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The Iron Throne, and The Trident River in A Song of Ice and Fire

The Iron Throne

The Iron Throne

The Iron Throne

The Iron Throne is the main subject of the first storyline. It represents;

  • The difficulty of ruling

It is said that there were sharp edges on the back of the throne to make the one sitting on it have an upright posture before his/her people as a king should always sit still to show confidence. A chair that could kill a man can be explained in two ways, in the literal sense, because it is surrounded by numerous sharp metals that can kill any inexperienced holder, and in the figurative sense, here a chair does not refer to the actual object, but the position. A king should always be careful about who to trust if he intends to rule long. For example, Aerys II Targaryen was killed by Jaime Lannister, his own Hand.

The Iron Throne was full of traps for the unwary. The songs said it had taken a thousand blades to make it, heated white-hot in the furnace breath of Balerion the Black Dread. The hammering had taken fifty-nine days. The end of it was this hunched black beast made of razor edges and barbs and ribbons of sharp metal; a chair that could kill a man, and had, if the stories could be believed. (A Game of Thrones: 426)

Robert, I Baratheon is the current king, and with these lines, he shows his regret for becoming the king. And now he’d rather wish to be dead than a king because that’s what losing at the Trident meant for Rhaegar Targaryen.

I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one. There are nights I wish we had lost at the Trident. (A Game of Thrones: 46)
—Robert I Baratheon to Eddard Stark

  • King’s Justice

The King's Justice is associated with the supreme executioner of the realm, tasked with executing any person sentenced to death by order of the king or the Hand of the King, who speaks with the king's voice, and with an ideal justice system that people put a strong trust on. Both of them are directly connected to the Throne.

At times he even sat upon the Iron Throne to dispense king’s justice. (A Game of Thrones: 47)

As if it is not possible to establish justice from anywhere but the Iron Throne.

Joffrey sat on his Iron Throne and dispensed what it pleased him to call justice. (A Game of Thrones: 677)

  • Power and the desire of gaining it

The Iron Throne has immense power, and from the very beginning of the story, we see several claimants who are more than willing to take the Throne, as holding the Throne means holding the Seven Kingdoms.

Synecdoche: “We will have it all back someday, sweet sister,” he would promise her. Sometimes his hands shook when he talked about it. “The jewels and the silks, Dragonstone and King’s Landing, the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms, all they have taken from us, we will have it back.” (A Game of Thrones: 33)
—Viserys Targaryen to Daenerys Targaryen

In the last sentence, we have the proof of the previously stated idea; and (conjunction) is used to connect two equally important words or expressions; the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms.

Viserys Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen

Viserys Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen

The height of the Iron Throne gave Joffrey a better vantage point than anyone else in the hall. (A Game of Thrones: 569)

Another sentence that describes the power and privilege of the Iron Throne; a better vantage point than anyone else in the hall full of many lords and representatives from other houses. Still, it underlines the high position of the Throne and the influence it possesses over others.

Daenerys Targaryen’s life goal is to take the Throne. And a lot of candidates put it above all else, even above their own lives reluctant to stop as long as they are alive:

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” (A Game of Thrones: 448)
—Cersei Lannister to Eddard Stark

Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister

Meanwhile, some people pay more attention to more life-threatening concerns, the Others reducing the importance and power of the Throne.

When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits on the Iron Throne?
—Jeor Mormont to Jon Snow

The Trident River

The Trident is the most famous river in Westeros, which symbolizes a spot of history-changing events. Robert killed Rhaegar at the Trident winning the Throne:

“Do you remember the Trident, Your Grace?”
“I won my crown there. How should I forget it?” (A Game of Thrones: 111)
—Robert I Baratheon and Eddard Stark

The waters of the Trident ran red around the hooves of their destriers as they circled and clashed, again and again, until at last a crushing blow from Robert’s hammer stove in the dragon and the chest beneath it. (A Game of Thrones: 44)

The Trident River

The Trident River

Arya fights Joffrey in the same place and throws Joffrey’s sword into the river. Through this fighting, the children divide the Stark and Lannister houses by bringing the tensions between them into the open. This incident later serves as a basis for Arya’s development into a strong character.

Arya whirled and heaved the sword into the air, putting her whole body into the throw. The blue steel flashed in the sun as the sword spun out over the river. It hit the water and vanished with a splash. (A Game of Thrones: 144)

The Trident River

The Trident River

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