Queen Yara Greyjoy is the Queen of the Iron Islands and Lady Reaper of Pyke, the daughter and last surviving child of Balon Greyjoy, and older sister and only surviving sibling of Theon Greyjoy. She was raised at Pyke, the stronghold of House Greyjoy. Yara is a fierce warrior and commands her own longship, the Black Wind.
After the assassination of her father, Yara lays claim to the Iron Islands, but when the iron born choose her uncle Euron, who murdered Balon, as their next king, she and Theon flee with a portion of the Iron Fleet and their loyal followers. Yara and Theon become allies with Daenerys Targaryen. Yara is then captured by her uncle when he attacks the Targaryen fleet, though she is later freed by Theon and their remaining loyalists. Intent on claiming the Salt Throne, Yara sails what remains of her army to successfully retake the Iron Islands. After the assassination of Daenerys, Yara participates in the Great Council of 305 AC and consents to the choosing of Bran Stark as the new King of the Andals and the First Men.
Yara is the only daughter of Lord Balon and his wife, Lady Alannys of House Harlaw. Balon is the head of House Greyjoy and the Lord of the Iron Islands. The Iron Islands are one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms, and House Greyjoy is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Greyjoy rules the region from their seat at Pyke, and Balon also holds the title Lord Reaper of Pyke.
Yara was born and raised at Pyke. She was Balon and Alannys’s third child after Rodrik and Maron. She also has a younger brother, Theon. Eight years before the start of the series, Balon rose in rebellion against the Iron Throne and was defeated in a bloody war. Balon’s two older sons were killed and Theon was taken by Lord Eddard Stark as a hostage for Balon’s good behaviour and obedience. With Yara as Balon’s only remaining child in the Iron Islands, he raised her as a surrogate son, encouraging her to become a reaver in her own right, which is unusual for women in the patriarchal culture of the iron born. She is a fierce warrior and commands her own longship, to the disquiet of some of the iron born who hold that women should not fight or command men in battle.
Theon has returned to Pyke as an envoy from King Robb Stark. Yara rides out to greet him, posing as a commoner to get the measure of her brother. She offers him a lift on her horse up to the castle Pyke. He does not recognise her and is relentless in his attempts to seduce her. He presents Robb’s suggested alliance to their father, Balon Greyjoy. Balon roundly rejects the terms, insisting that he is iron born and will seize his crown. He compares Theon unfavourably to Yara, revealing her identity. He says that Yara will lead his assault.
Balon details a plan to attack the poorly defended north while Robb is distracted by his war with House Lannister. Yara is assigned thirty ships to seize Deep wood Motte, the stronghold of House Glover, while Theon is given a single ship to raid fishing villages along the Stony Shore. Theon is baptized by a Drowned Priest on the shores of Pyke in a show of loyalty to his blood relatives. Balon and Yara watch as he proclaims his faith in the Drowned God.
Yara assembles her ships at Red Harbor. She rides to Lord sport to reach her fleet and encounters Theon struggling to command his unruly crew. She seizes the opportunity to mock him again. Her men would wait a year for her if need be, but Theon’s crew is not loyal to him. Yara’s force takes Deep wood Motte as planned, but Theon ignores his orders and captures Winterfell instead by luring the garrison, led by Rodrick Cassel, out to defend Torrhen’s Square.
He writes to Yara to request reinforcements to hold the castle. He announces to the assembled people of Winterfell that she will be sending him 500 men. She learns that he has executed Bran Stark and Rickon Stark (who were actually two orphans from a local farm) for attempting to escape captivity. She rides to Winterfell with only twenty men and tries to convince Theon to return home with her to avoid retribution from Robb Stark, but fails. Theon is subsequently captured by House Bolton.
Following the events of the Red Wedding and Roose Bolton’s ascent to Warden of the North, Roose’s bastard son and Theon’s torturer, Ramsay Snow, sends a letter and a box containing Theon’s genitals to Pyke. In the letter, Ramsay demands that Yara’s father order all iron born to leave the North by the first night of the full moon under threat of flaying all of them alive (as he did following the sack of Winterfell), as well as further torture and mutilation to Theon.
Balon refuses to yield the lands and castles taken by the iron born and dismisses Theon for having disobeyed him and for no longer “being a man” and unable to continue the Greyjoy line with children of his own. Yara, however, decides to take the fastest ship of the Iron Fleet along with the 50 best killers of the Isles, sail up the Narrow Sea and into the Weeping Water, with the intention of marching against the Dread fort, now under the control of Ramsay as castellan, to rescue her brother and bring him home.
