As many of us already know, Game of Thrones is an HBO series that has captured the hearts of young and old, in what is likely one of the best television series adaptations we’ve ever seen. The show itself aired its first episode on April 17th, 2011 and has since seen its popularity spread like wildfire over the last six years.
For many, the television episodes are simply a recreation of an incredibly captured world in the fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R.R. Martin. For those die-hard fans, many of the story’s plots and twists are easily foreseen; however, for those viewers just joining in on the fun now, a lot of the show’s popularity can be attributed to its vastly detailed characters, incredible story settings, and unforeseen jaw-dropping plot changes we never see coming.
While much can be said for the plot and characters, there is also a lot to be said for the impressive fashion and beautiful tresses that we see in every episode. Whether it’s the flowing hair of a handsome knight or the long locks of a queen, Game of Thrones has some serious skill when it comes to its character’s daily looks and choice attire.
The Game of Thrones clothing inspirations are said to be mostly medieval, with muses from medieval England clothing and Europe. However, there is are also some nods to various groups and cultures including the Bedouins and the Inuit tribes.
When it comes to the women of the show, it’s safe to say that the majority of them are fierce characters that require clothing that exudes confidence, power, and prowess. It’s a fine line between dressing these women in gowns fit for a queen, but also as fierce ladies who will rise up to protect her realm when necessary. From their hair to their costume, these women are one of the main reasons this show has become such a leader in the push toward gender equality in mainstream culture.
Here are some of the favorite women in Game of Thrones who rule the realm when it comes to gorgeous hair and sweeping fashion.
Daenerys Targaryen Costume
If there’s one woman we absolutely have to talk about, it’s the mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen or “Khaleesi.” In real life, this character is played by the youthful and spirited Emilia Clarke, but, once she transforms into the white-haired goddess, Khaleesi is a fierce competitor in the game of thrones.
This character has one of the most noticeable outfit revolutions of the entire cast. Although she begins as a much more subservient character, Daenerys quickly becomes an independent woman with a team of dragons behind her, and her clothing evolves to reflect the change in power.
Daenerys starts out as second-in-line to her over-confident brother and is soon married off to the leader of the Dothraki, Khal Drogo. In these more subservient moments, Daenerys can be seen in more feminine clothing and flowing dresses, much like the one she wears for her wedding. Once she is married into the Dothraki tribes, she begins to embrace her new culture and family and takes on more of their traditional garb, including animal skins and hand weaving.
Even as her character begins to travel toward the iron throne, Daenerys changes her style out of respect for the locations she’s traveling through. Her more mature take on the world is reflected in her clothing, as she begins to lose the innocent look and embraces darker colors, harsher materials, and more metals. In more recent seasons, she can be seen wearing an outfit inspired by the male Qarthian-style coat with a gold corset, as well as Dothraki-inspired pants.
The idea behind this character’s clothing evolution was to make sure that she retains an element of vulnerability, while still giving her a look of power and capability. This allows her to remain someone that people can connect with, while still having the confidence that she could rule the iron throne.
Daenerys Targaryen Hair
When it comes to her hair, Daenerys has one of the most iconic looks in the story, and her skilled hair stylists certainly have their hands full. Her memorable, platinum-blonde hair has gone through its own sort of transformation, much like her clothing. What started out as soft, long tresses that exuded youth and innocence are also now adapting themselves to her surroundings. For example, when Daenerys becomes a Dothraki, she begins to style her hair with more plaited braids but, eventually, she works her way back to a simpler style in Qarth.
Her tresses are always styled long and wavy, and they often demand attention when she walks into a room. When she’s not wearing her hair in braids, the locks are either twisted or wrapped, with lots of excess hair flowing down her back. For those who want to re-create the look on their own, investing in one of the best curling wands for loose curls can help to create those care-free, yet stylish curls for which Daenerys is known.
Arya Stark Costume
Arya Stark is the fearless daughter of Ned Stark, who goes through some very serious trials and tribulations on her solo journey to revenge. From the very start, Arya has always been more comfortable in a more masculine role, preferring to learn how to fight with her sword, “Needle,” and horsing around with the other local boys.
It’s no surprise that in the first few run-ins with Arya, we see the discomfort she finds in doing more delicate chores and wearing her princess dresses. These costumes included softer colors, draped sleeves, and knitted details that she was more than unhappy to be wearing in comparison to her older sister Sansa.
Arya’s clothing changes as we travel through the first season, and she begins to take matters into her own hands and alters her feminine outfits to be more manageable and masculine. Her sleeves are removed, and her hair is disheveled—symbolic of her attitude toward personal hygiene and ladylike tendencies.
As the season progresses, Arya’s style goes from light blues and pastels to more monochrome colors, likely against the will of her unsuspecting mother. Arya adopts more browns, beiges, and blacks in her style and begins to wear trousers when she’s given permission to take sword-fighting lessons.
