Prince Theon Greyjoy was the only living son and heir of Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands and the younger brother of Yara Greyjoy.
Following his father’s failed rebellion against the Iron Throne, Theon is taken as a hostage/ward to Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell. After Eddard’s execution in King’s Landing, Theon pledges his loyalty to Eddard’s eldest son, Robb Stark, in the subsequent War of the Five Kings, but ultimately betrays Robb and sides with his father in invading the North. Theon takes Winterfell from Robb’s brother Bran Stark but eventually is betrayed by his own men, which leads to his capture by House Bolton. He is tortured and forced into servitude by Ramsay Snow, who turns him into a broken pet named Reek. Theon, however, redeems himself by helping Ramsay’s wife (and Robb’s sister), Sansa Stark, escape from Winterfell and find refuge with her “half-brother” Jon Snow. The two later retake Winterfell and defeat Ramsay and House Bolton.
Slowly returning to his former self, Theon returns to the Iron Islands, where he learns of his father’s death at the hands of his own uncle, Euron Greyjoy. In retaliation, Theon flees with Yara to seek out an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen, where they pledge their forces to her. Despite abandoning Yara during the assault on the Targaryen Fleet, he later appeals to the iron born on Dragon stone to rescue her from Euron’s custody, a mission they complete successfully. While Yara sails to the Iron Islands to take them back, Theon returns to Winterfell with a group of iron born to fight for House Stark in the Great War. Theon perishes defending Bran Stark from the Night King during the Battle of Winterfell, redeeming himself at last.
Theon was the youngest son of Lord Balon and Lady Alannys Greyjoy. Balon is the head of House Greyjoy and 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 rule the region from their seat at Pyke and Balon also holds the title Lord Reaper of Pyke.
Theon was born at Pyke. He is Balon and Alannys’s fourth child after Rodrik, Maron, and Yara. Eight years before the start of the series Balon rose in rebellion against the Iron Throne. The iron born were crushed in a war led by King Robert Baratheon and Lord Eddard Stark. Theon’s brothers were both killed in the fighting. Balon surrendered and was allowed to remain Lord of the Iron Islands on the condition that Theon remains a hostage and ward of Eddard Stark. Theon’s sister Yara remained on the Iron Islands. Despite his status as a hostage at Winterfell, Theon was treated well by the Starks, and he came to see Eddard as a surrogate father while becoming best friends with Robb Stark and forming a friendly rivalry with Jon Snow. Theon is a skilled archer. His cocky arrogance and cavalier actions contrast with the staid ways of the North.
Theon is present during the execution of Will, a deserter from the Nights Watch. He holds the scabbard of Ice, the great sword of House Stark, as Lord Eddard Stark draws it to behead the condemned man. On the way back to Winterfell, the party finds a disemboweled stag dead in the road. Looking for the killer, they find a dead female dire wolf and five pups huddled by the corpse for warmth. A broken piece of the dead stag’s antler is embedded in the dire wolf’s neck. Eddard initially insists the pups be given a quick death, which Theon cavalierly moves to carry out himself, upsetting Bran and angering Robb.
However, Jon Snow tells his father that this is an omen as there are five pups and five true born Stark children. Eddard consents to allowing his children to adopt the pups. Just as the party leaves, Jon finds a sixth pup, an albino. Theon mockingly declares him the runt of the litter and that he belongs to Jon. Later, Robb, Jon, and Theon get shaves and haircuts, as they ponder the impending arrival of the royal party, notably the reputation of QueenCersei Lannister as a great beauty and the poor reputation of Prince Joffrey Baratheon.
After the royal party’s departure, an assassin attempts to kill Bran, who had fallen during one of his climbs and remained comatose. Theon learns that Catelyn has found evidence implicating the Lannisters in Bran’s ‘accident’ and the failed assassination. Theon and Robb suggest taking revenge through military action, but Maester Luwin counsels patience. Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel depart for King’s Landing, leaving Robb in command of the castle. Theon is present when Robb frostily receives Tyrion Lannister on his way back from the Wall. Afterwards, as Tyrion is leaving to stay in a brothel, Theon condescendingly tells him to ask for Ros. Tyrion ridicules Theon for his family’s failed uprising, calling it “a stupid rebellion”, and ponders how Balon Greyjoy would feel about his last living son being the Starks’ “lackey”. While boasting about his family’s exploits and heritage, he is put down by Maester Luwin. He reacts angrily to a further insult from his favourite prostitute, Ros, after sneaking her into the castle to engage her services.
Theon and Robb exchange views over the matter of Jory Cassel’s death and the growing Stark-Lannister animosity in King’s Landing. Robb brusquely reminds Theon that he is not a Stark. Bran is taken prisoner by wildling’s in the forest near Winterfell and Theon saves him by shooting Stiv, the wildling leader, in the back with an arrow. Robb is angry at him, as Bran could have been hurt. Theon counters that he just saved Bran’s life, and Robb was too hesitant to kill. Taking pride in his action, Theon says that you’re “only considered a real man in the Iron Islands once you’ve killed your first enemy.”
