I know it's difficult to accept, but with only 13 episodes remaining in its run, Game of Thrones is barreling toward its inevitable conclusion.
When we last visited Westeros, Cersei (Lena Headey) was crowned queen after Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) Greg Louganis-d out of a window; having amassed a powerful army and enough ships to carry that army, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally set sail for Westeros with three impressive dragons in tow; and Jon (Kit Harington) had been proclaimed the king in the North after defeating Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and reclaiming Winterfell.
In other words, everything is in place for s--- to go down in Season 7. Forgetting for a moment that potentially none of this matters because the White Walkers and their terrifying army of wights are advancing on the Wall, let's ponder who currently — and realistically — has a claim to the Iron Throne.
Following the death of Robert Baratheon's (Mark Addy) last remaining child, Tommen — and with Tommen's wife Margaery (Natalie Dormer) having been blown to smithereens — Cersei was named the queen of the Seven Kingdoms in the explosive Season 6 finale. Of course, Tommen wasn't actually Robert's son at all, having secretly been fathered by Cersei's twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Which brings us to...
A little digging into the Baratheon family tree reveals that a long, long time ago a Baratheon married a Lannister. If you follow the complicated lineage of that union you'll find that Tywin Lannister (RIP, you old bastard) could make a claim to the Iron Throne through the Baratheon line. This means Tywin's first born son — who is no longer a member of the Kingsguard — could make a claim over his younger sister. (Tyrion, as a convicted murderer and a traitor cannot, though he doesn't appear to care much about that and is happy by Daenerys' side.)
Daenerys has the most obvious and least complicated claim to the Iron Throne. If we consider Robert Baratheon to be a usurper, she is — as the last remaining child of Aerys II aka "The Mad King" — the legitimate successor to the Iron Throne. Of course, this gets a little more complicated when you factor in the next option...
Thought to be the bastard of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) for most of the series' run, Jon Snow was revealed to be the child of Ned's sister, Lyanna Stark — who was once engaged to Robert Baratheon — during the Season 6 finale. For years the most common fan theory was that Jon's father was actually Rhaegar Targaryen, the first son of the Mad King, who had shown an interest in Lyanna. An infographic created for HBO's Making Game of Thrones blog confirmed Jon's parentage following the finale. Not only does this make Jon a male Targaryen, but if Lyanna and Rhaegar were secretly wed, it would mean Jon is not a bastard. According to tradition, this would put him first in the line of succession before Daenerys, who is his aunt.
Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella may be dead, but there is one son of Robert Baratheon still row, row, rowing his boat somewhere in the world. Gendry (Joe Dempsie), as Robert's bastard son, technically has more of a claim to the throne than any of Robert's supposed children — who were all fathered by Jaime — ever had. But Gendry's status as a bastard — and the fact that very few people can confirm his status as Robert's son — makes this a tad bit complicated.
Of course, these are just the people who can make actual legitimate claims for the throne by blood. The truth is, anyone can take the throne by force and claim it as their own. That's kind of how we got here. So basically, we should be prepared for anything to happen when the show returns in just a couple weeks.
Game of Thrones returns for Season 7 on Sunday, July 16 at 9/8c on HBO.