George R.R. Martin shows us what the Iron Throne REALLY looks like

You may love the look of the Iron Throne on HBO's Game of Thrones, but according to George R.R. Martin, that's not the real throne.

We've been living with HBO's vision of the throne of Westeros, with its peacock-like fan of sword blades across the back, for three seasons of television now, and it's become an icon for fans of the show. You can buy T-shirts featuring it, books with series tie-in covers, paperweights and -- if you're willing to fork over enough cash -- even a full-size replica. It's one of the best-known bits of iconography from the series, but according to A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin - who's been living in Westeros since the early '90s -- it's not what the throne really looks like.

"The HBO throne has become iconic. And well it might. It's a terrific design, and it has served the show very well," Martin wrote on his LiveJournal Monday. "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. 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..."

In the same post, Martin also described the "particularly frustrating" process of working with several artists over the years to get an accurate picture of the Iron Throne, only to have each image come up short ... until now. Last night, Martin posted this image by artist Marc Simonetti, and proclaimed it to be the closest rendering to what's in his head that any artist or designer has ever managed.

That image, a version of which will appear in the forthcoming A World of Ice and Fire concordance, might be the closest we'll ever come to seeing what the Iron Throne looks like when Martin is writing it, and according to Martin, it's set to become the definitive version that he will hold up to all other artists as an example.

"From now on, THIS will be the reference I give to every other artist tackling a throne room scene," Martin said. "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."

 So, the next time you're reading one of Martin's Ice and Fire novels and you get to a scene in the Red Keep's throne room, just know that the throne the king sits on is much more fearsome-looking than the TV version.

(Via Not A Blog)