymmetric look of Cersei's kimono-like dresses, Westerlands men wear leather tunics with asymmetric collars (seen on Jaime, Lancel, and Tywin). This kimono-like asymmetrically overlapped look, in turn, seems to have inspired the Japanese design influence for Lannister soldiers' armor.

At the beginning of the TV series, Cersei is making at least some attempt to appear friendly, wearing blue or gold colors and bird motifs in her clothing, but as her hostility increases she starts dressing in progressively more overt Lannister colors, gold and red. By the end of Season 1 (such as when she dismisses Ser Barristan Selmy) she is wearing pink and gold, and by the beginning of Season 2 she is wearing her true colors: bold Lannister red, with gold highlights. During Season 2, Cersei fears she is losing control due to both external pressures (the Starks, Renly and Stannis) and internal pressures (Tyrion and the other Small Council members). Therefore as Season 2 progresses, Cersei gradually shifts to dresses which increasingly display her signature "layered", wrap-around look, as if to mentally shield herself in armor from all of the threats she sees around her. By the end of Season 2 during the Battle of the Blackwater, she has even incorporated symbolic plate armor into her dresses.

Cersei wears her hair differently in public and in private. Cersei is all about appearances, nothing more, so on formal public occasions she makes it a point to have her hair elaborately styled, but in private she wears her hair down, because she doesn't really care. Basically, Cersei will have her hair styled for a ceremony in the throneroom but has reached the point where she doesn't care how the Small Council or Sansa Stark see her hair. This signifies that Cersei’s public face and private persona are polar opposites, i.e. she is two-faced, and her polite public appearances are just an act. In contrast, Margaery Tyrell always has her hair maintained and braided to a certain degree – not as formally as for full-scale court ceremonies, but she still cares about her appearance even if only in private. This reflects how unlike Cersei, Margaery and the Tyrells are much more honest and well-meaning (particularly towards Sansa Stark), and their private appearances are not drastically different from their public appearances.[79]

Lena Headey wears a wig to portray Cersei, instead of her own (dyed) hair. The wigs in the TV series are made of real human hair, and can cost as much as $7,000. Cersei's wig does not undergo any chemical processing at all (which is used on some of the other wigs to make them the exact color they need to be). Rather, the wig maker sourced individual colors and strands of hair, which were then individually knotted onto a lace cap one strand at a time to achieve the perfect golden blonde blend.[80]


Page 81 – “Costuming Cersei” – “When we first meet Cersei, she’s in a deeply unhappy marriage but is set in her ways and her style. Then Robert dies and Joffrey takes power, and slowly she gets harder. The bird embroidered on her clothes gives way to more and more lions. I wanted to increase her shell, I guess. Everything’s more ornate, grander, until we finally see her in Episode 209 in a sort of armored corset. I don’t know how strong she really is, but she wants to project that image. I’ve always wanted to do this with her costume, from the start, back when we were doing the pilot.”

Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister): "Margaery's appeared in King's Landing, and [Cersei]'s a bit threatened, because she's younger and more beautiful. So she's a little bit insecure around Margaery, and so she started to kind of build her clothes up, with armor; and that kind of stuff keeps growing [Headey motions to the thick metal collar she's wearing] as she gets more paranoid and more desperate. The lion is the Lannister sigil, so she's kind of stacking up the lions [Headey motions to the increasingly large and prominent lion sigils engraved in the metal pieces of her costume]."[81]

Cersei in Season 3 inexplicably starts wearing plunging funnel neck dresses like Margaery used to wear in Renly’s camp (before she came to King’s Landing). What’s the in-universe explanation?

By the Purple Wedding, "Cersei is pulling back a little bit. She's not the sort of powerhouse that she was, and it was just, I wanted her to be slightly quieter. Very beautiful, just not rocking the red so much. It's just a sort of slightly muted look to her."[82]

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Margaery Tyrell

Margaery's costumes go through an in-universe growth process. Clapton explained that in Season 2, Margaery is still Renly's young queen, so she's still figuring out what her official "signature look" will be. This leads her to experiment between different dress styles. The first dress she is introduced in, beside Renly in his camp, has few of her later signature features other than a plunging neckline. Afterwards she moves on to a the flower-shaped "funnel" dress, which many critics commented on as somewhat bizarre: this was entirely intentional on Clapton's part. The funnel dress was supposed to represent a blind alley that Margaery went down with her style, an early experiment which Margaery later realized wasn't working so she abandoned it. The third and final dress that Margaery wears in Season 2 is beginning to show signs of her later signature look: smooth lines, a plunging neckline, and now the tops of her shoulders are exposed.

