When we last left King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister had just beaten Daenerys Targaryen to the punch in terms of moving things forward for gender equality. After six seasons of us assuming that the Dragon Queen would be the first woman crowned Queen of the Andals, Protector of the Realm, etc, Cersei jumped the line, blew up several city blocks and crowned herself instead.
To do it, she donned some striking outfits. The years of gowns based on house colors—Baratheon in Season 1, and then Lannister for the next five—were gone. In their place were two black gowns, long and severe with high necklines.
Cersei Lannister has gone goth in a way that should scare the grandparents. Leaked images of Lena Headey from the Season 7 set confirm that she’ll continue to wear this kind of look, and that it will keep evolving. She’s even extending it to her soldiers. Let’s take a closer look, starting with Cersei herself:
The hair jumps out first. For those thinking that serious time has passed, it seems like the answer to that is no. Instead, Cersei has gone from the trendy pixie cut to the 1960s Mop Top made famous by the Beatles. She’s growing it out, but the growing is slow. Alternatively, she could have decided to keep that hairstyle. In a world where long hair equals femininity, it could send a deliberate signal that she’s not playing by the ordinary rules.
One final option: her hair could grow out over the course of the season. The director on the ground for this shoot was Jeremy Podeswa, who’s directing both the premiere and the finale. If this scene is from the premiere, Cersei’s hair still has time to change.
Then there’s that neckpiece. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a character wear something like that. Dany used to sport those sorts of filigree armor designs back in Season 2.
Image via HBO
When Dany was wearing those in Season 2, it was a sign of her vulnerability and her fear of not being taken seriously by the people of Qarth. She felt the need to wear armor that protected her as well as made her look rich. Are we seeing the same emotional issues here from Cersei? Or is it merely a coincidence? Keep in mind that Cersei, ever trying to assert herself as equal to her male counterparts, has often incorporated some kind of rigid, armor-like piece into her outfit. (Cersei to Robert in Season 1’s “A Golden Crown”: “I should wear the armor, and you the gown.”) Here, in Season 5’s “High Sparrow,” it’s around her waist:
Here’s a full body shot of her Season 7 outfit:
The armor has migrated from her waist to her neck. But other than the neckpiece, this is largely the same style we’ve been seeing Cersei sport for years, but instead of red with gold accents, it’s black brocade with black accents. The all-black look renders the lines of the gowns more severe, but in the end, it’s still the same Cersei look.
Which brings us to her minions. This was the most striking extra we saw in the photos because this outfit is so clearly based on Cersei’s coronation gown, and because the symbol on his chest—obscured as it is—is definitely not the Lannister lion.
Same epaulettes on the shoulders. The skirt of his uniform matches the leather gown-over-gold woven fabric of this look. The question is: is he part of the new Queensguard? If so, that’s a complete reversal of the original white-and-gold Kingsguard look, traded out for black and silver. It’s as if Cersei decided that the white cloaks were too Targaryen in design for her liking, or maybe Tommen’s choice to affiliate them with the Faith was too much for her and had to be erased completely.
Then there’s the symbol in the center of his chest, which looks a bit like a sunburst, or a crown. Has Cersei made her own sigil, or appointed herself head of the church?
Because we should note: Jamie certainly isn’t dressed like this.
He’s still dressed in Lannister armor! He’s still sporting the red and gold. Is this a visual cue of how far apart from each other the twins are now? Does this mean that Cersei’s Queensguard are on her side, and not the side of her brother? Do those scores of Lannister soldiers we’ve seen marching about the countryside follow him and not her?
What it does suggest is that, after years of being so proud of her Lannister heritage, Cersei seems to have given that all up. The house colors are gone. The symbol in the center of her guard’s chest has changed. She has her own separate cadre of soldiers now. Hail Queen Cersei, First of her Name, of No House to Speak Of?