Mar 27 2013 1:00pm

Who Actually Deserves to Win the Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

When you play the game of thrones, so goes the saying, you win or you die. So far the HBO series (and the books, certainly) have not shied away from imbuing that phrase with harsh truth. At the end of the first season of Game of Thrones, four kings stood tall in an attempt to supplant the fifth. By the end of season two, at least two of those kings had been swept from the field, and we shall almost certainly see what lays in store for another in season three. And while kings clash, a queen and her dragons burn their way westwards….

While we root for the characters that we want to see take the throne, the show and the books have busied themselves with showing us the kind of ruler each candidate might be, should they emerge triumphant.

We might want Robb or Daenerys to take the crown, but would either of them actually make a good ruler for Westeros?

Below, I’ll list out the various candidates for the Iron Throne based on Westeros’ system of inheritance—with the occasional overthrow sprinkled in—along with the pros and cons of their rule. This will include spoilers for the first two seasons of the HBO show. You’ll be warned when spoilers for further seasons and books show up. Keep an eye out for the bolded “stop scrolling, spoilers past this point” line.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win Joffrey Bratheon

Joffrey Baratheon

Claim: The (supposed) firstborn son of the previous king, Robert Baratheon.

Pros: He has a family with a vested interest in protecting him and smoothing out his errors. Tywin and Tyrion Lannister are exceptionally good administrators, able to politically outmaneuver their foes, turn away armies at their gates, and maintain the status quo for their citizens. The series wouldn’t have even gotten past the first book had their plans been allowed to run smoothly and not been messed up by Joffrey essentially photobombing Ned Stark’s pardon.

Cons: Oh my god EVERYTHING. Joffrey is a psychotic little devil with no foresight and no ability to see beyond what might amuse him. At best, one endures his rule. Although so far, he and his family are winning.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win Stannis Baratheon

Stannis Baratheon

Claim: The eldest brother of the previous king, Robert Baratheon.

Pros: He’s dedicated to law and to the stability that it provides. He provides for those under his rule and punishes those who deserve it, regardless of rank.

Cons: He’s almost entirely rigid in his standards, views the world strictly in black and white, and cannot conceive of why anyone would see things differently. If you are wronged under his rule, he will make it right, but he is without sympathy, empathy, or mercy. A Westeros under Stannis’ rule would be a dour place, and odds are Stannis wouldn’t last long before being betrayed and unseated.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win Renly Baratheon

Renly Baratheon

Claim: Youngest brother of the previous king, Robert Baratheon, and inheritor to House Baratheon.

Pros: He has an instant appeal to people and seems to genuinely want to do right by them, even if he doesn’t know how he would go about accomplishing such a task.

Cons: Super dead! Also, his rule would sour quickly unless he had an exceptionally able cabinet around him to take care of the actual administration of the kingdom. (Which he might have had in the Tyrells.)

He’s also basically a self-absorbed playboy, but honestly, that’s not the worst trait for the rulers in this list.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win Gendry

Gendry, Edric Storm, or any other bastards of Robert

Claim: Baseborn son of the former king, Robert Baratheon.

Pros: Edric Storm and Gendry have the strongest actual claim to the throne. As would any of Robert’s other male bastards.

Cons: That’s all they have, though. Edric Storm hasn’t even been acknowledged in the show and Robert’s illegitimate sons are blacksmiths or soldiers or brothel-house boys—not rulers and not people accustomed to the political games that the various houses play with each other. For all we know, Gendry is the only one of Robert’s bastards left alive, and it’s debatable as to who would rally to his banner should he declare himself the legitimate son of the former king.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win Robb Stark

Robb Stark

Claim: Robb has no true claim, but he could marshal enough military might to unseat Joffrey Baratheon by force. And as of the beginning of Game of Thrones season three he’s marching east.

Pros: Ned and Catelyn have raised their boy well. He’s a symbol to his people, good-hearted, and he often openly, publicly takes the advice of his bannermen, ensuring their continued loyalty. He’s also more aware than Ned was of the political games that one must play to achieve one’s goal. He’s fair, adheres to the law but knows when to regret it, and appealing in the same manner that Renly was to his people.

Cons: There are none loyal to him beyond the Riverlands and the North and while he’s more amenable to playing the game of thrones than his father was, he has to be actively reminded to do so. He still thinks a leader’s greatest strength lay on the battlefield and in being straightforward and honest—which would win him the throne, but wouldn’t allow him to hold it. Robb Stark would be a good ruler, but a predominantly defenseless one. He’d probably be better off going home and preparing for the coming winter.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen

Claim: Only living offspring of the Targaryen family, the Westeros-ruling dynasty that was unseated by Robert Baratheon.

Pros: Her claim to the throne comes before any of the Baratheons (supposed or not), and she’s trying to build an army to legitimize that claim. Thanks to her dragons, she’s a larger-than-life figure who inspires great interest in those around her—an interest that she uses for her own power-gathering ends. Most importantly, she actually comes off as being fated to rule.

Cons: Daenerys doesn’t actually have much experience with ruling and she doesn’t have an army anymore, now that the Dothraki have abandoned her. Even if she did have an army, her approach thus far to building power has been to make demands of others without offering them anything in return (except “fire and blood,” which is not the best motivator…). It remains to be seen whether she can actually balance the demands of any allies or supporters, let alone those of a continent she’s never visited.

She also has no advocates in Westeros, meaning she’d have to take it by force. By the end of the series, Daenerys could easily become a tyrant.



Stop scrolling.

Spoilers past this point!



Season three and four of Game of Thrones, along with the later books of the Song of Ice and Fire series, have given us more information to consider about the above candidates, while also tossing out a few new candidates for the throne. We’ll take a look at those next. Full spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire books.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Myrcella or Tommen Lannister

Claim: Only living offspring of the former king, Robert Baratheon. Currently holding the throne.

Pros: Tommen is currently the king of Westeros, with Kevan Lannister and a small cabinet ruling the country until he comes of age. Tommen is an admittedly sweet boy, with none of the sadistic qualities of Joffrey, and although the Lannister family is fragmented and Kevan newly dead at the end of ADwD, Jaime has since proven himself an effective leader and may end up taking the reins of power, controlling the throne which his own actions left vacant years ago.

Cons: Now that Varys has declared his loyalty to the Targaryen claims and offed Kevan, Tommen is little more than a puppet ruler. Jaime’s ability to rule sensibly has grown considerably in the last couple books, but he’s still out in the field and isolated. Cersei has been effectively removed from power. Further, Tommen hasn’t shown any interest in ruling.

Still, this situation might provide a more effective (and just) rule than anything we’ve seen in the books so far.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Jon Snow

Claim: We don’t know Jon’s parentage, but if he’s the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, then his claim would match or even supercede Daenerys’.

Pros: Jon is a proven and effective leader, having led the Night’s Watch in battle against the wildlings and the Others, as well as successfully outmaneuvering Stannis and Melisandre’s takeover while integrating the wildling population back into Westeros. His time on the Wall has made him hard and sensible, but he is not without compassion.

