Books

GRRM reveals the “real” Iron Throne

HBO’s Iron Throne is a great design and has become iconic. But it’s not the Iron Throne that George R.R. Martin envisioned. That throne would look like this…

Iron Throne by Marc Simonetti

This is art by Marc Simonetti from the upcoming World of Ice and Fire concordance. And according to George it’s the most accurate depiction of the Iron Throne of his head.

Winter Is Coming: Craziness. As cool as this throne looks in this pic, I’m glad HBO went with a more understated design. Not only would this have been expensive to produce, it would have looked a bit ridiculous on screen.

118 Comments

  • What a magnificent and demented vision of the ruling class of Westeros! Perhaps this throne was befitting the Targaryens with their unchained dragons but it is hardly a throne for the subsequent rulers. A cursed throne indeed! Wow, what a vision.

  • reminds me of Daedric armor from Skyrim, especially the way he described it in his blog– “black and twisted…. ugly and asymetric” and uncomfortable to sit on (/wear)

  • Luckily for me, I always imagined something similar to the show’s throne, only with much more risk of tetanus and laceration.

  • I figured it would at least look symetrical. but i can see how all the kings cut the shit cut out of them. Robert shoulda made his ouwn throne made of boobies and wine glasses

  • I was really hoping the HBO throne would look more like this. I remember the bit about having to be careful as just climbing up and sitting down could result in a lost finger if you weren’t careful. I was also hoping that Renly would be played by someone who looked more like Victor H Webster so I got over such disappointment long ago.

  • That is basically what I saw in my head when reading the books. The one from the show sucks a donkey show. Oj well.

  • It looks bad ass. It’s hard to see how the whoever is sitting there could actually talk with a microphone and be heard by the people on the ground. Definitely impractical for T.V.

  • This is 4 day old news. Step it up WIC! how about some casting updates or filming footage?!

  • So Jaime sat on that chair because he was tired and wanted to sit down? Martin is actually just wrong about this – that Iron Throne is ridiculous.

  • I love the HBO Throne, but honestly it feels too symmetrical to me. I like how the Iron Thrne in this photo is twisted and lurcing. It ooks more organic- more alive!

    However, I think this 3 story Iron Throne is just too big. Maybe if it was somewhere between HBO’s and GRRM’s version… say 15 feet tall? A step or three up and a higher back could work nicely IMO.

    Oh well, HBO did a great job with production on the Iron Throne and I’m more than okay with what we have now.

  • With this throne:

    Jaime: “If the throne was made of cocks, even the dead Renly have never gotten off of it”

  • I prefer the show’s throne (at least for the show). For me, something like this is a lot more plausible on a page than on screen or in an image, impressive as it is.

  • I dunno, this kinda looks like a pile of firewood to me or an elaborate game of Jenga. It’s an amazing piece of art, but I don’t find this design imposing.

  • The HBO throne looks great and this version is ridiculously high, but I would love a cross between the two… just take the HBO throne and make it as twisted and assymetric as this one
    But I can see why GRRM likes it, he seems to love ridiculously high structures, just look at the wall!

  • All I can say is it’s a good thing that the English Health and Safety executive doesn’t exist in Westeros , that thing would be banned in an instant xD

  • P art of the point, I think, is that the whole system should be this obviously crazy and bad. The way that the smallfolk are abused and destroyed so casually by the lords and their soldiers, the entire excess of Robert’s reign in particular (which is one reason why he should have kept the iron throne, as he did, from this perspective).

    Of course, the whole horrors of war angle of the books has been downplayed in the TV show too. Just as the heroes are less flawed and poverty less pointed, everything about the program has been prettied up at least a little, except the torture.

    I guess that we should be grateful for the torture.

  • I find, as I often do, with all things books vs show, that:

    –For the printed page, or an artist rendering, this is bad-ass and insane.

    –For the show, it would have looked completely ridiculous, the kind of thing that would have been good for a 2-hour movie, but would have been an absolute distraction for a show meant to go on 8 seasons.

  • I love the show’s throne but I just can’t picture Aery’s cutting himself on it.

  • As stated above, I find this version a bit over-the-top, but the sweet spot would be between this and HBO’s version.

