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Characters / Game of Thrones - House Greyjoy

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House Greyjoy
"We Do Not Sow."

"What Is Dead May Never Die."

The Great House of the Iron Islands, a poor, unforgiving archipelago to the west of the continent of Westeros. Iron Islanders (or ironborn) periodically raided 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 throughout their history.

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    In General 
  • Adaptational Badass: In the books, the Ironborn actively disdain the use of ranged weapons like bows and arrows and catapults, seeing them as cowardly/dishonorable. Here, they're well known for their abilities at archery.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: The Greyjoys are considered handsome and attractive in the books but in the show, Euron says that his family are unattractive people.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Any mention of Euron abusing his brother Aeron was omitted from the show. What little we see of their relationship in the show appears to be at least cordial, while in the books Aeron hates and fears Euron more than anyone else in the world.
  • Adapted Out: In the show, the Iron Fleet hasn't seen action since Stannis destroyed it at Fair Isle. Both Yara and Euron cite rebuilding the Fleet as one of their policy goals. In the novels, Balon had been rebuilding the Fleet well before Theon's return and the Fleet is back to full strength. Apparently, the TV series has been playing this a little loose, as at other points Tyrion says that Yara and Theon brought "the Iron Fleet" to Meereen, etc., but then says they only brought part of it. In the books, strictly speaking, the Iron Fleet is the "national" fleet of the Iron Islands sworn directly to their ruler, but each vassal has their own fleets — the TV show just calls any ships from the Iron Islands part of "the Iron Fleet". Either way, it seems that Yara and Euron in the TV version were talking about expanding the Iron Fleet to have even more ships in it. Victarion also appears to have been adapted out entirely.
  • Animal Motifs: Their sigil is the Kraken. The Greyjoys think it's intimidating, and even Olenna thinks it's an impressive sigil. Ramsay Snow however, notes that it's a bit less impressive than they would wish 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'd know that. Unfortunately, they're not very bright.
  • 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. "What is dead may never die!" is also often used as such.
  • Badass Creed: "What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."
  • 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. The costume department put a lot of thought into this (Michele Clapton said the Ironborn were probably her favorite region she designed for), rationalizing that the Ironborn spend most of their time on cold wind-swept ship decks at sea, so they need to wear heavy long coats water-sealed with wax and fish oil to protect against the bone-freezing winds (they are not operating in warm Caribbean waters).
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: They consider raiding and pillaging to be outright pious acts in their religion.
  • Born Under the Sail: Their entire shtick is that they're the best sailors (and in particular, raiders) of the entire Westerosi continent, and perhaps of the entire world.
  • 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... 
  • Catchphrase: "Pay the iron price" has been said more times than their actual motto, "We do not sow".
  • Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: In-universe. They have this reputation due to attempts to rebel whenever they think they have the slightest chance of winning (and even when they really don't).
  • Cool Boat: The Greyjoys are known for their badass fleet in addition to their prowess in maritime combat.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: As long as they are at sea, they're formidable. On terrain combat, their individual competence varies, but they're largely ineffective due to a lack of numbers and poor discipline.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: Although the show made it even more obvious than in the books that the power will stay in the hand of the Feudal Overlord family (one of the perk of being an overlord, power and influence are hard to lose) as no one propose themselves once Theon backed up Yara's claim but another Greyjoy. And of course the fact that the common people of the Iron Islands, and the thralls and salt wives, don't get a vote.