Cons: He got stabbed, like, a lot at the end of A Dance With Dragons so it’s debatable as to whether Jon is around anymore. And even if he’s still alive, a contingent of the Night’s Watch has obviously rebelled against his rule in pursuit of their own self interests. Not a good sign should he somehow find himself on the Iron Throne.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Aegon Targaryen/“Young Griff”

Claim: Thought dead but apparently not? Recently revealed in A Dance With Dragons, Young Griff claims to actually be Aegon Targaryen. If that’s true then his claim to the throne may come first, despite Jon’s parentage and Daenerys’ superior power base.

Pros: Early evidence suggests that he really is Aegon Targaryen and that there are those in Westeros with a vested interest in restoring him to the throne (namely Varys and the Conningtons). So he has support and a growing army currently heading north to King’s Landing.

Cons: Seriously, who is this guy? We don’t really know anything about him or how he would rule. Even if he takes King’s Landing, does he expect to be able to stand up to Auntie Daenerys and her Huge Dragons? Would he even want to fight that battle, or would he cede the throne instead, or perhaps provide Daenerys with an equivalent title? Would they rule together?


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Tyrion Lannister

Claim: None.

Pros: As stated above, he’s really good at ruling behind the scenes. And the fact that he’s not dead yet must mean George R. R. Martin has something else in mind for him. It could be that by the end of the series all of the above characters exhaust themselves vying for the throne, leaving a bewildered but duty-conscious Tyrion behind.

Cons: He has no claim and he’s never been beloved by the people, regardless of how well he rules. Additionally, a lot of wacky things would have to occur for him to even come under consideration for the throne, by force or not. Still, a Tyrion-ruled Westeros would probably be pretty awesome. Or at least livable.


Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Sansa Stark

Claim: None.

Pros: This one’s a wild card, but hear me out. In a series full of surprises, Sansa sitting on the Iron Throne at the very end would be something that nobody would see coming. But if you take a look at Sansa’s arc throughout the series, the seeds for such an event occurring are all there.

Sansa began with an overabundance of her father’s sense of honor and justice, so much so that stories of chivalry and romantic knights sheltered her from knowing how those in power truly acted. Being kept hostage under Joffrey’s rule gave her a ringside seat to just how the game of thrones is played. She was schooled directly by Cersei, indirectly through her marriage to Tyrion, and now she resides with Littlefinger in a castle so high off the ground that no one can ever reach her. She’s learning from three manipulators, each more masterful than the last.

And although Arya is the one who keeps a list of people to kill, I’d be surprised if Sansa didn’t have the same thing rattling in her head, even if she would never admit it to herself. Unlike Arya, though, regardless of all of the crap Sansa has had to endure, she’s never quite lost her innocence or compassion. She’s also been kept out of the story for two books now, so either her story is done or Martin has a surprise planned that directly involves her, which is why he’s kept his focus off of her and Littlefinger.

We have no indication that Sansa will figure into the story in this manner, but circumstances throughout the series have been grooming her, instructing her on the realities of what it takes to rule, and she could very well come out on top once everything is through.

Cons: This is entirely speculation!


There’s no telling who might be seated on the Iron Throne, or even if there will be an Iron Throne, by the end of the series. And while it seems inevitable that Daenerys will win this particular game of thrones, nothing is ever really certain in A Song of Ice and Fire. In this kind of world, who really deserves to rule?

I mean, besides this guy?

Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

Chris Lough is the production manager of and has been talking about Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire for a few weeks now.

Gary Singer
1. AhoyMatey
Nicely done! Some good food for thought...
Fade Manley
3. fadeaccompli
See, I always thought one of the implicit arguments being made by the book was "Monarchy is a crappy system of government, and giving any one person absolute power for life is going to end really poorly, no matter how awesome that person is." So the answer to "who deserves to win" is, effectively, no one. The absolute best win available where someone still sits on that throne is still going to be a Least Bad Option, because it's a terrible way to handle governing.

There might not be a better option available, given the existing traditions and cultures, because possibly no one could get away with setting up a different system of government. But it's still not a good one, and no one good enough to "deserve" that throne is such a terrible person as to deserve what having that kind of power does to a person.
4. Herb6
@3, there is also a pretty strong implicit argument about the crappiness of hereditary power (esp. if only males are eligible for the throne). Robert didn't have any trueborn children by his wife and Joffrey, et al were still young when he died. Stannis doesn't have a son and his daughter is young. Renly was unlikely to produce an heir. Daenerys is (supposedly) barren now. No matter who wins, what are the chances that there will be a smooth transition of power after they die?
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
My prediction: Mr and Mrs Lannister - Tyrion and Sansa - ruling together at the end.
6. Jonathan Shamir
!Massive spoilers for the books will now commence!

I think there is an undercurrent to the books that has pretty much been disregarded by fans, author (although that may be on purpose) and reviewers alike: Does any of the above chracters really HAVE a right to the throne?

None of the Baratheon lineage is actually royalty. They ussurped the throne from under The Mad King, and with unknowing help from Jaime Lannister.

The Targryens have also conquered Westeros, so their claim also lies in fire and blood, as Daenerys is so fond of saying.

Do any of these people actually deserve to rule, if their rulling is won by war and fire? Isn't the road to the throne as currupting as the throne itself? Can a future leader make these desicions that make or take thousands of lives, and come out with their morals unscathed in the end?

The books and series don't really ponder the making of a leader. They move forward on the presumption that a leader is needed and everyone with access to an army and funds has the right to try for it.
The very nature of most of these characters prevents them from deserving to rule:
- Robb and Tyrion don't want to rule the seven kingdoms.
- Daenerys is swept off her feet by the stories of her brother.
- Stannis's rule would be uncompromising and therefore end quickly resolting in another war (not to mention he is backed by a powerfull sorceress we know next to nothing about).
- The Lannisters are mostly Natzis.
- John Snow, if he's not dead, might rule if he had to, but only might.
- Littlefinger won't have anything to do with the throne, he likes the backstage too much and so does Varys.

There is also the question of the larger, more mythical war that is building between Fire and Ice, i.e. White walkers (minions of a larger power in my opinion), and the God of Fire, who has repeatedly ressurected Berric Dondarion and has something or nothing to do with Mellisandra. I'd like to know how this would end.

That's my 2 cents for the matter, can't wait for the next book to come out.
A big thanks to GRRM for this fantastic tale!
Mordicai Knode
7. mordicai
I personally think that the eponymous war of Ice & Fire is dragons & walkers, & the devestation will ruin the union of Westeros. I see the return of seven seperate kingdoms, with Rickon as King in the North.

3. fadeaccompli

Yeah I've wondered if maybe I won't end with like...populist overthrow? But then that is basically saying Littlefinger & the Lannisters win...plutocracy by fiat & winter.
Chris Nelly
8. Aeryl
Yeah, my whole hope, as Dany is barren(I don't think Mirri Miraz Duur was making prophecy when she said that to Dany, I think she was saying, when a White Walker withstands a dragon's fire, you'll have kids) is that if she takes the throne, having no investment in continuing her bloodline, will then institute some kind of procedure where the lords of Westeros choose the ruler after she's gone. If the books end with a continuation of hereditary monarchy, I will have SADZ.

