Game of Threads: Winterfell

Cersei Lannister Season 8 Iron Throne 801

Game of Threads is back to assess all of the beautiful costuming work featured in Season 8! Because of the nature of these final two seasons- everyone in survival mode and trying keeping warm, and the epic battles teased in the trailer- there might be less content to work with to warrant weekly recaps, but I am very excited to dive into this final season, none the less!

Arya Stark, Winterfell, Season 8

Jon Snow Daenerys Targaryen Unsullied Winterfell 801 Season 8

Let’s begin with “Winterfell”. As I’ve said previously, Michele Clapton likes to use the first episode of each season to root us back into the world that we’ve become familiar with, and she does this by dressing the characters in costumes from the previous season, or riffs on them. Arya is the first major character we see, and she’s wearing her signature Ned/young-Lyanna hybrid look while watching the royal procession arrive. This whole scene is interesting because while the show runners said that they wanted to mimic the royal arrival in Season 1, the tone is a great deal heavier in terms of costuming. Obviously the world has changed so much since Robert Baratheon arrived with all the pomp of the Lannister gold. Everyone is in all black, the Unsullied in sleek, matte black leather armor, which really stands out next to the muted grey tones and furs of the Northerners that are gathered to watch, further establishing the company as outsiders. As a side note, I am excited to say that as many requested, there will be an entire article dedicated to all of the different armor featured over the course of the series.

The final season was the greatest production design challenge of them all

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Daenerys Jon Drogon Rhaegal 801 Winterfell Season 8

The only person not in black is Daenerys, who is wearing a modified version of her epic white fur coat that she debuted last season. The patterning in the fur panels is less geometric and more streamlined, and instead of contrasting brown fun, this one has been crafted with Targaryen-red running though the white like veins. She also adds a red silk cravat and strips of red silk ties at her sides, and of course, her version of her crown: her chain and dragon pin. Additionally, white has often been used as her royal color in the past. Back in Season 5 when she was stationed in Meereen, she often wore white to establish her rule over the city, and wearing it here is meant to show the Northerners that she has come to Westeros to do the same.

Kit Harington (Jon Snow) arrives at Winterfell. Photo: HBO, via Movistar+

Tyrion Winterfell Season 8

Varys Davos Seaworth Season 8 801

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Jon is, of course, wearing his familiar Ned Stark cosplay. There’s still a loftiness to his costume that shows his importance, whether he wants it to be noticed or not. Tyrion and Varys are also in familiar costumes but with the added warmth of fur vests and trimmings for the climate. Missandei has a newly fashioned ensemble in heavier fabrics and furs as well, all while keeping in step with the Unsullied and the rest of team Dany.

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Sansa Stark Brienne of Tarth Podrick Payne Bran Stark Maester Wolkan Winterfell Courtyard Season 8

Bran Jon reunion Winterfell

As Jon, Dany, and company are received in the courtyard, you can see the obvious ties that unify Jon, Sansa, and Bran. A Stark costuming motif has always been piles off fur which, while practical, also elevates them as an important, noble family. Sansa and Jon, especially, have very similar silhouettes and colors which contrast Dany’s white, more form-fitting outerwear. Sansa and Jon are a visual unit, even if he’s an emotional unit with Dany. Sansa also continues to wear her Lady of Winterfell dresses that have been visually synonymous with her reclaiming her agency, as well as the respect from her people in the leadership position that she’s in.

Sansa Stark Jon Snow Daenerys Targaryen Winterfell Hall Season 8 801

It becomes even more obvious when the three are seated in the great hall, addressing the lords and ladies of the North. From the very first season on, Dany is constantly finding herself in situations where she is the outsider coming into a new culture, and it’s reflected in her clothing every time. She may have various fabrications and aspects of the regional dress here, but there’s absolutely nothing Northern about what she is wearing.

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Cersei Lannister, Red Keep, Season 8 (2)

Helen Sloan - HBO (2)

Speaking of dressing to rule, we swing down to King’s Landing to check in with Cersei, who is waiting on Euron and the Golden Company. It’s hard to tell in the coloring of the scenes if she is wearing the beautiful red velvet ensemble that was featured in her character poster, or if it’s an all black version. Judging from the outdoor scene with Qyburn, I think this is black velvet and we have yet to see why she all of a sudden starts incorporating Lannister red back into her rotation. The elements of this costume draw on a lot of details that Cersei wore last season. The epaulettes are a similar shape but the metal has been twisted in the same spine-like way that was featured on the back of the coat she was wearing in the Dragon Pit, as is the treatment that runs from the neck and sternum of the dress, all the way down to the hem. She has even more layers of protection with this, while also adding warmth for the cooler weather rolling in. There is much more hardware and detailing here than in the past, signifying her ever-increasing paranoia once again. Interestingly, the metalwork in her new gown is in warmer, slightly more golden tones than her previous cold-silver hardware that she and her Queensguard were wearing last season. Perhaps most significant is the use of the lion pendant that she and Myrcella wore previously, but it’s now strung through her armor as a symbol in her mind of being the only Lannister left, now that Jaime has abandoned her.

Cersei Season 8 801 Euron

After sleeping with Euron, Cersei once again wears a similar pale blue robe to the one that she wore after sleeping with Jaime last season. The moody lighting can make you miss the color and details while watching, but this one has the sleeves trimmed in fur for extra warmth. Michele Clapton has said in the past that the use of blue signifies a sense of hope for the characters. Is this a reference to the child she is carrying? At this point, I’m not certain that Cersei really the type of person that would stop drinking even if she was pregnant. Or is the color of “hope” a reference to the hope that Euron and the Golden Company will be enough to defend her city? It also highlights her vulnerability when she is intimate with someone. She is literally stripped of her armor and black, high neck gowns.

