We need to talk about Theon.
This show has taken us on a lot of wild rides when it comes to character development. But if you had told me in season 1 that my favorite character at the end of all this would be Theon Fucking Greyjoy I would’ve laughed for about 6 days straight. And yet, here we are.
This man, a boy who was taken from his home at a young age, who was raised alongside the Starks, his siblings bound by love, not blood, who was the ward and honorary son of Eddard Stark, has come such a long way. Because let’s be honest, even before he betrayed Robb, he was annoying af. Then he went running off to the Iron Islands, betrayed the Starks (who had been nothing but kind to him), and all to please a father who was so unloving he would barely acknowledge him as his son.
And along came Ramsay Snow, who was honestly one of the most terrifying people in all of Westeros.. Theon’s scenes with Ramsay almost made me stop watching the show. I cried through all of them. They were horrifying, every single one of them. Watching Theon’s transformation into Reek was one of the most difficult things this show put us through, because even though he’d been a shithead, and even though he’d done horrible things, he was losing all of his humanity. It was heartbreaking, and how can anyone help but start to root for a man who’s hardly a person at all anymore?
His character arc from Reek to man who died saving Bran in 8.03 was absolutely spectacular, and most importantly, not at all linear. It was clear that he still cared about Sansa after the scene on her wedding night, yet he still betrayed her when she asked him to light the candle in the window. He saved Sansa from the Bolton’s, got her to safety (by Westeros standards), and seemed to be on the up-and-up again by the time he got back to the Iron Islands... and then he abandoned Yara when she needed him most, only to finally come back for her. It’s one of the most realistic arcs in the whole story because it shows us that change is gradual. There will be triumphs. There will be mistakes. Nobody is perfect.
Theon was complicated, tormented, and haunted by his past both physically and mentally. But all of those things, as Bran said, led him to where he finally ended up: at Winterfell, his home.
Honestly, Theon was a lot of things over the years. A coward. A traitor. A usurper. A murderer. A victim of torture. A snitch. He was all of these things, and many more. But he died a hero, defending the family he loved, and that is how he will be remembered.
Thank you Theon.
A Hero of the Battle of Winterfell.
You will be missed.
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