With the departure of Ros for King’s Landing, Theon is left at the castle and is bored. He accosts the surviving wildling prisoner, the spear wife Osha, as she is now a servant at Winterfell. Theon throws his weight around, insisting that she call him “my lord”, even though his father still holds the title. He is warned off by Maester Luwin who reminds Theon that he of all people should know that being a guest and a prisoner are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Robb summons his banners to war when word comes of Lord Eddard’s arrest. Theon tells Robb that it is good that he is afraid because it shows he is not stupid. As Theon dines with Robb and his banner men later after they arrive at Winterfell, he witnesses Jon Umber threatening to withdraw his men from the host when Robb refuses to let him lead the vanguard. Robb counters the Greatjon by saying he is welcome to do so but as soon as he is finished with the Lannisters, he will march back North to route the Greatjon from his keep and hang him for an oath breaker. As the Greatjon moves to draw a weapon, Theon rises from his chair to defend Robb but Grey Wind darts down the table and bites off two of the Greatjon’s fingers. When Robb mercifully offers the Greatjon drew his weapon to cut his meat for him, the Greatjon calls his meat “bloody tough”, which draws laughter from the rest of the men including Theon. As the northern army marches south, Theon advises Robb at strategy meetings and greets Catelyn when the army meets her on the road. When a Lannister scout is captured, Theon obscures their maps and battle plans, to Jon Umber’s amusement.
Reaching the Twins, Theon shoots down several ravens leaving the castle bearing messages from Lord Walder Frey, allowing Catelyn to negotiate an alliance. He is present when Catelyn returns to inform her son of the terms set by Lord Walder, one of which is that Robb must marry one of his many female progeny. Theon chuckles when Robb asks his mother if she got a look at them, and her tone suggests they are not very attractive. Theon later fights alongside Robb at the Battle of the Whispering Wood, where Jaime Lannister is taken prisoner.
Theon suggests that they kill Jaime and send his head to his father Tywin, but Robb refuses, fearing that Sansa and Arya will be harmed in retaliation. When Robb laments the loss of 2,000 of his men in the feint at the Battle of the Green Fork, Theon assures him that songs will be sung of their bravery. Robb responds that they will not hear them. After news arrives of Eddard’s execution, Robb Stark is proclaimed the King in the North by his lords banner men. Theon asks first if they are brothers, now and always. When Robb’s answer is yes, Theon swears his sword and fealty to Robb’s service, proclaiming Robb as his King.
Theon appeals to Robb to seek an alliance with his father, Balon Greyjoy, reasoning that Robb needs a fleet to attack King’s Landing, and confident that Balon will listen to him. Despite Catelyn’s reservations that Balon Greyjoy cannot be trusted, Robb sends Theon home to Pyke as his envoy.
Theon seduces the daughter of the ship’s captain and tells her about how he will be welcomed home. He is deflated at the lack of a reception for his return, resorting to bribing, despite his status. His sister, Yara, poses as a stranger and offers to give him a ride to the castle. She wants to see what Theon has grown up to be. He flirts with her relentlessly, even touching her almost intimately and brags about his own importance.
Balon greets Theon coolly, believing that he has forgotten his roots and become loyal to the Starks in his time away. He insults Theon’s fine clothes given to him by the Starks, and is furious when Theon tells him that Robb thinks of him as a brother. Yara reveals her deception and Balon compares Theon to his sister unfavourably. Balon rejects the alliance Theon suggests and is insulted that Theon thought he would accept being given a crown. He reminds Theon that they pay the iron price and take what they want.
Balon reveals that he plans to attack the North while it is poorly defended. Balon gives Yara a fleet of thirty ships to take Deep wood Motte and insults Theon by giving him a lesser mission to raid fishing villages on the Stony Shore, with only a single ship. Theon considers informing Robb of the plot but decides that his loyalty lies with his family. Having decided to betray House Stark he is baptised in the name of the Drowned God as Balon and Yara watch. He takes command of the Sea Bitch but finds his crew unruly. His first mate Dagmer tells him that he must prove himself to the men and that iron born do not follow orders. Theon senses the opportunity to attack Torrhen’s Square to lure the Stark garrison away from Winterfell.
His plan is successful and Theon has his men seize the poorly defended Winterfell. He forces Bran Stark to yield to him by threatening his people. His men capture Ser Rodrik Cassel coming back from Torrhen’s Square, and Rodrik is openly defiant, calling Theon a traitor. Ser Rodrik regrets that he gave him weapon training and even spits in Theon’s face. Dagmer insists that Rodrik must be killed to maintain the respect of the men. Rodrik baits Theon into performing the execution himself. Theon botches the beheading, taking three swings and a vicious kick to accomplish it, to the horror of Bran and the watching crowd.
Theon is seduced by Osha, who Theon grants her freedom to in return for her sexual service. She then frees Bran and Rickon, fleeing with them while Theon sleeps. When Theon wakes the next day, he is told that Bran and Rickon have escaped. He is angry at his men for allowing the children and the simpleminded Hodor to escape. Lorren implies that Theon is actually to blame for their escape by allowing himself to be seduced by Osha. Theon, in turn, responds to this insolence by publicly beating Lorren.
Despite his attempts, Theon is unable to find the escapees. Unwilling to appear weak, he has Dagmer murder two boys, Jack and Billy, from a farm and burn their bodies. Unknown to Theon, Osha led Bran and Rickon into the Winterfell crypts after realising that Theon would never give up the chase. Theon displays the corpses of Jack and Billy at Winterfell and claims they were Bran and Rickon. Theon sends word to Yara to bring him 500 men as reinforcements.
