The secret symbolism of Cersei’s gown in the GoT finale explained

Every detail of that dramatic outfit had some serious meaning behind it, reveals costume designer Michele Clapton

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Game of Thrones’ season six finale was an epic episode, full of deaths and dramatic turns of fortune. One character who had an especially intense episode was Cersei Lannister, who lost her last surviving child, killed all of her enemies in one fire-y swoop and ascended to the Iron Throne. 

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To mark her action-packed instalment, Emmy-winning costume designer Michele Clapton designed her a suitably badass costume: “a coronation gown made from lightweight Italian-cut leather and silver and black textured brocade.”

“When they requested me, I couldn’t say no,” Clapton told Vanity Fair. “There was to be a very short turnaround on this – four to five weeks – and I had to try to pull my team together to make it happen. Luckily, when I received the script I was immediately sure how this dress should look and Cersei’s direction. As soon I shared my sketches with [executive producers] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], they loved it, as did Lena [Headey]. We were all of the same mindset.”

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The epic gown was a dramatic move away from some of Cersei’s earlier outfits (see below) – and all those clever design elements had a meaning behind them, reveals Clapton.

“I knew it had to be leather and I knew it had to be linked to [Cersei’s father] Tywin,” Clapton said of the design. “I wanted a distinct, strong silhouette, so I squared her shoulders. I also wanted the dress to skim her ankles, so that you could see her feet – again, strength.”

“The silver shoulders are decorated in a similar manner to Jaime’s gold hand—the one person that she still has something with.”

“Black was the obvious choice,” Clapton added. “Yes, it is for mourning her children, her father . . . but it’s more than that. To me, it represents a deadness inside her – the overwhelming desire for power at any cost. The multi-layered effect created by mounting the leather onto silver brocade gives a more complex feeling, implying that nothing achieved is ever simple.”

Clapton also designed Cersei’s royal crown: “It is again the Lannister lion sigil in silver but we wanted it to be abstracted further. It took more time to develop – its mane now represents the iron throne.”

“Cersei has made it her own. She is reborn,” she says. 

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Game of Thrones will return for a seventh season in 2017