At the end of season 6 of Game of Thrones,

Cersei claims the Iron Throne.

It is not explained how.

Is it normal for a Queen regent to assume the throne once there are

no longer any other apparent heirs?

If so, would she need to seek out and destroy any distant blood relations of the Baratheons, or does it not matter as they wouldn't have a significant army?

If it's held by coup powers, shouldn't Jaime be King? He is presumably still Lord of Westerlands and in charge of the Lannister forces.

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    Is this a good edit of the title? Wasn't it agreed that revealing the identity of the character in the title, though a spoiler, is still preferred over vague "this character" titles because of the greater usefulness of the former to the search engines for the long term? Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 14:24
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    this went HNQ and kinda spoils at least part of the episode. please consider altering the title for people who haven't watched it yet
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:39
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    @Luaan Yeah, except this episode aired 14 hours ago, this plot line is not in the book, and it's gone HNQ. That means everyone can see it in the bottom right of the screen. It's not just a question lost on the site.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:59
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    @Luaan: Disagree. As written now, the title could be referring to any of several people from six whole seasons. The original title, on the other hand, could only have referred to an episode that aired not even 24 hours ago. The last couple of minutes of a season finale, no less. It's absurdly inconsiderate to post a title like that anywhere, let alone on a site where HNQ exists! I'd deliberately avoided SFF.SE and Facebook and Quora and Twitter and my friends all day, ultimately for nought :( Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 18:29

7 Answers 7


Cersei can't establish her claim on Iron Throne. She is the Dowager Queen and Queen Mother, nothing more than that. She has claimed the Iron Throne because she could.

Baratheon Claim

King Aegon V Targaryen's daughter Princess Rhaelle married Lord Ormund Baratheon. They had a son named Steffon who is father of Robert, Renly and Stannis. Robert's claim to Iron Throne came due to his descent from King Aegon V.

Cersei has no such claim as she is not descended from Targaryens.

Grand Council to elect a new King

Legally, in event of ambiguous circumstances in succession and complex case of finding the heir apparent, A Grand Council of all the lords of the realm is called where lords choose the King or heir by popular vote. All claimants can have their say in the council.

Great Council of 101 AC

King Jaehaerys's eldest sons Princes Aemon and Baelon predeceased their father.

Since His Grace's only surviving Son Vaegon was a maester, he could not choose Vaegon as his successor because maesters are forbidden to hold lands and titles by vows. This meant he would have to choose a successor from his grandchildren; Princess Rhaenys (Only daughter of the eldest child of King Jaehaerys, Prince Aemon), or Prince Viserys, Prince Daemon (Sons of the the King's second son Baelon). Jaehaerys may have wanted to choose Viserys as Daemon was younger than Viserys and Rhaenys was a woman but he knew that explicit royal edict in this regard would result in civil war on his death as Rhaenys' maternal uncle Lord Boremund Baratheon and her husband Lord Corlys Velaryon were two of the strongest Lords in the seven Kingdoms and would never have stood aside meekly for Prince Viserys to take the throne when it belonged to Rhaenys by rights.

So to avoid prospects of another civil war (As Jaehaerys himself took the throne after a civil war with his uncle King Maegor the Cruel) by getting a consensus of Lords of realm, Jaehaerys called a grand council to choose between his son Aemon's daughter Rhaenys1, Baelon's son Viserys and Rhaenys' son Laenor Velaryon.

Tensions ran high which proved that Jaehaerys' concerns weren't unfounded. Lord Baratheon and Lord Velaryon actively lobbied in support of Rhaenys' son Laenor. Prince Daemon started gathering soldiers to take the throne forcibly for his elder brother Viserys if council chose Laenor or Rhaenys.

As a result, Rhaenys was passed over because she was a woman and never made her claim , Laenor was passed over because he was a child despite support of Lord Boremund Baratheon and Lord Corlys Velaryon, thus Prince Viserys was chosen as heir of his grandfather King Jaehaerys I.

Great Council of 233 AC

King Maekar I's eldest son Daeron predeceased his father. Second son Prince Aerion also predeceased King Maekar. Daeron left a young girl and Aerion left a baby boy.

Thus on unexpected death of King Maekar, the King's hand Lord Brynden Blooraven called a great council. Claims of Daeron's daughter2, Aerion's son3 & Aenys Blackfyre4 were dismissed. Lords of the realm reluctantly elected youngest son of King Maekar, Prince Aegon5.

Thus it was Prince Aegon who took the throne as King Aegon V.

