Characters: Game Of Thrones House Greyjoy
Click here to return to the main character page
open/close all folders
: "We are Ironborn. We're not subjects, we're not slaves. We do not plow the field or toil in the mine. We take what is ours."
Stannis Baratheon: "As sailors and warriors, the Ironborn are unparalleled. But they are not soldiers. They have no discipline, no strategy, no unity. In a battle, each man fights only for his own glory."
The Great House of the Iron Islands, a poor, unforgiving archipelago to the west of the continent of Westeros. Iron Islanders (or Ironborn) invaded and raided periodically the Seven Kingdoms for resources until the Targaryen invasion put an end to it, something that they didn't take well. The Ironborn have contempt for the continental lifestyle and their rule (which they call "southern oppression") and have risen in rebellion several times.
- Adaptational Villainy/Adaptational Wimp: The Ironborn in the series are less competent and rougher and dumber than their book counterparts. For instance, Dagmer Cleftjaw is an Obviously Evil Mentor rather than the more avuncular figure in the books. He goads Theon into doing evil actions like killing children (in the books, this is done by Ramsay Bolton acting as the first "Reek") and they openly sell him out to the Boltons in a Cavalry Betrayal which was again part of a gambit undertaken by Reek/Ramsay. The death of Ralf Kenning comes from poisoning by crannogmen from the Neck and not an axe to the head and the fall of Moat Cailin happens because of a series of political factors depriving the fort of their main force, leaving only a smaller garrison reduced to straits. It's like they have become the Flanderization of the usual insults given to them in the books.
- Animal Motifs / Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Their sigil is the Kraken. The Greyjoys think its intimidating and even Olenna thinks it's an impressive sigil. Ramsay Snow however, notes that it's a bit truer than they would want to believe:
Ramsay Snow: Kraken. Mmm. Strong as long as they're in the sea. When you take them out of the water, no bones. They collapse under their proud weight and slump into a heap of nothing. You'd think they know that. Unfortunately, they're not very bright.
- A Real Man Is a Killer:
Theon Greyjoy: You're not a man in the Iron Islands 'till you've killed your first enemy!
- Badass Boast: Their motto "We do not sow" — they are not content to live menial lives as laborers or slaves, they are conquerors and they will take what is theirs with iron and strength.
- Badass Longcoat: The clothing worn by Balon, Yara, and some of their men are heavily reminiscent of this, making them look less like Vikings and more like pirates.
- Badass Creed: "What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."
- Butt Monkey: Everyone hates them, and they're always making incredibly poor decisions that lead to them getting their asses kicked in one way or another. From the books...
- Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: In-universe they have this reputation due to attempts to rebel whenever they think the have the slightest chance of winning (and even when they really don't).
- Demoted to Extra: A significant portion of their subplots and screen-time were removed from the first four seasons. Namely, Aeron and Victarion Greyjoy are entirely absent.
- Dysfunctional Family: They pretty much all hate each other, and if Balon despised Theon before he was castrated, as of the Season 3 finale, he wouldn't piss on Theon if his heart were on fire. That said, Balon is fond of Yara, and Yara is surprisingly protective of Theon.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Ironborn in general are this to the Vikings, and Viking domains in the smaller British Isles (Man and the Orkneys) in particular. Their different religion, restive nature and the fact that they and the mainlanders mutually despise each other also likens them to the Irish. The show's costumes and props, however, tend to de-emphasize the more obvious Viking-like aspects that they have in the books.
- Horny Vikings: Less so than in the books, but they still bear more than a passing similarity.
- Impoverished Patrician: Since Aegon's conquest they've had to eke out a living on the small and inhospitable islands, supplemented by raiding. They are, without doubt, the poorest of the Lords Paramount. From the books...
- Informed Ability: The Greyjoys and the Iron Islanders are supposed to be feared badass vikings who once humiliated Tywin Lannister by torching his fleet at Lannisport. But aside from isolated stealth raids and easy targets against small garrisons, we hardly see any display of their vaunted ferocity and battle prowess. Even Yara Greyjoy despite her skill in battle, and despite having conscripted the "best killers" in the Iron Islands to aid her quest to rescue Theon, is outfought by a grinning shirtless maniac and is promptly chased away by said maniac's pack of hounds.
- Weirdly averted with Theon, whom is the only Greyjoy who has shown decent skill in battle (in particular being an expert archer and one of Robb's best soldiers) and yet he is the hated Butt Monkey of the Iron Islands and the North.
- Jerkass: All three Greyjoys we've met so far were introduced as complete assholes; although to be fair, Yara is extremely protective, in her own way, of Theon, at least as of the end of Season 3, where she resolves to rescue him from the Dreadfort, despite Balon's having given up on him, and by that time Theon had all remaining jerkassery beaten, flayed, and ripped out of him.
- Pirate: A whole family of them
- Proud Raider Race: A deconstruction, they have the prowess, but their uncompromising pride carries a poor strategic thinking, which makes this house the Iron Butt Monkey of Westeros. Stannis Baratheon notes in the History and Lore videos that even the Greyjoys naval superiority is let down by their lack of discipline which allowed him to destroy their proud Iron Fleet at Fair Isle during the Greyjoy Rebellion.
Theon: Known for their skills in archery, navigation and lovemaking.
Maester Luwin: And failed rebellions.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Their specialty.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Envy.
- Shout-Out: With their banner being a squid, their populace degenerate and violent, and their religion's motto being "What is dead may never die," the Greyjoys invoke many of the tertiary elements of the Cthulhu Mythos.
- Spanner in the Works: The Greyjoys capture of important Northern areas, especially Moat Cailin and Winterfell completely sabotaged Robb's Northern campaign, trapping him in the South with his army, preventing him from returning to retake his lands.
