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|“||I'm a Greyjoy. We've been Lords of the Iron Islands for hundreds of years. There's not a family in Westeros that can look down on us. Not even the Lannisters.||„|
|~ Theon to Ros after having sex with her during "The Wolf and the Lion".|
Theon Greyjoy is a major character in the book series A Song of Ice and Fire and its television series adaptation Game of Thrones.
He is the only surviving son of Lord Balon Greyjoy and Lady Alannys Harlaw. His eldest siblings are Rodrik, Maron, and Asha (named Yara in the TV series). When he was a boy of nine, his father crowned himself King of the Iron Islands; this lead to a failed rebellion that resulted in Balon bending the knee to King Robert I Baratheon and Lord Eddard Stark taking young Theon hostage to Winterfell. Though he was there against his will initially, Theon grew to regard the Stark family highly and saw Robb Stark, Eddard's eldest son as his best friend. Along with his father, he serves as a supporting antagonist to the northmen's POV in Season 2 of the TV series. In all seasons, Theon serves as a supporting protagonist.
Life in the Iron Islands
Before returning to his home, Theon remembered his childhood at Pyke as an happy one. He loved his mother Alannys and was trained with the sword by the former master-at-arms Dagmer Cleftjaw. His favorite uncle was Aeron, who loved to joke and laugh, and was always the heart of many parties. He seems to have mostly a negative memory of his dead brothers, particularly Maron, whom Theon only remembers his cruel japes and compulsive lies. Since he was a child Theon forgot about the harder ways of the islands compared to the green lands. When he returns the castle of Pyke seems to be smaller and colder to him, and the maester and steward he knew are both dead and replaced. Aeron became known as Damphair, now the leader of the Drowned Priests and cold religious fanatic.
Life in the North
At the start of the story, Theon is around twenty years old and is the ward of Lord Eddard Stark, his captor. He is on surprisingly good terms with the entire Stark family and is apparently not resentful at all. However, he is often reminded by others, both in and out of the family, that he doesn't really belong to it. This happens most often in the TV series.
War of the Five Kings
During their journey to King's Landing, Theon offers his service to Robb and goes to his homeland, the Iron Islands, and reunites with his father, Balon. Balon is convinced that Theon had gone soft and is loyal to the Starks and not his own family. To prove his father wrong, Theon converts to the religion of the Islands and takes a garrison of men to Winterfell to claim it in the name of House Greyjoy. Balon again crowns himself King of the Iron Islands and Theon demands his men refer to him as 'Prince Theon.' He easily seizes the castle, and makes Bran Stark submit to his rule. He executes Ser Rodrick, making him pay 'the Iron Price.' Bran and his brother Rickon escape in the middle of the night. He and his men hunt them down, and apparently burn them to a crisp. This is later revealed to be a ruse.
After Greyjoy's Rebellion, Theon has been taken as a captive of House Stark. During his long staying at Winterfell he almost forgot the laws and ways of the Iron Islands and thought himself as the future of the union of his family and the Starks. While he and Robb see each others as brothers, Theon is not particularly liked by the other Stark children, while Jon Snow kind of despises him. Theon took part in many tourneys in the North and has been known to have sex with a string of prostitutes in a similar style to Tyrion who constantly overindulges to battle the prejudice he suffers from being a dwarf. Theon is initially a friendly and arrogant man, who loves to drink with his friends and also had affairs with women who are not prostitutes, including a married one and a young tavern wench named Kyra. Others perceive him as being quite arrogant and vain, boasting about the power of his house, comparing it as superior to other houses such as the Lannisters, and laughing when seeing others being killed. However, behind this is a much more insecure and unconfident man, especially regarding his family's failed rebellion that resulted in the death his two eldest brothers, Rodrik and Maron which was later used to taunt him. During the war Theon dreamed to become the new Lord of Casterly Rock, after taking it from the Lannisters, and marry Sansa Stark to unite the Greyjoys and the Starks. Aeron Greyjoy was Theon's favorite uncle before turning into a cold religious drowned priest. During the War of the Five Kings, Theon had a great friendship with Patrek Mallister, until Lord Jason Mallister took his son away from Theon, due to the hatred between the Mallisters of Seagard and the ironborn.
