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The Contender
Con (against)

Jon Snow has the strongest claim to the Iron throne

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alexmann152 has forfeited round #3.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2016 Category: TV
Updated: 2 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 204 times Debate No: 95864
Debate Rounds (4)
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Ok so I am not saying Jon Snow is most deserving of the Iron Throne, I am simply saying his claim to the throne is stronger than any other characters.

No rules, free form casual debate. Looking forward to it!


Accepted. I will argue that Stannis Baratheon has the strongest claim to the Iron Throne, and that there are several other characters with stronger claims than Jon Snow.

Since you did not present an argument in Round 1, I think that it would only be fair for me to use this round for acceptance and statement of position only. I will present my case in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1


Fair enough. Given medieval law the right of succession is tricky at best. Since we are not saying Jon has claim to Highgarden, or Stormsend- and instead the Iron Throne, we must base his right to rule off his connection to the Tararyens. The Targaryens are the only Royal Blood line that has the right to rule the Iron Throne by law. Robert's claim to the Throne was that his line had Targayens in it. Stannis's claim is predicated off the fact that Robert's children are not true-born, his own Targaryen blood, and that there are no other living Targaryens better related to Aryes- That is a weak claim at best

Laws of succession in this time are as follows
-When the king dies power passes to family in this order-
1. Heirs
2. Children of heir
3. Brothers
4. Daughters
5. Other relatives
It should be noted that other relatives would often assume power before daughters, it was case to case really.

So we have the law of succession in GOT
1. Raegar Targaryen (dead)
2. Jon Snow
3. Viserys (dead)
4. Daenerys
5. Stannis, and half of the seven kingdoms.

It's clear whos claim is the strongest.

The issue with Jon's succession is that he may or may not be a Bastard. This is all speculative at this point as we do not know is Lyanna was kidnapped or instead Eloped. Even if Jon is a bastard his claim still outstrips Danny's and Stannis's.

- You see Stannis is a Baratheon, through and through. Thought he may have some distant and dead Targaryen relatives he is not a Targaryen himself. In Feudal societies noble families intermingled a lot. They all shared the same decedents and had grandmothers and grandfathers from other noble houses. It didn't matter though, what mattered was you name. It didn't matter if your great great grandmother was a York if you were a Lancaster. It was so common to have relatives belonging to different houses that if you based succession of your Grandmothers last name, every person would have a claim to the throne. So only if EVERY other member of the ruling family was dead you would you see power pass to nobles based on dead relatives- but only in that circumstance would it happen. It happened to Robert because he defeated the Targaryens and killed them all. It happened because to everyone's knowledge there were not Targaryens left
- Danny is a woman. Doesn't matter if she is true-born, doesn't matter if her bloodline is pure. She was never made the Heir and worse yet is a WOMAN. Woman almost never inherited power because it weakened kingdoms. It is known that Kings rule, not Queens. So if you gave power to a Woman and she married a man from another country, you would have a foreign man now ruling as king. It would be like a Korean CEO becoming the American President. Moreover the woman takes the mans last name so your namesake, and your bloodline would die. Even though your dynasties blood would still flow through the veins of the following heir, he would have his fathers last name. This means the end of your dynasty and that is bad for business. Therefore woman were at the very bottom of the inheritance list, and it makes sense why. Occasional power would pass to sisters or daughters, but only if that sister or daughter was shrewd enough to take power and respected enough to maintain it. And that only happened if no other males existed to claim the throne. And still this was not happen by law, it would only happen in that given daughter had to will to take the power herself.


Your argument is contingent upon several different assumptions, which are all very tenuous at best, being simultaneously true. If even one of these assumptions is invalid, then your position is completely refuted:

-That the Targaryen dynasty still had the strongest claim on the Iron Throne during the period in which the ASOIAF series takes place.

-That Rhaegar Targeryen's son Aegon was killed during the Sack of King's Landing in 283 AC.

-That Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark could have eloped, making Jon Snow a legitimate son instead of a bastard.

-That Jon Snow's oath to the Night's Watch is irrelevant or void and does not disqualify him from succession.

I'll now tackle each of those points in greater depth:

==The Targaryen "Right to Rule"==

Westeros follows male-preference primogeniture succession laws, however one has to consider how a dynasty comes into power and is established as a legitimate authority in the first place. Succession laws are merely a means to prevent succession crises and civil war whenever a ruler dies, but they do not speak to how a dynasty is cemented in power originally.

The Targaryen dynasty came to power through force, by conquest. Eventually Robert's Rebellion occurred and the Targaryens were ousted from power through force. Why are you of the opinion that the Targaryen ascent to power was somehow legitimate but the Baratheon ascent was somehow not? You need to explain what the fundamental distinction was. You cannot simply assert that "[t]he Targaryens are the only Royal Blood line that has the right to rule the Iron Throne by law" as if it was somehow a fact without backing this up at all.

