The battle for the Iron Throne is nearing its conclusion, as Game of Thrones gears up for a final season – and the question of who will sit upon it is in the front of every fan’s mind. But while there are some clear favorites, there’s an outlier that no one is talking about: Robin Arryn.
The young Lord of the Vale hasn’t played a huge part in the series so far, but that doesn’t mean that his story is finished quite yet – Game of Thrones is all about plot twists, after all. As the Lord of the Vale and the leader of one of the Seven Kingdoms, Robin Arryn may be perfectly poised to take the Throne while the rest of Westeros is in chaos… and while it would be a shock for fans, it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to happen in Game of Thrones.
While he’s certainly not a fan favorite choice to ultimately sit on the Iron Throne, it would present a major twist, one that’s very fitting for the series, and he could have a more logical path to the throne than any of the other major characters in play.
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- Page 2 of 2: How King Robin Arryn Can Happen In Game Of Thrones Season 8
Thus far, Robin Arryn has existed as a side character; a spoiled little boy who is being used by those around him. Fans were introduced to the character in season 1, when he was given one of the more appalling opening scenes in the show: the sight of an eight-year-old still breastfeeding, while on the throne with his mother, Lysa. From there, Arryn is shown to be spoiled, weak, and irrational. His first response to anyone annoying him is to want them thrown out the moon door, and although Sansa attempts to be kind to him, he throws temper tantrums and destroys her snow-Winterfell.
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Robin seems to hate pretty much everyone, and loves to abuse his power, but dotes on Littlefinger (even though he throws Baelish’s gift out the Moon Door…). He’s easily manipulated, overly emotional, and seems to be the worst possible kind of a ruler. Thankfully for the people of the Vale, he’s also pretty much just a figurehead at this point, controlled by Littlefinger as Lord Protector of the Vale (up until his death). The last that was seen of Robin was in season 6, when he was practicing his archery (and needs to practice a lot more) when Littlefinger came to see him – and convince him to send the Knights of the Vale to help Sansa Stark. It would be easy to assume that this would even be the last that we see of him, but there is another option…
The biggest obstacle between Robin Arryn and the throne, of course, is that there are so many other players who not only have a stronger claim, but who have more intelligence, drive, and determination. It would be much more likely for a fan favorite like Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen to win the throne in the end, or even for Cersei Lannister (the current Queen in King’s Landing) to keep her seat. However, the idea of a fan-favorite winner might be nice, but it’s not necessarily the most likely.
Game of Thrones doesn’t do the Hollywood ending, where the good triumph and the bad perish, and it’s already been confirmed that the finale will be ‘bittersweet’. Jon and Dany sitting on the throne together is far more sweet than bitter – and it’s just too perfect to have a fan-favorite win the day. It’s also all-but-confirmed that most of the fan-favorite characters will die before the end.
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The Valonqar prophecy predicted Cersei’s death after her children’s, and the Lannister line ended with Tommen’s suicide. Assuming that the prophecy is correct (and it has been so far), a younger sibling will wrap their hands around her throat and ‘choke the life’ from her before the show ends. As for Jon and Daenerys, at least one is likely to die before the end – for the second time, should Jon be the one who bites it. Even if Jon survives, he doesn’t actively want the throne. His journey to becoming both Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and then King in the North was an unwilling one. Out of all the fan-favorites, he is the only one who doesn’t want the Iron Throne, he just wants to defeat the White Walkers and go home.
Some others do have a claim to the throne, of course. Gendry, as the son of Robert Baratheon, would be next in line… but lineage doesn’t matter (as Robert himself proved when he took the throne by force), and Gendry doesn’t have an army, or any real way to prove his claim. Tyrion Lannister has made a point throughout the series of talking about how being a dwarf means he would never truly be accepted as an heir, let alone a King. And Sansa, although capable, has little motivation to return to King’s Landing after all that happened to her there.
Page 2 of 2: How King Robin Arryn Can Happen In Game Of Thrones Season 8
So if none of the major players are likely to take the throne, how could young Sweetrobin manage it? He may be an odious little boy, but he is the Lord of the Vale, and by the final season, he will have reached his majority. As the ruler of one of the Seven Kingdoms, he is well-placed to make a bid for the throne, especially as the other six kingdoms are in turmoil by this point. The Iron Islands are dealing with civil war as Euron and Yara Greyjoy fight it out for supremacy, The North is dealing with the White Walker threat, The Kingdom of the Rock is at war (having been taken from Cersei’s control by Daenerys), Dorne is leaderless and the Sand Snakes are captured, the Storm Lands lost their leaders when the Baratheons all died, and the Riverlands are in chaos.
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With every other kingdom in chaos, the Vale is the only one to have a leader who is young, yet not directly involved in the wars. He may have sent his armies to help Sansa (or some of them, at least), but he is safe in his nigh-impregnable fortress, waiting to see who wins in the end. He may also have become a much better potential ruler in the time since he last appeared on the show – for the first time, he’s without his mother (and her babying influence), and may well have blossomed into someone far more capable. Many of the other young characters in the show have gone through similarly impressive transformations, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Robin does too. Now sixteen (a year younger than Robb Stark was in season 1), he’s spent a couple of years training and growing up, he’s Lord of the Vale, and he’s perfectly poised to take the throne when the dust settles. He could even propose marriage to Sansa, and unite the kingdoms through marriage (although she – and probably the audience – would undoubtedly be less than thrilled at the idea).
In addition to the practical possibilities, there is a narrative beauty to the idea of Robin Arryn taking the throne. Game of Thrones began when his father, Jon Arryn, was killed as the Hand of the King. It was this that prompted Robert Baratheon to journey to Winterfell and make Ned Stark his new Hand, and set the whole story in motion. It would be a brilliantly fitting (and very cyclical) end to have the show that started with an Arryn behind the throne end with an Arryn atop it. This would act as vengeance for the death of Jon Arryn in the first place, too, which also provides extra motivation for Robin to want to take the throne.
As well as wrapping things up in a particularly poetic way, this ending would hammer another point home – that while the characters have been fighting for the throne, it isn’t actually the most important part of the story. The characters may battle for their ‘legacies’, but King Robin Arryn would prove something that Daenerys said earlier – that it is a wheel, with one family and then another taking over. Rather than crushing the wheel, the wheel continues to turn, and while there is change (the Arryns have not claimed Kingship in the series so far), the basic concepts remain the same. This would definitely fit with the description of the finale as ‘bittersweet’, and would be a beautifully devious end to Game of Thrones.
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