- Stupid Evil: They tend to attack whenever they think they can gain anything from it, even if they can't actually hold onto it because they aren't very effective on land against trained soldiers. If you have other enemies to deal with this can actually makes them dangerous to be around because though they may be doomed to fail and are too short sighted to be initially reasoned with they could still end up taking you down with them in the process.
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men
King Balon Greyjoy
"No man gives me a crown. I pay the iron price. I will take my crown. That is who I am. That is who we have always been."
"The ironborn will reave and pillage as it was in the old days all along the northern coast. We'll spread out dominion across the green lands securing the Neck and everything above. Every stronghold will fall to us one by one."
Lord Balon Greyjoy is Lord of the Iron Isles, and the Lord Reaper of Pyke — capital of the Isles. More than a decade ago, Lord Balon claimed the title of Iron King and rose in rebellion against King Robert. Robert, Eddard and Jon Arryn put an end to it, destroying his army and killing his eldest sons. Ned Stark then took Balon's youngest surviving son Theon as hostage to keep Balon loyal to the Iron Throne. Balon has been itching for revenge and another shot at independence ever since, and the great houses' distraction with the War of the Five Kings has given him the opportunity to crown himself Iron King once again. Instead of attacking the traditional Ironborn enemies (Tullys/Mallisters, Lannisters, and Tyrells), Balon unleashed his forces on the North, which was largely undefended due to Robb's campaign in the south.
Played By: N/A
The still-unseen brother of Balon Greyjoy.
- The Ghost: All we know about Euron is that he exists. HBO's supplementary material shows him as Balon's only brother; it's still unclear if the other brothers have been Adapted Out or not.
Prince Theon Greyjoy
"My real father lost his head at King's Landing."
"I'm a Greyjoy. I can't fight for Robb and my father both."
For Theon's Reek persona, see Game Of Thrones House Bolton
Retainers and Household.
Ned Stark's hostage and ward. Theon was technically a Stark hostage to guarantee his father Balon's good behavior
. Due to his friendship with Robb Stark, his position in the Stark household became significantly more voluntary after Ned Stark's death. Theon betrayed the Starks, however, after Robb sent him to obtain Greyjoy support for the Starks in the War of the Five Kings, when Theon learned that his father intended to attack the North. Theon reluctantly sided with his father and joined the Greyjoy campaign, during which he managed to seize Winterfell with a handful of men. His seizure eventually failed when the Boltons (led by Ramsay Snow) besieged and retook Winterfell (allegedly on behalf of the Starks, though Ramsay actually sacked and burned Winterfell, which they blamed on Theon and the Ironborn), in the course of which Theon was captured. He has two older brothers ("Maron" and "Rodrik" in the books), both slain, and an older sister, Yara. From the books...
- 0% Approval Rating: When he seizes Winterfell, none of the Northerners are favourably inclined toward him. His subsequent actions pretty much results in every single Northerner wanting to kill him.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Show!Reek doesn't look so physically deteriorated and aged as his books' counterpart. However, given in the books some time passes between the fall of Winterfell and the re-appearance of Reek, it may yet be coming.
- Adaptation Expansion: His captivity and torture are only given mention after the fact in the books.
- Adaptational Heroism: While his overall actions aren't that much different between book and tv series, Theon's arrogance and cruelty are toned down in the show, and where as in the books there's a mutual dislike between him and the Starks (save Robb) in the show he's like family.
- Agony of the Feet: During his first torture session with the Boltons, Theon has a drill very slowly cranked through his left foot. It leaves a particularly hideous scar. In Season 4, he has a very severe and noticeable limp, no doubt a permanent reminder of this particular experience, and, of course, the castration.
- Adaptational Wimp: Book!Theon actually is attractive, occasionally clever, a good fighter and a ladies man. Show!Theon... not so much.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Abusive of Jon Snow, a lech, an oathbreaker, and a murderer of children, but damn if Ramsay Snow's torture doesn't make you pity Theon.
- And Zoidberg: Bran prays for the safety of his brothers and friends "and Theon too, I suppose."
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Yara.
- Arch-Enemy: As far as he's concerned, that fucking hornblower. That "fucking hornblower" turns out to be Ramsay Snow, who proves himself to be so very, very much nastier an archenemy than just an irritating musician.
- The Archer: Makes a point of saying that the Greyjoys are famed for their archery. His skills with bow and arrow are excellent and he puts them to good use saving Bran from the Wildlings and later killing the Ravens at the Twins to ensure that Tywin Lannister would not get any news until a treaty was formed.
- Really, it's suffice to say that his skill as an archer is the one thing that Theon doesn't screw up! Tragically, given how Ramsay Snow's been treating his fingers, Theon might not even have that anymore.
- Attempted Rape: Saved by Ramsay Snow, of all people.
- Awesome McCoolname: While it may have no particular meaning in-universe, the creators would have known that Theon is Greek for God. And Greyjoy is at least a bit foreboding, even without the history attached to it. (Whether or not he's as awesome as his name is another matter...) From the books...
- Bad Boss: His employees are not any better.
- Beard of Sorrow: In Season 3. Justified, given that his captors haven't allowed him to shave.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: It's suggested that his feelings for Ros go a little beyond wanting her for her body. Nothing ever comes of this, though, considering Ros is skewered with crossbow bolts and Theon...well, Theon's fate makes Ros look lucky.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Theon's manages to easily take over Winterfell but that's because every abled body man is out fighting with Robb Stark. It quickly becomes apparent that he's in over his head.
- Blood Knight: Always smirking when there is the prospect of violence going on.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Sold to the enemy by his fellow Ironborn right after exhorting them to die fighting alongside him.
- Brain Bleach: After realizing that the woman he was groping and tried to seduce was actually his sister.
- Break the Haughty: His adult life, basically. In Season 3, however, it gets so very much worse though, with pretty much everything he holds dear being (literally in some horrible, horrible cases) ripped away from him.
