In the first season of Game of Thrones (based on George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels “A Song of Ice & Fire”) we are told by Queen Cersei, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” Many characters have found this out. Game of Thrones is a show where the killing off of main characters is not a surprise; in fact, its expected in this series. Just last night in the season six finale, we lost Queen Margaery, the High Sparrow, Loras Tyrell, Mace Tyrell, Grand Maester Pycelle, Lancel Lannister, King Tommen and Walder Frey. That’s probably the biggest cast culling on the show since the Red Wedding.
Many of the possible candidates to be the final victor of the Game of Thrones have already met with a sad end. By this point in the show, the likely winners make up a much smaller list than we had in previous seasons. According to show-runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, there are only 14 more episodes left of Game of Thrones (Seasons 7 & 8 will be only seven episodes each. The show is only planned to go until year 8) so we’re getting close to the end of the game. Which of these remaining characters will reign supreme at the end of the day.
Jon Snow: One of the two most likely candidates to end up as King of Westeros. He is identified by Melisandre the Red Woman as “the prince who was promised”. He’s come back from the dead (a messianic allusion if there ever was one), reunited the houses of the North, ended the long war against the wildlings and seems to be the best hope to stop the Night King and his White Walkers. The flashbacks to the House of Joy indicate what many fans have long suspected—that Jon is heir to the Targaryen line, who were the rulers of Westeros before the revolt. (Nice cutaway to Jon’s face as that scene ended.) Also, the books are called “A Song of Ice & Fire” and Jon represents Ice. He was raised in Winterfell by the Warden of the North, Eddard Stark and has spent the entire series in the cold Northern lands, going to the Wall and beyond. Now he’s become the next Lord in the North. Heck, his name is “Snow”. That means that Jon is probably one of the two pivotal characters in the series.
Chances of winning the throne: 7 out of 10.
Daenerys “Stormborn” Targaryen: (AKA Khaleesi, AKA the Mother of Dragons, AKA the Unburnt) She is the other likely candidate to sit on the Iron Throne. Daenerys has lived her entire life with only one goal…To return the Targaryen clan to the Iron Throne. Originally, she expected her lunatic brother to be the one to reconquer Westeros but he was one of the many casualties of the game, so now it’s up to Daenerys to return the Targaryen Dynasty to glory. More than most other characters on the show, she has been totally single-minded and obsessed with her ultimate goal of capturing the throne. By the end of year six, she seems poised to succeed. She now has a fleet of ships, an army of Dothraki warriors, the Unsullied and three dragons (which have gotten very large.) She also has alliances with the “Sand Snakes” and Yara Greyjoy. As Daario Naharis said, the lords of Westeros have no idea what’s coming at them. Also, the title “A Song of Ice & Fire” could indicate that the Mother of Dragons (Who represents fire) will be the one to defeat the White Walkers (Ice) and save Westeros.
Chances of winning the throne: 8 out of 10.
Cersei Lannister: She may not be the likeliest winner but when you consider the history of Game of Thrones—where the villains win 9 times out of 10—it wouldn’t be too surprising to see one of the most evil characters on the show win the whole game. Cersei has risen from being a cold, calculating witch to becoming the Mad Queen, blowing up part of King’s Landing with wildfire (which is what the Mad Targaryen King had once planned to do before Jamie Lannister stabbed him in the back.) She is described by Olenna Tyrell as “the worst person I’ve ever met”.
She seems to have lost her last shred of humanity. When she loses her final child (mostly because of her own actions) she doesn’t shed a tear or even react much, except to order the body burned. She wastes no time in jumping onto his throne. She’s become completely insane and evil. However, there’s reason to believe that she won’t survive until the end. She has no allies left and she’s hunkered down like Hitler in his bunker at the end of the war. Furthermore, there’s a prophecy about Cersei which says, “Queen you shall be… until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”
Daenerys is coming, so Cersei may not make it through next season. However, my personal pick for the one who should wack Cersei is Arya Stark. Arya has been training as an assassin and she’s still taking down the people on her hate list (Goodbye Walder Frey…you had it coming!) which means Cersei is not safe because she’s been on top of Arya’s list since day one. There is also another part of the prophecy in the books (not mentioned on the show) that one of her brothers will kill her. That could be either Tyrion or Jamie. Tyrion is a possibility since he’s now allied with Daenerys and he’s always had a contemptuous relationship with Cersei. (Lena Headey, who plays Cersei, thinks it should be Tyrion who does her in!) However, the look on Jamie’s face at the end of the season finale when he returns to King’s Landing and finds out what Cersei has done indicates that he’s turned a corner on her, and will probably turn against her next year. With all the enemies she has, it’s hard to imagine that she will be the last woman standing.
