Counting down until the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, we’re reviewing the winning odds for the remaining great houses of Westeros. Last week, we looked at the (pitiable) odds of House Greyjoy, and this week, we are examining the chances that House Lannister retains their control of the seven kingdoms. At first blush, their odds seem pretty good—Lannisters are represented on both sides of the fight. Tyrion is Daenerys’s Hand, and Jaime is throwing his lot in with the Stark-Targaryen truce to fight the White Walkers. Meanwhile, Cersei is still ruling from King’s Landing and strategizing against everyone else. So it seems like, no matter how thing shake out, a Lannister ends up in charge somewhere.
I just don’t think their odds of keeping the throne are good. Cersei has alienated even her best ally—Jaime—and has to buy an army to help defend her side. She has no one left except the zombiefied Mountain and her creepy maester. She has, by sheer cunning, become queen regnant, but her position going into season eight is more precarious than ever and it is simply because she is so isolated. While everyone else is forming the Westeros Avengers to take on the Night King, Cersei is playing the Loki role, smiling to their faces and planning sabotage behind their backs, and, well, we know how that worked out for Loki.
GOT is a story that does not spare heroes from awful fates just because they are heroic and good, but I don’t think it is SO dark that Cersei ends up queen of everything at the end. There is, after all, a reason this tale is being told, and it’s not because “and the awful vicious queen won in the end” is a satisfying ending. It’s most likely that Cersei dies a horrible yet fan-pleasing death not unlike Joffrey. (And her downfall will likely be due to the fact that she has no real trustworthy allies.)
But that still leaves two Lannisters on the board. Jaime is not and never has been a contender to the throne, but his arc has been complicated and it’s not clear how it will resolve. He began a monster, pushing Bran out a window, and then he was heroic for a while, saving Brienne, but then he turned his back on that apparent growth by going back to Cersei. Now he is once again playing the hero. The purpose of Jaime’s arc is to demonstrate that villains are rarely so bad all the way through, and heroes can be complex, too, and I think in the end Jaime will go out a hero. He is one of several characters who could redeem themselves through heroic action on the battlefield, and I think it most likely Jaime goes out in a blaze of glory.
Which leaves Tyrion. He could end up ruling, but I don’t think he ends up king. Tyrion’s best chance at power is if he is made guardian of Jon Snow’s and Daenerys’ inevitable child. He could end up a regent through such a custodial arrangement, and who better to put Westeros back together after White Walkers and dragons break it? Tyrion has been a Hand twice, he’s won battles, he’s been a diplomat—he would make an EXCELLENT guardian for a future ruler.
It seems much more likely he would be entrusted with such a job than be named king himself, because there are still rumors he killed Joffrey—does anyone but Jaime and Cersei know it was really Lady Tyrell?—and he did kill his father. There will undoubtedly be people who would not back him as king, but if he was left in charge of a rightful heir—perhaps in conjunction with Sansa?—I don’t think there would be as much fuss. So while it’s unlikely a Lannister ends up with a crown, Tyrion could easily find himself in a seat of power anyway.
House Lannister’s Final Odds: 100-1