Instead of someone winning the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones season 8, if Westeros is truly to change and the wheel to be broken, then the best thing would be for the Iron Throne to be destroyed - both literally and figuratively - as it's a representation of an era that's close to being left in the past.
Despite the fact that winning the Iron Throne has become a defining theme of the show, both Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series have painted a picture of a deeply flawed and corrupt political system, in which its symbolic head is Aegon the Conqueror’s throne forged from the swords of his enemies. Focusing so heavily on who will win the “game of thrones” and claim the Iron Throne as their ultimate prize undermines the fact that much of this story is about a society in desperate need of a tectonic shift in its political structure.
HBO’s own recent #ForTheThrone marketing campaign hasn’t helped shift focus to the bigger picture when it comes to season 8. While it hit on the only question more pressing than who will survive, it failed to acknowledge the fact that most of the characters - save for Cersei and Dany - aren’t focused on the Iron Throne anymore. They’re rightfully worried about the survival of humanity, and it’s impossible to ignore how Cersei’s obsession with the throne's power has endangered the lives of everyone she’s supposed to protect. It couldn't be clearer that, ultimately, fighting over the throne has victimized more people than it ever helped, and a great way to address that would be to destroy it before Game of Thrones ends.
- This Page: The Iron Throne Is A Symbol Of Tyranny & A Broken Government
- Page 2: Dany Wants To Break The Wheel Anyway & Westeros Needs A New Chapter
The Throne is a Symbol of Aegon the Conqueror’s Tyranny
Before Aegon came to Westeros with his dragons, the continent was divided into disparate kingdoms, and it’s fair to say that the unity his conquest brought to the continent established more stability than had been present before. But a conqueror is a conqueror, and while Aegon allowed Westerosi leaders a chance to bend the knee peacefully, choosing between surrendering to a ruler you didn’t ask for and fighting for your own autonomy, it's understandable why plenty chose the latter. Those people died, and Aegon melted down a handful of the swords raised in opposition to his conquest in order to create the Iron Throne - a throne from which his dynasty would rule for centuries.
Regardless of the conditions that grew under his rule, Aegon was an unmistakable tyrant. There's no freedom and no real peace that’s presided over by a family armed with dragons. The Iron Throne doesn’t represent benevolent rule; it represents tyranny backed up by Game of Thrones’ version of weapons of mass destruction.
It Represents a System of Government That Leads to Civil Wars
Outside of the implications inherent in its genesis, the Iron Throne has grown into a symbol of a system of government that ultimately broke down into an incredibly, bloody civil war - more than once. While Game of Thrones focuses more on the War of Five kings that erupted after Robert Baratheon's death, and less on the textbook level history provided in the books, it’s worth looking at the source material for yet more examples of how the monarchy established by Aegon has erupted in wars that tore apart the continent.
The Blackfyre Rebellions dogged Westeros for five generations, from 196 AC to 260 AC. Aegon IV legitimized all of his bastard children (who would eventually become the Blackfyre faction) on his death bed, thus creating years of struggle over the now extremely muddied line of succession. There was another line of Targaryens with claim to the Iron Throne as well, and scores of them died in the subsequent wars fought over who should rule over Westeros.
After five separate rebellions, Barristan Selmy killed the last Blackfyre and ended the line - but not before some fled to Essos and formed a mercenary group called the Golden Company. It’s doubtful the Game of Thrones TV show will reference their origin when they eventually land in Westeros, but it’s worth noting they’re coming across the narrow sea to help someone keep the Iron Throne when their very creation was based on usurping it.
Beyond the Blackfyre Rebellions, Robert’s Rebellion threw the continent into more distress, and his own lack of desire for the throne left a power vacuum that allowed corruption and profligacy to flourish. When he died, the country was already destabilized, and the fact that the line of succession placed a ruler as destructive as Joffrey on the throne was more than just bad luck. It was the result of placing near absolute power in one spot for far too long and failing to produce someone who could manage it effectively. But considering Westeros’ bloody history, such a person probably doesn’t exist.