Tyrion Lannister Is the One True King in the North and You're Ready for This Talk
Sorry, House Stark fans: in the end, it’s Tyrion Lannister who’s the true King in the North, not your beloved Robb or Jon. Don’t be mad, though — we’ll explain why.
- At the end of Game of Thrones, the North became an independent kingdom with Sansa Stark as Queen.
- Since the marriage between Sansa and Tyrion was never nullified, he could technically call himself the King in the North.
- There were many legal reasons Sansa could have argued if Tyrion decided to use their marriage as political leverage.
Most regions of the Seven Kingdoms have always wanted to revert to how things were before Aegon’s Conquest of Westeros — to their complete independence from the Iron Throne. By the finale of Game of Thrones, only one land managed to break free from the Crown, though: the North separated with Queen Sansa as its leader.
Three children of Lord Ned Stark have attempted to wear the King in the North’s crown. Robb and Jon both lost their chances, but Sansa fared and led the North to its proud and independent future without access to the Seven Kingdoms’ trade routes. While that was a success, there was still another King in the North we forgot.
Why Was Tyrion Lannister the True King in the North?
Sansa Stark’s path to the throne of Winterfell was long and painful, to say the least. Her journey to King’s Landing which promised her the position of the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms turned into a years-long torture at the hands of ill-minded men who took advantage of her at every turn. Sansa saw way too many cruel marriages.
But not all of them were like that — and not all of them saw her husband die.
Tyrion Lannister was always kind and supportive to Sansa, and at one point, he married her in an attempt to protect the young woman from other men’s evil plots. While Sansa was married again, her marriage with Tyrion was never technically nullified, meaning that even after Ramsey, they were still husband and wife.
When Sansa Stark became the Queen in the North, her still-existing marriage with Tyrion Lannister effectively meant that the latter legally became the King in the North — or a King Consort in the North, at the very least. Of course, neither Sansa nor Tyrion cared much for such technicalities, but the fact still stands.
Why Was Tyrion Never Recognized as the King in the North?
While Tyrion and Sansa’s marriage never technically ended, there were many reasons why it could be considered insufficient to proclaim the last Lannister the new King in the North — even apart from the fact that neither the husband nor the wife themselves recognized their marriage as anything but the life-saving farce it was.
First and foremost, the North is very keen on its ancient customs, especially when it comes to its leaders. If Tyrion for some reason wanted to use their past union to claim his right to the Northern throne (a ridiculous thought, but still), Queen Sansa could have argued that they never married under a weirwood as tradition demands.
Second, in Game of Thrones, for a marriage to be considered legally completed, a couple needs to consummate — something Tyrion and Sansa never did for obvious reasons. This would have been another loophole allowing Sansa to declare their marriage inactive in case Tyrion Lannister turned out to be a power-hungry jerk.
Third and final, the very fact that Sansa was officially married to Ramsay Bolton implied that her marriage with Tyrion was nullified because the law of the Seven Kingdoms doesn’t allow polygamy. Hence, when Sansa Stark became the Queen in the North, she could argue that she was Ramsay’s widow, not Tyrion’s wife.
Either way, neither Sansa nor Tyrion wanted their marriage — and the latter would never even try to use it as leverage to get a high position in the North. Still, the very fact that the union between Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister never ended is funny enough to speculate about what could have been under different circumstances.