This might be a duplicate or debatable. But as far as the releases of the books & TV series, who should rule Westeros as per the laws of that continent? Ignore the usurpers.

Is it Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow (Targaryen)?

If there are Targaryens alive, how can Baratheons be rightful rulers? If I'm not wrong the Baratheons are usurpers, right?

  • 1
    According to the show it is Dany, since she is the daugther of the Mad King - the last rightful ruler and thus his last living child. Baratheons are usurpers.
    – Bojan B
    Jun 16, 2017 at 7:03
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    "Rightful"? Targaryans are invaders as well, and their "royal line" is populated with bastards etc. You're ignoring one of the most important themes of the series: Power resides where men believe it resides.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jun 16, 2017 at 8:35
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    @BCdotWEB While it is true that Power and legitimacy reside where people believe they reside, One must note however that before the Targaryens, there was no Iron Throne and no United Kingdom of Westeros.
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 10:49
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    How Baratheons came into power can be explained by what Renly said. "Oh, there was talk of the blood ties between Baratheon and Targaryen, of weddings a hundred years past, of second sons and elder daughters. No one but the maesters care about any of it. Robert won the throne with his warhammer."
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 10:52
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    @BCdotWEB Oh no doubts about that. GRRM himself said that "The short answer is that the laws of inheritance in the Seven Kingdoms are modelled on those in real medieval history... which is to say, they were vague, uncodified, subject to varying interpretations, and often contradictory." If we take DoD as legal basis and look at its implications, that pretty much rules out Daenerys anyways based on her gender
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 11:44

3 Answers 3


Robert's Claim

Robert Baratheon was descended from Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, a daughter of King Aegon V (That makes her Aerys II's aunt). (That is of course if you reject the rumors that founder of house Baratheon, Orys Baratheon was actually a bastard brother of Aegon I Targaryen, making Baratheons an unacknowledged cadet dynasty of House Targaryen. It has been confirmed in Fire & Blood that Orys Baratheon was indeed a dragonseed and Bastard son of Lord Aenar Targaryen, making him half brother of Aegon, Visenya and Rhaenys.)

She married Lord Ormund Baratheon and the couple had a son Steffon Baratheon. Steffon is the father of Robert, Renly and Stannis Baratheon. So that makes Robert and Rhaegar cousins of sorts (Rhaegar is reported to have referred to Robert as "Our cousin Robert").

That's how Baratheons presented an alternate leadership for those who resented the chaotic rule of Aerys II Targaryen, as they were the only ones who had a claim by blood on Iron Throne outside the Targaryen dynasty.

Given the tragedy of Summerhall which result in deaths of many members of House Targaryen, the family tree was reduced to one lonely Branch of then Prince (and later King) Jaehaerys Targaryen. Jaehaerys had only two children:

  1. Prince Aerys (Later King Aerys II, the mad King. Also as Jayraj pointed out, in the show, he's son of King Aegon V, not his grandson through king Jaehaerys)
  2. Princess Rhaella

The two were already married before the time of Tragedy of Summerhall, Princess Rhaella was in fact actually in labour when the palace burnt down (The Royal family had gathered there on pretext of celebrating birth of her child). She gave birth to her first-born son Rhaegar out there while rest of the Targaryens burnt inside including King Aegon V and his eldest son Prince Duncan.

So now you understand that despite being a very old dynasty, why were there no other Targaryen claimants than Viserys and Daenerys when the Show started.

How did he become King?

He actually did not harbor any intention of rebelling until King Aerys issued orders for his and Eddard Stark's death. Lord Arryn, their foster-parent, refused to carry out those orders and called his banners instead. Since among the Rebels, only House Baratheon had a claim on the throne1, Robert became the leader.

They did not choose the existing Targaryen claimants because:

  1. Prince Rhaegar was unlikely to forgive and forget the Rebels in case of their success given that Aerys was his father. The Prince was splendid but they had to consider notorious Targaryen madness as well. Even Aerys II wasn't always mad, his early reign started with splendor (Although mostly because of Tywin Lannister's brilliance).
  2. Prince Viserys was a child who was known to have erratic behavior.
  3. Prince Aegon, Rhaegar's son, was a toddler. There was no way to tell which way he would have swung.
  4. Princess Rhaenys, Rhaegar's daughter, was well a daughter. Since the Targaryen civil war between son and daughter of King Viserys I, it was a de-facto practice of Westeros that women shouldn't be allowed to take the Iron throne.
  5. Queen Consort Rhaella, was a timid woman who had the same flaw as her granddaughter; her gender.
  6. Princess Daenerys was not even born at that time. She was in her Mum's womb.

So the war began and eventually the Rebels prevailed. Tywin Lannister basically decided the big question that whether they should have another Targaryen King by Killing Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaenys. Rhaegar had already died. Rhaella fled with Viserys and then died herself while giving birth to Daenerys.

So it was Robert who took the throne and ordered Stannis to capture last Targaryens (Which he failed to do).


That is a subjective thing. There are people in Westeros who still call Baratheons usurpers. Then there are people who have moved on and consider them the real authority. And then there are people who want to be the royal authority themselves.

