|A Song of Ice and Fire character |
Game of Thrones character
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
|Created by||George R. R. Martin|
|Portrayed by||Alfie Allen|
(Game of Thrones)
House Stark (foster family)
Theon Greyjoy is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones. Theon is the youngest son and presumptive heir of Balon Greyjoy, taken as a ward by Lord Eddard Stark following Balon's failed rebellion. Theon's complex and often troubled relationship with both his birth and adoptive family are central to the character's arc throughout the novels and its television adaptation.
Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Theon subsequently appeared in A Clash of Kings (1998) and A Dance with Dragons (2011), after a 13-year gap in which he is reintroduced as Reek, the tortured vassal of Ramsay Bolton. He is one of the major third person points-of-view through which Martin narrates both books.
- 1 Character description
- 2 Storylines
- 3 TV adaptation
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
Theon Greyjoy is the heir apparent and only living son of Balon Greyjoy. Theon is the narrator for a total of thirteen chapters in the second and fifth novels, A Clash of Kings and A Dance with Dragons.
Ten years before the events of the series, Theon was taken hostage by Eddard Stark. He would have been executed had his father Balon displeased King Robert Baratheon. Theon was raised at Winterfell with the Stark children and developed a close friendship with Robb Stark. As an adult, Theon was arrogant, cocky, and proud until being imprisoned by Ramsay Snow, who is the eldest and bastard son of Roose Bolton. During the imprisonment, Ramsay severely tortured Theon physically and psychologically before emasculating him and mockingly changing his name to "Reek".
A Game of Thrones
Theon Greyjoy becomes a trusted companion of Robb Stark on the battlefield, participating in the North's victories at Riverrun and the Whispering Wood.
A Clash of Kings
Robb sends Theon as an envoy to Pyke, seeking Balon Greyjoy's aid in his rebellion against House Lannister. Theon arrives to find Balon instead intends to seize the North while Robb is fighting in the Riverlands. Theon is charged to reave on the Stony Shore, but is jealous when he learns that his sister Asha has captured Deepwood Motte. After sending some of his men to besiege Torrhen's Square and lure Winterfell's garrison away from the castle, Theon and his party invade and capture Winterfell. He releases the prisoner Reek, formerly a servant of House Bolton. When Bran and Rickon Stark apparently escape Winterfell, Reek advises Theon to kill two young boys and pass their bodies off as those of the Stark children.
Winterfell's garrison soon repels the ironborn at Torrhen's Square and besieges Winterfell. When Asha refuses to give Theon men to hold the castle, he allows Reek to seek reinforcements from the Dreadfort. Reek returns with several hundred Bolton men and defeats the Stark soldiers, but then reveals his true identity as Roose Bolton's bastard Ramsay Snow and takes Theon prisoner.
A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows
Ramsay imprisons Theon in the Dreadfort's dungeons and tortures him for his own amusement, though most of the Ironborn believe that Theon is dead. At some point, Theon manages to escape with his former bedwarmer, Kyra, though this turns out to be a trick of Ramsay's and the two are soon recaptured.
A Dance with Dragons
Ramsay's torture leaves Theon with many of his toes, fingers and teeth missing; it is implied that Ramsay also removes his penis. The trauma of this torture causes Theon to lose much of his body weight, turns his hair white, and leaves him resembling an old man. Psychologically broken, he is forced to assume the identity of Reek. When Roose Bolton begins to lead his forces back to the North, Ramsay (who has since been legitimised as a Bolton) has Theon convince the Ironborn garrison holding Moat Cailin to surrender, but flays them regardless. Theon is ordered to give away Jeyne Poole (who is posing as Arya Stark) at her wedding to Ramsay, who later forces Theon to participate in his sexual abuse of Jeyne. Theon later encounters Mance Rayder (disguised as Abel the bard) and his spearwives, who enlist his help in freeing Jeyne, having been sent by Jon Snow. When the alarm is raised, Theon jumps from Winterfell's battlements with Jeyne and is rescued by Mors Umber, who sends him to Stannis Baratheon's camp several days' ride away. There he is reunited with Asha, who initially does not recognise him.
