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What to Wear in Westeros: Dressing and Undressing in the Seven Kingdoms

The women of Westeros do a lot of self-fashioning through fashion. As in all regimes which deny civic and personal agency to women, costumery and textiles offer an indirect expressive register unavailable elsewhere, a textural iconography of self. But they are also boundaries, limits: ways in which a world controls and curtails female bodies and identities. We viewers learn a lot about the women represented on the show—about their hopes, desires, ambitions, deceptions, interior worlds—through the clothes that they choose (and a lot about their position in that world through the clothes they can choose). We’ve seen Queen Cersei don a gold corset-breastplate over her signature red dress as she awaits the invasion of King’s Landing, a sartorial expression of her desire to be standing on the battlements herself with a longsword. We’ve seen Sansa ditch her simple, homely half-pony for the elaborate hairstyles of the south in misguided emulation of the Queen Regent, a restrictive styling she has only recently been free of after fleeing King’s Landing. We’ve seen Margaery signal both her sexual liberalism and her sexual manipulation through plunging necklines and exposed midriff. READ MORE

"You Win, Or You Die": On the Women of Game of Thrones

Cersei Lannister is a dangerous woman. She is the wicked queen of HBO’s super series Game of Thrones, the would-be power behind the Iron Throne. She is bold, ambitious, and ruthless, and she operates at the heart of power, yet she is locked out by her gender. Cersei seeks to control the driving political narrative of the show, masterminding the death of her husband (the King) and installing her son as ruler in his place with the hope of commanding things herself from the sidelines. But it’s not as easy as all that. If you’re a woman. READ MORE