Game of Threads: The Iron Throne

(19) Helen Sloan - HBO

We’ve come to the final official Game of Threads.  It’s been a great ride.  I want to take a quick minute to thank everyone at Watchers for this wonderful opportunity to nerd out over the costumes and flex my writing muscles in ways I usually don’t get to, and to be able contribute this small offering to a fandom that I feel so privileged to be a member of.  It blows my mind to think that almost 10 years ago, I was posting my fanart on Tumblr and Twitter, which led to me to meeting the site-runners here, and the rest is history.

But I digress…we are here to talk costumes!  I know that there are many differing opinions on how the story wrapped up, but one of the things that we can all agree on is the consistently beautiful work coming from the wardrobe department, and Michele Clapton delivered everything in the final moments of heading this mammoth project since Season 1.

(4) Helen Sloan - HBO



We open post-sack of King’s Landing, where Tyrion, Jon, and Arya, look on as Daenerys steps out to address her forces on the steps of the Red Keep.  She is wearing the same embossed leather coat that she wore in last week’s episode, but the “becoming the dragon” motif is driven further home with the epic shot of Drogon’s wings unfurling behind her.  Her hair is even arranged in a way that it actually looks like a dragon spitting fire.  A reader last week commented that the color treatment of the coat looks as if it’s been charred with the red at the hem, which is an amazing observation, and I would also add that it looks almost blood-soaked- as if she’d been wading through the bodies of those she’s massacred.  As she enters the throne room, it’s interesting to juxtapose the costuming between this scene and the vision of this scene back in the Season 2 finale.  Then, she still wore leather, but it was created in lighter colors.  She still had an innocence to her and an indefinite plan as to how to get what she wanted.  Here, we see a ruler, hardened by the atrocities she’s endured, wearing an equally hardened outfit.

(5) Helen Sloan - HBO

Attention should be paid to the fact that Jon is still wearing the Stark sigil, even after accepting that his parentage is half-Targaryen (“Then I’d be fire and blood too!”).  Granted, he didn’t have much time to create a new set of armor after the battle of Winterfell, but stranger things have happened at an even quicker pace in the GoT world.  Still, when Dany meets her end at the hands of Jon, they are very much embodying their sigils- her in black and red, and him in grey and black.  They are visually the song of ice and fire.

arya bran sansa stark the iron throne


With the aftermath of Jon’s queenslaying, we cut to a few weeks later where the lords and ladies have gathered in their finest to figure out what comes next.  Sansa is naturally wearing her leather armor, showing the group of mostly men that she will be heard and respected.  Gendry gets a nifty new lordly, Baratheon outfit, rendering him a dead ringer for a younger Robert.  The claw-like slashes in the leather could be paying respects to Dany, who elevated his to the position he’s in now, but it’s also symbolic of his father’s warrior status, and brings to mind the warrior paint that Drogo wore on his shoulders.  The reintroduction of the beautiful costumes of House Arryn is always a treat.

(5) Macall B. Polay - HBO



Edmure, bless him, is wearing a beautiful brownish-gold tunic that creates the illusion that the textile is fittingly made of fish leather.  The rest that we do know are wearing what we’d expect them to, and those that we don’t know, all seem to be following suit.  I do find it curious, and this is just my assumption, that Sam seems to be the only representative from the Reach, the largest region in Westeros.  Aside from the new prince of Dorne, most others look like they exist further up the map.

(14) Courtesy of HBO

(13) Helen Sloan - HBO


As Jon readies himself to rejoin the Night’s Watch, he meets with his three siblings before shipping off.  Sansa and Arya are still in their leathers, but Bran has taken on his kingly role is beautiful fashion.  This might be one of my favorite male character’s costumes in the entire series.  The lush, royal, deep blue velvet is embroidered with feathers that seem to rise up towards his head, evoking all of the world’s stories that reside inside Bran’s head.  The feathers are obviously representative of his role as the Three Eyed Raven, but the color still ties him to his family and his Stark name, while also conveying the “hope” of blue that Clapton employs when characters are faced with new life paths.  I only wish we could’ve seen what his crown looks like…


