Some people watch "House of the Dragon" for the action. Some come for the soap opera-esque family drama. Some come to recreate the joys they felt during the early seasons of "Game of Thrones" and others hop aboard because they heard tell of Daemon Targaryen's chaotic antics and let's face it, Matt Smith is worth the hype. But the enlightened among us are tuning in, not for the sake of fire, blood, or sex — but to get another glorious glimpse at the latest in Westerosi fashion.
During its eight-season tenure, ""Thrones" took fashion very seriously and it often paid off in spades. Thanks to the work of costume designer Michele Clapton (who created most of the series costumes sans a brief departure to work on "The Crown,") the series regularly took home Emmy's — and even went on to influence the real-life fashion scene of the 2010s. Now, "House of the Dragon" costume designer Janey Temime has stepped up to the plate to deliver outfits that are similarly rich and detailed, but with the additional challenge of showcasing how this Westeros is different from the one we got to know in "Thrones."
Spoilers for the first five episodes of "House of the Dragon" follow.
Westeros, But Make It Fashion
200 years prior to the war of the five kings, Westeros has endured a long period of peace under the rule of The Old King Jaehaerys. The Targaryens are at the height of their power, ruling over a period of opulence and indulgence — so of course there's lots of lavish fashion on display. Therefore it's our responsibility to zero in on the best and most important fashion statements being made in "House of the Dragon," not just for the sake of fawning over their design but because you can glean a lot from the way someone dresses.
The fashion of the series isn't just about serving looks, it's also about understanding what each costume signals about a character's status, allegiance and state of mind. To start, the costumes overall begin by reminding us of the long peaceful summer that Westeros has endured: Gone are the heavy Stark furs and leathers, as well as the armor-like corsets that once adorned Cersei Lannister. And the more we zero in on any one outfit at any point in time, the more it reveals about the conflict to come. The costumes are yet another storytelling feather in the creators' cap and "House of the Dragon" is very well-versed when it comes to subtly planting seeds for the future.
A Gift From Daemon Becomes Rhaenyra's Sigil
In the premiere episode of "House of the Dragon," Dameon gifts his niece a gorgeous Valyrian steel necklace. That scene was our first signal at the complex nature of their relationship: he puts the necklace around her neck (a universal symbol for flirting) and the duo also speak to one another in High Valyrian, subtly commiserating about being passed over for Viserys' male heir. That necklace ends up a powerful signifier of their connection — Rhaenyra continues wearing it across the episodes, but purposely swaps it out for another after Daemon ticks her off by stealing the dragon egg she chose for dead brother. The necklace returns when Rhaenyra tours Westeros, looking for a proper suitor and in that same episode, she takes her relationship with Daemon into only-on-HBO territory.
Rhaenyra's wardrobe isn't the only place that this necklace lives on. The opening credits for "House of the Dragon" is a bloodline that lays out the Targaryen family tree, starting with Ageon the conqueror and leading down to Rhaenyra. Her emblem, you might've noticed, matches the design on the necklace from Daemon. For better or worse, he has had a very significant impact on Rhaenyra and it's bound to last beyond her childhood days as she come into herself as heir.
A Helm Fit For A Rogue Prince
Daemon Targaryen is many things: a warrior, a dragonrider, a murderer, a problem child, and a dangerously petty man. But most importantly, he's a drama queen. So it makes absolute sense that this man would ride into battle wearing the gaudiest armor that Westeros has ever seen. The intricately detailed armor includes lots of dragon motifs but just in case you can't get close enough to see that workmanship, Daemon has you covered: The most important piece of this costume is the helm and its flashy dragon wing design.
While it looks great aesthetically, the practicality of this helm is non existent — where's the visor? Instead of more protection, there's a big gaping hole in the middle, so Daemon can put in facetime aka get stabbed right between the eyes. Isn't the point of this helmet suppose to be safety?! But who are we kidding! The great Dameon Targaryen is above needing protection on the field of battle (as he so dramatically proves in episode 3). Daemon's armor pretty much sums him up to a tee: he's royal, rich and likes to be the center of attention, no matter the cost.
Ser Criston Cole's Armor Upgrade Destroys Him
Daemon has a couple of competitors on the field of battle, but by far the most notable is Ser Criston Cole. When we first meet the lowborn knight, he's a swoonworthy Dornishman but has very little to his name. His armor is scuffed, dented and dirty, earning him little regard from the lords of Westeros. But he still catches the attention of Princess Rhaenyra, which he later makes good on by knocking her uncle into the dirt. It turns out that gaudy armor doesn't necessarily maketh the man because when it comes down to it, Cole is able to best the prince on the battlefield.
While others use picturesque armor to showcase their wealth, Ser Criston was an experienced knight whose well-worn armor indicated that he was battle-tested. This ends up working in his favor by catching the eye of the [rincess once again, when it comes time to choose a new knight for the Kingsguard. And so Criston sheds the dented armor for a crown funded update — donning the white cloak of the Kinsguard.
Despite the white cloak indicating purity, it ends up being a corrupting force. Criston turns out to be a lot less fun in white: after beginning an affair with Rhaenyra, he's consumed by the guilt of breaking his vows and their relationship goes south in devastatingly brutal fashion. He puts a lot of symbolic weight on the white cloak and the pressure of being the first in his family to earn the honor only to sully it with sex eats away at him. Eventually, his sanity snaps in half, resulting in the horrific murder of Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. Maybe white just isn't his color.
Alicent's Sweet Summer Child Dress
Repeating a favorite outfit is a crime that we are all guilty of. Who among us doesn't have a favorite pair of jeans or a trusty sweater that's comfortable and arguably overused? It's fine! It's healthy! But we have reason to beleive that Alicent Hightower is being held hostage by this blue dress. It's not just the fact that she wears it often — it's the fact that she wears it through the years. The early episodes of "House of the Dragon" have included multiple jumps in time and during these gaps, Alicent is crowned queen and gives birth to two royal babies. So why the hell does't she have a new dress yet?!
On one hand, it's the ultimate flex: two babies into her marriage and she can still fit into her favorite childhood dress? Good brag, Alicent. But also, as queen of the seven kingdoms, it might be time to refresh your closet. If Daemon can afford the worlds most obnoxious helm then I'm pretty sure that Viserys can swing for a couple of dresses for his child-bride.
I will say this about the blue dress: it's an excellent visual representation of Alicent struggling to grow up. As her station in life changes and she fills a new position at court, she has a hard time coming to terms with being queen and instead clings to the remnants of being Alicent Hightower. So it's all the more dramatic when she finally loses the summery blue for the fierce green of the gown that she dons at Rhaenyra's wedding.
Rhaenyra Embraces Her Heritage
Red and black are colors of House Targaryen, so it makes sense that upon being crowned heir to the Iron Throne, Rhaenyra would embrace the color palette of her family name. With a sprinkle of gold to resonate wealth and power, the princess is officially named her father's heir — an unexpected development in her life after years of waiting to be passed over for a brother. Beyond being an absolutely stunning look that will obviously inspire many elaborate cosplays to come, Rhaenyra's coronation dress sees her finally being accepted into her family's legacy.
It's a far cry from the dresses she's previously seen wearing, which are plained and consist of softer tones and hues, calling no direct attention to her Targaryen heritage. Here, it's undeniable: the red and black are the centerpiece of the look. A Targaryen princess is on the rise.
A Crown And A Necklace To Unite The Seven Kingdoms
Included in Rhaenyra's coronation outfit is the very important piece of jewelry placed around her neck after the lords of the realm swear to accept her as heir. It's a very heavy-looking necklace that holds the sigils of the great houses of Westeros, with House Targaryen uniting them in the middle. This includes House Stark, Lannister, Arryn, Martell, and Tully. The same sigils are also united on Viserys' crown: the Targaryen sigil is front and center, surrounded by the other houses.
It's telegraphing the same message that Viserys continuously reminds his daughter of: their role as rulers is to keep the houses united under one front, to face off against the inevitable threat that will rise in the north. That threat may be 200 years away, but they don't know that! And as far as unity goes, based on the collective hesitation to bow to Rhaenyra and the schism that has erupted since the birth of Aegon, things aren't looking great for Viserys' plans of peace.
Daemon's Makeshift Crown
Daemon desperately wants to sit the Iron Throne as king, but his path to power was severely altered when Rhaenyra was named heir. So in typical immature younger brother fashion, the prince decided to seek his crown elsewhere — and after many years at war with the Crabfeeder, he finally found the success he craved.
