We’ve reviewed the odds of all the major players left on the board, and now it’s time to talk about House Stark. Like House Targaryen, there are multiple routes to a Stark victory, starting with the most obvious, Jon Snow. Jon has been a leader, inspired loyalty, commanded armies—on paper he’s an ideal king for Westeros. In reality, Jon’s tenure as Lord Commander was a disaster that ended in mutiny and his death, and every battle he’s commanded he’s either lost or only won because of someone else’s intervention (THANK YOU SANSA). He’s actually not a very good leader or general?
There has always been a disconnect from what we see happening in the show and the way Jon is built up as a great hero and leader, but it’s clear we’re supposed to see Jon as a strong—perhaps the strongest—contender for the Iron Throne. People do like him, he is capable of inspiring others to follow him into battle, and he does have some experience leading. He did leave the actual running of the North to Sansa but technically, he was King in the North for a minute. So in theory, he has a decent CV. (Maybe in this final season we will get to see him be the leader the show thinks he is.)
And he does have the blood of two great houses in his veins. It’s entirely possible Daenerys will try to kill him if/when she finds out he’s actually a rival, because as a Targaryen he has a legit claim to the throne. And as a Stark, he has the entire lineage of one of Westeros’ oldest and proudest houses behind him. He’s kind of the ideal candidate, of Westeros in a way Daenerys is not, and yet also a proper Targaryen prince. If the people of Westeros find out about his heritage, he could very easily gain the kind of popular support needed to retake the throne. One problem: He is Westeros Jesus. Jon died and came back to life for some purpose, and “sitting on a pointy chair” doesn’t really seem a grand enough reason for resurrection. It’s more likely he goes out in a blaze of glory—like maybe an ACTUAL BLAZE of glory—and becomes the hero of Westeros after some magnificent battle.
But he isn’t the only Stark who could win it all. Sansa learned to play the game of thrones from Cersei, she is the Lady of Winterfell, she is admired, respected, maybe even a little bit feared. Sansa could become queen, especially if enough characters die. Not too hard to imagine the people of Westeros essentially voting her in if all the Targaryens and Baratheons are gone (I realize Gendry exists but he doesn’t stand a chance at the throne, his best bet is founding a new branch of House Baratheon). And, there is always the chance that Jon and Daenerys produce a Starkaryen child-cousin who would need a regent.
If Jon and Dany have a child, and they both die, Sansa is the natural choice to raise that kid and she would, by default, rule Westeros, at least until the kid is of age. Bran and Arya are still around too but their paths have diverged from their family. Being the Three-Eyed Raven pretty much disqualifies Bran, as it is now his destiny to turn into a tree. And Arya has never been about the courtly life, and it seems most likely, if she doesn’t die, she either becomes No One, or follows in Brienne’s footsteps as a lady knight. After Jon, Sansa remains House Stark’s best shot at ruling.
Short of a bleak ending where literally everyone dies, or the darkest timeline where Cersei survives, it is almost a given a Stark, in some way or another, ends up on the Iron Throne. Narratively, it makes sense. The show began with House Stark, it would be a nice resolution to end with House Stark. And the Starks have been the connecting thread of so many plots, it doesn’t really scan that a storyteller as meticulous as George R.R. Martin would make them so central to so much, and then just forget about them in the end. It’s the “Song of Ice and Fire”. Jon Snow is both “ice” and “fire”. If this whole story isn’t ultimately the epic tale of how a bastard from the North ends up the King of Westeros, then it’s about his kid, a product of “ice” and “fire”. However this ends, whoever dies, a Stark is most likely to end up on the Iron Throne.
Jon Snow’s final odds: 5-1
An Unspecific Stark’s final odds: 3-1
Attached - Kit Harington out in New York this week.