Iron Throne (A Song of Ice and Fire)

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Iron Throne
Iron Throne-World of Ice and Fire (2014).jpg
The Iron Throne by Marc Simonetti, from The World of Ice & Fire (2014)
Plot element from the A Song of Ice and Fire franchise
Publisher Bantam Books
First appearance A Game of Thrones (1996)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Genre Fantasy
In-story information
Type Government/Seat of office
Function Monarchy and the physical royal throne of Westeros

The Iron Throne is a metonym for the fictional monarchy of Westeros as well as the physical throne of its monarch in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. The success of the HBO television adaptation Game of Thrones has made the show's version of the royal seat an icon of the entire media franchise.[1][2][3][4] Martin said himself in 2013, "Say 'Game of Thrones,' and people think of the HBO Iron Throne."[2]

Martin called the depiction of the throne in his 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire companion book The World of Ice & Fire "absolutely right".[1] He has noted repeatedly that none of the previous media representations of the throne — including books, games and the TV series — closely resemble what he had in mind when writing his novels.[1][2][3][4]

A Song of Ice and Fire[edit]

In the series, the Iron Throne is both a physical seat of office as well as a metonym for the monarchy of Westeros. Martin establishes in A Game of Thrones (1996) that after seizing control of six of the Seven Kingdoms, Targaryen ruler Aegon the Conqueror had made a throne for himself from the swords of his vanquished enemies, fused by dragonfire. Aegon had established King's Landing as the royal capital, and the Iron Throne itself sits in the Red Keep. Martin writes that according to legend, Aegon kept the blades sharp so that no ruler should ever sit comfortably. Centuries later, kings still cut themselves on the throne; and it is a common belief that such rulers are therefore unfit to rule.

Description[edit]

Purportedly made from a thousand swords and knives, the Iron Throne is a massive and asymmetrical tangle of jagged and twisted blades, in which reclining is impossible.

Have you ever seen the Iron Throne? The barbs along the back, the ribbons of twisted steel, the jagged ends of swords and knives all tangled up and melted? It is not a comfortable seat, ser. Aerys cut himself so often men took to calling him King Scab, and Maegor the Cruel was murdered in that chair. By that chair, to hear some tell it. It is not a seat where a man can rest at ease. Ofttimes I wonder why my brothers wanted it so desperately. – Stannis Baratheon, A Storm of Swords (2000)[5]

Martin commented in 2014:

I said repeatedly the Iron Throne is huge. It towers over the room like a great beast. And it's ugly. It's asymmetric. It's put together by blacksmiths not by craftsmen and experts in furniture manufacturing. You have to walk the iron steps, and when a king sits on it he's like 10 feet above everybody else ... He's in this raised position looking down on everyone.[1]

Depictions[edit]

The Iron Throne has been depicted in comic books, in games, and on book covers, but Martin has noted repeatedly that none of these representations coincided with what he imagined:[1][2]

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.[2]

To Martin, the attempt closest to his vision was by French artist Marc Simonetti, for a Mexican edition of 1996's A Game of Thrones.[1][2][4][6][7] The author subsequently worked with Simonetti to get an image the author calls "absolutely right".[1] This depiction appears in Martin's 2014 companion book The World of Ice & Fire.[1][2][3] He noted, "From now on, THIS will be the reference I give to every other artist tackling a throne room scene."[2][3][8] Martin said of the image:

This Iron Throne is massive. Ugly. Asymetric. 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.[2][4][8]

The various depictions of the throne include:

Television adaptation[edit]

The HBO television adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones, premiered in 2011. The show's popularity has made its version of the Iron Throne an icon of the entire media franchise.[1][2][3][4] It has been parodied in magazines and used in merchandising.[1][3] Several "promotional thrones" travel the world with show-sponsored exhibits and for fan events.[1][2][30] In June 2014, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Belfast set of Game of Thrones and was photographed examining the Iron Throne set piece from the series, though she declined to sit on it.[31][32][33][34]

Though Martin had previously stated that the HBO version of the Iron Throne did not match his idea of how it should appear ideally, in 2013 he called its design "terrific" and claimed to own all of the merchandised replicas.[2][8] He added:

I'm a realist about these things, and I know perfectly well that for millions of television viewers worldwide, the HBO Iron Throne is THE Iron Throne, and always will be. It turns up everywhere, on book covers, on magazines, in places that have no connection to the show. Say "GAME OF THRONES," and people think of the HBO Iron Throne.[2]

Of the feasibility of recreating the throne as depicted in The World of Ice & Fire, Martin said in October 2014:

Now, you can’t do this in the TV show. It’s not something I criticize HBO for. The thrones they have are enormously large and cumbersome to move and expensive to build. To build this monstrosity, would blow the budget of an entire episode, and it wouldn’t fit in the set. Our program is in the Paint Hall in Belfast in Northern Ireland. The Paint Hall is the largest sound stage in Europe. It [was] originally part of the old Portland Wolff shipyard where they built the Titanic. We’ve divided it into a number of pods, and our throne room is in one of them. It’s a very large set, but it’s not large enough.[1]

Game of Thrones Iron Throne Blonde Ale from Brewery Ommegang

The image of Sean Bean as Ned Stark sitting in the Iron Throne is featured on the covers of the 2011 Season 1 DVD and Blu-ray Disc sets, released in March 2012.[35][36]

Merchandising[edit]

HBO has licensed the likeness of its Iron Throne for merchandising since the show's premiere, including T-shirts and small replicas of varying sizes.[1][2][3] In June 2012 the network began selling custom made, life size replicas of its Iron Throne for $30,000.[1][3][37][38][39] HBO even partnered with Brewery Ommegang to produce Iron Throne Blonde Ale, released in March 2013.[40]

