OK word is out that Jon Snow is the

legitimate son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.

However for anyone who was part of Robert's Rebellion

the throne passed to House Baratheon and rightfully so given that the Targaryen King was burning his subjects alive.

Yet Bran Stark, Samwell Tarly and a few others says he's

rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Can anyone explain this?

  • 8
    The Throne did not "pass" to House Baratheon. It was conquered by House Baratheon. By the de jure legal system of Westeros, Robert was never the rightful King. Many people simply chose not to care because they felt he was the better king. Apr 23, 2019 at 4:26
  • @ApproachingDarknessFish: Note that Robert did have (or at least claim to have) some distant relation to the Targaryens and thus a claim on the throne, and he used that to argue his rightful rule. Effectively, he killed or drove out any Targaryen that had a better claim than him. While Dany and Viserys were alive, they did not return to stake their claim (because they would obviously die) and thus Robert could argue that they "gave up" their claim. However, it is generally considered for the "Robert as a Targaryen" claim to be insufficient, and thus he is considered a usurper.
    – Flater
    Apr 23, 2019 at 9:08
  • 2
    “rightfully so given that the Targaryen King was burning his subjects alive” — who said the king isn't allowed to burn his subjects alive? Wannabe-monarch Stannis seemed fine with doing it. Apr 26, 2019 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


Baratheons didn't legally inherit the throne. They usurped the crown and killed the lawful King along with his heirs (Two of whom fled into exile). While it is true that Robert's claim to the throne came from his descent from Targaryens (His grandmother was a daughter of King Aegon V and aunt to the Mad King Aerys), but that didn't make his rebellion lawful or him the lawful heir. Robert was in the line of agnatic primogeniture succession for King Aerys II which would have looked like:

  1. Rhaegar Targaryen

    1.1 Aegon Targaryen

  2. Viserys Targaryen

  3. Robert Baratheon

  4. Stannis Baratheon

  5. Renly Baratheon

Had the Targaryen Princelings died of some accident/natural causes or joined some order whose vows ended their claims and rights to hold lands, Then Robert would have been the rightful heir to Aerys II and the rightful King for the whole realm. But we know, that didn't happen, a rebellion happened.

With King Aerys II, Prince Rhaegar, Prince Aegon, Princess Rhaenys, Queen Rhaella dead and Prince Viserys, Princess Daenerys fled, there were no Targaryens left to lead the loyalists. King's Landing was in Robert's hands and six of the Eight great Houses firmly behind Rebels (Only Tyrells and Martells remained loyal to the Bitter end), the Loyalists had no choice but to bend the knee. While they did bend the knee, Robert feared that they were only biding their time until Viserys could land with an army. It wasn't just the lords, we see plenty of times in the books how common people and knights openly show disdain for Baratheons and yearn for return of the Dragons, calling them the only rightful Kings.

Just because Aerys II was burning people for imagined or real crimes doesn't mean it was legal to usurp the crown. He's not the first tyrant who ever took the throne. King Maegor was the first, he was allegedly killed by his own throne (In reality, it was probably his Queens or the Kingsguard). King Aegon II was poisoned ostensibly by his own council members when he refused to accept their counsel to make peace with the Blacks. As Lord Cregan Stark commented, on Aegon II's murder:

To kill a cruel and unjust king in lawful battle was one thing. But foul murder, and the use of poison, was a betrayal against the very gods who had anointed him.

Had Rebels only killed Aerys and proclaimed a new Dragon King, it would be legal. The Lannister bannermen who were first to enter the Red Keep weren't sure if they were going to have a new Targaryen King or not. As it happened however, Tywin Lannister answered their questions with corpses of Rhaegar's children.

Of course for Baratheon loyalists, the throne belonged to the Stormlords now. But for Targaryen loyalists, The Stormlanders had usurped the throne which they had no right to. For them, only Targaryens are the rightful Kings. Legality and rights are subjective to whoever you are talking to. Of course, the matter is less complicated since Baratheons are now extinct in male line, Nobody fights for dead men. Targaryens are however very much alive and as far as Loyalists are concerned, they are the only true heirs to the Iron Throne.

  • Just to be sure, the 1.1 Aegon here is the one born from Elya Martell right?
    – JAD
    Apr 23, 2019 at 6:31
  • @JAD Yup, that's the one.
    – Aegon
    Apr 23, 2019 at 6:43
  • 3
    There is real historical precedent for this. Throughout history the person that is on the throne is accepted by the people as the monarch regardless of how they got there, no one refused to call Richard the 3rd the King. However if you have a legitimate claim by birthright that is greater then the person sat on the throne those that want to see the current monarch gone will rally behind you (like Henry Tudor). Generally these things are resolved with a battle and whichever king is standing at the end obviously has "Gods favor" and therefore the right to be named king/queen.
    – Richard C
    Apr 23, 2019 at 8:41
  • OK so according to your own words then the Starks and Tarlys were part of the rebellion so they wouldn't call a Targaryan heir to the throne.
    – Joe C
    Apr 23, 2019 at 11:38
  • 1
    @JoeC Tarlys were loyalists, they were sworn to the Tyrells. Randyll Tarly was the only guy who defeated Robert Baratheon in field during the rebellion. The allegiances are not permanent. Randyll was loyal to Targaryens during the rebellion but then he chose Cersei over Daenerys. Samwell appears to have chosen Jon. Similarly, Eddard Stark chose Robert. His sons chose to secede. If people were to follow their vows blindly because their ancestors swore them, there'd not be a rebellion since all of their ancestors swore fealty to Aegon I and his heirs and successors in perpetuity.
    – Aegon
    Apr 23, 2019 at 12:13

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