If you read the books and watch the show you might have two very different images in your head of how you perceive the Iron Throne. In case you didn’t know, the Iron Throne is the enormous pedestal the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros sits upon when he reigns over the land and its people inside the world of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the HBO series Game of Thrones. Martin addressed this matter this week in an explanatory blog post I will extrapolate here. In essence, Martin says it would not be possible to replicate his imagination’s version of the Throne. In his words:
The HBO throne has become iconic. And well it might. It’s a terrific design, and it has served the show very well. There are replicas and paperweights of it in three different sizes. Everyone knows it. I love it. I have all those replicas right here, sitting on my shelves. And yet, and yet… it’s still not right. It’s not the Iron Throne I see when I’m working on THE WINDS OF WINTER. It’s not the Iron Throne I want my readers to see. The way the throne is described in the books… HUGE, hulking, black and twisted, with the steep iron stairs in front, the high seat from which the king looks DOWN on everyone in the court… my throne is a hunched beast looming over the throne room, ugly and assymetric… The HBO throne is none of those things. It’s big, yes, but not nearly as big as the one described in the novels. And for good reason. We have a huge throne room set in Belfast, but not nearly huge enough to hold the Iron Throne as I painted it. For that we’d need something much bigger, more like the interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey, and no set has that much room.
With the Iron Throne the process has been particularly frustrating. A dozen different artists have done versions of the Iron Throne over the years. Some have been very striking, some less so, but none of them have ever been quite RIGHT. Their versions never quite matched what I saw in my mind’s eye.
Until now. Artist Marc Simonetti “has come closer here to capturing the Iron Throne as I picture it than any other artist to tackle it,” admits Martin. “This Iron Throne is massive. Ugly. Assymetric. It’s a throne made by blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes… a symbol of conquest… it has the steps I describe, and the height. From on top, the king dominates the throne room. And there are thousands of swords in it, not just a few. This Iron Throne is scary. And not at all a comfortable seat, just as Aegon intended.”
Above, behold the real Iron Throne, or as close as we may ever see one. A more polished version of this work of art will be featured in Martin’s series companion book The World of Ice and Fire coming next year.