  • ACatLover,

    I would have to agree. Plus the throne is the only chair in the throne room, so unless Jaime wanted to sit on some steps which is so not cool after just killing a king, he would of had to walk up some throne step to get a decent seat.

  • Looks a little… I don’t know. Can’t decide if it’s bad ass or just ridiculous. A little bit of both, I guess. Glad they didn’t go with such a messy, impractical design in the show, though this is just another case of something that works on the page but wouldn’t necessarily translate all that well to the screen. Cool to see, nonetheless.

  • Makes sense why Ned would be so bent out of shape about Jamie sitting in it and think Robert should take note. It would be obvious that sitting on that throne was dangerous and took effort, not something done lightly. Jamie’s choice of seat was a statement.

  • I love it.
    It always bothered me that the one on tv obviously didn’t have enough swords to represent all the people that knelt.
    I understand why they went wirth a smaller one on tv but this thing looks so cool.

    It also makes more sens why Ned was pissed about Jaime sitting on it.
    You cant just sit and rest on this throne, you have to carefully climb it

  • You should have added that this version is a draft or an early stage of the planned illustration for the Wolrd of Ice & Fire, not the finished painting…

    Anyway, it looks amazing and certainly more iconic than in the television series. But, to be fair, such a huge, demented contraption would likely be impossible to produce even on an HBO budget. :)

  • John,

    Exactly, when I saw this on GRRM blog my first thought was that it kinda “destroyed” the nonchalance with which Jaime just sat there after killing the Mad King, not made his mind to climb the fucking thing for 25mn.. but meant nothing by it, Stark, don’t worry! ..

  • I wish show throne was more similar to this impressive and scary thing. It would definitely make everyone think twice about return of Targaryens being good news and at same time make it clear nobody else really belong there. It is very alien like, fitting symbol for foreign crazy conquerors.

  • John:
    So Jaime sat on that chair because he was tired and wanted to sit down?Martin is actually just wrong about this – that Iron Throne is ridiculous.

    That’s what I was thinking. A little too fantastical looking for me.

  • It ooks more organic- more alive!

    It’s more menacing and dangerous looking too. The whole imbalance of it implies that it’s unstable, just like the realm. And the height more accurately reflects the way in which the kings really believe that they are superior to everyone else.

  • I think the shows throne works perfect for that medium but the above throne is fuckin sinister and I love it and its also definitely closer to what I pictured when reading the books.

  • I really like it, except that I think it’s too tall. If the stairs were half that height, I think it’d be perfect.

    That being said, the artist (Marc Simonetti) designed the 2013 ASOIAF calendar which is REALLY, really cool. Best ASOIAF calendar out of the 3 I own.

  • ACatLover:
    John,

    Wow.Um.GRRM created the world, so he cannot be wrong.You’re ridiculous.

    Mr. Martin has a problem with scale. Might as well share this with you now. Are you sitting down? OK. Here goes. The Wall is too big. The author said so himself.

  • Wow, just wow. It looks like something seen in a sci-fi / Japanese manga graphic novel or something. Awesome as Art, but it’s too much for TV though.

  • That one looks properly monstrous.

    I always thought HBO’s throne looked a little ‘safe’ for a throne forged from swords. I think something like this could have worked for television if you halve its height (stairs and back both) or something.

  • Teresa:
    Wow, just wow. It looks like something seen in a sci-fi / Japanese manga graphic novel or something. Awesome as Art, but it’s too much for TV though.

    Exactly what i thought! :)

  • Interesting. Well it’s definitely evocative. It makes me very uncomfortable when i look at it. It looks like a very large viney mass of runaway Kudzu that is moments away from toppling over.

  • WompWomp:
    Luckily for me, I always imagined something similar to the show’s throne, only with much more risk of tetanus and laceration.

    LMAO, so did I, LOL. Methinks the above depiction is closer to the sword numbers
    related from the books, crazy cool reminds me of the throne the mad king received
    stabs from. Too bad he didn’t have that booster injection. *>*

  • This is really sweet. I have issues with the series depiction of many things like costumes, locations, props (even though I know how much hard work has gone into creating them) so I’ve just accepted that it will never live up to my imagination. The throne is one of them, and as a fan of fantasy, the more things look fantastical the better they are for me.

  • Atreyu: Mr. Martin has a problem with scale. Might as well share this with you now. Are you sitting down? OK. Here goes. The Wall is too big. The author said so himself.