Coincidentally, Euron’s shirt is also in the blue-grey color family, showing that his greatest “hope” or aspiration, bedding Cersei, has come true.

Stray Thoughts:

I’m so excited to see the armor for Sansa that’s been teased, in action, as well as potential new armor for Arya, Dany, and maybe even Cersei!

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I’m always excited to see Theon in his Greyjoy armor.

Sam Daenerys Winterfell

Sam gets some nice leathers to wear before he learns that he’s the last male Tarly…

Davos Seaworth Jorah Mormont Season 8

Gendry Winterfell episode procession

The men are dressed in a way that is true to their character and, while mostly utilitarian, is distinguishable from one to the next.

19 responses

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    1. It is wonderful to read your posts again! I never noticed the silver scales nestled in the fur on Daenerys’ white coat until this post. So beautiful and symbolic, fur and scales, wolf and dragon. There is the close up of them but I am not sure where they are on the coat. The shoulders? I think that is it, I’m just not certain. Love these details. Enjoyed the post and looking forward to more in the future.

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    2. One thing that has been in the back of my mind that these photos kind of drive home:

      Everyone in the show seems to have written off chain mail. I know that the show kind of parallels the time in our history when plate was dominant, but I think chain mail was still probably worn, either under plate or when plate was not available or too expensive for someone. Also, since a lot of these characters wear leather armor, I think mail would be a great supplement.

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    3. Thanks for this post!

      I do not usually notice the clothing in a sensible way and find your commentary useful and informative.

      This article is also a nice tonal change from a lot of the “fan writing” that appears on this site – from both staff and participants (including me!)

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    4. Thank you for this close-up of Michele Clapton’s work! Much of it gets lost in the low lighting, and trying to follow the story often pulls the attention away from the details. Only in re-watching over time do the subtleties show up. I dream of seeing these costumes gathered in one place, with bright lights, and plenty of time to linger over each one (and make quick sketches :D).

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    5. Does Dany’s dragon brooch/chain thing only have (or is at least only showing)… one dragon????????????????

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    6. Sooper cool photos! Off topic, but I’d love to see Dany’s Dothraki lieutenant Qhono (sp?) get a little respect, like at least one line of dialogue, this season besides ” Ouch, I’ve been speared through the heart, no fair! ” before he dies a hero’s death, which I suspect is right around the corner.

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    7. I wonder if Winterfell episode was the last time we see Jon wearing his Stark direwolf gorget. I doubt he will switch to Targaryen motives, but I’d think he won’t be too comfortable with emulating Ned (and Starks) the way he did before.

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    8. I’m consistently blown away by the mind and work of Michele Clapton. Cersei’s new dress is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to see the red velvet version.

      If the blue of Cersei’s gown represents hope, could it be she’s hoping to get pregnant? I thought she looked kind of sad just before the scene cuts away, so I wonder if something happened to the baby between S7-8? She refused to drink wine during her meeting with Tyrion, yet has a glass in hand during the bedroom scene. Either there was no baby in the first place and she wants to pass Euron’s off as Jaime’s, or something happened and she wants to get pregnant again. Why, I don’t know. If she lied or was just using her pregnancy as a way to exert control over Jaime, that can’t be the reason anymore, since she now wants him dead alongside Tyrion. Or maybe she just wants an heir now – so that the war isn’t for nothing and her Lannister dynasty continues – and Euron is the only viable King that can/will provide that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Thank you for the fantastic write up, Hogan! This article has definitely got my mind buzzing and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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    9. Back in Season 5 when she was stationed in Meereen, she often wore white to establish her rule over the city, and wearing it here is meant to show the Northerners that she has come to Westeros to do the same.

      Oomph! How’s that working out for you, Dany?

      From the very first season on, Dany is constantly finding herself in situations where she is the outsider coming into a new culture, and it’s reflected in her clothing every time. She may have various fabrications and aspects of the regional dress here, but there’s absolutely nothing Northern about what she is wearing.

      I keep thinking that it would be wise to research and adopt at least most of the dress of the new region, to show solidarity, to fit in with her new world, and to be accepted. But perhaps these are the last things Dany wants to do.

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    10. The costumes are great nothing worst than shows like this who have silly costumes, but all these are outstanding, , though we are used to them naked, and that’s how we like it

      when the red woman turns up watch what she wears, if its hardly anything that is your prophecy of defeating the night king

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    11. I just absolutely drool over the costumes and this explanation really explains why. Thank you so much for this information.

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    12. “she often wore white to establish her rule over the city, and wearing it here is meant to show the Northerners that she has come to Westeros to do the same.”

      Michelle Clapton provided a different take on the white fur :

      “MC: Dany’s white fur coat! It’s the only time I can remember that she seemed to perform a selfless act. No gain to be had, and she dressed like a furry angel to carry it out.”

      That was referencing back to season 7, but I assume that the white fur in her arrival still suggests her role in coming to save the north. Or maybe it’s a love thing…in another article she indicates that the selflessness was specifically for the KITN. Either way, it seems not to establish her role as ruling queen so much as friend and ally…which lines up with the way she approached them in the courtyard…hanging back while Jon reunited with his family, then greeting them warmly.

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    13. Thanks, Hogan.
      I’ve always liked your posts and wait for them very impatiently.
      So many important details you bring up that we don’t catch while watching the series.

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