If you locked Mel Brooks and Monty Python in a room, The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood is the fourth wall breaking, family friendly spoof you would get.
Despite taking place in the 13th century, the show contains humorous anachronisms, pop culture references, and British comedy wackiness. Remember the coconut shells in place of horses in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail? Of course, you do! But just in case you don’t here’s a gif reminder.
In this tale, Robin’s Merry Men carry wooden spoons instead of swords. They don’t even notice the difference when squaring off against the sheriff’s well armed men.
For all those reasons, we decided early in preproduction that it would be funny if Prince John sat on the Iron Throne given the current popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Imagine if we play the opening theme when the throne is first revealed. Dun dun dun-dun-dun-dun…
Making the decision to build the throne was easy. Making the throne a reality less so. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin describes the Iron Throne being built from 1,000 surrendered swords melted together by dragon fire.
Luckily the internet is awash of detailed images that I could use to base our design. Our reproduction needed to look similar enough so that people would get the joke but not incur the wrath of HBO’s White Walker legal department.
Unfortunately I was short on Valerian steel and fresh out of dragon fire.
A thousand swords, even fake ones, were a tall order. I was hoping to get away with far fewer made from lauan using some mass production tricks.
I started with a sheet of lauan, which I cut into five inch wide strips. I thought it might be a good idea for both construction and aesthetic purposes to have swords of various lengths and design.
I cut the strips of lauan into 24″ and 36″ and traced the different toy swords I brought from home on the wood.
Within a few hours I had a fully stocked armory since I was cutting the swords stacked nine deep. Much of the remaining scrap had enough of a sword like appearance that I saved it to help build the famous throne.
With close to 300 swords and sword pieces in hand, I needed a throne to attach them. This part didn’t need to be fancy just a sturdy high back chair like structure.
I also lucked out because I didn’t have to met the usual build requirements that it be capable of holding four 200 pound boys but light enough for a 90 pound girl to move around.
For the throne’s structure, I turned to my traditional stage building materials of 2x4s and plywood.
I realize at this point it looked more like a vintage electric chair than iconic throne. I wasn’t in any hurry to show people this stage of the project either. When asked what it was, it was hard to say, “Iron Throne!”
Before many people could see it, I quickly moved to the next phase which was using thin sheets of plywood that I could bend to begin contouring the throne from boxy square to a imposing mass of swords.
With the lauan added, the edges of the throne soften. to the throne.
Next I began to attach the swords. I started by installing the incomplete sword pieces. These were more for adding volume and filling in the background. With the scrap swords in place I added the completed swords trying to match the pattern as seen in HBO’s version.
I started with back of the chair and then moved to the lower portions. Doing the sides proved challenging as I tried to make them somewhat symmetrical.
The last thing I added before sending it for paint were a few plastic swords. There are several places near the arm rest where the sword’s hilt extends beyond the throne. A flat piece of lauan in this location would spoil the illusion.
With the plastic swords in place, the throne can be sent to the painters. Personally, I can’t wait to see how it looks after our talented art team works their magic turning this plywood chair into the Iron Throne.
Cue the music.
Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun dun dun dun dun dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun dun dun dun dun…
I’ll update the post once the throne is painted. Stay tuned.
A few weeks later the Art Club started painting the Iron Throne.
By the end of the week the Art Club had finished a majority of the painting with just detail work remaining.
With the addition of some metallic paint and a painted platform, the Iron Throne is complete. That should be enough reason to come see the performance.
Finished product under the lights.