    …….. describing men as ” mountain “, and so forth. Still , not exactly a “furtive”
    display of his imagination. Some readers discerned this, apparently he’s aware
    of this too. I never really thought this through while reading ASOIAF, initially,
    but the pattern is indeed there. Sort of amusing when you consider it, now I
    wonder how big those dragons are gonna become (:

  • Atreyu: Mr. Martin has a problem with scale. Might as well share this with you now. Are you sitting down? OK. Here goes. The Wall is too big. The author said so himself.

    Yeah, I’ve seen an interview where he talks about that. But magic can do anything!

  • “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… ”

    “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.”

    George R.R. Martin

  • I’ve always thought the throne on the show was a little small, and of course I haven’t read the books. I agree that something in the middle would’ve been about right.

    Unsullied question to the book readers… Littlefinger mentions to Varys that the throne was not 1000 swords, and that it was not even 200. Was this the show recognizing that the throne is smaller than what was intended in the books?

    And of course, if this is using my passport to enter spoilery country, please reject it and don’t answer.

    Regards….

  • Off-Topic BUT

    If anyone follows Iwan Rheon on Instagram/Twitter he’s put a few pics of Guinness and Belfast up from his hotel window… Guess some Ramsay action is being filmed at the moment (:

  • Oz of Thrones,

    I think the whole 1000 swords thing is just used as a good round number in general. It’s an intimidating number but its not anything that’s confirmed… I by that I mean no one has ever counted them… Save for show little finger (: plus I would assume that George’s vision there is more than any 1000 blades but 1000 is still the number used in the novels if I remember (:

  • Well, I’m filing this in the folder marked “Daario’s blue hair etc”. Ideas that work great when you read them… But I don’t think it would have worked on the show.

  • @Winter Is Coming

    “This is art by Marc Simontetti from the upcoming World of Ice and Fire concordance.”

    Umm…it’s Marc Simonetti,not Simontetti.

  • ACatLover,

    So, what ? Everyone should kiss the fat man’s ass just because he created the world ? You are the one who is ridiculous !

  • Something tells me Littlefinger wouldn’t even bother trying to count those swords.

  • John,

    I got the impression that Jaime was protecting the Iron Throne, kind of like a “final stand”, waiting to see who would be the next king. The funny image I have in my mind is of the knights who ask Jaime who the next king is. Were they like shouting at each other? lol

  • Oz of Thrones,
    I believe that was a nod from D&D to the book readers acknowledging that it isn’t as big as the book one. They have done that a few times throughout the show (especially in season 3)

    Another example was in episode 21 when Cersei said to Tyrion “They said you’d lost your nose but it isn’t as gruesome as all that”. In the books Tyrion’s nose was actually chopped off during the battle of Blackwater bay but it had to be toned down for the show.

  • ace,
    I can’t really say that this is surprising. As a Frey captive he wouldn’t really have any reason to be seen. I don’t think we will see him again until season 6 (or 5, depending on when Jaime gets to Riverrun).

  • John,

    So Jaime sat on that chair because he was tired and wanted to sit down? Martin is actually just wrong about this – that Iron Throne is ridiculous.

    John,

    I took Jaime’s reply to Ned to be his casual, devil may care attitude in response to Ned’s serious demeanor.
    I never thought Jaime literally sat on throne to rest lol

    Jaime’s a little like Tyrion where his carefree attitude is his defense mechanism. As his story arc progresses, we could see he is a deep thinker. I’d like to think Jaime sat on throne as he weighed over the recent events in his mind..he just broke his oath and killed the king..but saved so many lives…so he sits in the same spot where Aerys sat…a symbol of putting himself in the Mad King’s shoes..thinking what would possess the mad king to want hit the self destruct button on the city..? Is it really sitting on 1,000 swords that drives someone to madness?

    Then Ned came in and caught Jaime sitting there, misinterpreting what he saw (as good ol Ned is wont to do) and immediately Jaime’s whatever attitude kicked in, not wanting to show his true thoughts.