- His skill with the bow is almost certainly taken away from him along with many of his fingers.
- His sexual prowess is taken away in probably the most horrifying possible way when Ramsay Snow castrates him.
- His status as a Lord and his place in the Greyjoy family is taken away in two tragic ways, with him being tortured to accept "Reek" as his new name by Ramsay after Ramsay decided Theon was "too noble" a name for someone like him, and his own father utterly disowning him due to him "not being a man anymore" and abandoning him to his fate.
- Butt Monkey: Distrusted and treated like dirt by pretty much everyone except Robb.
- This becomes even more pronounced in Season 2, where not only do his own people treat him with contempt, but he manages to make a fool of himself even after taking Winterfell. Remaining a Butt Monkey while you're the leader of a conquering army is quite an achievement.
- Nearly all of his scenes in Season 3 are him being tortured. By Season 4, he's utterly broken.
- Calling the Old Man Out: In "What is Dead May Never Die", after putting up with the constant abuse from his father, for the horrific "crime" of being the price Balon had to pay for losing his sorry little war a decade prior, he snaps with the quote below. He gets a smack across the face for his trouble. Sadly, he still decides to forsake the Starks and join the Greyjoy cause at the end of the episode. That said, it did seem to break through Balon's skull for a short time. That or it just made him think back to the deaths of his other two sons.
: You act as if I volunteered
to go! You gave me away
, if you remember?! The day you bent the knee to Robert Baratheon! After he crushed
you! Did you "take what was yours
- It was possibly both, that Theon's words made Balon think about his dead sons, and for like a few seconds he understood the truth: that it was ultimately his own foolish pride and ambition that got his sons killed, not Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark. He lashed out at Theon rather than face the unpalatable truth.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: After being sold out by the Ironborn, he's revealed in Season 3 to be a prisoner being subjected to it by his captors. Despite asking him questions, they don't actually seem to be interested in his answers.
- Conflicting Loyalty: His biological family versus the one that raised him. He ultimately chooses his biological family, neatly summed up by his entry and image quotes, above.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In spite of all his other failings, Theon is an amazing archer and helped Robb win several of his initial battles. Everything went downhill for him after his Face-Heel Turn, and thanks to Ramsay Snow, he hasn't even got the archery anymore.
- Crucified Hero Shot: He's introduced in Season 3 as bound to an X-shaped cross and being subjected to torture. He spends a lot of time this way.
- Despair Event Horizon: He's already past this during his torture by Ramsay and the news that Robb Stark is dead and Ramsay's own father murdered him probably killed any bits of hope he had left.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?:
- He expects a grand welcome during his homecoming. He doesn't get it.
- He also expects the people of Winterfell to at least show him a little respect, considering he invaded it with armed soldiers and occupied it. Noooooooope. Everyone from crippled children to helpless old men gives him lip and snark.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: Averted. He only gets castrated once he becomes more sympathetic and has given up his evil acts.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Before his Face-Heel Turn, he appears disgusted that Jaime Lannister acts polite after having put several bannermen to the sword, suggesting they do the same.
- He's genuinely disgusted when he finds out that the woman he's been hitting on is his sister. Incest seems to be one of the few things he won't do.
- Evil Former Friend: To the Starks in general and Robb in particular.
- Expy: For his reputation as a killer of the two youngest Stark Princes, Theon takes on the role of Richard III in the mystery of the Princes in the Tower. As a result of that action, he becomes "Reek", a tortured bent man who walks with a pronounced limp, much like the hunchback of infamy.
- Face Death with Dignity/Defiant to the End: He attempts to do this, planning to charge into battle against the Northern forces that have come for him and kill as many men as he can before he dies. Instead, his own men knock him out and sell him to the enemy.
- His final desperate to cling to his name — and more than his name, his identity as a Greyjoy, a descendant of kings and warriors — in the face of Ramsay's increasingly brutal beatings has shades of this.
- Face-Heel Turn: Began the series as Robb's best friend, and then betrayed him when he was sent to the Iron Islands to treat with his father.
- Failed a Spot Check: He probably should have spent more time listening to Maester Luwin about the other Houses and their respective sigils, since despite being flayed on an X-shaped Cross, he still doesn't figure out who's responsible for torturing him.
- Fingore: During his first torture session, a thin blade is slowly forced under one of his fingernails. When Ramsay replaces the torturer and carries on the sessions by himself, his first "game" ends with Theon's pinky finger getting flayed; an experience so painful that Theon is left begging for Ramsay to amputate it altogether. Later, Theon is seen wearing a bandage over much of his right hand, implying that Ramsay has been doing the same for his other fingers.
- Foil: To Jon Snow. Both are raised under the House of Stark and desperately want to be Starks despite being a bastard and war prisoner respective. Both suffer from "Well Done, Son!" Guy. Both are Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. The difference is Jon maintains his honor while Theon betrays his adopted family for his blood father who doesn't even like him.
- Glory Hound: He's desperate to make a name for himself somehow.
- Going Native: A lot of his problems come from the fact that his mindset is far more Northern than Ironborn, but he refuses to admit it.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Maester Luwin and Dagmer are essentially this for him after he captures Winterfell. Dagmer usually wins out, which only serves to accelerate Theon's downfall.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Appears to be quite jealous of Tyrion and the Lannisters due to their wealth and power.
- Later, of Yara's favorite status with their father.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Slips into this after being forced to fight with Yara for his position as heir to Balon.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Robb. Seems to hold him in regard out of any other Stark and he is usually the first to stand by any of Robb's decisions.
Theon: Am I your brother? Now and always?
Robb: Now and always.