By Season 3, Margaery has moved in to King's Landing as Joffrey's new betrothed, and she has also settled into what becomes her signature fashion style: entirely sleeve-less, back-less, and with a plunging neckline. There are still variations within this theme: Margaery actually has three different primary dresses in Season 3. They are not a continued evolution or progression of her style, as she actually alternates back and forth between them throughout the season (it's not as if she just wears the same outfit two days in a row). These include:

  • A - The dress which is not only backless, but which has side cutouts. It has shoulder cuffs, and a floral print pattern across the entire top (made by alternating green with darker green). The upper and lower halves of the dress only connect in the middle of the front. The dress isn't entirely backless, only over the small of the back. Margaery wears this in 3.1 (when Cersei insults her that it is so revealing she must be cold) and in 3.7 when she consoles Sansa in the gardens about being forced to marry Tyrion.
  • B - A dress with prominent gold tracery on the front, in the shape of a vest. It has shoulder cuffs but they do not have tracery on them. It is also entirely backless (except for the collar piece holding up the front) with a plunging neckline. Margaery wears this in 3.2 (when she introduces Sansa to Olenna) and in 3.8 (at Sansa and Tyrion's wedding).
  • C - A dress with free-floating shoulder pads which only attach to the rest of the dress by strings. It has a light embroidery pattern, which doesn't extend to the shoulder pieces. It also has a plunging neckline. This dress isn't entirely backless, though the back only consists of an X-shaped cross of material wrapping over her back from the front of it. Margaery wears this in 3.4 (when she visits the Great Sept along with Joffrey, Cersei, and Olenna), 3.5 (when she and Sansa are watching Loras sparring), and 4.1 (when with Olenna looking over jewelry for her wedding).

This doesn't include the traveling gown with a long train that Margaery briefly wears when she visits the orphanage in 3.1, and ruins by walking through a muddy street.

The last step in Margaery's stylistic evolution is in the middle of episode 3.4 "And Now His Watch is Ended", when she starts wearing her hair up, whereas she used to let it fall down her front side (thus contrasting even more with Cersei, who wears her hair down). Initially in 3.4, when Margaery is at the Great Sept she wears her dress with free-floating shoulder pieces, and with her hair down. In the scene with Sansa at the end of 3.4, however, she switches back to wearing her dress with gold embroidery, and for the first time is wearing her hair down. Perhaps this was no mere coincidence, as Margaery was meeting with Sansa to offer that she marry her brother Loras to steal her away from Joffrey's control - making this Margaery's first major attempt at going behind Cersei's back. Therefore, this is the first time that Margaery starts wearing her hair in a significantly different way than Cersei's hairstyle.

By episode 4.2, "The Lion and the Rose", Margaery of course switches to her royal wedding dress. After Joffrey's death at the wedding, she switches to dark mourning clothes for the rest of Season 4.

One of the reasons for Margaery's upswept hairstyle is that it simply reveals more of her skin, fitting with her revealing clothing style. This contrasts with how Cersei wears her hair down, again linked with her clothing style: Cersei wears her hair down as another layer of symbolic armor to shield herself with.[83]


Clapton: "Margaery Tyrell sweeps into King’s Landing and takes it by storm. As such, her wardrobe is very unique and very much at odds with everything else in King’s Landing [i.e. the Westerlands style, because Cersei used to be the trendsetter]. It’s a very structured look – the new style coming in after the war. For the first time in a long time, Cersei won’t be the trendsetter in the capital. It’s a fun way to reflect their future rivalry."[84]

Clapton on Margaery's funnel-neck dress: "Margaery’s funnel dress was obviously an homage to the wonderful Alexander McQueen’s costume for Bjork. It just felt right that this young ambitious girl would be experimenting with shapes, honing her style skills which we now see her employing to great effect. It was a risk and divided the audience."[85]

Clapton on Margaery's wedding dress: "I'm pretty pleased with Margaery's took weeks...months even, with all the roses and embroidery, and the bias cut was hard to achieve with the cutaway elements that are essential for her style...I wanted it to be pretty, but on closer inspection, strong and to tell the story of her ambition...the crowns particularly tell this."[86]

The best costumes are complementary, reflecting the personality of the person wearing the garb. There's no better example in Game of Thrones than Margaery Tyrell, a young and beautiful queen-to-be who uses daring fashion to gain more power. "From the very beginning she is brave and experimental in her look, which I wanted. She was a young girl who wanted to be the queen," Clapton explained. Margaery is often spotted in revealing or outré outfits. One episode she wore a funnel dress that Clapton told Vogue was an homage to an Alexander McQueen dress made for Bjork. "It was ridiculous. She's a teenage girl trying things out." But over the seasons she has refined her look as she has learned how to wield her body to her benefit, explains Clapton. "She honed this look that was girlishly sexy because she could see that it was exactly what Cersei couldn't do. The more armor and more regal Cersei got, the more girlish and simple Margaery became--very knowing."