She arrives with just twenty men and warns him that everyone in the North wants him dead because of his killing of the Stark boys, and he is too far from the sea to supply or reinforce his position. Yara tells him about how she remembers him as a child, demanding but sweet. She urges him to abandon Winterfell, return to the Iron Islands, and not to die so far from his home, but he refuses to give up his prize. Feeling some guilt over the deaths of the two farms boys, his asks Dagmer to pay the farmer for his grief. Dagmer tells Theon that after killing the orphans, he also murdered the farmer and his wife.
Winterfell is later surrounded by Northmen under the command of Ramsay Snow, who infuriates Theon by blowing a horn all through the night. Besieged with no hope for relief, Theon tearfully vents his frustration to Maester Luwin at being constantly reminded by everyone, including Luwin himself, how fortunate he was to be a prisoner of the Starks. Assuming a more sympathetic tone, Luwin advises Theon to flee to the Wall and join the Night’s Watch so that he might save his life and attempt to redeem himself, adding he knows Theon is not the ruthless man he is pretending to be.
Theon owes to Luwin that he has done terrible things in his futile attempts to gain power and respect but he refuses to deviate from the course he has set, saying he has gone too far to ever pretend to be anyone else, and also adds that Jon Snow will likely kill him in revenge for allegedly killing Bran and Rickon. He readies his men for a glorious death in battle, giving a rousing speech, but is betrayed and knocked out by Dagmer, who plans to turn him over to the northern forces so the rest of them can go home. Luwin attempts to aid Theon but is stabbed in the abdomen by Dagmer, who then has Theon dragged away with his head covered by a cloth bag.
Roose Bolten’s bastard son Ramsay Snow has been sent to secure Winterfell from the iron born and bring Theon back to Robb Stark alive. However, Roose plans to double-cross Robb and after the iron born turn on Theon and surrender themselves to Snow’s forces, he has them all killed and secretly captures Theon. Theon is imprisoned at the Dread fort, although Theon is unaware where he is. Bound to a rack, he is repeatedly tortured by a group of men, some of whom are dressed in the garb of Greyjoy men. One of them pries off Theon’s fingernails with a knife while the others drive a screw through his foot.
After enduring extensive torture, Theon is given some reprieve. Ramsay Snow deceives Theon, claiming he is a servant and approaches him and claims he’s been sent by Yara to rescue him, before leaving Theon, placing the cloth bag over his head for the night. Before dawn, Ramsay returns and cuts Theon free and provides him with water and a mount. Ramsay advises Theon to keep heading east where Yara is waiting for him. Theon says he’ll make the boy a lord of the Iron Islands for his actions. The boy replies, “We’re not in the Iron Islands.”
As Theon rides east, an arrow narrowly misses his head, and Theon sees that his captors are following him. After a harrowing chase the former Prince of Winterfell is knocked from his horse by a blow from a flail. The men hold Theon in place as the leading torturer prepares to rape him. Theon’s pleas for them to stop fall on deaf ears but then the leader is pierced by an arrow. Ramsay has returned and swiftly kills all his men. Ramsay helps Theon to his feet and tells him to come with him, because he is far from home and winter is coming.
After rescuing him the boy promises Theon to take him to Deep wood Motte to see Yara. When Theon questions his saviour, Ramsay lies that he is iron born as well, growing up on Saltcliffe, and he witnessed Theon being shipped off to Winterfell. Some time later the men reach a holdfast, and Theon questions why they have to sneak inside when surely Yara’s men are loyal to her. Ramsay warns Theon that some of the men belong to his father Balon, who wants him dead. As Ramsay struggles to open a locked gate Theon confesses his sins. He wanted desperately to impress his father but he knows now that Eddard Stark was his true father. After opening the gate Theon and Ramsay enter a darkened room. The youth lights a torch and much to Theon’s horror he’s back in the same torture chamber in the Dread fort. Armed men enter and Ramsay claims that Theon killed their comrades and escaped but he has brought their captive back. Kicking and screaming, Theon is refastened to the rack.
Theon is awakened by the ringing of a trumpet. Ramsay ‘begs pardon’ for rousing his guest. Theon tries to mumble something but fails. Ramsay understands his prisoner requires water but pours it out all over the dungeon floor to further torment him. Ramsay proposes a game to pass the time and he asks the heir to Pyke which body part he does not need. Hearing this Theon vows to tell his captor all he wishes to know. The cruel boy merely mocks him stating that Theon already told him everything of value. Ramsay goes on saying that he realises Theon wants to know who he is and why he is being tortured.
The young man makes a proposal: If Theon guesses correctly who he actually is Theon is the victor, but if Theon begs his tormentor to remove his finger he wins. Theon then asks if winning said game will secure his release. Ramsay then mocks Theon’s naïveté stating there is no happy ending in store for him. Theon does guess correctly that he is still in the North. However when the former prince of Winterfell supposes that Ramsay is a son of Richard Karstark he is revealed to be wrong. Ramsay slowly flays his captive’s finger stating that Theon first should have asked if he was a liar. Theon begs for the finger to be cut off which delights Ramsay since Ramsay has won the ‘game’.
Theon is later released from the cross by two beautiful young women, Myranda and Violet. They put Theon to bed and they then proceed to fondle him sensually. Both have heard that the heir to Pyke is well endowed and are hoping to get firsthand experience. Theon is distrustful at first fearing that this is another of his tormentor’s tricks. When they disrobe and straddle him, Theon’s resolve to resist weakens. Suddenly the familiar horn sounds and Ramsay enters, revealing that Myranda and Violet are two of his bedwarmers. He too has heard how large his prisoner’s penis is and surmises it is Theon’s favourite body part. When the sadistic Ramsay brandishes an hooked knife Theon realises Ramsay means to castrate him. Horrified, Theon begs for mercy, but Ramsay quips that this is mercy as he is not killing, but merely altering Theon. Two men restrain Theon as Ramsay proceeds to geld him, knocking him out in the process, after which he is castrated.