- Heel Face Door Slam: Late season 2, Luwin attempts to reason with a desperate Theon that he is in over his head. Theon himself admits as much but then states that he's in too deep. He can't return home because he'd be returning a failure. He's too scared to join the Night Watch and face Jon Snow after everything he's done.
- Heel Realisation: In Series 3, long after his antics have caused every member of his adopted family to despise him.
- I Have Your Son: Theon was raised by Ned Stark as insurance for Balon Greyjoy's good behavior.
- I Am X, Son of Y: Theon throws his dad's name around quite a few times to boast about his status. Most people have no idea who he's talking about.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: He begs Ramsay to kill him in 'Mhysa.' Ramsay doesn't oblige, partly because his father still needs Theon as a bargaining chip, but mostly because he's having too much fun in making Theon's life a living hell.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Starts out as this in Season 2. He acts out on his anger at his father for sending him off, and his disdain for the Starks for running his chance at becoming a ruler when he was made to be a squire for them, by forcibly taking control of their castle. Becomes a Butt Monkey quickly after his takeover, as Bran (a crippled eleven year old boy) flat-out tells him that he rejects his bid for power and acts bored when he makes his demands, gets told off by the people and servants in Winterfell, and even spit on by one of them. Theon quickly becomes a Villain Protagonist after the last incident, brutally hacking the head off the person who spit on him and killing two children then burning their bodies just to make Winterfell believe the Stark children were dead. Theon's received a horrific dose of Laser-Guided Karma by Ramsay Snow that has caused him to make a Heel-Face Turn.
- Ignored Epiphany: Theon acknowledges the truth of Maester Luwin telling him that he's not the evil man he's been acting as, and can make amends for his treachery by joining the Night's Watch. However, Theon feels that he has already gone too far.
- Earlier, Tyrion calls Theon out on how he's joined House Stark in all but name. He quickly moves on, but had he listened, he'd have either put more thought into his visit with his father or rejected the Greyjoys outright. Instead, he just assumed everything would be fine, to the detriment of all.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Theon's arrogance has a whole lot to do with the fact that he grew up as a Stark ward/glorified Stark prisoner and was constantly reminded of how he should feel grateful to his adoptive family/captors.
- Insistent Terminology: Insists on being referred to as "Lord Greyjoy" on account of his heritage. When he takes Winterfell, he takes the title 'Prince of Winterfell,' and insists that people refer to him as "Prince Theon."
- This, like so many, many other examples of his faults is used to horrifying effect by Ramsay Snow whom after torturing and mutilating him to near insanity, playing sick mind games to break him down to a sobbing wreck whenever he sees him and personally castrating him, decides that "Theon" is too much a "lord's name" for him — there was even a King in the North called Theon Stark — as he is nothing but "stinking meat" now and thus his name should reflect that.
- It's All About Me: He doesn't take much consideration for anything but his own immediate gratification and how other people view him.
- Jerkass: Theon is not pleasant, even before his Face-Heel Turn.
- Kick the Dog: He has behaved abusively toward Ros and Osha and other characters don't seem to trust or like him. In Season 2, his capture of Winterfell and subsequent actions are basically one long exercise in this trope. Notably his killing of Ser Rodrik.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: A literal example when he beats and then kicks Lorren for letting Bran and Rickon escape and then imply it was Theon's fault because he took Osha into his bed.
- Initially subjected to this himself when held captive and tortured by the Boltons. However, Ramsay's torture of him is so over-the-top and cruel that eventually it actually makes the viewer start to sympathize with Theon again.
- The Lancer: To Robb's The Hero in Season 1.
- Loser Son of Loser Dad: He's seen this way in-universe. The Greyjoys have become the punchline to a joke in Westeros after Balon's failed rebellion.
Jaime: I saw the youngest Greyjoy boy at Winterfell. It was like seeing a shark on a mountaintop.
Jory: Theon. He's a good lad.
Jaime: I doubt it.
- Male Frontal Nudity: In "The Wolf and the Lion".
- Meaningful Rename: Ramsay renames him "Reek" in "Mhysa".
- Misplaced Accent: Despite being from the Iron Islands, Theon sounds Northern, likely due to his time with the Stark family.
- It's particularly noticable in Season 2 where the Ironborn characters sound vastly different than Theon does.
- Yara also pronounces his name as "Tee-on", not "They-on". This implies that even he has forgotten how to say his own name.
- Hilariously, when one looks at the background, one finds that the name Theon is in fact a given name in the North. With one of the Kings of Winter (Theon Stark the Hungry Wolf, mentioned in chapter 69 and 66 of GoT and ACCK respectively), so it may not be forgetting as much as it is he just doesn't care which he says it. This is fitting, considering the Ironborn and the Northmen have the same basic cultural origin, with both being the last descendants of the First Men.
- Moral Event Horizon: The taking of Winterfell and execution of Ser Rodrik are treated this way in-universe.
- The execution of the two orphans to pass them as Bran and Rickon also counts in and out of the series, with Theon himself remaining stricken with guilt and regret over these murders in Season 3.
- My God, What Have I Done?: It's subtle, but when Theon kills Ser Rodrik, he's shown standing and staring in the rain, and you can see this etched on his face. Later, when he hoists the corpses of two children he claims were Bran and Rickon, he immediately looks down in regret and guilt.
- In Season 3, Theon begins to voice his regrets over betraying the Starks after he realizes Balon Greyjoy will never truly love him as a son like Ned Stark did. Important to note is that all of these revelations come while he is free from captivity and under the impression that he is about to be reunited with his sister.
Theon: My real father lost his head at King's Landing.
- No Holds Barred Beat Down: Unleashes a surprising one on Lorren.
- The Oathbreaker: He broke his oath to fight by Robb's side until his dying day.
- Parental Substitute: Ned Stark for him. He finally realizes and admits it in Season 3, long after his actions have caused most of his adopted family to despise him and want him dead.
