One of the central Game of the Thrones questions that needs to be answered in season eight is who will sit on the Iron Throne after all of the wars are over. After eight seasons of teasing viewers with options ranging from Daenerys to Jon Snow to Gendry, someone decent has to finally earn that uncomfortable chair, right? Well, maybe not. The looming threat of the Night King combined with the possibility of a fiery battle between the Mother of Dragons and Cersei could mean that the Iron Throne will be destroyed in battle. There’s an equally strong possibility that whoever inherits it next will do away with the throne because of what it symbolizes. While that could be frustrating for fans, eliminating that divisive symbol of power could be the best thing to ever happen to the Seven Kingdoms.
The Iron Throne is a monstrous thing. According to A Wiki of Ice and Fire, Aegon I Targaryen, the first king of Westeros, had the throne made out of the swords of his enemies. Since then, it’s been the central seat of power in the Seven Kingdoms and it has inspired far too many wars as the Targaryens, Baratheons, and others battled for the right to claim it.
Currently, Daenerys and Cersei are vying for the seat, but neither of them knows that Jon Snow is the rightful heir (even Jon doesn’t know yet). Given the Dragon Queen’s behavior since returning to Westeros, there’s an excellent chance that the power of ruling could corrupt her as it did so many of her family members. Meanwhile, Cersei’s bringing the Golden Company to King’s Landing to protect her interests rather than sending her forces North to assist in defeating the White Walker army. This decision is sure to be the key to her downfall, and it could signal the downfall of the throne, too. We only have to look back to season two for proof.
Game of Thrones has been planting the seeds hinting at the Iron Throne’s destruction almost since the series began. In season two, Daenerys enters the House of the Undying in search of her stolen dragons, but along the way, she has a vision of the Iron Throne. In the vision, the Red Keep is destroyed and there’s snow everywhere. The throne still stands, but there’s a gaping hole above it. Whether the damage is caused by dragon fire, the Night King, or some combination of the two remains to be seen, but Daenerys’s vision makes it clear that a war is coming to King’s Landing. And that war is going to leave the Red Keep severely damaged.
Another hint that the Iron Throne isn’t long for this world is Daenerys’s assertion to Tyrion that she’s “going to break the wheel.” When she discusses putting an end to the corrupt political situation in the Seven Kingdoms, her words imply that the only way to achieve her goal is to fundamentally change the system. Jon Snow, who still believes he’s bastard born, is just as likely to want to challenge the old ways if he ascends to the throne. If either of these two characters ends up ruling Westeros, it’s hard to imagine that they would keep the Iron Throne because of what it represents. Their desire to protect the small folk and avoid having them be used as cogs in the machinations of the political elite suggests that if they’re left standing once winter ends, there will be major changes in King’s Landing.
The only scenarios where the Iron Throne stays intact are bleak ones. If Cersei or the Night King are still in power when the series ends, then that cold, imposing chair will likely stay put. But barring the unthinkable, it feels like the Iron Throne and all that it stands for will be gone by the time Game of Thrones ends. Thematically, that would be the perfect ending for the show, because without the Iron Throne to squabble over, the game of thrones that the characters have been playing will at long last come to an end.