You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can't sit on it for long.A throne is 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
- Thor: Vikings: When the Big Bad Harald Jaekelsson sets up shop at the top of the Empire State Building, he uses a throne made of bone.
- In the New 52's Wonder Woman, Hades' throne is actually his father, Cronus, who's chained in place◊.
- Judge Dredd: Judge Death has a throne made out of human bones on his homeworld.
- 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. 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.
- The Harry Potter crack fic Seventh Horcrux, has Lord Voldemort squat in Malfoy Manor, where he sits on a throne made out of the wailing portraits of Malfoy ancestors (portraits are animated and semi-sentient in the Potterverse).
Film - Animated
- In DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, Merlock has a throne made of gigantic thorns.
Film - Live Action
- Clash of the Titans (1981): Calibos has a throne made of bones in his encampment.
- 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.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the changes the villains made when they took over the Ministry of Magic was to replace the statue in the lobby, formerly depicting the magical races living in harmony, to one of a wizard and witch sitting on thrones made of live Muggles.
- In the backstory of The Wheel of Time, a king of Cairhien named Laman decided to cut down the World Tree to make his throne. This proved a monumentally bad idea, as the race who had given the tree to his country were gravely insulted and invaded en masse to punish him. Practically the entire country was razed, and a lot of the surrounding nations as well. Seen in later books, 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 a subversion, of course. Ankh-Morpork has a situation where the Patrician has a humble wooden desk while the great Golden Throne of Ankh-Morpork sits empty. In one novel Lord Vetinari lets Captain Carrot take a closer look at the throne he has decided not to claim - it's nothing but gold leaf over wood so rotten that it'd collapse if someone tried to sit on it. Not much of a chair, but a pretty handy metaphor for Ankh-Morpork herself.
- In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Wonka builds a palace as well as a throne made of chocolate for the Indian prince.
- The Big Bad of Harry Harrison's Deathworld 3 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 halberds to imprison the Red Boy.
- So in other words, the Chinese invented the Iron Throne first?
- The Throne of Man in the Prince Roger series is a subversion: An old, battered, antique command chair from a (space) warship.
- Similarly, in the Vorkosigan Saga, the Imperial Throne of Barrayar is a standard issue military camp stool.
- The Deathstalker series' Empress Lionstone uses a throne with several esper brains built in. They provide a useful Psychic Block Defense, but it's an apt metaphor for the callous, institutionalized, and sometimes terribly foolish exploitation and abuse of espers in the galaxy.
- David Brin's short story "Thor Meets Captain America". When the captured Allied team is taken to meet the Norse Mythology deities who rule the Nazis, the god Odin is seated upon an ebony throne - the dark wood a Foreshadowing of the dark fate that awaits the team.
- 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.
- The Sesame Street parody skit of Game of Thrones, Game of Chairs has a game of musical chairs played with three thrones: one made of golf clubs, one made of table tennis bats, and one made of baseball bats.
Religion and Mythology
- The Bible describes Solomon's awesome throne, which demonstrated just how wealthy and powerful he was.
“Then he made a large throne. It was covered with ivory. And that was covered with fine gold. The throne had six steps. It had a rounded top. The throne had armrests on both sides of the seat. A statue of a lion stood on each side of the throne. Twelve lions stood on the six steps. There was one at each end of each step. Nothing like that had ever been made for any other kingdom.” (1 Kings 10:18-20)
- 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.
- AD&D 1st Edition Kara Tur boxed set. The Emperor of the Shou Lung Empire sits on a throne made of twenty tons of jade. It is engraved with tiny scenes from the reign of each emperor. The scenes appear magically on the throne without outside intervention. It is said that when the throne is completely covered with the engravings, the Empire will end.
- In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, Khorne is a War God said to sit on a mighty brass throne atop a mountain of skulls provided by his champions - either from Worthy Opponents killed in Khorne's name, or from the champions themselves. Hence the Battle Cry "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!"
- In Warhammer 40,000, the God-Emperor of Mankind has been consigned to the Golden Throne for the past ten thousand years, trapped in a state of near-death thanks to its life support systems. Originally the device was intended to access the Webway as part of a plan to make Warp travel obsolete, but catastrophic psychic shock sustained during the Horus Heresy means that now the Emperor's psychic presence is the only thing keeping the Legions of Hell from spilling out of it to ravage Holy Terra. The Golden Throne is also connected to the Astronomicon, a psychic lighthouse that guides starships through the Warp, making it a linchpin for humanity's interstellar empire. As is typical for this setting, the Golden Throne requires the sacrifice of hundreds of psykers each day just to function, and is slowly falling apart because nobody alive knows how it works, much less how to fully repair it.
- Artifact thrones in Dwarf Fortress can potentially be made out of anything, from bone to turtle shell to solid diamond.
- Saints Row IV parodies the Game of Thrones example in its Enter the Dominatrix DLC, which features an S&M club and a throne made of dildos.
- Enter the Gungeon also parodies the Game of Thrones example with the Bullet King boss, who sits on the "Lead Throne", a throne made of guns.
- In the WarCraft series, the Frozen Throne (the Lich King's throne) is made of ice.
- In one of his rare moments of genuine scariness, perpetual Monkey Island villain LeChuck plans in the second game to dip Guybrush in an Acid Pool and then fashion his still-living bones into a chair.
LeChuck: I will call it my screaming chair. Every day I'll sit in it and listen to you scream.
- The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: After Wonderella beats the Devil at a Drinking Contest and takes over hell, she is annoyed that her throne is made of skulls.
Wonderella: Do we have any thrones that aren’t made of skulls. My hair gets caught in their teeth and it bugs me.
Demon: I get sodomized with the business end of a flaming rake twenty-seven times a day.
Wonderella: Yeah but… skulls.
- Zhang Xianzhong was said to have 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 at The British Museum, 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, D.C.'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.