- Pet the Dog:
- Despite his faults, he seems to be a loyal friend to Robb and one of his most ready supporters, until he betrays him.
- He still makes the effort to gently persuade Bran to hand over the castle, and promises to treat the people as well as their previous lord did, in clear attempt to justify his own actions. He doesn't take it well when they don't show him an inkling of respect in spite of this.
- When Ser Rodrik gives him a "Reason You Suck" Speech, Theon's more forgiving than many other villains in the series; his first response is to basically tell Ser Rodrik that he should be quiet, or else. That's when Ser Rodrik spits in his face with everybody watching. Theon's response to that is to order Ser Rodrik imprisoned, but before he finishes the sentence he is interrupted by Dagmer, who tells him that if Theon does anything less than execute Ser Rodrik after an insult like that, nobody will respect him. The whole reason Theon took Winterfell in the first place was because he wanted his men to start respecting him, so this finally convinces him to do it. Even so, he still has a My God, What Have I Done? reaction as described above, and if Dagmer hadn't poked that particular sore spot then Ser Rodrik would have been spared.
- Proud Raider Race Guy: He's trying his damnedest to be this.
You're not a man in the Iron Islands 'till you've killed your first enemy!
- A lot of his problems come from being born in a culture that believes A Real Man Is a Killer, but raised by another culture that believes in Honor Before Reason, and frequently getting his wires crossed. An example of this is when he talks about how shameful it would be to be known as "the Greyjoy who ran," not realizing that the Ironborn are raiders and practically always run away when the enemy is too strong.
- Theon assumes that his men, being proud Ironborn warriors, would willingly brave certain death to go out in a blaze of brutal glory. Noooooooooope.
- Really Gets Around: Mostly with women he pays or complete idiots who are easily taken advantage of. He also fancies himself a ladykiller and The Casanova, but his onscreen relationship pursuits have so far consisted of: visiting Ros (a prostitute), attempting to force himself on Osha (who just tells him off before they're interrupted and later seduces him in a Batman Gambit Honey Trap way), seducing the captain's teenage daughter on a ship, and (unknowingly) groping his sister.
- This reputation came back to haunt him in the worst possible way when Ramsay Snow heard of it and was thus inspired to violently castrate Theon in order to utterly break him.
- The Resenter: On so many levels. More or less justified, too.
- Rousing Speech: A pretty nice one in "Valar Morghulis". Shame he gets knocked out right after by Dagmer.
Dagmer: It was a good speech, didn't want to interrupt.
- Sanity Slippage: His mental health has clearly deteriorated during Season 2. Not surprising, given his father's treatment, his less-than-stellar attempts at earning his men's respect, the Northerners' hatred when he takes Winterfell and losing Bran and Rickon. Another major reason for this, is that his behavior at Winterfell was really inconsistent with his personality, as his hesitation and ambivalence demonstrates. Theon might have been a contemptible, womanizing Butt Monkey who could never get any respect, but that was mostly due to insecurity. He wasn't genuinely evil.
- His torture at the hands of Ramsay Snow has seen him turn into a wreck of a person, completely consumed by fear of Ramsay.
- Sibling Rivalry: With Yara, for the respect of his father.
- Also with Jon Snow. Both are effectively adoptive sons of House Stark, but Theon considers himself the better for not being a bastard.
- Slave to PR: Increasingly becomes this over the course of Season 2. Yara eventually calls him out on it.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Thinks he's pretty damn awesome in battle and lovemaking among other things, but no one else is buying it. This is perhaps best demonstrated when he can't even take off Ser Rodrik's head until after several strokes, and in the end is simply hacking away and actually has to kick the head off in the end. When Ned did the same thing in the first episode he actually used a proper heavy sword (so heavy, in fact, that Ned hardly swung it, just let it fall), demonstrating that Theon literally doesn't have the right tools for the job and is too arrogant to ask for them.
- Spanner in the Works: He somehow manages to be this for three different factions:
- To Robb Stark. His father had wanted to take over Moat Cailin, Deepwood Moote and villages on the coast, believing that Winterfell could wait a year or two. Theon however took the seat of the Starks by subterfuge, an action which dealt a critical blow to Robb's campaign and cost him the loyalty of the Boltons.
- Likewise to Balon and Yara Greyjoy, his breakdown under torture ended up making him a Bolton puppet which made her effort to rescue her brother a doomed effort that cost the lives of several good Ironborn fighters. Later, he becomes a go-between that negotiates the surrender of Moat Cailin, starting the beginning of the end of the Ironborn campaign in the north.
- To the Boltons, the fact that he did not kill Bran and Rickon Stark but two farmer's children instead, means that the Princes could turn up later under the guidance of some other Northern Lord or the other and upset their hegemony in its nascent stage.
- Stupid Evil: Displays poor leadership and favours unnecesary violence. He's shortsighted and doesn't seem to grasp the concept of Pragmatic Villainy , being more interested in seeming tough. Luwin is unable to convince him that Ser Rodrick is more valuable alive than dead, and Theon repeats this mistake again with the Stark boys, as Yara points out.
- Thicker Than Water: The reason of his Face-Heel Turn.
- Tragic Villain: Despite his rather unpleasant personality, he becomes one of these due to the degree to which his jerkassery and later villainy is fueled by never being accepted by anyone, as well as his upbringing. His nightmarish fate in Season 3 makes this all the more pronounced.
- The Unfavorite: His father clearly does not think of him highly, instead preferring Yara.
- Villain Protagonist: Becomes one in Season 2.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: A big part of his personality and issues stem from this. It isn't until "The Ghost of Harrenhal" that he realizes just how little respect people really have for him due to this, as the Ironmen don't respect those who just blindly do as they're told. When he disregards Balon's orders to raid small fishing villages and chooses to hit a larger, harder target with more plunder, the men begin to respect him more. And then his sister shows up and continues to berate him (though, in that case, it's a little justified, since it's about killing fake Bran and Rickon). In Season 3, he finally admits that his true father was Ned.
