With the highly anticipated premiere of “Game of Thrones” just a few days away, excitement to check in with fan’s favorite characters is increasing by the second. Still, as the title suggests, this is a big game to see who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne -- and there’s a lot of players.
Each year, HBO and author George R.R. Martin find new ways to completely change things up and force the audience to re-evaluate their personal favorite contender for the crown. With that in mind, below is a breakdown of the most promising characters that could wield ultimate power over the citizens of Westeros ahead of Season 5. The names below are in no particular order, just like their chances for the Throne. Be warned though, there are spoilers ahead:
Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman)
After the not-so-tragic loss of his brother, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), the young boy Tommen was promoted to the leader of the Seven Kingdoms. He’s young but has already demonstrated that he will not follow in his cruel brother’s footsteps. Tommen is a gentle person who values life and wants to be a good leader, even if that means not necessarily being a powerful one. As it stands right now, he’s the person that all of Westeros is bowing to, even though he may have absolutely zero claim to the throne. As fans know, the show started with the reveal that there is some inbreeding going on in the Lannister family. Tommen may not have earned the name Baratheon as he’s more than likely a product of his mother Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her sexual relationship with her brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
OK, no need to get too in-depth here as her status hasn’t changed since Season 1 (although her circumstances certainly have). The Targaryen family came into the picture decades ago, riding on the backs of three dragons. The family used them to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, which were then ruled by seven different kings. This was the status quo until the dragons died and Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark led a rebellion against The Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. Daenerys and her brother escaped the city during Robert’s siege. Now, Daenerys is all grown up, ready to lead an army and, oh yeah, has living proof that dragons aren’t as extinct as everyone thought. Technically, she’s the person on the show with the biggest claim to the throne as her ancestors forged the freaking thing. But tell that to the Lannisters, Baratheons, Starks and everyone else that isn’t fireproof.
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
Admittedly, Stannis doesn’t get a whole lot of love by the fans. It probably has something to do with his tendency to burn infidels, ignore his deformed daughter and the gruesome murder of his own brother by way of a blood-magic smoke monster. Still, Robert Baratheon won the rebellion and took ownership of the Iron Throne, and as long as Daenerys is twiddling her thumbs in Meereen, Stannis has the biggest claim to power of anyone else. If you want to dispute that, remember that the only reason he was able to summon that smoke monster is because there’s “power in king’s blood.”
Still, for all his shortcomings, the man knows where to march an army. After a failed attack on King’s Landing, the crazy-king-contender regrouped his forces and marched on The Wall to stop Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds) and the Wildlings from overtaking Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and the Night’s Watch. White Walkers aside, he’ll likely march south toward King’s Landing once again -- this time to not fail at claiming the throne. It’s worth mentioning that he does have an army of Boltons standing in his way.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington)
So, this is based almost 100 percent on the popular fan theory known as “R+L=J,” which states that Jon Snow is not in fact the bastard child of Ned Stark (Sean Bean). Instead, he may be the secret love child of Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark and her captor/suitor Rhaegar Targaryen. Now, for those who don’t know, that would effectively mean that Jon Snow has even more claim to the throne than Daenerys as he’s not only noble born, but also a man (Sorry, I don’t make the rules). According to Time, creator George R.R. Martin all but confirmed this is true once the rumor gained viral traction amongst fans. Still, at the present time, Snow is just a lowly bastard son protecting Westeros from the horrors beyond the Wall.
Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton)
OK, this one is a stretch but Westeros really painted itself into a corner on this one. We were all fine with calling Robb Stark (Richard Madden) the “King of the North” when he was rebelling against Joffrey and the rest of King’s Landing. Now that the war is over, the Lannisters awarded the Boltons the North lands as a reward for their loyalty (and by that I mean betraying the Starks in the bloodiest way possible). Roose Bolton showed no signs that he has plans to declare himself a king, but the family has a history of not looking like they’re going to do something horrible right up until the moment they do something extra horrible – so it’s anyone’s guess.
It’s doubtful we’ll get the ultimate answer to the question of who will sit on the throne in Season 5. However, if the previous seasons are any indication, expect players on this list to drop out of the running (or dead) and possibly new characters to make their way to the top of the list. “Game of Thrones” premieres on HBO April 12.