  • Off-topic:
    For any interested I have made detailed predictions of how season 4 will play out over at my livejournal. The predictions factor in the news from a few days ago that Neil Marshall will direct episode 39 (so if you read my predictions when I posted it before, it has changed a bit since then :P). It should go without saying that the post contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so if you are unsullied and wish to remain that way I advise that you avoid it:
    http://tahu909.livejournal.com/1089.html
    Also at the bottom of the post are links to my detailed predictions for season 5, and my not quite as detailed predictions for season 6.

  • ace,

    Yeah, I think that Edmure will only return for season 5, when (if) Jaime ever goes to Riverrun (which would be a shame to cut it, since the viewer will understand the ins and outs of the place and the siege and the characters involved).

  • Btw, I think that throne is Badass!

    it is a truer visual representation of conquered enemies than the TV show throne, which is more symbolic.

    Martin has said that it is a closer (not an exact) representation of the throne he had in mind, I believe?

    I agree that it wouldn’t be feasible for a TV show, the TV show throne is like the TV show direwolves..not exactly what I imagined but cool enough, especially considering budget constraints,etc.

    The only work around I could think of would be to have TV show throne as it is..then a backdrop extension of a thousand melted and reforged swords surrounding it.

    whatever, it’s good enough as it is but that picture really adds to my imagination of the iron throne now, awesome

  • ace,

    The guy played a very strong Edmure. I hope to see him back, I enjoyed every Edmure scene this season

  • Michael274,

    I don’t think it’s ass kissing to consider the creator of anything to be the most credible source..

    Martin has made some admitted mistakes but he created the whole thing, didn’t he? In his imagination, that picture is closest to the one in his mind..

  • I don’t quite like it. It does look badass but I’m not picturing it in my imagination.

    For example, try to imagine Jaime sitting there after killing Aerys. It doesn’t work.

  • Wow, I love that desgn. It looks so much more intimidating and dangerous, as it should. Fantastic design, but it’s understandable that HBO would have a difficult time trying to recreate something like that.

  • This throne is incredible! I saw the show before I knew the books existed so the image in my head was tainted… but this depiction is incredibly cool, and makes a lot more sense in the context of the book.

    For the people who can’t reconcile this image and Jaime climbing the stairs after the kingslaying, get over yourselves LOL.

    I have the 2013 ASoIaF calendar, after seeing this I’ve gotta have 2014!

  • Aegon the Conqueror:
    New background for pc…found!

    Hear, hear, your Grace! Methinks it is completely badass. Yes, the show throne is just fine. However, the above depiction is just spell binding.

  • GreatJon of Slumber,

    I totally agree, just as it would have looked ridiculous for Jaqen to have 1/2 red and 1/2 white hair, or Daario to have the blue hair, gold teeth, and bright clothing. Or even Tyrion’s mismatched eyes and missing nose; those things present a superb mental picture while reading, but are definitely not right for the screen.

    I bet LSH looks pretty near normal if we get that character, too.

  • Ser Tahu,

    Yes, that is true, but I always imaguned Tyrion’s black/green eyes to be quite startling. I think most naturally occurring mismatched eyes are blue/brown or blue/hazel. Think of David Bowie. It can be easily missed if you ‘re not aware of it.
    I can only think of one other actor with mismatched eyes, Jane Seymour, but again it is not real noticeable.

    An intense black eye and a bright green eye would really be very noticeable, I believe.

    ETA: Mila Kunis and Kate Bosworth both have different colored eyes, but I never noticed.

  • JC:
    I don’t quite like it. It does look badass but I’m not picturing it in my imagination.

    For example, try to imagine Jaime sitting there after killing Aerys. It doesn’t work.

    Exactly. If GRRM thinks this is the best representation that’s great, but it’s not something that works well with scenes like Jaime killing Aerys and then sitting on the throne.

    As many others, I also think the “ideal” throne would be somewhere between this one and the show throne.

  • Dark Star:
    GreatJon of Slumber,

    I totally agree, just as it would have looked ridiculous for Jaqen to have 1/2 red and 1/2 white hair, or Daario to have the blue hair, gold teeth, and bright clothing. Or even Tyrion’s mismatched eyes and missing nose;those things present a superb mental picture while reading, but are definitely not right for the screen.

    I bet LSH looks pretty near normal if we get that character, too.