BTW, the above should not be read as an endorsement of Dany or that she deserves to win, as the article asks, I'm aware she has her faults. But this is just how I see the book ending.
9. Jeff R.
Yes, objectively, "A prime minister elected by a parliament elected under universal adult sufferage" is going to beat literally any candidate one could think of. But within the context, here, I'll note that it's not at all impossible that Tyrion is Aerys's bastard. (Tywin spent a lot of time thinking so, and he wasn't exactly a fool.) So his claim may be greater thatn 'none'.

Of the plausible candidates, though, I'd put Jon, Myrcella, and Stannis, in that order, in the top three. Between Varys and the High Sparrow, I don't have much hope for Tommen's leadership...
Chris Lough
10. TorChris
You guys are awesome. I'm reading your thoughts on the underpinnings of the systems of power in the series and all I can think is yes yes YES!
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
@9, I haven't read ADWD yet(I'm cool w/spoilers) so is there any info in that books that elaborates more on the theory that Tyrion is Aerys' bastard. I haven't seen anything in the books yet that points to it, but I've heard the theory before and I'm intrigued by it(I know one thing that's said is that Tyrion's black eye is actually dark purple).
12. a1ay
Edric Storm and Gendry have the strongest actual claim to the throne. As would any of Robert’s other male bastards.

Whoa there. No they don't. Bastards don't inherit their father's titles - not in the actual Middle Ages or in Westeros. Jon Snow isn't second in line after Robb to inherit Winterfell. And no one has ever suggested that Edric, or Gendry, or any of the others are contenders; in GoT, if I remember, Ned finds that Jon Arryn has been hunting out Robert's bastards and thinks "why would that matter? It wouldn't affect anything if he had a hundred of them".

Which also applies to this:
We don’t know Jon’s parentage, but if he’s the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, then his claim would match or even supercede Daenerys’.

Again, no. If he's that, then he's just a Targaryen bastard, with no claim to the throne either.

Tyrion is an interesting suggestion, remembering that the series was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, which did indeed involve a certain hunchback younger son ending up on the throne before being overthrown by the returning contender from overseas.

Other contenders for the throne:

Bran Stark (King in the North)
Mance Rayder (already a King, after all)

it's not at all impossible that Tyrion is Aerys's bastard. (Tywin
spent a lot of time thinking so, and he wasn't exactly a fool.)

Did he? That's an interesting one. And signposted as early as the first book - "all dwarfs are bastards in their fathers' eyes."
13. joelfinkle
No, I don't think Martin has kept Tyrion alive in order to put him on the throne.

He's kept Tyrion alive in order to put him through more pain and degradation.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
Big spoilers

atay - Targs have been known to practice polygamy. R could have married J. If so, J is legitimate and the rightful king upon R's death. Fact that 4 KGs were defending the Tower of Joy without R even there suggests legitimacy.

Also, even though he is a putative bastard, by Robb's royal decree Jon Snow is heir to the King of the North (and is actually King now, upon Robb's death).

Aeryl - please read the freaking book. (Rant over, LOL). I don't buy the Aerys paternity thing ... but... ADWD has some potentially contrary evidence. Nothing direct but definitely statements from Tyrion and others implying that Targ blood is either helpful or necessary to handle dragons. As Tyrion seems interested in a dragon helper role, query how he fits into that mix. No direct text evidence of Targs in Lannister bloodline (although could well be, just not recorded.) So why is Tyrion so seemingly confident?
Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer
15. EllenMCM
In the end, I think it will be Sansa. Her brothers are out of the running (dead/maybe dead/seriously people would never rally behind Bran because they will find him creepy). But she is married to Tyrion, who may kind of sort of have a claim, and she is learning a lot more about how to play the game of thrones than the other contenders. Dany is doing a great job learning things and building an army, but her infertility will prolong the instability. She might win the throne, but that won't end the story. And, because of the importance of loyalty to the Stark family, Sansa's surviving siblings will be valuable allies.
Chris Long
16. radynski
"None of the Baratheon lineage is actually royalty."

That's not entirely true. There was a Targaryen that married into the Baratheon family a couple generations ago. I believe it was Robert's Grandmother, and the Mad King's Aunt. That is what they used to legitimize his rule. That's also why Robert became king and not Jon Arryn, Ned, or Tywin or someone.
Scott Silver
17. hihosilver28
I'm enjoying the story, but one thing that I think is interesting is that we still don't know the endgame for this series. Which can be characteristic of low fantasy but still. I mean, the Others haven't proven to be a large enough threat for me to think that the endgame is going to be a literal battle of fire and ice. I don't think that Martin would have a good vs. evil fight for the end of his series, as that seems way too much high fantasy for his story. That said...I could see Bran taking over the throne. I highly doubt that any Targaryen ending up on the throne at the end of the story. Especially not Aegon, since he was just introduced back into the story.
18. JLSelby
"Her claim to the throne comes before any of the Baratheons"

I would dispute this statement. The Targaryens took the throne through conquest and lost it through the same. If her claim is "legitimate" at all, then the Baratheon's have equal legitimacy since they conquered the Iron Throne.

Which leads me @Jonathan Shamir, I think the author IS intentionally avoiding the topic, or rather, writing through POVs that are blind to that fact. In the end, they'll all be dead and the invaders will have defeated themselves.
Ross Newberry
19. rossnewberry
In my opinion, by the end of the series, whoever sits on the Iron Throne will be whoever Bran and Arya decide will sit on it.
20. Nessa
Good points on all the rulers, and I love the speculations that come after. I think you could have expanded on your points a little bit though, and talked about the "couple" that may end up ruling Westeros in the end. Marrying the right person can play a big role in whether the remaining King/Queen can actually hold on to Westeros. Case in point: Tommen by himself would be a terrible ruler (8-year old kid whose mommy smothers him) but coupled with Margaery (both her political skills and House Tyrell's military strength) would make him very effective on the throne.
I also hear a lot of people saying that Jon+Dany could be King and Queen in the end. Even though their ruling methods differ, they might actually be complementary. Aegon and Sansa is also another possibility, though it's pure speculation.
Chris Nelly
21. Aeryl
@14, Tell that to Bantam. TPB won't be published until October.
Scott Silver
22. hihosilver28
Eh, I borrowed mine from the library. But it does require you to be able to read 1000 pages in a 3 week time period. Though the paperback is already out. The price difference is only a couple of bucks between that and the TPB.
Chris Nelly
23. Aeryl
I can do that(read that much that fast, cuz I'm a literary ninja), but I'm a BAD library patron and never pay my late fees, because I am notorious for never returning library books(mostly ones I've never read, like The Silmarillion). But I do vote for increases in library funding, so I'm not all bad!