This moment is key, as the change in outfit is symbolic of Arya’s future predicament when she is forced to pretend she’s a boy to escape the same horrible fate as her father. Her rough garb and dark colors make it easier for Arya to blend in with the local folk attire, which is ultimately the thing that saves her from sure death or, at least, a very unhappy life with the Lannisters.
Arya’s clothing remains identical through the next few seasons, which isn’t very surprising considering her lack of interest in the matter. She embraces a more practical outfit for her travels, including more leather and armor-like materials over her Northern shirt. Though her attire is rather drab and boring, this choice in wardrobe was like meant to bring more attention to her growth as an individual, both emotionally and physically.
In the latest season, Arya learns how clothing can link you to a certain family or mindset, and ultimately, she loses all interest in clothing and the need for femininity or hierarchy. She embraces the simple outfit of a black sack dress with little detail.
Arya Stark Hair
In stark comparison to Daenerys, Arya’s hair is not a thing of beauty or attention; however, it is very symbolic of her brave mindset and her journey toward becoming a more free-thinking individual. In the first few episodes, you can see that her hairstyle is loose and falling out, in contrast to her sister’s hair, which is always well-put-together.
In the following scenes, Arya opts to completely abandon the free-flowing tresses and, instead, pins her hair back—likely to keep the hair out of her eyes. When things begin to fall apart for her family, Arya embraces a much shorter hairstyle that is uneven and choppy. She must continue with this look for quite a few seasons, as she travels toward the wall, but it is a symbol of the transformation of her character, both inside and out.
Although Arya’s hairstyles aren’t quite as impressive as that of Daenerys, the choices made for Arya’s hairstyles were made with intention. The simple style is important to ensure that Arya leaves behind her past, her femininity, and any of her attachment to her past life. It’s likely that all of the simplicity of Arya’s physical form and attire will come to a head in the last season when she decides who she truly wants to be.
Sansa Stark Clothing
Although many of the characters in Game of Thrones have bad luck, Sansa Stark has some of the worst of it. After watching the beheading of her father, she’s then married off to the psychotic Joffrey Lannister, then his older brother Tyrion, and, in a completely unfair move, she is married off to the most repulsive man in all the seven kingdoms—Ramsay Bolton.
However, that’s not to say that Sansa’s hair and clothing choices have reflected her less-than-fortunate experiences. In fact, Sansa has some very swoon-worthy style throughout the storyline, and she keeps up a look that exudes confidence and strength regardless of her terrible situation.
In the first seasons, Sansa’s style is often colored in pastel blues and light grays, with a range of feminine florals, decals, and embellishments. One of the highlighted pieces that Sansa often wears in her home is the warm and fashionable fur cloak, as a representation of the harsh winters their family endures in the North.
It’s also important to notice that Sansa’s clothing often includes winged creatures in one form or another, including moths and butterflies. Cersei also calls Sansa “little dove,” which may be associated with something fragile; however, in the case of Sansa, it’s likely that her clothing is symbolic of something leaning more toward a metamorphosis than it is of something delicate and innocent.
As she continues on her journey, Sansa is often left to her own defenses when it comes to her fashion; as a pawn for Joffrey, she is not given new materials and usually re-works the ones she already owns. As she begins to assume a hardened skin through her horrible host’s actions, Sansa begins wearing more monochromatic colors and loses the innocent pastels of her past.
In the last seasons, Sansa embraces a crow-like image, as opposed to a delicate butterfly. She is strong, and her sweeping fashions with dark wools and warrior-like accessories are a nod to her new, more cunning demeanor.
Sansa Stark Hair
Sansa’s royal medieval hairstyles often show her locks braided away from her face, but not in the harsh way of her sister, Arya. Instead, it is styled in a softer manner, with loose curls falling down around her shoulders.
As Sansa’s personal life begins to get more complicated, her hairstyles match that complexity and often reflect the overbearing weight that she carries. As opposed to wearing it down and comfortable, Sansa begins wearing a tight up-do that is a reflection of her higher status, as well as reflecting a more Cersei-inspired style.
While the many intricate hairstyles are impressive to behold, they often symbolize the complicated web that Sansa is beginning to get tied up in with the Lannister family. The harsh up-do is hard on her facial features and often makes her look more uncomfortable and unhappy, as a reflection of her true feelings.
When Sansa finally escapes the grasp of the Lannisters and begins her journey with Little Finger, we notice a deliberate change, as Sansa shows off her red Tully locks. While her hair is still pulled away from her face, she embraces her long flowing locks, as she once did in simpler times, and is likely embracing her cultural roots. The hairstyles seem to come full circle, where Sansa will once again come to power—only, this time, on her own terms.
Hair and wardrobe are no simple components when it comes to telling a story. A character’s physical portrayal is key to his or her character development, so it’s important to pay attention to these subtle changes.
Game of Thrones does a magnificent job of putting a strong importance on the proper representation of each character’s clothing and hair choices, from style and materials right down to symbols, colors, and accessories. The women who rule Game of Thrones have gorgeous hair and sweeping fashions that serve as a symbol of their strength and status in their unruly world.