Theon later wakes in his strung up position while Ramsay eats a long plump sausage nearby and motions to Theon’s blood-stained, badly sewn-up trousers, momentarily tricking Theon into thinking it is his penis he is eating. Ramsay mocks him as he laughs about his severed penis and wonders if Theon will have phantom feelings for his lost body part if he goes near any pretty women. Theon finally begs Ramsay to kill him as an escape from the nightmare, but Ramsay tells him he is much more valuable to him alive.
He renames him “Reek” (because he smells bad) and demands that Theon say that his name is Reek. With an angry look, Theon says his name is Theon Greyjoy, prompting Ramsay to punch him and ask again, and again, smirking slightly, he says his name is Theon Greyjoy. Ramsay hits him harder, grabs his head and screams the same question. This time, Theon gives in and says his that name is Reek. As Ramsay returns to his table satisfied, Theon weeps silently over his lost pride.
Ramsay sends Theon’s severed penis to his family in Pyke with a letter detailing his Sack of Winterfell and his demand that the iron born withdraw from the North or Ramsay will send them more of Theon’s body parts. Balon refuses to surrender, saying that Theon was a fool for disobeying his orders and attacking Winterfell and that, as his castration means that he is no longer capable of producing heirs, he has no value whatsoever. However, Yara defies her father and prepares the fastest ship in the fleet and the strongest men on the Iron Islands to sail on the Dread fort and rescue Theon.
Theon, now going by the name Reek, has been freed from his restraints, but on the condition that he work for Ramsay as a servant. Because of his torture and emasculation by Ramsay, Theon is now mentally weakened and offers no resistance to his new lord. He accompanies Ramsay and Myranda on their hunt for Tansy, however he struggles to keep up with them due to his injuries. When Myranda brings down Tansy with an arrow to the leg Ramsay asks Reek if it was a good shot. Reek calls it a fine shot while addressing Ramsay as “Master” and Myranda as “My Lady”. Reek watches in silent horror when Ramsay orders his pack of hounds to maul Tansy to pieces.
Ramsay brings Reek before Ramsay’s father, Roose Bolton. Roose is angered that Ramsay has damaged a valuable hostage, whom he intended to trade for the ironborn-occupied Moat Cailin. To demonstrate their captive’s submissiveness, Ramsay orders Reek to shave him. Reek reveals to Roose that he did not murder Bran and Rickon Stark, and that they may be with their half-brother Jon Snow at Castle Black. Ramsay then reveals to Reek that Robb Stark is dead, and was stabbed through the heart by Roose. Reek holds the razor at Ramsay’s neck briefly but continues shaving. When Roose orders Locke to find and kill the Stark boys, the latter asks Ramsay if his “pet rat” has any thoughts on where they went. Without saying a word, Ramsay orders Reek to answer Locke’s question by simply giving him a look. Reek sadly tells him that they may be with Jon Snow at Castle Black.
Yara, along with a group of iron born, infiltrates the Dread fort to rescue her brother, only to find him in one of the kennels. Believing that this may be another one of Ramsay’s tricks, Reek desperately refuses to abandon his master, refusing to be Theon Greyjoy and screaming to be left alone, insisting that he is Reek. Soon Ramsay arrives with a group of Northmen. As the two sides fight each other, Reek keeps resisting to be taken and bites Yara’s hand to return to his cage. Yara escapes after being rejected and Ramsay unleashing his hounds at her. As a reward for his demonstration of loyalty, Ramsay offers Reek a bath, though Reek is hesitant to remove his clothing, due to the many scars of his torture and his earlier castration. After Reek gets into the tub, Ramsay cleans his servant himself and demands a demonstration of Reek’s love: his help to get a castle back. Reek’s task is to masquerade as Theon Greyjoy.
Outside of Moat Cailin, Ramsay goes over Reek’s mission with him one last time: he is to enter Moat Cailin under the guise of Theon Greyjoy, prince of the Iron Islands, and attempt to negotiate with the iron born garrison holding it in an attempt to convince them to surrender the fortress to the Boltons. Reek rides up to the fortress gate, and almost blows his cover when asked to identify himself, yet manages to regain his composure and convince the iron born to let him to enter.
Upon riding into Moat Cailin, Reek finds it in a state of death and decay, littered with corpses and the few remaining men ravaged by disease and exhaustion. He introduces himself as Prince Theon and truthfully informs the iron born that he has been a prisoner of House Bolton and has been sent to Moat Cailin as their envoy. He reads the terms that House Bolton has laid out for the iron born, promising them safe passage home if they peacefully surrender Moat Cailin.
However, Ralf Kenning, the garrison commander of the iron born, decries Reek’s words as those of a “whipped dog” and that he is no true iron born, nearly causing Reek to become unnerved and drop his facade. However, Reek is saved when one of Kenning’s own men suddenly buries an axe in his head and accepts Reek’s terms of surrender. However, the iron born are promptly massacred and flayed by Ramsay and his men after they surrender. Ramsay reveals to Theon that he never intended to let the iron born go, and congratulates him by patting him.