And I was wrong, it's not the TPB I want, but the Mass Market and Amazon and BookDepository tell me I can't have it until October, The TPB is out this week, but it doesn't match my set, which I am anal about and why I didn't just buy the hardback. At this point though, I am about to buy the TPB anyway, and then sell it to a used bookstore when the Mass Market comes out.
lake sidey
24. lakesidey
Arya kidding me? It has to be the adorable little assassin. You know nothing, Jon Snow Chris Lough.

Or perhaps a bran' new style of rule - taking the throne by warg rather than war.

(Also does anyone else think Petyr plans to end up ruling/ Oh not directly, but he would still be the power behind the Iron Throne if he could.)

Though given that this is GRRM writing, I have a bad feeling that the Iron Throne will end up in the hands of, say, Ramsay Bolton.

Hodor and out...

25. Kat W.
I think Tyrion would make a good king. He knows what he's doing, and he's the only Lannister worth anything!
Mari Ness
27. MariCats
Yay, someone else who thinks that Sansa might take the throne!

I, too, have only speculation for this. But while rereading the first book, I noted how often various characters claimed that Sansa, if not exactly full of common sense, was a quick study -- Arya notes that Sansa is good at her lessons, writes poetry, sings, and so on. In later books, Tyrion notes how good Sansa is at the whole queen thing -- remembering everyone's names and interests, calming people down, leading prayers and so on.

In addition, the books constantly emphasize that the blood of the First Men flows in the Starks -- suggesting that the Starks have a very early claim to the throne. Robb got an immediate and enthusiastic following (if he later screwed it up) and numerous people agreed he had a legitimate claim. And a few scenes here and there suggest that although Sansa lost her wolf -- also indicating that she's no longer completely a Stark, and thus available to rule the south -- Sansa may still have a touch of warg ability, like her siblings. If not as much as Bran.
Chris Nelly
28. Aeryl
The only obstacle I see for almost any of the Starks to take the throne, is that few of them ever seem to survive the trip south. Brandon and Ned's father died, Ned died, Lyanna died.... So far only Arya and Sansa have survived the trip. Now as you point out losing their wolves may have helped, but in a story about magic I don't feel its a good thing to lose your magical guides.

They do carry the blood of the First Men, but that I think ties them MORE to the North than it does the south. The Fist of the First Men is north of the Wall, and connected with the migration of the Westerosi settlers south, thousands of years ago. IIRC, the Rhoynar(?) and the Andals came from across the sea to the east.

Of course, as Ygritte points out, all things to the south of the Wall is south, over a third of the continent sits North of the Wall. If the conclusion of the novels includes the demise of the White Walkers, perhaps the perpetual winters will stop and the land will be habitable. Then Winterfell, not KL would sit more centrally of Westeros. Which could be the plan to put a Stark on the throne, but not the Iron Throne or the Throne of Winter.
29. o.m.
@7, wouldn't it be fitting if it was Rickon, with Osha as Hand? Those who bugged out get the prize, because they didn't enter that graceless scramble.
30. GoT
Sansa's wolf is dead, isn't it. So i assume she will day sooner or later as well (like her brother did).
31. a1ay
even though he is a putative bastard, by Robb's royal decree Jon Snow is heir to the King of the North

Huh. I had completely forgotten that happened. (Did it definitely happen? I know he suggested it...)

And, yes: Littlefinger is most definitely a contender. He's currently, IIRC, lord paramount of the Trident, lord of Harrenhal, guardian to the infant lord of the Vale, and controls the (as far as anyone knows) last surviving legitimate child (albeit only a daughter) of Ned Stark. So that's three out of the seven Kingdoms, plus the biggest (Harrenhal) and the strongest (the Eyrie) fortresses in the country.

Maybe he'll marry Margaery Tyrell! I mean, why not? Everyone else has.
32. a1ay
even though he is a putative bastard, by Robb's royal decree Jon Snow is heir to the King of the North

And that raises another interesting question. Ned, obviously, knew who Jon's parents were. Catelyn, equally obviously, didn't. But did Robb know? That seems like the kind of important information that you'd pass on to your eldest son, especially if you were leaving for a risky job in the south and you might never see him again.
33. o.m.
@atay in 32: Ned swore an oath. I would expect that the secret died with him.
Birgit F
34. birgit
Dany and Stannis die fighting the White Walkers. Mance Rayder becomes president of the democratic wildling nation of the north. Sansa rules Winterfell, the Riverlands and the Eyrie, maybe together with Littlefinger. (Maybe Jon gets Winterfell if he survives.) Cat, Arya and Nymeria haunt Harrenhal and the Twins. Tyrion gets Casterly Rock and marries a whore. Tommen and Margaery rule the south.
Chris Nelly
36. Aeryl
@33, I don't think it died with him, so far as I know the other person who might now, Howland Reed, is still kicking, with his children running with Bran. Now I do believe Ned died w/out telling anyone, at least in the books. The show had him telling Jon they'd talk about it the next time they spoke, so I think the show will have had Ned tell someone, because it hasn't really covered any of the back story that includes Reed. But that could change this season as well, with Jojen and Meera showing up, and the tourney at Harrenhal reminisces coming up.
Andrew Timm
37. csurge
I'd go with the Power Ranger. And I'm loling at the picture at Joffrey. Is that what he looks like in the series? Very apt. I read the books years ago... long before the series was twinkle in anyone's eye, and I'm not watching it on general principle. The same way I never watched Avatar or Titanic. I like going against the crowd, it makes me feel special.

Westeros is pretty effed up from what I recall, which is quite a lot come to think of it. Books 4 and 5 are a blur, though. Probably because Martin is losing his touch as the story goes on. Anyway, Power Ranger for FTW!
38. a1ay
I don't think it died with him, so far as I know the other person who
might now, Howland Reed, is still kicking, with his children running
with Bran.

Yeah, we haven't met him yet, have we? Hmm.

Incidentally, on the basis that he hasn't done anything atrocious at all, he's streets ahead of, well, everyone else. Reed for King!
Chris Nelly
39. Aeryl
Ned claimed Reed saved his life, so that's even MORE points in his favor.
40. a1ay
And, sticking with the Wars of the Roses analogy, "Howland Reed" does have a kind of Welsh sound to it. Like "Henry Tudor".
Beth Meacham
41. bam
In the end, Winter will engulf the Iron Throne, and all will be lost to the ice.

Bran is the King of the North. There's no doubt in my mind about that.

Westeros needs Dany and her dragons to fight the Others as Winter comes over the Wall. Dany needs two more Targaryans to fly her dragons against them. Jon? Griff? There's a fool-proof method of determining legitimacy: Can you ride a dragon?
42. Steve L
There's another candidate I'd like to consider, at least for a regentship if not the whole shebang. While the Rebellion against King Aerys II Targaryen was led by Robert, it was Jaime Lannister's hand that slew the King. He's demonstrated strength of arms (pun intended) and he's Tywin Lannister's son and so has a passing familiarity with the game of thrones.

I know that the people in King's Landing still call him Kingslayer, but would their opinion of him change if Jaime revealed _why_ he slew Aerys? After all, Aerys was planning to torch the city and all its inhabitants with wildfire rather than let Robert capture it. Betray your oath and kill your king, or watch as everyone (probably including yourself and your king) in the city burn in agony with a fire that water would not extinguish?

Jaime's exposure to Brienne has changed him somewhat, and I think if that process continues (and he doesn't die before the end of the series, always a necessary caveat for this series) he would make a decent king (or a good regent and role model for Tommen.)
Rob Munnelly
43. RobMRobM
@42 If you believe in prophecy, Cersei, Myrcella and Tommen are all toast. Maggy the Frog FTW. Jaime does not fall within, so he's a possible end game winner (assuming he survives the trap at end of ADWD).

@41 If you believe in prophecy, Griff's not going to make it. House of the Undying FTW.

@34 If you believe in prophecy, Stannis is not going to make it. HoD FTW. If Dany's going out with a blaze of glory, more likely Jon is the one with her. Sansa with Littlefinger? Say it ain't so, Birgit! I find that very unlikely. LF will either go big or (more likely) go home to an early grave. Also, Tommen's toast. See above.

various - I'd bet big bucks Robb has no idea re Jon's parentage. Agree strongly that Howland Reed knows and it is certainly possible that Jojen and Meera know as well.
Tyler Durden
44. Balance
I like the Sansa angle. John and Dany going out in a blaze of glory.

Importance of Reed: That's where lil' Ricky is hiding out right? The Onion Knight has to go and find him. If Reed has Ricky things could get interesting.
45. GerardoLeon
Anything describing Stanis without comparing his charisma to a lobster is a fail.

Also, you forgot the Ironmen.

The rest is good.
46. Zizoz
44: Rickon is believed to be on Skagos.
47. Kartikeya GS
Roberth had not children by Cersei! So technically, Tommen and Myrcella have no claim to the throne by royal lineage. Personally, I'd like a Targaryen on the throne, failing which Tyrion would do just fine!
Rob Munnelly
52. RobMRobM
@44,46. Yes. I'm dying to figure out how on earth Rickon and Osha got over there, with the associated cannibals and unicorns believed to live there.
George Jong
53. IndependentGeorge
//Westerosi beet farmers// are completely opposed to the coronation of King Tommen.

Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS!
54. Maac
I am always amazed at fan support for Stannis, considering how many people he sets on fire alive. I DO see how he's pretty kingly? Or at least, has been fairly kingly in the past? He has a code. But in light of his newfound embrace of pyromania, finding actual fansites devoted to his awesomeness (not this site, I mean subscribable YouTube threads and dedicated boards and whatnot) just freak me right the hell out.
55. Maac
@ Independent George -- sorry, my comment wasn't aimed at yours! I wrote it yesterday and thought it had gone through -- came to the browser today and saw it still sitting in the preview pane...
Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer
56. EllenMCM
@30 - Everyone dies sooner or later. Plus, as cool as the wolves are when you aren't the queen, I think the wolves are kind of an obstacle to career advancement for a young lady. Having a warg on hand is a handy thing for a queen, but BEING a warg is another thing entirely.
57. Amaryllis
@12: William the Conqueror. AKA William the Bastard.

He may have become King of England by right of conquest, but he was Duke of Normandy because he was the son of his unmarried father.

And wasn't Henry Tudor's ancestry a bit murky?

Illegitimate children have been known to inherit when there are no legitimate heirs left, when it's convenient for policy to have them legitimated after the fact, or when they enforce their claims with fire and sword. So I wouldn't necessarily count out the bastards.

I originally thought that Robb Stark and Daenerys would marry, like Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York, and rule jointly, like William and Mary. Then I had to substitute Jon for Robb-- and now, who knows? (Not that I believe for a moment that Jon is dead.)

If Stannis Baratheon doesn't Die In A Fire SOON-- and I mean REALLY DIE-- I'm done with George R. R. Martin forever.

Right now, I'm rooting for Sansa, if anyone. Because the best person to win is the one who's figured out that it's not a game.
58. Maac
@57 -- I've been thoroughly in Arya's pocket since the 90s. I've never even considered Sansa until this thread, but the idea intrigues me. At present, I don't think she has what it takes yet, but I'd like to see what would happen if she did.

Frankly, by the end of DwD, I'd pretty much stopped caring about anyplace but Winterfell and its security. I was worn out and demoralized, I admit, but that was last year and I'm better now. At the moment, I want the whole of Westeros to Balkanize, for attention to be turned to the Wall (maybe they can all unite for that and then Balkanize) and for Arya -- and as of today, Sansa -- to take care of things in Winterfell. Maybe Sansa will develop the chops to rule and Arya can be her Hand/Hound.

However the chips fall, I am anti-Targaryen. Restoring them to the throne would undercut the undercutting of typical fanatsy tropes that the series is purported to be doing, and... well, they do a lot of setting people on fire as well! And with them it's inheritable!
59. Amaryllis
@58 - yes, "worn out and demoralized" is about right. Which, I suppose, is how the poor ordinary folk were feeling during the actual Wars of the Roses.

I can see Sansa ruling with Arya as Hand/Hound, just as soon as she pushes Littlefinger off a mountain or something. (He's another one who'd better get what's coming to him.)
60. kaylams
@20 I think you're on track about the importance of marriage. There has always been a lot of emphasis on "the dragon has three heads." Dany could use all her mystical dragon awesome and combine that with two other male characters in marriage. I lean towards Jon and Tyrion. Jon may or may not have some claim to being a Targaryen himself. He has proven leadership experience. This combined with Robb's decree could secure him support in the North. A union with Tyrion would make sense to secure all the Lannister financial backing, not to mention his general skill at getting things done. He's also proven himself capable of winning people over when he really needs to. He might be able to retain the loyalty of the Lannisters traditional banner men. And with that much money he could probably buy a few more.
David Randle
61. wolfshield
Deserves?? No one.

Who will win? I agree with the Jon & Dany theorists. I'm one of those kookburgers crazy enough to believe that Jon is not the son of Eddard Stark and Wylla, but instead the product of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. His truly is the song of ice and fire.
62. Margaret Garside
>But within the context, here, I'll note that it's not at all impossible that Tyrion is Aerys's bastard. (Tywin spent a lot of time thinking so, and he wasn't exactly a fool.) So his claim may be greater thatn 'none'n is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. I think Ned would have shared that with Catelyn. Besides, would any bastard's claim be accepted?

Speculation: Dany stays in Mureen, ruling with the wise counsel of her Hand, Tyrion Lannister.

Aegon Targaryen ends up on the Iron Throne with his Queen, Sansa Stark.

Of course, after five books, we second-guess Mr. Martin at our peril.
Sanne Jense
63. Cassanne
Why should any Dragon-heads be male? I nominate Queen Dany, Queen Margaery and Queen Sansa. Jon can be their Hand, he'd hate it as much as Ned did. Tyrion can be master of coins and whores, like Petyr before him. Brienne can be head of the church, since she's maid, mother, warrior, stranger, etc, al at once. Any of the Queens except maybe Dany can have babies if they want to and declare them legal ( being Queens). So no lack of potential heirs.

