- There is no such thing as a "King of Westeros", but that term redirects to this page.
- "All hail His Grace, Joffrey of Houses Baratheon and Lannister, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm."
- ―Royal Steward
The King of the Andals and the First Men (feminine equivalent being Queen of the Andals and the First Men), also referred to as the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men (feminine equivalent being Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men), is the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, the unified realm which makes up the entire continent of Westeros with the exception of the lands beyond the Wall in the frozen north. The monarch of the unified Seven Kingdoms sits on the Iron Throne in the capital city King's Landing in the royal palace known as the Red Keep.
The ruler usually also holds the title and office of Protector of the Realm, the commander of the armies of the Seven Kingdoms (led by the four Wardens). The office of "Protector of the Realm" is sometimes given to someone other than the current monarch, particularly during a regency when the ruler is under-aged, though if the current ruler does not possess great martial skill he may simply choose to delegate the office to someone else.
Some rulers have combined the two aforementioned titles and have instead held the title Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Known cases of this include Queen Cersei Lannister and Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
The office of the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms is often referred to as the Iron Throne, in reference to the eponymous throne on which the King holds court. The position was created when Aegon the Conqueror succeeded in his conquest of Westeros, unifying the independent kingdoms of the Isles and Rivers, the Rock, the Reach, the Mountain and Vale, the Stormlands and the Kingdom of the North. The Principality of Dorne was later united to the realm through marriage-alliance.
Upon her ascension to the Iron Throne, Queen Cersei Lannister was named the Protector of the Seven Kingdoms by Qyburn. This title combines the ranks of Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, and was created by Cersei.
The King or Queen is formally addressed by his subjects as "Your Grace" or "Sire", and in official events referred to employing the following structure: "Name" of the House "Name" the "ordinal number" of His/Her Name, King/Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lord/Lady of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm". For example, Robert Baratheon is formally referred to as "Robert of the House Baratheon, the first of His name" etc. If a king has not yet reached the legal age of majority, however, a Regent will be named to rule until he comes of age.
"King of Westeros"
There is no such thing as a "King of Westeros", and this term does not officially exist within the Game of Thrones TV series.
"Westeros" is the entire continent, stretching far north to the lands Beyond the Wall, which are unmapped. The "Seven Kingdoms" are the large unified realm which covers most of the continent of Westeros, but which stops at the Wall. After the Targaryen Conquest, the term "Seven Kingdoms" became a geographical term, referring to how Westeros south of the Wall used to be divided into seven independent kingdoms.
On several occasions, dialogue in the TV series has referred to the King of the Andals and the First Men as the "King of Westeros", but this is not an official term in the novels. Stannis has been referred to as this a few times in the novels, but it is apparently a colloquialism, not the formal title.
For that matter, the term "King of the Seven Kingdoms" doesn't technically exist either: the proper title is "King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms." At the least, however, "King of the Seven Kingdoms" doesn't lay claim to the lands beyond the Wall.
In the books
Dorne and the Rhoynar
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the full title used is actually "King of the Andals and the Rhoynar, and the First Men", Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm". It's probable that "the Rhoynar" was omitted in Season 1 for the sake of not confusing viewers who haven't read the books with too much information, because Dorne and the Rhoynar wouldn't be introduced until Season 4. Corroborating this, very few references were made about Dorne at all before Season 4, compared to the earlier novels which referred to it and House Martell often - the TV series held off on giving this much long exposition, until Oberyn Martell was physically introduced on-screen in Season 4 (though on the other hand, Season 1 didn't actually explain who "the First Men" or "the Andals" were in on-screen dialogue either, only in supplementary materials).
When Season 4 did eventually air, however, the shortened title "King of the Andals and the First Men" continued to be used. Even during King Tommen Baratheon's coronation scene in "First of His Name", with Prince Oberyn Martell standing prominently among the nobles assembled in front of the Iron Throne, Tommen is still crowned using only the shortened title "King of the Andals and the First Men" - excluding "the Rhoynar", even though as a Dornishman Oberyn is himself descended from the Rhoynar. However, in the season finale, Daenerys is presented using the full title.
It would appear that the TV series initially chose to continue using the shortened title "King of the Andals and the First Men" because it is what they had been using for three seasons, and they wished to remain internally consistent (the other option was to suddenly start using the full title without explanation, introducing a rather large retcon that this is what they should have been saying all along).
This isn't necessarily an inexplicable situation within the TV-continuity itself: Dorne was actually independent from the Targaryen realm for two centuries, and when they entered united with the Iron Throne they were allowed special privileges (such as maintaining their own equal primogeniture system, and even styling their ruling family as "Princes of Dorne", not "Lord Paramount of Dorne". Thus it is possible that, in the TV continuity, the Targaryen kings simply never referred to themselves as Kings "of the Rhoynar" as well, even after the marriage-alliance (but still as "Lord of the Seven Kingdoms"), to acknowledge the fact that Dorne is still "ruled" by its own Princes, even if it is now subject to the Iron Throne (further acknowledging that Dorne is essentially a semi-autonomous region of the Seven Kingdoms). It might have been one of the conditions of the marriage-alliance in the TV continuity.