    • In the books they make it more explicit that any ship captain can put themselves forward as a candidate — it's just that the main families like the Greyjoys tend to be the most famous and successful, so they usually win. In turn, this means they will probably continue to have opportunities to be successful, so power does tend to be concentrated in a few families (they only tend to get voted out of power if they really screw up). In the book version three other minor fringe candidates try to run against Yara and Euron but they don't even make it through the first round of voting and quickly give up.
    • Democracy is Flawed also applies in the sense that the ship captains voting at the Kingsmoot tend to be easily swayed by grandstanding and empty promises — in the books, it was considered unusual that a few of the smarter lords actually support Yara, based on her appeal to reason and logic ("What the hell do you think will happen if we keep harassing the mainlanders?")
  • 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. Season 6 brings them back into the limelight with the introduction of Euron and later Aeron.
  • Determinator: Invoked by their aforementioned Badass Creed. They keep on warring despite failed campaigns in continental Westeros during The War of The Five Kings. Their appetite for war does not become lessened with a new leadership, because their home territories and most of their military are completely intact.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Here their sigil looks noticeably more phallic than in other depictions.
  • 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.
    • Turning into an Enemy Civil War after the Kingsmoot in mid-Season 6. Euron is crowned king and promptly orders the deaths of his niece and nephew who stood against him in the election, but they flee with a sizable portion of the fleet which is still loyal to them. In the books... 
    • Subverted in so much as at least Yara and Theon give a shit about each other, despite starting out on antagonistic terms, and they eventually manage to mend their relationship.
  • Elective Monarchy: They're the only one of the Seven Kingdoms that, back when they were independent, chose their own rulers through a form of limited democracy. All of the lords and ship captains gather together at an assembly known as a "Kingsmoot", where anyone can present themselves as a candidate, not just the previous king's family. Candidates give stump speeches, and whoever wins over the crowd to get the most votes becomes the new king. They revive this after declaring independence again during the War of the Five Kings (though according to the "Histories and Lore" extras of Season 6, in the intervening period when their ruler was just a "Lord Paramount" under the Targaryens and Baratheons, the Kingsmoot still existed but only as a formality, always "choosing" the eldest Greyjoy heir). The only other group in Westeros that has formal elections like this is the Night's Watch. The Watch has even more formal elections, in which literally every member gets to cast a vote — though that isn't really a fair comparison, given that while the Watch does control territory and castles they're not really a "kingdom" but a monastic knightly order.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: They are far more progressive on gender equality than most of Westeros. Balon appoints Yara, a woman, to lead his assault against the Starks, which shocks the Stark-raised Theon. Women are also allowed to be ship captains, which gives them the chance to be elected by the Kingsmoot.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: With Theon and Euron dead (the former already castrated) and Aeron missing, House Greyjoy is virtually extinct. While Yara is still alive, it's unlikely her would be children will be using the Greyjoy surname.
  • Evil Virtues: The Greyjoys operate on Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad and Might Makes Right. An honest and just man who pays his way is treated as criminal scum. Aspects such as Rape, Pillage, and Burn are traits members of House Greyjoy tend to hold pride in and anyone who doesn't is considered as weak.
  • 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 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, Theon 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.
    • This is explained in Seasons 6 and 7 with their successes in the first rebellion, such as burning the Lannister fleet at anchor, belonged to Euron rather than his older brother Balon. Euron is a cunning strategist in all the ways Balon is not, but then he was gone from the islands, and the ironborn lost their most dangerous commander.
