By Diana Garrido
Let’s take a look at this scene from season 3. This is perhaps one of Daenerys’ most empowering moments in the series. She looks powerful, assertive, and determined to get what she wants by trying to save the world.
Not only that, her style and outfits are key in telling this same narrative and make her look as the Khaleesi and Queen she was destined to become. The relationship between her looks and her persona are, of course, deliberate, and each of them is thought out thoroughly to tell her story. Like her long and difficult journey, her hair has become more intricate and sophisticated to show the evolution of her character. From the pretty sister of a “King” sold to to make an alliance, to mother of dragons, breaker of chains, and the true Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, her whole story is delicately braided in her hair.
When our Queen first appeared, she was wearing loose, messy silver waves that looked simply angelic. However, as she becomes Khaleesi, her hair starts to evolve with her. There’s one particular scene when her brother Viserys gets violent with her, claiming she won’t turn him into one of the Dothraki and that he won’t start braiding his hair like them. Daenerys calmly tells him he can’t be like them and braid his hair because he hasn’t won (or even been in) a battle.
From this moment on, Daenerys becomes a true Khaleesi of the Dothraki, a persona she’ll keep for the rest of the series, including the importance they give to hair. If you remember well, hair represents a Dothraki’s achievements (the length, for instance, represents their status as warriors) to the point that the worst humiliation is losing a battle and having their hair cut off.
In the second season, we get the “unburnt” Khaleesi rocking two braids that represent not only her taking over her brother’s claim to the throne, but also her power over the Dothraki. She’s no longer someone’s sister or wife, she’s an empowered woman capable of doing anything.
As the seasons moved along, Daenerys’ hair kept growing, and she added more silver braids to her style. In season 3, she’s traveled to Slaver’s Bay, precisely, to the great city of Astapor. She has won her own battle by now and for that reason she has the right to add more braids to her complex style. Not only that, she’s determined to let everyone know who she is and how she gets what she wants, even an entire army for free.
This is the moment of the series when her hair looks more like an art piece than anyone’s regular hair. Everywhere she goes, people know of her achievements, and just as her titles keep growing, so does the complexity of her hair. She now has a huge army, and she’s conquered Meereen and made it the capital of her kingdom. Her children, as she calls them, are bigger than she expected, which positions her as probably the most powerful person in all the seven kingdoms.
By season 5, things start to get a bit more complicated for the Queen of Meereen. The Sons of the Harpy (a group paid by the old Masters to kill Daenerys’ Unsullied army and dethrone it) have started her coup, and though she has doubts about what she’s doing, she keeps her image intact to give a message to her people and those who think they can defeat her.
In this season, Dany goes back (kind of) to where she started. She’s back with a Dothraki tribe who has captured her. We see her vulnerable once again, and for that reason her hair is loose, with no braid at all. She’s able to keep her hair long since she wasn’t precisely defeated, but her braids are gone, which show her weakness, though not for a really long time.
Once recovered from the small lapsus that actually gave her a bigger army by adding the Dothraki, she’s ready to finally take Westeros by storm. Her image looks as impeccable as before, and her hair even more intricate to show everybody in the Seven Kingdoms who’s the true heir to the throne. We can see that her hairstyle includes several braids that show her victories, and they’re also thicker and secured to her head, showing the world she’s truly someone hard to defeat.
Season 8 shows her a bit vulnerable: she’s lost two of her dragons and two of her closest advisors and allies (coincidence?). So far, her hair was as big and intricate as we had seen it, but in the second-to-last episode, we get a glimpse of how though, she’s kept her braids, they’re all messy and down, a symbol of her own morale and position in the Game of Thrones.
Knowing this gives the character more depth and allows us to understand why the Mother of Dragons is so keen to keep her style and image impeccable and unique. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the last episode, but we can say for sure, that it will all be represented in her own hairstyle and looks.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards