The wigs on HBO’s House of the Dragon have been subject to some debate ever since the premiere. The scrutiny is, in a sense, unavoidable, given that a spotlight on the Targaryen dynasty requires a properly transformed cast to platinum blonde excellence.
In the past, the primary face of the Targaryen look has been the icon herself, Daenerys Targaryen. (She set the bar high!) Now, with a larger cast to transform, the visual component has much more room for slip-ups, and small mistakes are hardly ever missed by the eyes of the GoT fandom (who can forget the Season 8 Starbucks cup?!)
Based on my own ongoing examination of the prequel’s “silver” hair attempts, here is a round-up of House of the Dragon character wigs ranked from best to worst. Please note that this list is tentative, given that we have yet to see a couple of the characters aged up and sporting new hairdos!
1. Rhaenyra Targaryen
My queen! She can do no wrong. So far, I have no complaints here. We’ve seen some Daenerys-esque braid action so far, but not to the point where it feels like they’re just copying and pasting the same style. Apart from a few updos (as pictured above), I’m a big fan of the long hairstyle for her wig, complemented by a simple braid or two. Moving forward, I’m excited to see how her wig will evolve in tandem with Rhaenyra’s character – especially when Emma D’Arcy takes over the portrayal.
2. Daemon Targaryen
Much like Rhaenyra’s case, I may be a tad biased here based on my favoring of the character. But, my soft spot for the Rogue Prince aside, I think this wig is doing wonders here. Let’s just be honest, everyone; Daemon Targaryen is HOT! I know that in the upcoming episodes, he’ll be sporting a shorter hairstyle than what we’ve seen, which is all welcome to me. Just like what I said with Rhaenyra, Daemon can do no wrong in my book. He’s unhinged, and I love him.
3. Corlys Velaryon
I know that this wig was getting a lot of social media critique, but I honestly really love it. Contrary to popular opinion, I think the wig works well, and Steve Touissant looks absolutely magnificent in this role. In general, it seems like the Velaryon family wigs are the hotbed of fan debate on social media (we’ll get to that), but I will not stand for any more unjust Corlys Velaryon insults. The Velaryon house is markedly powerful and rich, and Lord Corlys looks nothing but regal and an absolute badass. I’m here for it!
4. Rhaenys Targaryen
Succeeding Lord Corlys in this list is his wife, Rhaenys. Even though this wig is, indeed, a bit over-the-top, I do think it works for the character. “The Queen Who Never Was” has to hold her head (and hair) up high after being spurned her chance at the Iron Throne. We haven’t seen that much of Rhaenys in the first three episodes, but I’m hoping she becomes a more frequent sight on the screen because she’s an icon.
5. Viserys Targaryen
UGH! Let me preface this one by saying how absolutely positively annoying Viserys is. I think his wig matches his character in that it is one resounding meh. He’s a pretty mediocre king, and the cherry on top of my growing dislike for him is his creepy marriage to Alicent Hightower. Anyways, though the wig is passable when he’s wearing the crown, the more I see of him without the headpiece, the weirder it looks to me. I think that they’re trying to show age by having the wig be thinner in the front, but the bottom line is he just can’t pull off the long Targaryen locks like his brother Daemon.
6. Leanor Velaryon
Admittedly, I’ve been very back and forth on Leanor’s look. The first glimpse of him at the tourney was underwhelming, but now that we’re seeing the older version of him, the look is starting to grow on me. Like his father, Corlys, the wig is definitely more on the big and bold side, but I’m generally a fan. It’s not as seamless as some of the other character’s hairdos, but, once again, I won’t stand for unjust House Velaryon slander!
7. Aemma Arryn
Poor, poor Aemma. I’m forever going to be annoyed at Viserys for what he did to her. Tragic end aside, I have to admit that I’m really not a big fan of this particular wig. Maybe the more I over-analyze it, the more grievances I come up with, but my general complaint is that it looks really stringy and fake. It reminds me a lot of those party wigs you buy for Halloween. I can literally feel the texture of it just by thinking about it. I mean, maybe since her character was just super strung out, the wig was supposed to be passably disheveled? Oh well, I digress.
8. Leana Velaryon
Okay, this is a big yikes for sure (as the internet swiftly took issue). The primary complaint for me is the sheer size of the wig. Since this is made for a child version of the character, I think that the department needed to scale back a bit. From first glance, it looks noticeably faux in appearance – especially when viewed from the side. It just swallows poor young Laena up! That said, I’m hopeful for a better Laena wig when we see her later on as a teenager (played by Savannah Steyn) and then as an adult (played by Nanna Blondell).
For more discussion on costume design in fantasy franchises, check out this recent article featuring commentary from wig maker and hairstylist Nolan Yost.