Iron Throne

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The Iron Throne is located on a high platform in the Throne Room - art by Marc Simonetti ©
According to GRRM this painting is very close to how he envisions the Iron Throne [1] - by Marc Simonetti ©
The Iron Throne by Nicole Cardiff ©
The Iron Throne (tv show)

The Iron Throne is the seat of kings in the Seven Kingdoms and is often used as a metonymic device to refer to the king's authority. The king often holds audiences and dispenses Justice from atop it. Only the Hand of the King may sit on the throne in the king's absence. The chair itself is cold and hard, with many jagged edges.[2]


The Iron Throne


The Iron Throne was constructed by Aegon I Targaryen, the first king of the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon the Conqueror had the Throne made from the swords surrendered by his enemies. It is supposed to have taken a thousand blades to make, heated in the breath of Balerion the Black Dread. The hammering had taken fifty-nine days.[3]

The Iron Throne is a monstrosity of spikes and jagged edges and twisted metal. It is uncomfortable, and the back is fanged with steel which makes leaning back impossible. Aegon I had it made this way deliberately, saying that a king should never sit easy. King Aerys II Targaryen, the "Mad King," was always cutting himself upon it, and it is said that the throne itself has caused the deaths of several people.[3]

The Throne Room

See also: Red Keep

Since the construction of the Red Keep, the Iron Throne has been located on a high platform in the Throne Room. Usually, the members of the Kingsguard stand guard below and when the king is presiding, only he, his family, and his council may sit. All others must stand or kneel.[3]

During the rule of the Targaryens, the Throne Room was decorated with the skulls of their dragons. When the Robert Baratheon overthrew them, the dragon skulls were replaced by hunting tapestries.[3] These were taken down after Robert's death.

The Throne Room was the scene of these major events:

Kings on the Iron Throne

Targaryen Dynasty

See also: House Targaryen

Once Aegon I had conquered six of the seven kingdoms, he proclaimed himself king of Westeros, and the rule of the Iron Throne extended over the continent. He was acknowledged by the previous kings in the North and the Rock, and had the support of the rulers he had appointed to the Stormlands, the Riverlands and the Reach.

The first years of Targaryen reign were a period of uneasiness and turmoil. Upon King Aegon's death, his son Aenys, born of incest and considered a weakling, took the throne. The Faith of the Seven rejected his legitimacy to rule which led to the Faith Militant uprising uprising against the Iron Throne. Unable to deal with the crisis, King Aenys handed much of the responsibility for the war to his half-brother, Maegor, who served as the King's Hand. He succeeded Aenys after he died five years later as Maegor I Targaryen. Maegor I the Cruel was a harsh ruler - his response to the rebellion was bloody and ferocious, resulting in the deaths of thousands in battle, slaughter and dragonfire. The slaughter lasted all of Aenys and Maegor's reigns. During Maegor's reign contruction of the Red Keep was completed, and to preserve its secrets, Maegor had all its builders put to death. Eventually, Maegor was succeeded by Jaehaerys I. Jaehaerys brought peace to the realm for over fifty years.

King Viserys I reigned over a time of peace and plenty for the Seven Kingdoms. However, upon his death there was a succession dispute between his elder daughter and designated heiress Rhaenyra and his younger son Aegon. This dispute led to the first major civil war in the history of the unified Seven Kingdoms, that would be known as the Dance of the Dragons. The civil war ended with Rhaenyra's defeat and execution, but the rule of Aegon II was short. After his death, Rhaenyra's son Aegon III took the throne taking the daughter of Aegon II as a wife. Although the conflict had been resolved and the continuity of the Targaryen line was again assured, the war caused great damage to their power: many dragons had died during the fratricidal fightings, thus depriving them of their most valuable resource.

Dorne had long been a source of frustration to the Targaryens. Upon taking the throne in 157AL King Daeron I, at the age of fourteen almost immediately launched an invasion of Dorne, in an attempt to finish Aegon the Conqueror work and unify all the seven original Kingdoms and the rule of the Iron Throne. His campaign was a success, he managed to invade Dorne, but the rebellious Dornish made holding it a costly adventure. It is said the conquest of Dorne lasted but a summer and that the Young Dragon spent ten thousand men taking Dorne and lost fifty thousand trying to hold it. Daeron himself died while trying to solidify control of the area, after the Dornishmen rose in rebellion. He died at age eighteen and was succeeded by his brother. King Baelor the Blessed proved a peaceful king and a pious man. He constructed the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing. He died in 171AL and was succeeded by his uncle, King Viserys II, who was the tenth Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne. He reigned for only a year but it said he truly ruled and preserved the land for much longer, as the Hand of the King during King Baelor's time and King Daeron's before him, while he was campaigning in Dorne.

