Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin has taken to his Livejournal (via) to let HBO know they really fucked up with the Iron Throne, because it's supposed to be like thousands of swords and super awesome. According to the author, the above artwork, painted by Marc Simonetti, is a much closer representation to what's in his head when he's writing all the most exciting sitting scenes. Martin explained:
"This Iron Throne is massive. Ugly. Assymetric. It's a throne made by blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes... a symbol of conquest... it has the steps I describe, and the height. From on top, the king dominates the throne room. And there are thousands of swords in it, not just a few.
"This Iron Throne is scary. And not at all a comfortable seat, just as Aegon intended."
Martin added that "From now on, THIS will be the reference I give to every other artist tackling a throne room scene," which will likely be a pretty helpful improvement. Up to now, his only reference has been this: