When the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild announced a Game of Thrones event at the glorious Castello di Amarosa winery in Calistoga, February 2015, I really wanted to go. For a while, it seemed like finances would conspire against me, but I had a little help from my friends, and the plan came together. But what to wear?
The debate is always recognizable media recreation character or make up your own character “within the world” of the media. I often go for the later unless I have a super-strong connection to one character (like Arwen in the Lord of the Rings) — I find it hard to work within the strictures of the recreation. Besides, it’s so rare that you look enough like a character to pull it off. But then … sometimes … well, I really love a good joke. I mean, really. Like, more than anything, I love to laugh and I will jump at the chance to make others laugh. Doing Absolutely Fabulous last year as Eddie was one of my top five experiences in costume ever, precisely because it was SO FUNNY. I laughed at myself and other people laughed. That’s also why I love drag, it’s campy, mixing pretty with funny.
When I thought about Game of Thrones, I first considered the obvious character of Melisandre, the witchy goth lady. Sure, you’d expect that of me. But who’s the real heart of the show? Who’s the one with the best lines in every episode? Who do you never want to get killed off? THE IMP. That’s right, Tyrion Lannister. The dwarf, the half-man, the demon-monkey. The acerbic little drunkard who can play the game of thrones better than anyone but will never see a crown on his head. Oh yes. And being 5’2″ with an unfortunately mannish hairstyle right now (thanks, cancer), I was well on my way to resembling Tyrion whether I liked it or not.
Designing and making the outfit turned out to be pretty easy. I chose a black and burgundy doublet that Tyrion wears a few times in almost every season of the show. Because I was on a very tight budget, I used only materials from my stash, so they weren’t strictly screen-accurate, just close enough. I had a black brocade for the main material (on screen, it appears to be a laser-cut leather over burgundy) and burgundy wool for the sleeves and piping. He’s wearing a red, high-collared shirt under the doublet, but I skipped this. He’s also wearing plain black pants tucked into black leather boots with straps. Since I had some boots already, I went to the thrift store and found some pants to use with the costume.
The main thing I made was the doublet. I started with the men’s 16th-century doublet pattern in The Tudor Tailor, modifying it to be a little longer and slightly exaggerated in size. I wanted to create some illusion of lengthening my torso, so I dropped the waist to my hip line, and started the double layer of skirting there. The construction was pretty straightforward, although, once again, I hate piping. Necessary evil. The last bit on the doublet was the clasps, which I was amused to realize, upon inspection of high-res images, are identical to the $2.50 ones you can find at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Heh, that’s the one perfectly screen-accurate part of this outfit.
I bought a repro Hand of the King pin off eBay to show that I’m season 2 Tyrion (and also so I didn’t have to apply scar makeup; we had to leave at 8am for the event, and no way did I want to deal with that!). I didn’t have time/money to get a belt, so I borrowed one from Francis (via Sarah, shhh, don’t tell). And I wore a few chunky renaissance-style rings, since Tyrion does have a little bling. The hair, well yes, it should be blonder, but part of the appeal here was to use my own hair, which is black but appropriately short. I did have to straighten it a lot as the chemo-curls are pretty wild (this didn’t hold for the nearly three-hour morning drive).
Overall, I think the costume worked out well enough as a reproduction. It was fun to wear, and I enjoyed acting the part of Tyrion Lannister. I may wear it again at Costume College since there will be some friends in Game of Thrones character outfits then.