As explained in the article for "Lord of the Seven Kingdoms", all of the Targaryen kings starting with Aegon I himself styled themselves as "King of the Andals and the Rhoynar, and the First Men" and "Lord of the Seven Kingdoms" - despite the fact that Dorne remained independent. Aegon I had declared himself king of all of Westeros just before his army even landed on the continent, Dorne included. While Dorne had been able to resist his armies and dragons through guerrilla warfare, Aegon himself never acknowledged that this was a permanent state of affairs. Aegon and all of his heirs considered themselves the de jure kings of the Rhoynar and of Dorne, even if they had no de facto control over it (comparable to how medieval English kings would at times hold titles of lordship over "Wales", "Ireland", and "France", despite not controlling all or even most of these territories). At no point (as readers sometimes have assumed) did Aegon ever "promote" the Riverlands into being considered the "seventh" kingdom (the Riverlands were occupied by the Iron Islands when he invaded and not an independent "kingdom", instead making up the "eighth" kingdom of sorts). Dorne was always the seventh of the "Seven Kingdoms", the Targaryens just refused to ever officially acknowledge that they did not actually control it - in the novels' continuity. In the TV continuity, therefore, the Targaryen kings may have just acknowledged for the first two centuries of their dynasty that they didn't actually rule the Rhoynar people in Dorne, and that one of the special privileges of Dorne uniting with the Iron Throne through marriage-alliance one century ago is that the Targaryens didn't suddenly add "King of the Rhoynar" to their title.
One notable exception to this occurred, however, when the TV series was not internally consistent and used the original full title from the novels, including mention of "the Rhoynar" - in the Season 4 finale, "The Children", when Missandei introduces Daenerys Targaryen as "Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar, and the First Men". Moreover she was speaking in Low Valyrian at the time, so her lines were actually written in on-screen subtitles. This was not even consistent use for Missandei and Daenerys within Season 4 itself: earlier in episode 4.6 "The Laws of Gods and Men", Missandei introduced Daenerys as only "Queen of the Andals and the First Men" (again with on-screen subtitles, so this wasn't just a mistake by the actress but in the script). In the middle of Season 4, as already noted, no mention was made of the Rhoynar in the title even at Tommen's coronation in episode 4.5, when Oberyn Martell was standing in front of the audience.
No official word has come down to make sense of this, but it appears to simply be a mistake by the scriptwriters, i.e. they accidentally wrote the full book-version of the title and forgot their own change to the continuity. This conclusion is reinforced by a comment George R.R. Martin himself made:
- "It is true that the Targaryen succession on the series is different than the one in the novels; most notably, the Mad King's father Jaehaerys II was dropped, as was established way back in season one. In much the same way as the Rhoynar have been dropped from the royal titles, "King of Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men," etc."
This strongly implies that there was an actual sit-down meeting of the writers back in Season 1 when they formally established the principle that the title in the TV continuity was officially going to be shortened to just "King of the Andals and the First Men", and as a scriptwriter in Season 1 Martin was aware of this. The title was also consistently given as "King of the Andals and the First Men" throughout Season 5, omitting the Rhoynar. The single use of the full book version of the title in the Season 4 finale therefore simply appears to be a script error and not canonical.
In the Season 6 premiere, however, Daenerys once again switched back to introducing herself as "Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men", without explanation.
At this point it is again unclear what the title is "officially" supposed to be in the TV continuity. The TV writers could have retained the original version which omitted "of the Rhoynar", or they could have initiated a retcon by adding in "of the Rhoynar" from Season 4 onward: instead they inconsistently flip-flopped between the two forms. It is possible that the two terms are simply interchangeable.
In the three hundred years between the Targaryen Conquest and the War of the Five Kings, there has never been a Ruling Queen: a female heir of the current monarch inheriting power in her own right. The first four Targaryen kings all had male heirs who were also their eldest child. However the fifth Targaryen king, Viserys I, only had one surviving child by his first wife before she died, a daughter named Rhaenyra Targaryen. With no other heirs, Viserys I and his court raised Rhaenyra with the expectation that she would be the first Ruling Queen. However, Viserys I remarried late in life, and had several sons with his second wife, the eldest of which was his son Aegon II.
When Viserys I died this sparked a succession war between Rhaenyra and Aegon II, known as the Dance of Dragons, which raged from 129 to 131 AC (about 170 years before the War of the Five Kings). Aegon II ultimately had Rhaenyra fed alive to his dragon, but her supporters continued to fight in the name of her children, and not long afterwards Aegon II himself died childless. As the only remaining heir of Viserys I or Aegon II, Rhaenyra's own son Aegon III inherited the throne (Aegon III's own sons both died childless, and ultimately Rhaenyra's younger son Viserys II succeeded to the throne).
After the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryens revised the official royal succession laws to follow an extreme form of male-preference primogeniture, placing female heirs behind all possible male ones, i.e. if all of a king's sons died childless, his own younger brothers would inherit instead of his daughters (their nieces). Such was the case when after both of Aegon III's sons died childless, his daughter Daena was skipped over in succession for Aegon III's younger brother Viserys II. These altered inheritance laws ensured that there was no Ruling Queen in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. Many historians point to the succession of Rhaenyra's son Aegon III after Aegon II died as proof of the legitimacy of Rhaenyra's claim to inheritance in the civil war, and while she lived she did personally use the title of Ruling Queen. Officially, however, Rhaenyra is considered a rival claimant and is not counted in the formal line of succession. Any possible future Ruling Queen by the name of "Rhaenyra" would be titled "Rhaenyra I", not "Rhaenyra II". As this would lead to controversy over whether to acknowledge Rhaenyra's claim during the Dance of Dragons, subsequent generations of the Targaryen family simply avoided the issue by never naming any subsequent daughters "Rhaenyra".
At the end of season 6, where King Tommen Baratheon commits suicide after the destruction of the Sept of Baelor, Cersei Lannister has proclaimed and crowned herself as Queen of the Andals and the First Men. Cersei considers herself the first true Ruling Queen in the history of Westeros, but then again so did Rhaenyra - future historians in Westeros will decide if she's just another rival claimant. Cersei claimed the Iron Throne without any legal grounds whatsoever - apparently just right of conquest.
- King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men on A Wiki of Ice and Fire
- Iron Throne on A Wiki of Ice and Fire (MAJOR spoilers from the books)