Forged at the order of Aegon the Conqueror, the Iron Throne is the throne upon which the King of Westeros sits. The throne itself sits on a pedestal in the Great Hall of the Red Keep in the city of King’s Landing. Whoever occupies the throne is called the |King of the Andals and the First men and the Protector of the Realm|. The King is supposed to hold audiences and allot justice from atop the Throne. Besides the kings themselves, only their Hands may sit on the Throne. This is a privilege which does not extend to the regents. The phrase ‘Iron Throne’ is also used as to refer to the monarchy that rules the Seven Kingdoms and the authority of the monarchy.
::: Background :::
Aegon Targaryen I conquered six of the seven independent kingdoms of Westeros. While conquering, Aegon gave an unusual command to all the lords he defeated. He commanded them to surrender the swords that were defeated in the battles. These swords were melted down by the fiery breath of Balerion the Dread. Then after fifty-nine days of hammering the swords were beaten and bent into The Iron Throne. The throne was allegedly forged from a thousand swords. In the books, the Throne is actually built by a thousand swords but as Lord Pytr Baelish did the counting for us, in the series the actual number of swords is less than two hundred. Since the construction of the Red Keep, the Iron Throne has been located on a high platform in the Great Hall.
::: History :::
The Targaryen Dynasty
The rule of the Iron throne also began with Aegon’s proclaimation of himself being the only king in Westeros. However, at that time the Iron Throne’s rule was limited to the 6 kingdoms among the 7 as Dorne did not swore fealty to Aegon Targaryen yet. So the North, the Rock, the Stormlands, the Riverlands and the Reach were the kingdoms ruled from the Iron Throne.
Dorne in the later years did came into the fold but the beginning years of Targaryen reign were uneasy and full of turmoil. The Iron Throne faced its first rebellion after the death of Aegon Targaryen during the reign of his son Aenys I. Aenys was born of incest and so considered a weakling. When he ascended the throne, several rebellions broke out all over Westeros. Westeros’s custom did not support incestuous relationships. Though Aegon Targaryen had incestuous relations as well, the Westeroshi people didn’t seem to have the will to rebel against their conqueror. But when Aenys I wed his Son and heir to his daughter all hell broke lose. The scatterd rebellions shaped themselves as the Faith was enraged by this event and that led to the Faith Militant Uprising against the Throne.
Then the Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen schemed to put her son on the throne. She succeeded at it and Maegor took the throne rather than the late king Aenys’s eldest son. Maegor was a harsh ruler and so popularly known as Maegor the Cruel. He responded to the Faith’s rebellion ferociously resulting in the deaths of thousands from the both side. The carnage lasted all along Maegor’s reign. The Red Keep was completed in his reign. To keep its construction a secret, Maegor the cruel brutally killed all the builders. Maegor died atop the Iron Throne; legend has it that the Iron Throne itself killed him.
After Maegor’s death, King Aenys’s last surviving son Jaehaerys ascended the Throne. He ended the Faith’s uprising peacefully. It had been almost fifty years that the Throne was facing and dealing with the Faith Militant’s rebellion. Jaehaerys brought peace and prosperity to the realm and later was suceeded by his grandson Viserys Targaryen I.
Viserys Targaryen I reigned over a time of peace and prosperity but upon his death there was a dispute over the succession. The dispute was between his eldest daughter and designated heiress Rhaenyra and his younger son Aegon. The dispute led to the infamous civil war of House Targaryen, The Dance of the Dragons. The civil war ended with Aegon II having Rhaenyra executed and ascended the throne. His rule was short. He was killed by poison half a year later.
But the real conflict was resolved and the continuity of the Targaryen line on the throne was assured when Rhaenyra’s son Aegon III took the throne and married Jaehaera Targaryen, The daughter of Aegon II. Though the problem was resolved, the civil war caused a great damage to the Targaryen’s power. The fratricidal fighting deprived them of their most valuable resource as a number of dragons had died during the civil war. Aeogon III became known as Aegon Dragonbane as the last of the Targaryen dragons died in his reign and he brooded throughout it.
After him the Throne passed on to Daeron I. He occupied the throne at the age of fourteen and almost immediately invaded Dorne. He intended to finish Aegon the Conqueror’s work and unify all the seven kingdoms. He succeeded but the campaign was a costly adventure thanks to the rebellious Dornishmen. The young King Daeron spent ten thousand men taking Dorne and lost another fifty thousand holding it. He died at the age of eighteen after the Dornishmen rose in rebellion.
The throne was then passed on to Daeron’s brother Baelor the Blessed who was the most peaceful king in the history. He was also a pious man and responsible for the construction of the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing. He died in 171 AC and was succeeded by the tenth Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne; Viserys II.
Viserys reigned only for a year but it is known that he ruled truly. He is also known to preserve the land much longer for he had been Hand during Aegon III’s reign and also in the reigns of Daeron and Baelor.
Viserys’s son, Aegon IV reigned after his father’s death. Aegon IV is known to be the worst king in the history of the seven kingdoms. As his popular name suggests Aegon the Unworthy was actually unworthy of ruling and also planted the seeds for the Blackfyre Rebellions unintentionally. In his deathbed he legitimized all his bastards and eventually the bastards rose to rebel against the throne.
Dorne was brought into the fold peacefully by Aegon IV’s trueborn son Daeron Targaryen II. He made the seven kingdoms a whole through a dual marriage pact with Dorne. He was known as Daeron the good and won first of the Blackfyre Rebellions. The first Blackfyre rebellion ended with the death of Daeron the good’s half brother Daemon Blackfyre. Daeron died in the Great Spring Sickness.
