The following list is my rankings for those who are most likely to win the Iron Throne on Game of Thrones. There isn’t much science to it. The factors I weighed are the actual likelihood and capability of the characters to ascend to the Iron Throne, and potential plausible storylines the creators could follow (I did not read the books in case you were wondering). Although, these factors are heavily weighted by my own biases of what I would like to see happen.
To make the list interesting I had to underweight the fact that it is highly unlikely any protagonist will ultimately win the throne. Then again, there is plenty of time for redemption; so those perceived ‘bad guys’ could always take a turn for the good before it’s all said and done with. Plus, HBO has proven time and again that it does not always follow the formulaic cathartic endings most movies and shows go for. Just look at the series finale of the Sopranos or the season 1 finale of Boardwalk Empire. For those reasons, bad apples made the list, but because of the overwhelming tendency for Hollywood to lean toward cathartic endings, my list naturally leans in that direction.
(No Spoiler Alert needed. Last time I checked I did not have the gift of prophecy. I’m kidding. I never checked.)
Jamie Lannister, Mance Rayder, The Knight of Flowers, and any new characters yet to be introduced.
Group D: The Connivers
Littlefinger has proven to be a master manipulator. He has a vast network of informants that allows him to stay one step ahead of everyone. His biggest weaknesses are that he is a politician-not a warrior, and he is not of the lineage of any of the illustrious houses of the Seven Kingdoms.
9. Tyrion Lannister/Cersei Lannister
This pair of brother and sister are both smart and clever tacticians of the game. Tyrion is the smarter of the two, but what Cersei lacks in intelligence she makes up for in ruthlessness. They are from the powerful and rich House of Lannister who are known for “always paying their debts.” Either one sitting on the Iron throne is unlikely because for one, Tyrion is probably too smart to even want to be king; and two, his dwarf status makes him an unlikely ruler. Cersei desires power but she has already been queen and her allegiance is to her son, the current King.
Group C: Reluctant Rulers
8. Catelyn Stark
The widow of Ned Stark and mother of Robb Stark is an unlikely candidate for the Iron throne, but she has the bloodline (House of Tully blood and Stark by marriage) and knowledge to sit on the throne. However, the only conceivable situation that would see her on the throne is if her son Robb was not alive to take it. The safety of her children is her priority, not power.
7. Tywin Lannister
Tywin is the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms and is essentially the defacto King right now, considering that he is the Hand of the King to his petulant grandson Joffrey. If Tywin desired to be king he probably would be already. He is content with not being king so long as it does not interfere with his riches. The right situation could plausibly see Tywin cede to the throne in the name of stability for the kingdom he essentially owns.
6. Jon Snow
Jon Snow taking the Iron Throne would be one of the most emotionally rewarding possibilities for the Throne. He is the ultimate underdog in the Game of Thrones. Jon was born the bastard of the great Ned Stark, and he has done everything he can to make a name for himself apart from his bastard status. I could easily see a scenario where he successfully makes a name for himself through his adventures in the North and is called upon due to circumstances yet to unfold to play a larger role in the fight for the Iron Throne.
Group B: The Throne Seekers
5. Stannis Baratheon
Stannis suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Blackwater Bay last season, but he is still dangerous thanks to the magic of the priestess Melisandre. He is also backed by a valid claim to the throne as the eldest younger brother of the previous king, Robert Baratheon. Ultimately, it is hard to envision a scenario where Stannis becomes king. He is the least charismatic of the few who could seriously contend for the throne. His personality inspires neither admiration nor hatred.
4. Robb Stark
At this point, Robb Stark would make the best king out of all of the candidates. He aims to be just like his father, the honorable Ned Stark. He is driven by his desire to serve the people of the Seven Kingdoms as well as avenge his father’s death. Robb has proven himself capable in battle and he inspires those who follow him. I get the sense, however, that he has risen to his current position too fast with too much success. His metal has not been truly tested and as the saying goes, the strongest steel is forged in fire. He is pre-Mavs meltdown Lebron, but the Game of Thrones is life or death, and there is no redemption if you’re dead.
3. Daenerys Targaryen
SHE HAS DRAGONS! Daenerys has already proven to be a great leader and her determination to win back the throne that was taken when her father, the Mad King, was killed, is unmatched by anyone on this list. She also has the superhuman ability to withstand fire. She is incredibly hot, if that counts for anything. And did I mention that she has DRAGONS?! Yea, SHE HAS DRAGONS!
Group A: The Nobel Path
2. Gendry (Secret Bastard son of Robert Baratheon)
Next only to Daenerys Targaryen, Gendry has the truest claim to the throne; yet he comes from the humblest of beginnings of all the candidates. His mother died when he was very young. At a young age he became a blacksmith’s apprentice, which gives him an athletic and muscular physique. His backstory mirrors that of Aragorn in Lord of the Rings in that they both do not find out about their kingly lineage until adulthood. I suspect when he finds out he is heir to the throne, he will at first deny the responsibility in much the same way Aragorn did. The lure of the ideal ruler being the humble man who takes responsibility reluctantly and only when it is thrust upon him is a tradition that goes back to the days of Plato. This makes Gendry the ideal man for the job.
I have to admit that putting Arya #1 may be wishful thinking on my behalf. I find myself rooting for the late Ned Stark’s youngest daughter more than any other character on the show. She is adventurous, resourceful, independent, smart, witty, sarcastic, and all around awesome. Hating the princess lifestyle of a highborn, Arya convinced her father to allow her to learn to sword fight when most girls would be content with playing tea. After her father was murdered she had to pretend to be a peasant boy, which ironically was not that difficult because she is not pretentious and she is a natural tomboy. In season 1,when her father suggested she will one day be a beautiful queen, she told him that she would rather be a warrior like him (foreshadowing possibly?). She is steadily putting together an impressive resume for future queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Fate had her working as a cupbearer for her family’s unwitting mortal enemy, Tywin Lannister, where she learned military strategy among other things. Ultimately, her intelligence combined with all of her life experience will make her too valuable to simply sit on the sidelines when it all goes down. I think it is even within the realm of possibility that we could see a Gendry and Arya ruled kingdom when it’s all said and done. . . if they are both still alive.
Who would you like to see sit on the Iron Throne and why?