Is HBO going to let Game of Thrones fans decide who should sit on the Iron Throne?

If the TV series wants to avoid infuriating fans of the books, it needs a different outcome - and it needs it soon. Interesting then, that HBO has launched a poll - with 1.5 million votes already cast...

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Game of Thrones is entering its endgame. Last month, HBO confirmed what we kind of already knew, that the fantasy drama will be wrapped up in two more seasons, with showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss adding that we are looking at shortened runs, probably of seven and six episodes respectively.

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Meanwhile, George RR Martin is still slaving over the penultimate novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series on which the show is based. The last one took him five years to write, and that was published in 2011 so he’s not getting any faster. After that there’s still a final book to come so fans are looking at an optimistic estimate of 2021 before they get to find out in black and white which of his characters will end up sitting on the coveted Iron Throne.

But with preparations for season seven of the TV show already under way, Benioff and Weiss need an answer now. Of course, they have a direct line to Martin but not every decision they have made has been based on what he is intending – for instance, some characters survive in the books but not in the series – and it looks as if the two may diverge further in the future.

What’s more, in a fandom where the question of spoilers has been a particularly fraught one, loyal readers are unlikely to be thrilled if they’re told the answer to the ultimate Westerosi question knowing it’s the same one they’ll be reading about several years in the future.

So there’s a good argument that, not only do Benioff and Weiss need a quick answer, but they also need a different one.

Interesting, then, that HBO has just launched a poll asking viewers to vote for the character they’d most like to see shifting their bum incessantly on the most uncomfortable looking royal seat ever devised.

The vote is set up like a presidential election with each of four candidates given a running mate and a campaign video.

There’s Daenerys Targaryen with Tyrion Lannister…

Jon Snow with Lyanna Mormont…

Cersei Lannister with Qyburn…

And Petyr Baelish with Sansa Stark (he wishes)…

So far almost 1.5 million votes have been cast so by the time the poll closes on 1st September HBO really are going to have a pretty hefty sample and a good indication of what fans actually want the outcome to be.

We’ve only been given four options to vote for too, which means there are a whole host of characters Martin would still have to choose from for his finale, including some of these candidates’ running mates (like Tyrion or Sansa or, my personal favourite, Lyanna Mormont).

In the end, this is sheer speculation on my part – Benioff and Weiss are perfectly capable of making their own decision about who to hand the crown to – but if HBO want to avoid infuriating fans of the books and guarantee that a large proportion of their audience will be satisfied with the outcome too, they could do a lot worse than paying attention to the results of the poll.

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Whoever would have thought Westeros might one day become a democracy?