So at the end of Season 5 of Game of Thrones,

Stannis Baratheon dies (probably).

Suppose that Tommen is discovered to be the son of Cersei and Jaime, due to

The Spanish Inquisition! Umm, I mean, the meddlesome High Sparrow and the faith militant looking for muck to stick to the current royals.

Also, suppose Gendry is unknown to the general public.

Now, by the laws and customs of the 7 kingdoms, and assuming you're not a Targaryen loyalist - who's next in line for succession?

Also, more specifically,

Are there some distant Baratheons (third-degree cousins or something) who might fit the bill? All of Robert's brothers are dead, and he has no cousines, and IIRC also no second-degree cousins.


4 Answers 4


It depends, but thanks to the Noble Houses constantly intermingling amongst one another, we'll likely be able to trace the ancestry back far enough to produce an heir, hopefully.

In Westeros, they follow the Primogeniture rules of succession[1]; which means that the Heir must be a legitimate male, until such time as all of the prime legitimate males are deceased, at which point, it goes to the eldest female. But if none are found, then it goes to the subject's next male heir (brother, cousin etc), and the process is repeated until a suitable candidate is found[2].

There is an issue of difference between the books and the TV-show. In the show Game of Thrones, bastards are not permitted to inherit anything under any circumstances![3] (unless they are legitimised by Royal Decree).

Whereas in the books, A Song of Ice and Fire, bastards are allowed to inherit, "if the father has no other trueborn children nor any other likely kin to follow him."[4]@.

This may cause some slight complications in our calculations, so I will separate the results below.


  1. Let's assume Stannis is deceased, and his issue also all deceased
  2. Robert is deceased, his issue are either baseborn[5] (illegitimate) or not even his (Joffrey, Myrcella, Tommen)
  3. Renly is deceased, without issue

Let's follow the white rabbit:

  • There is no possibility of jumping the lineage to a married branch of a house, if that were the case, then Stannis' successorship would go to Selyse Baratheon nee Florent's family; who's lineage is another clusterf#@$ ending in Melessa Tarly nee Florent[6] (Sam Tarly's mother, so Sam's brother Dickon would be Stannis' heir, lol). So no help there. We have to go further up the tree.

  • Stannis had a father, Steffon Baratheon. Steffon didn't seem to have any siblings, and all of his children are deceased without heirs (we're also skipping his wife, as above), so let's go further.

  • Steffon's father, Ormund Baratheon seemed to have a sister; she was unnamed but was originally betrothed to Prince Duncan Targaryen (Duncan The Small). Duncan broke off the betrothal when he fell in love with Jenny of Oldstones. This is what caused King Aegon V Targaryen to marry off his daughter Rhaelle to Ormund Baratheon. There is no other detail on this unnamed sister, but her children would have been next in-line if they were included!

    • We could go even further back though, Lyonel The Laughing Storm Baratheon, who was Ormund's father, but again Lyonel seemed to be an only child.

    • It's getting quite sparse, and at this point it is worthless to dig any further back as the only other person we have information on is Orys Baratheon (the first Stormlord and first Hand of the King), but the line seems to whittle down to single children#, and there would probably not be any living descendants or "likely kin to follow", leading us back to Lyonel Baratheon, etc.

  • Let's come back down to earth and dig a little bit closer to home. Robert had many baseborn children[5], a few of which were acknowledged by him, including Edric Storm and Mya Stone. Mya is the eldest of his bastards, Gendry is the eldest male but Edric is the eldest acknowledged male (and is also the most lordly, having been grown up at Storm's End under the care of Ser Cortnay Penrose.

    • If these bastards are allowed to be in line, then they can probably continue the Baratheon lineage nicely, given that they are all such strong embodiments of Robert's characteristics and the "Baratheon look".

If it were up to me, I'd go with Edric Storm (being that he is the most lordly), but it could easily go to our favourite bastard, Gendry The Bull!