Remaining Baratheons

In show canon, House Baratheon is now legally extinct because

Tommen was the last (Apparent) Baratheon after deaths of Stannis Baratheon, Shireen Baratheon and Myrcella Baratheon. Renly Baratheon had already died.

This means only unacknowledged bastard Baratheons are alive e.g. Gendry. There are no more Baratheons.

Also Robert Baratheon's great grandfather, Lord Lyonel Baratheon fathered at least one daughter and son Ormund Baratheon. Ormund Baratheon sired Steffon Baratheon who is supposedly only child of marriage between Ormund Baratheon and Rhaelle Targaryen. Steffon's line ended with Tommen (who is in fact not part of the line anyway). So we have to go back to that daughter of Lord Lyonel Baratheon. We do not know her name or which house she married in. But in event of a grand council, her descendents would have the best claim as heirs to House Baratheon.

Not to mention, there might be cadet dynasties of House Baratheon/Durrandon such as House Bolling and House Wensington who will be claimants as well in case of extinction of House Baratheon. Also, in the books, there is Edric Storm as well, the only acknowledged bastard of Robert Baratheon. If the Lords of the realm agree to it (Assuming such a situation rises in the books as well), he can be legitimized by a council or simply crowned and left to legitimize himself.

Jaime's claim

Jaime is not Lord of the Casterly Rock, Cersei is the lady of the Casterly Rock. Jaime is sworn brother of Kingsguard and thus is disqualified from inheriting any lands. Jaime was dismissed by King Tommen in S06E06 and is thus qualified for inheritence again, as pointed out by BCdotWeb.

Tommen: When you attack the Faith, you attack the Crown. Anyone who attacks the Crown is unfit to serve as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

If Jaime is not a KG anymore, that makes him Heir to Casterly Rock, not Lord of Casterly Rock. Jaime was still a KG when Tywin Lannister died, which is why Cersei inherited the Lannister lands. Cersei may however choose to abdicate as Lady of Casterly Rock and give it to Jaime.

The Only surviving legal direct claimant to the Throne

Unless a Great council is convened and elects a new candidate, the only legal claimant to Iron Throne of Aegon I is now Daenerys Stormborn.

Jon Snow has been revealed to be a Targaryen but it is unclear whether he is trueborn or a bastard. It has been revealed in Season 7 that Jon is not a bastard but rather trueborn son of Rhaegar and Lyanna (Named Aegon at birth), making him the real heir to the Throne, ahead of his aunt Daenerys in line of succession.

Daenerys has sailed from Meereen to take back her father's throne. From her POV, Robert was a usurper and so were his successors. Many in the Seven Kingdoms would agree with her. So even if a council is convened, Daenerys has the strongest claim being daughter of King Aerys II.

That is unless Jon turns out to be trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen. If that happens, Jon will have the strongest claim. Jon is trueborn son of Rhaegar But Daenerys has dragons so I suppose it does not matter.

What can we speculate?

This means succession is not clear and a grand council is in order. Cersei however took the throne for her own but that does not mean that other lords would accept her claim meekly.

Most likely this means uprising of the lords who had previously acknowledged authority of King Tommen Baratheon and House Baratheon. Reach and Dorne will be the chief Kingdoms to rise up because they have the means and power to defy Cersei. They have already added their power to Daenerys'.

Seeing how High septon and seat of the faith were destroyed by Cersei, it is unlikely that new High Septon who will be most likely elected in Starry Sept, Old Town, Reach6 now (And thus under Tyrell influence), will support or tolerate Cersei. She will be branded a heretic and a criminal against gods.

Both factions of House Greyjoy are already seeking to ally themselves to Daenerys Targaryen. Yara Greyjoy has succeeded in winning Daenerys over to her side so Euron either has to fight alone and die or he can join the Lannisters and form marital alliance with Cersei instead.

Riverlands are in disarray and Northmen are busy in their own succession squabbles and in solidifying the reestablished Stark dominion.

And the greatest threat of all, Daenerys Stormborn, now the only claimant to the throne other than Jon "Snow" Targaryen is already on her way to Westeros. She can directly go to Old Town and Starry Sept (Without any fighting as Tyrells are committed to her cause) and have the new High Septon crown and anoint her as Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen, first of her name, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the first Men just like her ancestor Aegon the Conqueror was crowned there.

This means the war that started after Robert's death is far from over.

"Vengeance, Justice, Fire and Blood" is coming.