His son King Aegon IV would end being remembered as Aegon the Unworthy, held to be the worst king in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, in part because he legitimized all of his bastards on his deathbed, planting the seeds for the Blackfyre Pretenders.

King Daeron the Good brought Dorne peacefully into the Seven Kingdoms through a dual marriage pact. He survived the first of the Blackfyre rebellions which ended with the death of his half brother Daemon Blackfyre.

Daeron died in the Great Spring Sickness and was succeeded by Aerys I, a bookish man who left most of the running of the realm to his Hand of the King, Brynden Rivers. Another Blackfyre rebellion was ended at Whitewalls during his rule. Aerys' death without issue let to the crowning of his younger brother Maekar I who ruled a dozen years. He was followed by his son Aegon V who became known as "the Unlikely" because he was the fourth son of a fourth son. House Blackfyre was finally exterminated during his reign in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Aegon perished in the tragedy of Summerhall.

Next came the sickly Jaehaerys II. Though frail, he was wise and ruled well in his short reign of three years. He was followed by his son Aerys II who would become known as the Mad King. His madness led to the Robert's Rebellion and an end of the Targaryen Dynasty on the Iron Throne after nearly 300 years. Aerys was cut down by one of his own Kingsguard, who became known as the Kingslayer. Robert Baratheon was crowned King and the surviving Targaryens were exiled to Essos.

Baratheon Dynasty

See also: House Baratheon
King Joffrey I Baratheon upon the Iron Throne - by Magali Villeneuve. © Fantasy Flight Games

Lord Robert Baratheon, of House Baratheon of the Stormlands, ascended to the Iron Throne in the year 283AL after successfully leading a rebellion against the Targaryens which erupted after Aerys’ unjust murders of several important lords and other atrocities. The fact that Aerys Targaryen was slain by a Lannister spared Robert from being labelled a kingslayer. Six years after Robert's accession, Lord Balon Greyjoy, of the Iron Islands, believing that King Robert's rule was still insecure, proclaimed independence for the Iron Islands and led a rebellion against the Iron Throne. He was proven wrong and the same coalition which won Robert's Rebellion put down the Greyjoy rebellion and repatriated the Iron Islands.

King Robert's reign came to end after his wife, Queen Cersei, arranged his death. The eldest son of Cersei, Joffrey I Baratheon, took the throne. Robert had acknowledged him as a trueborn son, but he was not. This led Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly to put forward their claims to the Iron Throne. Other noble Houses sought independence from the rule of the Iron Throne, leading to the War of the Five Kings.

During the War of the Five Kings, the North and the Iron Islands claimed independence and seceded from the Iron Throne, while the rest of kingdoms were thrown into turmoil. The Starks entered the war after Joffrey capriciously ordered the beheading of Lord Eddard Stark. The Greyjoys entered the war out of opportunism to re-establish independence for the Iron Islands.

After two years of bitter fighting the war was unofficially ended with King Joffrey as the victor. Despite his victory, he was poisoned at his own wedding feast and his younger brother Tommen Baratheon was crowned in his place. This child king, Tommen I Baratheon, is the current occupant of the Iron Throne. Tommen is controlled by his advisors and his mother, Queen Regent Cersei, and his grandfather, Tywin Lannister, who serves as Tommen's Hand of the King.

Kings on the Iron throne.png

List of Kings

Claimants to the Iron Throne

Quotes about the Iron Throne

Yet still the blades tormented him, the ones he could never escape, the blades of the Iron Throne.

He spoke truly, it is a monstrous uncomfortable chair. In more ways than one. [4]

- Robert Baratheon to Ned

This is war, this is what it looks like, this is the price of the Iron Throne.[5]
- Daenerys's thoughts, amidst the burning town of the Lamb Men

Have you ever seen the Iron Throne? The barbs along the back, the ribbons of twisted steel, the jagged ends of swords and knives all tangled up and melted? It is not a comfortable seat, ser. Aerys cut himself so often men took to calling him King Scab, and Maegor the Cruel was murdered in that chair. By that chair, to hear some tell it. It is not a seat where a man can rest at ease. Ofttimes I wonder why my brothers wanted it so desperately. [6]
-Stannis Baratheon to Davos Seaworth

If Daenerys is no more than a sweet young girl, the Iron Throne will cut her into sweet young pieces. [7]
- Tyrion Lannister to Illyrio Mopatis

Seat Stannis on the Iron Throne and I promise you, the realm will bleed. [8]
- Petyr Baelish [8]

They can keep their red castle and their iron chair as well. [9]

- Rickard Karstark when he declare Robb Stark as King in the North.

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