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‘Game of Thrones’ co-creators offer insight on four Iron Throne contenders

game of thrones iron throne contenders s6e9 5
Helen Sloan/HBO
The fight for the Iron Throne is nearing its end now that Game of Thrones has just two seasons left. Co-creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss obviously want to keep the conclusion to the series’ epic power struggle under wraps until the last possible moment, but they are still willing to offer hints about who may be left ruling the Seven Kingdoms. The duo offered insight on some of the contenders’ strengths and weaknesses in a recent interview with Deadline.

The showrunners focused on four possible victors: Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow, and the Night King. While they’re certainly not the only people in Westeros who could possibly grab power, they seem to have emerged as the front-runners. Their strategies and skill sets are very different, though, and that is part of what has made the series so intriguing.

If good is to triumph over evil, Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow should end up in power. (Maybe even both, now that we know — spoiler alert — that they’re related.) What Daenerys, in particular, brings to the table, according to Benioff and Weiss, is “boundless confidence in herself and her mission in this world.” It also helps that she has on her side “arguably the cleverest adviser on the planet,” three dragons, an army, and the Dothraki. What is a little ominous, however, is that the showrunners added, “What could possibly go wrong?” Somehow, we think we’ll find out.

Like Daenerys, Jon Snow is able to find followers. Benioff and Weiss pointed out his track record of leadership, including being elected as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (never mind how that turned out), winning over the Free Folk, and becoming King in the North. The downside, however, is that his honor can be a drawback.

“Jon’s honorable nature has proven a disadvantage in some regards: a man who plays by the rules will have a harder time defeating men and women who don’t,” said the showrunners.

Cersei Lannister, of course, is one of those who will fight dirty. Benioff and Weiss pointed out how her children were “the only factor limiting her ruthlessness” and teased that she has nothing to hold her back now that they’ve died. Scary as she may be, though, she can’t raise the dead. That’s for the Night King, so he’ll remain a threat.

Things change quickly in the Seven Kingdoms — except for the seasons — so we’ll see how the balance of power shifts when Game of Thrones finally returns.

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