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Sansa Stark

Sansa Stark has one of the most intricate costuming progressions of any character in the series. Sansa and Daenerys are the two characters who shift through the most different clothing styles from different regions. Sansa also knows how to sew well herself, so she can easily make alterations to her own clothing based on her current whims. Sansa shifts in stages from Northern style, to Cersei's Westerlands/King's Landing style, to copying elements from Margaery's Reach-style, to finally making a drastic shift to her own unique but Vale-inspired look at the end of Season 4.

Sansa starts out wearing Northern-style Stark dresses, but then gradually shifts to dress more and more like Cersei, because she is enamored of what she sees as the refinement of the sourthern courts and the royal capital. She even starts wearing her hair up in an elaborate fan-shaped braiding, the way that Cersei does (as well as all of the other women at the royal court, because Cersei sets the styles at court).

After her father is executed at the end of Season 1, Sansa spends some time simply in shock, just putting on the same clothes again day after day without thinking about her appearance, up to the point that Joffrey has her dress roughly stripped off in front of the entire court. For the rest of Season 2, Sansa switches make to more neutral mauve-tones, verging on the warm blues that her mother Catelyn wears, as well as simply wearing her hair down again - indicating that she is no longer actively trying to imitate Cersei's Westerland/King's Landing style.

After Margaery Tyrell shows up at court, Sansa gradually starts emulating several elements from her Reach-style of fashion. Sansa doesn't add cutouts or plunging necklines to her dress the way that Margaery does, but in Season 3 Littlefinger notes in dialogue that Sansa has started to wear her hair up and back, copying Margaery's style.

Sansa switches to inconspicuous traveling clothes after fleeing King's Landing to the Eyrie in Season 4. Finally, at the end of Season 4, she develops her own "Dark Sansa" look by modifying and combining elements from Vale-style, Northern-style, and her own unique additions.


Sansa Stark

Sansa Stark has a strong dragonfly motif; she’s worn dragonfly necklaces even *before* she came to King’s Landing, so it isn’t something from Cersei’s look that she is imitating. It *may* be a subtle reference to Duncan Targaryen, “The Prince of Dragonflies”. Duncan was betrothed in a political marriage, but fell in love with Jenny of Oldstones (apparently a lowborn girl); despite being the oldest son and heir, he abdicated to marry Jenny for love. He later died in the Tragedy of Summerhall, alongside his father Aegon V, so his younger brother succeeded Aegon V afterwards. Why not Jonquil and Florian? Florian was a knight but he wasn’t rich, and if anything Jonquil may have been the fair maiden he won. Moreover they’re a legend, while the Prince of Dragonflies lived only forty years before (i.e. Barristan Selmy and Brynden Tully actually lived through this, fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings right after Duncan’s younger brother succeeded). So Sansa fantasizes that she will be the next Jenny of Oldstones, whisked off by her handsome prince. When Sansa Stark, an aspiring queen, arrives at King's Landing from her more humble origins, for example, she attempts to dress like Cersei Lannister, the Queen Regent of the entire empire, whom she idolized at the time. Cersei embodied everything Sansa thought she wanted in life, so she attempted to copy her in the way she knew how, through clothing. But she didn't quite get it right, and looks like she's playing a child's game of dress-up, drowning in an ill-fitting gown. "A lot of people said her costume doesn't fit. Well, of course it doesn't! She's a young girl trying to copy someone," explained Clapton. "Not everyone wears things brilliantly or beautifully, or has the access to do that. I think it's really important that some things don't fit. Some things are slightly odd."

Where a character comes from is indicated through the color and cut of the costume. When we first see Sansa [Sophie Turner], she wears things in a Stark way — very well, but they are slightly clumsy and the cloth is rather homespun. As she comes to King’s Landing, her progression is influenced by Cersei [Lena Headey] and her costumes shift. After Cersei does the awful thing of sanctioning the death of Ned Stark [Sansa’s father], Sansa is stuck — you can see her frozen in time. She’s looking like someone who has just killed her father. And then we will see her progression as she slowly withdraws from the look.

Even on-screen, they point out that Sansa subtly dresses more like Margaery in Season 3, because she’s still young and impressionable and emulates people she wants to befriend.

On creating the details on Sansa's wedding gown: "Wedding days should be a joyous event for the bride, but, unfortunately, Sansa's being forced into a marriage that she doesn't want, into the Lannister family. For this dress, Michelle wanted it to be a confined, restricted bodice shape with bare, vulnerable arms. She wanted an embroidered band that would wrap around the bodice and tell Sansa's life story. "Obviously we imagined that the wedding dress has been commissioned by Cersei and the Lannisters for Sansa, and so the embroidery would have come from Cersei's mind. We guessed that it wouldn't be romantic or lovely and girly and pretty with dainty flowers, but a real strong message of dominance, saying that we own you now, Sansa. Michele Carragher on embroidery: "For the wedding band, I started at the back of the waist with some Stark direwolves and Tully fish entwined that represent Sansa's parentage. Then, as we move to the side, the Lannister lion is tangling with the direwolf and emerging on top, representing Sansa being seduced and then controlled by members of the house of Lannister. As it moves up the center, there's a central ascending lion that's got a Baratheon-like crown, a nod to Joffrey's parentage. At the back neck, the Lannister lion is stamped onto it, representing how the Lannisters now have total ownership over this girl who was once a Stark."

