Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones.”
The first question often asked among “Game of Thrones” fans is a simple one: Who do you think will be on the Iron Throne in the end? This — in our opinion — is a trick question.
No one will be on the throne in the end. Heck, the throne might not even exist the the series’ end.
Fan theories about the Iron Throne’s rightful claimant have been circulating for decades, ever since George R.R. Martin’s first novel — “A Game of Thrones” — was released in 1996. Though the title is clear indication of the wars to come and the ongoing fight for the Iron Throne, fans of the show should keep in mind this was only the first book. HBO adapted Martin’s writings for the screen and used the series’ first book title, and this may have caused an inadvertent emphasis on the Iron Throne.
In the span of six seasons, King’s Landing has had four rulers seated on the throne of power: Robert Baratheon, Joffrey and Tommen Lannister/Baratheon, and now Cersei Lannister.
Fans love to argue that Daenerys is the true heir to the throne and deserves to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Or what about Jon Snow? The bastard son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark would surely make a good king.
But more plausible than any of these scenarios is this: The Seven Kingdoms will be in such disarray after the war against the White Walkers that a single ruler won’t be needed anymore.
We know the White Walkers are the biggest threat to humanity right now, even if many people in Westeros don’t realise it yet. The wars being fought between Lannister and Stark or Targaryen and Greyjoy will ultimately be meaningless in the face of impending doom from ice zombies intent on wiping out mankind.
That also means the Iron Throne — and who sits on it — is ultimately meaningless. Westeros is already rather decimated after the War of the Five Kings. The land and smallfolk have been ravaged, and many of the local armies are not in their prime. Once the White Walkers manage to get past the Wall, and winter truly sets in, things will go from bad to worse.
Assuming humanity prevails and manages to defeat the White Walkers, Westeros will be in a very sorry state at the end of the great battle. Would it really make sense for a hero like Jon or Daenerys to rule over everyone? Maybe it would if this was “Lord of the Rings.” But it’s not. This is Martin’s epic fantasy series which the author claims will have a “bittersweet” ending.
Bittersweet is Daenerys finally arriving in Westeros only to realise her “home” is under attack, and fighting tooth and nail to preserve the land only to see it in ruins after the battle ends. Bittersweet is Jon Snow being the literal “song of ice and fire” (the only descendant of the great northern house Stark and fiery royal house Targaryen) but never getting the chance to rule the Seven Kingdoms and instead living out his days in the North.
Perhaps Dany will live to rule over a small section of Westeros in the South, and amicably agree to leave the North to Jon and separate out other kingdoms to surviving nobility. Fans should also prepare themselves for the possibility that none of their heroes make it to the end.
Fans have also guessed the Iron Throne itself will be disassembled — melted down and used to forge new Valyrian steel weapons for a coming fight against the White Walkers. Though this might be unlikely (people alive in Westeros probably aren’t capable of Valyrian magic) it acknowledges a truth about the seat of power: In the end, the Iron Throne simply won’t matter.
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