Saturday, April 19, 2014

Margaery Tyrell's Wedding Dress

(This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 4 and the third book in the series. If you're avoiding spoilers TURN BACK NOW.)

So the big day is here, and Margaery’s put on a smile, some bigass hair and a dress made more of thorns than roses.

When they married Sansa off to Tyrion, her dress was beautiful; but it was also large and heavy, literally embroidered with all her family’s heartache. But this dress is pure Margaery. Light and airy, in her signature blue and embroidered with silver. The detailing subtly says money (one of the reasons for this marriage) and femininity. The train is a spill of roses, the back is open, the shoulders frame her face in soft petals. But the core of this dress are the thorns curling around her. The height of elegance, and absolutely dangerous.

This dress would not look out of place at a contemporary wedding. Margaery is so fashion forward, she wears a dress that would look good at a high society wedding in 2014!

There's actually a big demand for replicas of this dress for upcoming brides. We would totally wear this dress, but would be super worried if our fiancé put in an order.

Tyrell roses twining about a Baratheon crown, the thorns taking prominence over the antlers. Symbolism! (Click here for a closer look at that crown.)

We really think this is an awesome subtle bit of acting by Ms. Dormer. Her facial expressions are very minimalist, and yet they convey a great deal. We tend to think this moment with everyone behind her, not seeing her face, is quite symbolic of Margaery’s whole deal. Very few people see her as she truly is. Dramatic irony!

Check out Joffrey’s creepy hands on her shoulders. Creepy creepy.

Color is often used to symbolize a connection between characters (see Margaery and Grandmama Redwyne). The color palette here accomplishes the opposite: Margaery in her airy, light blue stands apart from the dark reds and golds of the Lannisters. In comparison, the Lannisters are a solid block of color and unity. Dysfunctional unity.

Just. Take a moment to appreciate the detailing of that dress.

Her outfit actually kind of clashes with the ridiculousness Joffrey is wearing. (OK, maybe Joffrey’s outfit wasn’t even that bad, but we are contractually obligated to hate on him and look at all the lion stuff at that wedding, COME ON, no wonder Margaery was having trouble keeping it together.

Natalie Dormer: congratulations on your face

A note on the setting: visually, this is pretty much the opposite of the Red Wedding. At the Red Wedding, the guests were crammed into a tiny, grim, dark room that practically screamed “MURDER” but at the Purple Wedding, we have sunlight, bright colors, and fresh air.


In a previous post we touched on Olenna's grooming of Margaery into her successor. Olenna is known as the Queen of Thorns, a moniker referring to her wit and sharp tongue. Margaery and Olenna have always been a united front, but now Margaery has become a literal queen of thorns, just in time for Olenna to put her name into action. The roses covering Olenna's robe hide the danger beneath the petals, while Margaery's dress is taken over by thorns: together they are deadly, and entirely unsuspected.

FACE. Seriously, she is barely moving her face at all but projecting all kinds of intensity and intelligence through her eyes alone.

Subtle power, that’s Margaery’s whole deal.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand

The wedding of Margaery Tyrell and that other kid is no small event, so dignitaries from the seven kingdoms and beyond are arriving in King's Landing. One of these groups is not like the others. The Martells make the Lannisters nervous, and with good reason considering all the promised revenge mixed with niceties and marriage treaties and the Martells being so much cooler than everyone else. Oberyn Martell the second son prince of Dorne has arrived to represent his family, and he did not come alone.

This is Ellaria Sand. She is a bastard. She is Oberyn’s mistress. And our girl is NOT SHY about either of those facts. She is introduced reclining on a couch in a brothel, holding a goblet.
Ellaria comes from Dorne, a place where women have more freedom, and a place that is also somewhat less sexually repressed than the rest of the seven kingdoms. Even for a Dornish woman, though, we’d imagine that this outfit is somewhat daring. The plunging neckline, gaudy jewelry and heavy eye makeup are all overtly sexy/sexual. The strong orangey-yellow she wears here may very well be the House Martell power color. In Dorne, Ellaria has power and respect as Prince Oberyn’s lover (she’s basically his common-law wife) and the mother of several of his children (Sand Snakes, yeah!). In King’s Landing, it’s likely that people will think of her as a prostitute. But instead of shying away from her role as Oberyn’s mistress, she is leaning the hell into it. Basically, our girl has come to King’s Landing with her middle finger firmly extended.

And speaking of plunging necklines…

Ellaria’s boyfriend is Oberyn Martell. Dude is a loud dresser: bright colors, long surcoat, and one hell of an open collar. It’s not a coincidence that he’s baring as much skin as Ellaria. Basically, he’s here to avenge his sister and bang cute blondes. And he and Ellaria have already gone through all the cute blondes in King’s Landing!

Oberyn putting his hand through a candle flame for no reason other than AWESOMENESS.

Right after he stabs a racist Lannister through the wrist, he and Ellaria immediately go back to making out. Which makes us like them even more. Are we bad people?

Check out the leather straps on her forearms – she’s the lady and mother of warriors, and these function in a similar fashion to the medal embellishments on Cersei’s dresses; impractical as actual armor, but symbolic nonetheless.

Though Oberyn is the ostensible outsider here, Tyrion is the one who looks out of place in the desert colors of King's Landing. Oberyn knows exactly what he's doing, and is in no way worried or uncomfortable, perhaps a first for anyone who lives in this city.

Even when threatening revenge, Oberyn manages to be flirty. Skillllls.

Remember how we called Ellaria’s last outfit daring? Well that was the outfit she wears to a brothel.

This Princess Amidala realness is what she wears to a wedding. It’s actually basically the same outfit, just with some crazy –ass desert scifi cone shoulders on her cape and no big necklace to cover up anything. Complete with a neckline to her navel, exposed undergarments, and a hairdo that sees Cersei’s Valkyrie braid helmets and raises them some braids made of actual armor. By god, she and Oberyn look good together.

Again: it might just be a cultural difference, but we tend to think that her outfit is at least partially as an intentional “fuck you” to the Lannisters and anyone else who looks down on her. She and Oberyn wear the same stuff to a royal wedding as they do to pick up chicks, so that’s probably a statement.


And speaking of pick ups:

Loras cruising Oberyn Martell is amazing.

They engage in some orally-fixated eye-f*cking across the buffet table because of course they do.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sansa Stark and Margaery Tyrell in Two Swords and The Lion and the Rose

(This post contains spoilers for Season 4 of Game of Thrones and references the third book. We will place an extra spoiler warning when we get to those parts, but EARLY WARNING TURN BACK NOW.)

For reasons of great future import, Two Swords involves lots and lots of necklaces.

Olenna and Margaery are examining some of said necklaces, all of which are deemed too tacky for Margaery’s wedding day. Olenna reminisces about a necklace her late husband bought her and then tosses a similar necklace off the balcony, because she is the best.

Margaery is a breath of sartorial fresh air in King’s Landing. Cersei’s braid helmets and gaudy clothes (heavy embroidery, rich fabric, metalwork) were the height of fashion back in Season 1, but compared to Margaery’s fresh, youthful prettiness, Cersei now looks a bit overdone.

Check out the pieces on the shoulder: Cersei suggested that Margaery might want to add some armor to her wardrobe, but a nod to a warrior's style is all Margaery needs.

Note the similar colors and patterns in Margaery and Olenna’s outfits; light blue, gold accents, roses. While Olenna’s son is technically lord of Highgarden, and Loras is technically his heir, Olenna clearly rules her brood with an iron fist, and is grooming her granddaughter to be her matriarchal successor. Margaery has clearly flourished under her grandmother’s tutelage.

These girls are a great example of Margaery’s signature styles diffusing into the population, mixing Highgarden blues with the warm-colored silks of King’s Landing.

Finally, Brienne stops by and she and Margaery take a little stroll.

And an IMMEDIATE ship is born.

Oh, Sansa. We are sorry about your life. We would, however, like to congratulate you on your face.

We open on our girl refusing to eat, on account of how her mother and brother were slaughtered at a wedding. She then excuses herself to go pray, because no one tries to talk to her in the Godswood.

Sansa’s clothes really set her apart from everyone else in King’s Landing. She's dressing like her mother used to: in heavy cloth and somber, dark colors. This outfit serves as a reminder that Sansa is in a pretty much constant state of mourning (both Arya and Sansa now look and act like they have a freezing, empty hole where their souls are supposed to be). She’s gone back to dressing like a Northerner: long full sleeves, heavy skirts, high necklines. Dressing in the styles of home is the only way Sansa can show allegiance to her family without dying a horrible death. She is also styling her hair like she used to in Winterfell: small, simple braids (the simplest braids in GoT still look impossible for DIY and we are jealous.) Note the ring: heavy gold for a Lannister bride.

A better look at Sansa’s gown, from the days when she had zero hope instead of .000001% hope.

So Ser Dontos (who Sansa rescued that one time in her awesome Joffrey-manipulating way) shows up and gives Sansa a VERY SIGNIFICANT NECKLACE. It is apparently the last thing of value he has to his name, and because she is lovely and sweet, Sansa says she will wear it with pride.

At the royal wedding, Sansa is back to full-on crazy Lannister braids (required as a member of the Lion side of the aisle). We’re pretty sure Cersei’s braid helmets are becoming a little bit of an anachronism in King’s Landing. Young, fashionable women are now taking their cues from Margaery Tyrell and her loose, (relatively) simple curls, though many people are still terrified enough of Cersei to keep a bit of the braids going.
The first time Sansa wore her hair in this style, in was an attempt to curry favor to save her father's life. Those braids and southern dresses were symbolic of how trapped she was. Margaery's arrival loosened those chains a bit, and Sansa began to wear her hair loose while she hoped for freedom, only going back to the braids when she was forced to marry Tyrion. Braids in this show connote power, and those braids have been a symbol of the Lannister's power over her, but even if she doesn’t know it yet, Sansa is a vessel of power this day.

