Game of Thrones’ Euron Greyjoy may look like a modern-day hipster decked out in H&M-inspired pirate threads, but he’s easily the deadliest Iron Islander to ever set foot in Westeros. He’s proved that he’s as cold and dark as the ocean depths by murdering his own brother, Balon, and seems to be very much looking forward to killing his niece and nephew, Yara and Theon. Every single one of his acts of violence is committed in the name of an ultimate goal: sitting atop the Iron Throne.
Euron has a long and bloody history with the Lannisters. Nearly a decade ago in the show’s timeline, during the beginning of the Greyjoy rebellion, Euron led the raid on Lannisport. He surreptitiously set fire to the docked naval fleet, dealing a major blow to the Lannister army. But the Lannisters persisted and later attacked the Iron Islands. During the season seven premiere of Thrones that aired on Sunday, Euron tells Jaime and Cersei Lannister that he watched with glee as Jaime masterfully cut down Euron’s own kinsmen. The Greyjoy rebellion was eventually quashed and Euron slipped away. He spent the next several years as a pirate, roaming the seas, learning new tactics and reaving whatever he pleased, until he finally returned to the Iron Islands in season six.
Even when he was away from home, Euron kept his eyes trained on the Iron Throne. After he seized his role as the king of the Iron Islands in the sixth season, he made known his plan to wed Daenerys Targaryen. He was plotting to offer his ships and services in return for a seat at the table alongside the Queen of Dragons — but when Theon and Yara stole his fastest ships and made way for Meereen, he opted instead to aim for Cersei’s hand, likely believing it’s his best chance at ruling the Seven Kingdoms. Hence his visit to King’s Landing in the season seven premiere.
But the path to the Iron Throne is not an easy one, and Euron must surmount myriad obstacles before he can wear the crown and proclaim himself first of his name.
Step 1: A gift for Cersei
Euron’s first step toward claiming the Iron Throne must be winning Cersei Lannister’s trust. Without an alliance with the queen, Euron has no chance of lording over anything besides his rocky, bird shit-covered (his words, not mine) Iron Islands.
After being invited to King’s Landing courtesy of Cersei, Euron promptly sashays into the throne room and casually asks for the queen’s hand in marriage — right after shooting Jaime an icy glare and proposing that Cersei try out fratricide. What a romantic. Unimpressed and unconvinced, Cersei flatly declines his offer, rightly pointing out that Euron hasn’t exactly proven himself to be a trustworthy fellow.
Without missing a beat, Euron promises to return to the queen once he has retrieved a gift so significant she will have no choice but to accept his alliance. A handful of theories have already circulated around what Euron’s undisclosed “gift” might be. He might set out to find Gendry, the forgotten bastard of Robert Baratheon, or perhaps he’ll somehow bring back Tyrion’s head. Whatever gift Euron has planned, attaining it will almost certainly be no easy feat.
Step 2: Defeat Daenerys
Assuming Euron wins Cersei’s favor, he still has to make good on his promise of defeating Danerys’ fearsome army — which, remember, includes three massive, fire-breathing dragons. But this should be a simple task for “greatest captain on the 14 seas,” as Euron proclaimed himself in Sunday’s premiere.
Euron has also said his new Iron Fleet is superior to Daenerys’ vessels, but he’s yet to test them in battle. Daenerys, on the other hand, has already proven her skill in naval tactics, having easily laid waste to her opposing fleet during the battle at Slaver’s Bay.
If finding the perfect gift to make Cersei swoon is hard, beating Daenerys at her own game is going to be all but impossible.
Step 3: Marry Cersei
Here comes the groom, all dressed in gloom. (At least that’s what Euron seems to be going for with his Jack Sparrow-inspired tatters.) Maybe Cersei will give him some more appropriate attire as a wedding gift. But even if this king-slaying Greyjoy manages to pull off steps one and two, there’s still a very good chance Cersei will just set him ablaze with wildfire (she really likes wildfire) as soon as he’s outlived his usefulness. Assuming, though, that the queen of the Seven Kingdoms would actually follow through with her end of the bargain and wed her dearly loathsome suitor, Euron still wouldn’t be the one sitting on the Iron Throne. No, that honor would remain Cersei’s.
In order for Euron to truly be king of Westeros and all its people, he must take far more drastic measures than marriage.
Step 4: Murder the Lannisters
Of all the steps Euron must go through to take up permanent residence in the Red Keep, murdering Cersei and Jaime is the one that will seal the deal. From a moral standpoint, Euron will have no qualms turning the current rulers to ash, but from a practical standpoint it’s easier said than done.
Cersei’s Frankenstein — a resurrected Mountain who’s even stronger now than before he died — is her loyal bodyguard and will crush Euron’s skull like a tangerine if he senses she’s in danger. Just look at how the Mountain reacted when Euron stepped too close to Cersei in the throne room.
So, in order for this would-be usurper to get to usurping, he’ll have to take out Cersei and Jaime, but in order to do that he’ll first have to figure out a way to kill the Mountain — for good.
An extra precaution
Once Euron wears the crown and proclaims himself first of his name, king of the Andals and the First Men — and all the other titles that follow it — he’d be wise to take some extra precautions to ensure he stays on the Iron Throne long enough to do more than just warm the seat.
Somewhere in the world of Game of Thrones, out in the middle of one of its many seas, Gendry is (probably) endlessly rowing that godforsaken boat as far away from Stannis Baratheon and the Red Woman as humanly possible. Yes, Stannis is dead and the Red Woman has been exiled, but Gendry doesn’t know that.
Gendry has king’s blood coursing through his veins, a fact he was made acutely aware of after the Red Woman literally leeched the life force from him. He’s the last known living Baratheon descendent, and this means that so long as he draws breath, he poses a serious threat to whoever sits on the Iron Throne.
Of all the characters in Game of Thrones, it could be argued Gendry has the strongest claim for the crown, and that’s something Euron simply can’t let lie. If he doesn’t end up finding Gendry as his gift for Cersei, he needs to find him at some point.
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