As the show has surpassed the books and the end is nigh, it is time to consider who could end up on the Iron Throne. This article is gender-inclusive, because whoever said a female won’t be seated on that chair of swords when all is said and done? So with that out of the way, we can speculate on who will rule the show when it concludes. At the moment, there are probably more than 20 candidates, but we’ve narrowed the list down to the 10 most likely. Our analysis is made up by judging the character arcs that are being constructed by Mr. Martin, as well as taking into account the way season 6 is unfolding. No doubt many of these characters will die before season 8 episode 10 (the confirmed final episode), but for now, they remain hopeful of victory.
Six seasons in and we’ve only seen 3 kings: Robert, Joffrey and Tommen. That is one Baratheon and two Lannister spawns. But with so many characters gunning for the top job, Tommen’s reign is sure to come to an end sooner rather than later. Will it be one of the highborn children? Will it be a name that has never been royal? Will the Iron Throne, and King’s Landing for that matter, even be standing when the show concludes? In a prophecy, Cersei was told that her three children would die before her and she would die by her younger brother’s hand. The show will include these scenes of death, so that rules out the lioness, but that leaves plenty of names to discuss. Who do you think it will be?
10. Daenerys Targaryen
This is perhaps the most obvious choice. Since day 1, Dany has been trying to assemble an army (and a fleet) to cross the sea and take back what she believes is rightfully hers. Her father, the mad king, was usurped by Robert Baratheon in a battle stretching across Westeros, so it is clear she has revenge on her mind and anger in her heart. With a Dothraki army, three fire-breathing dragons and support far and wide, Dany will soon make a play and assault King’s Landing. But will she survive? What threat do the white walkers pose? Will she marry and become queen, meaning her husband will take the throne for himself? Either way, Dany remains one of the biggest players in the Game. We’ve been waiting for so long to see her get to King’s Landing, so we’re praying it is everything we wanted and more.
9. Bran Stark
The Starks have endured some rough times since their father lost his head under the order of King Joffrey. But they are starting to reassemble, Jon and Sansa have met up, Benjen and Bran are reunited and Rickon remains alive. But the child with the most power is Bran, who can see into the past and apparently influence the future. Young Ned heard him call out, Hodor became Hodor because of his needs, and there is talk about Bran having a hand in driving the old king mad through whispers. He can’t walk, but there is every chance he may cause enough havoc in the past to allow him to sit upon that Iron Throne that everyone desires. It’s better than becoming a tree, after all.
8. Margaery Tyrell
Never trust this pretty-faced femme fatale, because she’s always up to something and is basically a younger version of Cersei. The princess of the Tyrell family has been with three kings (Renly, Joffrey, Tommen) so she clearly wants power and a spot in King’s Landing. She’s sneaky, she’ll make an alliance with anyone and she has the Queen of Thorns as a grandmother who watches her with a keen eye. Margaery isn’t a pushover like many females in the show but is more in the mould of that fiery aforementioned Targaryen. The Tyrells are waiting to own the Iron Throne for themselves, and the episode where their army was ready to destroy the religious followers of the High Sparrow prove that she has control. When the dust settles after the war, don’t be surprised if she’s seated on the chair with a smirk on her face.
7. Sansa Stark
Poor Sansa Stark has been through so much since we first saw her as a young girl at Winterfell. First, she was betrothed to that rotten bastard Joffrey, who took delight in torturing her. Then she was forced into a marriage with Tyrion and while we all love that little guy, to her it was a kick in the face. And then there was the ordeal with her aunt, but that was nothing compared to the brutalities of Ramsay Bolton. Sansa is starting to become less naïve and more involved in the planning of war. She has had the likes of Littlefinger, Ned Stark and Cersei as role models, so by taking parts of each personality she can rule the roost should her brothers die. That red hair has more bite than first thought. But it is hard to see Sansa becoming the outright ruler, perhaps as a Queen is more fitting as she has always desired a loving husband.