In the final montage between the other three siblings, we see a shift in their respective styles- most notably their hair.  Both Jon and Arya have put to rest the wearing of Ned’s signature style.  They’ve been able to close that bloody chapter of their lives that arguably began with his death.  Jon lets his hair return to how he wore it before he was killed and brought back to life, making his resurrection, visually, come full circle.  He’s able to let his hair down (literally) and leave his past behind him.  Arya’s hair is swept back in a no-nonsense bun, fit for an explorer.  Sansa also leaves her past behind her with her hair.  She’s no longer wearing the hybrid Cersei-Catelyn-Margaery braids she’s been cycling through on her brutal journey while coming into her own.  I was getting heavy Elizabeth I imagery throughout her portion of the montage, and Renaissance expert Anthony Oliveira illuminated beautifully in a Tweet that

“Elizabeth wore [her hair] down at her coronation to signal sexual purity, in open hostility to those who said her sexual abuse ruined her.”

Quite a fitting allusion for Sansa.





Then we get to the DRESS!  This stunning dress.  This absolute work of art.  Unlike her unburdening herself with the history of her hair, she chooses to pay homage to all of the important people that shaped her life and lead her to become Queen in the North.  First and foremost, the color calls back to her Season 1, Episode 1 pale blue dress, where she discusses her excitement of one day becoming queen.  The metal bodice, cut in the shape of her leather armor bodice, features a Weirwood Tree motif, a symbol of her family, which is also represented in the red leaves that are embroidered into the inside of one of the sleeves.


The fabric itself is the same exact silk with woven leaves that was used for Margaery Tyrell’s wedding dress from her marriage to Joffrey.  I have to have an aside here because I saw it immediately and it warmed my heart so much that my two favorite characters were connected at the very end.  I thought maybe it could’ve just been a fluke, until Clapton confirmed it on her Instagram page, stating that they shared a bond (that Sansa clearly wanted to honor), and then my heart exploded.  Anyway, moving on.





The most obvious homage is the beaded direwolf pelt over her shoulder, honoring her family.  The delicate beading features black feathers, which have layered meanings.  It represents her past when she once was a “little bird”, it represents Jon’s reinstated “crow” status up North, it represents Bran, the Three Eyed Raven, down in King’s Landing, and to an extent, it represents Littlefinger and his mockingbird sigil.  The direwolf seems to continue down into the other sleeve, but the embroidery also evokes fish scales, which call back to her mother’s Tully roots.  Finally, and maybe a bit eerily, her direwolf crown has a similar feel to it as Cersei’s coronation crown.  Cersei had such an impact on her and, for better or worse, Sansa will always carry her lessons with her.


The fact that Michele Clapton’s hands are the ones dressing Sansa is a single-tear moment :’)

It truly blows my mind that this is the end of the consistently gorgeous work that comes from Michele Clapton, Michele Carragher, Kevin Alexander, and the rest of the wardrobe and hair team.  I want to personally thank them for bringing Westeros to life, and thank you to the readers here for joining me these past few seasons.  It’s been an honor.

Don’t forget to pre-order the Game of Thrones: The Costumes book!


  1. THANK YOU, Hogan… I know these last posts must have been pretty emotional for all of us.

    I’ve so appreciated your bring to light all the details of the costuming, it adds so very much too the nuances of the show.

    ::: rubs… ummm… textile dust… out of eyes :::

    Thank you. So much.

  2. Did Gendry have a Baratheon sigil anywhere?
    I liked the Crown of the North sort of minimalist proper for a Stark (if you catch my drift).
    I like Dany’s ‘war threads’ E5 and 6, better than the fashion plate stuff.
    (Visenya’s armor stored at Dragonstone?)
    However I was hoping she would break out the Targ armor which should have been impressive.
    I still don’ like the ‘dragon chain’ being worn all the time, Michele Clapton , sort of, promised that when Dany became Queen, flat out, which she did, she would get a crown, alas that did not happen, I guess her mother’s crown could not be found?