But seriously: not one of those nobles deserves a thing. The peasants deserve some peace and some protection. I'd be a revolutionary in that world.
Mordicai Knode
64. mordicai
63. Cassanne

Well, I think people are speculating on Targaryen blood being required to be one of the "heads."
65. Nikhil.Thawal
I would put my money on Arya.
Also Nymeria is busy gathering a that is being schooled in the art of savouring dead meat!
Moral compass-Check
Army-Woof or growl whatever
Siblings willing to pitch in-check, check and check(minus the stabbing, i guess)
For me thats the highway/kingsway to being a Queen
66. bigmikeatky
I would have to say daenerys once she gains more experince in ruling she would make an amazing queen. And have Bran As her king Why? because I think he will be able to control or at least impose his will onto one or more of Daenery's dragons think about the tatacial advantage that would bring! also Tyrion would be on her council maybe the head of it!
67. CHip137
All of the proposals for Jon becoming king come up against a bigger argument than bastardy: men who go to the Wall leave EVERYTHING behind. Undoing that would weaken the Wall's defenses so badly as to doom Westeros ... but that could be GRRM's intent, as there's no guarantee the Game will end at all happily; Westeros could turn out to be a slow-motion Somalia-only-worse, still fighting when winter overrides everything. (Past SF writers have said they can't do tragedy; Bradley was notorious for refusing to tell how the Forbidden Tower fell. GRRM shows no signs of this weakness.)

One flaw in the original post:

The series wouldn’t have even gotten past the first book had their plans been allowed to run smoothly and not been messed up by Joffrey essentially photobombing Ned Stark’s pardon.

ignores the fact that the attempt on Daenerys's life was not stopped (despite Ned's best effort). This led to Khal Drogo's attempt to take Westeros (via the cities of the old world) and death, which produced the funeral pyre that hatched the dragon eggs; between the dragons and the Targaryen loyalists, Westeros was certainly in for rough time.

I wonder whether Varys deliberately failed to stop the assasination try?
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
68. AlirozTheConfused
How about everybody realizes that there's more to life than political
power and status? How about the candidates for the throne start fixing
the mess that is the continent?

I don't think it really matters who is king if the continent is still a crapsack world where life is soapy and awful.

It doesn't matter who wins the game, because the game itself is
the problem. They need to not just stop playing, not just refuse to
play, but kick the board off the table and stop the playing, because
life is not a game; and people are not pieces in a game; and as long as
those in power keep thinking like it's a game, things just won't get

As a much, much better author than George Martin once said, "This is not a game. Here and now, we are alive."
69. jonsnow
did anyone thought that tygarians marry their sister, so what if daenery marry john snow because he is the half son of tygarian family, and to win the battle robb stark joins his army with daenery's army and john snows men. and john snow and daenery will become king and queen.
70. pootle
I think the most significant later character is the Braavosi banker who turns up to remind everyone who's paying for the war.
The series should end with a transition from mediaevel culture to Renaissance culture with the city-states and their money ruling everything rather than strong sword arms and flying newts.
I think Dany will realise that this is the future and make some sort of deal with them. If she had any sense, she'd split it east/west with Margery.
I know it's basing a lot on a minor point, but I read the books quite quickly and there was a definite trend towards the kind of power the Free Cities have and a lot of undercurrent about who holds the money.
71. lannisterman
A very interesting subject . A few pointers. Bastards cannot rule unless they are acknowlegded as heirs by their fathers. As both Rhaegar and Robert are dead that wont happen so Jon and Gendry & bros. do not qualify. (Rhaegar and Lyanna werent married so Jon is still a bastard). I suppose technically Jon could forsake his vows again and marry Dany but he's not the type (though I suppose dying might change him). Also, even if they are outsiders, Euron and Victorian Greyjoy deserve a mention. Oh and dont forget the others and their lord of Darkness. After all this isnt really a story that strikes as the happy ending type.
Chris Nelly
72. Aeryl
@72, It's contended that the Targs did polygamy as well as incest, so Rhaegar and Lyanna could very well be married, for all that we know.
73. atlee
I didn't think of the Sansa but that is good one. My longshot winner was Littlefinger (who ochestrated the hand of Robert Baratheon's death and started the whole thing I feel). But my real bets are similar to bigmikeatky above, Bran warging with Dragons/marrying Daenerys with Tyrion as hand of king. I have an impending feeling of Daenerys death so not sure where that would go..she'd be the surprise death (maybe Bran fries her with her own dragon): that would really throw a loop into everything.
74. Uinen
We know who is the father of John Snow. It's NED STARK!!! It's the mother we know nothing about. Get your facts right first please.
Chris Nelly
75. Aeryl
You've obviously missed a popular fan theory that posits Ned's sister Lyanna is Jon's mother.
Mordicai Knode
76. mordicai
71. lannisterman

Also if there was no Wall-- say, if it was melted in an orgy of dragon fire-- his vows might be moot.
77. palaeologos
Myrcella & Tommen are Lannisters. They have no claim.

Stannis' claim is stronger; he is the brother of the most recent quasi-legitimate king. He would be a disaster, though.

Daenerys has a claim on the ground that the Baratheons are usurpers. But that's a bit like Bonnie Prince Charlie claiming the throne of the UK; yes, he was a Stuart, and yes, Parliament's ejection of James II was probably illegitimate, but possession is nine points of the law, and it would take more to get the Hanoverians off the throne than simply asserting your right as a Stuart to sit it.

The Starks have no claim to the Iron Throne, and even less likelihood of ever sitting it. Much more likely that the North will become its own kingdom again, I think (though that seems less and less likely judging from what's happened in the books).

If Aegon VI is not an impostor, I'd look for him to be killed at some point before he can lay claim. He's otherwise a bit too deus ex machina.

What I'd like to see happen is for Daenerys and Jon (revealed as her half-brother) to marry and rule as King & Queen, with Tyrion Lannister as the Hand. There's your three heads of the dragon, and nearly unstoppable as rulers, I'd think...
Chris Nelly
78. Aeryl
Jon'd be her nephew, not half brother. Rhaegar was Dany's brother.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
79. AlirozTheConfused
The real ending for this series will be the comet hitting the planet and every living thing dying.

After ten thousand years, all traces of humanity will have been eroded away. After ten million years, all traces of life will have been eroded away. After ten billion years, it will be unclear whether the planet could have ever supported life.

