Let’s continue to analyze the stage costumes of House of the Dragon series, a prequel to Game of Thrones series, expected to appear on screens in 2022. This time, we’re talking about the movie costume of Corlys Velaryon, aka the Sea Snake, and head of House Velaryon. His only attire we’ve seen so far in the HBO promotional pictures is lovely, with plenty of charming details (for example, his scalloped shell-shaped belt plates and sword handle) and textures.
This material is based on the video from YouTube channel “Costume CO”.
House of the Dragon is a prequel series to Game of Thrones and is based on George R.R. Martin's 2018 novel Fire & Blood, set to be released in 2022.
In this post, we will analyze the show costume of Corlys Velaryon, played by British actor Steve Toussaint.
But who is Corlys Velaryon?
According to The World of Ice & Fire, lord Corlys Velaryon was the head of House Velaryon and the husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the queen who never was. He had two children with her – Laena and Laenor Velaryon – and was rumored to have fathered two other bastard children.
Named after his famous ship The Sea Snake, Corlys rose to fame with his many voyages across the seas of the world. It says in Fire & Blood that by the age of 37, Corlys was hailed as the greatest seafarer the Seven Kingdoms had ever known.
Corlys was the first man from Westeros to sail to Yi Ti and imported treasures from the East, including silks. Perhaps this is why we see the Indian influence in Rhaenyra's costume. Corlys accumulated so much wealth that House Velaryon became the richest house in the realm and he was the wealthiest man in the Seven Kingdoms.
Of the five costumes we've seen in the HBO promotional pictures, Corlys’ costume is one of the best. So, let's get into some of the costume details.
Corlys’ silhouette, while looking like it might be rooted in the Renaissance, feels like it's part of the Game of Thrones universe, even if it is nearly two centuries before.
The silhouette of a knee-length overgown on top of a tunic is inspired by the early-mid 16th century. We see the slightly earlier surcoat, a long loose, often sleeveless coat from the Middle Ages worn by some of the Game of Thrones characters. Like the Pentoshi magistrates, including Illyrio Mopatis. And in later seasons, by Varys and Tyrion.
But what comes to mind immediately when you look at his costume are the seafaring people of the Iron Islands.
If we look at the clothes worn by the ironborn, including Balon and Yara Greyjoy, you could almost see that they are up-cycled from sailcloth.
Game of Thrones’ costume designer Michele Clapton said in an interview with the LA Times, “If they live on a windy, rocky island, like the Greyjoys do, then they dress accordingly: They have costumes made of heavy, densely woven cloth that are waxed and painted with fish oil to help keep out the wind. Everything has a reason for being there”.
Michele Clapton said, “Instead of a cape – we've done so many capes – it’s a piece that can be sculpted around the actor, so it becomes windproof; stiff but fluid, too”.
With Corlys, you wouldn’t think he smells like fish oil, would you? He is much too refined for that. But maybe he would smell like sea air.
The textures of his costume are plentiful. There's the twill velvet of his overgown trimmed with velvet and metallic trim on the cap sleeves and the opening and embellished with sections of 4 buttons.
The loose-fitting undertunic is made from this interesting gray-blue metallic brocade from Joel & Sons in London, perhaps meant to resemble studded leather.
It's probably meant to be a sort of gambeson-style protection because there is this little bit of ringmail detail just below the collar, so he might wear this under some armor at a future date.
Featured prominently on the tunic, is an ostrich leather shield applique with an embossed seahorse, tying it to the Velaryon coat of arms of a silver seahorse on a sea-green field.
According to A Complete Guide to Heraldry, “The sea-horse is composed of the head and neck of a horse and the tail of a fish, but in place of the fore-feet, webbed paws are usually substituted”.
While the sigil resembles the small marine fish that we all know. in heraldry, the seahorse is classified as a mythological creature, like pegasus or the unicorn. That's why you'll notice in Corlys’ sigil on his tunic, the seahorse has a mermaid-like tail versus the curled tail picture in the Velaryon coat of arms from the wiki page.
Corlys has a rather fancy gold belt buckle and some scalloped shell-shaped belt mounts decorating the belt.
These medieval reproductions are slightly different, but it gives you an idea what they look like up close.
He's also wearing a gold ring on his left hand but the details are a bit blurry. Perhaps it is a wax seal ring.
On his hip, Corlys wears a sword with a scallop shell oyster shell palm of handle.
There's no mention if Corlys possessed a sword, and Steve Toussaint must be left-handed because the sword is housed on his right hip.
Tommy Dunne was the weapons master for Game of Thrones, but there's no indication of whether he has returned to House of the Dragon.
As mentioned in A Feast for Crows book, House Velaryon is of Velaryon descent and its members often have their features, such as silver hair, purple eyes, and pale skin. While it's likely we won't be getting the purple eyes, we do get the silver hair on Corlys.
This might be Steve Toussaint's beard with some white added in. The character is supposed to be in his 60s, while the actor is in his mid-50s, so this does help age him up a bit.
He's wearing a wig of silver locks.
There appears to be little if no breakdown on his costume. While he's a wealthy man, there should be at least some scuffs or signs of dirt on his boots.