The throne was then passed on to his second son, the bookish king Aerys I. Being naive Aerys I left the running of the realm to his Hand Brynden Rivers. The Throne faced the second and third Blackfyre Rebellion during his rule. After the death of Aerys came another peaceful king; his younger brother Maekar Targaryen I. Maekar ruled a dozen years and most of them were peaceful.
Aegon the unlikely, fifth of his name followed Maekar. Aegon V was known as unlikely because he was the fourth son of a fourth son. There was a long line of succession before him. During his reign the Fourth Blackfyr Rebelliion was put down. He died in the tragic events of Summerhall.
Aegon the unlikely was followed by the sickly Jaehaerys II. Jaehaerys was Aegon’s second son. His reign was short. Jaehaerys was frail but nonetheless wise and he ruled well in his three years of short reign. During his reign House Blackfyre was finally eradicated. The final Blackfyre rebellion against the Throne was known as the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
Jaehaerys was followed by his son Aerys II, popularly known as the Mad King. Aerys II was also known as King Scab as he frequently got cut by the Iron Throne. Aerys due to his madness executed Rickard and Brandon Stark in the Throne room and demanded the surrender of Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon to the Throne from Jon Arryn. Aerys’s execution of the Starks and his son Rhaegar’s alleged abduction of Lyanna Stark caused the eruption of the biggest and only successful rebellion against the Throne; known as Robert’s Rebellion. The rebellion put an end to the long and tiring Targaryen dynasty on the Throne. After 300 years, for the first time after its creation the throne was occupied by someone other than a Targaryen. Aerys was executed by one of his kingsguard Ser Jaime Lannister. Robert Baratheon was crowned as King and became the first Baratheon to rule the seven kingdoms. The surviving Targaryens fled into exile in Essos.
The Baratheon Dynasty
Robert Baratheon ascended the throne in 283 AC. He was the only rebellion in the history of the Throne to win it. Six years after his ascension, Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands led a rebellion against the Throne. He believed that Robert’s rule was insecure. He was proven wrong as the same force and coalition that won Robert’s Rebellion put an end to the Greyjoy Rebellion.
Robert occupied the throne for 17 years. His reign comes to an end as his wife Cersei Lannister conspires and arranges his death. The eldest son, Joffrey Baratheon ascends the throne. Though Joffrey was not his son at all, Robert, ignorant of the fact acknowledges him as his trueborn son. Therefore Joffrey is crowned as king. When honor-bound Lord Eddard Stark declares the truth, he is captured and imprisoned at Cersei and Joffrey’s orders. Later when Joffrey provokingly gets Eddard Stark beheaded, the entire North rises against the Throne. They claim independence and revokes the Throne’s dominion over North. At the same time, the truth about Joffrey’s birthright leads Robert’s brothers Stannis and Renly to put their own claims forward to the Throne. The Throne faces turmoil during the War of the Five Kings. Renly is assassinated by his own brother Stannis and later Stannis is defeated at the Blackwater Bay. Being utterly opportunists, the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands enters the war to re-establish their independence.
After the defeat of Stannis at blackwater bay, the seven kingdom’s integrity was only and largely challenged by Robb Stark. As he didn’t claim the Iron Throne rather the independence of The North; the Throne’s claim was somewhat stable. Eventually as a result of Tywin Lannister’s plot, Robb Stark is killed at the Red Wedding and the war is believed to have largely ended. Despite the Victory, Joffrey is killed at his own wedding feast being poisoned.
Shortly after his death, his younger brother Tommen Baratheon is crowned in his place. Tommen being very naive, is manipulated and controlled by a number of parties. Cersei, the Queen Regent and the Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister claws in at first. But eventually Margeary Tyrell being betrothed and later married to Tommen truly controls him.
After the death of Tywin, Cersei holds the Iron Throne as regent on behalf of her son Tommen. However to get rid of the Tyrells she re-establishes the Faith Militant. They capture Margeary and Loras Tyrell and hold them captive. But eventually Cersei’s plan fires back at herself. She is also arrested by them and later humiliated. In the meantime Tommen commands the Throne and fails to free his Queen or mother from the Faith Militants. When Cersei diminishes the Faith Militants and the Tyrells all together, baffled Tommen takes his own life thus ending the Baratheon dynasty.
The Lannisters on the Throne
It’s tricky to address the Lannisters occupying the Throne. In truth Joffrey and Tommen were both born of incestuous relation between Cersei and Jaime Lannister. So it makes both Joffrey and Tommen – Lannisters. But the royal decree never officially declared them as bastards. Consequently they are included in the Baratheon dynasty.
As this technicality suggests, Cersei Lannister is the first of the Lannisters to occupy the throne. Currently the Throne is in her possession.
In his blog George R. R. Martin stated that the appearance of the Throne in the series does not match the description in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. He said that he intends the Iron Throne to be intimidating. While describing the throne’s look in the books, he referenced Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias”: ‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
He also explained that the physical proportions of the Iron Throne in the books are simply unfilmable due to their massive size. In the novels, the throne is said to be over forty feet in height. Even the actual chair part, where the king is meant to sit is located over twenty feet off of the ground. An entire flight of stairs are there to help reach the sit. In 2013, Martin pointed out that a painting by Marc Simonetti comes closer than any previous artwork as Martin envisions it in the books.