As I suspected, “Beyond the Wall” was full of furs and leathers to keep the characters warm on their hero’s expedition. We did, however, get one very new and very stunning piece from someone, so this week we’ll continue our dissection of the leading ladies of Westeros with that very character: Daenerys Targaryen.
Before we delve into the past, let’s look at the present. This week, when Dany received a raven from Jon and his company, she strapped on her best winter wear to swoop in and save the day. A fitting color, white, to wear as the savior of an otherwise hopeless battle. This coat is keeping with Dany’s signature silhouette this season, rendered in snow-white fur masterfully executed in thin stripped-paneling. The white signals her understanding of Jon’s cause- her realization of the intensity of the threat beyond the wall, but it also softens her in a motherly way and provides additional visual impact when Viserion is killed. This is easily one of the most striking looks of the entire series, especially given the sheer technicality of it…the coat is a work of art and, again, keeping with her Season 7 clothing evolution.
Of all the characters, male or female, Daenerys has by far gone through the most change in costuming. This makes sense as she finds herself in new lands season after season, as opposed to other characters like Cersei, Sansa, or Margaery, who all go through major costuming changes themselves, but stay otherwise sedentary in King’s Landing for a handful of seasons.
In Season 1, we meet Dany in Pentos, as her brother Viserys brokers a deal to marry her off to Khal Drogo. Her gowns are very fluid and almost Grecian-inspired, presenting a look of innocence, but there is also a sense of wanting to not stand out. The color purple in the Game of Thrones realm, seems to be representative of a desire to remain hidden, or at the very least, be ignored (this will be touched on more in a Sansa post), a very understandable tactic as she not only is resistant to her Dothraki wedding, but she has been in hiding and on the run since her birth.
Only when she and Drogo begin falling in love with each other does she start to dress like the Khaleesi of her people. The power that she feels by wearing the traditional clothing gives her the power to stand up to Viserys and others that threaten her. Once Drogo dies, Dany wears her wedding dress as she walks into the funeral pyre. She is paying tribute to her husband, but also burning away all the horror has brought her to this point and starting anew as a leader and ultimately, a queen.
Season 2 picks up where we left off with last season’s costumes, but Dany and the Dothraki are in a much less optimistic place than they were previously, wandering the endless desert land of the Red Waste until they come upon Qarth. While there, she initially adopts the dress of the noble women, but she slowly begins to incorporate elements of the dress of the men, as well as the Dothraki. The fluid gowns are replaced with quality leather armor in a Qarthian style, paired with the traditional metal cages to pay respects, until she rises up and decides to take revenge on the wrongs done to her and loots the place.
By Season 3, Dany finally has a small armada and army and is sailing for Astapor. The sacred blue color of the Dothraki signals another new chapter in her life, as well as a hopeful outlook on what is to come. Blue also is a color of power this season. Similarly, both Dany and Margaery are navigating their influence and persuasion, and both of them are in a dominant blue, outmaneuvering those around them. To add to her power, she implements a subtle dragon-scale motif in her embroidery, which grows and becomes more apparent as her dragons grow, themselves. Once she sacks Astapor, she moves on to Yunkai, continuing her power move in blue, further adding marriages of different elements of her journey. The leather armor and riding trousers are Dothraki practicality, and the cutouts at the hips of her dresses are designs that she picked up from the menswear in Qarth.
Once Dany takes up residence in Meereen in Season 4, she is no longer on the move constantly so she is able to dress in a more feminine way. Long gauzy pleated white skirts are worn under her signature blue overdresses, some showing plenty of skin with strategic cutouts, and her hair is worn soft and down with less complicated braids. The elements of white that creep in signal her rise to the untouchable queen that she presents in Season 5.
As the ruler of Meereen, Dany wants to be seen as the savior of the city with her idealistic notion of bringing peace by abolishing slavery. The beacon of purity and almost saintliness she imagines herself projecting is rendered in lofty white and dove-grey gowns with scale-effect capes and large, statement jewelry pieces either worn on her neck, or incorporated on her neckline. She also begins wearing her hair in even more complicated braids and styles, another nod to her Dothraki ties, and she shows little skin compared to her gowns from the prior season, furthering the notion of purity. Interestingly, when the massacre happens in the fighting pits at the end of the season and Drogon protects her and flies her out, tattering her long gown, she is seen to be wearing riding pants underneath as a sign that she knows she must always be ready for what comes her way.
Throughout Season 6, Dany spends most of her time wearing her tattered white dress, or ill-fitting leather pieces given to her as she enters the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen. Once she makes her power move and burns the Khals and takes her horde back to Meereen, she revisits the shapes of her blue dresses with the dragon scale embroidery, but renders them in brown tones to show unity with the Dothraki as they are now in a foreign place. Once she destroys the slavers and is back in her apartment, she is able to get back into her lofty gowns, but she is finally ready to sail to Westeros and reclaim her throne in the colors of House Targaeryen.
The pieces are in place with her loyal advisors, the Unsullied, the Dothraki, and now three advantageous alliances- the Greyjoys, the Tyrells, and Dorne. Dany feels confident and it is reflected in her impactful black looks. The gown that she wears in the final scene as they set sail is a direct call back to her white gowns that made her feel like the powerful figure she fashioned herself to be, but it is done, again, in black with intricate scaled beading at the shoulders.
Come Season 7, Daenerys knows that she is back to traveling, and even fighting, now that she has landed at Dragonstone. The regal gowns and long skirts have to be set aside until she takes King’s Landing, but the colors of her house become increasingly present, the shoulders are done in the signature Targaryen style, and she revisits the heavy dragon jewelry to further drive home her family name. With next week’s finale, we’ll see if something happens to get her back into her queenly gowns.