Having to wait for over an year, all fans of Game of Thrones have now seen the final episode of the seventh season of the fantasy series. And while Ed Sheeran’s brief cameo in the new season’s premier confused the audience, the finale offered even more than expected. Yet, the battle for the Iron Throne continues and will keep all fans hungry for new episodes, and new alliances and bloodshed.
The Iron Throne, constructed by Aegon the Conqueror, the first king of the Seven Kingdoms, and made from the swords surrendered by his enemies, just as the name suggests, is made of metal, twisted in a uncomfortable asymmetry, as no king shall ever sit easy, and obviously, also not hold the throne for long.
A throne has always been a symbol and an attribute of ultimate power and ruling. The term entered English circa 12th century from Old French, coming from Latin thronus, and deriving from Greek thronos ‘elevated seat, chair’, where the Ancient Greeks had their Dios Thronous, the seat of Zeus in the centre of the world, where Heaven and Earth connect.
And naturally, the term first referred to the seat of Gods and Saints in Heaven, the chair from which divine judgements and commands are made. Appearing in British print in the late 12th-century allegorical homily Sawles Warde (refuge of the souls), where the term describes the seat of honour assigned to the Virgin Mary in Heaven, followed by The Wycliffite Bible: “Therefore go we with Crist to the trone of his grace.”
The throne, as a symbol of human power, came to rule British vocabulary in the late 14th century, as a ceremonial chair occupied by a pope or a bishop, as recorded in the Northern Homily Cycle: Theophilus, circa 1390, and as a sovereign power or authority, John Trevisa writing in his
Polychronicon – a Latin chronicle of theology and history – on the throne taken by Artaxerxes I of Persia after the murder of his father Xerxes and his elder brother Darius.
England’s Royal Throne was mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry VI, and the 1651 Nathaniel Bacon’s The continuation of An historical discourse, of the government of England, until the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth followed the reign of numerous British monarchs on the throne.
The first throne room to make it to the newspapers, is the one at Carlton House, when in 1787 The Whitehall Evening Post wrote on “some alterations in the throne-room,” commissioned by George, Prince of Wales, who was granted the possession of Carlton House and given £60,000 to refurbish it.
Those of us, who have no blue blood, have to rely on own finances when decide to refurbish their throne rooms (a colloquial humorous term for a room containing a toilet, first recorded in print in James Joyce’s Ulysse, 1922: “In a Greek watercloset he breathed his last… With beaded mitre and with crozier, stalled upon his throne”)