Probably one of your favorite character on the show is Daenerys Targaryen. She’s “the last dragon” (kind of), the only living member (not really) of the centuries-old Targaryen dynasty. One of the hallmarks of the Targaryen lineage is their platinum-blonde, almost silver hair.
What you might not know is that Emilia Clarke, the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen on the show, isn’t blonde at all. Or you’re a superfan, so you’re shocked to find out some people don’t know that. But look on Twitter and you’ll see the proof.
In a recent interview with InStyle magazine, Clarke admitted, “I feel bad when I meet people and they realize I'm Khaleesi, and they get disappointed because we look nothing alike. I'm like, ‘Sorry, that ain't really me! It's a wig.’ No human is that beautiful.”
To achieve the look of those Valyrian manes (don’t ask what “Valyrian” means if you don’t already know, filthy casual), Clarke has spent seven seasons wearing elaborate wigs. It takes two hours in the makeup chair each time she puts one on. First comes the bald cap, then the endless styling.
Dany’s hair has changed over the years as she’s gone from khaleesi of the Dothraki to ruling over the city-states of Slaver’s Bay to returning home to Westeros in the most recent, seventh season. All those hair styles over all those seasons have required a lot of wigs.
“We started with one [wig], and then slowly over the period of the seven years, we’ve built [more] – they can get ruined really easily,” hair designer Kevin Alexander told Time magazine. “They’re quite sensitive to atmosphere, so if in a fire scene, there’s too much smoke or whatever, they just go gray. You just lose them.”
Understandably, Clarke herself has had mixed feelings about her wigs over the course of the show’s run. On the plus side, the wigs help Clarke get into character and the right headspace to play her role. She told the Los Angeles Times, “As the filming continues, every night the wig comes off, you’re like, ‘Aww.’ I can feel my energy going. She gives me a lot of energy.”
But wearing all that fake hair can weigh one down, literally. Especially in the often brutal physical conditions of the desert climates where Dany found herself frequently. “The challenges are namely the physical aspects of being under the baking sun in a desert in Morocco with a wig on feeling very hot,” Clarke explained.
Now it would seem the wig years have come to an end. Following the airing of the seventh season’s finale, and in advance of the final season’s filming, Clarke has taken a drastic step toward Targaryen follicular verisimilitude. Recently, she revealed a new look on Instagram.
That’s right. For the first time, Emilia Clarke has finally taken the plunge into honest blondeness. She’s bleached her hair. Whether she made the move out of frustration with wigs or just a newfound level of commitment to her part, we can’t say.
Interestingly, other actors on the show have gone in the opposite direction when it comes to their show-hair. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, dyed her hair red for years to achieve the effect of her Tully sides auburn locks. But Turner recently quit her dyeing regimen in favor of wigs.
Other actors from the show have made similar commitments to their characters’ hairstyles. Conleth Hill, for example, boasts a full head of thick, silver hair in real life. But for his role as the eunuch Lord Varys, he’s shaved his head bald every year.
So it would seem Daenerys Targaryen will sport a more natural look in the show’s last season, but what does this mean for what happens to the character? Surely the showrunners wouldn’t allow this change without it bearing some significance. But for what that is exactly, we’ll just have to wait until next year.