From Game of Thrones – Season 7 Episode 2: ‘Stormborn’ (7×02)
I have made a huge number of costumes inspired by this series. The first one for myself was Melisandre’s. But then I felt closer to the designs of an other character, and the first costume I have made of hers was a custom design. I imagined her astapor dress growing, evolving as it already was. For discovering later season 5 had all white dresses. I wasn’t a fan of her, the Mother of Dragons, until episode 8×05, I have never made a mistery of making her costumes because I liked the design, rather than the character, and that my favourite character in the show was Cersei.
However things have changed.
She’s gone mad, she’s gone angry, she’s gone dark. She’s joined the dark side, à la Anakin. I have been waiting for this for so long, and I loved it. There’s no room for Disney princesses in Westeros, and she’s been that for too long. I don’t consider the twist too sudden, she’s been promising to burn cities to the ground since the end of season 1 or the beginning of season 2. If all those years are not enough for you…not their problem. This is a very Martin-like twist. It was great.
For those still mumbling “the change has been too sudden, my Disney Princess is not like this”, there you go:
I am Daenerys Stormborn, of House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria – I am the Dragon’s Daughter. And I swear to you, that those who would harm you will die screaming.
– S01E10, “Fire and Blood”
When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Turn us away and we will burn you first.
– S02E04, “Garden of Bones”
I am Daenerys Stormborn of the blood of Old Valyria, and I will take what is mine. With fire and blood, I will take it.
– S02E06, “The Old Gods and the New”
They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one.
– S04E07, “Mockingbird”
We’ve had that evil running between the lines since season 1. Please admit you just didn’t want to see it, to connect the dots.
And then she’s lost Missandei, Rhaegal, Viserion (she saw him die twice, and betray her), Jorah. She can no longer trust Tyrion, nor Jon. The people she came to save doesn’t want her, and prefers not only Sansa, but Cersei as well. And Jon, her last hope to keep her mind together, refuses her because of reasons. He loves her, but can’t cope with the fact that they’re related. WHich makes no sense to her, a Targaryen, coming from a family where, like pharaohs, they married bgetween siblings to keep blood “pure”.
She has all the reasons in the world.
I have been quite bored by the costumes she had so far, this season. I am tired of the same cut with the high-low skirt, tired of the same pattern, tired of the same design. In season 7 they were all black, all almost identical. That’s why I felt in love with the fur coat. Now they took away the uniqueness of that, making three more. And then they went back to the same designs of the previous season, adding a bit of red…in the very same costume she had last season. THE SAME, just with a different fabric. In episode 5 she sports an embossed leather coat, which is somehow little news. I was still waiting for the new showstopper like the white coat was. Because that leather coat is not. It’s just basically the very same thing, only done in leather. Bored.
And it turned out she has that in the very last episode too…so nope, I don’t think I am making a costume from season 8. I sort of liked the suede grey-ish thing with the fur on the shoulders only, but not enough to start saving enough money and time to try to remake it.
Of course they’re stunning, and they make sense with the story, and they’re perfect for what they need to do, but there’s no showstopper there, and we’ve been used to at least one per season, for Dany. And in this season she has none.
Last season I promised myself to wait until the last episode aired, before choosing to make anything. This time I wasn’t able to wait. The episode aired on sunday, and the next saturday there I was, neglecting my personal projects to give the raw silk the second dye bath, and with 1/3 of the embroidery done. Bad girl.
It seems just right that a path started with an original design ends with one.
I was hoping for something, from the dressign gown she wears when mad in Dragonstone, the one she wears when she refuses to eat and such, the one without the pointy shoulders.
Yet nope, it’s always the same high-low cut. And I’ve done one two things with it, time for something fresh.
In the last episodes and the last seasons, we’ve seen war-Dany. The General, with her jewelry with military accents, such as the cut of the coat, double breasted and not floor-length. Will will not ever see the Queen.
I loved her madness so much that I decided to make a Mad Daenerys dress, once again to imagine what she would wear sitting on the Iron Throne.
Let’s remember she always wears boots as she fears she has to escape. This new high-low cut is made for dragon riding. Just in case. She doesn’t feel safe, and her costumes reflect it.
But let’s linger on the idea of the tormented soul with the messy hair. Because I imagine her sitting on the throne like that, walking in the throne room with floating gowns and messy hair.
Missandei used to do her hair. She used to make sure every single dress was appropriate for the occasion and ready to perfction when worn.
After Missandei dies, Daenerys has never been this fragile and broken, except maybe when Drogo died. But now she almost feels without purpose. She was always focused on freeing the people of the seven kingdoms, and now that fuel is gone: they don’t want them. In the North, even after she lost a Viserion for their war, she’s not welcome.
This gown reflects it. It’s made to look like she’s endlessly paced in her rooms, trying to find some source of control over herself and strength she hasn’t already used. Therefore the fragile silk edges are all broken down.
The crown reflects that too, it’s irregular, imperfect, angry and edgy.
I used a thing called polymorph to make it. But I wouldn’t advise anyone to use it. It’s a very robust material, but it’s hard to model to something regular and smooth, and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to glue pieces together with boiling water without making them lose their shape in the thinnest part. I’m virgin to worbla, but I’d suggest to keep using that, if you’re a worbla crafter.
Why are you dressing Daenerys like Cersei?