    Agreed on all. Notably Beric Dondarrion (especially if you compare to the original actor, as the two men share some facial features) was uglier, with plenty of scars, but he didn’t look ‘skeletal’ or anything like that. Eyepatch, hideous scar on his neck, various other scars. If we get LSH, imagine we’ll get the scar, a more pallid-looking, ashen face, maybe even white hair, though probably not. I think that’s going to have to come across as a real shock.

  • Jaime didn’t sit on this monster to take a breather. He sat on the thing to feel what it was like to be “the Man” sitting the Iron Throne and to reflect on what he had just done, as others have noted here. When he told Ned that he did it “because he was tired”, it’s obvious Jaime was being sarcastic.

  • JRR Tzolkin:
    Jaime didn’t sit on this monster to take a breather. He sat on the thing to feel what it was like to be “the Man” sitting the Iron Throne and to reflect on what he had just done, as others have noted here. When he told Ned that he did it “because he was tired”, it’s obvious Jaime was being sarcastic.

    That sounds more likely, you put better words to it. *>*

  • Chickenduck:
    Well, I’m filing this in the folder marked “Daario’s blue hair etc”.Ideas that work great when you read them…But I don’t think it would have worked on the show.

    Did Daario only sport a bright blue beard? Or was it a blue head of hair ?
    I’ve seen sketch renditions of both, but also grey with a slight bluish tinge .
    Anyway, I ‘m relieved of the over the top Jean Paul Gaultier-fashion, as
    a template type for Daario, but I’m not quite on board with his GoT ” pretty ”
    appearance either. Hope his beautiful hair doesn’t mind getting a little
    sand and blood in it (:

  • JRR Tzolkin:
    Jaime didn’t sit on this monster to take a breather. He sat on the thing to feel what it was like to be “the Man” sitting the Iron Throne and to reflect on what he had just done, as others have noted here. When he told Ned that he did it “because he was tired”, it’s obvious Jaime was being sarcastic.

    Yes, exactly! Well said.

  • Let me be the first to say it. Martin has an obsession with size. 700 foot walls, 7 and 8 foot humans. And now this…………………….Martin must not be packing much in the pocket if you guess my meaning.

  • This throne makes sense for A Song of Ice and Fire but not for Game of Thrones. GOT is generally a very faithful adaptation of ASOIAF but let’s face it ASOIAF is far more fantasy heavy. I mean it even has a talking raven. How much more fantasy can you get? And this is a throne fit for a fantasy saga but not one that feels at home in HBO’s more grounded world.

  • WildSeed: Did Daario only sport a bright blue beard? Or was it a blue head of hair ?
    I’ve seen sketch renditions of both, but also grey with a slight bluish tinge .
    Anyway, I ‘m relieved of the over the top Jean Paul Gaultier-fashion, as
    a template type for Daario, but I’m not quite on board with his GoT ” pretty ”
    appearance either. Hope his beautiful hair doesn’t mind getting a little
    sand and blood in it (:

    Ah yep, I need to retitle the folder “Daario’s blue beard”.

    What I like most about Daario’s ridiculous pretty boy look on the show is that it reminds me a lot of Drogo and thereby establishes more about Dany’s character.

    Like, it reminds you that despite the dragons and bad-assery, she’s still a teenage girl and a sucker for muscular men with pretty hair, waxed chests and makeup. (And not hairy older noblemen like Jorah… sorry Jorah).

    I couldn’t really believe her going for Cap’n Bluebeard, but I CAN totally believe her going for that douchebag that all her friends think is an idiot… because I see teenage girls doing this on a daily basis!!

  • As it is depicted it looks ridiculously tall, but just imagine the same with a fully grown dragon curled around the base…

  • If this was on the show, we’d have Charles Dance climbing up even more stairs to talk to Joffrey!

    Just think, in 300-400 years someone will come up with the idea of installing an escalator. Perhaps cushions. :P

  • Oh, COOL. Now I get it. A lot of things from the books I could see in my mind’s eye but I never got this somehow and the show throne is obviously not up to descriptive par. 1000 swords? I don’t think so. This is more like it.

  • Somehow that thing befits Joffrey, lol. It’s cool in a scary, shuddering horror way. If it had been about half that size it could have been created for the show, but I like the show’s Iron Thron and I can see why it was created as it was. I also don’t see dainty little Dany climbing that thing to sit on it. OUCH!!!!!!