  3. Thanks for your great articles. I always loved the costumes of GoT and was always happy to read more about them.

    Michele Clapton crowned herself with Sansa’s and Daenerys’ costumes in season 8. I was stunned by Sansa’s coronation dress, as you said, a piece of art. So much thought and work went into this dress.

    I did not know that these were Michele Clapton’s hands….how touching and fitting.

    I am so much looking forward to the book “Game of Thrones: The Costumes”.

  4. I was utterly giddy watching Sansa being outfitted in her coronation gown. What an absolute masterpiece!

    I love that it’s Michele so fittingly lacing her up. Thank you so much for the immense beauty you and your team have added to the show all these years. I cannot wait to see the book!

  5. The costumes are really great!
    Thank You, Hogan, for Your articles, everyone a joy to read. And thank You for all the pictures – while watching the show I found not enough time to dignify them in reasonable manner.
    But nevertheless: the costumes, the locations, the buildings, all the bigger and smaller details are one reason* , why this show is that great. Allthough while watching you don’t discover every little thing, they make the “smell”, make the coherent atmosphere.
    I would have loved to be part of the crew, that worked so hard, to develop and build the word of Westeros/Planetos!
    (*The main reason: the actors!)

  6. So much meaningful detail in these costumes that is nearly impossible to catch on a first, second, or even third viewing. Thanks for the article revealing all these details. Sansa’s coronation dress was so beautiful! I would have never fully noticed the details and their meanings on my own, same for Bran’s “king” outfit. I love this fictional family more that I care to admit. Yes, I include Dany in that, she started out with the best of intentions and plans, but too much pain and tragedy at too young of an age, combined with too much lethal power was more than she could resist succumbing to. A sad and tragic ending to her story. I still love the person she was and wanted to be in her heart.

  7. Sansa’s weirwood dress! I’m fainting.

    Also, Jon and Arya both ditched the Ned cosplay hairdo. Jon for his signature flowing locks, Arya for a more feminine bun.

  8. Michele Clapton is a genius. These costumes have been breathtakingly beautiful and full of meaning. It has been a joy to see art expressed in such a lovely medium.

  9. Thank you Hogan, I have enjoyed these articles. They have been like a desert after all the other articles! I loved the info about Michele’s hands, so touching. Sansa’s dress is art! I’m looking forward to the book. Thanks again, it has been a real delight reading your articles!

  10. Words are inadequate. These costumes have been a joy and a revelation. Thank you to all the amazing craftspeople involved !

  11. I am curious about why there are no earrings in medieval GOT. Did this jewelry design happen later?

  12. Thanks, Hogan! I loved these posts. The costumes were so beautiful and added so much to the story without people even realizing it. Sansa’s dress was a fitting last effort–just breathtaking!

  13. Thank you so, so, SO much, Hogan!!! I’ve been breathlessly awaiting this article, and you knocked it out of the park!!! I’m going to miss Michele Clapton terribly. In a show with consistently brilliant production values, the costumes, music and set design have been my favorite elements. Oh, it’s so hard to say goodbye…

  14. Sansa’s dress is a masterpiece, I loved it! Also Dany’s and Jon’s.
    And I also agree about Bran’s royal costume: I was very impressed by it, and somehow I could only imagine him wearing it, for what it’s worth in showing how much Michele dived into the essense of the characters and articulating that essense through their costumes.

    I loved the symbolism and the attention to detail she put in all the costumes throughout the series, and especially in season 8 where symbolism became so important in showing where our characters have been and where they’re going.

    Thank you for your wonderful articles Hogan!

    I always waited for these, to investigate the details of the costumes! Clapton is exceptional in her work! I hope they use her in the prequel too – she’s the best!

  15. Thank you Hogan! I’m sad this will be the last Game of Threads.
    Sansa’s dress was by far the show stopper of all show stoppers.

  16. lyannabanna: lyannabanna
    May 25, 2019 at 12:42 am

    I am curious about why there are no earrings in medieval GOT. Did this jewelry design happen later?

