There is one thing that every Game of Thrones fan has known since the beginning, built into the very premise and title of the series: in the game of thrones, you win or you die. Now that the series is approaching its final six episodes, which begin on Apr. 14, viewers may be asking themselves: who will win in Game of Thrones? More than a few characters are likely to die, but only one person can sit on the Iron Throne when all is said and done.
At the end of Season 7, there are three obvious contenders. Cersei is currently the reigning queen of Westeros, so she's already halfway there. All she has to do is hold on to her power and she's set. But that's easier said than done, especially when Daenerys has made it her life's work to take back her family's kingdom. However, the reveal that Jon Snow is technically the heir to the Targaryen throne as Rhaegar's only living son means he's in the running, too.
But they're not the only possibilities. Those with a penchant for nihilism might be betting on the Night King to take over and turn the entire country into his zombie kingdom. But a dark horse could take the throne, too — Gendry, King Robert's surviving child, could make a claim for it. Perhaps Tyrion could use his wits to win the seat.
Author George R. R. Martin, on whose books the shows are based, hasn't let any spoilers about the end of the series slip. But according to Time, he wanted fans to prepare themselves for a "bittersweet" ending. That means the throne probably won't be won without some missteps and sacrifices. The idea that Jon and Dany might get hitched and rule as a benevolent pair is the stuff of fantasy; it most likely won't be what comes to pass. It's difficult to imagine that Game of Thrones will have anything approaching a happy ending.
Reddit user redwineandpizza theorized that no one would win and that the throne would be destroyed, specifically because GRRM is anti-war; Vox noted that the theme of pacifism runs through both the A Song of Ice and Fire books and the HBO show. The series takes pains to show the brutality of war and the pointlessness of the constant jockeying for power; someone will always be left out in the cold and the person who wins isn't always the right person for the job. Past kings like Aerys or Robert may have been born to the throne or took it by force, but they didn't exactly have their kingdom's best interests at heart.
And just bear with me here, but does anyone need to win? Monarchies are inherently unfair. Does Daenerys really deserve the throne more than anyone else because her family happened to rule for a few centuries? She's proven herself an apt conquerer, but that doesn't necessarily mean she'll be an effective ruler; she had problems with past provinces, after all. Jon may be a good candidate because of his proven leadership skills, but the fact that he was technically born into the line of succession diminishes his position as an underdog.
Who knows if, down the line, any of the possible winner's descendants will make good kings and queens? For every Daenerys, there's the chance of a Viserys. I don't know who will win the Iron Throne, but I hope no one gets to sit in that fabled seat of power. It hasn't worked well for anyone so far. Maybe they should try to hold an election instead.