Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!
Nothing ruins an outfit quite like blood, sweat, and tears, and the next Game of Thrones episode is likely to include all three, even with winter climate. “The Battle of Winterfell” is upon us, which means a lot of leather, metal, and fur — not that most have been sporting attire outside of this category in the first two episodes of the final season. Costume designer Michele Clapton has crafted beautiful gowns, capes and a whole lot of armor over the eight seasons. The latter is now taking center stage once again as the fight arrives at the gates of the Stark ancestral home.
Instead, Brienne has gained a Stark-like cape — which is needed for the climate — and when she stands up to make a bold statement, she does so carrying a sword that was forged from Ned’s (Sean Bean). Jaime gave Brienne Oathkeeper in the episode of the same name in Season 4 when he also gifted her the armor she has been wearing ever since. Her task was to protect Ned’s daughters, and Jaime thought it made sense for her to carry a weapon that came from his. One thing Game of Thrones is very good at is weapon and costume callbacks linking the past to the present.
Brienne isn’t the only one taking her words seriously, as Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) tells her cousin Ser Jorah (Iain Glen), “I pledged to fight for the North, and I will fight.” She hasn’t put on her best fighting gear just so she can go hide in the crypt. Lady Mormont might be small, but she has shown on numerous occasions that she is willing to stand up for herself, her family and the North. It doesn’t matter if her opponents are weak-willed men or the dead; Lady Mormont is here to slay.
Armor isn't the only attire that portrays a fighter's aesthetic. Sansa (Sophie Turner), is not going to be out on the front lines, but her determination and consistency when it comes to protecting their home and its legacy are noteworthy. Sansa’s journey from pampered teen to a woman in charge has been one of the most dynamic on Game of Thrones. She has gone through a number of style changes from mimicking the powerful women around her, including Cersei and Margaery (Natalie Dormer), to channeling her mother. Experimenting with a goth phase is an adolescent rite of passage, even in Westeros. Dark Sansa was a brief period at the end of Season 4, which is when she first wore power jewelry (that didn’t double as a poison concealing device) and Clapton describes this as "the moment Sansa grew up."
Since then she has reclaimed the wolf, transforming a dress into a Stark statement and gifting her half-brother (actually her cousin) a cape like Ned’s. Her sister dresses like their father, but in the final season, Sansa is shifting away from clothes inspired by others and wearing pieces unique to her.
And if a fashion designer wants to envision what this could look like as a contemporary garment fit for 2019, then I will be the first to add my name to that particular pre-order list. Game of Thrones inspired looks are hard to pull off outside of Westeros, but this one has ready-to-wear potential. Yes, there have already been clothing tie-ins from brands such as Adidas, but an Alexander McQueen line or a vegan leather alternative from Stella McCartney that filters down to a more affordable brand should be next.
It is unlikely that all those mentioned in this Look of the Week will survive the forthcoming battle, but at least they will go out in style.