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Joffrey Baratheon: "I am the king! I will punish you..."
Tywin Lannister: "Any man who must say "I am the king" is no true king."
— King Joffrey Baratheon and Lord Tywin Lannister[src]

Joffrey I Baratheon, King of the Andals and the First Men from 298 AC to 301 AC.

A king is the male ruler of a monarchy or realm. Kings usually inherit their position by birth, though some, like Aegon the Conqueror and Robert Baratheon, become kings through conquest, and others, like Euron Greyjoy and Bran Stark, are elected. A king usually rules until death, abdication or being deposed. A queen is either the consort of a king or a female monarch who rules in her own right.

The children of kings and queens hold the title prince or princess. The title prince or princess may also be used by a monarch, such as the Prince of Dorne when Dorne was an independent kingdom.

Known monarchies

Current monarchies

"Oh, I'm a monster? Perhaps you should speak to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous... and just now kings are dying like flies."
―Tyrion Lannister to King Joffrey Baratheon.[src]

Defunct monarchies

Queens

There are two main types of queens: a queen consort and a queen regnant.

A queen consort is the wife of the ruling king, and gains the position from marriage. She may marry him before or after he becomes king, though if she marries him before, she only becomes the queen when he becomes king. A queen consort can wield various unofficial powers, given that they usually come from wealthy and influential families. A queen consort's main power comes through her influence on her husband, and she does not rule in her own right.

If a queen consort's husband dies and she is the mother of the heir who is of age and inherits the throne, she becomes the queen mother. She may also become the queen regent if her husband dies and the heir is below the legal age of inheritance. A queen regent becomes the acting ruler of the kingdom, though depending on the woman, she may either rule directly or through the aid of various advisers. She can attend meetings of the small council. Once the heir comes of age and occupies the throne, the queen regent becomes the queen mother. A queen consort also becomes a dowager queen/queen dowager if her husband dies, though this title is only used if she is not also the queen regent or queen mother.

A queen regnant is a female monarch who rules in her own right, as the heir of a previous monarch or through conquest. Due to the male-preference inheritance system in Westeros (and much of the rest of the world), ruling queens are rare - a daughter will usually be skipped over for her younger brother, or even other close male relatives. Unlike a queen consort, a queen regnant possesses the full powers of a monarch, issuing orders directly.

The monarchy of the Iron Throne, which unified the Seven Kingdoms, existed for three centuries and never had a queen regnant until Cersei Lannister. The one woman who came close prior to that was Rhaenyra Targaryen, but the controversy over allowing the first ruling queen led to a civil war in which her younger half-brother Aegon II proclaimed himself the rightful king. Subsequently, Aegon II was officially held to be the rightful king during this time and historical documents only refer to Rhaenyra as a princess, though the throne later passed to Rhaenyra's son Aegon III.

The title of the husband of a queen regnant is never established in the TV series. In the novels the title varies, Daemon Targaryen was titled as a prince (effectively a prince consort) when married to Rhaenyra Targaryen, the claimant queen of the Seven Kingdoms, while Hizdahr zo Loraq used the title king (effectively a king consort) when married to Daenerys Targaryen, the queen of Meereen.

Due to the near-extinction of House Targaryen, and the supposed deaths of all other possible male heirs, Daenerys Targaryen laid claim to the Iron Throne as queen regnant, as the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen. She was technically considered to be a "rival claimant", since she had not actively ruled the Seven Kingdoms until her brief ascension following the Battle of King's Landing. However, as the crown of the Seven Kingdoms was itself established by Aegon the Conqueror, and Daenerys was seemingly his only direct legitimate Targaryen blood heir, the Iron Throne was thought to belong to Daenerys following the death of her brother, Viserys. This belief was however false, since Daenerys's paternal nephew, Jon Snow, whose parentage (as the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the eldest son of King Aerys II, thereby having a stronger claim to the Iron Throne) was disguised with a bastard status for his own protection. While Robert Baratheon was descended of a Targaryen great-grandmother, he held his titles by right of conquest, not by right of blood or law. Upon her ascension, she was technically only queen regnant through right of conquest, since the right of blood dictates Jon's position as king.

Due to the onslaught of Daenerys's actions in her conquest of Westeros and obvious signs of megalomania, Daenerys was reluctantly assassinated by Jon. Both customs in the right of conquest and blood inheritance were disbanded following the Great Council of 305 AC, whereupon the Westerosi monarchy became elective, with no restrictions on gender or familial inheritance.

See also

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