Who is the legal heir?

Again, legitimacy is subjective. This is what GRRM has to say about succession laws:

"The short answer is that the laws of inheritance in the Seven Kingdoms are modelled on those in real medieval history... which is to say, they were vague, uncodified, subject to varying interpretations, and often contradictory."

But considering that there was no Kingdom of Westeros or Iron throne before Aegon the Conqueror forged it in fire and blood, let's consider the Targaryens to be the only real heirs.

Given that assumption, Daenerys would be on top of the list as sole Targaryen.

Jon Snow doesn't know about his Targaryen heritage. He is a bastard (Secretly Legitimate according to Show canon) as far as people are concerned as of now and therefore barred from inheriting titles as per laws of the land. D&D however care naught for the laws and made him King in the North anyways.

Since Jon is King for some reason, if he realizes his ancestry, he can formally remove the taint of bastardy from himself and take the Targaryen name (Book canon - As per the Show he is already Trueborn), shall he wish to do so. If he does that (Doesn't need to as per the show), he becomes the sole surviving male Targaryen and therefore becomes the heir, bypassing Daenerys. But Daenerys has dragons so she can burn his position in line of succession anytime.

Or alternatively they could marry and Jon could become King Consort (Because Dragons make Daenerys the Queen, not Queen consort) and take title of "Protector of the Realm" like Prince Daemon did when he married self-proclaimed Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.

1. The Baratheons had a bloodline claim. Given the low number of Targaryens, they were in line of primogeniture succession regardless to their distant descent from King Aegon V. The Agnatic Primogeniture line in Days of Aerys II would have been Rhaegar -> Aegon -> Viserys -> Robert -> Stannis -> Renly

I have answered a number of relevant questions previously. If you are interested you can take a look at:

  1. Can Cersei Lannister take the throne legally?
  2. The bastard status of Jon
  3. Gendry and Lordship of House baratheon
  4. Legitimization and Jon
  5. Tangible proof of Jon's parentage
  6. Targaryens and creation of the Iron Throne
  • 2
    Wow, very good info provided. Thank you very much
    – ashveli
    Jun 16, 2017 at 12:27
  • @anvesh.veerelli glad you liked it ;) Hope I have convinced you to start reading the books in the process.
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 12:33
  • @Aegon could you stay in SciFi, so that other people can answer questions about game of thrones? :) Jun 16, 2017 at 13:08
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    Who are "D&D" in "D&D however care naught for the laws and made him King in the North anyways"? Jun 16, 2017 at 14:42
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    @AnthonyGrist Dan Weiss and David Benioff
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 14:45

If we consider only the Targaryens then Rhaegar was the last heir, his son comes in line of succession first then his brother Viserys. Women come last in the line of succession, however as far as the show is concerned Jon is bastard born. There is no evidence that Rhaegar married Lyanna Stark. Even the books don't provide any evidence of their marriage.

In the books, there is one more contender Aegon (son of Rhaegar) who comes first in the line of succession, but he died in show long ago.

So from the Targaryen line, Daenerys is the only true born Targaryen left.

Jon can be legitimized only by the King.

And Baratheons were usurpers but they assumed the Iron throne by right of conquest. Now, the Targaryens have no direct claim by succession, they can get Throne only by conquest.

  • when is it mentioned that Aegon is dead in the show?
    – Ankit Sharma
    Jun 16, 2017 at 7:25
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    Mountain smashed his head during sack of kingslanding before raping Elia Martel same was there in book. Till, he resurfaced in 5th book and revealed that Spider has swapped the child earlier. But show has passed the resurfacing part and he didn't came back. So, mostly like lady stoneheart and all , show is skipping this plot.
    – Panther
    Jun 16, 2017 at 9:23
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    If we are talking about the books and Prince Aegon, I'd not be so certain about his fate. He still might be a red herring tho
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 10:51
  • @Aegon the clue is in the name of the site Movies & TV Jun 16, 2017 at 13:09
  • @cairdcoinheringaahing Well Panther was referring to the books and saying that Aegon is dead. :3
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 13:15

Also look at a family tree. Baratheons were married I to the Targaryen line. They still are their own House, but could easily now be considered the rightful rulers. After all, the rightful rulers are the winners. The current/most recent reign of Targaryen rulers could have been quite different if the Blackfyre rebellion turned out different. THE Blackfyre was, after all, born Targaryen. The only difference? His dragon banner was a different color and his father chose his other son to rule...

Also, remember there is already another Targaryen in the books who has already landed in Westeros with his own army. At Griffins Roost.

  • Actually Daemon Blackfyre was the favored son of King Aegon IV, not the heir apparent Daeron. Yes the history would have been different for targaryen monarchs if Daemon had won at red grass field as there would have been no targaryen monarchs in that case, therefore no Aerys. But Blackfyres were just as inbred so just as likely to produce loonie kings. Also daemon was born a bastard, not a targaryen, despite having a targaryen father and mother. As for the other "targaryen", that didn't happen in the show and he ain't no targaryen.
    – Aegon
    Jun 16, 2017 at 18:43

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