    Earrings (in our world, at least) have been around for thousands of years, although they didn’t really become ornaments for women to wear until around the ancient Greek and Roman eras. After that, they tended to go in and out of fashion over the centuries, sometimes being supplanted by things like jeweled headdresses in the Middle Ages. They didn’t really solidly become something women wore frequently as jewelry until around the mid-16th century.

  17. I like the fact that Sansa’s outfit has references to her whole family.

    The crown is for Robb.
    The color of her dress is for Eddard and House Stark.
    The arm with the scales pattern is for Catelyn and House Tully.
    The black cloak is for Jon and maybe Benjen too.
    The fact that the cloak is on one side is for Arya.
    The pattern of the weirwood tree leaves is for Bran.
    The tufts of the black furr and the unruliness of the cloak are for Rickon.

    The hairstyle without any braids is for Sansa herself as she is now free of all influences and she can wholly be herself.

  18. Thankyou Hogan I have loved your threads articles. Sansa’s dress was indeed beautiful and didn’t realise the hands belonged to MC. Emilia Clarke looked stunning, as always and all the male costumes as well. Michelle Clapton certainly said goodbye in style but amongst the tears my heart lept when Jon finally let his hair down and I like your take on it. I cannot wait to see the costumes book later in the year.

  19. That first sight of THE DRESS was a close-up of the sleeve, and I cried out loud, “It’s weirwood leaves! Sansa is wearing them!” But I was disappointed that they were invisible from then onwards. Grey is of the North, yes, but couldn’t the weirwood pattern take some prominence? Maybe sweeping from the back?

    Regardless, it was my favourite moment of the episode and the tears fell harder. I love Sansa. It may be juvenile for this mid-thirties woman to say, but I do, and I have since reading the books over a decade ago, ever since she reconciled herself to an unromantic life dominated by her claim and thought: “Maybe he can grow to love me as well as my claim” about a crippled Tyrell heir.

  20. if only Michelle clapton can make sketch book. or even better a photohraphic book of clothes, but besides all the clothes she has for the show. she could make some collection of shoulda woulda coulda scenario. i would be very to see what would she make for daenerys if she actually become a proper monarch. all the crowns and dresses.

    or if jon rule. what would the crown would be like. and the reasoning behind it.

    i wonder why they dont give bran any crown though. now that i think of it.

    michelle clapton is also the pillar of the show. together with nina, bryan, miguel DnD and others. thankyou!

  21. Can’t wait for the book and once again I’m hoping factory entertainment does a replica of Sansa’s crown
    Kinda OT but I’m already feeling massive waves of depression now that GOT has ended – this show really was a big part of my life from the age of 19 – I hope someday if I get to an old age and I’m in some bed somewhere I get to drift off watching this show.

  22. I have not seen anyone comment on a turning point clue.
    Danny’s chain of power and Grey Worms hand badge were both dark, not silver as they went for vengeance.

  23. Thank you, Hogan, for this article and all the pictures.

    One of the things that drew me into GoT, binge watching S3 (before I binged S1 or S2, hahaha, it was confusing!) was the costuming and hair. Here’s this imaginary fantasy world but the clothes they wear are so real, so distinct. Michelle Clapton has done such an amazing job throughout the seasons to make every region have a distinctive look. That guy wearing a yellow robe in the finale’s Great Council scene – we immediately knew he was the new Prince of Dorne because Michelle Clapton had established that look for Dorne.

    But more than that, Michelle Clapton established looks for the main characters and had them evolve through the seasons as the characters evolved.

    The finale’s best were Dany’s black leather riding coat (with dragon scale detail), the hem of which looks like it’s drenched in blood. And Sansa’s magnificent gown, so rich with detail, so rich with story. And still a bit of armour. Delicate, un-warlike, but still metal, still armour.

    I loved how dapper everybody looked in the Great Council. Edmure with his trout neckpiece… Michelle Clapton knows these characters, their regions, histories, lore, mythology.

    I don’t usually buy TV-series tie-in books, but I can’t wait to get my hands on Michelle Clapton’s book on the costumes of GoT!

  24. Also, let us all give a huge shout out to the people who actually made these amazing costumes.

    Their skill and craftmanship easily goes unnoticed when we focus on the characters and the action on screen. But I’m sure their amazing work made it easier for every actor and extra to immerse themselves in that world, the benefit of which we see on our screens.

