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 in the Red Keep's throne room. 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.
- See also: Images of 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 took fifty-nine days.
The Iron Throne is an assymetric 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.
Since the construction of the Red Keep, the Iron Throne has been located on a high platform in the throne room within the castle. 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. During the rule of the Targaryens, the throne room was decorated with the skulls of their dragons.
- Main article: House Targaryen
Once Aegon I had conquered six of the seven kingdoms, he proclaimed himself the only king in 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 I, born of incest and considered a weakling, took the throne. Upon his ascension several rebellions broke out over Westeros. During Aenys rule the Faith of the Seven suffered numerous (though unintentional) slights, the final straw was when Aenys in the last year of his reign had his son and heir wed to his daughter. This marriage of incest enraged the Faith and led to the Faith Militant uprising against the Iron Throne. Aenys died later that year, some say illness, others murder.
Due to the scheming of Visenya Targaryen, her son Maegor took the Throne rather then Aenys eldest. Maegor 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 Maegor's reign. During Maegor's reign contruction of the Red Keep was completed, and to preserve its secrets, Maegor had all its builders put to death. Maegor was killed atop the Iron Throne; some say the throne itself killed him.
His successor, Jaehaerys I, ended the Faith uprsing peacefully and brought peace and prosperity to the realm for over fifty years. He was succeeded by his grandson.
King Viserys I Targaryen 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. According to Septon Eustace, Rhaenyra bled after sitting the Iron Throne following the fall of King's Landing, even though she wore armor. Aegon II eventually had Rhaenyra executed, but his rule was short. After his death, Rhaenyra's son Aegon III took the throne and Jaehaera Targaryen, 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 fighting, thus depriving them of their most valuable resource.
Dorne had long been a source of frustration to the Targaryens. Upon taking the throne in 157 AC 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 Dornishmen 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 171 AC 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 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 II Targaryen brought Dorne peacefully into the Seven Kingdoms through a dual marriage pact. Daeron the Good 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 his second-born son, Aerys I, a bookish man who left most of the running of the realm to his Hand, Brynden Rivers. The Second Blackfyre Rebellion was ended at Whitewalls during his rule. Aerys's death without issue let to the crowning of his younger brother, Maekar I Targaryen, 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 in the male line 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 and King Scab because of how frequently he was cut by the Iron Throne. Aerys executed Rickard and Brandon Stark in the throne room and demanded that Jon Arryn surrender Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon to the throne. Robert's Rebellion put an end to the Targaryen Dynasty on the Iron Throne after nearly 300 years. Aerys was cut down by one of his own Kingsguard, Ser Jaime Lannister, who became known as the Kingslayer. Robert was crowned king and the surviving Targaryens fled into exile in Essos.
- Main article: House Baratheon of King's Landing
Lord Robert Baratheon of Storm's End ascended to the Iron Throne in 283 AC after successfully leading the rebellion against the Targaryens which erupted after Aerys's unjust executions of several important lords and other atrocities. The fact that Aerys Targaryen was slain by a Lannister spared Robert from being labelled a kingslayer. The dragon skulls in the throne room were replaced with hunting tapestries.
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 Greyjoy's Rebellion and repatriated the Iron Islands.
A Game of Thrones
King Robert Baratheon's reign comes to end after his wife, Queen Cersei Lannister, arranges his death. The eldest son of Cersei, Joffrey I Baratheon, takes the throne. Robert had acknowledged him as a trueborn son, but the father of Cersei's children is actually her twin, Jaime Lannister. The hunting tapestries which had replaced the dragon skulls are taken down from the throne room.
After Joffrey capriciously orders the beheading of Lord Eddard Stark, the North claims independence and secedes from the Iron Throne. Joffrey being a bastard leads Robert's brothers, Stannis and Renly Baratheon, to put forward their own claims to the Iron Throne.
A Clash of Kings
The Seven Kingdoms are thrown into turmoil during the War of the Five Kings. Renly is assassinated and Stannis is defeated at the Blackwater. The Greyjoys enter the war out of opportunism to re-establish independence for the Iron Islands.
A Storm of Swords
After two years of bitter fighting and the death of King Robb Stark in the Red Wedding, the war is believed to have largely ended. Despite Joffrey's victory, he is poisoned at his own wedding feast in the throne room and his younger brother Tommen Baratheon is crowned in his place. 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.