Because that’s the court gown style in Westeros. But moreover she’s shown us she wears similar stuff as bath robes or dressing gowns. When she’s relaxed and comfortable.
If you saw the pattern I made for this, it would remind you of Cersei’s and Sansa’s gowns. However, the same pattern with the hip panels was used negatively, with only the front and back tabard, for many of her costumes, starting from the golden and pink armor gowns she has in Qarth.
Moreover the extra long sleeves are featured in two of her dressing gowns /bathrobes, when undressed among the Dothraki girls and when dressing after the bath when Daario Naharis breaks into her tent in season 3.
So it’s something she wears when she’s comfortable.
One of the traits of her costume design is that she feels like she might have to run, and therefore all of her gowns are paired with boots, and she wears pants underneath. In this case the boots would be more for dragon riding, but I wanted to give the idea that she’s finally got where she aimed to be, she’s finally arrived, even if it costed her everything. So she’s wearing something more queen-like and more relaxed.
Her negligé attires almost never feature the pointy shoulders, so I chose not to do them. I know it’s a distinctive trait of hers, but they would have been too much with such sleeves. And I like that the overall look is a bit Cersei-ish, as Cersei transformed her into what she hated, which is a Cersei-like tyrant.
The sleeves and the hip panels are double. The inner part isn’t sheer and is tight to the figure, while the upper layer is in silk chiffon, cut much wider to be able to fly, like smoke over the ashes.
The dress is a dragon, the dress makes a dragon of her. A wounded dragon with smoke coming out of her wounds and nose, and that effect will be given by the flowy chiffon. As well as the idea of her being a queen, relaxed on the throne that belongs to her and her tyrannical regime. So…fancy up!
The dress is almost completely made of silk. The main fabric is tussah silk, hand dyed to charcoal grey. It’s a very peculiar and textured fabric, almost sheer, and very slippery when you try to be precise. The sleeves and the hip panels are made with silk chiffon, brushed with a metal brush to give texture and break down the edges. The inside of the hip panels is made in viscose faille, while the whole lining is in hand dyed red and black silk habotai, one of my favourite fabrics of all times.
The raw silk came in charcoal, so I dyed it to a reddish black. Black can be achieved in dye in two ways: very dark blue or very dark red. Targaryens have no doubt on which to use.
I also dyed the silk habotai to blood red, as it will be lightly visible underneath and change the overall perception of the fabric’s colour. I wanted it to be irregular, like burning fire inside the chest of the dragon, so after dyeing it red, I played by gathering and twisting it, and then dyed it black.
Now to the embroidery.
At first I wanted a single dragon on one shoulder. I then chose to make three wounds, like a wound made by lion claws, or wolf’s teeth, as she’s wounded by those families that should be her subjects. Those wounds are the focus point of the dress, it’s where the inner fire and blood, the red, is revealed, her torment and pain shown to the viewer.
One of the details I love most of this dress is the embroidery.
It represents three wounds on dragon skin. Like a lion or a wolf wounded it.
It is not yet finished, I might add some more, and blend what there is better.
I started with some silk organza, dyed it red and black, and then I shirred it. I applied the red stripes over the black, and started adding red seed beads. On top of them there’s some red wire mesh ribbon. You don’t see it, unless you’re close enough to see the details, but it makes the wounds shimmer and look deep.
The black dragon skin is made with dragonscale smocking on silk organza, shellacked to add shine, sequins, beads and the same S shaped sequins used for the Dragonstone landing dress. The organza scales are messy, transparent. She’s always Danerys, but you see what’s underneath, and her mind is somewhat messed up now, so theyget irregular. And silk organza is just right when pressed, makes very sharp shapes.
To give a 3d effect to the sides of the wounds I used the technique used for Lamia’s costume trim: flat sequins of different metallic colors are passed through a thread, and they’re sewn down together, like a cylinder. I then added some black paint to blend in some of the brighter parts.
The whole dress i s very light and not boned or reinforced, however it’s worn over a corset.
At the back I added some broadcloth, folded and twisted like in Cersei’s dress. I always thought of that detail like something that would have been more at its place in one of Dany’s costumes. Rather then remembering a snake, it immediately told me “dragon”. So I did something similar.
The fabric is very slippery, so I might add some bones, just to stabilise the front.
I might also widen the embroidery and blend it with the fabric better, maybe adding some of the black texture on the other shoulder, just not wounded.
You’ve made it so far, it’s a long article, and I know in many disagree with me liking the whole character twist. But thank you for reading all of this, means a lot to me!
And if you liked the article, and got this far, please add a comment too 😉
I am in love with this project. I dream that in one of the alternative universes of Westeros, if not in this TV series, she will sit on her throne as a tormented soul, and this concept is perfect for this idea.
Oh boy that embroidery looks so good! Cant wait to see this finished!
That embroidery is stunning! Cant wait to see this finished!
I love everything but the wound embroidery is divine! Great job and great character analysis!
Thank you so much for all this information is helping a lot with a college project
Thank you for sharing your thought process on creating the Queen of the Ashes dress. The first time I heard Michelle Clapton talk about how the dresses reflect what the character is going through, I was so intrigued. So reading how you came up with this look is very interesting to me. I would love to see Emilia Clarke wear this! Also, I still think the ending was too rushed. lol I mean, I can totally accept the fact that Dany becomes the mad queen, but I felt like it needed at least another season… or two! XD