In the aftermath, Ramsay meets with his father and presents him with the Greyjoy banner that was flying over the fortress. In recognition, Roose presents Ramsay with a decree of legitimisation, making him officially a member of House Bolton. Delighted at the knowledge he will succeed his father as Warden of the North, Ramsay and Reek accompany Roose’s army as it approaches the ruins of Winterfell, with Ramsay gleefully informing Reek that he’s ready for a hot bath.
Reek walks through the partially-repaired Winterfell and is clearly shaken when he sees freshly flayed corpses being hung on the castle walls, which reminds him of the burned corpses of Jack and Billy. Later, while Ramsay and Roose Bolton discuss their delicate position as the new Wardens of the North, Reek serves them their food. When his childhood friend, Sansa Stark, arrives in Winterfell, Reek watches her arrival from a distance. Later, as Sansa explores the courtyard, Reek avoids her but appears to be struggling not to call out to her.
Later, while sleeping in the kennels, Reek is accosted by Sansa, who had been led there by Myranda. Reek shakes his head at her and tells her she shouldn’t be there. Ramsay later confronts Reek about how Sansa approached him and chastises him for keeping it a secret from him. Though he seems like he will punish Reek, he ultimately forgives him. As the Boltons eat, Ramsay first coerces Reek into apologising to Sansa for allegedly murdering Bran and Rickon. He then suggests that Reek should walk Sansa down the altar at their coming wedding with the rest of her family allegedly dead, which visibly angers Sansa and discomforts Reek.
On the night of the wedding, Reek, once again assuming his previous identity as Theon Greyjoy, arrives to escort Sansa to Ramsay, though Sansa, still angry with him, refuses to allow Theon to hold her arm, even when Theon claims Ramsay will punish him. Theon walks Sansa through the Gods wood to the Heart tree and gives the bride away. After the wedding, Theon leads Sansa and Ramsay to their new chambers, but Ramsay orders Theon to remain with them to watch what is to come.
Having personally been on the receiving end of Ramsay’s brutality, Theon tries to look away, but Ramsay repeats the order, and Theon is forced to watch, which he does. Theon is visibly horrified as he watches Ramsay rape his childhood friend, making her cry, and silently cries himself. Though Theon is still too weak to intervene, a brief flash of anger spreads across his face.
A few days later, Reek brings Sansa her breakfast, closing the window when he notices her shivering in bed. When Sansa realises Reek is there, she tries to talk to him and get him to help her. Reek continues to deny that he is Theon, until Sansa accuses him of betraying her family, and reminds him that he is Theon Greyjoy, son and heir of Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, and that he can redeem himself by lighting a candle in the broken tower in order to signal Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne to come and rescue her. Though Reek takes the candle, he reluctantly informs Ramsay of Sansa’s plan in order to spare her further pain should it fail, but it is implied during his conversation with Sansa that his original personality of Theon Greyjoy is slowly beginning to resurface.
When Reek next brings Sansa breakfast, she confronts him about why he revealed her plan to Ramsay, and he responds that it was to protect her, since he has found out there is no escape from Ramsay: as Theon Greyjoy, he tried numerous times, but Ramsay always found him and took away pieces of him until there was nothing left of Theon anymore, only Reek. Sansa coldly expresses approval, adding that if she could do what Ramsay did to him all over again, she would.
Reek shamefully owes to her that he deserved it as he did terrible things, specifically killing “those boys”. Enraged by his reference seemingly to her brothers as “those boys” rather than Bran and Rickon, Sansa vehemently demands to know why they should be dead while he still breathes the air, forcing Reek to finally admit that they were not Bran and Rickon, but two farm boys. In light of this admission, Sansa’s anger towards Reek cools, but when she presses him as to where they might have gone, calling him Theon again, he breaks down and runs out the room, crying, “Not Theon! Reek!”
When Sansa finally succeeds in breaking out of her room and lighting the candle in the tower, she is confronted by Reek and Myranda on the catwalks, with Myranda pointing a bow at her. Reek begs Sansa not to resist, but Sansa welcomes her fate. However, when Myranda claims that she will spare Sansa and merely maim her, Reek remembers the role Myranda played in his castration. Unwilling to let Sansa suffer the same fate, Reek grabs Myranda and pushes her off the catwalk to her death. Now Theon Greyjoy once again, he takes Sansa and they run when the Bolton cavalry arrives after defeating Stannis Baratheon at the Battle of Winterfell. With no other choice, and aware of what will come when Ramsay finds Myranda’s body, Theon and Sansa jump from the parapet to the snow below.
Pursued by Ramsay’s men and hounds, Theon and Sansa cross the river and take shelter, but their scent is picked up by the hounds. Theon urges Sansa to flee to her half-brother Jon Snow at Castle Black while he holds them off, but they see through his ruse and find Sansa. Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne arrive to fight the Bolton soldiers, and Theon kills the last one, saving Podrick’s life. He witnesses Brienne pledge her service to Sansa, which this time she accepts.
As Brienne talks with Sansa, Theon overhears that she crossed paths with Arya, Sansa’s sister, while gathering wood to help Podrick start a fire. Theon is wary of the fire, since it may alert Ramsay or his men. Sansa and Brienne decide to head to Castle Black to get to Jon, who will protect them from Ramsay, and though Sansa promises to tell Jon the truth about Bran and Rickon, Theon believes that Jon will still kill him for betraying Robb, executing Rodrik Cassel, and slaughtering Jack and Billy. Theon claims he does not want to be forgiven, even by joining the Night’s Watch, and instead decides to return home, knowing that Sansa will be safer with Brienne and Podrick. Before his departure though, Sansa embraces Theon in gratitude for helping her escape Ramsay.
