Who Are These Guys Again? The Fashionable Tyrells in Game of Thrones

Posted: June 5, 2016 in Game of Thrones, TV
Tags: , , , ,

This post will be talking about Game of Thrones, HBO’s excellent adaptation of the existing books in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (and now a pre-adaptation of the unpublished future books.)

I usually don’t post about Game of Thrones while the show is currently airing. I try to save all my opinions and observations for the off-season when I need to write about the show as a therapeutic exercise, but rules are made to be broken.

Broken, like chains or wheels are to Daenerys Targaryen.

MaceArmor

Mace Tyrell: Rule breaking? That’s Madness! Madness!

A few years ago, I wrote an article about the different looks of the various military factions in Game of Thrones, a sort of guideline to aid in identifying the groups of armed men that a viewer might be presented with on the show. The key is the distinctive helmets that each group uses. For the most part, that’s all that’s required to tell your Stark from a Stormlander, an Ironborn from a Bolton.

There were a few groups that I omitted in that post. The knights of the Vale just didn’t seem to have anything that jumped out at me as notable, armor-wise. And I was bummed out when we visited Renly’s camp of mixed Stormland/Reach forces in season 2. Very generic-looking men-at-arms.

TyrellSeason2

The only guys wearing helmets were Catelyn Stark’s entourage, and some baby-brother Baratheon dudes in the back with wimpy antlers on their helmets. (I’m sure Robert Baratheon had *enormous* antlers on his helmet. Because, you know.)

I was hoping for some helmets or armor (but really, helmets) that communicated an “I’m from Highgarden!!! Team Tyrell!!!” type of message. But there really wasn’t that much in evidence.

Apparently all the design work along those lines had gone into Ser Loras Tyrell’s super-flowery tournament armor from Season One.

Lorasknight

Loras is winning! If not best knight, then best dressed.

So I was delighted that in the last episode (Season 6, Episode 6, Blood of my Blood) when Mace Tyrell, the Lord of Highgarden, led a host of Tyrell troops into King’s Landing. The Tyrell accoutrements did not disappoint.

Last Year’s Fashion

But let me step back a moment. I shouldn’t overlook that we did see some Tyrell men-at-arms escorting Lady Olenna last season, when the Queen of Thorns came to try and negotiate with the High Sparrow. They kind of looked distinctive, I guess.

Game of Thrones

Lady Olenna: They all look alike to me. Foolish. With their stupid faces.

Their helmets were similar to the Baratheon Stormlander helmets, with the addition of some serious face-obscuring cheekguards.

5x10_Baratheon_Soldier

Baratheon. (Before being Bolton’d.)

So, last season, if I was going to tell someone how to distinguish a Tyrell armsman from anyone else, it would be all about how big their cheekguards were. Which doesn’t seem that thematic to the Tyrells. I mean, I guess I could say “you know that Lady Olenna? She’s so cheeky! Or something.”

But I was kind of disappointed.

Highgarden, High Fashion

This season a Tyrell army marched into the city, to the Sept of Baelor. They were not generic-looking, or near-duplicates of their neighbors from the Stormlands.

MaceArmor2

The sigil of House Tyrell is a rose (a rose which is Growing Strong) and the new helmets suggest the petals of a rose around the crown of the helm. This makes it much easier to identify a Tyrell soldier. Particularly in King’s Landing with various members of House Lannister, the city watch Goldcloaks, and members of the Kingsguard about.

TyrellGuard

On the right, a Tyrell guard. On the left, a monstrously-huge possibly undead killing machine. It’s best not to confuse those two.

Fashion? Who Cares?

Yes, yes. I know. Is it really all that important that we can visually identify different fighting men? Maybe, maybe not. Where there’s doubt, the show would probably make things clear in time (or a helpful friend would explain who those guys were that unexpectedly and treacherously killed those other guys – a common occurrence on the show.)

But I think it’s relevant that the show’s art department for this season designed a thematic look for the Highgarden troops.

JaimeAndTyrells

Ser Jaime: Where the hell is MY helmet?

CGI was no doubt employed to fill out the ranks of the Tyrell army for the longshots, but certainly many pieces of armor (and those rose-crested helmets) were manufactured for the brief showdown between Jaime and the High Sparrow. For the show’s production to justify doing that, it’s likely that we’ll see some near-future action with Tyrell fighting men. A lot of Tyrell fighting men.