- We Used to Be Friends: He was treated with familiarity by the Starks and was a close friend of Robb's.
- Would Hurt a Child: The two orphan boys he had murdered and burned to take the place of Bran and Rickon. Theon doesn't quite have it in him to do it himself, however, letting Dagmer do so.
Princess Yara Greyjoy
"I'm going to march on the Dreadfort, I'm going to find my little brother, and I'm going to bring him home."
Theon's older sister, trained by her father as his actual heir in his son's absence.
- Action Girl: She commands her late brother's ship and is about the equivalent to an admiral in the Greyjoy fleet. And she has killed already.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Black hair and dark eyes in the books, blond hair and blue eyes in the TV series.
- Adaptation Name Change: From Asha to Yara, because the producers thought viewers would get her confused with Osha.
- Adaptational Badass: Asha is badass in the books, but not to the point that she is in the show. In the books, she doesn't have the Undying Loyalty of the Ironborn and it's made clear that she wouldn't inherit the Seastone Chair.
- Adaptational Heroism: At the end of Season 3, she finds out that Theon is Ramsay's prisoner, and against her father's wishes decides to take a ship, 50 good men, and go rescue him. In the books, she does no such thing.
- Adaptational Villainy: Because Theon in the show is more sympathetic than his book counterpart was at that point, Yara comes across as more of a jerkass, as opposed to Asha, who comes across as a Karmic Trickster in terms of her baiting him. Yara is also presented as (largely) following in the footsteps of her father, compared to Asha, who while likewise Balon's favorite, has more pronounced White Sheep tendencies. Although her more jerkass tendencies are heavily implied to be merely an act to force Theon to get his shit together, since she's far more willing to defend Theon to Balon when he's not around, shifting her back into Karmic Trickster territory.
- Aloof Big Sister: To Theon.
- An Axe to Grind/Dual Wielding: As displayed in "The Laws of Gods and Men", Yara's weapons of choice are a pair of tomahawks, utilized both for melee and for throwing.
- Badass: Despite being a woman living in a deeply sexist society, Yara has managed to earn the respect and loyalty of a crew of rape-happy pirate savages. That takes serious badassery.
- Big Sister Bully: Yara's introduction displayed that she gets kicks out of humiliating Theon. Ultimately however...
- Big Sister Instinct: Believe it or not, she may actually have some of this for Theon. In "Mhysa", she openly defies her father and leads a team of Ironborn warriors to rescue Theon.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Theon really should verify who someone is before his fingers start wandering...
- Calling the Old Man Out: True to sibling fashion, she finally gives this to Balon in "Mhysa" after he decides to leave Theon to be tortured to death, ceaselessly degrading and dehumanizing him in the process. The result is awesome.
Yara: He's your son! He's my brother! He's a Greyjoy!
- Daddy's Girl: Is clearly much more favoured than her brother by their father.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Is similarly eager to aid his efforts in attacking the North.
- However, both are awesomely averted in the finale of Season 3 where Balon's disgustingly cruel dismissal of Theon as "not being a man anymore" and his desire to leave him to his nightmarish fate at the hands of Ramsay Snow cause her to openly disobey his command and sail off with her own team to save her brother.
- Deadpan Snarker: Her sarcasm is so dry you can practically hear it snap. Theon's often her target.
Yara: (to Theon) You're a great warrior. I saw the bodies above your gates. Which one gave you the tougher fight, the cripple or the six year old?
- Death Glare: Levels one bristling with Tranquil Fury on Balon when the two learn of Theon's capture and torture and Balon refuses to do anything about it.
- Demoted to Extra: In Season 3, only appearing in the finale.
- The Dragon: Is effectively this to her father's Big Bad in the second season's Stark/Greyjoy storyline.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She is disgusted when Theon kills Bran and Rickon (or so she thinks) because it was both morally wrong and robbed them of two valuable hostages.
The little boy prisoners made you a promise and you got mad when they broke it? Are you the dumbest cunt alive?
- Hidden Depths: She shows genuine concern for Theon after his actions at Winterfell put him in serious danger of being killed unless he were to come back to Pyke with her. She's also, as seen above, outraged at Theon that he would stoop so low as to murder children.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ultimately, when it comes to her brother. While her attitude toward Theon is unforgiving at best, it's all but confirmed just to be an act to get him to get his shit together, as she goes out of her way to try and get him out of harm's way by trying to drag him home with her to the Iron Islands during his occupation of Winterfell. She proves herself once and for all in "Mhysa", where she all but tells Balon to fuck himself and goes off on her own to rescue her brother from Ramsay.
- The Lad-ette: Yara dresses as the other Ironborn do and is just as hard a drinker and tough a fighter as any of them.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Pretends to be a common woman on the Iron Islands to gauge what sort of threat Theon is to her position. She isn't impressed.
- One of the Boys: The other Ironborn consider her to be this, much preferring her companionship to Theon's.
- One Steve Limit: The character is named Asha in the books. The TV series changed it to avoid possible confusions with Osha.
- Parental Favoritism: Yara has earned her father's favor. She's the only person he seems to show any affection for.
- Pirate Girl: It comes with being an Ironborn.
- Pet the Dog: She shows actual concern for Theon in "The Prince of Winterfell", implying that her bullying attitude to him is in part an act.
- Replacement Goldfish: With two sons dead and the third one hostage, Balon considers her his heir.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Sets out to do this in the Season 3 finale.
- Subverted in "Laws of Gods and Men". She does manage to find Theon, but Theon is brainwashed to the point that he doesn't even want to be rescued, and Ramsay shows up and butchers most of her men before forcing her to flee.