It is also noted in dialogue when Sansa's hairstyle shifts. In Season 1, she starts imitating the heavily braided hairstyle that Cersei and her courtiers have at the time. In the middle of Season 3, Sansa starts gravitating to Margaery Tyrell, so she starts wearing her hair in Tyrell-style, swept back away from her face.[87]

At the start of Season 4, Sansa goes back to mauves, a very plain dress. Also go go well with the pale blue necklace she wears at the wedding.

Dark Sansa

Clapton: "David and Dan came to me with the idea of a transformation for Sansa. They wanted her to be her own woman rather than this victim. I loved the idea, but I wasn't sure how to go about getting there. I hate that fantasy thing where things magically appear. The dress had to be something that could have been adapted from something she already owned, using materials she had access to. So the shape is not radically different. If she's dyeing her hair, she can dye some fabric. It's meant to be as if she is somewhat reborn while mourning for all that she has lost. We know that she has the skill because we have seen her doing needlework from Season 1, but I liked the idea that after this, she doesn't want to sew anymore.

The metal piece is really a miniature of Arya's sword, Needle, and the idea is that there's a ring that you stitch through and then that's her weapon. I like that she carries it when she descends the stairs; now she's armed and it's a link to her family.

It's so easy to make someone look strong, but if you don't think about the story, it's sort of a wasted gesture. She could have probably looked even more amazing if I had put the reasoned arguments of where it could have come from aside, but ultimately, it makes it a stronger look if it's a more believable transition."[88]

Benioff: "We call it 'Dark Sansa', actually. When you see her coming down the stairs with her hair dyed dark brown, wearing the black dress. It was incredibly to see how she's evolved as an actress, and gone from being a kid to being this young, powerful woman. It's one of the best performances of the season."

Clapton: "As usual in Game of Thrones, we try to make it so that she really could have made this costume herself. She has this necklace, which in a way is her "Needle" [Arya's sword], and it's a black circle with a chain, and on the end is a very long point. In my head again, I wanted something that's not just a necklace, something a bit stronger, but she's not the sort of person to have a sword. It's a little play on what she's known for, and how it shifts into something stronger."[89]

Image gallery


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  2. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones, page 44, "Costuming Winterfell"
  3. Game of Thrones Craft: Set, Costumes, Hair, and Makeup
  4. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
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  6. Game of Thrones Craft: Set, Costumes, Hair, and Makeup
  7. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones, page 44, "Costuming Winterfell"
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  9. "Costumes" featurette, Game of Thrones Season 1.
  10. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones, page 27, "Costuming the Night's Watch"
  11. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  12. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  13. Also, in Season 1, actress Lena Headey was pregnant, and apart from other camera tricks such as filming her sitting at tables or focusing on her head, large billowing sleeves held out in front of her helped hide her pregnancy in wide shots.
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  19. I remember seeing Clapton mention this in a print interview but I can't find the exact source at the moment.
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  21. "Walk of Punishment", HBO-Go Inside-the-Episode feature
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  39. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
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  44. "Inside the Wildlings", Season 3 featurette.
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  46. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  47. "Inside the Wildlings", Season 3 featurette.
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  54. HBO Go Interactive Featurse: "Valar Dohaeris"
  55. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  56. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  57. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  58. Season 2 - Talisa mentioned this at some point
  59. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
  60. David J. Peterson's blog,
  61. Jason Mamoa Q&A
  62. [22]
  63. "Costumes" featurette, Game of Thrones Season 1.
  64. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones, page 151.
  65. ]
  66. "Garden of Bones" In-Episode Guide
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  68. SDCC 2012 Game of Thrones panel
  69. Emilia Clarke interview
  70. "A Man Without Honor" HBO featurette
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  72. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4
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  74. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 3 & 4, page 82, "Costuming Dany"
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  78. Also, in Season 1, actress Lena Headey was pregnant, and apart from other camera tricks such as filming her sitting at tables or focusing on her head, large billowing sleeves held out in front of her helped hide her pregnancy in wide shots.
  79. Game of Thrones Craft: Set, Costumes, Hair, and Makeup
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  84. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones, page 105.
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  88. Inside HBO's Game of Thrones: Seasons 3 & 4, page 82, "Costuming Dany"
  89. Game of Thrones - Silk, Leather & Chainmail: Costumes of Season 4

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