“Where’s Gendry?” That was one of our favorite Game of Thrones mysteries for years after he fled Dragonstone in a rowboat at the end of season three and disappeared. But not only did he finally return in season seven, he and his war hammer became an integral part of Jon Snow’s fighting force. Now the actor who plays him has hinted Gendry’s story will have an even bigger role to play in the show’s final season, and there’s reason to believe the forgotten bastard of Robert Baratheon could end up reclaiming his father’s Iron Throne.
Joe Dempsie, who plays the dark-haired blacksmith with the magical king’s blood, told Digital Spy(in an interview we heard about at The A.V. Club), that even though he wasn’t sure he would ever return to the series at all, we are probably going to see a lot of him in the eighth and final season since he has been filming “a fair bit” for the last six episodes. “I’ve done well out of it this year, for sure,” he said, although he added that doesn’t guarantee he lives.
“It wouldn’t have surprised me, and it wouldn’t have angered me at all, if they’d got to season 7 and just not really had time for Gendry. So to not only come back and have that loose end tied up, but to have been given the amount of story I got has been great–because not everyone gets that.”
Being a part of the end game means he has also “a whole raft of new secrets” to keep, and it’s not unthinkable to think he could be holding on to the ultimate secret: Gendry will end the show sitting on the Iron Throne.
Gendry has always been a fringe candidate to “win,” just because he is Robert Baratheon’s last surviving child. There are questions if a bastard could ever ascend to the throne, but when it comes to succession Westeros is such a mess at the moment his claim certainly wouldn’t be any worse than Cersei’s, whose main one is her marriage to Robert.
But Gendry has another important blood relation in his favor that Cersei doesn’t: he’s the descendant of a Targaryen. Robert’s grandmother was Rhaelle Targaryen, which was one reason his claim to the Iron Throne had merit beyond his Rebellion. (Not to mention House Baratheon is likely a bastard line of House Targaryen going back to before Aegon’s Conquest.) Gendry is the son of Robert and has Targaryen blood—that’s a pretty good start. If he is legitimized by Daenerys—maybe after her dragons nuzzle up to him the way they do with others who have the Blood of the Dragon?—and is no longer a bastard it would make it even stronger.
A few other things would have to fall in place—or rather, a few other people would have to fall—for that to happen, but we’ll come back to that. Gendry sitting on the Iron Throne might sound ludicrous to some, the idea that a minor character who literally vanished for half the show’s run could end up winning. But there’s a quote from Xaro Xhoan Daxos way back in season two’s seventh episode that has always felt like it could be a harbinger of the show’s endgame.
“Those on the margins often come to control the center, and those in the center make room for them, willingly or otherwise.”
He was talking about himself in Qarth, but on a show where the Mother of Dragons was wandering in the desert, and the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark was hiding in plain sight, it carries a lot of meaning for the entire show. But what if the answer isn’t as obvious as a major character? No one was more on the margins than Gendry.
But of course Jon Snow and Daenerys are both still alive, and both would have much better claims to the Iron Throne than Gendry. That’s why another quote from the show, a far more ominous one, has always lingered over the story’s resolution.
“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
It was chilling when Ramsay said it, considering no one is ever safe on Game of Thrones. Jon and Daenerys both dying in the Great War against the White Walkers would certainly not make for a happy ending. But if Gendry ends up sitting on the Iron Throne, that means the Night King was defeated, as was Cersei, and someone we love at least ending up ruling a Westeros free of ice zombies.
That would be a bittersweet ending. And that just so happens to be the exact way George R.R. Martin described it to Time.
“I think you need to have some hope. We all yearn for happy endings in a sense. Myself, I’m attracted to the bittersweet ending. People ask me how Game of Thrones is gonna end, and I’m not gonna tell them–but I always say to expect something bittersweet in the end.”
“Where’s Gendry?” The answer might be end up being “on the Iron Throne.”
What do you think? Is there anyway Gendry could actually end up ruling at the show’s end? Tell us why in the comments below.