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.
During the Kings moot, Theon stands before his fellow Iron born when it is his turn to speak. Though he is visibly nervous, most likely because of his role in the surrender of Moat Cailin, he openly declares his support for Yara’s claim to the Salt Throne; stating that she is a warrior, a reaver, and most importantly Iron born. Choking back tears as he swallows what little pride he has left, Theon concludes, “This is our queen.” Though his words prompt many men to declare their support for Yara, they are soon challenged by their uncle Euron Greyjoy, who condescendingly pats Theon on the cheek as Ramsay once did before belittling him for his past defeats and emasculation. Yara then accuses Euron of murdering their father. To their surprise, Euron admits to murdering Balon but claims that he did it because he was leading them to defeat and apologises for not doing it years ago. Theon counters that would have been hard to do as Euron was off gallivanting on the high seas and having a grand old time, prompting his uncle to once again bring up his emasculation.
Theon ignores his uncle’s insult and reminds everyone that Euron had left, and meanwhile, Yara was leading Iron born ships and men in battle. When Yara proposes building a massive fleet to conquer the mainland, Euron counters by offering to seal an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen in order to defeat the mainland lords. The crowd then elects Euron to be their next king. While Euron is being baptised by Aeron, Theon, his sister, and their supporters flee to Essos on the best ships in the Iron Fleet, knowing that Euron will kill them in order to cement his claim.
Theon and Yara take the Iron Fleet to Volantis to hide and rest. While sheltering in Volantis, Theon and his sister visit a bar where the Iron born are entertained by prostitutes. Theon is still traumatised by his ordeal with Ramsay and is also troubled by his guilt over his role in the deaths of the orphan boys. He also has little interest in the prostitutes and ale. Yara urges her brother to regain his self-confidence since she needs his help to travel to Slaver’s Bay and secure an alliance with Daenerys. Yara plans to return to the Iron Islands and seek revenge against Euron, but tells Theon that if he’s irreparably broken, he should kill himself and be done with it – but if he wishes to journey with her to Meereen, she needs the real Theon Greyjoy. At that moment, Theon fiercely locks eyes with Yara, a gaze reminiscent of his former, iron born self. Pleased that Theon’s old personality is resurfacing, she kisses him on the forehead and proceeds to go bed the prostitute she was fondling earlier.
Following the Second Siege of Meereen, Theon and Yara meet with Daenerys and Tyrion Lannister, who recognises Theon from his visit to Winterfell years ago. Tyrion reminds Theon of how he teased the dwarf about his height and sees this as unbecoming of a noble, which Theon acknowledges was long ago. When Tyrion informs Daenerys about Theon’s alleged role in the deaths of Bran and Rickon Stark, Theon insists that he did not, but he did commit other crimes, which he has paid for. Theon explains to Daenerys that Euron murdered their father, usurped the Salt Throne and would have killed them too had they not fled. He offers to provide Daenerys with a hundred ships in return for helping them eliminate Euron and recognising the independence of the Iron Islands, on the basis that if Daenerys refuses them and accepts Euron’s offer, Euron will kill her and rule the Seven Kingdoms himself, though Theon makes it clear that it is to support Yara’s claim and not his, deeming himself unfit to rule, to Daenerys’s surprise.
Daenerys agrees to their terms in return that the Iron born cease raiding, pillaging, and raping the mainlanders. Yara is reluctant at first but assents to the agreement when Theon gives her a nod. Some time later, Theon and Yara begin the voyage back to Westeros with Daenerys and her retinue, along with the Iron Fleet, the Dothraki, the Unsullied and the armies of House Tyrell and Dorne, with Ellaria Sand and Olenna Tyrell having heard of Theon and Yara’s actions and followed them in declaring for Daenerys.
Yara and Theon attend Daenerys’s council meeting, after which, as part of Tyrion’s plan to lay siege to King’s Landing, Theon and Yara are tasked with escorting Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes back to Dorne. On the voyage back to Sunspear, Ellaria drinks Iron born liquor with Yara and Theon, 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, lead by the imposing Silence, which is significantly larger than the Black Wind, ramming into it and using a levy to board Yara’s forces. Despite fighting bravely and cutting down many of Euron’s men, Theon watches helplessly as Euron takes Yara hostage, daring him to intervene. After witnessing the defeated soldiers being tortured and mutilated by Euron’s men, Theon returns to his despondent state and jumps overboard. Upon surfacing, Theon can only watch as Euron’s flagship sails away, having decimated their entire armada, and sees the corpses of Obara and Nymeria Sand impaled and hanging from the ship’s bowsprit.
Theon is later rescued from the Narrow Sea by one of the few surviving ships loyal to Yara. When their captain, Harrag, questions him about Yara’s fate, Theon claims that he tried to save her. An unimpressed Harrag chides Theon, begrudgingly telling him he would be dead if that were true.
Theon later returns to Dragon stone and is shocked to be met on the beach by none other than Jon Snow; the two have not seen each other since Jon left Winterfell for the Wall, over six years ago. Theon hesitantly greets him and asks Jon if Sansa is all right; Jon angrily grabs him by the collar, saying that Theon saving Sansa from the Boltons is the only reason he won’t kill him then and there for betraying House Stark in the first place. Theon informs Jon and Davos that Yara was taken captive by Euron and he needs Daenerys’s help to get her back, only for Jon to tell him that she has left Dragon stone to carry out her own attack on the Lannister armies.
