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As we head into Season 7 of Game Of Thrones, three characters stand out in the giant battle for the crown, and while the story is heavily focused on the possibility of Cersei, Jon, and Daenerys taking the throne, who's to say the show doesn't throw a twist our way by giving someone else the throne when the great war is settled? However unlikely, Game of Thrones has still made it entirely possible for other marquee candidates to step up and rule Westeros if given the chance. Here are five of those potential dark horses.
Tyrion Lannister (who has the most screen time in GOT) essentially ran the realm once before, as he put out numerous fires set by sister Cersei and nephew Joffrey. Tyrion's wit and quick thinking were enough to prevent a few disasters in King's Landing, and he successfully thwarted the invading Stannis Baratheon when he attacked from the sea. Smart, resourceful, and more than willing to hear counsel from others, Tyrion truly is the ruler Westeros needs. No doubt, he would make another great Hand of the Queen if Dany takes the kingdom, but if things went south there, Tyrion could definitely rule the realm with little more than Varys at his side. His biggest issue at this point? He might need a surname change, as the Lannister name is surely a bit tarnished by this point.
The Spider has a way of making successes happen for others, but could he ever secure himself as a ruler of the realm? His spy network allows him to know all, and he's very good at manipulating others for the "good of the realm." Varys has consistently granted aid to others, and hasn't sought power or fame for it, so provided someone is on his good side, he would be a pretty benevolent leader. He could also be quite fearsome, given his network of spies would make it very hard to usurp him or plot anything against him without his knowledge. Varys has shown no will by way of throne-yearning, but he's putting himself in a very advantageous position to sweep in should Daenerys win the great war.
Littlefinger seems primmed and primed to take a snag at attaining the throne, at least more so than anyone on this list, and he's also entirely capable of achieving it, having elevated his life from a lord of low standing to (at one point) becoming one of the royal court's highest ranking officials. With a spy network that's second only to Varys', and a narcissistic self-adoration that is perhaps only outweighed by his past love for Catelyn Stark, Petyr Baelish might be the most dangerous player that no other throne-seekers see coming. Baelish's reaction to Jon Snow being chosen over Sansa for head of Winterfell was not a great one, and it's very possible Littlefinger could be looking to manipulate the young Stark (as he has before) for his own selfish desires.
Since the beginning of Game Of Thrones, Sansa Stark has had her eye on royalty. Though she went through an awful time during her first stay at King's Landing, Sansa's reaction to not being named Lady Of Winterfell indicates she still seeks a crown of some kind. With the true Stark namesake and Littlefinger invested in her, Sansa could be a legitimate contender for the queenship. Her resilience and stubborn attitude would do well for Westeros, which seems to flounder under weaker and cowardly rulers. With her having survived the horrors of both Joffrey and Ramsey Bolton, there's no questioning Sansa has the mental strength and fortitude to deal with the stresses of leadership. Now, would the North rally behind Sansa should they learn of Jon's true background?
Bran Stark has been away for a hot minute, for the most part, but there's no denying he could lead Westeros upon his return. His supernatural abilities grant him vast knowledge and insight beyond that of most people in the realm, and he is the true remaining male heir to Winterfell. Bran has shown no wish to lead, true, but it may be necessary with the white walkers making their way towards Westeros for the great battle. As the sole connection between the humans and Children of the Forest, Bran Stark may be the only Game Of Thrones character who can successfully destroy the white walkers in order to save the seven kingdoms. Probably the least likely person on this list to seek or gain the crown, Bran is still totally capable of making the cut if his goals change.
Game Of Thrones will return to HBO for Season 7 July 16th at 9 p.m. ET. The wait is just a bit longer, so kill that remaining time by visiting our summer premiere guide and check out what all is premiering or returning in the coming weeks. Those who already have a healthy amount of shows on their plate already can visit our renewal guide to catch up on all things renewed and canceled for next season.