Who Has The Strongest Claim To The Iron Throne, According to History?

Who Has The Strongest Claim To The Iron Throne, According to History?

By: Santiago Gonzalez -

There's still several 'Game of Thrones' characters who could technically be the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. But who has the strongest claim?

Just like it has been throughout history, becoming king or queen in Westeros clearly isn’t only about what your lineage is. But then, what will it take? George RR Martin took many medieval historical episodes, codes, and recurring themes to build his fantasy world for the book saga A Song of Ice and Fire, which is the source material for Game of Thrones.

For instance, one of the systems of inheritance is exclusively through the male line. This is called patrilineality, which this fantasy medieval universe copies to the tee, and it means male heirs will always have preference over female heirs. Then, there's the question of lineage, which stems basically from Divine Right or God’s mandate, which is a belief or doctrine that gives political legitimacy to an individual. This idea says that it may not actually be this or that person who wants to become ruler. God wants it that way. Therefore, kings and queens are simply carrying out God’s will, which no one can even question. This is where the English monarchs’ motto “Dieu et mon droit” (French for “God and my right”) comes from.

It seems like a pretty flimsy and made up argument, but back in the Middle Ages, people believed a monarch was God’s Earthly representation. However, we need to give medieval people enough credit here and acknowledge that they could put two and two together and realize it was complete BS. Otherwise, there would have never been rebellions or civil wars.


Who Has The Strongest Claim To The Iron Throne, According to History? 1@jaimerickettsmediaSpeaking of which, Robert Baratheon launched his rebellion and won. He thus won the Iron Throne by conquest. In history, conquest was in itself a good enough reason to proclaim yourself a king. However, it also meant anyone could claim the throne, provided they had a strong army and were good enough as a commander. That way, when they launched a challenge (or somebody challenged them), they would have made sure to come out on top or die. 

Yet, sometimes, winning a war wasn't good enough. You had to make sure none of your vassals rebelled against you later on. And because people believed in God (Gods for the Seven Kingdom) and divine right, rebels had better have a good reason for challenging a, shall we say, incumbent King. Otherwise, people and lords might have felt somewhat cheated. This brings us back to Game of Thrones, where, in order to fully legitimize his claim, Robert had to trace his lineage all the way back to his Targaryen ancestors for people to be like: "okay, sure, why not?" This is the same logic that led to the War of the Roses, a war that went on and off in England between 1455 and 1487, where two cadet houses claimed their lineage to House of Plantagenet in order to legitimize their rule.

So, all in all you need two things: an army and the right lineage. Do these characters have them?


Cersei Lannister

Cersei took the throne for herself after her son king Tommen’s suicide. Cersei has scheming allies like Qyburn who work on her behalf, so it was easy for her to take over after none of her sons were left alive. The Lannister army answers to her only. Meanwhile, her enemies are either fighting each other or in a foreign land. However, her own people hate her and she's losing the support of some of the Lords of the Kingdom. Others are simply dead. In short: Cersei has no lineage but does have an army (unless of course, this changes).game of thrones iron throne season 8@tommylightfootgarret

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys relies on her birthright. Targaryens ruled the Seven Kingdoms for thousands of years, and her father was usurped during Robert’s Rebellion. This could very well have been an unlawful move, but Robert claimed he was a Targaryen himself, and the rest of the Kingdom kind of agreed. After turning out to be a sloppy King, these same subjects might have changed their mind about Robert. Then they found out that his kids weren't actually his, but the product of Cersei and Jaime's incestuous relationship. But, who would replace him? This is where Daenerys steps in. She claims the Iron Throne has been hers all along. She's the daughter of Aerys, the last Targaryen king, and since all of her brothers died presumably leaving no heirs, she's the heir. Dany also has a huge army made up of dragons, Dothraki, mercenaries, and people who have rallied in her favor after witnessing the values she holds. Will this be enough?game of thrones iron throne season 8@fire


Jon Snow (aka Aegon Targaryen)

Let's cut to the chase. Jon has the strongest claim here. Jon was proclaimed King of the North by the lords of the North, which means he commands the entire Northern army. People love him, by the way, but what makes him the strongest candidate is that Jon is the lawful son of Rhaegar Targaryen, who secretly married Lyanna Stark, making his claim stronger than Dany’s. In case there was any doubt, male-preference primogeniture rules in the Seven Kingdom and Dany knows this. This is why she's terrified about word getting out. If people around the Seven Kingdoms found out, there would be little to help the fact that Jon would be proclaimed King. Yet, he doesn't want the throne. Is he the only choice?game of thrones iron throne season 8@housetxrgxryxn

Gendry (Rivers) Baratheon

Gendry, a bastard son of Robert Baratheon, has an unlikely claim, but the fact that Daenerys legimitized him changes everything. Having been recognized as a Baratheon, Gendry is now officially the last member of his house, which makes him the heir to the Storm's End. But if that's the case, then technically, he's the heir to the Iron Throne as well. Daenerys legitimizing him is smart move. She knows Gendry's claim is solid, so she grants her something, a lordship (that implies lands, armies, and vassals) he never even dreamed of, thereby making a friend for life. She just created a powerful ally out of thin air. He's not likely to rebel against Dany, and Gendry doens't even want to play the game of thrones. In fact, he doesn't even know the rules. But... there's still two episodes left. Will he learn?game of thrones iron throne season 8@gameofgendryaIt's still too soon to call it, but who do YOU think has the strongest claim?