Yara carries out her intentions of sailing to rescue Theon. She utilises longboats and canoes to get upriver and approach the Dread fort along the Weeping Water. She and the iron born soldiers use grappling hooks to scale the walls and find out where Theon is being held, whilst Ramsay is temporarily distracted whilst having sex with Myranda. Interrogating a guard, Yara learns of Theon’s location in the dog kennels, and Yara then kills the guard by splitting his throat.
However, when they enter the kennels where he is sleeping, Theon, believing it to be another one of Ramsay’s psychological mind games, claims he is Reek and refuses to go. Ramsay enters with some guards, and in the ensuing fight most of both sides are killed. Yara offers Ramsay his life if he surrenders Theon, but Ramsay instead releases his hounds and the iron born are forced to retreat without Theon. Once back to the boats, Yara claims her brother is dead.
At Pyke, Yara informs her father that the Glovers have retaken Deep wood Motte and executed the iron born garrison stationed there. With the loss of Deep wood Motte, the last major iron born fortress in the North, Yara reasons that the iron born invasion of the North is a doomed cause.
When Balon insists on continuing the fight, Yara argues that while the iron born are unparalleled in naval warfare, they fare poorly on land, especially against a much larger mainland host. During their conversation, Balon chastises his daughter for wasting men on trying to rescue Theon from the Dread fort. Yara refuses to apologise for her rescue attempt but tries to convince her father to end their rebellion against the mainland. She points out that they were only able to take the strongholds in the North because the Northern lords were fighting a war in the South. Now that the war is over, the Northerners are taking back their strongholds from the iron born. Yara then reminds her father that the last time they pushed the Northerners too far, they were defeated and she lost her two older brothers. Balon angrily responds that he lost three sons that day and warns Yara that he will replace her with another heir if she does not obey. The two part company and Balon is subsequently murdered by his estranged brother Euron Greyjoy.
Balon’s body is discovered after the storm and the following day Yara attends his seaside funeral, overseen by her uncle Aeron Greyjoy, a Drowned Man. Following the funeral, she vows to avenge her father’s death by finding whoever is responsible and feeding them to the sharks while they’re still alive. When Yara announces her intention to succeed her father on the Salt Throne, Aeron reminds his niece that the Kings moot chooses the next ruler. While Balon wanted his daughter to succeed him, Aeron firmly points out that Balon did not make the rules. Aeron says that perhaps she will win and become the first woman in history to rule the Iron Islands but then again, perhaps not.
Theon arrives at the Iron Islands and receives a harsh reception from Yara, who is still angry with him for refusing to be rescued from the Dread fort, saying good men were lost that night. Weeping, he apologises several times, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She accuses him of trying to take advantage of their father’s murder to become King of Pyke. Theon vehemently denies this, saying he had no idea Balon was dead until he arrived. She demands to know what he wants, and he says she deserves to be the ruler of Pyke and he will support her claim to the Salt Throne.
At the Kings moot, Yara is the first to claim the Salt Throne. She initially gains the support of those gathered, citing her experience leading the iron born and as a sea warrior. However, one man does not support her claim due to her gender and Theon’s return. This remark prompts Theon to speak about Yara’s bravery and legitimacy to rule. His speech convinces most of the iron born, but just as the Kings moot is about to close, Euron arrives.
He lays claim, and Yara accuses him of murdering Balon. Euron admits his kinslaying but successfully convinces the iron born that their former king was holding them back from greatness. Euron wins the Kings moot by proposing to marry Daenerys Targaryen and help her exact brutal vengeance on the mainland. While he is being baptised as the new ruler, Yara and Theon, realising that he will kill them immediately, gather those loyal to them and escape with the majority of the Iron Fleet.
Yara and Theon take the Iron Fleet to Essos where they stop over the Free City of Volantis for rest and relaxation. The iron born frequent a brothel on the Long Bridge where they are entertained by prostitutes. Yara takes a liking to one of them and they embrace. However, Theon is still traumatised by his ordeal with Ramsay and is still guilt-ridden over his role in the deaths of the orphan boys. Yara counsels him to regain his former confidence over a bottle of ale. She tells him that they plan to beat Euron in reaching Daenerys first, regain the Iron Islands and exact revenge against Euron. As Theon finally regains some of his swagger, she leaves to have sex with a prostitute.
In the aftermath of the failed siege on Meereen, Yara and Theon arrive with their hundred ships, seeking to negotiate a deal with the newly victorious Daenerys. They offer the Mother of Dragons their fleet of ships in exchange for her support of Yara’s claim as the rightful Queen of the Iron Islands against Euron’s claim. Tyrion is wary of Theon given what he saw of him at Winterfell and his crimes against the Starks; however, Theon and Yara insist that he has paid for what he has done. In the end, Daenerys, Tyrion, Yara, and Theon find common ground in their hatred of their cruel and merciless fathers and their desire for a better world than the one they were born into.
