We recently asked our readers who deserves to sit on the Iron Throne when “Game of Thrones” concludes after its eighth season in 2018 (season seven premieres Sunday night, July 16). Of the likeliest remaining characters, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) were our readers’ clear favorites, so we set up a head-to-head smackdown between the two prospective rulers, and as of this writing the results are decisive: Jon Snow is the rightful ruler of Westeros, according to nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%).
And he certainly has a strong claim to the throne. He was raised to believe he’s the bastard son of Ned Stark (Sean Bean, who lost his head in season one), and he eventually went to join the Night’s Watch, who protect the kingdom from threats north of the Wall. Unbeknownst to Jon Snow, however, he’s actually the illegitimate child of Lyanna Stark and her lover Rhaegar Targaryen. That means he’s really Ned’s nephew, but more importantly he’s the grandson of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, who was assassinated by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and replaced on the throne by Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy).
So Jon Snow has royal blood in his veins, but he doesn’t know it. His younger brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) only just learned the truth in a vision. And he could be a ruler of mythic proportions. After all, he was assassinated by his fellow Night’s Watchmen only to be resurrected the following season. That’s not a bad party trick, even compared to his aunt Daenerys, who commands dragons and is literally fireproof.
Do you agree with our poll results that Jon Snow should rule when the smoke clears at the end of the series? You can keep voting here, and discuss this and more with your fellow “Game of Thrones” fans in our forums.