The officially licensed merchandise includes:

  • Game of Thrones 7' 2" Iron Throne Replica[1][37][38][39]
  • Game of Thrones 14" Iron Throne Replica by ThinkGeek[41]
  • Game of Thrones 7" Iron Throne Replica by Dark Horse/Gentle Giant Studios[42]
  • Game of Thrones Iron Throne Room Construction Set by McFarlane Toys[43]
  • Game of Thrones Iron Throne Bookend (7.5")[44]
  • Game of Thrones Iron Throne Ornament (4.25")[45]
  • Game of Thrones Iron Throne Stocking Holder (5.5")[46][47]
  • Game of Thrones Iron Throne Blonde Ale from Brewery Ommegang[40]
  • Various T-shirts[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Acuna, Kirsten (October 28, 2014). "George R.R. Martin: No One Ever Gets The Most Iconic Part Of Game Of Thrones Right". Business Insider. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Martin, George R. R. (July 8, 2013). "Not A Blog: The Real Iron Throne". GRRM.livejournal.com. Archived from the original on December 25, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jackson, Matthew (July 9, 2013). "George R.R. Martin shows us what the Iron Throne REALLY looks like". Blastr.com. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Hudson, Laura (July 10, 2013). "Behold the Iron Throne the Way George R. R. Martin Intended It". Wired. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Martin, George R. R. (2000). "Chapter 36: Davos". A Storm of Swords. 
  6. ^ a b Martin, George R. R. (April 4, 2014). Juego de tronos (Game of thrones). Random House Grupo Editorial México. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b A Game of Thrones. Random House México. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "George R. R. Martin Shows Us What the Iron Throne Really Looks Like Via Terrifying Illustration". Tor Books. July 9, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ Wood, Brian, ed. (November 15, 2005). The Art of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Fantasy Flight Games. ISBN 978-1-58994-218-9. 
  10. ^ Komarck, Michael (November 15, 2005). "Title page". The Art of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ Bradley, Bill (October 27, 2014). "Here's What Westeros Really Looks Like, According To George R.R. Martin". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: Return of the Others (2009)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "The Price of Nobility" (2009)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  14. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: Secrets and Spies (2009)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Aegon's Legacy" (2009)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: Kings of the Sea (2009)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Robert Baratheon" (2009)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  18. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: Kings of the Storm (2010)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  19. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Robert Baratheon" (2010)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  20. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: Where Loyalty Lies (2011)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  21. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Oath of Fealty" (2011)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  22. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: Lions of the Rock (2011)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  23. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Cersei Lannister" (2011)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  24. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: The Grand Melee (2011)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  25. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Varys" (2011)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  26. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: A Turn of the Tide (2012)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  27. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Sitting the Iron Throne" (2012)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  28. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: A Dire Message (2014)". Card Game Database. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  29. ^ "A Game of Thrones card game: "Robert Baratheon" (2014)". TradeCardsOnline.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  30. ^ Acuna, Kirsten (January 31, 2014). "Tour The Game Of Thrones Exhibit That's Traveling The World". Business Insider. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  31. ^ Busis, Hillary (June 24, 2014). "Queen Elizabeth II visits Game of Thrones set, doesn't sit on pretend seat of power". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  32. ^ Natalie, O'Neill (June 24, 2014). "Queen Elizabeth II refuses seat in the Iron Throne". New York Post. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  33. ^ Stampler, Laura (June 24, 2014). "Queen Elizabeth II Eyes Iron Throne on Game of Thrones Set". Time. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  34. ^ Aziz, Zainab Abdul (June 24, 2014). "Queen Elizabeth visits Game of Thrones set, declines Iron Throne". Today. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  35. ^ Hibberd, James (November 30, 2011). "Game of Thrones scoop: DVD release date, details, photos". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  36. ^ Whitman, Howard (March 28, 2012). "Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)". HomeTechTell. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  37. ^ a b Acuna, Kirsten (June 5, 2012). "You Can Buy The Iron Throne From Game of Thrones For A Crazy Amount". Business Insider. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  38. ^ a b Varias, Lambert (June 6, 2012). "Game of Thrones Iron Throne Replica Can Be Yours for a Kingly Sum". Technabob.com. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  39. ^ a b Miller, Julie (June 5, 2012). "The Pros and Cons of Owning a $30,000 Game of Thrones Replica Throne". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  40. ^ a b Nason, Adam (December 18, 2012). "Ommegang unveils Iron Throne bottle, formally announces Game of Thrones deal". BeerPulse.com. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  41. ^ Varias, Lambert (February 24, 2013). "Game of Thrones 14" Iron Throne Miniature Replica Doesn’t Have a Miniature Price". Technabob.com. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Game of Thrones 7" Iron Throne". News.Toyark.com. June 22, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  43. ^ Hibberd, James (July 1, 2015). "Game of Thrones: HBO reveals awesome construction sets from McFarlane Toys". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  44. ^ Flynn, Conner (July 26, 2014). "Game of Thrones Bookend: The Price of the Iron Throne? $55.". Technabob.com. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Game of Thrones 4 1/4-Inch Figural Ornament Set". GeekAlerts.com. July 31, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  46. ^ Cormier, Ryan (December 17, 2015). "10 last-minute pop culture gifts & stocking stuffers". The News Journal. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  47. ^ Calia, Michael; Ayers, Mike (April 14, 2016). "How Game of Thrones Became the Most Viral Show on Television". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 19, 2016.