The Winds of Winter
Theon is kept prisoner by Stannis, who notes that he may have useful information about the Boltons but means to execute him for the supposed murders of Bran and Rickon. Asha unsuccessfully tries to ransom Theon before convincing Stannis to behead him rather than burn him alive.
Family tree of House Greyjoy
Family tree of House Greyjoy
Theon is introduced as the hostage and ward of Lord Eddard Stark, stemming from the failed Greyjoy Rebellion. Despite his position, he remains loyal to Eddard and is good friends with his sons Robb and Jon. While he has never questioned his position, he soon begins to have doubts after Tyrion Lannister tells him he is nothing more than a servant to the Starks and that not everyone respects him. Nevertheless, Theon initially remains loyal to Robb after he goes to war with the Lannisters and supports his decision to have the North secede from the Seven Kingdoms and form their own kingdom.
Theon is sent to the Iron Islands to persuade Balon to ally with the Starks against the Lannisters, but Balon instead intends to conquer the North while its army is fighting in the Westerlands. Theon is insulted when he is given command of a single ship to raid the Stony Shore and contemplates sending a warning to Robb, but ultimately decides to remain loyal to his family. When his crew proves to be disrespectful of Theon's station, his first mate Dagmer Cleftjaw suggests that Theon prove himself by capturing Winterfell. Theon lures the Stark garrison away from Winterfell and easily captures the castle, but is forced to execute his old mentor Ser Rodrik Cassel when he refuses to yield. Theon is seduced by the wildling servant Osha, who later frees Bran and Rickon Stark. Theon's men are unable to recapture the two and Theon kills two farm boys to pass their bodies off as those of the Stark boys, an act he soon feels guilty for.
Theon asks his sister Yara to bring reinforcements, but instead she arrives with a paltry force to warn Theon of his unstable position and to return to the Iron Islands. Theon refuses, and soon afterwards Winterfell is besieged by men of House Bolton commanded by (the then unnamed) Ramsay Snow, the sadistic bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton. Theon attempts to rally his men to fight to the death, but they knock him out and hand him over to Ramsay, hoping for amnesty. Unknown to the viewer, Ramsay disobeys his orders to free the Ironborn and instead flays them all and sacks Winterfell, before taking Theon back to the Dreadfort as prisoner.
Theon is taken captive and tortured in an unknown castle, but later manages to escape with the help of a serving boy who claims to work for Yara. He is brought back to the very castle he escaped from, the serving boy proving to actually be his captor, Ramsay Snow. Theon is subsequently brutally tortured, flayed and castrated by Ramsay, who forces him to rename himself Reek, and beats him until he submits to his new name.
Theon's penis is sent in a box to Balon, with Ramsay threatening to mutilate Theon further unless the Ironmen retreat from the North. Balon refuses, as Theon defied him and is now unable to further the Greyjoy line. Outraged, Yara responds that she intends to save her brother on her own accord.
Theon, submitting to his identity as Reek, remains a prisoner, locked in the kennels with Ramsay's hounds. Yara infiltrates the Dreadfort, but he refuses to go with her, and Yara is forced to flee when Ramsay releases his hounds. Impressed with Theon's loyalty, Ramsay has him resume his identity as Theon Greyjoy to gain entry to Moat Cailin, a fortress occupied by Ironborn that is preventing Roose Bolton's forces from returning North. Theon promises Ramsay will give the Ironborn amnesty if they surrender, but Ramsay goes back on his word and has the garrison flayed. Afterwards, Theon accompanies Ramsay (now legitimized as a Bolton) and the rest of House Bolton as they move to occupy Winterfell.
Theon is stunned to find that Ramsay has been betrothed to Sansa Stark. He tries to avoid her until Ramsay's psychotic paramour Myranda leads Sansa to Theon's sleeping quarters, a cage in the kennels. After learning of their reunion, Ramsay involves Theon in his torment of Sansa by having him give her away at the wedding and then forces him to watch as he rapes her on their wedding night. Sansa asks for Theon's assistance to escape from Ramsay, but Theon, wishing to spare her Ramsay's wrath, instead warns Ramsay, causing him to flay the maid who had tried to help Sansa escape. When Sansa confronts Theon, he confesses that he did not kill her brothers, but is too scared to give more information.