There are plenty of candidates for Tyrell soldiers to either fight against or possibly alongside. There’s been a brewing Lannister-Tyrell conflict thanks to Cersei (which might even include participation from the Knights of the Vale, if Baelish decides to not invest anymore in the North.) The Dornish have become a dangerously unpredictable wildcard, and who knows how fast war-mongering Euron Greyjoy can build his fleet of ships?

Regardless of who is killing who, if the flowery chivalry of the Reach are involved, we’ll be able to identify their soldiers on sight. Finally.

(Now, if the show artisans would just give the knights of the Vale some kind of falcon-embellishment on their helmets… I’d be so happy.)


(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)

Images from HBO’s Game of Thrones (obviously.) 

I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text.

If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site.

© Patrick Sponaugle 2016 Some Rights Reserved

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Comments
  1. TC says:

    Thanks for breaking your rule and writing this article. As always I appreciate your observations and close attention to detail.

    I agree that in the battles to come (surely soon) being able to spot the differences between the soldiers is going to be very helpful in working out which alliances have been made (there are still some unknowns there as you pointed out).

    I have always wondered, in close battle, how do the soldiers know which persons to bash in and stab and which ones they should be helping? I am certain that battle situations are very confusing .. it would be easy to get into “stabby mode” and accidentally stab your own guys in your wild enthusiasm (and absolute terror). I don’t think an apology would suffice..
    “Ouch, seven hells! Why are you trying to kill me? I’m on your side!”
    “GAaahhh. Oh I’m so sorry I gut stabbed you but you looked like a Bolton”
    “whaaaattt??” *dies*

    Differences in helmet design could save lives! Make more helmets! and absolutely.. “just give the knights of the Vale some kind of falcon-embellishment on their helmets” that would be fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure actual battles, once everyone got their tabards covered in mud, were full of friendly-fire type of problems. Things were easier in Lord of the Rings.

      Aragorn: Okay, let’s go kill some orcs.
      Joe: But don’t kill me! I just happen to be ugly.
      Aragorn: this might be a problem. You do kind of look like an orc.
      Joe: can’t you all look for my inner beauty?

      Like

    • Haylee says:

      Ooh, I get to be all teacher-like and educational with this comment…! Did you know that the leek is the national emblem of Wales for this very reason? Well, so the story goes anyway – apparently St. David (the patron saint) told his soldiers who were fighting the Saxons to pop a leek on their helmets so that they wouldn’t be accidentally killed by their own men!
      (Oh and I love the reminder of Dorne Mr. S… Every time I hear them mentioned I think, ‘Oh yeah, they were a thing, once!’)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “and now a pre-adaptation of the unpublished future books.” intentional wry commentary on the predicament GRRM has gotten himself into? How will he ever keep straight in his head the little twists, MIA characters and substitutions he’s overseen in the show? He’s going to have to exercise super-genius concentration to do so. I’m hoping he bears down & gets that next book out, stat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I don’t know if I was being too clever. While I was wordsmithing the first line, it struck me that the show has to be viewed as something other than strictly an adaptation.

      It does seem like a challenge for GRRM not to be influenced by the show, but he said that started in the second season when he enjoyed Natalie Tena so much as Osha, whose role in the books he considered beefing up (although it seems like her clock is running out, if the show is any indication…)

      And I totally agree, The Winds of Winter can’t come out fast enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. chattykerry says:

    FYI, I just loved this week’s episode of GOT. Women of power unite! Sansa is showing some tremendous strength (and acting skills) and I liked the way she gruesomely finished off the evil Ramsay.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bagga2007 says:

    Thank you for a good look at some of their armour , not very often that it is brought up and when it’s on tv if you blink you miss it most of the time. I don’t know if the DVD extras have any details about them. I have the package of seasons 1-3 and have just ordered seasons 4 & 5 so maybe there might be something on them. But , as always, I like your explanation of GoT things. Look forward to your writing about things from season 6 while it is still fresh in my head, lol. My wife wants to rewatch the entire show so far soon which I am happy about as I forget so much, lmao.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your wife is pretty smart, wanting to re-watch. Thumbs up!

      I’m glad you like my discussion on the armor. The show does a good job representing the different factions with fashion.

      Like

  5. writingjems says:

    Hey, a Tyrell post! The Tyrell’s armor this season was quite impressive, whereas I wouldn’t have been able to even recall what their design was in previous seasons. I never put together that the crests on the helmets were designed like flower petals. Good eye for detail! The Tyrells are the only people who can make flowers look awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’m just glad the show put the Tyrells in some distinctive armor. It made my earlier work on Stark, Greyjoy, Lannister, Baratheon helmets (among other bits) a tad more comprehensive.

      Like

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