After returning to Pyke, Theon receives an unexpected cold welcome from his father Balon, his sister Asha, and his uncles Victarion and Aeron Damphair. Some his childhood friends are dead and the rest became fierce ironborn warriors. House Blacktyde has been converted to the Faith of the Seven after the return of the Blacktyde captives from Greyjoy Rebellion. Theon becomes a conflicted individual, torn between his biological family and house who have raised him to "pay the Iron Price", take what is his and be an unapologetic warlord whereas the Starks have brought him up with a begrudging moral compass. Theon decides to assist his father, King Balon Greyjoy, in his plan to take the North while King Robb is fighting the war in the south. Theon takes over the Stony Shore, Torrhen's Square, and Winterfell for his father as a way to rival against Asha, appease his family, and prove the ironborn that he's one of them. Theon allows his men to rape the women. He has Benfred Tallhart drowned for his uncle Aeron. When he takes Winterfell, he allows Mikken and Septon Chayle to be killed (the former for protesting against him and insulting him, the latter to please the Drowned God), and has Hodor beaten up by his men. Theon has his men whipped for raping two times Palla, the daughter of the kennelmaster Farlen. Thinking that the people of Winterfell will be grateful to him if he acts just as Eddard Stark, he forbids his men to rape the women. Sometimes tries to act cheerful to his old friends of Winterfell but they all look at him with hatred or fear; even Old Nan who knew him since he came to Winterfell as a child, now looks at him as if he'd be some stranger. He occupies Ned Stark's old room and has sex with a young tavern wench from the winter town named Kyra.
When Bran and Rickon escape the castle with Osha, Hodor, the Reeds, and their direwolves, Theon is infuriated and 2 of his men are killed. He almost considers to abandon his merciful treatment of his prisoners (ironmen normally kill everyone and burn everything), letting Black Lorren and charge and allowing the ironborn way on the people of Winterfell and goes to hunt the Stark children, also joined by the 2 Walder Freys. He executes Farlen for a crime he and his servant Reek (Ramsay Snow) committed (killing the ironmen who saw the 2 farmer boys being killed), and rules the castle as its prince. He considered killing Reek as well, but something about him made him uneasy. During his rule he fantasizes about raping Sansa.
Asha arrives at Winterfell with only 20 men and when she berates Theon for killing 2 precious hostages for hold the north against Robb and his northmen. She claims that Theon should have done it in the ironborn way: burn Winterfell and bring the Starks to Pyke. Even Balon is not pleased by Theon's actions and with the upcoming siege, Asha urges Theon to burn everything then and ride with her to Deepwood Motte and the rest of the ironmen. Theon refuses to abandon his prize even after Asha mentions their dying mother, Alannys Harlaw, so she lives him to die and gives him only 10 of her men. Reek offers to find at least 200 men for Theon and asks him to give him silver so he can ride back to the Dreadfort and assemble a small force to hold Winterfell. Believing that Reek will never return anyway, Theon lets him go and promises to give him Palla for sex if he returns. He's tormented by nightmare, mysterious dreams about the people he killed (Stiv, Benfred, Mikken, Chayle, Farlen, the orfan boys...), the wrath of the old gods and the Starks. He also sees the ones he never met: Rickard, Brandon, and Lyanna. He wakes up screaming after he saw Robb and Grey Wind coming to his bed with an unnatural look and rage on his face. That same night her relieves his fear and pain by violently raping Kyra, who was previously willing to have sex with him before. He does her with an abusive fury he'd never known was in him. When he's done with her, Kyra has her neck and breasts covered with bruises and bite marks. Theon throws her off the bed and commands her to get out.
When the northern host arrives to retake Winterfell, Theon is deserted by most of his remaining men, and finds himself having only twenty men, the others being dead or dispatched to take other places for Theon (Aeron and Dagmer with their men). Lorren, Wex Pyke, and the other few remained with him to not be considered traitors and cowards, but most of them are still angry at Theon's crazy idea. Maester Luwin urges Theon to give up, saying that King Balon knows that Moat Cailin is what really matters to hold the North, so Theon should have gone to fight the crannogmen with Victarion. Rodrik arrives with Lord Cley Cerwyn and Leobald Tallhart to besiege Winterfell. He was ready to storm the castle and take Theon for Robb, but in a last desperate plan to survive, Theon uses Beth Cassel against Ser Rodrik. Rodrik goes conflicted, his honor and duty now challenged because he does not want his daughter dead. He does not attack and remains camped outside with his army.
Later, that evening, House Bolton joins the northern army, but the armored commander with the red helm cuts Rodrik's arm and kill him. The Battle at Winterfell occurs and the Boltons defeat the betrayed army, killing Cerwyn and Tallhart as well. Only a few survive and run back to the wolfswood. When the commander removes his red helmet, Theon recognizes him as Reek and allows the Boltons acces to Winterfell. There he is betrayed by Reek, who's actually Ramsay Snow the Bastard of Bolton, and the castle is sacked by the Boltons. They kill all the surviving ironmen and almost all of the people and animals who live there and at the winter town, taking women and children captives for the Dreadfort. Only the two Walders of House Frey are treated as guests and spared. Theon and Bran's horses are burned alive along with the others.
After being betrayed by Ramsay Snow and captured by the Boltons, Theon begins embracing the Starks as his real family, especially after realizing that Balon Greyjoy probably had no plans to rescue him. In the TV series Theon does not inspire loyalty from his men at all and he's betrayed by them to be handed over to the Boltons. He also confesses that he feels remorse for taking over Winterfell and killing two farm boys then pretending their corpses were Bran and Rickon.
