Jon Snow’s Cape on Game of Thrones is a Sheepskin Rug!
If your plans for Halloween this year include dressing up like a certain former member of the Night’s Watch and current King in the North/true heir to the Iron Throne, you’re in luck, because as it turns out, the furry cape Jon Snow wears throughout the Game of Thrones series is none other than a sheepskin rug. That’s right folks, the men who patrol that 700-foot ice wall in the freezing North are keeping themselves warm under the thick pile of cozy sheepskin rugs, an unexpected yet economical solution to the issue of convincingly dressing so many characters in furry black cloaks consistent with the fantasy elements and implied time period of the show.
During a speaking engagement about Medieval dress at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles last year, GOT costume designer Michele Clapton revealed that the furs donned by many characters in the series, particularly those poor, freezing members of the Night’s Watch, started out as everyday sheepskin rugs, just like the ones currently scattered about your home. “We cut and we shaved them and added strong leather straps, and then breakdown, which is like a religion on Games of Thrones,” said Clapton, who worked on the first five seasons of the series. “I want the audience to almost smell the costumes. Here they were waxed and frosted so they belonged to the landscape.”
The “breakdown” Clapton referred to during her lecture, which is just receiving attention on social media this week, is the process of making a new material look old and worn, achieved by distressing or even destroying the fabric. As for how the costume designers dyed the shearling rugs such a convincing shade of black for those outcast crows of the Night’s Watch, Clapton said, “We loved the idea of a huge cauldron in the Castle Black courtyard with donated clothes being tossed in. And as the dye runs thin before more pigment is added, it will naturally create a variation in shade.” The result is a black-as-night fur cloak that looks like an authentic pelt someone from Winterfell would wear.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you know that winter is most certainly coming, and fast. Fortunately, now that we all know how to make a GOT-worthy fur cape, you can stay even warmer than those watchers on the wall this winter!