If there’s one thing “Game of Thrones” is known for other than dragons — it’s the Iron Throne.
In the books, the chair is forged from 1,000 swords. The person who sits in it is considered the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
It’s become so iconic that magazines and fans have commissioned their own versions of it. There are several promotional versions that travel the world for fans to sit on and take photos with at “Game of Thrones” events. HBO was even selling a version of the chair for $US32,000.
While the HBO version is the one fans and audiences may be most familiar with, author George R.R. Martin explained how no one ever gets the iconic throne correct during a panel Sunday evening at the 92Y in New York City for new book, “The World of Ice & Fire.”
He says while numerous replicas exist throughout the world, they don’t depict the throne he had in mind while writing the series.
“Nobody ever got it right,” said Martin. “There were comic book versions, and there were versions in the card game and the board game, and there were versions on the cover [of books], and there were versions that were done for conventions. The very first … there was a wooden one that I sat on in 1996 … but none of them were ever really right.”
He says one person did come close, though. French artist Marc Simonetti impressed Martin so much that he collaborated with him until he produced a portrait depicting his actual vision.
“Even his first one wasn’t right, but since he was the closest, I worked with him,” said Martin. “We got the book and he and I went back and forth a half dozen times to get something I could say, ‘Yeah, this is absolutely right.'”
Martin described at the panel how the throne is supposed to look:
“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.”
Back in 2013, Martin shared his thoughts on HBO’s adaptation of the iconic throne in a blog post saying that while it’s great, it’s not technically correct.
“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.”
Martin told fans at the panel that’s not the show’s fault. They could never replicate on screen the image he has in his mind.
“Now, you can’t do this in the TV show. It’s not something I criticise HBO for. The thrones they have are enormously large and cumbersome to move and expensive to build,” said Martin. “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,” he added. “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.”
There is one place he could see a real-life throne existing.
“If they would give us St. Paul’s cathedral … after a year, build a giant throne like that and dominate the entire thing, go halfway to the ceiling, then you could get the Iron Throne the way it’s described in the book,” said Martin. “This is the difference between books and television.”
“The World of Ice & Fire” will be released Oct. 28.
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