Theories about Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fill the internet’s backseat like fast food containers and jewel cases, but occasionally a theory in this mess, much like the “RT+LS” theory of Jon Snow’s parentage, makes too much sense to ignore.
Chris Taylor posted a strong contender for “Best Game of Thrones Theory of the Year” over on Mashable on May 3. It starts by asking a simple question: Now that Tommen is the only “Baratheon” left on Game of Thrones,* who’s next in the lineage if he dies?
(*This applies to Game of Thrones only. The books are unfolding in a different manner.)
[Spoilers ahead up to the first episode of season 6]
Taylor’s quest to find an answer leads him several generations back through Westerosi history to discover that Lannisters and Baratheon’s were previously intermarried, and that the result of that particular intermarriage was eventually: Tywin Lannister. The dominoes tumble from there.
The author provides more detail than I’m giving in this post, but essentially once you get to Tywin as the monarchic heir to the Iron Throne you can use information from Game of Thrones itself to conclude who would actually inherit Westeros’ Iron Throne. Jaime can’t inherit the throne since he’s a sworn knight, a fact that Tywin himself sharply lamented in the show. Tyrion’s been rather spectacularly banished. And Cersei is a woman. While none of these obstacles is completely insurmountable, only one of these figures actually wants the Iron Throne and has the power to forcefully obtain it with her FrankenClegane.
Having Cersei become the “winner” of the Game of Thrones also gives weight to various other plotlines that seem to have no clear possible resolution. Cersei herself has come to a crossroads at the beginning of season 6: does she wilt her days out quietly, or take drastic steps to seize what she has always believed is hers? Would the appeal of the Iron Throne, and her own reign, push her to kill Tommen herself? Better her hand than anyone else’s, she would reason. And it would resolve her progeny’s prophetic doom; a prophecy that the current season has brought to the forefront. There’s a secondary benefit, as well, in ensuring that Margaery Tyrell would cease to become a threat. In fact, Cersei could go a step further and possibly ensure the Tyrell’s military support by claiming to need them for her “rescue.”
Because Cersei will need swords. “Power is power,” after all, and the Faith Militant will oppose her to the last man. Cersei is not without her own army, commanded by Jaime and enforced by the seemingly unkillable Mountain, but having one of the last unspoiled armies in Westeros backing her would win the fight before it could even begin.
If Daenerys gets drawn to the fight against the Others in the north then it’s possible that she’ll never even reach King’s Landing, meaning the series would end with Queen Cersei ruling from the Iron Throne.
Until the Faceless formerly known as Arya Stark got to the last person on her list. Cersei would most likely die without an heir, leaving the throne open once more. Perhaps for Daenerys, perhaps for Tyrion, or perhaps for a better system of government altogether.