“Game of Thrones” Season 5 won’t arrive until the spring of 2015, but fans are still champing at the bit for any clues as to what they can expect from HBO’s hit fantasy drama. However, the sad truth is, while these spoiler details are scarce, there’s no guarantee that fans will like what they find.
This was the case with a recently leaked photograph that appears to show the first look at Prince Oberyn’s bastard daughters, known throughout Westeros as the Sand Snakes. The image shows one of the armored women practicing with a whip behind the scenes. As noted by Vulture, one of the most surprising things about this costume is, brace yourselves, the nipples on the breastplate.
It seems the U.S. still isn’t ready to see armor with nipples on it, despite Joel Schumacher giving it a try in 1997 with George Clooney’s costume in “Batman and Robin.” Vulture pointed out that in 1998 “A Clash of Kings” by George R.R. Martin came out featuring the first instance of the phrase: “As useless as nipples on a breastplate.” The quip is reportedly used several times throughout the rest of the books. While it’s impossible to know whether the phrase was the author’s subtle dig at the horrendous “Batman” movie, one thing is clear -- Martin is not in support of nipples on a breastplate.
Why then do these fierce female warriors sport the strange armor design? According to “Game of Thrones” costume designer Michele Clapton, the answer is simple: It was an accident.
New York Magazine asked her about the leaked photo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she was speaking at an arms-and-armor exhibit. She claimed the nipples were a result of a structured mold used to craft the breastplate.
“They sand it off to an extent, but they didn’t do it as much as I wanted them to,” Clapton said. The effect went unnoticed until it was too late and filming had to be done. Although she admitted the sin of nipples on a breastplate was a “bad move,” she said there’s a lot more to look at with the daughters of Dorne. For example, the many ways their armor mirrors their late father’s.
Still, it is a glaring error for book readers to have to see the very thing they’ve been taught to despise throughout Martin’s stories. After all, the costumes of “Game of Thrones” are both elaborate and designed with purpose. In a recent profile of Clapton done by HBO, Julie Burstein, host of a conversation series at the Met, said: “The story is being told on so many different levels; not just what they say, but what they wear and give to each other.” The piece also contains the story behind how some of the most popular families in the show dress, such as the Greyjoys, Baratheons, Lannisters and Starks.