HBO's Game of Thrones is filming Season 8, which will bring an end to the saga of Ice and Fire — or will it? After all these years, it's nearly impossible to know who will end up in charge, if anyone. Of all the possibilities, there are at least nine believable GoT theories about who will end up on the Iron Throne when the series draws to a close. After all, when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. And a lot of people have died.
When Game of Thrones ended Season 7, fans were left with myriad characters vying for the kingdom. Even so, the fight against one another was temporarily put on hold — just long enough for the frenemies to fight the Night King together. Will Jon Snow, the reluctant King in the North, sit on the throne? Whether he knows it or not, it is his birthright. Daenerys, though, has devoted every waking thought to world domination since the end of Season 1. Gendry, a bastard Baratheon, is a dark horse contender, for sure. And what of Beric Dondarrion, quite possibly the Prince Who Was Promised? That fiery sword trick beyond the wall was no joke.
If you're just dropping by and aren't an obsessive fan of the series, here's what you need to know about this Iron Throne situation. The GoT universe has been at war since Season 1, when the death of King Robert Baratheon shook the island of Westeros. Robert took the throne from the long-ruling Targaryen family, and the heir to that family wants it back. There are two Targaryen heirs left, though, and at least one more Baratheon, and other ancient families have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring.
So, who will sit on the Iron Throne (a literal throne, forged by swords and dragon fire, mind you)? These are the most believable theories about how Game of Thrones will end.
1. Jon "Snow"
As the show made plain in the Season 7 finale, Jon Snow is not only a Targaryen, but the true heir to the throne. The Targaryens ruled for thousands of years, and Prince Rhaegar was legally wed to Lyanna Stark, making the bastard Jon Snow in actuality Prince Aegon Targaryen. If you follow the hereditary monarchy, as Westeros always has, that makes Jon Snow next in line for the Iron Throne.
However, that's not a role he wants to take on, and frankly, it would be kind of boring. Obviously he has a natural charisma and a strong heart, two qualities that make him such a successful leader. Jon is a lover and a fighter, and possibly can't die. If you were to make a March Madness-style bracket for the Iron Throne, Jon Snow would definitely be a one-seed. Is it what he wants? No. Would it be good for the world, and for fan feelings in general? Definitely. High probability of this happening.
2. Daenerys Stormborn
Khaleesi made reclaiming the Iron Throne her mission at the end of Season 1. Her entire journey since then has been about one thing: making that happen. Whether she'll seal the deal, though, is another story entirely. She's arguably the most deserving; she's the hardest working, she's had to learn the most, and she's suffered as much loss (if not more) than the other contenders. She redefines the world "driven", and is unafraid of challenge. Further, her advisor Missandei revealed that the Messianic prophecy about the one who was promised could indicate a prince or princess. It looks as if the show is setting her up for success, but that might not bode well for Daenerys. Fans have learned their lesson about "predictability" more than once with this series. Likely, but not as much as Jon Snow.
3. Sansa Stark
Maybe. Maybe. She has the leadership ability, the highborn title, and has learned quite a bit from the rocky road she's been forced onto. Sansa has traveled Westeros and knows the inner machinations of her rival families. In Season 5, she learned self-advocacy. In Season 6, she began taking matters into her own hands. And in Season 7, Sansa finally learned how to work as part of a deadly team. In the words of Dwight Schrute, look for the person you most medium suspect. That person, folks, is Lady Sansa of Winterfell.
4. Beric Dondarrion
As far as household names go, Beric Dondarrion is not among them. Is he foxy, even without the eye? Absolutely. Is he rugged? You know it. Would it be kind of strange to see him on the throne? One hundred percent. For years, Dondarrion was a tertiary character; after leaving King's Landing, he took up with the Brotherhood Without Banners and swore allegiance to the god of fire. He's been killed and resurrected more than once, which means Jon Snow isn't the only guy in the running with that on his résumé. The Lord of Light is on his side. In more ways than one, too: Fans noted his use of a flaming sword in the fight beyond the wall, which sure looks a lot like the fabled Lightbringer. This isn't the most likely outcome, but it's definitely one worth considering.
George R. R. Martin's novels indicate that the late King Robert slept his way around his kingdom, leaving bastard children (and potential claimants to the throne) in every neighborhood around. In HBO's Game of Thrones, those characters are condensed into the role of Gendry, the ferocious blacksmith whose life got a lot harder after his parentage was discovered. As the sole living heir to the last "rightful" king — though the Baratheon claim to the throne can obviously be disputed — Gendry is a contender to watch. He's young, he's fearless, and he wields that warhammer like the Baratheon he is. Gendry is motivated solely by revenge, and not at all power. That could take him farther than expected.
6. The Night King
Is everyone losing, humanity dying out, and the army of the dead taking over the world a possibility? Honestly, yes. It would be grim, sure, but the series hasn't exactly shied away from nihilism in its later years. Killing off every remaining character, or presuming to kill them off, would be a distinctly Thronesian way to conclude the series. It wouldn't be too out of left field, either. The Night King has an endless supply of bodies to bewitch, and he's got the Wights incredibly well-organized. Not to mention, an ice dragon.
Cersei Lannister on the Iron Throne? Never going to happen (hopefully). She's too selfish, too fearful, and too single-minded. It would be so boring, too. She's as unlikable as she is vindictive; it would be bad news for the kingdoms and a sour note to conclude the series on. And she's a terrible queen. Money can't buy you domination over an army of the undead, Cersei. Fingers crossed Arya is the one that ensures she can't make it there.
As for the rest of the Lannisters? Tyrion doesn't command enough respect to sit on the Iron Throne, and Jaime's broken heart for Cersei would never allow him to defy her. Also, even though Cersei's pregnant, it can't be her unborn child. Right? Unless the Lannisters are meant to be the next Targaryens.
8. No One
Khaleesi said she wanted to break the wheel, right? What about shattering it entirely? A new world order might be exactly what Westeros needs to rebuild itself. Also, if Jon ends up in charge, he may break up the kingdom and allow the various parts of the island to self-govern once more.
9. The Targaryens
The Targaryens intermarried for millennia, which led eventually led to the Mad King and subsequently Robert's Rebellion. Now that Jon and Daenerys have hooked up, and the audience knows they're technically aunt and nephew, is it possible that they'll unite to rule the kingdom together? The series hinted that Daenerys might be able to bear children after all, which is basically Chekhov's gun. Marrying Jon and Dany would re-establish a Targaryen dynasty in the key of Targaryen. It would also restore some peace to the kingdom, as Jon is allied with the Starks and Khaleesi has at least one Lannister on her side. A hopeful, romantic ending plus a pregnant Daenerys would conclude Game of Thrones on an appropriately sexy and bizarre note. Maybe Arya and Brienne could serve on the Kingsguard. Dare Game of Thrones end on a note of satisfaction?
Though there are only a few remaining episodes in the entire series, Game of Thrones has offered fans no indication of how it plans to end. Considering the showrunners surpassed the source material some time ago, even longtime fans of the books don't know where it's heading. It's impossible to know who will end up on the Iron Throne for sure. All fans do know is that watching it happen will be exciting AF.