House of the Dragon (HoD) is currently one of the most popular TV shows. The fantasy drama is a prequel to the Game of Thrones (GoT) phenomenon and focuses on the history of House Targaryen. As the first royal family in Westeros, Targaryens were once mighty until the civil war over succession ruined the dynasty and caused the near-extinction of dragons.
HoD lands in the middle of the Targaryen family tree, providing insight into the complicated dynasty and the cause of its downfall.
We already know from GoT how telling the outfits and hair can be, especially regarding color. Targaryens are famous for their platinum hair, Lannisters for warmer, sandy blonde hair, while Baratheons have striking jet-black hair. Apart from reflecting cultural details, the wardrobe was full of subtle hints about the characters themselves.
The new series follows suit. It treats viewers to many rich, hand-made costumes, unique jewelry, and lavish hairstyles that convey character development, status, and allegiance.
Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock / Emma D’Arcy)
Rhaneyra’s changes in style are reminiscent of Daenerys Targaryen’s development in GoT. In line with her husband’s Dothraki tradition, Daenerys’s hair would get increasingly elaborate with each new victory. Dothraki warriors famously wear their hair in long braids that represent their triumphs.
As a young girl, Princess Rhaenyra wears simple dresses of light, gentle colors and keeps her long hair relatively loose. It shows her youthfulness and inexperience in political matters but also her tenacity and adventurous spirit.
Early in the HoD series, Rhaenyra’s dramatic confrontation with her uncle Daemon is one of the best moments. Despite the danger and her father’s orders, the princess rides her dragon Syrax to Dragonstone, preventing bloodshed. She is confident, decisive, and fearless. Those traits are reflected in her hair, which she wears semi-loose with a single braid on top.
Loose hair has historically been connected to freedom. In time, Rhaenyra grows less impulsive and more vigilant but, even in adulthood, retains the custom of loose and semi-loose hairstyles.
Rhaenyra appears more reserved, composed, and dignified when performing royal duties. For instance, on solemn occasions, such as her investiture or the wedding banquet, the princess has her hair constrained in striking braided updos. Rhaneyra’s outfits and accessories complete her courtly style, with a proud display of Targaryen colors and her noble status.
Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best)
The ‘Queen Who Never Was’ certainly looks queenly and distinguished at all times, from her hair to elegant dresses. She understands Rhaenyra’s unfortunate position, herself being passed over for the throne due to gender. Rhaenys wears her hair extravagantly high, evoking the image of Marie Antoinette’s iconic pouf hairstyle. The hair looks almost like a crown. The princess’s stylistic choice might be a form of silent protest and a statement of her right to the throne. When she converses with Rhaenyra about matters of succession, Rhaenys holds a speech about the ‘order of things,’ but not without a dose of bitterness.
Small braids in her hair seem closer to her husband’s dreads than the Targaryen style. Rhaenys is married to Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), the head of the most affluent House in Westeros.
Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey / Olivia Cooke)
Alicent has had quite a progression in the story so far. She went from being Princess Rhaenyra’s companion to her greatest rival after marrying king Viserys I. Similarly to the princess, Alicent starts out with light-colored dresses and relatively loose wavy hair. As the new queen, she adheres to her husband’s noble House by wearing Targaryen colors. However, Alicent soon becomes disgruntled with Targaryens, Rhaenyra in particular. Feeling cheated by her former friend and worried about her children’s futures in light of possible succession troubles, the queen grows resolute and wary of the royal family. Her character development is reflected in the frequent strict updos she starts wearing, the most notable occasion being Princess Rhaenyra’s wedding party, and not just because of the hair. Alicent arrives at the wedding in a green dress, which is the color that signifies war for House Hightower, effectively calling her banners to action.
The season is still underway, so we can look forward to seeing more fascinating costumes and hairstyles. At the height of GoT popularity, the platinum Targaryen color is once again a pretty big hair trend, but experts warn against bleaching your hair white at home.
In recent developments, tensions between Rhaenyra and Alicent have reached a boiling point, and there is no going back to their previous friendship. The inevitable war, or Dance of the Dragons, seems imminent.
(Image soruces: © Instagram).