A Song of Ice and Fire
Why I chose to make this costume:
What to say about this costume... the character is Daenerys of House Targaryen, from the book series "A Song of Ice and Fire," which the TV show "Game of Thrones" is based on. I've been a fan of the books for about a decade now, and have planned to make a Dany costume since the first time I read the series. She is and has always been the character I love the most, and relate to the most.
Those who haven't read the books may not get my costume, but this is simply my personal interpretation of the character Daenerys, and I tried to be as accurate to the major descriptions as possible, such as the golden silver hair, silver bells and braids, purple eyes, the colors of the dragon, and costume materials/elements.
How I made this costume:
I always knew that I wanted to dress in Dany's iconic Qartheen traditional dress from "A Clash of Kings," 2nd book in the series, but for a long time debated how to pull off the look without it being offensive. Women in Qarth wore airy silk and/or lavish samite dresses baring one breast proudly, which reminds me of the breast-baring fashion of the ancient culture of Minoa. Literally, breasts (aka WOMEN) were a symbol of wealth and power, not just sexual objects. Daenerys in the books (Minor spoiler! Skip if you want!) loses just about everything and puts all her stakes into the city and people of Qarth, who crown her and acknowledge her sovereignty. To pay respect to them, she dresses in the traditional gowns—a young girl near alone in the world brave enough to expose herself to a city full of strangers, and she does it with dignity and pride. The feminist in me just loves that about her, and it's always made an impact on me. So no matter what, I wanted to make the Qartheen gown.
I pulled inspiration from the books (obviously), the wedding gown in the TV show, various artworks of Daenerys and my own fantasy artwork style and costuming taste. I thought lavender would really suit the silvery golden hair and the silver accessories, and I wanted the gown to flow because Qarth would have been a sweltering place to live in, and also because summer cons bear similar climates. So a slight color-changing chiffon it was! I made the gown in 2 layers so it wasn't see-through bwaha, and there was a bit of a debate which chest strap to omit O_o. In the end, I am right handed and holding the dragon was much easier with my primary hand.
So the dragon came about because I needed something to cover myself with, in order to be legal in public lol. I meant to sculpt a dragon but 2011 turned out to be INSANE so I bought a dragon statue and altered it with the help from Chris Donio and Brian Boling. Chris and Brian cut the beast apart and repositioned the legs and tail, re-sculpting the details and filling the piece for more durability. Thank you both for all the help! I painted the dragon and had to pick which of Daenerys' three to represent. Drogon, the black and red dragon, is the strongest of the three, but black shows every imperfection and would have looked odd on my very light costume. I thought green would complement the colors of the costume the best, so I made the dragon into Rhaegal!
I should add that the dragon was strapped onto me so I didn't have to use any hands to hold him, rather the cradling pose was for show. And as an extra extra precaution, I wore pasties.
As for the rest of the costume, I made a waist cincher after I found a silver-dyed leather hide that still had the fur patches on it. I thought it was so interesting, luxurious yet raw looking that I had to splurge the $80 on the hide.
I also wanted a belt and arm bands so I bought upholstery fabric and various trims and forced it all through my machine (breaking several needles along the way.) I spent an evening decorating the pieces with beads and chains.
The wig was two wigs sewn together and it has a lace front for a more natural look. I braided a lattice work into it and sewed more beads and bells into it, so I jingle when I walk!
The necklace is of Indian heritage because Daenerys as a newly crowned Queen received gifts from all different empires and cultures. Her accessories were diverse and I wanted something decorative on my neck.
Thoughts on this costume:
It was an amazing experience to meet author George R. R. Martin himself. I literally never get star struck but was completely nervous at the notion of meeting Mr. Martin. He was incredibly generous to allow me to take some photos with him, and even signed my corset and dragon. For someone as busy and in demand as him, it really meant a lot to me to take up his time. I also got to meet the cast of "Game of Thrones" at SDCC which was completely an unexpected bonus. George said that if I made it into the gigantic Game of Thrones panel, at the end he would try to introduce me to Emilia Clarke, who plays Dany in the TV Show. He kept his promise and I was able to hop backstage, and even on stage to say hi to the cast who just finished the panel. Everyone was super nice, and I think quite surprised to see me lol. Emilia was so kind and gracious to her fans and I really appreciated the opportunity to show her my costume. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, pointed to me and said to Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) "Here is your Daenerys." And I just about died on the spot. Lena Heady asked me the most questions about my costume and how I made it, which meant a lot to me.
The only cast member I missed was Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), which is a pity as he is one of my favorite characters (then again they all are!!) Maybe one day I will have that chance!
I want to thank Kevin Green for helping me get into the Game of Thrones panel. Also thank you to my amazing friends, who love Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire as much as me, and came to Dragoncon to dress up with me. I loved our group and we kept staring at each other geeking out.
SORRY FOR THE LONGEST COSTUME WRITE UP EVER lol