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“HUGE.” “Ugly.” “Assymetric.”
No, I’m not describing the Papa Bowl. That’s how author George R.R. Martin envisioned the Iron Throne, an important piece of iconography in the Game of Thrones universe (the typo should have been clue that butts are involved). “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,” he wrote in 2013. “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.”
(A semi-related tangent: the Game of Thrones series finale gets a lot of deserved scorn, but one very good moment in the episode is Daenerys seeing the Iron Throne for the first time and it not living up to her expectations. “When I was a girl, my brother told me it was made with a thousand swords from Aegon’s fallen enemies,” she says with semi-disappointment. “What do a thousand swords look like in the mind of a little girl who can’t count to twenty? I imagined a mountain of swords too high to climb. So many fallen enemies, you could only see the soles of Aegon’s feet.” The House of the Dragons throne isn’t at 1,000 swords, but it’s closer to what Dany imagined. Also, kids are dumb.)
One of the biggest differences between House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones, besides the number of dragons (more) and people named Hot Pie (less), is the look of the Iron Throne. On Thrones, it’s “big, yes, but not nearly as big as the one described in the novels,” Martin wrote. But on House of the Dragon, it’s a jagged, melted playground of swords. The design change was due, in part, to Martin not being thrilled by the original Iron Throne, but it also shows the expensive extravagance of the Targaryens.
“We went into the series knowing that this was a time of high decadence,” co-showrunner Ryan Condal explained to Vanity Fair. “We consider this the apex of the Targaryen empire, so we really wanted to communicate this idea of wealth and prosperity and the fact that there had been six years of peace. The Targaryens really were able to develop all the nice things that happened: peacetime, statues and art, and roads and fountains.” And thrones made of swords.
“I think [original Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] created this very iconic thing. Just the silhouette of that shape, everybody now knows what it is. [The Iron Throne is] as iconic as a lightsaber in Star Wars. What we wanted to do is honor that, but also tell the story of a more decadent time, and also communicate that 200 years has passed. If you look very closely, you’ll see that the original throne is there. It’s just added to and augmented, which suggests that history changes things at some point in the intervening time.”
There’s a lot of changes in the years between the reigns of Viserys Targaryen and Robert Baratheon — and House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones. The Iron Throne is only the beginning.
(Via Vanity Fair)