American Horror Story and Game of Thrones have more in common than just being hit TV shows: Amazing thrones, of course!
But did you know that AHS' production designer Mark Worthington actually was up for the job of production designer for Game of Thrones? And that the killer voodoo throne he created for Angela Basset (Marie Laveau) ended up becoming something of an homage to the job he didn't get?
Worthington admits that the finished Coven throne, which he calls the "Fan of Bones," does "seem to echo the sword throne...Marie Laveau's own little King's Landing if you will." But initially, it was inspired by portraits of Elizabeth I. "Elizabeth I is frequently portrayed with a giant ruff which frames her entire head," he explains. "It gives her a particular sense of queenliness and power. I thought some version of this for the chair would be interesting and slightly subversive and more practically, help frame Angela (Marie) in an interesting way."
The throne was also specifically designed with Marie's (Basset) ideology in mind. "We came up with the idea that the base chair should actually be something of European design—from the 19th century—something with some history, but completely overlaid with voodoo decoration to the point where you almost don't recognize it anymore—as if Marie Laveau is consciously obliterating White/European culture."
And fun fact for Game of Thrones fans: The hit HBO series would have looked incredibly different if Worthington had gotten the gig. So what went wrong?
"I flew out for a Game of Thrones interview and I think I screwed the pooch," he recalls with a laugh, "Because I came in with some different ideas about how to approach it. Because to me, it's like, it's Dungeons and Dragons, it's stone castles, it's the usual kind of medieval clichés you always get, and I was like, eh… So I brought in Norwegian Stave churches, which are like all wood and tall and weird and amazing. They loved it but they were like, 'You know, in the end, we have an audience to serve, and that wouldn't really work for HBO.' There's a certain set of expectations about that kind of fantasy world that you have to fulfill."
Worthington adds that he thinks the production designer who got GOT, Gemma Jackson, "has done an amazing job with that show." And of course he couldn't be happier with his own path, working with Ryan Murphy on all three seasons of AHS, noting that Ryan is "really open to contrasts and those things that would otherwise seemingly be unexpected. Stuff that's different and a a little off the beaten path."
To each his throne!
Check out the season finale of American Horror Story: Coven tonight on FX! And check out our predictions for who will be the next Supreme!