Game of Thrones has been an interesting fandom in the past few years. After the critical reception of the last season, many have deemed the franchise forever tainted. Regardless, we cannot deny that the previous seasons have been that of a masterpiece, with Game of Thrones being an award-winning show and the massive media hype that came with it.
While many will continue to argue the questionable decisions made in the last season, we cannot deny that the costumes of the show are still some of the most exquisite in show-making history. Costume designers Michele Clapton and Gina McIntyre incorporated many elements into each main characters' costumes, such as their journey through the show, their personality, and character arcs.
Both Clapton and McIntyre interviewed with Insider Magazine back in 2019 to discuss Sansa Stark's coronation gown in the final episode, which features a plethora of symbolism for the character. In the interview, Clapton mentions how they wanted to incorporate Elizabethan influences as well as elements from Sansa's life throughout the show.
With such an immaculate piece, it's no wonder why the costume has been on display in various costume galleries so viewers can admire the amount of work and love that went into it. Cosplayer Beth Malcolm (known also as Amazonian Cosplay) has taken the liberty to recreate Sansa's coronation gown in an almost-identical replica. We sat down with Malcolm to discuss her journey through building this cosplay, and we can certainly say that it is going to be a masterpiece.
Cosplay Central: What made you want to make this particular cosplay?
Beth Malcom: The second the episode aired, it got added to the list. The show costume designer Michele Clapton said it was a love letter from the entire costume and prop department to the work they had completed over the last 10 years. And it's the same for me really - I started cosplaying 10 years ago and over that time I've made Game of Thrones cosplays at each step in my crafting level, so now this is essentially my 'magnum opus', and my own love letter to the skill development I've had in this hobby over the last decade.
CC: What did you first start on and how long ago?
BM: I started making this in summer of 2019! I had a play around with making a very crude version of one of the Weirwood leaves embroidery with whatever supplies I had to hand. Then in March 2020 I jumped properly into the project.
CC: What has been your favorite piece to make so far?
BM: By far it has to be the giant embroidered sleeve. That one costume segment alone represents almost 2 years of work, with over 500 hours of hand embroidery and beading and goldwork etc alone.
CC: On the topic of embroidery, how many leaves have you made for the outfit??
BM: I made 40 hand embroidered, super embellished leaves (two I didn't like and didn't use in the final garment however) and then there are 36 machine embroidered leaves along the bottom.
CC: How many hours have you put into this cosplay so far?
BM: I stopped counting after my third watch through of all of Game of Thrones.
CC: I saw that you just finished the ceremonial breastplate she wears. Can you guide the readers through the steps you took to recreate it?
BM: Absolutely! So I'm immensely lucky to have access to a professional blacksmithing workshop as it's a family member's business. Over the years he's indulged multiple of my silly cosplay projects and provided endless instruction - I absolutely could not do this without him!
The breastplate began, as many cosplay armour patterns do, as duct tape and cling film on a mannequin. I then scanned these pattern pieces into my laptop, and digitally designed SVGs of the pieces on Inkscape. These were then sent off for laser cutting from 1.5mm steel sheet metal.
Once I had the pieces, I annealed the pieces (heating and then cooling slowly to loosen the steel's bonds and make it more pliable) so I could add the embossed line detail. I used a pneumatic chisel to add the lines, and then deepened and refined the lines with a good old fashioned hammer and anvil. Then the pieces were trimmed, hammered into shape and fitted to my body, and MIG welded together. All 34 pieces.
Finally, any sharp edges or dodgy welding were ground away, and the breastplate was then heated to blacken it. I hand buffed in some shine to the high points! So yknow, super simple work.... Surprisingly not too heavy to wear however!
CC: What has been the response so far around this build on social media?
BM: The response has been incredible, every step of the way! It's been so wonderful to see people become invested in this project alongside myself - makes me feel a little less mad for tackling it, and definitely is encouraging when I'm having those imposter syndrome moments with the project. People have been sharing my work and leaving lovely comments all the way through and it's amazing!
CC: How much money have you put into this cosplay?
BM: Just under £3000. However, this is including expensive equipment I bought specifically for it like my embroidery machine, but will have other costume uses in future. A large chunk of this was also the screen accurate fabrics, which was a very silly indulgence of mine and totally not necessary! This cost was also spread across 3 years, so it's not AS bad!
CC: Finally, what do you want to tell others who are wanting to tackle a build this big?
BM: Don't? But in all seriousness this project is a MASSIVE undertaking, and money sink, and definitely isn't for the faint hearted. Be prepared to prioritise your time or your budget properly, because giant projects like this ALWAYS cost way more in money and hours than you would think. Take project breaks and work on other smaller builds so you don't burn out, and don't give yourself tight deadlines, because you'll end up taking shortcuts you don't want to (saying that from experience, as I'm currently in con crunch mode).
Oh and lastly, research research research. You don't want to make silly, avoidable mistakes that can cost you a hell of a lot of time and money.
Research the source costume, how others have made it, and similar techniques being used throughout costuming history - don't start actually crafting till you're confident you can do it!
We cannot wait to see the completed cosplay when Amazonian Cosplay is ready to debut it.