Sansa rarely wears jewels, so in addition to Ser Dontos’ necklace, the gold in her hair contributes to the overall Lannister look, and adds an air of maturity to her costume.


As much as we love costumes, it’s very rare that they directly factor into the plot. So spoiler warning. If you don’t want to know whodun the Purple Wedding Murder Mystery, hit the “back” button now.

Look at the far right jewel! Oh wait you can't because it's totally gone!

Sansa’s VERY SIGNIFICANT NECKLACE is, in fact, how they managed to smuggle “the strangler” into Joffrey’s wedding cup. And by “they” we mean OLENNA FUCKING TYRELL. Our QUEEN. (We would also like to congratulate Dame Diana Rigg on her face.) Watching this episode and knowing what was going to happen was nerve racking and awesome and we may have said many times that MURDER IS AMAZING. (Which, now we think of it, might not have put us in the best light to any neighbors listening in.) Olenna plucks a poisoned jewel from the necklace ("What kind of monster would kill a man at a wedding?" – the BEST), and from there we’re watching the dance of the cup.  Poor Tyrion’s gonna take the fall for a bit, while Sansa gets the hell out of Dodge (into a different, also terrible Dodge.) because everyone thinks she had something to do with it. Which she did! In the books, Dontos gives Sansa a jeweled hairnet to smuggle in the poison jewels, but necklaces are simpler, and the Tyrell’s focus on necklaces in Two Swords made for some awesome foreshadowing. Dontos is also kind of creepy in the book, so it’s nice that for once a dude helping Sansa isn’t acting sexually towards her. Thanks show!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sansa Stark - End of Season 1

It's about to hit the fan

The Lannister guards have been sent to kill literally everyone from house Stark. Up to and including old, unarmed women. (Pour one out for Septa Mordane, by the way, who faced down four armored men to protect Sansa.)
This is a dress we've seen Sansa in before; a dress that ties her to both her mother and sister. She is a Tully, and a Stark. But the Lannister necklace is also there, symbolizing her entanglement with the Lannisters.

Because Sansa is decent and kind, she believes that others are decent and kind as well. So her first instinct, after her father's arrest, is to go to Cersei.
Note that in this scene, Cersei wears a cool-colored gown and a simple hairstyle. The whole ensemble says "I'm on your side. You can trust me." (It may also be a subtle nod to the similarities between Cersei and Sansa.)
Sansa: still in the same outfit (because she's been hiding in her room, but also because she is still her father and mother's daughter).

And now. Now, as she goes to beg for her father's life, Sansa is a Southern Lady. While Sansa has always been a Tully as well as a Stark, and has usually worn a blend of northern and southern fashions, this is the first time we've seen her go full-on King's Landing, with the exact sort of clothes and hair made fashionable by Cersei. (Cersei dress, Cersei hair, Lannister necklace.)
Another noteworthy thing about this scene: remember back in the pilot? Remember Sansa's hair and clothing at the feast? She probably wore the nicest dress she owned to that feast, and Catelyn probably spent a decent amount of time on her hair, but if you compare her dress and hair then to her dress and hair nor, she looked downright sloppy back then. This gorgeous dress may have been made especially for this occasion; her hair was done by a professional.
This is definitely Sansa's scene; Cersei looks lovely as always, and is wearing her throne room crazybraids and Baratheon crown, but her dress is almost the same color as the wall behind her.

This is the scene that sets the tone for the entire rest of the series. The scene in which the guy who you thought was the hero dies.
Cersei's braid helmet has never been any bigger or crazier than this. And, in the interest of presenting a united front, She and her son are both dressed in their Lannister finest: their clothes were even made of the same gold fabric with rich, red Lannister Lion embroidery. Both wear Baratheon crowns, but they both have GIANT RED LIONS adorning their bodies. They are Lannisters, through and through.
Also worth noting: Sansa is (understandably) screaming and horrified, but Cersei is also deeply troubled by Joffrey's behavior here. She fully expected him to pardon Ned and send him to the wall. She was counting on it. And even she can do nothing to stop him.
While Sansa is still dressed like a southern lady, she stands apart from them (and everyone else in the scene) in delicate, light blue.
And by the way, Sophie Turner deserves awards for this scene. Any hope Sansa had for a happy ending is shattered as her handsome prince has her father beheaded in front of her. Now she knows who Joffrey truly is. This is how it ends. This is how her heart breaks.

Sansa has understandably ditched the Lannister necklace in favor of her dragonfly necklace. But she still wears her hair in the style of a southern lady. She looks like she's been crying, and refusing to eat, for days. And she wears another southern-style dress, this one in pink. She looks delicate. Fragile, even. But our girl has discovered a reserve of strength that even she didn't know she had.
To anyone who believes that Sansa is weak or stupid, I can only ask: what show are you watching?
So many people that she knew and loved are dead. Joffrey forces her to look at their heads displayed on the wall.
And she yet lives. 
Sansa is, above all else, a survivor. And she will live to see the Lannisters pay.