For the second episode of Cosplay Melee, four new contestants were chosen and given a new theme and challenge for a costume. This time it was Game of Thrones (GoT), with the initial elimination challenge being for the contestants to make a weapon piece that would fit into the GoT universe. Each one was given a scroll of paper with the weapon type they were to craft written on it.
Among the weapons found in the universe of GoT, the four chosen were a crossbow, flail, sword and shield. While a paint job can make or break any prop in cosplay, each person brought something unique to theirs, along with a back story. The sword made by Edgar was made out of actual metal, with an alligator textured material on top of it, and it folded up to resemble the jaws. Meanwhile, Ruth made a shield which she shaped a skull of a dragon on, and lit the eyes up with red LEDs and in true cosplay “make it work” spirit, used her water bottle to diffuse the light. For the crossbow, Jennifer strove to make it elf-like using a mixture of insulation foam board, worbla and scraps of fabric. Emily made a flail, which she put pieces of fake fur onto, and made links out of worbla scraps then covered with silver paint and splatters of red to represent blood. Unfortunately, the judges felt that while the sword Edgar made was impressive, it did not fit within the world of Westeros, and he was eliminated. Working with actual metal is not something that’s often seen in cosplay, as most conventions have banned live steel and other metals for props and costumes. While Edgar was unable to continue in this competition, I am sure that it is not the last we will see of him.
When it came to the full costume challenge, contestants spun a wheel with various House and family names, or groups. The challenge was to fit their weapon into the theme of what they were given from the wheel, which caused all three contestants to have to make changes to their designs. Since Emily had won the first challenge, she was given the first spin, and an option for a re-spin if she wasn’t happy with her first result. Her first spin landed Emily with the Dothraki, which did not suit the flail at all, so she chose to re-spin and landed on Wildling – which while it wasn’t perfect, allowed her to modify some of the detailing on her flail to suit the costume. She made pieces of armor for her chest, arms, legs and a large cloak fashioned to look like multiple hides and added feathers around the collar to complete the look, along with a braided wig. After weathering most of the costume using spray paint, Emily was ready to go. When Ruth spun the wheel, she landed on White Walker, which while not entirely well suited to her shield, she made modifications to her armor design to accommodate it. Finally, Jennifer was given her turn to spin, she landed on House Baratheon. Given that her weapon was a crossbow, and her character had originally been designed to be an elf, she decided to incorporate the sigil into her clothing, and donned a long, pale blond curly wig.
When it came to walking the runway and judges critique of each costume, my personal emotions were mixed about the end results for each. While I was thrilled to see Emily’s Wildling – which reminded me a lot of Sonya the female Barbarian from Diablo 3, the flail still reminded me more of what a Crusader might wield. From the colors she chose, to the distressing and even her makeup seemed to suit the look she was trying for. The judges really only critique seemed to be that they had hoped for a bit more distressing on the garment, which I agreed with as well – Wildlings tend to have dirty garments, with matted fur and even frost on the ends because of their cold climate. With Ruth’s White Walker outfit, I must confess I was disappointed. She has made some truly amazing armor in the past, but this time I felt as though this was something I had seen from her before. The scaled breastplate – which was impressive considering how much time it takes to just cut out the sheer number of scales – paint job felt a bit flat, as though there wasn’t as much shading and depth painted on as there could have been. This might have been because it was on television, and bright studio lights can wash out a lot of depth. Her pauldrons seemed a bit over-sized, which was something I had noticed she has a tendency to do with other armors, and were very plain, almost as if they were an after thought to finish the costume before time was up. While White Walkers are the undead of the Westeros universe and are found north of The Wall, their clothing (what little is left) is tinged in frost, which Ruth chose to use white spackling spray for. This would normally be a good choice, but I feel as though in regards to the ice and frost, doing a white with a hint of blue may have given a better look, adding more depth to the white. The same could have been said about her makeup, which was white on most of her face, with black defining her lower jaw and just under her cheekbones. When Jennifer came out, the detailing and integration of the House Baratheon sigil of stag antlers was beautifully done. It was delicate yet strong, and adding it to the bleeding heart she had already designed helped make it pop just that much more. Meanwhile, the long blond wig she had chosen didn’t quite seem to fit into the elven theme, and looked out of place to me, and she seemed more timid than stealthy when doing her runway walk.
In the end, the judges chose Emily as their winner, who walked away with the $10,000 prize for that episode. I believe that overall she embodied her character the best, and had the strongest transformation and costume that would have fit in best for GoT.