Who Is the Rightful Heir to the Iron Throne? Game of Thrones Keeps Us Guessing


“When you play the game of thrones, you live or you die. There is no middle ground.” Those were the words Cersei Lannister uttered to the late Ned Stark in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. And considering she currently sits on the Iron Throne and he’s currently headless — we think it’s safe to say she was onto something. But, is Queen Cersei the rightful heir to the Iron Throne?

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As we head into the Season 7 finale of the show, fans are left wondering who will win it all and take the throne? Or will Cersei be successful in keeping her power? Or will the White Walkers unleash their new ice dragon and kill everyone in Westeros? So many possibilities! So let’s break down who has the strongest claim to the throne.

Daenerys Targaryen

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Up until this season, most viewers believed that Daenerys was the only rightful heir to the throne. She is the last living child of the late King Aerys II Targaryen, known as “The Mad King,” who was stabbed in the back (figuratively and literally) by Jaime Lannister or “The Kingslayer.” If King Robert Baratheon hadn’t started a rebellion against The Mad King, than one of Daenerys’ older brothers would have become king. But, they’ve been murdered leaving her as the last Targaryen (or so she thinks).

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Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister HBO

(Photo Credit: HBO)

The fact that Cersei currently is Queen of the Seven Kingdoms might make you believe that she has the strongest claim to the throne. But, alas, you’d be wrong. Cersei was married to King Robert before his death. She gave birth to three children, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, all of whom are also dead. Yeah, people close to her usually don’t last very long… except, her twin brother slash lover Jaime, who was also father to all of her children. Even though her sons were named kings, neither of them were sons of King Robert, making her claim to the throne that much weaker.

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Jon Snow

Jon Snow HBO

(Photo Credit: HBO)

Last, but not least. Possibly the greatest underdog in the history of underdogs is Jon Snow, King in the North. Introduced as the bastard son of Ned Stark, last season the show confirmed the R+L=J theory meaning that Jon is not Ned’s son, but his nephew. Jon’s parents were the late Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. And to make matters even more interesting, viewers learned this season that Lyanna and Rhaegar were married, which means Jon is not a bastard Snow. He’s a legitimate Targaryen. And because he was the son of Rhaegar, he has an even greater claim to the throne than Daenerys. Now, who should bend the knee?

Most likely, fans will have to wait until Season 8 to see who actually will come out on top. But, like Tyrion Lannister said last season: “You’re in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying.” That’s for sure.

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