The man behind the books behind the HBO hit series “Game of Thrones”, George R.R. Martin, has pulled back the curtain just a tiny bit on what goes on in his head while writing those books.
In a recent blog post entitled “The Real Iron Throne”, Martin explains what the famed Iron Throne in the stories actually looks like. The throne, which is a set piece familiar to fans of Martin’s stories, whether the HBO televised versions or the books, is said to be built from the swords of conquered armies. For Martin, seeing something that had heretofore existed only in his mind now being built “in real life”, even just for a soundstage, was conflicting.
When I write about the Iron Throne, I SEE it in my head… and I try to describe it as best I can. Not being a blacksmith or an ironmonger, however, I hammer it together with words, striving to make all of you, my readers, see what I see.
Most of the time that works… though, the picture in the reader’s head and the picture in the writer’s head do not always line up perfectly. With the Iron Throne, however, 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.
Martin goes on to talk about the set pieces built for the HBO series. He says their throne is iconic, and that it will likely be the “official” look for the throne from now on. But, it is necessarily still not quite 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.
So what does the Real Iron Throne look like, you ask? Glad you asked. It looks kind of like this: