GAME OF THRONES Creator George R. R. Martin Unveils Picture of the “Real” Iron Throne

by     Posted 1 year, 164 days ago


Differences between the A Song of Ice and Fire book series and HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series are one of the most divisive issues in the fandom, but now the book series’ author George R. R. Martin is throwing his two cents in about HBO’s Iron Throne versus the one he imagined.

No adaptation is perfect, and while fans have vehemently debated the changes to character arcs and some of the casting choices, the setting of the show and the art direction have rarely come into question.  Still, Martin obviously has had a bone to pick about the HBO-designed Iron Throne for awhile.  Hit the jump for his reasons, as well as the thumbnail picture he posted.

Via George R.R. Martin:


Martin’s “real” Iron Throne (Martin details the difference between fiction and reality for his first three paragraphs, just in case people don’t understand that what someone thinks is not actually tangible), is actually pretty badass.  As it is described in the books, it is made of over 1000 swords, incredible, imposing, and uncomfortable.  Further, the throne also has a spirit of its own — it cuts up rulers who are unworthy.  King Aerys (“The Mad King”) was often sliced as he ascended and sat on it, and the same is true of Joffrey.

game-of-thrones-iron-throneIn his diatribe, Martin details his acknowledgment of how fans love HBO’s Iron Throne and the others that have travelled around for promotional purposes, and finally, after so much disclaimer, Martin has this to say:

“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. The Book Version of the Iron Throne would not even fit through the doors of the Paint Hall.”

After displaying the picture of the “intended” throne, Martin marks his mood as “satisfied,” and goes on to say,

“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.”

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  • Obi

    Not all things translate well from book to screen. What may feel menacing in the books may look absolutely ridiculous in real life. The first thought you would have upon seeing something like his version of the iron throne in real life, is why the fuck would anyone build such a ridiculously uncomfortable and ugly chair?

    And no, having blood thirsty characters as kings along with pyromancers, dragons, mages and all other wacky magical elements doesn’t justify building something so ridiculous.

    • Don Vito

      Aegon was a madman. He built a scary, ugly chair to scare his enemies.

  • HeSaidSheSaidReviewSite

    Who gives a shit? Like Obi mentioned, some things don’t translate well to the screen. Plus, I’m sorry, but if you want the book/comic, read the book/comic. Movies and TV shows are ADAPTATIONS. If you want the source material, read the source material.


      Except that the producers of the show, when they first met with Martin to pitch him their desires to make the show, said “George, we want to make your story, for tv. This is going to be your story, in television format.”

      They lied.

  •‎ tarek

    I prefer the HBO version.
    Sorry George.

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  • Ellie

    If they went with that design it would have looked like a kooky Tim Burton movie.

  • pinkincide

    I read the books and the HBO version looked exactly as I imagined. Martin’s version would be ridiculous in RL.


    This interpretation of the throne is way better, everything’s better than fucking Game of Thrones. It looks ridiculous? Its a chair made out of a thousand rusted, burned swords. Don’t rag on Mr. Martin for saying he likes this interpretation better, he created the iron throne, its his idea, his vision.

    • pinkincide

      Martin himself has altered “his vision” frequently while working with the “fucking Game of Thrones” producers. Gendry’s whole story line has been greatly improved over the book, and I’m rather glad I don’t have to look at a gaping nose hole rather than a thin scar on Tyrion’s face. Some other things have suffered in the HBO version, I just don’t think the throne is one of them.

      • IMPYEMU

        Martin has little to no creative control over the show, even the one script he writes for each season had parts removed and added by other writers. You’re fooling yourself if you think he’s responsible for the change in Gendry’s storyline.

        Better? Gendry does not need to be one of the main characters of the show. He’s also still a part of the story, what Martin has planned for him is still unknown. The producers have actually gotten rid of him, for now, most likely so they can bring him back just to meet other characters later, which is pointless, because at the end of the day, he’s just a Blacksmith, and Arya’s friend. He doesn’t need to do something important, there’s already a large enough cast of characters who effect the plot.

        And the thing about Tyrion’s nose, what? Are you even being serious with that criticism? His lack of a nose? What series do you think you read?

  • Yurine

    i think the show needs to make some revisions now lol.

  • samlabun

    The iron throne as Martin envisions it is a better symbol of the dangers of power. Its not supposed to be a chair, it’s supposed to be a test of whether or not an individual is able to rule the seven kingdoms. It’s reminiscent of the greek myth in which a man becomes king only to find that a sword hangs by a thread above his throne, point down- it is dangerous to be a king. Likewise, Martin’s iron throne is dangerous for the one who sits in it. It represents the power and strength necessary to hold the seven kingdoms together. Its supposed to be an uncomfortable and dangerous chair, to remind the person sitting in it that if they aren’t careful, the swords of the people they thought they’d conquered will kill them. Whenever Joffrey gets cut trying to sit down, it symbolizes that he does not respect the office he inhabits and that his lack of respect will cost him. There’s no danger of being cut by HBO’s iron throne, and so HBO’s iron throne fails its symbolic purpose. It doesn’t matter if it looks pretty or realistic- this is Westeros for pete’s sake.

  • Grayden

    The design of it is brilliant, but alas, if we had that throne however would we have gotten the scene of Tywin talking down to Goffrey on the throne to work? A part of me wishes this gothic monstrosity would have been made for the show though…

  • flo

    WOW! And just when you thought GRRM was a hack, he comes along and impresses you! Much better than the TV series.

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