Chances of winning the throne: 4 out of 10.
Sansa Stark: She’s grown a lot during the last six seasons, going from a sheltered, shallow rich girl to a clever survivor who plays the game as well as anyone. Although she’s never been in a position where she had any real political power, she has always managed to maneuver her way through the minefield of dangers and come out safely on the other end. It was her summoning of the army of the Vale that won the day during the Battle of the Bastards. Even Jon Snow suggested that she should be the Lady of Winterfell. Also, the prophecy of Cersei’s downfall could possibly refer to Sansa. One doubt about Sansa is that there may be a conflict brewing between her and Jon. David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have said that Sansa will be a little jealous of Jon becoming the Lord or Winterfell. Also, Littlefinger is trying to stir up some animosity in her against Jon. Will Sansa be manipulated and become an antagonist? Probably not but it’s a possibility.
Chances of winning the throne: 6 out of 10.
Arya Stark: The littlest assassin has made her way back to Westeros and she’s crossing off names. A lot of people are not going to be safe from now on; now that she’s learned the methods of the Faceless Men. (Did Arya kill that poor waitress to steal her face? That’s cold, Arya!) As for her becoming Queen, that doesn’t seem too likely. Even when Arya was among the noble Starks of Winterfell, she had no inclination for fancy parties, pageants or etiquette. She always preferred to shoot arrows and learn how to use a sword. She prefers Needle to a fancy ball gown. She’s been living a rough-and-tumble life over the last few years and doesn’t seem the type to want to plant herself on a throne. She would be better suited as one of the Kings Guard or Commander of the City Watch.
Chances of winning the throne: 3 out of 10.
Bran Stark: Crippled after Jamie Lannister threw him out a tower window, ending his childhood dream of being a knight, Bran has since gone on an odd journey where he discovers latent mystical powers including the “Greensight” (taught to him by the tree-eyed raven) which allows him to see the future and the past. He also has the ability to possess the bodies of his Dire Wolf Summer or his huge servant Hodor. The visions allow Bran to discover the secret origins of Jon Snow’s birth. We now know that Jon is not the son of Eddard Stark, (He’s a nephew) which makes Bran the rightful heir to Winterfell. (Could this be used by LIttlefinger to sew more discontent in Sansa?) Now that Bran is some sort of mystic, does he even want to be king of Winterfell?
Chances of winning the throne: 5 out of 10.
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish: Littlefinger is cunningly intelligent, preferring to stay in the shadows and let everyone else fight it out until there is no one left between him and the throne. He made it plain to Sansa that he wants to be the man on the Iron Throne and he’s been manipulating things since the beginning of the series to allow himself to maneuver into power with minimal risk of harm. He makes and breaks alliances constantly and has no loyalty to anyone but himself. Could his schemes lead him to the throne? Probably not. Although GOT does like to have the bad guys win, it’s hard to imagine Littlefinger sitting on the throne. He operates better in the shadows, playing people against each other. As the main target of his enemies, he probably wouldn’t last very long. He’d be better as the Hand of the King, rather than the actual ruler. Eventually, Sansa will probably get fed up with his constant games and ultimately outwit him. He deserves a nasty death and he’ll probably get one.
Chances of winning the throne: 3 out of 10.
Tyrion Lannister: Tyrion is the most popular character in GOT (So well played by Peter Dinklage) and one of the cleverest. Fans would most likely love to see “the Imp” on the Iron Throne. He would probably make a good ruler since he is one of the few characters whose moral compass actually points north. Despite his hedonistic tendencies and skepticism, he tries to do the right thing. Still, the odds of him becoming king are small. (No pun intended) Now that he’s allied himself with Daenerys, he will most likely end up as her Hand of the Queen, running the Small Council, rather than ruling Westeros. The only way he would conceivably end up on the throne is if Daenerys dies, which I don’t really think will happen. Still, Tyrion will probably end up with some significant role in the ruling regime, whoever it turns out to be (Unless its Cersei, in which case, Tyrion had better make a quick sprint back to Meereen.) Tyrion always manages to land on his feet somehow.
Chances of winning the throne: 4 out of 10.
A Fire & Ice Alliance: Of course, there is always the chance at the end that Jon Snow and Daenerys might form an alliance (as the last of the Targaryen line) to defeat both Cersei and the Night King. They could share the throne (Targaryen’s traditionally marry their blood relatives), and rule with Tyrion as the Hand of the King and Queen. Now that would be an ending fans would like.
We’ve still got two more seasons to go. We’ll have to wait impatiently. Who do you think will win the Game of Thrones?