When it comes to power, it’s best to put it in the hands of those who don’t actively seek it. No character fits that description more aptly in Game of Thrones than Brienne of Tarth.
The list of characters vying for the throne is lengthy (and we have already written about quite a few of them in this series), but I think the throne should go to someone who has never sought that kind of power.
Don’t get me wrong, Brienne has definitely sought power, but never the kind that is used to govern others. She has stood beside men and women whose beliefs and causes she trusted, and fought for respect and honor with every breath she’s taken. And she’s earned some begrudging respect from people you would never expect. She may be an unlikely candidate for the ultimate power in Westeros, but maybe she’s the right one.
Brienne values loyalty, but only to a point
Whether she’s journeying across the countryside with Jaime Lannister or standing guard over Sansa, Brienne of Tarth has proved that loyalty is the key to her heart.
Her long career as a protector began when she defeated Sir Loras Tyrell in a tournament and requested to be named to Renly Baratheon’s Kingsguard as her reward. This act of kindness, despite her sex, gained her undying fealty, and began her career as an armored protector for those who earn her loyalty.
She remained loyal to Renly and desired to avenge his death long after Melisandre’s evil descended. She alone saw the face of the shadow that slayed Renly, and, no matter who tried to stop her, she was determined to make Stannis pay for his treachery.
Despite her initial aversion to Catelyn Stark (based solely on her forgetting to address Renly in a kingly manner), she quickly learned that the Stark matriarch was a woman worthy of Brienne’s loyalty. She has remained a valuable ally to the Stark family ever since, most especially Sansa. Her unique position as a woman of noble birth working in a typically male role makes her the only person capable of seeing threats that no man would ever see coming.
She knows what being loyal means. She is not afraid to lay down her life for people and causes that she believes in, but also knows when loyalty may be nothing but a colossal hindrance to survival. Sometimes, one must put aside allegiances and pledges and see the madness of the day for what it is. This is most evident in the show’s seventh season when she begs Jaime to help his sister see reason regarding the White Walkers and helping Jon and Daenerys’ cause.
Brienne has a keen eye for liars and betrayers
She may not always put her thoughts out into the world for all to hear, but Brienne’s judgement of people is one of very few characters on this show that I trust. She has a unique ability to see through to the heart of a person, no matter how long it may take her to decipher.
Renly earned her love and trust early in life as he showed her kindness in a room full of mocking suitors. She learned of his homosexual desires and never judged him for it, but rather loved him all the more for his earnest heart.
She and Jaime may have started their journey in season 2 as prisoner and captor, but they soon saw the measure of each other’s heart and became unlikely friends along the Kingsroad. Jaime may not be someone she considers an ally, but she knows that he is a good man to his core, meaning he can be reasoned with when common sense isn’t necessarily ruling the day.
I am always on watch for Brienne’s impressions of people and watching how they morph and change the longer she stands alongside them. She isn’t afraid to call out hypocrisy and tell things like they are, which makes her a valuable ally to anyone who earns her allegiance. Few people in Westeros speak truth like Brienne, which makes her cutting and revealing truths one of the most valuable tools in the kingdom.
Brienne believes in vows and truth, and would rule on high as a wielder of both
Foremost of all of Brienne’s good qualities is her belief in the power of your word. Vows are meant to be kept. Truth reigns supreme as the currency of the day. Brienne has no time for liars and vague promises never meant to be kept. As the ruler of Westeros, Brienne would hold herself to the vow she takes, and would hold every single person to the fealty and word they speak.
She has maneuvered a man’s world with no one to blaze the trail before her. She has navigated the gatekeepers trying to force her into a womanly role and proved her value both in battle and as a protector. There is no artifice to Brienne. She cuts you down to your true size and won’t apologize for it, but if you prove that your true size has worth, she will stand beside you for the rest of your days.
I don’t think Westeros has ever met a ruler like Brienne, but I personally think it could do no better. After the terrifying reign of Joffrey Baratheon and the problematic ways Cersei has used the power of the crown, it would be refreshing to have someone in charge that truly wants what is good for all.
Don’t think Brienne of Tarth is the best choice to rule the Iron Throne? See more below!
- Cersei Lannister should win the Game of Thrones
- Sansa Stark should win the Game of Thrones
- Jon Snow should win the Game of Thrones
- Arya Stark should win the Game of Thrones