- Rousing Speech: As fantastic a speech Theon gave in "Valar Morghulis", Yara delivers one about ten times more moving and passionate in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
"They skinned our countrymen, and they mutilated my brother. Your prince! Your prince! Everything they've done to him, they've also done to you! As long as they can hurt our prince with impunity, the word "Ironborn" means NOTHING!"
- Sibling Rivalry: With Theon, although she doesn't consider him a serious rival.
- Smug Smiler: Yara smiles widely whenever Theon fucks up, which is often.
- Tomboy: "You're the one wearing a skirt", Theon, indeed.
- Worthy Opponent: Shows shades of this when calling Theon out on apparently murdering Bran and Rickon, noting that the boys' continued resistance of Theon and his Ironborn was a mark of bravery.
- Ramsay also considers her as one during their encounter at the Dreadfort.
Greyjoy household and retainers
"They're all Iron Islanders. Do they do as they're told or do they do as they like?"
A veteran Ironborn raider assigned as Theon's second at the Sea Bitch
. He acts as a mentor of sorts to Theon reminding him that the Ironborn follow men, not orders, and he must earn their respect if he wants to lead them.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, his nickname "Cleftjaw" is descriptive of his appearance, as he was horribly disfigured after taking an ax to the face, leaving him with lips stretched apart. In the TV series, he has some minor facial scars.
- Adaptational Villainy: A far cry from an Evil Mentor, Dagmer is actually an honorary uncle to Theon and one of the few kind to him in his youth. He remains at Torrhen's Square and returns to the Stony Shore after being driven out by Ser Rodrik. However in the show he's the one with the idea of executing Ser Rodrik and killing two kids to display as Bran and Rickon to Winterfell. You can also add handing Theon over to their enemies and mortally wounding Maester Luwin to that list, too.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: His first scene with Theon.
- Asshole Victim: Flayed by Ramsay Snow.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: To Theon.
- Character Death: Ramsay has him and the other Ironborn raiders flayed alive.
- Composite Character: Takes on much of "Reek's" — actually a disguised Ramsay Snow — role from the book. Telling Theon to execute Ser Rodrik for spitting at him comes from Aeron Greyjoy telling Theon to kill Benfred Tallhart for the same reason.
- Death by Adaptation: In "Mhysa", we learn that Ramsay Snow had him and the other Ironborn flayed alive. Dagmer is still alive in the books.
- The Dragon: To Theon.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Boy, does he manage Theon like he was made of plasticine. There are times when Dagmer straight-up tells Theon what to do, and Theon does it.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dagmer goes missing for an entire season until it's off-handedly mentioned that Ramsay flayed the Ironborn at Winterfell alive. He isn't even mentioned by name and we don't see his actual death, despite being a driving force in Theon's storyline.
- Evil Scars: Considering he's a bloodthirsty psychopath, the deep scar across his face is most certainly of the evil kind.
- Evil Sounds Deep: His voice is magnificent.
- Guttural Growler: He has a bit of this, too.
- He Knows Too Much: Apparently, a believer in this kind of secrecy; when Theon attempted to compensate the farmer whose children were murdered and passed off as the Stark children, Dagmer gives the bluntest explanation for why this is now impossible:
"He's feedin' the crows; his wife too. You want to keep a man silent, you silence him."
- Karmic Death: Turns out Ramsay gave him exactly what he deserved for betraying Theon and killing Maester Luwin.
- The Mentor: He seems to be this for Theon, and also seems to genuinely want him to rise up in the esteem of his men — evidenced by his smile of approval when Theon beats the shit out of Black Lorren.
- Evil Mentor: Climaxes in "The Old Gods and the New" when he convinces Theon to murder his former good mentor, Ser Rodrik.
- Treacherous Advisor: Once it becomes clear that there's no way they can withstand the coming Northern counterattack, he knocks Theon out after his Rousing Speech, takes command of the Ironborn crew and leads home, leaving him for the Northmen.
- Number Two: To Theon.
- Only Sane Employee: Is quickly established as this, taking on a mentor role to Theon. This is similar, but different than his role in the books, wherein he is an Honorary Uncle who knew Theon since childhood.
- Pirate: He's an Ironborn; being a pirate is his whole life.
- Psychotic Smirk/Slasher Smile: Has a grin everytime an Ironborn kicks a dog.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In "Mhysa", it is revealed that Ramsay had him flayed after he betrayed Theon.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: What he and the rest of the Ironborn do in the Season 2 finale.
- The Starscream: Dagmer serves Theon pretty faithfully...except when things start to go south. He abandons him, taking leadership of the Ironborn.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Theon is certainly responsible for his own acts, but Dagmer is constantly the devil on his shoulder pushing him to go further. It's at Dagmer's insistence that Ser Rodrik is executed.
- Would Hurt a Child: Theon confides in Ramsay that Dagmer was the one who personally killed two Winterfell boys.
"I've been reaving and raping since before you left Balon's balls, Captain."
Played By: Forbes KB
A veteran Ironborn raider assigned to the Sea Bitch
- Asshole Victim: He is flayed by Ramsay Snow.
- Badass Boast: Delivers one to Theon when they first meet.
Black Lorren: "I've been reaving and raping since before you left Balon's balls, Captain. Don't reckon I've got much use for your ideas on how to do it. Don't reckon I've got much use for a Captain at all."
- Bald of Evil: He's bald and evil.
- Beard of Evil: A white one.
- The Brute: Of the Ironborn that Theon takes to Winterfell.
- Deadpan Snarker: Unlike Dagmer, he did not enjoy Theon's speech.
*Upon seeing Theon knocked out by Dagmer* I thought he'd never shut up.
- Fat Bastard: He's a hefty guy who boasts about the rapes he's committed.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Theon gives him a long deserved No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in "A Man Without Honor".
