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As as someone who likes the genre, the books, and finally the show, I have also wondered who would be the most suitable to sit on the Iron Throne when A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones reach their end. It interesting to look at all the players, list their qualities, and then estimate who has the best chances of reaching the top, leaving everyone else behind. There are so many posts cheering for Jon Snow, supporting Daenerys, explaining why Sam Tarly is the most deserving all over the place. However, after reading books, and watching the show, and spending time writing my MA related to both, and going through The World of Ice and Fire before falling asleep, I have concluded that only one person should sit on the Throne. It is, in my opinion, Petyr Baelish. He is the one I want to see there.

Admittedly, this idea did not occur to me until I opened The World of Ice and Fire and saw Marc Simonetti’s illustration of the Iron Throne. Then, I read about Aegon the Conqueror, the legacy of his acts and the events that followed. When I slowly began to reach my realization, everyone else who had their obvious choices seemed a bit off to me. As if they were missing the point. The point being, the Throne does not matter, and one should stay away from it as much as possible. Seeing Simonetti’s illustration and reading about Aegon made me understand that the Iron Throne is an unfriendly, cold, cruel, and dangerous place. It is the desire of many, but I think that only a few characters in the books and the show are aware that it brings more problems than solutions. And in the grand scheme, with White Walkers approaching and dragons flying over, this pedestal of intrigue and violence that brings out the worst and darkest in people, a sort of Westerosi One Ring, simply appears to be irrelevant.

That is when Baelish came to mind. Why exactly him? Just as I needed to see the image of the true Iron Throne, I also needed to watch him on the show saying how much he wants it for everything to come together for me. Because he wants it, because he was willing to cause suffering of so many people, he should have it. Baelish should have his desires come true, reaching the Throne with Sansa by his side, but perhaps under different conditions that he intends to. That would be the best outcome in the context in which the Iron Throne is something essentially unimportant brought up to such a level of attention and glorification that it loses its primary purpose and turns into the source of misery, pain, plotting, and devastating conflicts in the books, and in the show.

Petyr Baelish on the Iron Throne in a country divided by threats from all directions with no one paying attention to what is happening or who is sitting there would be the true defeat of his character. He is not an ordinary antagonist, as his strengths do not come from physical power, something that he himself noted. Therefore, a physical triumph over him would not suffice. Baelish will have to meet his demise by realizing that his climbing the ladder of chaos, the plans he had, and schemes he played do not matter, that all of that was pointless, because the Iron Throne he aspired to is, or has become, worthless. By removing his single goal in life, Baelish would be removed of purpose. Only then, with him sitting on the Iron Throne that does not represent anything anymore, surrounded by scorched King’s Landing, with Sansa glorying over him, the story will have its thematically proper conclusion.

So, that is why I would choose Petyr Baelish to win the game, in the most ironic sense. Ultimately, the environment that G. R. R. Martin created is a harsh one, but just and with an interesting message for anyone interested enough to consider it.