The final season of Game of Thrones is about to start and we’ll finally find out who ends up on the Iron Throne, if anyone. I’m still rooting for the actual Iron Throne to get destroyed but while I believe that George R.R. Martin would spend a whole series focusing on whose butt will sit in one particular chair and then destroy the chair for a laugh, I don’t think HBO would lean their marketing this hard into the throne itself if that were the case. So, someone will probably end up sitting on that ugly and canonically inaccurate chair and everyone has their own pet theories as to who it will be, which I love! Tell me all about them! I am down to hear how Varys will actually be the one perched up there when all the dust settles. What I’m not in the mood for is a bunch of 21st century internet warriors trying to act like they’re experts in dynastic succession rules and know who has the best “claim” to the Iron Throne. No one has a good claim to the Iron Throne, that’s the point.
I’ll say it again: No one has a good claim to the Iron Throne.
“But Jon is Rhaegar and Lyanna’s kid!” Rhaegar was never king, and his dad was removed from office for excessive burninating and his whole line was disinherited. Also, we only have a record that Rhaegar and Lyanna MARRIED. We still have no living witness to say that Jon is Lyanna’s son. Bran doesn’t count, “my brother went down in a cave for a while and knows everything now” doesn’t really stand up in court. I hear you book readers yelling ‘Howland Reed!’ at me and I’m gonna go ahead and say there’s no way the show’s gonna bring him in this late in the game. That’s not how this is gonna go. It’s all gonna be Bran.
“Daenerys is the daughter of the previous king!” Yeah, the one I mentioned up there who was violently overthrown due to being crazier than a shithouse rat with a butane lighter? I don’t buy the “Dany is Aerys come again!” nonsense, but she definitely can’t lean on her dad’s name to get the throne. No one liked that guy and it’s best she NOT encourage anyone to draw comparisons. However, Daenerys is claiming Westeros by a different right; the right of conquest, same as Aegon the conquerer did with his sisters and all their dragons. And if she saves all of Westeros from The Others and their wights with her remaining dragons? That’s a pretty solid claim if she can pull it off.
“Uh, Cersei?” Cersei does have the strongest legal claim to the throne right now. Her husband was King. He became King through a rebellion that chose him as the leader based on his distant Targaryen lineage but he was the King and she was the Queen. Very true. But in Westeros, the throne does not pass to the King’s wife upon his death so she’s still on shaky grounds. And the baby she’s carrying is DEFINITELY not Robert’s, so it also does not have a claim. But she might fulfill Aery’s legacy by taking the rest of King’s Landing down with her, in which case the question about the Iron Throne will be moot.
“Gendry!” The only person to state unequivocally that Gendry is Robert’s son is an ancient witch who burns children. No one in Westeros has rock-solid character witnesses these days but this one is worse than most.
The most pressing problem in Westeros these days isn’t a crisis of succession; it’s that large swaths of the country are in open rebellion, there’s an invasion of the undead, AND a climate disaster looming. But if there WERE a true crisis of succession, they’d just do what the British did after the death of Queen Anne when the entire Catholic side of her extended family had been excluded from the line of succession (basically the Targaryen issue) and reach out to some weird
German Volantine cousin or whatever to come in and set things to right. There’s a reason there’s a bunch of fat old books about who begat who, and it’s so in cases like this they can dig up the appropriate third cousin once removed who gets to wear the crown. Chances are that person is also dead. It’s grim times for Westeros in a lot of ways right now. Who cares who gets to sit in an uncomfy chair at the end of it all?