House of the Dragon, like Game of Thrones before it, is a series filled with fascinating characters. These are the people who are all competing to either sit on the Iron Throne themselves or to control who does. For many of them, there is nothing more important than power, particularly since it often conveys safety in Westeros (even if it also ends up being very ephemeral).
In some cases, these are people who would rule well and capably. Others, however, would be a disaster, whether they were the ones who were ruling or whether they were merely the powers behind the throne.
10/10 Larys Strong
Larys Strong is a cunning manipulator, someone who is quite skilled at controlling the levers of power. While he may not be likely to sit on the Iron Throne himself, he could almost certainly control someone who does. Regardless of how successful he is at the political game, however, it’s unlikely that he would be a very good ruler.
He seems to have no conscience or sense of larger purpose, and he certainly doesn’t seem especially invested in the well-being of the realm (unlike, say, Varys of Game of Thrones, who did so). Thus, he would not be a particularly ethical or good ruler.
9/10 Ser Criston Cole
Ser Criston Cole has already shown himself to be a remarkable member of the Kingsguard. At the same time, he is also someone who is quite enslaved to his own emotions and sense of honor. For these reasons, he is not likely to provide a steady hand to whoever sits on the Iron Throne.
As he shows with his conversations with Queen Alicent–as well as with Rhaenyra’s sons–the past haunts him. He might be able to wield influence on whoever it is that eventually sits on the Iron Throne, but it wouldn’t be a very positive one.
8/10 Aegon Targaryen
Even at a young age, Aegon Targaryen has already shown many of the worst traits of his family. He is spoiled and selfish, and, whatever his mother might desire, he clearly doesn’t have much interest in the throne.
What’s more, he also shows more than a little bit of cruelty, as he shows in his relationship with his younger brother. Thus, even if he were able to finally sit on the Iron Throne, it’s fairly clear that he would go down in history as one of the more tyrannical and less effective members of House Targaryen.
7/10 Daemon Targaryen
Part of what marks Daemon Targaryen one of Matt Smith’s best roles is his ability to convey the prince’s positive and negative qualities. While he is someone who is staunchly loyal to his family, it has to be said that Daemon would not make a very good ruler for the Seven Kingdoms.
He is far too prone to pursuing his own desires, regardless of the well-being of the realm at large. If he were to become king, he would no doubt grow quickly bored with the actual mechanics of ruling, as he showed in his early abandonment of the Stepstones.
6/10 Laenor Velaryon
Laenor Velaryon has always been a very likable and trustworthy character. He is, for example, staunchly loyal to Rhaenyra, even though their marriage wasn’t something that he wanted.
Though he would only ever be able to rule through Rhaenyra–or through their sons–he does have the makings of a particularly ethical ruler for Westeros. He is, when it comes down to it, a good man who cares about others. Given how many tyrannical (and sometimes downright evil) the kings of Westeros have been, they could do worse than Laenor.
5/10 Rhaenyra Targaryen
Rhaenyra has all of the best and worst traits of the Targayens. She is proud and stubborn, but she is also strong and determined. She has a rigid sense of justice, and she is the type of person who would rule with a steady hand (again, something that Westeros is always in need of).
However, it has to be said that her inability to let go of a grudge is something that would hamper her abilities as a ruler. Just as sinisterly, she also refuses to try to win people to her side by charm, preferring blunter (and, ultimately, less effective) methods.
4/10 Otto Hightower
During his time as Hand, Otto Hightower showed that, whatever his personal feelings, he did have at least a sense of obligation to the realm as a whole. However, he also has a fair amount of dynastic ambition, as he shows in his conversation with Alicent.
Taken together, however, it’s clear that he would make at least a decent ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. He would, it seems, be able to steer a course through the various competing powers, though his own ambitious nature and somewhat high-handed attitude would probably cause more than a few problems.
3/10 Alicent Hightower
Alicent Hightower is very much her father’s daughter. As one of the series’ smartest characters, she has a shrewd mind, and she knows the brutal realities of politics. This is precisely what would make her a fairly strong ruler for Westeros. In particular, she has already shown that, unlike Rhaenyra, she recognizes the value of a charm offensive.
What’s more, her relationships with Ser Criston Cole and Larys show that she is also capable of cultivating very important alliances and relationships, and this is a skill she could use as a ruler (or, at the very least, an adviser to her son).
2/10 Corlys Velaryon
Though he doesn’t have a claim to the throne himself, Corlys nevertheless has enough influence as the grandfather of the heirs to see himself as someone who could very well rule in all but name. Throughout the first season, he has shown himself to be a man of principle, though he’s also not afraid of demonstrating his ambition.
His adventurous spirit could very well be just what the realm needs. He could, if he was the power behind the throne of one of his grandsons, lead the realm into a new golden age of greatness.
1/10 Rhaenys Targaryen
Eve Best has captured many of Rhaenys Targaryens’ various mannerisms. In particular, she manages to convey her contempt for Westerosi politics and the casual misogyny so evident in the realm. For all of that, there’s no question she would make a fine ruler in her own right.
She has a clear-eyed approach to governance that is something that is often sorely lacking in this particular land. In particular, she would have the ability to see through the myths and lies that so many of the ruling elites of Westeros spin in order to make themselves look better. No one would be able to fool her.
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