While Ramsay and the Bolton army attack Stannis Baratheon's forces, Sansa makes another escape attempt, but is caught and threatened by Myranda. Finally snapping, Theon pushes Myranda over a walkway to her death, just as the victorious Boltons return. Rather than face Ramsay's anger, Theon and Sansa jump from the Winterfell battlements into the snow and flee.
Theon and Sansa are caught by Bolton hunters in the woods surrounding Winterfell, but are saved by the arrival of Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne, who kill the hunters. Although Sansa and Brienne decide to make for Castle Black, where Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Theon tells her that he does not deserve the Starks' forgiveness and instead decides to return to the Iron Islands. Theon returns to the Iron Islands to discover that Balon is dead, and offers to support Yara at the Kingsmoot, a ceremony where the Ironborn elect their new leader. However, the Kingsmoot is won by Theon's uncle Euron Greyjoy, who admits to killing Balon but wins over the Ironborn by promising to conquer Westeros through marriage to Daenerys Targaryen, who possesses the only living dragons in the world. Correctly surmising that Euron will have them put to death, Theon, Yara, and their loyalists flee the Iron Islands with the best ships of the Iron Fleet. Theon remains psychologically traumatized by Ramsay's torture, but is urged by Yara to find courage. They travel to Meereen, which Daenerys has taken as her seat, and form an alliance with her. Theon and Yara then join Daenerys as she sets sail for Westeros.
After Daenerys seizes Dragonstone as her base for the invasion of Westeros, Theon and Yara are sent with Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes to Dorne to transport the Dornish army to besiege King's Landing. However, Yara's fleet is attacked by Euron in the Narrow Sea, with Euron personally taking Yara captive. Theon is triggered after watching the carnage and jumps overboard, being rescued some time later by survivors of the battle unimpressed by his cowardice.
Theon returns to Dragonstone, seeking Daenerys' aid in freeing Yara, but discovers that Daenerys has left to confront the Lannister army on the Roseroad. He is confronted by Jon Snow, now King of the North after defeating Ramsay. Jon reassures Theon that Sansa is safe, but furiously tells him that his life is only being spared since he helped save Sansa.
After Jon captures a wight beyond the Wall, Theon joins Daenerys, Jon, and their retinues as they present the wight to Queen Cersei Lannister as evidence of the White Walkers' threat. During the meeting, Theon is confronted by Euron, who threatens to execute Yara if Theon does not bend the knee to him. Returning to Dragonstone, Theon speaks to Jon, who reassures him that Theon is both a Stark and a Greyjoy and forgives him, urging him to find and rescue Yara. Inspired by this, and remembering that Yara was the only one who tried to free him from Ramsay, Theon orders the Ironborn survivors to aid him in freeing Yara. Their leader, Harrag, defies Theon and nearly beats him to death, but Theon eventually gains the upper hand and beats Harrag senseless. Having regained the respect of the Ironborn, Theon leads his men to find Yara.
Theon and his men infiltrate Euron's ship and rescue Yara. Yara decides to retake the Iron Islands while Euron is preoccupied in King's Landing, but gives Theon her blessing to travel to Winterfell with his men to stand with the Starks against the White Walkers. He reunites with Sansa and pledges fealty to House Stark for the impending battle.
At the war council before battle, Bran (who has since developed his greenseeing abilities to become the Three-Eyed Raven) declares that he will wait in the Godswood to lure out the Night King, commander of the White Walkers. Theon volunteers to defend him with the Ironborn. While preparing for battle, Theon attempts to apologize to Bran for his misdeeds, but Bran reassures him that his actions ultimately brought him back "home" to Winterfell.
Theon defends Bran against the undead until he is the last survivor, but the Night King arrives. Bran thanks Theon, and Theon charges at the Night King, but is killed after the Night King impales him with his own spear. In the aftermath of the Long Night, Theon is cremated along with those slain in battle.
Originally auditioning for the role of Jon Snow, English actor Alfie Allen has received positive reviews for his role as Theon Greyjoy in the TV series, and was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards.
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