Theon accompanies Jon’s group to the meeting with Queen Cersei, where Euron attempts to force him to swear fealty in order to save Yara. Theon refuses, openly admitting Euron’s own dwarf jokes to Tyrion aren’t very good. Later, back at Dragon stone, Theon meets with Jon before he prepares to return to the North with Daenerys. As they reflect on their enmities, Theon admits he was conflicted between his birth family and the Starks, though Jon retorts that Ned was more of a father than Balon ever was. Jon assures Theon that he is both a Stark and a Greyjoy, encouraging him to rescue his sister from Euron.
At the beach, Theon attempts to rally Yara’s remaining supporters. However, Harrag refuses, chiding Theon as a coward for abandoning Yara. Theon fights Harrag, though the captain gains the upper hand and almost beats Theon to death when he refuses to stop. Unaware of Theon’s castration at the hands of Ramsay, Harrag fails to injure Theon by kneeing him in the groin and is beat into submission. Finally earning the respect of the iron born, Theon rallies them to rescue Yara, washing his bloodied face in the salt water before leaving.
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 the Silence. 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, proceeding to head butt him, knocking him to the ground, due to his earlier abandonment of her. However, she then drags him to his feet, and the two share a mutual look of respect.
The two then make their escape, spanning their minimalist forces across Theon’s three ships. While Yara expresses her desire to reclaim the Iron Islands, Theon is somewhat forlorn, despite Yara’s promise of refuge from the threat of White Walkers on the mainland. Theon states that he will follow his Queen, but Yara recognises he wants to fight in the North. Having done his duty to House Greyjoy, she lets him go.
Theon makes it to Winterfell, where he is greeted by both Daenerys and Sansa. After he explains to Daenerys that Yara has sailed with her men to retake the Iron Islands from Euron in the name of House Targaryen, he asks permission from Sansa to fight for the North, and they share a hug as they are reunited. Theon later takes part in a meeting in preparation for the great battle to come, and announces that he will defend Bran Stark in the gods wood, as reparation for having previously taken the castle from him. Theon is later seen sharing a hot drink with Sansa shortly before the army of the White Walkers arrives.
In the Battle of Winterfell, Theon stands guard for Bran along with the Iron born and several other soldiers. When the Wights attack, he fires several arrows with dragon glass arrowheads, but it does little to stop the onslaught. When the Night King arrives with several other White Walkers to kill Bran, Bran calls Theon a good man and thanks him. Having redeemed himself, Theon nods at the Night King, challenging him, the Night King steps forward and Theon charges at the him with a dragon glass spear. The Night King easily stops Theon and breaks his spear in half, then takes hold of the sharp end and stabs Theon through the stomach with it. Theon falls to the ground, and bleeds to death as the Night King makes his approach towards Bran. Theon’s death was not in vain, however, as it bought just enough time for Arya Stark to arrive and kill the Night King, preventing Bran’s death.
In the aftermath of the battle, Theon’s body is retrieved and put on a funeral pyre. He is mourned by Sansa, who places a pin with the insignia of House Stark on his chest piece, as a sign of gratitude and recognition of what Theon did for Sansa and her family since they escaped from Ramsay. Theon’s body is then burnt along with the thousand others who died in the battle against the dead.
- “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 displaying his family pride to Ros
Before his capture by Ramsay Snow, Theon is shown to be arrogant, narcissistic and vain, but fundamentally not malicious. For example, when he returned to the Iron Islands, he expected to receive a hero’s welcome for being the only living heir of Balon Greyjoy. He was both baffled and offended that he did not receive such a welcome when he landed in Pyke. Also, in order to appear like a strong, accomplished young man, he would gloat over things in an almost ridiculous way – he gloated to Osha that he was the man who captured her, even though Robb Stark fought and captured her.
Beneath his confident exterior, however, Theon is insecure, weak, and unsure of himself. This stems particularly from his conflicted family allegiances. After his father’s failed rebellion against Robert Baratheon, he was taken from Pyke when he was nine years old to be raised at Winterfell by the Stark family as their ward/hostage. Even though he grew up alongside the Stark children – Robb Stark and Theon considered each other best friends – Theon never forgot that he was an outsider since he was not of their blood, and would be executed if his father tried to rebel again. This outsider status weighed heavily on Theon, demonstrated when Ros and Tyrion Lannister mention it.
This insecurity eventually leads him to question which is his true family: the Starks or the Greyjoys. When Robb sends Theon to Pyke to convince his father Balon and sister Yara to help the Starks fight against the Lannisters, Balon and Yara are initially successful in using their family bond to sway Theon to their side to instead fight the Starks and not aid them against the Lannisters. Even though Theon agrees to go along with his father’s plan, this still causes a great deal of conflict in Theon and he almost warns Robb of Balon’s plan before deciding against it. Theon tries to become a ruthless iron born raider to gain his biological father’s approval and find a true home but the conscience that he developed living with the Starks makes it difficult for him to live up to these expectations. When he seizes Winterfell, he promises Bran that no one will be harmed if Bran surrenders – which is something an honourable northerner would promise but no true iron born would ever do – but minutes later, Theon shatters his promise by beheading Ser Rodrik Cassel when Cassel spits in his face, an unforgivable act among the iron born.