  25. Sansa’s Knight,

    Have you read the books? If not, reading them might alleviate the emptiness we all, you, feel after the show has ended.

    The book series is unfinished – ends roughly where S5 does – and no publication date for the last 2 books has been set.

    I came into this fandom through the show and it has helped me visualise everything – including costumes – when reading the books. The books are much richer in detail, as books are wont to be, but I think the show was a great adaptation.

  26. Sansa’s Knight,

    You are not alone,I am sure there are lots of us who feel the same. This programme captured my imagination from the teaser from season 1 ep1 and has not let go. It has cost me a fortune in books,figures, jewellery and theatre tickets and travel. It has cost me in tears and anxiety and probably much more but I don’t regret a thing, I have enjoyed every single minute of the best programme I have ever had the privilege to watch. So now once I can get through ep806 without crying I’ll listen to the wonderful music and start again, wait for the books, dvd and hopefully visit Belfast next year to see the sets. Sorry I went on a bit there 🤗

  27. talvikorppi,

    Agree 100% and in all areas of the production. It seems we see more of the other crafts (special effects make-up, armor, etc.) in the behind the scenes features so it would be wonderful if this upcoming special on Sunday has a segment devoted to the costumes.

    I recall the embroidered Tarth sigil on Brienne’s tunic at the Purple Wedding (at least while she was in KL). Somewhere on this site a close-up of it was posted and it was beautiful. I don’t know if Hogan was doing this column back then. But somebody did that hand embroidery. I hope the book will include a complete list of all of the costume crew from designers to seamstresses/tailors to whoever else contributed and a bit of info of who makes up the costume department and what they do. On a show this big, one or more people could be devoted to “distressing” the clothes to make them look worn.

  28. StellaFleure:
    I like the fact that Sansa’s outfit has references to her whole family.

    The crown is for Robb.
    The color of her dress is for Eddard and House Stark.
    The arm with the scales pattern is for Catelyn and House Tully.
    The black cloak is for Jon and maybe Benjen too.
    The fact that the cloak is on one side is for Arya.
    The pattern of the weirwood tree leaves is for Bran.
    The tufts of the black furr and the unruliness of the cloak are for Rickon.

    The hairstyle without any braids is for Sansa herself as she is now free of all influences and she can wholly be herself.


    And Michelle Clapton, the genius that she is, wove it all into this, her masterpiece.

    I’m so glad it was her hands dressing Sansa.

  29. onefromaway:
    On a show this big, one or more people could be devoted to “distressing” the clothes to make them look worn.

    “Distressing” costumes.

    It’s just one more example of the attention to detail this show has paid.

    So many historical dramas have costumes that look fresh from the costume department. Nice, shiny, bright, clean.

    GoT always made sure at least the hems were muddy, even back in the first scenes of S1E1. Realistic. Which is kinda funny when it’s a fantasy show. 😀

    That “distressing” of costumes, armour, harnesses, soft furnishings, anything, really, contributes to the feel of realism. Made this fantasy world feel real to us.

  30. talvikorppi,

    So true! “New” looking clothing in certain dramas stick out like a sore thumb to me. Over the past few years there have been two PBS (in US) historical dramas set in time periods I know something about and I know conditions were such that the “average” person’s clothes would not look so new, clean, and pressed!

    GoT always made sure at least the hems were muddy, even back in the first scenes of S1E1. Realistic. Which is kinda funny when it’s a fantasy show. 😀

    Haha – i like that! There was a spotlight on GOT and George on the PBS Newshour prior to the finale and they interviewed George’s editor (I think they said she worked with him) and a point she made about fantasy writing was that the author (George) works hard, from the beginning, to describe things in great, realistic detail, creating the sense of reality so that when a fantasy element is introduced, the reader accepts it as real (or at least real in that universe). I thought that was so interesting. And it applies to GOT too, especially those costumes, sets, and props. Such a great production!

