The final season of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones began this week and the biggest question every fan wants answered is who will win the Iron Throne and end up ruling the Seven Kingdoms.
Given the fact that there are several viable candidates for the throne, below is a list of five characters in order of victory likelihood giving reasons for their placement from their histories on the show.
Spoiler Warning: There will be some spoilers for anyone who has not seen the Season 8 premiere episode.
- Jon Snow
When we first met Jon Snow, he was the illegitimate son of the then Lord of Winterfell Ned Stark. This made him the black sheep of his family and ostracized by Ned’s wife Caitlin in favour of their own children Robb, Sansa, Arya and Brann.
Soon being drafted to the Night’s Watch, a military order tasked with guarding the Seven Kingdoms from the lands and inhabitants that reside beyond the wall, Jon quickly rose through the ranks and earned himself the title of Lord Snow.
Through the loyalty of his comrades, Jon eventually became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. This was eventually under put under threat when Jon took pity on the Free Folk and granted them shelter at the Wall. This caused some of his subordinates to carry out a mutiny against him and murder Jon in an ambush.
After being resurrected by the Red Priestess Melisandre, who realised that he was the prophesized prince that was promised, Jon became more strategic in his bid for power within the Seven Kingdoms and was named the second King in the North after his fallen predecessor and believed half-brother Robb Stark.
When Jon seeks to make an alliance with Queen Daenerys Targaryen to keep The North under his control once Daenerys rules the Seven Kingdoms, he instead pledges allegiance to the Mother of Dragons and eventually becomes romantically involved with her.
However, the revelation at the end of Season 7 that Jon Snow is really Aegon Targaryen, son of Rheagar Targaryen and Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna Stark, not only reveals that Jon is Daenerys nephew, but that by law he is the rightful heir to Mad King Aerys Targaryen. Meaning, Jon Snow is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Whether or not this new information, which Jon is now privy to, will turn him against Daenerys who is already actively seeking the Iron Throne or the two will somehow find a way to forge a union in ruling the Seven Kingdoms remains to be seen.
Also, less we forget, Jon has built himself a loyal following not just since his time as King in the North but more recently too. With the Free Folk, Samwell Tarly and the Hound at his side, Jon has built himself quite the powerful army.
Regardless, Jon has proved himself to be a just and fair ruler in his time as King in the North, but will his alliance with the Mother of Dragons be his undoing or will he overthrow her?
- Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys has held onto her claim to the Iron Throne practically since the beginning of the series.
Originally being sold and married off to the Dothraki Khal Drogo, Daenerys was gifted with three dragon eggs in honour of her house sigil. Growing in confidence as Drogo’s Khaleesi, Daenerys gained an inner strength and fight to rule.
After Drogo’s death, Daenerys used his funeral pyre to hatch and birth her three dragons earning the title Mother of Dragons.
Travelling through a region known as Slaver’s Bay with her remaining loyalists, Daenerys earned a new title of Breaker of Chains from her actions in liberating slaves and building her army with the help of the eunuch army the Unsullied.
Her three dragons growing in size and strength, Daenerys proved herself a ruthless ruler as she used her three beasts to assert dominance within the region she later renamed the Bay of Dragons.
Eventually returning to her family’s homestead of Dragonstone, Daenerys set about making plans for her move against King’s Landing to regain her family’s claim to the Iron Throne, executing anyone who challenge or stand against her with the might of her dragons.
After being visited by King in the North Jon Snow, Daenerys insisted on his allegiance to her as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms which he eventually accepted.
Learning of the threat of the White Walkers who moved against the rest of the Known World, Daenerys tragically lost one of her three dragons to the undead army and so decided to take up residence in Jon Snow’s home of Winterfell to help combat the threat.
While Daenerys does not know that her current lover is also her nephew and rival claimant to her throne, it is unclear if the relationship between Daenerys and Jon will remain as strong as it is currently. But due to Daenerys’ naivety and tendency to quickly resort to her fire power before diplomacy, she may be in for a fight of friendly fire before the great war ahead.
- Cersei Lannister
Cersei has always been a power-hungry, conniving gameplayer and yet she is currently in the exact place she wants to be, on the Iron Throne ruling the Seven Kingdoms.
From taking the ruling house away from House Baratheon after instigating her husband’s murder, Cersei has always ensured her voice and power was there as Queen Mother to both her sons.
After being imprisoned by the religious movement known as the Sparrows for her incestuous perversions, Cersei is lays herself bare as she is forced to walk through the streets of Kings Landing naked with her head shaved before being embraced by her loyalists.
Becoming queen after exacting revenge on the religious cult and other enemies which caused then king and son Tommen to commit suicide after the death of his wife, Cersei has gained the power and control she has always craved and rules with a ruthless hand.
Why Cersei may not remain queen at the end of the series is because, aside from a couple of loyalists, Cersei is very much alone. There is no one to fight her corner, aside from the apparent unstoppable Mountain, and she does not have the love of any of her people.
- The Night King
While the villainous ruler of the White Walkers may not want the Iron Throne, he does want to rule the Seven Kingdoms, murder anyone who stands in his way and raise the fallen as recruits in his ever-growing undead army.
What makes the Night King more sinister, is the fact he also recruits newborn babies to his army by turning them into White Walkers.
Showing an extensive feat of his power by raising an entire army of fallen Free Folk as White Walkers with a simple raise of his arms, the Night King’s greatest victory to date has been resurrecting one of the three dragons belonging to Daenerys Targaryen as a White Walker and using him to bring down the Wall allowing his army to march on towards the Seven Kingdoms.
This sums up the Night King’s role in the series rather well, he is a formidable undead ruler who may not want the Iron Throne of the title that comes with ruling the Seven Kingdoms, but he wants to recreate the known world in his image of ice and undead inhabitants.
Never underestimate the underdog when it comes to a powerplay and Gendry, who became the subject of much fan-amusement during Series 3 when he started his apparent four-year stint on a row boat to nowhere, has definitely been the competitor who has come out of left-field but may have spent those four years devising a brilliant strategy to secure the throne for himself.
Born the illegitimate son of the late King Robert Baratheon, Gendry at the time of his introduction was the only known individual with a direct claim to the throne upon Robert’s death being his only blood-related child.
Due to his illegitimacy however, in the public eye he was disowned as a Baratheon and therefore raised as a Blacksmith’s assistant residing in a slum of Kings Landing, this however gives him an advantage as he would be one of few claimants to see how each ruler of the Seven Kingdoms have asserted themselves and maybe learn from them to become a better ruler.
With Arya Stark as an ally, who may or may not side against her believed half-brother Jon Snow in favour of her friendship to Gendry, he stands a good chance of fighting for his claim for the Seven Kingdoms, but will he turn against Jon to do it?
While it is not currently clear who will end up on the Iron Throne and ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, any of these candidates or others such as the three remaining Stark children, definitely have proven their reasons for wanting to rule and a majority of them have earned their own fanbase for as to why they should rule.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones airs on Sunday nights at 9:00pm ET in America on HBO and Monday nights at 9:00pm on Sky Atlantic.