In Defense of Theon

Everyone seems to have their favorite character in the ASOIAF fandom. When I ask someone “Who is your favorite character?” I often get a lot of Starks, Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon Snow. Very seldom does someone tell me “Theon Greyjoy is my favorite!” Why do you think this is? Why do you think that Theon gets so much hate? You know what I think? I think it is because HBO has vilified him. HBO made Theon seem so much worse than he actually is in the books. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Theon Greyjoy support club and defense squad.

For Robb himself, Theon did have a certain affection as for a younger brother…But it would be best not to mention that.”

We all know that Theon betrayed Robb. That is indisputable. But let’s not act like Theon was determined on betraying him from the beginning. Theon was one of Robb’s staunchest supporters. It was Theon whom Robb trusted above all others. It was Theon whom Robb sent on the important task of mending ways with Balon and suggesting they join forces to defeat the Lannister army. When Theon returned to Pyke he was ridiculed and insulted the entire time. He was humiliated more in a few short hours than he ever was in all his years at Winterfell. Upon reading the letter that Robb had entrusted to Theon, Balon is unimpressed and actually slaps Theon across the face when he tries to vouch for Robb. It is then that Theon decides to join his father, not betray Robb. He craves approval and love and acceptance from his father and would do everything in his power to achieve it just like most people in this world.

Theon_greyjoy_7

Rodrik: “For ten years you have been a ward of Stark.”

Theon: “Hostage and prisoner, I call it.”

Rodrik: “Then perhaps Lord Eddard should have kept you chained to a dungeon wall. Instead he raised you among his own sons, the sweet boys you have butchered, and to my undying shame I trained you in the arts of war. Would that I had thrust a sword through your belly instead of placing one in your hand.”

You all wanna hear a funny story? Theon did not kill Ser Rodrik. Seriously, he didn’t. That was the work of Ramsay Snow

“Aye, but he thought us friends. A common mistake. When the old fool gave me his hand, I took half his arm instead. Then I let him see my face.” The man put both hands to his helm and lifted it off his head, holding it in the crook of his arm.
 
“Reek,” Theon said, disquieted. How did a serving man get such fine armor?
But for some reason, HBO decided to have Theon do this. Why? Probably to make Theon the bad guy while saving the introduction of Ramsay for season 3. In any event, Theon knew he was defeated. Maester Luwin had all but convinced Theon to take the Black and surrender Winterfell before Ramsay and the treacherous Boltons showed up.
(Side note, I cried so hard when Rodrik was parlaying with Theon as Beth was dangled in front of him. I could feel every drop of anguish in Ser Rodrik’s voice over the decision he would have to make. Rodrik knew that he had to attack the Ironborn and retake Winterfell even if that meant letting Beth die. Damn you Theon! Though, in my heart, I don’t think that Theon would have ever hurt Beth)

“There is blood on my hands but not the blood of brothers,” he said wearily. “And I have been punished.”

Yes, Theon did kill the miller’s boys after the suggestion of Reek. And of course it was horrible and gruesome. Truthfully, this was always my biggest gripe with Theon. I hated when the two boys were murdered. But the act truly did torment Theon. Much like Jaime Lannister when he pushed Bran from the tower, what he did was justified in his mind at the time.

“Reek, Reek, it rhymes with peek. He could feel his missing fingers cramping: two on his left hand, one on his right. And on his hip his dagger rested, sleeping in its leather sheath, but heavy, oh so heavy. It is only my pinky gone on my right hand, Theon reminded himself.”

theon sansatheonnnn

After the sack of Winterfell, Theon is captured and tortured by Ramsay Snow. Theon is tortured in ways that are simply inconceivable to the human mind. He is starved, flayed, sexually mutilated, sexually assaulted, beaten you name it and Ramsay does it to him. This is where I see most Theon haters cheering and saying “YESSS he got what he deserved!” But did he really though? His actions in no way warrant this sort of mutilation or torture. Deep down, Theon is a good person who made bad choices and feels immense remorse for those actions. Everyone that Theon cared for is dead. The smiling boy is dead. What is left now is merely a shell of what he used to be. Don’t tell me that Theon is not worthy of saving. Do not tell me that Theon deserves more torture at the hands of Ramsay. Theon risks his very life to save Jeyne Poole from rape and torture at the hands of Ramsay.

“A girl and an old man, thought Asha, as the two were dumped rudely in the snow before her. The girl was shivering violently, even in her furs. If she had not been so frightened, she might even have been pretty, though the tip of her nose was black with frostbite. The old man … no one would ever think him comely. She had seen scarecrows with more flesh. His face was a skull with skin, his hair bone-white and filthy. And he stank. Just the sight of him filled Asha with revulsion.
He raised his eyes. “Sister. See. This time I knew you.”
Asha’s heart skipped a beat. “Theon? “
His lips skinned back in what might have been a grin. Half his teeth were gone, and half of those still left him were broken and splintered.
Theon,” he repeated. “My name is Theon. You have to know your name.”

When Theon leaps from the walls of Winterfell with Jeyne Poole, my heart skipped a beat. For the very first time, I found myself hoping that Theon would live after wishing death on him for so long. His desire to escape and to save another person after caring only for himself for the vast majority of his life finally came to fruition. His selfless act would now be the thing I thought of most when I thought of Theon Greyjoy. This is why this series is so incredible. After 5 books, I now looked a Theon in a completely different way. Gone now was the smiling boy who roamed Winterfell with Robb. Gone was the young man who betrayed his brother to please a man whom was not worthy of Theon’s admiration. Gone now was the murderer. Gone now was Theon Greyjoy the Turncloak.

Now he was Theon Greyjoy the hero.

Lady Shelly

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One thought on “In Defense of Theon

  1. Love this analysis on Theon Greyjoy. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely angry with him when he betrayed the Starks. I was beyond angry and was glad when Ramsay initially started torturing him…but then something happened. As the torturing continued, I realized how truly psychotic Ramsey is and I found myself feeling sorry for Theon and wanting for him to be free of Ramsay…I wanted him to live. So I go from completely loathing a character, to feeling sorry for this character and having hope in my heart for this character. Theon’s not my favorite, but he is worth more than what Ramsay was doing to him.

    -B

    Liked by 1 person

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