Yara manages to convince Daenerys not to trust Euron, with Theon pointing out that if Euron has no qualms about killing his own family, he’d have no problem with killing Daenerys after marrying her to gain control of all of Westeros. Daenerys finds Yara’s terms reasonable (particularly since Yara’s offer of alliance is far less matrimonial), and accepts the aid of her one hundred ships, although with the condition that the iron born stop their raping and piracy of the mainland, which Yara reluctantly accepts.
Some time later, Yara and Theon begin the voyage back to Westeros, with the Iron Fleet forming part of Daenerys Targaryen’s massive invasion force.
Upon arriving on Dragon stone with Daenerys, Yara urges that they have should immediately attack King’s Landing due to their vast armada and Daenerys’s dragons, resulting in the capture of King’s Landing within a day. However, Tyrion doesn’t want civilians to die in the firestorm and decided on using Westeros armies to attack King’s Landing. The plan shows that Yara will take Ellaria Sand to Dorne, where she will ready her army, which will then be ferried up to King’s Landing, again by Yara, while Olenna Tyrell’s army attacks from the west. Tyrion then uses the Unsullied to lay siege to Casterly Rock. Yara agrees to the plan and sets sail for Dorne.
On the Black Wind, On the Narrow Sea, Yara and Theon travel aboard their portion of the Iron Fleet with their Dornish allies Ellaria Sand, her daughter Tyene, and Tyene’s half-sisters Obara and Nymeria Sand. Ellaria drinks iron born liquor with Yara, which she compares unfavourably to Dornish wine. Ellaria asks Yara if she had ever been to Dorne, to which Yara responds that she has been there a few times. Ellaria responds that there is a boy in every port in Dorne, which Yara responds, “A boy, a girl. Depends on the port.” Yara and Ellaria begin to sexually flirt with each other. Yara tells Ellaria that Theon will serve as both her bodyguard and adviser. Yara puts her feet up on the table.
Ellaria bends over Yara and spreads her legs apart across the table. Ellaria moves her hand up Yara’s leg towards her crotch. Ellaria invites Theon to have a threesome with her and Yara, but Yara tells Ellaria to “Leave him be.” While Yara and Ellaria began kissing, Yara’s ship is struck. On the deck above, they discover that their fleet has been ambushed by Euron Greyjoy’s portion of the Iron Fleet. Yara tells Ellaria to stay below decks, whilst she and Theon continue to the bow. Seeing her fleet peppered by fire and looking up at the Silence above them, Yara knows that it is Euron.
As Euron lowers his plank onto the Black Wind, the invasion begins. Filled with bloodlust and revenge for her father, Yara successfully kills many of Euron’s iron born. She tells Tyene Sand, mid-battle, to protect her mother, who is still below decks. Looking over her burning fleet, she has a moment of despair before once again engaging into battle. After he kills Obara and Nymeria Sand, Euron locks eyes with Yara and they begin duelling. Despite her skilful style of attack, Euron overpowers his niece and holds his axe to her throat.
Calling over to Theon, whom he calls a “cockless coward”, Euron challenges his nephew to try and save Yara. However, Theon looks around and gets a harsh reminder of his torture by Ramsay Bolton as he sees Euron’s men cutting out the tongues of his defeated comrades. Realising he may suffer the same with Euron and still mentally unstable from his past, Yara is abandoned by Theon after he jumps off the Black Wind. With Euron laughing in her face and having lost all respect for Theon, Yara is taken below decks by Euron, as they sail away, en route to King’s Landing, on the Silence.
Following Euron’s assault on the Targaryen fleet, Yara along with Ellaria and Tyene are led in chains through the streets of King’s Landing by her triumphant uncle. Yara and the Dornish women are pelted with rotten fruits by the small folk. Euron mockingly tells his niece that they are receiving a hero’s welcome. Yara and her fellow captives are brought before Queen Cersei, who appoints Euron as the commander of her naval forces. While Ellaria and Tyene are left with Cersei to face her wrath for murdering her daughter Myrcella, Yara is led away by armed guards.
Upon Theon’s return to Dragon stone, he asks to see Daenerys to request her help in rescuing Yara, but is told by Jon Snow that she has already left.
At the parley in King’s Landing, Euron brags to Theon that Yara is his prisoner in order to force him to surrender. Afterwards, Theon convinces the remaining iron born loyal to Yara to mount a rescue mission, just as Yara did to save him.