Robert of House Baratheon was recognized among the rebel leaders as the one who should be placed on the throne due to the Baratheon/Targaryen ancestral connections, so when you write "Robert's claim to the Throne was that his line had Targayens in it," this is true and you are right to point this out. But this was only a means to have some basis for the rebels to decide upon who would be King so they could avoid infighting, it was not a concession that the Targaryen dynasty still had the legitimate right to rule.

Your claim that "[i]t happened to Robert because he defeated the Targaryens and killed them all. It happened because to everyone's knowledge there were not Targaryens left" is factually untrue. Robert was crowned King before the Assault on Dragonstone, and Viserys and Daenerys were known to still be alive and residing there. Further, it was known that they survived and escaped the assault, and yet for 15 years Robert's legitimacy as King was widely recognized and only a small fringe faction supported a Targaryen restoration (as evidenced by repeated instances of Jorah trying to tactfully explain to Daenerys that she was mistaken in her assumption that people in Westeros were waiting to flock behind her).

==The Fate of Aegon Targaryen==

If alive, Aegon Targaryen would be both the eldest son of Rhaegar and the only indisputably legitimate son of Rhaegar. By any standard, he clearly would have a stronger claim than Jon Snow.

In the books, the character "Young Griff" claims to be Aegon and is currently leading an invasion of Westeros. It is unconfirmed at this point whether he actually is Aegon Targaryen or not, but he absolutely warrants mention and consideration on this topic and it's very conspicuous that you omitted him from your argument entirely.

==Jon Snow's Parentage and Legitimacy==

First off, it should be mentioned that it has only been strongly implied and not definitely established in the book series that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, but I will accept that this is by far his most likely parentage.

However I do not accept that he is a legitimate son and not a bastard. In fact, not only is there no textual evidence for this, but Rhaegar Targaryen was already married to Elia Martell (she died during the Sack of King's Landing *after* Rhaegar died at the Battle of the Trident) and Lyanna Stark was already betrothed to Robert Baratheon, so I find the suggestion that somehow they legally married prior to Jon Snow's birth absurd.

All textual evidence and reasonable deduction would lead one to conclude that Jon Snow was born a bastard.

==Jon Snow's Oath to the Night's Watch==

This is another point you don't even address, but Jon Snow joined the Night's Watch and therefore renounced all claims and inheritance.

The only possible counter-argument I could predict to argue this isn't relevant would be that he will be released from his oath when he is "killed" and will be resurrected. This is again another event that has not yet happened in the book series but I believe it is by far the most likely outcome so I'll accept the scenario. I do not accept, however, the conclusion that this would release him from his oath. There is obviously no precedent on any such thing and the intent of the oath clearly seems to indefinitely bind someone and to say "well, even though I came back, technically I died so I quit" seems like a really weak attempt at finding a loophole.

==Male-Preference Primogeniture==

You've also thoroughly misunderstood male-preference primogeniture laws. For example, your statement that "even if Jon is a bastard his claim still outstrips Danny's and Stannis's (sic)" is factually wrong. So is your assertion that brothers of a ruler inherit before a daughter of a ruler.

Under male-preference primogeniture laws, *bastards do not inherit at all unless legitimized.* And even if legitimized, they only inherit after trueborn heirs. A legitimate female member of the dynasty will inherit before a bastard male. This is why Stannis offers to legitimize Jon Snow (as a Stark); so that he could have a claim to the north and inherit. Because legally he had no claim as a bastard (note that charismatic leadership and other forms of authority are completely separate matters to consider than legal claims based on primogeniture).

The daughter of a ruler also inherits before the younger brother of a ruler. A real-life example of this was that Elizabeth II inherited even though George VI had a surviving younger brother and a deceased younger brother who had living sons. This was under male-preference primogeniture in England, which is what ASOIAF succession laws are based on. Also keep in mind that Stannis made an explicit offer to make Renly his designated heir; which demonstrates that by default Shireen would have otherwise inherited before Renly.

I'm not going to address your arguments about why men supposedly *should* inherit over women, because they are irrelevant to the topic.

==My Counter-Argument==

Because the Targaryen dynasty was ousted by force in a major rebellion and Robert Baratheon was widely accepted as a legitimate King of the Iron Throne over a 15 year period, it is my belief that the Baratheon dynasty has the strongest claim on the Iron Throne during the events of the ASOIF.

Robert and Cersei's supposed children are actually bastards of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, so they are out of the line of succession.

Therefore, upon Robert's death, the line of succession is (in order):

-Stannis Baratheon
-Shireen Baratheon
-Renly Baratheon

Further, I would contend that *even if* one were to accept that the Targaryen dynasty had the strongest claim on the Iron Throne, Jon Snow is far down in the line of succession even if he appears at all. In order, under male-preference primogeniture it would go:

-Aegon Targaryen (if alive)
-Viserys Targaryen (was alive at the beginning of the book so I'm including him as the exact period in the series we are referring to is unclear)
-Daenerys Targaryen
-Jon Snow (only if legitimized and not bound by Night's Watch oath)

I believe I've demonstrated several reasons why Jon Snow is most likely not eligible for inheritance at all, and why even if he is, there is absolutely no standard by which he'd be first in line to inherit.
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