In the end, nothing in this series matters, and all the world is is one dot in a faraway sky, one grain of sand in an infinite desert.
80. missdoomcookie
I'm defintiely in the "war of ice and fire is going to make this game of thrones look like the childish squabble it is" camp. By the last book, it seems like humanity is going to be focused more on surviving against powers bigger than themselves to keep fighting amongst themselves. If they do keep fighting amongst themselves DESPITE the bigger problems at hand, then GRRM will have created a devastatingly effective parable for our current political situation in which we'd rather squabble than work together. ;) But I am rooting for all of the major characters who have some heroic bent to them (Jamie, Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon, Bran, Arya, etc) coming together to keep the world from ending in ice and fire. I want to see the scene where all of the various people we know and speculate to have Targaryen blood swoop in on dragon-back over the army as it rushes to make its final stand. But maybe that's too classically high fantasy for GoT.
Joe Vondracek
81. joev
Ahem. Arya could be Queen Sansa's Hand, but Sansa's Hound will always be Sandor.

I think that what will eventually happen is the common folk will tire of all the wars and fighting, and they will demand a constitution and voting rights. The first democratically-elected president of the Westeros Republic will be that man of the people, the guy who takes a licking and keeps on ticking: Beric Dondarrion, back from the dead for one more spin around the block. That will be the final take-away from the series: "We, the people, prefer a dead guy who actually cares about the little folk to all of those royal a-holes."

P.S. More Dunk and Egg stories, please.
82. rmtm
Are you just basing this on the tv series? Because someone most eligible is alive though very few know it.
Chris Nelly
83. Aeryl
82, My understanding is that no one really buys that he really is Aegon. There's a prophecy about a fake Targ, (mummer's dragon), so most people are pegging him that. Which is why he's not considered a serious contender.
Chris Nelly
84. Aeryl
82, My understanding is that no one really buys that he really is Aegon. There's a prophecy about a fake Targ, (mummer's dragon), so most people are pegging him that. Which is why he's not considered a serious contender.
85. 4tomic
My theory is that Walter Frey is going to be on the Iron Throne at the very end.
86. dondraper
By the end of the series a lot of shit will happen that will conclude with aegon sitting on the throne. Danny will be compassionate towards him and maybe even give him help from her army, but aegon will execute her at the advice from varys. Then jon snow will appear out of nowhere after like a book, and everyone will be like HE'S NOT DEAD! He will somehow know his lineage and that he is Prince rhaegars son, and will also somehow know aegon is a pretender. He will expose him to everyone and have him dethroned and banished along with varys. I don't know what will happen to jon after that. Maybe he will become king and give the north back to bran and arya. The only conclusion I can see happening without the introduction of a new character. Let's face it, Danny will not be queen, she reminds me of Joan of arc and Genghis Khan combined lol, she has dragons and is too primitive in her thoughts and she has dragons for fuck sake. Stannis is being brainwashed by Melisandre and if he manages to get near the throne she will just take it for herself. King beyond the wall and his army will get wiped out by the winter, or something. His army is too primitive and divided. The lannisters will be an afterthought by this point, the only one left alive would be Tyrion working in Jon's cabinet.
87. dondraper
I think that everyone is getting ready for a massive battle between good and evil that will never be. The whitewalkers will get wiped out somehow. There are many reasons for this. First of all George rr Martin won't have a battle simply between good and evil or evil vs lighter evil. Second, game of thrones is a tv show, they have already done an epic battle in Blackwater, an whitewalkers take over seems unaffordable. Something will.happen to the whitewalkers, the will be getting ready to take over and then a massive chunk in their armour, Melisandre will cast a spell wiping them all out or something.
88. Firannion
Sansa being the last one standing is a new one on me - intriguing hypothesis! So far I've been in the 'dragon has three (Targaeryen) heads' camp, with Dany forming a triad marriage to rule with her two nephews after riding the dragons to victory against the White Walkers. But the part of me that has always seen Tyrion as inspired by the unlikely emperor Claudius is secretly rooting for him to end up running things. He may be a Lannister (then again, maybe not), but at least Westeros' drains wouldn't be clogged. And another part of me sees Varys outliving absolutely everybody.
89. Valyrian
Tyrion will become Dany's Hand, and help her purge the scheming idiots from Westeros, righting the wrongs dealt the kingdom by his family. Jon Snow rules as King of the North and supreme commander of the armies of Westeros. White Walker threat much, much larger than what we expected. Winter is coming. Unified Westeros vs. White Walkers in a battle of the ages, led by Dany (fire) and Jon (ice). I'm still torn on whether there is romance kindled between the two of them or not. At least, that's my prediction. Or hope.
Michael Booth
90. Etherbeard
How do you figure Sansa's been out of the story for two books?
Rob Munnelly
91. RobMRobM
Sansa's chapters were supposed to be at the end of ADWD but GRRM elected to save them for WoW (ditto with Arianne chapters).
92. Ezequiel Stepanenko
Cons: "He got stabbed, like, a lot..." hahaha. When Jon dies I sufered a heart attack. Stannis is probabily the most suitable for the iron throne, besides he has a very smart, honest and loyable hand, Davos, just like Ned was. I vote for Stannis and noone else. Although I would like to live in a Kingdom ruled by Tyrion. Whores, alcohol and books for everyone!
93. Jahaerys III
I personally wouldn't like to see Daenerys Targaryen on the Iron Throne. It just wouldn't sound right when the series has gone against so many common plotpoints in other books (the handsome, perfect prince; the honorable ones always live; etc.). No matter how much I love the Starks, I also think it's unlikely we've seen the last of their suffering and even more unlikely that they'd pull through to claim the Iron Throne or independence for the North. The Lannisters are definitely losing the game of thrones but, as a whole, their line in Lannisport is likely to survive. I think it's unlikely that a Martell or a Tyrell would sit on the Iron Throne at the very end, but who knows; the Martells have Targaryen blood from the first Daenerys marrying into their house and the Tyrells have thus far proven to be adept at surviving. And the Greyjoys are seamen; conquering the entire Seven Kingdoms would hardly be realistic. I don't really have a clear notion as to what Petyr Baelish might do, but the thought of him surviving it all sickens me.

I also think we haven't seen the last of the Blackfyres. While the Blackfyre rebellions were certainly important to the realm, I think there was more importance to knowing about their continued survival through the female line than we assume so far. Varys and Ilyrio (I believe that's his name) are far too suspicious to really be working towards putting a trueborn Targaryen on the throne - Varys was the one who was whispering in the Mad King's ear after all. It's just an observation of mine, but if I had to bet who would turn out on top, I reckon it would be someone of their choosing.
95. Pk
Hodor all the way.
97. Amon Amarth
There are many possibilities. If Tyrion is Aerys' bastard, and Jon Snow is Rhaegar's bastard, then the dragon has 4 heads (if we presume that young Aegon is truly a Targaryen). I also have a strange feeling that Stannis might well end up ruling, unless he breaks in the North. And other than that, does anyone have a clue whetever the Red God can ressurect people whose heads have been choped off? That would give us another candidate, seeing that his mother is alive. Also, where does Littlefinger's power-trip end? We don't know what he really wants, we only know that he has worked with the Queen of Thorns and Varys in the past... Varys certainly wants Targaryens to rule again, but the question that stands out is why? Why would he care who rules the throne as long as he can manipulate them? And is Littlefinger somehow still working with him, and if yes, what is his plan? At this point the Game is too chaotic to read properly, and anything can happen. I have a queer feeling that Tyrion and Jon and Dany are the 3 heads, and something is going to happen with Aegon. Could it be Connington killing him with/due to grayscale? And what is the intention of Tyrells and Martells in all of this? Neither of them seem to care about the Throne that much, they seem to rather look forward to waging wars against each other. One thing George is good at is spawning characters that somehow seem fitting and not out of place, and then mixing them up to the point where you can't tell who is going to win and who is going to lose.
Hi, from Chile!

I just read all lthe comments and this idea came to my mind now.

What if, instead having Jon "resurrected" as a Targarian joining Dany, they ended up being opposites? I mean, Jon commanding The Others (Ice) and Dany commanding Westeros (Fire)....
I was rooting for them to meet, be friends, marry or wathever but once again, what if by the end they become antagonist from the song of Ice and Fire?
99. ikki
wun wun dar wun? ..that would be pretty awesome..

But more likely Davos Seaworth, Knight of the Onion, after Stannis is killed, who will unite the greater north and then head south where Littlefinger has unified everything south of the neck... and as Littlefinger is cackling that hes finally at the top of the ladder, Davos will kill him :D
100. mrlopez2681
I dont think many of my fellow ASOIAF/GOT fans understand how the concept of Royal/Noble succession works. The only thing that gives one a CLAIM to a throne &/or a noble title is one's pedigree, aka your birth & bloodline - not an army, money, or how nice or pretty you are. Most people seem to overlook (& I think the TV show never mentions it) that Robert Baratheon merely wanted to overthrow Aerys II & murder his son & heir Rhaegar. He then took it a step further since, with all of the Targaryens dead or on the run, he was next in line - at the time of the rebellion, Robert Baratheon was 4th in the line of succession to the throne via his paternal grandmother, Princess Rhaelle, daughter of King Aegon V ("egg" from the "Dunk & Egg" novellas). Before Aegon the Conqueror & his sisters conquored Westeros, there was no monarch who ruled over the whole thing. So long as there is a living Targaryen, however, the Baratheons ARE usurpers, period, leaving Daenarys as the 100% rightful claimant.

For those who are making comments along the lines that Westeros needs to somehow become some democratic country devoid of royals & nobles, I must ask - WHO IN THE HELL WANTS TO READ A FANTASY NOVEL ABOUT A BUNCH OF SQUABBLING, DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED POLITICIANS?!?!? NO THANKS!
101. Eline
My absolute favorite would be Daenerys on the throne trusting Tyrion with the work behind the scenes.

She would be the public figure loved by the public and feared by her enemies: she will ensure peace because no one is stupid enough to stand up against an Unsullied army and three (at that point) full grown dragons.

Tyrion would be the one who ensures things running smoothly in the kingdom (trade, harvest, infrastructure - as we've seen, he's a master at this) while playing the game of thrones (as he did, geniously, as hand of the king); disabling enemies before they can emerge, smoothing alliances, etc.

This way they supplement each other and this is the only way I can see Tyrion ór Dany on the trone. Tyrion would be very unhappy and unskilled as a public figure, and Daenerys would have way too much on her mind if she would have to think about all the practical right-now stuff too (you can see her getting overworked & exhausted in Mereen).

It seems highly unlikely though that Daenerys will ever trust him: she's very distrustful anyway and still holds a huge grudge against the Lannisters (naturally). I hope she's smart enough to let Tyrion in.
102. piranha
my "ideal" (pessimistic) ending would be that nobody wins the game of thrones because it is a dumb-fuck game and there are much more important things in the world. the conflict with the forces beyond the wall will end the whole undeserving lot of them; they won't unite because their petty squabbles are more important to them than the continued existence of the realm. kinda like today's world; everybody in power is scheming for their own profit, nobody is paying proper attention to what could end the world as we know it. powerful allegory, but oh, the nerd rage it would cause...

my slightly less pessimistic preferred outcome would see the monarchy of the 7 kingdoms end, and a bunch of free city states replace it, driven largely by commerce. not very romantic, but better for the common people than what they're having to endure under this craptastic game.

least likely to happen: ice and fire in cataclysmic conflict flood the world with water; humans die; reboot. i'm ok with that ending too.

really, anything unexpected would be better than more of the same, and with, say, sansa on the throne, *ugh*.
Chris Nelly
103. Aeryl
Yes, let's not put the kindest and most compassionate character in the series on the throne, THAT would be terrible.
104. MG
I think everyone has this all wrong. Martin has constructed this great story involving a multitude of plots and tales. Only one concluding storyline makes sense to me for this great song of ice and fire. This is a tale of sacrifice, redemption, and true courage; the Heart of the Lion so to speak. The very young Knight who slew the demented King will take his rightful place as the true King of Westeros. Only this character arc and journey makes sense to me. And, it is the right thing to do. Just has slaying the demented King was for a brave and very young Knight.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
105. AlirozTheConfused
@102: I agree. The game itself is the problem. Westeros is not a game of Crusader Kings II, as much as Littlefinger and Varys and Tywin and the readers might act like it kind of is.

I'm not saying monarchy is the problem; or that nobility is the problem. I'm saying that this idea of the game is the problem.

Games tend to, well, bring out the cruelty in people. I mean, look at what people do to the sims in the game The Sims. Look at the Tv Tropes pages for Videogame Cruelty Potential. Those in power have got to stop treating it like it's a game.
106. Vivek Thakur
Winner is only one - Arya Stark from my point of view, as seen from 1-3 episodes of Game of thrones, but after seeing more, definitely "Volar Mogulas" , correct me VM spelling
107. luckyxxxstars
jon snow if anyone will sit the throne. if he is born of rhaegar (fire) and lyanma (ice) well you have the series title right there. not to mention the prince who was promised should be of aerys and rhaella's line. AND they need to be born of salt and smoke (uh hello...the stabbing. why are the men crying and his wounds smoking? - there are numerous characters who are "born of salt and smoke" but i think jon and damy are the only mes with decent claims). there is no way george rr martin is playing this directly. everything seemingly looks like dany will take it but there's no way that can happen. just when he thinks he's got you thinking you kmow what will happen....BAM. but the dragon has three heads... i just think dany will end up being bat shit crazy like her dad. jon's story screams a song of ice and fire in every aspect of his life that now that I see all his connections it's almost too obvious for it to be him either.
108. moraga1
Crown Princess Shireen will rightfully acsend to the iron Throne - she is the character that GRRM has crafted perfectly - she is smart as a tack with a great heart and wisdom. She also is courageous and stands her ground with Melisandra (at her young age). When all is said and done she will be the Queen of the Andals and the First Men.
109. adfoaekgfk
what if ramsey takes the iron throne or walder frey how sad will you be???Or what if a r'hllor priest resurrects joffrey and he takes the iron throne back???(after torturing daenerys,aegon,jon ramsey did with reek)???
110. Coneman
I support aegon or stannis on this list.
Though you have forgot argubly the best player aka petyr baelish (little finger)

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