The seizure of Winterfell shows that Theon has tactical skills, but also that, like his father, he is a total ignorant in strategy. He fails to consider what Yara explains him very bluntly: that Winterfell is surrounded by hostile forces and too far from the sea, thus the iron born garrison cannot be reinforced and eventually will be destroyed. Yara urges Theon to leave Winterfell, but he foolishly insists to keep his “prize”, refusing to understand how poor his position is.
Even throughout Theon’s “rule” of Winterfell, he is shown to be in a constant battle with himself, implying he knows deep down that invading his childhood home for his father was far from the right thing to do. Maester Luwin even points out to Theon that all of this is just an act to live up to his father’s expectations and that Theon himself must know that his betrayal at Winterfell is wrong. Theon resignedly admits to Luwin that he is correct, but that he can’t stop because he has already come too far to be forgiven, and refuses to join the Night’s Watch, where all of his crimes would be forgiven, out of shame (and partially out of fear that Jon Snow might kill him in retribution for allegedly murdering Bran and Rickon). It is only after Theon becomes a prisoner of the Boltons and realises that his father has no intention of rescuing him that he admits to himself and to Ramsay Snow that Ned Stark was his “real father” and laments Ned’s execution in King’s Landing.
After being tortured by Ramsay Snow in the dungeons of the Dread fort for over a year, Theon’s original personality has been seemingly obliterated, and he is little more than a broken and half-insane prisoner. Among various tortures, Ramsay cut off several of his fingers and toes, flayed off sections of his skin, and even had Myranda and Violet arouse Theon in order to castrate him. Ramsay even mockingly renamed him “Reek”, physically and psychologically coercing Theon into denying his identity as “Theon Greyjoy” and accepting “Reek” as his new name and identity. Ramsay also psychologically tortured him with fake escape attempts or promises of rescue, before recapturing him. As a result, Reek thinks any possibility of escape or fighting back against Ramsay is simply another ruse. He lives in great fear of Ramsay, desperate to avoid angering him and is in such a state of traumatic shock that he is very withdrawn and submissive.
However, despite his previous actions, Reek appears to have retained a strong love and loyalty to the remaining Starks, demonstrated on several occasions: he is visibly shocked when Ramsay gloats about Robb’s death, briefly holding a razor to Ramsay’s neck and appearing on the verge of slitting his throat (though he doesn’t, because Roose and Locke are present); he appears hesitant about telling them that Bran and Rickon may be sheltering at Castle Black with Jon Snow, knowing that it may lead to their deaths, but does so anyway to avoid angering Ramsay; he silently cries and briefly looks angry when Ramsay rapes Sansa, and does his best (or what he thinks is the best) to keep Sansa from angering Ramsay and suffering more at his hands, and even goes as far as to confess to Sansa that he deserved what he suffered under Ramsay and that he deserved to be Reek for what he did to the Stark family. However, when pushed too far, Theon ultimately abandons his Reek persona and chooses his loyalty to the Starks over Ramsay, by killing Myranda and helping Sansa escape from Winterfell, though still believing himself unworthy of anyone’s forgiveness for betraying the Starks, who were the only ones who ever treated him like family.
Despite this admission, Theon still expresses shock after learning of his father’s death when he returns to the Iron Islands. Though his sister Yara is still angry with him for refusing to be rescued, they reconcile when Theon offers to support Yara’s claim to the Salt Throne. While initially despondent, Theon regains some of his confidence during the Kings moot to select the next ruler of the Iron Islands. Giving a brief rousing speech, he manages to convince many of the gathered Iron born to join him in supporting his sister’s claim to the Salt Throne, his speaking skills demonstrating that the original Theon Greyjoy is starting to resurface, though he and Yara are outmanoeuvred by Euron, who wins many over by offering to seal an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen.
After escaping Euron with his sister Yara, Theon slides back into his despondent state and is troubled by his role in the death of the orphan boys; believing that he should hang for his crimes. Yara counsels him to rediscover himself so that they can secure an alliance with Daenerys and retake the Iron Islands from their uncle Euron. While negotiating with Daenerys, Theon does not display reluctance for the iron born to cease raping, pillaging and reaving, and nods at Yara to tell her to agree with Daenerys, demonstrating that despite his recovery, he is still greatly traumatised by his torture by Ramsay, and apparently wishes to lead a more peaceful life in order to prevent it from happening again.
By the time of the alliance between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, Theon has shown himself to have changed with one particular act: he fought Harrag over the next move of the surviving iron born. This act shows: Theon, who once demanded the respect of the iron born he had not earned when he first returned to Pyke, approaches the iron born as an equal and attempts to rally them to rescue Yara; he was willing to admit publicly that he was a coward to flee from Euron, something he never would have done previously; furthermore, Theon will fight to the death over what he believes, instead of fleeing or submitting as he has in the past. Even though Harrag was significantly stronger than him, he continued to fight, and when Harrag loses his advantage Theon seizes his chance and overpowers him, finally earning the respect of his sister’s warriors. This shows that the Theon who betrayed House Stark, as well as the Reek who was a prisoner and lapdog of Ramsay Bolton, is dead and gone, and that the new Theon Greyjoy stands in his place, a brave and strong man willing to fight for what he believes in.
- Skilled Swordsmen – Theon is proficient with swords.
- Skilled Archer – He is also capable in archery.
- Skilled Spearmen – He is accomplished using spears in combat, shown in the Battle Of Winterfell.