1 Jaehaerys had actually passed over his grand-daughter Rhaenys in favor of his second son Baelon when her father the Prince of Dragonstone Aemon died. So in GC of 101 AC, Rhaenys wasn't actually a choice nominated by Jaehaerys I for the GC. She was however a claimant and thus reserved the right to make her case in the Grand council. She however, chose not to, and instead supported her son Laenor Velaryon's claim which came from her. She was nicknamed "Queen who never was" by smallfolk because technically she should have succeeded her grandfather as Queen of Westeros.

2 Princess Vaella Targaryen, daughter of Prince Daeron Targaryen, was simple-minded. On account of her mental incapacity and her gender, her claim was dismissed after brief consideration.

3 Prince Maegor Targaryen, son of Prince Aerion Targaryen, was an infant. Only a few lords supported his claim but most spoke against it because they feared that the infant may have inherited his father's madness. Many also opposed his claim because he was named Maegor, after the cruelest Targaryen King.

4 Aenys Blackfyre was actually executed by Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers before he could make his claim. This was a breach of promises made to Aenys by Lord Bloodraven which guaranteed Aenys' safe passage. Young Prince Aegon Targaryen was especially infuriated by this treachery. So when Council chose Prince Aegon as King Aegon V, his first act was to condemn Bloodraven to death. Later the King relented and offered Bloodraven a chance to take the Black. Bloodraven accepted and went on to become Lord Commander of Night's Watch eventually. He retained that position and last Targaryen ancestral blade Darksister until his disappearance beyond the Wall.

5 Lords first quietly offered the crown to Maester Aemon who had taken vows of a Maester and forsaken his name and claims. Since many lords were against his younger brother Prince Aegon, they decided to overpass Aegon's claim and offer the throne to Aemon instead. High Septon supported those lords and offered to absolve Aemon of all vows if he would agree to take the crown. Aemon however refused to dishonor his vows and took the black when his younger brother Aegon was crowned.

6 Before King Baelor the Blessed built Great Sept of King's Landing (Later named after the King), Starry Sept used to be seat of the Faith. Aegon the Conqueror was crowned there by High Septon when he defeated allied Armies of Westerlands, The Reach and the North. Since Great Sept of Baelor is now destroyed as per show canon, the Faith council will now probably meet in second most prestigious sept in Westeros, which is Starry Sept, to choose the new High Septon.


Power resides where men think it resides.

You might remember Varys eloquently explaining this one. It's something of a theme of the story.

Cersei will claim the throne, because she's got nothing left to live for now but megalomania and revenge. She's the only person who can command any of the (currently leaderless) King's Guard, so there's no-one to obviously physically stand in her way. She's got experience of moving quickly in such situations (e.g. when Robert died), and there's no obvious present rival in a position to beat her to making the first claim. The question is how she legitimises herself in front of the lords, ladies and few remaining power brokers in court.

Now, imagine you're one of the lords who hears the news and is invited to the coronation. Power resides where people like you think it resides. Will you challenge Cersei on the fact she doesn't have any strong claim to the throne, or bow to her?

There are several things we can predict about what you'll be thinking:

  • You'll be a relatively minor lord. The fact you're still alive indicates that you're someone not important enough to be invited to the trial of the century. All other members of Great Houses who were in King's Landing are dead. In TV show terms, you're a nameless walk-on character with no lines, "Westerosi Lord #3". In book terms, you're at best a minor lord at Orton Merryweather's level. If that.

  • Cersei represents the Lannisters... Jaime's nowhere to be seen, and was never much of a political figure ("jumped-up sentry"? His political prowess at Riverrun will have been a surprise), and the Cersei-Kevan power struggle is very much over.

  • ...who are the most feared house with a reputation... Tywin worked very hard to make the Lannister name (not just his name) one to be feared. Who, are you, the proud lord said.... There's a reason why only Great Houses and their allies mess with them, and even then, with mixed success. Cersei also worked on her own reputation, and has recently been having people who mock her killed. Even little Tyrion famously murdered the king (of course he did, there was a trial and everything!) and his own father, and equally famously he's remembered...

  • ...for blowing things up with wildfire... Everyone will be thinking that it must have been Cersei, few will dare say it, and no-one will think it a co-incidence that both recent cataclysmic wildfire explosions suited Lannister interests. How much more of the stuff do they have? Will they use it to execute people like the Mad King did? Gosh.

  • ...and that's not even the scariest thing about Cersei right now. Arguing with Cersei means arguing with a skull-crushing Gregor Clegane shaped zombie giant.

  • She's the queen, right? She's been the highly influential Queen Cersei for as long as anyone can remember. Even when she was merely the Queen Mother, she acted like she was still the Queen and minor lords like you weren't in a rush to contradict her. Only the brave and powerful contradicted her about this to her face, and they're pretty much all dead.

