By James Hibberd
Updated December 18, 2014 at 03:16 PM EST

It’s extreme makeover, Westeros edition: Game of Thrones fan favorite Arya Stark is undergoing a dramatic appearance change for season five (exclusive full image below). The vengeful teen survivor gets her first major costume upgrade since the show’s first season, finally ditching those raggedy brown threads in exchange for a lighter, more feminine dress.

“I love Arya’s new look,” actress Maisie Williams told EW. “It’s very neutral, very plain, but clean! I have clean hair that actually moves.”

The transformation helps Arya stay anonymous while roaming the streets in her new home across the sea in the free city of Braavos.

Costumer designer Michele Clapton, who has subtly elongated and elaborated on Arya’s original costume over the years, says her goal with the new outfit was to reflect Arya’s location change and finally show Arya as a young woman rather than as a girl in disguise. “For so long she had to look like a boy,” she says. “Even when [the disguise] was no longer necessary, it made no sense to change it [because] she was on the road.”

Yet the makeover was so dramatic, it even fooled crew members who have worked with her for years. “I had my hair braided up to these big buns and bits of jewelry and a jumper thing with a long skirt, and I came onto the set and nobody recognized me,” she says. Getting rid of the clothing that Arya has worn through so much family tragedy over the years will even be a plot point in the show. “That was such a release—it was like no acting required,” she says of the scene. “This feels totally like a next chapter.”

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

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Episode Recaps


Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
stream service