The year 2022, when we’re expecting the House of the Dragon series, a prequel to the Game of Thrones, to be released, is approaching quickly. Soon, we’ll be able to watch this TV show and enjoy the story, visual effects, stage costumes, and talented actors’ performing. Until then, we’re looking at just a few movie costumes from HBO promotional pictures and behind-the-scene photos and trying to guess how the characters will dress in House of the Dragon. For example, what will Alicent Hightower wear?
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’ll look into the movie costume of Alicent Hightower played by actor Olivia Cooke. Her outfits were designed by Jany Temime.
Alicent Hightower was a member of House Hightower, who became the second wife to King Viserys I Targaryen at the age of 18. And she’s also the daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, Viserys’ Hand.
The 2013 novella The Princess and the Queen, later incorporated into Fire & Blood, described Alicent as “precocious at fifteen and clever and lovely at the age of eighteen”.
After having given birth 4 times, Alicent remained as slender and graceful as before the first pregnancy.
Originally, Queen Alicent had a good relationship with her step-daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. The Princess and the Queen, however, tells of how the tensions began.
At the great tourney in King’s Landing held to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Viserys and Alicent, the Queen wore a green gown to the opening feast, while Princess Rhaenyra dressed in Targaryen sigil colors red and black. Thereafter, became the custom to refer to greens and blacks when talking of the Queen’s party and party of the Princess respectively.
In the books, Alicent is meant to be 9 years older than Rhaenyra. So, at the point when the House of the Dragon begins, Alicent should be about 32 years old. But it appears, they have intentionally changed the story to have them be close in age. Olivia Cooke is 27 years old, while Emma D'Arcy is 2 years older. We’ll just have to see how that plays out in the story.
As we’ve already mentioned in previous articles of this series, the House of the Dragon costumes appear to be loosely inspired by the Renaissance period. To be fair, we can only see the top of Alicent’s gowns. It’s hard to analyze a costume that’s not head to toe, but it’s all we have right now. So, let’s do our best in these circumstances.
Before we get into the bones of the costume, look at Alicent’s beautiful gold pendant and earrings. The stone is probably jade.
The chain that’s fastened on her dress appears to be a “chain of order” or “chain of livery”.
In Game of Thrones, we saw a chain of order worn by Queen Cersei.
One of the oldest and best-known chains of office is this livery collar in the painting of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger. Thomas More served Henry VIII as Lord High Chancellor of England in the early 16th century.
But let’s get back to Alicent Hightower’s costume. The cut and design of her bodice is a modern interpretation and more Ren fair than Renaissance. Just like Rhaenyra Targaryen’s attire. The slightly off-the-shoulder band of fabric along the neckline looks like something we would have seen on a prom dress. Although, maybe it would be redeemed by a fabulous sleeve or skirt detail.
The fabric of Alicent’s gown is not a lovely high-quality fabric, it’s a jacquard cloth from Joel & Sons in London. Here’s a similar fabric in soft beige & silver.
In this gown, there’s nothing that says Renaissance or Tudor or even medieval fantasy at all. And there appears to be no stays, just some 21st-century bra under there – if there even is a bra at all.
Let’s talk about Alicent’s headdress. It looks like a crescent with an attached veil. We’ve seen something like this during the Renaissance. It’s actually similar to the padded doughnut-shaped headdress called “balzo”, favored by Italian women in the early 1500s.
Some of them consisted of a frame covered with styled human hair, and they were decorated with ribbons, jewelry, and other trimmings and worn like a hat. In Italy, they didn’t fancy the veils or hood as much as the women in France and England, so it was often worn alone.
This is what the wardrobe team was probably attempting. But they could have created something a lot better. And Olivia Cooke’s hair looks far too contemporary.
All in all, we hope to see some better costumes in the House of the Dragon movie.
Here’s what Olivia Cooke said in an interview about her experiences working on House of the Dragon, “The crew is a hundred strong. The artistry involved is mind blowing. The sets that have been created are f***king gorgeous, and the costumes. Down to the tiny prop that you hold in your hands, there’s just so much thought that goes into it and so much history as well. It’s amazing to work on a film, a TV show, or anything where everyone is just so passionate about it”.