  1. Stannis - deceased and so are his issue
  2. Robert - deceased without legitimate issue
  3. Renly - deceased without issue

So the problem here is that there's no history past Stannis' parents (Steffon Baratheon and Cassana Baratheon nee Estermont), so there's no guarantee who their ancestors were. But the only thing we do know for sure is that they had a Targaryen great-grandmother, Rhaelle Baratheon nee Targaryen[6] (this is the same as the books). Unfortunately though, this doesn't help us, as the succession doesn't jump to someone who married into the family.

The only hope at this point, is:

  • Option 1: to do a depth-first search into the family tree, and find a child or sibling from either Steffon Baratheon (Stannis' father), Ormund Baratheon (Stannis' grandfather), Lyonel Baratheon (Stannis' great-grandfather) or all the way back to Orys Baratheon (the first Stormlord).
  • Option 2: Legitimise one of the bastard sons of Robert - most likely, Gendry (given that in the show, Edric "Ned" Storm doesn't exist).

Final outcome

So there you have it, when it truly comes down to it, the only hope we have for the Baratheon lineage is for one of Robert's bastards to pick up the mantle!

@ Pay attention to this, it will be important for us here.

# There are several families which we can follow, but none seem relevant at this point, these include:

  • 2
    It may still happen, but Shireen is alive in the books at this point and Stannis has every intention of her succeeding him on the iron throne.
    – kuhl
    Jun 26, 2015 at 12:00

In the canon of the show, if you assume that it is somehow proved that Robert Baratheon has no legitimate heirs, then the Baratheon line is effectively over.

According to GRRM, if there are no legitimate heirs to a House left alive, then it's possible for an illegitimate child to inherit. So if any of Robert's kids were still alive, and acknowledged, they'd become Lord of House Baratheon.

However, I strongly doubt that rule applies to the Iron Throne itself -- and since you need a King to legitimize a bastard, by the time Gendry came up in the rotation he'd have no one left to do it.

At that point, we start walking back up the family tree. On TV, we know next to nothing about Robert's extended family, and things aren't much better in the novels. There's no indication that Steffon Baratheon had any brothers, though there's no confirmation that he didn't. Similarly, grandpa Ormond is, as far as we know, an only son.

While the line of succession can pass down through the female side of the family, it's only female children of a male heir. For example, there's no hopping over to Cassia Estermont's branch of the tree just because she married Steffon.

In theory, someone in Westeros would have to dig up the complete geneology of the Baratheons and trace it back until they found a male in Robert's ancestral line who had a brother or sister, then back down until they found someone alive.

In practice, the noble families of Westeros would just pick someone to support as the next King, who may or may not have some tangential claim to the throne. They would likely start a civil war over it, and whoever was left standing would win. Which, of course, is exactly what happened anyway.


Since no one has provided this answer yet: it's possible the throne would pass to Daenerys.

The question is how strongly Robert's lineage contributed to his inheriting the throne. Of the rebelling Houses (Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, and Arryn), Robert was selected to be king in part because he was part Targaryen. If Dany and Viserys were removed from the line of succession, the throne would have passed to Robert anyways.

In reality of course, Robert became king because he conquered the kingdoms. But legally, it's implied the maesters were pacified with some explanation of "we can't have the throne pass to the Mad King's small children, so the throne passes to Robert." (There's actually some precedent to this. Prince Maegor was passed over in the line of succession because he was an infant, and because it was feared he inherited his father Prince Aerion Brightflame's madness)

So legally speaking, it may be that since every other Baratheon and Targaryen descendant was dead or an unacknowledged bastard and Daenerys appears to be free of madness, it would pass to her. But as Stannis learned, who is legally entitled to the Iron Throne often means very little.

In the books, it's a bit trickier. Edric Storm was an acknowledged bastard of Robert's, gently-bred, and very charismatic; I could see Baratheon loyalists backing him. But more importantly, if you believe certain theories and certain characters, there are other Targaryen descendants who would inherit before Dany.


The closest thing to a distant cousin that the Baratheons have (if Tommen and Myrcella, thus the Lannisters, are disinherited) are either the Estermonts through Cassia Estermont (the mother of Robert, Stannis and Renly), or ... the Targaryens! Robert's paternal grandmother is Princess Rhaelle Targaryen.


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