This is another analysis of the stage costumes of the House of the Dragon series, a prequel to the Game of Thrones series, expected to appear on screens in 2022. In this material, we’re looking at the only movie costume of Rhaenyra Targaryen available to us at the moment – it’s from the HBO promotional pictures and behind-the-scene pictures. Soon, we’ll see more of her outfits and will be able to analyze them all, but let’s start with this single attire for now.
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.
Let us analyze the movie costume of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by British actor Emma D'Arcy.
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen was the firstborn child of King Viserys I and was almost 10 years older than her half-brother Aegon. She was called the “Realm's Delight” when she was young and later – the “Half-Year Queen”. Rhaenyra Targaryen was the king’s only living child by his first wife Queen Aemma of House Arryn and grew up expecting to become the first ruling queen of Westeros.
In George R.R. Martin's 2014 novelette Rogues, Rhaenyra was said to be the most beautiful maiden in all the Seven Kingdoms by her uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen. Pampered from an early age, Rhaenyra was a pudgy girl and a stout woman with a thick waist and an exceptionally large bosom.
Rhaenyra Targaryen’s costume was designed by House of the Dragon’s costume designer Jany Temime.
As we’ve already mentioned in the post about Daemon Targaryen’s movie costume, Daemon and Rhaenyra are on the island of Driftmark, attending the funeral of Daemon’s brother-in-law Ser Laenor Velaryon at the castle of High Tide. Black is the typical color of mourning for Westeros, but we don’t know if this is the day of the funeral.
Let’s first look at the silhouette. It’s pretty simple – she’s wearing an overgown on top of an underdress. In the promotional picture, we can only see the overgown, but in some of the behind-the-scenes photos, we get a bit of a peek of a vivid red dress underneath.
Princess Rhaenyra’s attire can be attributed to the Renaissance style, although more Ren fair, which is fine because it’s a fantasy movie after all. The silhouette is close to some of Mary Stuart’s outfits in the CW show Reign. So, you could call this style “Reign fair” because there is very little historical accuracy there.
It’s interesting that the House of the Dragon production went forward in time to the 16th century period as inspiration, while Westeros’ costumes are largely based on medieval England, set in the time of the Wars of the Roses at the Hundred Years' War in the 14th and 15th century. The logical thing for them – as the House of the Dragon is set 180 years before the events of Game of Thrones – would be to go to the 13th-century fashion instead.
Princess Rhaenyra’s silhouette doesn’t have equivalents among the Game of Thrones’s costumes created by Michele Clapton. The closest we could come to are some of Sansa’s gowns, which have a center front opening and are fastened at the front with a petticoat peeking underneath.
One thing that stands out is the lack of underpinnings. Many of the noblewomen in Westeros wear foundation garments – we saw an indication of this on both Cersei and Sansa, with a glimpse of their stays, and they wore a crinoline or even a hoop skirt under the gowns to give them bell-shape. Even Dany and Margery had a foundation garment under some of their costumes – Michele Clapton stated as much in the interviews. So, the whole thing of Princess Rhaenyra’s attire looks a bit unstructured.
The best part of the costume are all of the textures. George R.R. Martin described Rhaenyra as “dressed richly, favoring purple and maroon velvets and golden Myrish lace in intricate patterns”. For the most part, this costume is as George described it.
Her overgown is possibly made from silk Dupioni fabric from Top Fabric of Soho in London. They supplied most of the fabric for Game of Thrones.
The black or possibly very dark purple velvet has gold-embroidered circle-shaped details.
There is red silk piping in the shoulder princess seams of this overgown that runs to the hem. Red, of course, comes from the Targaryen sigil.
The standing collar appears to be a red brocade with an interesting red lace overlay, which picks up on a circle detail on the embroidered velvet.
The sleeve cuffs are adorned with curious Indian trim that is also underfacing the red stand-up collar.
We can’t be sure what the dress underneath this overgown looks like, but from the behind-the-scenes pictures, it appears that the same fabric is used around the neckline.
Here is a sample of Indian paisley brocade from the Top Fabric of Soho. It’s not the same one, but it gives you an idea of what something like this looks like.
King Joffrey Baratheon wore a jacket made of Indian brocade as well.
The brocade is dotted with little gold beads. George stated that Rhaenyra’s bodice often glittered with pearls and diamonds. Maybe we will see this in future costumes.
The overgown is fully open at the front and closed with a narrow lacing through 3 golden dragon talon fasteners on each side of the gown. And the sleeves appear to be laced as well.
The red underdress has this interesting gold&black detail on the cuffs, sort of creating a henna effect.
There is a lot of repetitions with the circle. And shapes like circles, triangles, and squares are symbolic in many cultures. Game of Thrones used symbols throughout the 8 seasons, even if there were many times when it didn’t pay off.
Rhaenyra’s earrings, necklace, and rings are all gold. It appears that she’s wearing a few rings. As George R.R. Martin said, “there were always rings on her fingers. Whenever she was anxious, she would turn them compulsively, round and round”. Hopefully, we’ll get a better look of Rhaenyra’s rings when the movie is released.
So, Rhaenyra’s preferred metal seems to be gold. As we know, Dany has adopted silver as her metal, which we also see in Daemon’s costume. We’re not sure what the reasoning behind the Rhaenyra’s gold jewelry is, because gold is the color of the Lannisters in the Game of Thrones universe.
According to George R.R. Martin, Rhaenyra has this silver-gold hair of her ancestors, which she wore long and braided in the manner of queen Visenya Targaryen. Visenya often braided her hair and bound it with rings. Rhaenyra’s wig, with the top coil and long hanging braid, matches the description quite closely.
Dany is the only female Targaryen in the Game of Thrones universe to compare her to, but she’s styled it with the influence of the Dothraki. And while Dany and Daemon have little silver rings on their braids, Rhaenyra has two gold rings on her braid.