Warning: Mild spoilers and speculation inside!
It will still be years until fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga know the “true” ending to this tale, but we are quickly closing in on the Cliff’s Notes version on HBO. Game of Thrones has two short seasons left before someone claims the Iron Throne and everyone who survives lives happily ever after. Ha! Just kidding. No matter how events unfold, happy endings are few and far between in Westeros. But who will rule when the dust settles and the White Walkers are defeated? Daenerys Targaryen? Jon Snow/Targaryen? Tyrion Lannister/Targaryen? Sansa Stark? Someone else? No matter how you slice it, any of these people ruling Westeros would only end with more in-fighting once the White Walker threat that united them was vanquished.
So what’s the most logical solution? The one that will keep powerful lords in check and stop the smallfolk from taking the brunt of these long-ranging battles? Westeros needs to be disbanded. Before the Targaryen invaders, the continent of Westeros was not a single country. Instead it was seven kingdoms, each ruled by its own king. The Starks ruled the North, the Hoare’s of Harrenhal had control of the Riverlands, the Arryn lineage ruled the Vale, the Lannister kings had the Westerlands, House Durrandon ruled over the Reach, the Gardener line controlled Highgarden, and the Martells reigned in Dorne. On top of this, the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands had dominion over the seas. Each of these kingdoms had long histories that would take up volumes because George R.R. Martin is nothing if not thorough. But for brevity’s sake, Aegon Targaryen I used his dragons to eventually subdue all Seven Kingdoms save for Dorne, which joined of its own accord and is why Dornish lords are called Princes. They’re still semi-independent. Knowing all this, I suggest it’s time for Westeros to once again be split into more manageable realms.
Now, I can hear you saying, “That would just end in more petty wars between countries!” But there’s a way to avoid this, at least for a generation or two via some kind of Westeros United Nations. Ambassadors from each country would serve on a council similar to the current setup at King’s Landing. A treaty would keep everyone in check, at least until everyone involved in destroying the White Walkers died and their descendants repeat history. It would also help if the dragons were split up. Not in a cruel way, but in a ‘fulfilling the prophecy’ way. Drogon stays with Dany as he has bonded with her. Viserion bonds with Tyrion, obviously because gold. And Rhaegal goes to Jon as the dragon is named after Jon’s father. This way, even if things start to go south, the dragons become the Seven Kingdoms version of nuclear armament: mutually assured destruction. Also, with Westeros in serious debt to the Iron Bank, it would take at least a generation before any of the new kingdoms would be stable enough to contemplate coveting their neighbors land.
But how to split up the realms? It’s easy enough. As the last Stark in Winterfell, Sansa becomes the Queen of the North (with Jon as her consort and King Beyond The Wall, you know it makes sense). With the Tyrells and Highgarden decimated, merge those lands with the Stormlands and the Crownlands to give Queen Daenerys a significant chunk of the continent (and she technically gets the Iron Throne, which is what she wants). Next, blend the Westerlands together with part of the Riverlands and all of the Vale and pass it off to Tyrion to rule as King. The rest of the Riverlands then gets rolled in with the Iron Islands and becomes the dominion of Queen Asha/Yara. And once more Dorne remains independent, ruled by Queen Arianne in the novels or Queen Ellaria on the show. This gives the Targaryen faction the most power (assuming both Jon and Tyrion eventually come to be recognized as such publicly) and divides their power. I would even argue it would make sense for Oldtown to become an independent nation similar to the Vatican or Switzerland to keep the Maesters from being bought by any one faction.
Is this a perfect solution? No. Would Dany be willing to admit being a Targaryen doesn’t give her birth rights over a land her ancestors came to as conquerors? Probably not. But should Viserion and Rhaegal bond with Tyrion and Jon respectively, and should Dany realize Jon is her uncle and Tyrion her half-brother, that might change things. Westeros would not survive another Targaryen civil war. It barely survived the mythical “Dance of the Dragons.” After cutting her teeth in Essos, I have to believe Dany would rather share power with her kin and allies then burn it all to the ground. As for the people of Westeros? I think they’d go along with any plan that just stopped the slaughter of the smallfolk and destruction of their villages and farms.