A prisoner aboard the Silence, Yara asks Euron why he has not killed her, to which Euron sarcastically remarks upon their familial status as the last living Greyjoys, excluding Theon due to his castration. In addition, he prefers her company over his tongueless crewmen. She correctly assumes they have returned to King’s Landing, having ferried the Golden Company from Essos to fight for Cersei. She rebuffs an offer of drink from her uncle, before stating that he has picked the losing side. However, Euron arrogantly states that he will simply leave the Queen of the Andals should it come to that (but he will lay with her first).
While Euron is distracted in the Red Keep, with Queen Cersei Lannister finally giving in to his lust following the departure of her brother (and lover), Theon and his remaining iron born sneak aboard. After silently murdering members of Euron’s crew, they find Yara inside the ship. He awkwardly unties her before she hauls herself to her feet and knocks him to the ground with a head butt, due to his earlier abandonment of her. However, she then drags him back up, and the two share a mutual look of respect between each other.
The two then make their escape, dividing their minimal forces across Theon’s three ships. Yara decides to retake the Iron Islands, since they are virtually unprotected while Euron is away, as well as providing Daenerys with a final stronghold should the dead overrun Westeros. Theon, however, states that he will follow his Queen, and Yara realises he wants to fight in the North. Having done his duty to House Greyjoy, she allows him to leave.
At Daenerys Targaryen’s war council on Dragon stone, Varys confirms that Yara has retaken the Iron Islands. With Euron being slain by Jaime Lannister in the Battle of King’s Landing, Yara is the undisputed Queen of the Iron Islands and last living Greyjoy.
After the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen, Yara takes part in the trial of Tyrion Lannister. Upset at Jon assassinating Daenerys since she overthrew Cersei Lannister, Yara tells the gathering to let the Unsullied decide his fate. Arya Stark threatens to kill her if she demands killing Jon again. Davos Seaworth however diffuses the situation before it gets out of hand. Tyrion advises the lords of the Seven Kingdoms that they choose a new King. When the gathering doesn’t nominate anyone themselves, he recommends Bran Stark as the nominee. Yara joins the others in assenting to that proposal. It is not made entirely clear whether Yara remains Queen of the Iron Islands, or whether the region is reincorporated back into the Six Kingdoms .
Yara Greyjoy is an iron born woman of the finest caliber: courageous, clever, determined and proud. In sharp contrast to the allusions people have about her on the basis that she is a woman, Yara is extremely headstrong and formidable towards anybody who dares cross her, as well as possessing a sharp, cynical, and sarcastic sense of humour. She rebuffs Theon’s labelling her as a woman by pointing out that he is the one wearing a skirt, knowing full well that he has already been berated for it and it will only enrage him. She is a fierce warrior and a staunch leader, and obdurate about her own independence. She does not apologise to her father for leading a personal mission to rescue Theon from the Boltons, despite having failed and lost many men. Later on, when Theon returns, Yara is furious with him for costing her so many lives in his decision to stay in the Dreadfort, showing that she was remorseful of her defeat during the rescue mission.
Because of her sharpness, Yara can come across as aggressive towards people she doesn’t like or people who try to put her in her place, and isn’t swayed when Theon warns her against crossing him. She can be slightly judgmental and labels Theon as an idiot for forgetting that, while he had conquered Winterfell, the iron born were primarily sailors and islanders and couldn’t hold landlocked castles like Winterfell for very long. Nevertheless, she clearly loves Theon enough to want to rescue him from Ramsay Bolton, and previously she begged him not to die ‘so far from the sea’, gently recalling the two of them as children. By the time Theon returns to the Iron Islands after Eddard Stark’s death, Yara is a renowned leader and, in Balon’s words, has commanded and killed men with her own hands. She eventually gained great support during the Kings moot with the reminder that she was a reaver, a warrior and a seasoned leader, but this was ruined when Euron arrived and promised the present iron born greater glory.
Despite their troubled past, different personalities and Theon’s actions, Yara still values Theon’s advice, possibly from his experiences in the North and Riverlands, shown when she only agrees to Daenerys Targaryen’s conditions when Theon nods his approval, and continues to be protective of him, telling Ellaria Sand to leave him alone when she asks him to pour ale for her and then invites him for a threesome with Yara (though it can be argued that Ellaria did not know that Theon had been castrated by Ramsay). Yara was also apologetic of mocking Theon at the brothel in Volantis, compensating for her coldness by encouraging him to continue living and fighting, because she needed him beside her in order to defeat Euron and avenge their father; in this particular conversation, she showed her more compassionate side and shed the scornful way in which she spoke to Theon when he first returned to the Iron Islands.