For his much anticipated return to court, Daemon arrived back in King's Landing wearing a crown of gnarled driftwood. He claims that his men crowned him King of the Narrow Sea, but I would just as easily believe that Daemon went through an arts and crafts phase while abroad, fashioned himself a crown and had his own personal ceremony so he could strut the Kings Landing runway in style. Like any professional model would, Daemon commands full attention when he finally makes his way through the throne room, greeting his brother and graciously surrendering his crown. Ultimately, while it's nice to have any crown on his head, this isn't the one that matters and he's oh so painfully aware of that fact.
Alicent Forgets Her Roots
In her early days as queen, when she isn't slipping back into her familiar childhood blues, Alicent embraces Targaryen reds. She has married into the family and attempts to align herself with them both visually and emotionally — but it's near impossible with Rhaenyra keeping her at arms length. For a brief period, the girls seem to reconcile their friendship but a controversial excursion with Daemon puts that at risk. When Alicent calls her friend to the Godswood for answers, it marks the first time that she truly disappears into her role as the queen.
This particular dress is rich, regal, and red: very befitting of her status as queen, in a way that even Rhaenyra can't help but notice. Countered with the princess' light, summery yellow gown, it's abundantly clear that they are no longer equals — especially in a scene where Alicent is demanding that Rhaenyra justify her actions. Though Alicent is reluctant to accept her role as queen, that's exactly how Rhaenyra sees her. She appeals to her as "your grace" and "my queen" because it's hard to see her friend Alicent behind this visage of a powerful woman asking questions that put her entire future at stake. Luckily for Rhaenyra, her friend is still in there, desperate to salvage their relationship and accept her lies.
Rhaenys' Riding Leathers
Rhaenys Velaryon (aka The Queen That Never Was) refuses to let the patriarchy get her down. It doesn't matter if the king is coming for a visit: Rhaenys and her husband have been insulted by the man far too many times to get gussied up for a royal audience, so they simply welcome him by doing nothing out of the ordinary. Corlys chills on his throne and Rhaenys comes charging in with big smiles, casually greeting her cousin while wearing her badass dragonriding leathers. Her outfit — baggy, dull-colored and very practical — calls to mind the powerful women of Westeros that we know from "Game of Thrones," who don't necessarily conform to what's expected of them. Rhaenys resembles the kind of warrior princess that Rhaenyra once hinted she aspires to become.
It's a very mighty power move on Rhaenys' part; addressing Viserys as her cousin, not giving him a royal welcome and also coming in with a sharp reminder that she is a Targaryen herself and dragonrider at that. Viserys — who is in no state to sit on a horse let alone a dragon — has never truly embraced the firebreathing beasts that make the Targaryens so powerful. And while he is (literally) falling apart, Rhaenys and her clan are as powerful as ever, connected to their dragons and their Targaryen roots.
A Royal Wedding Adorned With Gold
At long last, the Velaryons have achieved the honor that Corlys spent years working to accomplish: they've been accepted into the fold and the royal family. Their blood relatives will be high on the line of succession, with a good shot at sitting the Iron Throne. So naturally, they celebrate by entering the wedding feast in the most royal outfits of them all. The intricate designs and bright golds worn by the entire Velaryon clan are enough to outshine both the king and the bride herself, Princess Rhaenyra. It certainly helps that they make their arrival after the festivities have already begun, so all eyes are on them for a big dramatic entrance.
As for the bride, the royal gold can also be seen on Rhaenyra's gown, but it's much more understated. There's a modest power to her wedding dress but the primary color is white, highlighting purity above all. The Sea Snake has no interest in modesty though: This wedding is an opportunity to showcase the wealth and social standing of a family on the rise and the Velaryons seize the opportunity by giving us some of the most dazzling outfits of the series so far.
Alicent Sends A Message In Green
Alicent's gorgeous green wedding gown is more than just fashion statement. This is the first time that we see her in green — a color that we learn holds great significance to House Hightower. As Larys and Hawrin Strong reveal in whispers, when Oldtown (the seat of House Hightower) calls its banners to war, the beacon at the top of the tower glows green. There is of trace of Targaryen colors as Alicent finally embraces her status as the queen, leaving absolutely no question as to where her loyalties lie.
Just as the Oldtown lore indicates, she is sending out a beacon and within minutes, her relatives greet her with a reminder that they are in her corner. Alicent's days of being a bystander are officially in the past. With her eye-catching dress, she is declaring herself a serious player in the game of thrones.
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The post The Biggest Fashion Statements in House of the Dragon appeared first on /Film.