Physically and mentally tortured for a year in the Dreadfort by the sadistic bastard of Bolton, Ramsay Snow seems to have all but destroyed Theon's personality. Ramsay goes as far to rename him as "Reek", as a replacement of his former companion and partner-in-crime Heke, and continuously rob him of any hope to escape by playing mind games. Ramsay punched him in the face often, as he always hated Theon's smug smile. He removed some of Theon's fingers from both hands and feet, causing him to limp when he walks. Ramsay also proceeds to flay, castrate and force Theon into his servant who is now half-insane, broken and terrified of Ramsay. The now skinny white-haired Theon sleeps with the hounds, covered in dog shit; he eats and he's eaten by rats. In the TV series he is frightened so much that he rejected the opportunity to escape with Yara and several Ironborn soldiers. This because Ramsay likes to test his victims, generally women and girls, by letting them run and hunt them in the woods. Theon and Kyra once escaped from the Dreadfort, only to find out it was a trap set by Ramsay to have his fun and Kyra died a slow and painful death, while Theon got a violent punishment. Meanwhile Balon and Robb die and Theon's uncle, Euron Greyjoy, takes control of the Iron Islands as King of the Isles and the North.
After helping the northmen to liberate Moat Cailin from the surviving ironborn, Theon receives a "promotion" from Ramsay, and Roose Bolton leads the northern host towards Winterfell, as King Stannis Baratheon plans to march on the Dreadfort. While Stannis and his host avoid the Boltons' trap and march on Winterfell, Jeyne Poole is married to Ramsay as "Arya Stark", with only the Lannisters knowing the truth about her identity. Theon, knowing the girl as Jeyne, saves her by warning her about not doing any resistance against Ramsay at all. Ramsay forces Theon to join with him by getting Jeyne wet. Ramsay humiliates Theon and Jeyne and allows the hounds to rape the girl as well. While Winterfell is full of northern lords and Freys preparing for Stannis and the rebels, Theon has often deep conversation with Lady Barbrey Dustin (née Ryswell) about their aversion towards House Stark. Roose wants Theon to watch Ramsay's moves for him.
While in the novels Theon never speaks about his regrets, in the TV series Theon admits to Sansa that his torture at the hands of Ramsay was nothing less than he deserved because of his previous actions and Ramsay has tormented him so much that he refers to his true personality in third person.
Although all aspects of Theon's persona did appear to be obliterated, in the TV series he still displays some love and loyalty towards the few remaining Starks. He was visibly upset and angered over learning of Robb Stark's death, so much that he was prepared to cut Ramsay's throat while he gloated over Robb's death. He also began showing concern over Sansa Stark's wellbeing after she wedded to Ramsay, encouraging her to not anger him so she wouldn't be hurt (although she didn't listen). Being forced to witness Ramsay violently rape Sansa caused a streak of sadness across his face and he abandoned his "Reek" persona, killing Myranda when she threatened to mutilate her and escape Winterfell together. In the novels Theon keeps mostly his feeling for himself, but he is scarred and much more humble, having lost his confidence and sadistic attitude. He's initially terrified by Mance Rayder's plan to help him and Jeyne escaping Winterfell, but eventually he agrees when the tension caused by the snow blizzard and murders in the castle, along with the fear for Stannis's arrival increase. He escapes Winterfell with Jeyne, but during their run to the wolfswood they are captured by Mors Umber, who's fighting for Stannis.
Theon and Jeyne are handed over to King Stannis and he immediately has him chained in a painful position. Theon becomes desperate, as he escaped from Ramsay only to end up with Stannis, who plans to burn him alive to gain more favor from the northeners. Theon's sister Asha suggests Stannis to behead him at the weirwood tree near his camp at crofter's village.
In the TV Show, Theon and Sansa are pursued by Bolton men but are rescued by Brienne of Tarth. Sansa suggests Theon come with her to Castle Black but Theon insists that Jon would never forgive him for his crimes and decides to return to the Iron Islands. King Balon is murdered by Euron Greyjoy, and shortly afterwards, Theon does successfully return to the Iron Islands. Theon supports Yara's claim to the throne during the kingsmoot, but Euron is chosen as the new king and takes the Seastone Chair by declaring that Yara is unfit to rule as she is a woman.
Before Euron can kill Theon and Yara, the siblings escape with most of the fastest ships of the Iron Fleet, accompanied by men loyal to Yara, and arrive at Meereen to negotiate an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen. Theon and Yara will provide their ships for Daenarys' invasion of Westeros to reclaim the Iron Throne, while she will help them overthrow Euron so Yara can become Queen of the Iron Islands. Daenarys agrees, but only if the Iron Islands abandons its practice of raiding and pillaging. Yara reluctantly agrees and she and Theon join Daenarys along with ships of the fleets of the Bay of Dragons, the Reach, and Dorne to invade Westeros.