It's as comfortable to sit on as it looks.
A throne is a ultimately a symbol of wealth and power, like anything else used by royalty.
If you want to make an extra special point about what kind of ruler you are or what your kingdom is like, one way to do it is to make your throne out of some kind of notable material that shows everyone what you're made of by showing them what you sit on.
Does your land have great and coveted natural resources? Sit on a piece of it. Do you have countless beautiful slaves? Sit on a few of them. Are you a conqueror of many kingdoms? Sit on a throne made of your enemies' weapons or worse
See Cool Chair
for non-royal versions of this trope. Though understandably there's still some overlap.
open/close all folders
- Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: As befits the whole "Shinji steadily and unwillingly becoming an Expy of the God Emperor of Mankind" motif, those who follow him give him a throne made of the skull of the Third Angel (it's the page's picture, even). Those who made the thing kind of forgot to check if the Angel wasn't Not Quite Dead, though...
- In the D&D/Harry Potter fanfic Harry Potter and the Natural 20, the D&D wizard Milo looked into the Mirror of Erised and saw himself with power to dwarf the gods, on a throne composed of epic artifacts.
- In Heralds of Valdemar, the throne of the Eastern Empire was made from the personal weapons of many, many, lesser rulers conquered by the Empire.
- The (current) trope image is the Iron Throne in A Song of Ice and Fire. It's an unassuming name for a towering monstrosity made out of hundreds of unsheathed swords, the former property of defeated lords and knights, forged into a chair with the aid of dragonfire. It's uncomfortable, and because the swords were not necessarily blunted first, it's dangerous to sit on—which is entirely the point. Its creator Aegon The Conqueror believed a king should never sit easy on his throne and designed it as a constant reminder of that. The lesson was missed, however; both the last Targaryens and the usurper Robert Baratheon (especially the latter guy) managed to cosy themselves on that thing and forget all troubles. Which led to a bloody civil war in Westeros.
- A statue in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows showed a wizard and a witch sitting on thrones made of live Muggles. (This was while bad guys were triumphant, thankfully.)
- In The Wheel of Time, the Forsaken Graendal is fond of decorations showing contorted in acts of carnal acrobatics. She is especially fond of a chair carved entirely with such figures.
- Frank Herbert's Dune series:
- In Dune the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV has a throne made out of Hagal quartz ("blue-green translucency shot through with streaks of yellow fire").
- In the Dune Messiah Emperor Paul Atriedes uses a throne made out of Hagar emerald. "Hagar" was probably Herbert misremembering "Hagal", and "emerald" could have been derived from "blue green quartz". In other words, this may have been the same throne Shaddam IV used.
- There's also Tad Williams's series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, the first entry of which, The Dragonbone Chair, refers to a throne made of...that's right, dragon bones.
- In the Warrior Cats series, when Tigerstar declares himself leader of both RiverClan and ShadowClan, he has his cats build him the "Bonehill" - a pile of prey bones to sit on so that when he's up there he can look down on everyone else.
- The Ruby Throne of Melnibone from The Elric Saga, which true to its name is carved from a single massive ruby.
- Discworld gives us... guess what?... oh yes, a subversion. The Golden Throne of Ankh-Morpork appears to be made of gold, but in fact it's just painted wood, and rotten wood to boot (that's why no one tries to sit on it anymore, it'll collapse).
- The Big Bad of Harry Harrison's Deathworld 2 has a throne made from rocket-burned recoilless rifles, acquired when he drove off a previous expedition to the planet.
- Older Than Steam: In Journey to the West, the goddess Guanyin makes a throne out of swords and later halbeards to imprison the Red Boy.
- Unsurprisingly given its pedigree (and name), Game of Thrones has the Iron Throne from the novels it was based on. However it's comprised of dozens rather than the hundreds of swords the original text described, and the blades are sheathed. It would have have been ridiculously impractical and expensive to build a prop to that scale and detail, but the resulting Iron Throne is decidedly less terrifyingly awesome and just a really Cool Chair.
- The TBS game show King Of The Nerds has the winner sit on the Throne of Games, a parody of the HBO series Game of Thrones. The throne is made up of various game components.
- TSR's board game Divine Right: A Minarian Legends column in Dragon magazine #50 had a picture of the Goblin king Ockwig's throne, which was made of the horns of mountain goats.
- Emperors of the Third Imperium in Traveller sit on an Iridium Throne.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Forgotten Realms setting has the Wyrmskull Throne, forged from the bones of four blue dragons slain by the ancient dwarven king Taark Shanat. According to legend it was built by Dumathoin, the dwarven god of mining.
- Supplement The Mother of All Treasure Tables. One of the treasures is a wooden throne from some kind of forest kingdom. The throne's legs are carved to look like tree roots, and a depiction of a trunk with many bare branches is carved into its back. The faces of defeated orc and giant chieftains (presumably those of the kingdom's enemies) are carved among the branches. The throne's arms are carved to look like a treant's arms.
- The Golden Throne of Terra, from Warhammer 40,000, is actually a high-tech wonder with that allows the user control of the numerous systems within. Its most recent inclusion was a life-support system that has kept the Emperor in a tenuous state of life for roughly 10,000 years. (Before this, the Emperor was immortal, and was many thousands of years old; the Golden Throne has simply kept him from dying from mortal wounds that can't heal.)
- It also allows the Emperor to operate a psychic "lighthouse" that allows for fairly safe FTL travel, as well as a link to the massive human power supply.
- The most exotic system it includes is a portal to an alien FTL "tunnel" network which provides faster and safer travel than Warp jumps, and accessing the tunnel network was the original purpose for the Golden Throne anyway. Due to a collapse within the tunnels due to catastrophic psychic shock, daemons flooded in and had to be kept at bay by a psychic presence (i.e. the Emperor) in place on the Golden Throne. Fast-forward to the present, and the daemons may still have to be kept at bay, and would invade Terra if the Golden Throne fails (which is implied that it eventually will), and presents one of several ways that the Earth will eventually end within the setting.
- The Brass Throne of the Blood God Khorne sits upon a mountain of skulls, provided by worthy opponents killed by his champions (and quite a few provided by his actual champions as well), and so is referred to as the Skull Throne. It is referenced in the frequently-used Khorne-follower Battle Cry "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!".
- Artifact thrones in Dwarf Fortress can potentially be made out of anything, from bone to turtle shell to solid diamond.
- According to the Omnicidal Maniac page, Zhang Xianzhong had a throne made of the severed ears and feet of his enemies.
- Russia's Ivan the Terrible had a throne made of ivory.
- The Throne of Weapons, though this is a work of art rather than an actual throne.
- Another work of art, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nation's Millennium General Assembly, an ornate set of "thrones" currently displayed at Washington, DC's Smithsonian American Art Museum. The artist, James Hampton, was a night janitor for the General Services Administration (which maintains and manages federal public buildings and properties), and fittingly, the work is made entirely of scraps he found on the job and in junkyards.