From Khaleesi to Queen: Daenerys Targaryen’s Character Development Through Costumes
The Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen has probably worn the widest variety of costumes in the series, from tribal Dothraki clothes to elegant silk dresses. While most characters in Game of Thrones have a certain style of costumes, Daenerys’s costumes change with the development of the character, from an exiled princess, to a Dothraki Khaleesi and now more and more towards a queen. Costume designer Michele Clapton won an Emmy for her beautiful Game of Thrones costume creations. Here follow most of the costumes in accordance with the time sequence of the series.
Young Daenerys Targaryen in exile in Pentos, one of the free cities, where she lived together with her brother Varys under the roof of the wealthy magister Illyrio Mopatis. A beautiful simple long dress that represents youth, also the curly hair makes her look young. In front you can already see Viserys holding the next dress.
Viserys wanted Daenerys to wear this dress when meeting Dothraki Khal Drogo in the hope to wed his sister in return for the Dothraki army.
Probably the most drastic costume change is from the pretty silk dresses to the Dothraki tribal style of clothing. The clothes suit the environment as well as the change in her character. As her love for the khal grows, she also starts to speak more like a Khaleesi. She integrates into the Dothraki lifestyle, learns the language and the Dothraki start to like her.
While Daenerys becomes more like the Dothraki, she stays a Targaryen and the idea that she has to sit on the iron throne becomes bigger. After Khal Drogo agreed to her wish to take back the seven kingdoms, she starts to escalate her own ideas and morals which sometimes clash with the Dothraki ways. This costume is my personal favourite. The top looks like dragon scales and shows that she is apart from a Khaleesi also a Targaryen, yet the Dothraki look is retained by the riding gloves and skirt. I love the top as it seems to be made of fish leather, which is a material I love, and I am currently trying to replicate the top.
After the death of Khal Drogo and the birth of the dragons she wears her dothraki clothing untill she receives this stunning blue dress in Qarth. The dress suits the merchant city, with its gold detail and silk fabric.
A second costume that we see in Qarth is a long dress worn over her Dothraki style skirt. In the first picture she wears a decorative gold collar top. Once she lost her dragons she wears an armour inspired top. I assume this is more for its aesthetics than its functionality, as the breast is revealed.
In the third season we can really start to see Danenerys developing more and more into a queen. Her clothing becomes more elegegant, yet maintains functionality for traveling, such as the blue dress worn on the boat and in Astapor. The dress is cut in to make movement possible. I love the round open back it has as the second picture shows.
This dress is far less functional and more about aesthetics. She wears it when meeting the slave-trader Razdal mo Eraz of Yunkai, and this dress communicates her position as a queen and mother of dragons. I noticed in this dress that the collar looks a lot like the slave collars, whether this is intentional is unclear to me, but it might show her ideals of freeing slaves. The lack of functionality of this dress expresses her position in which she orders men to sack the city, and has to wait for their return. As she said before to Missandei ‘All men must die, but we are not men’, is now becoming more visible in her costumes.
In the last episode of season three Daenerys wears the blue dress again, but this time with an alteration: a black leather strap that forms a cross in front and is an extra shoulder pad. She wears with this the collar that was used in the former dress.
The closer Daenerys gets to Westeros and the Iron Throne the more she will look like a queen. I found some pictures taken of Emilia Clarke during the filming of season 4 which give us a tiny preview of one of the costumes she will be wearing. I can’t wait until we can continue watching this amazing series and the beautiful costumes!