- Pirate: Like the other Ironborn Raiders.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Unsurprising, given that he's a veteran Ironborn raider.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In "Mhysa", it is revealed that Ramsay flayed him after he betrayed Theon.
- The Starscream: To Theon, which he makes clear from the outset.
- While You Were in Diapers: He plays this off against Theon, while also threatening to kill him and take his ship.
"The Ironborn will not surrender. You go tell your master that, Theon Greyjoy, or whoever the fuck you are!"
Played By: Grahame Fox
A veteran Ironborn captain commanding the dying garrison at Moat Cailin.
- Adaptational Badass: When Reek gets to him in the books, he's so sick with fever that he's bedridden and utterly delirious and has to be mercy-killed before even getting a single line. Here he's in full possession of his faculties and continues to defy the Boltons to the bitter end.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Questioning "Theon's" manhood causes Reek to mentally collapse.
- Blood from the Mouth: He is wasting away from disease, likely malaria or dysentery from the humid swamps around Moat Cailin. Many of his men and horses have already died from sickness when we meet them.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Is quickly rewarded with an axe to the head when he refuses the Bolton terms of surrender from Reek.
- Character Death: One of his soldiers, Adrack Humble, puts an axe in his head after Kenning refuses to surrender.
- Colonel Badass: Despite barely being able to stand from disease and even while vomiting blood, he easily sees through Ramsay's ruse and tells Reek to get lost with his offer of safe passage.
- Composite Character: Takes on the role of Dagon Codd from the books. Kenning in the books is too sick to treat with Reek, who kills him as an act of mercy. Dagon Codd meanwhile refuses to surrender, but is killed by Adrack Humble for it.
- Foil: To the original Theon Greyjoy, actually. Faced with similar circumstances, they acted in pretty much the same way (deciding to die in battle rather than surrender, despite usual Ironborn tactics), only then to suffer virtually the same fate at the hands of their own men. Kenning's decision, however, was possibly was based upon his own knowledge of House Bolton's horrifying reputation, whereas Theon's came from a true feeling of Honor Before Reason, which he picked up from his childhood among the Starks.
- Defiant to the End: Moat Cailin is falling, but he decides to go out like a warrior.
- General Failure: Fell to the same Honor Before Reason fallacy that gripped Theon at Winterfell, forgetting that the Ironborn always run when the enemy is superior (being raiders). And, on top of that, he seems to ignore the fact that probably only a dozen of his men can actually fight, the rest are dying from disease and fatigue. At this point, the Ironborn fighting morale is not just critically low, but laughably non-existent. Naturally, one of his own men kills him (though even if he hadn't, Ramsay would've tortured him to death).
- On the other hand, while in a terrible condition, Moat Cailin is virtually impregnable to ground attacks, as evidenced by the swamps filled with corpses outside the walls. Despite having a small and disease-stricken garrison, the Ironborn at least had a better chance to live if they waited for relief instead of putting themselves at Ramsay's mercy.
- Genre Savvy: Surprisingly so for the chronically Genre Blind Ironborn. Kenning easily sees through Reek's ruse and knows enough about the Boltons's reputation that he refuses to believe they would offer him safe passage in return for his surrender. He's proven entirely right, and his traitorous bodyguard pays for his betrayal brutally.
- Honor Before Reason: Has it worse even than Theon at Winterfell, who at least had almost all of his men in fighting condition. Kenning suicidally (in more ways than one) decides to reject the Boltons' offer. The alternate interpretation, of course, is that Kenning knew what the Boltons would do if they surrendered, and decided that dying with an axe in the skull is better than being flayed alive. Of course, it turns out that Kenning was right all along.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Kenning is constantly coughing up blood and it's clear he isn't long for this world.
- In the Back: Of the head, with an axe, by his own men.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: As an Ironborn, it's to be expected.
- Spiteful Spit: He spits a gout of malaria-infected blood into Reek's face and tells him to get lost, rather than surrendering.
- With Friends Like These...: Gets killed by his own men who are desperate enough to believe in a safe way out.
"If we yield we live? Is that what is says on this paper here?"
Played By: Jody Halse
One of the Ironborn soldiers at Moat Cailin.
- An Axe to Grind: How he kills Kenning.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Is the bodyguard who betrays his commander.
- Character Death: Ramsay has him and the other Ironborn troops flayed alive.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Instead of dying in a hopeless battle, him and the others surrender, and get "rewarded" by being flayed alive. And what a cruel death it is—we're treated to an image of Adrack with his eyes gouged out and his skin peeled away, exposing the ribcage and even the internal organs.
- The Mutiny: Is the instigator of a momentary one against his Determinator Ironborn commander.
- Never Learned to Read: He assumes that the paper Reek holds will allow them to surrender peacefully, and leave unharmed. Whilst he's technically right about that being what it says, he should have known that Ramsay had no intention of honoring what was promised on that paper anyway.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After killing his commander in hopes of being allowed to go home, Humble is instead brutally skinned alive by Ramsay.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: With him and the rest of the Ironborn garrison at Moat Cailin gradually wasting away from swamp disease and fatigue, far from home and without supplies or allies close by; his commander Ralf Kenning's refusal to surrender is what causes him to snap and betray him, just so Adrack hopes that they can all yield and then hopefully get safe passage out of the North.
- The Starscream: To Kenning, although it's out of sheer desperation as opposed to ambition.
- Too Dumb to Live: He kills Kenning and surrenders the castle, since he's so desperate to leave...but he can't even read the letter promising safe passage, and doesn't have the slightest clue about Ramsay's reputation, unlike Kenning, who probably knew what was coming.
- Unfriendly Fire: Kills his own commander with an axe to the back of the head.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He dies the same episode that he first appears in.