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Ranking GAME OF THRONES’ Best Claims to the Iron Throne

You never know what interesting fact you might come across in an old book. Maybe you’ll discover the total number of stairs in the Citadel, or learn how many times an old man went to the bathroom.

Or maybe you’ll learn that shortly before Rhaegar Targaryen died he had his marriage to Elia Martell annulled so he could legally marry Lyanna Stark, which means Jon Snow is really Jon Targaryen the legal heir to the Iron Throne.


But that monumental, surprise revelation from Gilly got us to thinking about more than just Jon’s claim to the Iron Throne, since characters on Game of Thrones tend to have short lives. So who else can argue they have a right to rule the realm? Here’s our ranking, from the best, most legitimate claims to the worse, least likely ones.

(Note: We’re only considering characters from the show and not the novels.)


The Iron Throne only exists because of House Targaryen. Before Aegon the Conqueror, Westeros was made up of independent kingdoms. That’s why Robert Baratheon, the first non-Targaryen to be king, wanted Viserys and Daenerys dead. A Targaryen will always have the greatest claim to rule the Seven Kingdoms because they created the position.

Jon, the Mad King’s grandson, is the King in the North, the largest of the Seven Kingdoms in terms of physical size, and the legal son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, who himself was next in line to the throne when he died. A Westerosi monarch and a male Targaryen (men always came before women in the Targaryen line of succession, they even fought a civil war over that issue known as “The Dance of the Dragons“), he unquestionably has the strongest claim to the Iron Throne, even more so than Daenerys, the Mad King’s daughter.

Of course, nephew or not, Daenerys and her Drogon might not care about any of that. Dragons are like that.


Despite their historical aversion to crowning women, a female Targaryen would still have a better claim to rule than a non-Targaryen man for the same reasons: the House will always have the best argument to take Aegon’s seat. Plus, unlike Jon, there aren’t any questions about her real parents and their marriage.

Also unlike Jon she has dragons. Really can’t stress enough the importance of owning dragons.


Among the reasons Robert Baratheon could claim the Iron Throne is because House Baratheon is almost certainly a bastard line of Targaryens, not to mention his grandmother was Princess Rhaella Targaryen. Robert had the blood of the dragon, and so does his son Gendry.

Bloodlines determine the line of succession more than any other factor, which is why despite being a bastard, Gendry’s claim is probably stronger than Cersei’s.


It was bizarre that Qyburn crowned Cersei by announcing her as being of House Lannister, when her marriage to Robert (and a lack of literally any other possibilities) justified her being the first official female monarch of the Seven Kingdoms. Her marriage to Robert is so important to her right to rule the show still uses the stag from the sigil of House Baratheon for King’s Landing in the opening credits.

Those four have the best, most direct claims. But there aren’t any others with an obvious argument, so now it’s time to get creative.


His sister is queen right now, and he is the only blood relative she has left (well, besides Tyrion, but we’ll get to him a little later), so if Cersei died right now, the crown would fall to him. That would mean the Kingslayer ended up taking the Mad King’s position on the Iron Throne, and that would be an incredible turn of events.

Especially because he would be the first person on the Iron Throne to literally need a Hand of the King. (Editor’s Note: That joke is left in under heavy duress.)


Jon is already a king, and without a son of his own Bran is next in line, followed by Sansa and Arya. They are Starks, but they are his blood, so that would extend to the Iron Throne too.

Maybe that sounds crazy, but for a second let yourself imagine hearing this at show’s end: “Queen Arya of House Stark, First of Her Name and Protector of the Realm.”

Yeah, it’s okay if you felt all tingly. It would be weird if you didn’t.


Now to immediately ruin that feeling.

We covered the Wardens of the North (House Stark) and the Wardens of the West (House Lannister) and their claims. The wardens of the South are gone (House Martell) and the Lord Paramounts of the Reach (House Tyrell) have been wiped out too.

But you know who is still around? The blood relative of Bran, Sansa, and Arya, the weird Robin Arryn.

How you feeling now?

If any of Jon’s siblings ended up on the Iron Throne, it would mean Robin was in the line of succession too. He doesn’t have the worst claim either, as one of the few remaining great houses who once ruled a kingdom before Aegon.

Still, the Night King would be a better option than this freaking kid.


Their father/brother was a (self-declared) king, and House Greyjoy was raised by their fellow Ironborn to rule after Aegon’s Conquest. They come from a great house…

Yes, we know these claims are getting really thin now.


If Robin Arryn has a claim that means his step-father and acting regent Littlefinger gets in line too. Plus, even though you might have forgotten, Littlefinger is technically the Lord of Harrenhal himself.

Say what you will but King Petyr Baelish would get **** done.


Why the **** not?

WARNING: If you think theories are spoilers, avoid the last entrant on this list.





Why did we skip Tyrion when we included Jaime? Because his claim could actually rank third, above even Gendry’s, if the theory about who his real father is proves true. (See our explanation of the Mad King’s possible illegitimate son.)

Cause the bastard son of the Mad King would have a far greater right to rule than the bastard son of Robert Baratheon.

There is no greater claim  to the Iron Throne than having the blood of the dragon.

But what do you think? Did we miss someone? Did we get these rankings wrong? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: HBO

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