A Feast for Crows
Following the death of Tywin, Cersei controls the Iron Throne on behalf of her son, the young Tommen. She is arrested by the Faith of the Seven, however. King Euron Greyjoy tells the ironborn they can conquer all of Westeros.
A Dance with Dragons
List of Kings
- 1 AC-37 AC: Aegon I Targaryen, also known as "the Conqueror" and "the Dragon"
- 37 AC-42 AC: Aenys I Targaryen
- 42 AC-48 AC: Maegor I Targaryen, also known as "the Cruel"
- 48 AC-103 AC: Jaehaerys I Targaryen, also known as "the Conciliator" and "the Wise"
- 103 AC-129 AC: Viserys I Targaryen
- 129 AC-131 AC: Aegon II Targaryen, also called "the Usurper"
- 131 AC-157 AC: Aegon III Targaryen, also known as "the Dragonbane"
- 157 AC-161 AC: Daeron I Targaryen, also known as "the Young Dragon"
- 161 AC-171 AC: Baelor I Targaryen, also known as "the Blessed" and "the Beloved"
- 171 AC-172 AC: Viserys II Targaryen
- 172 AC-184 AC: Aegon IV Targaryen, also known as "the Unworthy"
- 184 AC-209 AC: Daeron II Targaryen, also known as "the Good"
- 209 AC-221 AC: Aerys I Targaryen
- 221 AC-233 AC: Maekar I Targaryen
- 233 AC-259 AC: Aegon V Targaryen, also known as "the Unlikely"
- 259 AC-262 AC: Jaehaerys II Targaryen
- 262 AC-283 AC: Aerys II Targaryen, also known as "the Mad King" and "King Scab"
- 283 AC-298 AC: Robert I Baratheon, also called "the Usurper"
- 298 AC-300 AC: Joffrey I Baratheon
- 300 AC-Present: Tommen I Baratheon
- Claimants to the Iron Throne
- 129 AC-130 AC: Rhaenyra Targaryen, also known as "the Realm's Delight", Princess of Dragonstone, the rightful heir to Viserys I Targaryen; she was usurped by her half-brother, Aegon II Targaryen. This lead to the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.
- 196 AC-196 AC: Daemon I Blackfyre, the first of the Blackfyre Pretenders, trying to claim the throne during the First Blackfyre Rebellion.
- 211 AC: Daemon II Blackfyre, plotting to claim the throne during the Second Blackfyre Rebellion. The second of the Blackfyre Pretenders.
- 219 AC: Haegon I Blackfyre, trying to claim the throne during the Third Blackfyre Rebellion. The third of the Blackfyre Pretenders.
- 236 AC: Daemon III Blackfyre, trying to claim the throne during the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. The fourth of the Blackfyre Pretenders.
- 260 AC :Maelys I Blackfyre, trying to claim the throne during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. The fifth and last of the Blackfyre Pretender.
- 283 AC-298 AC: Viserys Targaryen, the Beggar King, styled himself as Viserys III Targaryen; killed by the Dothraki for violating the laws of Vaes Dothrak.
- 298 AC-Present: Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea.
- 298 AC-299 AC: Renly I Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End; killed by a shadow.
- 299 AC-Present: Stannis I Baratheon, Lord of Dragonstone.
- 300 AC-Present: Aegon Targaryen, the son of the late Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
Quotes about the Iron Throne
|“||He spoke truly, it is a monstrous uncomfortable chair. In more ways than one.||”|
|“||I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.||”|
|“||Seat Stannis on the Iron Throne and I promise you, the realm will bleed.||”|
|“||This is war, this is what it looks like, this is the price of the Iron Throne.||”|
|“||They can keep their red castle and their iron chair as well.||”|
|“||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.||”|
|“||By the end the Mad King had become so fearful that he would allow no blade in his presence, save for the swords his Kingsguard wore. His beard was matted and unwashed, his hair a silver-gold tangle that reached his waist, his fingernails cracked yellow claws nine inches long. Yet still the blades tormented him, the ones he could never escape, the blades of the Iron Throne. His arms and legs were always covered with scabs and half-healed cuts.||”|
|“||If Daenerys is no more than a sweet young girl, the Iron Throne will cut her into sweet young pieces.||”|
|“||I will claim the Iron Throne by myself, with your swords and your allegiance.||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ George R.R. Martin: This is what the Iron Throne REALLY looks like
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, Aenys I.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, Maegor I.
- ↑ The Princess and the Queen.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 61, Daenerys.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion.