Game of Thrones has captivated everyone with the insane amount of backstabbing and political maneuvering that goes on. The characters are (for the most part) well written and deeply interesting. As we watch them plot their next moves, we can see the game take shape. Some people desire the throne more than anything. Others want nothing to do with it, but may find themselves there by accident or circumstance. Everyone has a hidden agenda, so we are guaranteed many more twists and turns before the series ends. Who knows how many will have a chance to sit on the Iron Throne before a final winner is declared.
Here are 10 characters who could find themselves King (or Queen) at some point before everything is said and done. But just because they make it to the top, doesn’t mean they will stay there forever.
[Note: This was written before the season five finale, and some of these characters may or may not be dead. Also, major spoiler warning if you’re not caught up.]
10. Myrcella Baratheon
Let’s not forget that the Baratheon’s are still the ruling family of Westeros. Joffery was a Baratheon (by name) and so is the current king, Tommen. That name is important, even if it’s virtually certain that the deceased King Robert and Queen Cersei never actually had any children together. The three Baratheon children, who also include daughter Mrycella, were actually fathered by Jamie Lannister (yeah, incest!). With Joffery already murdered (at his own wedding), if anything were to happen to Tommen that would make Myrcella the Queen. She’s currently stuck in Dorne, which was supposed to keep her safe. But after the Lannisters helped kill Oberyn Martell, she isn’t safe anywhere.
9. Ramsay Bolton
Sometimes it takes a bold move to become king. Even a crazy one. And no one in Westeros is more of a clinical sociopath than Ramsay Bolton. Formally the bastard of Roose Bolton, he has been legitimatized by King Tommen and helps his father rule over the North, including the former Stark stronghold of Winterfell. The Boltons and the Lannisters currently have a steady alliance, but with Tywin dead, Cersei imprisoned by the Sparrows, and Jamie travelling in Dorne, the Lannisters are at their weakest point in recent memory. It wouldn’t shock anyone of Ramsay decided to go on a power trip and attack the weakened ruling family.
8. Tyrion Lannister
It would certainly seem that Tyrion has no interest in sitting on the Iron Throne. He is a world away from King’s Landing and is too clever to desire the kind of power that being king would bring. However, one notable fan theory is that Tyrion might actually have a bloodline claim to the throne. It’s a longshot, sure, but what is Tyrion was actually a Targaryan? The theory can be summed up as this: King Aerys Targaryan either seduced or forced his way into bed with Joanna Lannister, Tywin’s wife, on their wedding night. Tyrion was the result, which is part of the reason Tywin hated his “son” so much. There are other clues that make this seem plausible, summed up nicely right here.
7. Bran Stark
The Starks have no legitimate claim to the throne, but that doesn’t always matter. Bran has some crazy supernatural powers that he could use to rise to power, should he ever feel the need. First, he is a Warg, which means he can enter the minds of other people and animals and control them. Secondly, he has prophetic visions which can guide him. His family may have been mostly killed off, but the Stark name still holds a lot of value. Even if he doesn’t sit on the Iron Throne himself, he could get close enough to control whoever does. He could have the power of a king without any of the responsibilities.
6. Daenerys Targaryan
Daenerys is the first person on our list to have a recognized claim to the throne. Not only that, she actually wants it. From her humble beginnings of being married off to Khal Drogo by her scumbag brother, she has risen to be the Queen of the Dragons and freer of slaves. Currently ruling the city of Meereen in Essos, although not without some difficulty, Daenerys still firmly has her eyes set on ruling Westeros. She believes it to be her birthright, since her father was the king before Robert’s Rebellion. She also has the last three surviving dragons in the known world, which will go a long way to conquering any land she pleases.
Remember Gendry? He paddled off in a rowboat near the end of season three and hasn’t been heard from since. So why is he important? He is the bastard son of Robert Baratheon and his only remaining heir after the Lannisters had the rest of Robert’s illegitimate children murdered to protect Joffery’s crown. He was almost sacrificed by the Melisandre, the Red Woman, due to his king’s blood. Instead Ser Davos freed him from his cell and set him free. We have no idea if he’d be a good leader, or even if he is still alive. But he has a legitimate claim to the throne as Robert’s son.
4. Night’s King
We doubt he would actually hang in King’s Landing and sit on the throne, but that doesn’t mean he won’t end up the winner. The leader of the White Walkers appears to have no obstacles in his path to laying waste to the entire continent. Conventional weapons don’t hurt him, and his army of wights grows every time there is a battle. The scene at the end of the eighth episode of season five, where the Night’s King doubles the size of army just by raising his arms and bringing all the dead back to their feet, shows just how dangerous the White Walkers are. Valaryian steel can stop them, but not many people have swords forged from the legendary metal. Perhaps the dragons are the only chance against them. After all, the series is titled A Song of Fire and Ice.
3. Stannis Baratheon
Perhaps the fan favourite at this point in the show, Stannis Baratheon has the strongest claim to the throne. When his older brother died without a legitimate heir (remember, Joffery, Tommen and Mrycella weren’t his and his bastards are believed to all be dead), the crown should have been passed to the next oldest Baratheon brother — Stannis. He tried to attack King’s Landing once, but was defeated in the Battle of the Blackwater. He retreated North, and most recently helped the Night’s Watch defeat an invasion of Wildings at the wall. Now he has his sights on taking Winterfell from the Boltons and continuing his march South to conquer Westeros.
2. Little Finger
Petyr ‘Little Finger’ Baelish is perhaps playing the game of thrones better than anyone. This is the man who betrayed Ned Stark, helped spark the War of The Five Kings, and murdered his own wife to become Lord of the Vale. He most recently helped rescue Sansa Stark from the Lannisters, but then brought her North and married her to the completely insane Ramsey Bolton, he from the family that murdered her mother and brother. Little Fingers always seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else when it comes to scheming for power. He acts like he is nothing but a gracious adviser and servant, but deep down he wants all the power he can grasp.
1. Jon Snow
Jon Snow is a proven leader and a battle-tested warrior. He is also the bastard child of Ned Stark, whose family has lost most of their power and influence, giving him no rightful claim to the throne. Or is he? The most popular theory among fans is that “R + L = J.” To put it concisely, the theory states that Jon is actually the son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, Ned’s sister. There is a decent amount of evidence for this, including Ned’s mysterious promise to his sister before she died and his constant refusal to tell Jon about his mother, other than his claims that she was some server girl named Wylla.
If this theory turns out to be true, Jon Snow has maybe the most legitimate blood claim to the throne of anyone. But he is also a sworn member of the Night’s Watch, meaning he can hold no titles or lands. The Brotherhood of the Crows would have to disband completely for Jon Snow to claim the Iron Throne.