  31. Unsullied, and clueless about this world, I could immediately tell, from the opening scene in my first viewing of S1 ep1, that this was a hierarchic society, based on the costumes of the three men exiting the gate on horseback. Although they are all dressed in black, indicating that they belonged to some sort of group, it was plain to see from the way their clothes were styled that they were not social equals. This telling of the story through costuming was consistent throughout each season. Michele Clapton and the entire costume, hair, and make-up team deserve ALL the awards.

  32. as always the costumes were outstanding. I was happy to see my favorite one last time: the Dorne orange Martell costume. Who is the new Prince of Dorne, BTW? We’ll never know, I guess.

  33. Thank you for bringing us such great close-ups and analysis, particularly of Sansa’s coronation gown. I will go out of my way to see this one if it ever tours!

  34. Carole H:
    Sansa’s Knight,

    “So now once I can get through ep806 without crying I’ll listen to the wonderful music and start again, wait for the books,dvd and hopefully visit Belfast next year to see the sets. Sorry I went on a bit there 🤗”

    When ya get to Belfast, and if you like needlework, make sure you take a visit to see this:

    If you don’t already know of the Game of Thrones Tapestry, check out the video… By the time you get to visit, I hope they’ve finished Season 8 sections. (Seeing this work of art is sooo on my Bucket List.)

  35. Catspaw Assassin:
    I bet Queen Sansa is really bored right now.

    Meanwhile in Winterfell…

    Lord Glover: Queen Sansa, I’m not sure why you brought me down to the kennels? Is there something you wanted to show me, Your Grace? Why are you locking the door? Are these Ramsay’s dogs, Your Grace? Why are you smiling? Have these dogs been fed, Your Grace? They look malnourished.

    Queen Sansa: The North remembers, Lord Glover. The North remembers…

  36. LL of Darkwater:
    The Many-Faced Goddess,


    There’s some really good reading and citations regarding Medieval Earrings in the link below…

    I had to reference a bunch of stuff for a competition a long long time ago…So ya know, I save odd bookmarks.

    (I hope a got the reply names to work correctly at the top of my comment. Apologies if I did not.)

    That’s a great link, thanks! I’ve been studying historical costume (including jewelry) for almost 30 years, I always like to have more info available. I actually just saw a few of the items listed when I went to the British Museum and the V&A last year, really fascinating stuff.

  37. EE: Regardless, it was my favourite moment of the episode and the tears fell harder. I love Sansa. It may be juvenile for this mid-thirties woman to say, but I do

    The characters may not be real but the emotions their journey make us feel are very real 🙂 and you should be proud to feel that.

  38. I saw those sleeves and gasped, and it got better and better, and I loved the fact all the people she cared about is in every stitch and Sophie wore it magnificently she owned that scene.
    I loved that character the moment I first picked up GOT, she never fell out of 1st place with me.
    I loved how each Stark ended, including Jon, though I wished they let him make the choice.
    I wished they had Queen Sansa escort her bad ass sister to her new ship, and she got to see her sister’s coronation.
    Michele Clapton and Ramin Djwadi better get Emmys .

  39. I hope someone will suggest this, or find out if it’s already planned to put some of these wonderful costumes into a traveling exhibit, like the one the Downton Abbey costumes have done. As you rightly point out, these are works of art in themselves, but speak so much of the rich lore and symbolism in the show – it would be wonderful to see these up close!
    Can anyone find out if this is planned??

  40. SouthernKhaleesi,

    I was recently in Chicago and the AT&T store had the Iron Throne, Cersei’s crown, a few outfits the characters wore, etc…

    Of course, I don’t know if this is a world-wide thing or if there are plans in the works for more of this.

    Also don’t know if they were replicas or actual props from the set.

  41. Wolfish:
    LL of Darkwater,

    That article and links are amazing!!! I’m going to take a better look when I’m on my computer and not my phone. Thank you for posting it!

    Glad to pass that along! It’s definitely a go-to and jumping-off site for me.

  42. Thank you for these posts so much Hogan! I always look forward to them! Sad we’ve seen the last of the incredible costumes but glad the finale had some gorgeous new items- showcasing their talent until the very last minutes!

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