5 Best and Worst Future Rulers of Westeros (ranked)
Who will be the most benevolent king/queen?
SPOILERS for everything GoT up to the final season.
My fellow Westerosi, it's almost time! From Harrenhall to Fleabottom, a new King or Queen of Westeros will be celebrated to the sound of trumpets or to the blazing horror of dragon fire. Westeros will be forever changed.
Once the Night King is defeated and some kind of order is restored to the world, all eyes will turn to the Red Keep, where a potentially more ominous threat may await or a bright future dawn. There is a host of contenders who could wind up in the fray for the crown, hailing from all corners of the country. But in case you haven’t noticed, Westeros doesn’t have a humane history as of late for great monarchs. So, will anyone be a great king or queen? The answer isn’t so straightforward.
The weight of the Seven Kingdoms bears heavy. Even the king with the purest of intentions can slip into tyrannical territory. Robert Baratheon took the throne in a rebellion started out of love for Lyanna Stark, though he soon became more interested with drinking than ruling. Tommen had a heart of gold but was too naive for the savage politics of Kings Landing. Even Aerys II Targaryen began his reign by bringing prosperity to the realm before he started burning people alive.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the potential winners of the Iron Throne. What kind of rulers would they be on a scale from ice (the perfect, benevolent ruler) to fire (the Mad King)?
Our ratings are from 10 🔥being the highest madness and suffering for Westeros to 1 ❄️as a benevolent rule and peaceful reign.
If you can bring yourself to envision a future where Cersei remains in the Great Hall, your brain would likely jump to nothing but fire and misery. You’d be right. The current queen has long-established herself as the most formidable woman in the series. There appears to be nothing holding her back from protecting her family. The scary thought is that Jaime, the last of her family, has deserted her to travel north. Armed with the new rage of her deceased children and newfound loneliness, there’s no telling what she’ll do next. She’s never shown any kind of love to a soul who isn’t named Lannister, let alone the common people she is sworn to protect. She wouldn’t even fight for the living with no incentive to her family. With no one around to advise her, Cersei’s wrath will be felt across the seven kingdoms, as she bends the country to her will.
Cersei is destined to rule with an iron fist. With no one left around her to restore any shred of decency, her reign would be on par with the Mad King. She deserves nothing less than a big-fat ten. Cersei is all fire and brimstone for Westeros.
Rating: 10 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Daenerys Targaryen has evolved dramatically from the innocent girl who was married off to a Dothraki in season one. From the scared child, into the full-fledged Queen we see before us. She has long been the glimmer of hope that the realm needs. That's impressive, as she looks to wash away the bad reputation the Mad King left her. Her handling of the slaves she encountered along the way speaks volumes of her kindness. While the manner in which she attracts new followers proves her charisma.
Unfortunately, not all signs point to the perfect queen recently. She acts impulsively against the advice of her council. The burning of the Tarleys springs to mind. Plus, she is slowly isolating herself from her trusted advisors, Tyrion and Misande. This means that by the time she takes the Iron Throne, who’s to say she would have any confidants left? All this seems to send her spiralling down a path of madness which her father walked before her. Pair this with the revelation that she will soon discover, her claim to the throne will be undermined by Jon’s. The future seems less than bright for the breaker of chains.
Dany has gone above and beyond to prove herself a great queen. Her followers worship her, and at her core, she is a good person. But she shows signs of the ill-temperedness that was her father's downfall. For that reason, I rate her a six. She is leaning more to madness and fire than benevolence and ice.
Rating: 6 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen) has had a remarkable journey leading up to this point. He fought White Walkers north of The Wall. He united the Night's Watch and the Wildlings like never before. He literally died for his cause. One thing you can’t take away from him is that he is an incredible fighter, and a noble man to match.
However, if you look at his track record, he does have a few flaws that may prevent his rule from being easy sailing. Though a good man at heart, he has shown consistent naivety in his time at the wall. He put his faith in the integrity of his brothers and paid the ultimate price, much like his father Ned Stark. If he shows a similar innocence in the volatile world of Westerosi politics, he will be betrayed. And I doubt he’d be coming back a second time. This may usher in some severe trust issues, meaning he would be less likely to have confidence in anyone but his own family. The problem is, Arya, Sansa and Bran aren’t quite the upstanding people that Ned would have wanted.
Jon Snow is a great man. He has the bravery of Robert and the compassion of Tommen. But his naviety will cost him. He’s nowhere near a tyrant, but he’ll have some rough edges. It’s a four from me. His benevolence and honor are unquestioned, but it is his unwillingness to make the hard compromises that may cost him and the realm just like they did the honorable Ned Stark. Even if Ned wasn’t the one to burn it, Westeros has been on fire ever since he failed to compromise his honor for what was best for the realm.
Rating: 4 ❄️❄️❄️❄️
If one man (half-man) deserves a break in the fictional world of Westeros, it’s Tyrion Lannister. He’s had a rough old time of it since he was thrown head first into the War of the Five Kings. He was accused of killing his nephew. He did kill his father (who was doing the dirty with the love of his life). And he was nearly assassinated by his sister whilst defending the capital. This is unfortunate, but it does mean that there is no other character who understands the game as well him. He’s a proven tactician as we saw during the Battle of Blackwater, with a keen eye for the unpredictable. Plus, despite the stigma of his size he seems to have a good rapport with the people. They know that he was the hero when Stannis was knocking at their door, even if his family did their best to bury it. His level of cunning is unrivalled, forever leaving him one step ahead of his enemies or so he thinks. People rightly respect Tyrion. His rule could be a happy one.
But, we have seen in the past that he can act irrationally when things turn sour. For example, the murder of Tywin. Was it justified? Yes. Was it smart? Nope. This impulsiveness has an alarming air of the Mad King about it. No matter how many elegant plans he makes, he is a wild card; which if unleashed could be catastrophic.
Tyrion has the knowhow to be a great ruler, which very few people can say. He has earned the respect of the people and fought back from countless dire situations. If he can keep his emotions in check, we could be on to a winner. The Imp gets a four. He means well but his cunning has had a cost since he started playing the great game.
Rating: 4 ❄️❄️❄️❄️
Gendry is in an interesting position. He is the only real contender who has spent any time living amongst his subjects, the people of Westeros. If there’s one thing that the slums of Flea Bottom will teach you, it’s empathy. The noble houses have long existed in a separate space, with the rest of the normies left to feed on the scraps. Once people get past the initial shock of having Robert’s bastard on the throne, they will have a king they identify with. Someone who has shared their struggle. Of course, he lacks the knowledge to survive the capital. But, he’s already surrounded himself with a formidable small council, should his friends bend the knee.
He’s also shown that he is unwavering in his morals, though less tested than Jon Snow. We’ve seen a couple of occasions where it would have paid to spin a little white lie, but he refused. He gives off the impression that he’s done with the BS of the Red Keep. Much like we all are. That's a refreshing perspective to bring into his kingship, one that could make him the right man for the job. His reign would be a great twist and we know George RR Martin loves a good agonizing twist. No one is really rooting for this particular bastard to win the great game, yet he is still playing.
What do you get when you cross a long lost child with a steely grit and a moral compass? I’ll tell you. It’s King Gendry Baratheon - first of his name. He’s the one for me! Not only do I think he wins the great game. I think he’ll be the best ruler of the 7 kingdoms and usher in a new era for Westeros.
Rating: 1 ❄️
Of course, there is still the possibility that George RR Martin has one last trick up his sleeve. Maybe, somebody comes out of left field and steals the throne from under our noses. Who do you think will win the great game, and what sort of ruler will they be? Let us know on our socials.