Monday, July 14, 2014

Cosplay: Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen
All photos in this post by Aperture Ashley!

Daenerys Targaryen 

I'm so excited to share this costume with you. It's one of the only costumes I have where I've made almost all the pieces (rather than modifying or assembling) and I'm very proud of how it turned out! Also, Aperture Ashley is an amazing photographer and her magic always makes me look fantastic.

Dany was my favorite lady from Game of Thrones (then Margaery took the lead, and now I love Sansa, too). I loved her most in season one, where her character arc takes her from a young girl who doesn't have control of her life to a true leader.

I especially love the scene in season 1, episode 6 ("A Crown for a King") where she eats a horse heart because, to me, that episode best embodies her character arc. She's a true khaleesi and her people love her. She is starting to take control of her destiny. I also chose this version because fake blood is awesome, and I think a vegan doing a costume with a bloody fake horse heart is kind of funny.

Daenerys Targaryen



  • Wig: Matilda from Arda Wigs in Titanium Blonde, styled
  • Necklace: Model Magic, aluminum foil, paint
  • Top: Handmade with a burlap-like material, dye, paint
  • Penannular Pin: Ebay
  • Armband: Handmade
  • Overskirt: Handmade with suedecloth, weathered with paint
  • Belts: Craft foam, hot glue, paint
  • Jeggings: Ebay
  • Boots: Ebay
  • Prop heart: Amazon
  • Fake blood: Amazon
Daenerys Targaryen

The Process

One of the strangest parts about making this costume is that every time I re-watched the scene, I noticed something different about Dany's outfit. At first, it seems like Dany wears the same outfit over and over again during the first and second season. In reality, she wears a similar-looking outfit with lots of different details - pieces are added or subtracted, stitching is added, her hairstyle changes. Then I began noticing how many accessories she wears in this scene - a necklace, a ring, and an armband. Suddenly this simple costume looked a little more complex!

Daenerys Targaryen

I started with the top, since I knew that would be the most challenging piece. I found a burlap-looking fabric that had the texture I wanted, but was far too light. After attempting to dye it three times to no avail, I finally decided to smudge brown fabric paint on it to get it to the right color. I think that actually turned out better than dying the fabric because it looks more rustic and worn. (Did you know that Game of Thrones hand-weaves a lot of their fabric? Intense!) 

I braided the halter top from strips of the same fabric, sewed the pieces together, and added a few darts to get it to fit right. The back is laced up. I modified the top a little bit to be longer in the front - sometimes Dany shows her stomach, and sometimes she doesn't, so I went with the slightly more modest version.

Daenerys Targaryen

The overskirt was significantly easier - I simply cut out the pieces from the suedecloth I bought, then sewed it all together. The two flaps and the white top are all one piece and velcro keeps it together. I made the belts out of tiny pieces of craft foam, hot glue, and paint, held together by faux leather string and hot glue. My favorite part was weathering the overskirt with diluted acrylic paint in spray bottles. It took layers and layers to get it caked on properly so it looked realistic.

The necklace and armband were fun to make. The necklace had an aluminum foil base, which I attached the chain to. Then, I put Model Magic on top, sanded it down, and added gold and black paint. The armband (which I totally forgot to wear in these photos, darn it!) was the same fabric as the top, some craft foam, and a feather. I chose not to make her ring since it's such a small detail and I would already be dealing with fake blood.

Daenerys Targaryen

Wig, Makeup, and Blood

Dany's wig gave me a little trouble since it was my first time working with a lace-front wig. I used spirit gum to glue it down, but getting it to stick to my head was challenging. I'm glad I wore this costume once before my photoshoot so I could get the hang of it! The braids also took a surprisingly long time to style, too. I love the final product, though.

For makeup, I tried to keep it simple and natural-looking. I bought natural-looking fake eyelashes as opposed to my usual huge, cartoony lashes, stuck to a neutral eye shadow palette, and used very little eyeliner. The real focus of Dany's makeup is her eyebrows, which Liz Locksley graciously woke up early to do for me (along with fixing the rest of my makeup). Thanks Liz! I posted a tutorial on how Liz helped me achieve Dany eyebrows.

Daenerys Targaryen

The final step was the fake blood. I did a lot of research and decided to go with gel blood, which dries non-sticky and cakes on like real blood. I applied the blood with my fingers and a makeup sponge. Once it dried a little bit, I added translucent powder on top to keep it from sticking to anything. It worked really well and had the exact effect I wanted. Fire and blood!

This costume is one of my new favorites. People love Daenerys! People called out "Khaleesi" and "Mother of Dragons" to me all day, and I had such a great time pretending to eat the horse heart in photos. I think I'll definitely be revisiting my Daenerys cosplay in the future!

Who is your favorite Game of Thrones character?

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