6. Tyrion Lannister
Martin’s favourite character is our old friend Tyrion Lannister, so it would be not surprising to see the dwarf finish the series on the Iron Throne. He has been the hand of the king previously and basically led King’s Landing into battle while Joffrey cowered in a corner. He has the knowledge and the friends to lead Westeros, but there is still a big chance others will step over him for the throne leaving him to assume a role on the king’s council. Tyrion’s talents are deception and drinking, which probably don’t make him the ideal leader of a nation. Nevertheless, this is Game of Thrones, and generally the ‘little’ guy is who everyone roots for. With scars, dead family members and a ransom on his head, Tyrion (like Sansa) has been through enough, but perhaps he may get the final laugh.
5. Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish)
There is absolutely no doubt that Littlefinger wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms. He has been planning his moves well before most of the main characters were born. If someone in power dies, you can bet that Petyr has added some sort of influence. Just think of Joffrey and how nobody expected him to be involved. Littlefinger has a soft spot for the Starks, so he is a likely counsellor, but unlike Tyrion, he desires power. If it was up to him, everyone threatening for the crown would die and he would pick it up off a severed head and sit on the Iron Throne. Others don’t see him as a true threat (other than Ned, who lost his head), but that smirk and cunning look prove his mind is always ticking. He has his hand in the Arryn family, a hand in the Stark family, a hand in the Lannister family and probably a hand in everything else. Watch this man closely.
4. Theon Greyjoy
Poor old Theon was the first true victim of Ramsay Bolton in the series (that we saw, at least). He was once so proud and dreamed of power, but when reduced to a penis-less Reek, his optimism and need for titles fell away. Thin, a shell of his former self and backing his sister for the Iron Islands, Theon looks unlikely to make a play for the Iron Throne, but is he starting to get some of his mojo back? Without the lust for women, Theon can now focus on getting to Dany and making an allegiance. It’s unlikely he will be able to strike a marriage with her, but if she happens to be slain in a big battle he can take the army for his own and do whatever he pleases. Once again, you would think Martin desires surprises and ending with this lad on the chair definitely has the shock value that he looks for. We’ve seen Theon be capable of leading, but can he regain his strength?
Oh, how the spider weaves his little webs and hears his whispers. Varys, like Tyrion and Littlefinger, is a thinker. He is perhaps the smartest man in Westeros and has the most connections. Does he even want the Throne? Probably not, but as a man of knowledge, he could rule better than most. He can’t make heirs, he isn’t really a part of any great family and his is renowned for being the assistance, yet he remains a chance to take the chair for himself. Varys doesn’t reveal too much, even to his closest allies. We’ve come to like him through his relationship with Tyrion. While Dany is his ideal ruler, those eyes suggest something more could be in the works. Could he be fooling everyone?
2. Rickon Stark
The youngest Stark hasn’t been a key feature of the series at any point, but he’s back in the frame and will likely be rescued by his siblings. Rickon is a Stark, he can walk (unlike Bran), he’s not a bastard (Jon), and he has spent time in the wild. If the Starks are making a comeback, Rickon could be the face of it all. Highborn, he may be the people’s choice also. But at the moment, he is in the hands of the greatest villain the series has seen. What will Ramsay do to him before Sansa and Jon get there? Will he become another Reek without a penis, with the chance to create heirs ruined? Of all the characters on this list, Rickon knows the least about peace. From a young age he’s dealt with war and deceit, so he will be more cautious than most leaders. Given a strong council and a respectful Queen in the mould of his mother and Rickon could be the favorite among fans.
1. Jon Snow/Stark/Targaryen
Word is that Jon is a Targaryen. He’s come back from the dead, he commands the Wildlings and he knows of the threats that are coming over the wall. At some point, he will learn about his true parents and if R+L=J, then he easily has the biggest claim to the throne. Dany won’t be happy, of course, but at least she will have a family member leading the country. Jon is the protagonist of the series, make no mistake. Robb didn’t get a resurrection, Ned didn’t get a resurrection and Stannis didn’t get a resurrection. Fans cried foul over the stabbing of Jon. They want him to win the Game of Thrones. While it would be slightly predictable, this is an ending that makes sense. A giant battle of dragons and walkers, then another battle between men. The winner will sit on the chair, take the crown and rule in the final scene and when that happens, do you really want it to be anyone other than Jon?