  • She's the only person who can give orders to the Kingsguard. As Queen Mother, she never lost the ability to give orders to Kingsguard so long as they didn't conflict with duties to a higher royal. There are now no others who can give them orders. Even if individual kingsguard members have their constitutional doubts, there's no viable alternative, and they won't be in any rush to argue with the silent skull-crushing zombie giant who obeys Cersei without question. They don't even have a new Lord Commander yet after Jaime. It's telling how they all meekly trudged behind Gregor at the coronation.

So, you're looking at presumptive head and only present representative of the only great house in King's Landing, who also happen to be the most feared house, with a reputation for destroying all who stand in their way in the most brutal ways imaginable. She's got a zombie giant for a bodyguard.

You're used to calling her queen. She's calling herself queen. The Kingsguard are treating her like she's the queen. There's no immediate rival.

Are you really going to say, "Excuse me, Cersei, but technically you're just the former Queen Mother. If we look far enough back through your late husband's family tree I'm sure we can find..."

enter image description here

"Erm, I mean, I'm sure Robert's grandparents must have had cousins whose children..."

enter image description here

"...er... whose... children would join me in wishing Queen Cersei a long and prosperous reign!"

image source

Of course, this doesn't mean that taking the throne without a clear claim to it has no consequences.

If, in future, the "where men think power resides" equation changes, it'll count against her - just like King Robert's lack of a strong claim was one reason he was constantly paranoid that the "scum" (his words) who had opposed him would join any challenger if and when one emerged.

And of course, there is a strong, powerful challenger, who has a better claim to the throne, who is coming from across the sea and has "big guns" at their disposal, who these small lords might choose to switch allegiances to when they make their presence known:

enter image description here There's also that Targaryen girl, but I'm not convinced her storyline is really going anywhere. She'll probably stop off somewhere on the way and just hang out for a couple more seasons/books.

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    +1 for "Whose children would join me in wishing Queen Cersei a long and prosperous reign" pmsl 😂
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 13:01

She paid the Iron Price

Did you see how Cersei had a coronation in the Throne Room of Kings Landing in front of a room full of nobles and no one objected to her claim as she stood in front of the throne? And this was right after killing the Queen and the High Sparrow, and lots of other nobles.

That's how she was legitimised - she made a claim and no one dared to oppose her.

Hence, she is the Queen. At least until someone makes a stronger claim.

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    Paying the iron price is only accepted by the Ironborn... but I understand what you mean, sort of. Of course, in any rebellion, success is the ultimate measure of legitimacy. But I seriously doubt the other Houses will side with Cersei, who has no legal standing whatsoever and doesn't even look like a sane, stable ruler.
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 3:48
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    As it happens, There are two of those someones. One has taken crown of the North and the other is sailing across the Dragon's bay.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 5:32
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    @Aegon Three of those someones. The third is in a rowboat rowing round and round in circles somewhere off Dragonstone... Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 20:53
  • @user568458 Normally I would say Gendry is a bastard and thus has no claim but since that did not stop Jon from taking the throne, why should it stop Gendry? Though everyone believes Jon is Eddard's son. Only Jon Arryn, Stannis Baratheon, Cersei and Eddard knew Robert is Gendry's father. 3 of them are dead.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 4:50

According to a Mashable post, Robert Baratheon had a great great aunt Elyanna, who married a Lannister: Cersei's great great great grand father. So genealogically speaking, the only Lannisters left are Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion. Since Tyrion can't claim the throne because he is technically a traitor, and Jaime is a Kingsguard and cannot be king, the throne passes to Cersei. (Although Jaime wasn't wearing any Kingsguard armor, so maybe he's not Kingsguard anymore and thus he's the rightful King?)

  • Could you add a source for this claim (e.g. a link to the Mashable post you mention)?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 16:14
  • Jaime was not a Kingsguard when Cersei took the throne. Tommen dismissed Jaime from KG in s06e06. And the throne did not pass to cersei, she took it with force. If you are going to look for kinship between Lannisters and baratheons, keep in mind same kinship exists for many major houses. That article is not very good
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 6:51
  • Also they are not the only Lannisters alive. Lannisters have two branches. One in Lannisport and one at Casterly Rock. Tywin's kids are Lannisters of Casterly Rock. Lannisters of Lannisport do not play any role in national politics
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 6:52
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    I've seen that theory before, but it doesn't work. Robert's claim to the throne was because of his Targaryen ancestry, not Baratheon, and the Targaryens married into the Baratheon line long after the Baratheons married into the Lannister line, and so Cersei doesn't share that Targaryen ancestry.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 13:20

