The Iron Throne That George R.R. Martin Envisioned For ‘Game Of Thrones’ Is Terrifying

Senior Pop Culture Editor
07.09.13 53 Comments

iron throne hbo

On a show full of iconic props — the dragon eggs, the golden crown, the hand that was once attached to the Kingslayer, the arrows that struck Jon Snow in the back (hahaha), the loaf of bread in the shape of a direwolf — the most instantly recognizable sight on HBO’s Game of Thrones is that of the Iron Throne, which overlooks the aptly-titled Throne Room in the Red Keep, sticking out like a rotting, black tooth. It’s terrifying, in a boil-popping kind of way, but it could have been MORE terrifying if George R.R. Martin had his way.

The HBO throne has become iconic. And well it might. It’s a terrific design, and it has served the show very well…Everyone knows it. I love it. I have all those replicas right here, sitting on my shelves. 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. The Book Version of the Iron Throne would not even fit through the doors of the Paint Hall. (Via)

So what does it look like? Put on your diapers now.

iron throne martin

That’s the Iron Throne as painted by the amazing Marc Simonetti (and if you haven’t gotten his 2013 Ice & Fire calendar, better hurry, the year’s half over) for the upcoming concordance, THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. It’s a rough, not a final version, so what you see in the book will be more polished. But Marc has come closer here to capturing the Iron Throne as I picture it than any other artist to tackle it. From now on, THIS will be the reference I give to every other artist tackling a throne room scene. 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.

Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair.

That is the most intense Jenga tower I’ve ever seen.


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