  • Jerkass: Befitting of their piratical tradition, the Greyjoys are rough, callous, and ruthless as a general rule. That being said, Theon has the lion's share of his unpleasantness beaten, tortured, and abused out of him by a far worse person than he ever was, and Yara's honor and affection for her family cast her in a much better light than the rest of her house. Euron is the worst by far.
  • Meaningful Name: They're not a very happy bunch.
  • Modest Royalty: Ironborns aren't flashy about their status compared to other noble. Even when they become king the crown is simply a piece of driftwood. That's because pirate is the emphasis in the term pirate king.
  • Pirate: A whole family of them.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: A deconstruction; they have the prowess, but their uncompromising pride carries 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 Greyjoy's 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thicker Than Water: Usually averted, but then zig-zagged. Among the Ironborn in general, they constantly fight civil wars against their own brothers to seize power...yet will also fight civil wars to avenge their own brother's death at the hands of someone else. In the older generation, there isn't much familial honor: Balon sees his own son Theon as a failure that was lost to the Starks anyway, while Balon's brother Euron is a psychopath who would gleefully kill any of his other family members. Balon is sort of proud of Yara, whom he raised as a surrogate son, but even she says that she "survived" her father and didn't exactly have a warm relationship with him (albeit Balon never disinherited her, the way he basically did to Theon). Balon's other brother Aeron is a priest and he doesn't like to pick political sides. A major part of Theon's storyarc which comes to a head in Season 2 is picking between Balon as his biological father, and staying loyal to his adoptive brother Robb Stark to avenge the death of his adopted father Ned. Theon picks Balon (blood thicker than water) — but then fails miserably, breaks down sobbing that he was given a choice and he chose wrong, and Ned was his real father. On the other hand, it turns out that Yara has a Big Sister Instinct for Theon, and he reciprocates this loyalty (she cares about him more than Balon ever did); in Season 6 they reunite and form a Brother-Sister Team, with Theon even voluntarily setting aside any claim to rule ahead of her and saying all he wants is to help her rule over the Iron Islands.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Neither Jaime nor Tyrion will forgive the Ironborn, and the Greyjoys, for their attack on Lannisport. Tyrion brings up seeing sailors drown in ships at anchor in his childhood to Theon when the latter gloats in Season 1 about how awesome that attack was, while Jaime apparently went berserk during the Siege of Pyke.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Prior to Season 6, the Greyjoys were largely seen as the Butt-Monkey of Westeros, even after declaring their independence. They only attacked castles which were easy to take because their home armies were away, not really having a long-term plan for holding them once the armies came back. Even Theon's surprising capture of Winterfell itself was short lived. All of this due to the fact that Balon was a bitter, vengeful old man unwilling to enter into political alliances with anyone else and with no large-scale sense of military grand strategy. Enter King Euron, who is none of these things: he's an insane but cunning pirate who is both deeply threatening and actually has a better long-term strategic goal of allying with House Targaryen to conquer all of Westeros, playing to the strengths of the Greyjoys by sticking to their naval experience while House Targaryen provides the competent land-based army. It remains to be seen if Euron's ambition will outweigh his ability, given his plan hinges on an alliance with Daenerys. Unfortunately for them, this falls through, so he has to stick with Cersei, and oh boy, does he prove himself as the best naval commander in all Westeros.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Their invasion of the North and Theon's raid of Winterfell not only disrupted the Stark supply lines in the War of the Five Kings, but demoralized Robb and helped convince Roose to betray him. If the Ironborns had stayed out of things, the war may have gone quite differently.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Being pirates and all.

