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Style and Symbolism: How ‘House of the Dragon’ Uses Fashion To Push Its Plot Forward

Sep 02, 2022
by Janice Roman

4 min read

AB_Style and Symbolism_ How House of the Dragon’s Fashion Pushes Its Plot Forward

HBO recently released its follow-up to the Game of Thrones saga, House of the Dragon, based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The highly anticipated series now streaming on HBO Go, as expected, delves deeper into the mystic and magic of dragons when lords and kings ruled, peasants served, and knights warred.

A look into the epic tale’s costume design!

Besides the obvious castles, crowns, and swords, the show’s visuals can be defined by the costumes. Much like its predecessor, House of the Dragon is set in a time when social standing was easily defined by a person’s wardrobe. Characters wear elaborate costumes, expressing the nuances of their personality. With the careful thought that goes into the series’ costume design, they need not utter a single word to communicate to the audience. The robes and dresses they put on are enough.

That said, each characters’ style plays an important role in pushing House of the Dragon’s plot forward—it is as vital to the story as much as the lines that they speak. Here, we break down some of the most notable costumes that House of the Dragon’s main characters donned in its premiere.

Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the first few episodes just yet! Don’t miss the series’ weekly episodes by subscribing to HBO Go with your PLDT Home Broadband!

Princess Rhaenyra’s Ceremonial Dress

When we are first introduced to the princess, she is wearing dark dragon rider’s clothing as she descended her dragon Syrax. She then changes for court, greeting her mother and father—the king and queen—in a simple dress woven in elegant gold. Despite her somewhat rebellious nature, Rhaenyra is still Targaryen royalty and her wardrobe says a lot about her two conflicting personalities. Towards the episode’s end, however, the young princess donned a more elegant ceremonial dress in red as she was named the heir to the Seven Kingdoms.

King Viserys’ Kingly Robes

From his appointment until he presides council, Viserys is always seen wearing black—a color known to be favored by the Targaryens. For the royal Valyrian family, it is symbolic of their power. (The strongest dragon in Targaryen history is even named Balerion the Black Dread!). Audiences may also recall Daenerys eventually donning black robes towards the end of her quest for the Iron Throne. Another color that the Targaryens love is red, both red and black being the two colors in their banner. During the pilot’s climactic tournament scene, Viserys could be seen wearing a stylish black and red robe.

Alicent’s Green Dresses

Another interesting shift comes from a character everyone thought would play a role in the background. Alicent’s change from her flowing light blue dresses suggested an aura of innocence. Later on, however, as she presented herself as complicit in her father’s political ambitions, she wears a green dress of her late mother’s to signal a more mature and risqué side—even her hairstyle suddenly became more visually inviting.

Prince Daemon’s Dragon Armor

Indeed, Daemon made it impossible to forget him and his claim to the throne as early as House of the Dragon’s first episode. When he competed in Viserys’ jousting tournament, he donned a black dragon armor that rivals Sandor Clegane’s hound armor in Game of Thrones. It’s impossible to miss. Ever ambitious, Daemon put up a show for the tournament’s audience and cheated with no hesitation during combat.

Princess Rhaenys’ Silver Hair

Princess Rhaenys, “The Queen Who Never Was,” presents herself in a quiet yet elegant manner. Don’t be fooled, however, as she asserts her power in the way her hair is fixed. Seemingly faithful to her lineage as a dragon, Rhaenys’ hair is always peculiarly styled to resemble a dragon’s crown. Her entire countenance exudes an aura of unnerving calm, but also of intimidating wit. Everyone in the Seven Kingdoms should be wise to respect Princess Rhaenys, lest they wish to face the wrath of a real dragon lady.

Ser Otto’s Elegant Suit

As the Hand of the King, Ser Otto often wears the Seven Kingdoms’ equivalent of a black suit. He brushes his long hair back to reveal his face, which somehow suggests he is an altruistic man with only the good of the realm in mind. Although in reality, Ser Otto is a shrewd opportunist with huge ambitions. He is not above taking advantage of his daughter and the widowed King Viserys to advance his personal motives.

Lord Corlys’ Thick Locks

The husband of Princess Rhaenys and one of the realm’s wealthiest men, Lord Corlys often wears elegant black robes that contrast beautifully with his dramatic locks of silver hair. Aside from his titles as Lord of the Tides and Master of Driftmark, his reputation as the greatest seafarer in the Seven Kingdoms also earned him the name Sea Snake. He is also King Viserys’ Master of Ships and commands attention whenever he walks into a room.

Banner photo courtesy of HBO Go.


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Janice Roman

Janice is the main writer for Next Upgrade’s Wellness, Pop Culture, Entertainment sections. As a media and communication studies scholar, writer, and researcher, Janice writes about a hybrid of topics from academic to lifestyle journalism. She is a pleasure reader of Nick Joaquin’s books and pride literature.