There is genealogic information that shows that the Lannisters are next in line for the throne through Robert's great-great-great-great-grandfather. A hundred and fifty years before Robert was even born, an aristocrat called Corwen Baratheon married a woman named Leyne and had six kids. One of them, Arion, was Robert's great-great-great grandfather. The next one down to have surviving kids was Elyanna, who married a Lord named Mathin. Lord Mathin Lannister. Mathin fathered Jason, who fathered Demon, who fathered Gerold, who fathered Tytos Lannister. And who was Tytos' firstborn son? Tywin! And Tywin's three children are Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion. Jaime may be ineligible due to his possible membership in the Kingsguard. Tyrion may be ineligible due to his treason and being sentenced to death after his trial. Thus Cersei is the last remaining Lannister with Baratheon blood eligible to rule.

  • We do not need to go so far in Baratheon Tree. Robert's Great grandfather had two children. Ormund (Robert's grandfather) and A daughter who was betrothed to Prince of Dragonstone, Duncan Targaryen. Duncan broke off the wedding so she married elsewhere. Her descendants will have the best claim, not the Lannisters
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 6:44
  • And since Baratheons are 300 years old dynasty, they will have descendants from female lines all over the seven kingdoms and in many major houses. That marriage between Mathin and Elyanna is just one of many such marriages.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 6:45
  • I think "Demon" should be "Damon" as in Damon Lannister, though I do like Demon better.
    – TVann
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 18:11
  • @TVann Not his fault. The mashable article he read has spelled it that way.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 15:27

She can by right of conquest if nobody more powerful comes along and takes it. Although things aren't looking good for her on that front....

  • Is Jaime not the rightful heir?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 1:24

I do not believe Cersei even could ascend the throne, let alone legitimize doing so - and what we're seeing is more bad writing. Before arguing this point, we should remember we just saw, in this very episode, how the Northern lords somehow declared for a person who is:

  • A bastard
  • A deserter of his vows in the Night's Watch
  • Led his forces to defeat by the Boltons

(and that's ignoring the anti-Freefolk racism, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt on this point) while right next to him was sitting:

  • The eldest (and only) remaining living member of house Stark
  • The person who secured victory over the Boltons (via her relations with the Vale, but still)

So a completely nonsensical declaration of kingship which goes against Westerosi and Northern tradition with basically no justification except for Kit Harrington's sexy pout (?)

Now back to Cersei. Who would even let her ascend the throne? Except for Qyburn and Robert Strong, the Red Keep staff/servants/etc. have probably been out of her control and under control of the Kevan-Olenna-Pycelle clique. More importantly, It's not clear to me who's supposed to be in command of the city watch right - but whoever it is, he's definitely no fan of Cersei. And this is the key aspect. No city watch and no (significant) armed guard of your own - No way you're ascending any kind of throne.

So pretend that Episodes 8 (Wolverine Arya), Episode 9 (Sansa deciding to get her brother(s) and thousands of men killed in battle, and the clueless scoutless Jon and Ramsay) and Episode 10 (incl. jetpack master chef faceless-unfaceless assassin Arya) were all just a bad dream.

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    -1; it's fine not to like the show, or the writing, but most of this has nothing to do with the question, and is better vented elsewhere. About the only salvagable part of the answer is that Cersei indeed has no proper claim.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 1:41
  • @Aegon: So, about those guards... 1. It can't be the returning army, because Jamie has just walked in on her ascending, and he was heading that army, so it happened without the returning army. 2. She was unlikely to have loyal guards, since she did not AFAICR have an independent personal power base in the Westerlands or within the Lannister family - she relied on her father.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:09
  • 3. Even if she had a small contingent of loyal guards - these guards would be highly unlikely to help a usurper ascend the throne (especially someone who had just assassinated a prominent member of the house). 4. Even if somehow her guards are crazy enough to try this stunt, the city watch would not allow it. It might allow it under direct threat from the army, after it had arrived, but again - that was not how the writers would have us believe things went. Actually, another one of the problems with the writing is that they've started to gloss over sooo many important details...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:13
  • @Aegon: See my point no. 2. The rest of the Lannister family would be unlikely to back her. And I hope you don't believe Tywin would allow his unstable daughter to have any sway over the Lannister troops... It is only through Jaime that Cersei could bank on House Lannister's power. IMHO.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:17
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:17

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