    King Balon Greyjoy 

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."

Played By: Patrick Malahide

"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 a 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.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Unlike in the books, Euron openly admits to murdering him at the kingsmoot. Nobody is especially bothered by this. In fact, if anything, this revelation actually helps Euron gain support.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • To Theon. In "Mhysa", he refuses to save Theon from the Boltons because Theon disobeyed him by attacking Winterfell and because Theon is — according to Balon — "no longer a man."
    • Yara didn't have it much better. While he doesn't abuse her like he does Theon, he's still a Jerkass to her and only sees her as an heir he could replace if he needed to. Even then, Yara implies that Balon treated them like dirt more or less equally when they were children.
      Yara: We both loved our mother. We both... endured our father...
  • Adaptational Ugliness: He's usually portrayed as more decrepit than his book counterpart.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • He isn't quite as nasty to Theon in the books: Balon still insults him and plans to disinherit him in favor of his daughter, but he actually compliments Theon's guts for standing up to him, saying "Well, at the least you are no craven", and Theon's mission to the Stony Shore is actually strategically valuable, giving him far more ships and soldiers and is treated as less of an embarrassingly unimportant task to get him out of the way. Furthermore he doesn't completely ignore Theon's return to Pyke and sends his uncle Aeron to greet him, and his refusal to negotiate and save Theon from Ramsay is entirely original to the show — Book Balon never actually finds out if Theon survived the Bolton attack on Winterfell.
    • Him insulting Yara when she questions his plans results in a death threat, in the books Balon's only redeeming virtue was that he was a genuinely decent father to Asha/Yara. In the show, it's left ambiguous if Yara was going to truly be Balon's heir, but in the books he repeatedly made his intentions clear that he wanted her to inherit the Throne after his death and it was his brother Aeron who revived a custom no one had seen for three hundred years solely to stall her claim.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the books, he's revered for bringing back the Ironborn way despite his bad track record with the whole rebellion thing, to the point where most of the kingsmoot hopefuls are trying to ride his legacy. Here the Ironborn see him as a General Failure who did nothing for them.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: The look on his face when Theon calls him out, throwing back his own declaration that as Greyjoys, "We take what is ours", right back in his face.
    Theon: 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", then?!
  • Asshole Victim: He's an Abusive Father and Sore Loser who recklessly led his people on a pointless rebellion twice. Euron, his murderer, even got elected as King of the Salt Throne by playing up his 0% Approval Rating.
  • Back for the Dead: Finally returns in Season 6 after a two-season absence, only to get killed in the same episode.
  • Badass Boast: See the quote above.
  • Badass Longcoat: It makes him look like the pirate he is.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: He's the last commander in the War of the Five Kings left alive after the Boltons defeat Stannis, and of all Joffrey's challengers, he's easily the most loathsome. He even very smugly gloats about this upon his return in Season 6, remarking "The War of the Five Kings, they called it? Well all the others are dead!" Then he dies.
  • Barbarian Longhair: He's the leader of a kingdom that are very close to pirates and has long, untamed gray hair.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Balon is one of the Five Kings contending for the Iron Throne, but none of his fellow potential kings give him the same consideration as they do each other. They have good reason to consider him an irritation as opposed to a Worthy Opponent:
    • His warriors might be vicious, but they're raiders as opposed to conquerors and regularly insubordinate with little sense of loyalty.
    • The Iron Islands are largely isolated and Balon himself lurks alone in his keep taking no advice from anyone. The biggest threat the Greyjoys ever pose was the taking of Winterfell, which was entirely due to Theon and Dagmer going rogue as opposed to any direction from Balon. Even though he hasn't been incapacitated, nobody beyond the Boltons (who see the Greyjoys as a nuisance at best) consider him a danger, and why would they? He's an isolated old man who occasionally throws out his tentacles only to get them repeatedly lopped off.
    • On the other hand, he can technically be considered the winner of the War of Five Kings, being the only one of the titular five still alive by the end of Season 5. Naturally, not long after bringing this fact up himself in Season 6, he's effortlessly killed by his brother Euron, who wants Balon's position for himself.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returns in Season 6 after having been absent since the Season 3 finale. It turns out to be a case of Back for the Dead.
  • Butt-Monkey: A bit more formidable than the usual type. Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon utterly destroyed Balon's rebellion, and nobody seems to have considered the Ironmen to be much more than a nuisance ever since. Come Season 6, he's rather unceremoniously killed off by his own brother.
  • Cain and Abel: He's the Abel to Euron's Cain...which says a lot about Euron.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Euron kicked his ass, but Balon managed to slash his face and give Euron a scar to remember him by.
  • Determinator: You can remind him about the massive failure that was his first rebellion, the deaths of the majority of his sons, his humiliation at the hands of Robert Baratheon, his multitudes of personal tragedy or how he can never hope to hold any land he may conquer as a result of his rebellion. Balon's gonna do it anyway.
  • Didn't Think This Through: His main flaw as a ruler. In the first Greyjoy Rebellion, he had assumed (not without cause) that Robert's rule over the Iron Throne was still not widely accepted and hoped to capitalize on the instability and secede from the seven kingdoms. However, his refusal to court allies and build alliances meant that the Greyjoys could never find support from the mainland and furthermore by attacking the Riverlands and burning Lord Tywin's ships at Lannisport, he made himself a threat to all of Westeros which allowed Robert to strengthen his regime by invading the Iron Islands. His second rebellion fares little better: Balon had no real strategy except for killing Starks and their bannerman, so when the War of Five Kings ends, the Ironborn prove unable to hold the castles they've taken. By Season 6, his invasion has failed completely and the Ironborn have gained nothing at all.
  • Disney Villain Death: Euron kills him by tossing him off a bridge.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Or, if you prefer, Dropped Him Off A Bridge. Balon is positioned early on as a potentially major player in the War of the Five Kings, only to sit out several seasons offscreen; then he returns for all of two scenes before being abruptly killed off by a character previously unknown to show watchers.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While he mistreats Theon and to a lesser extent Yara his plan to attack the north is partially driven by a desire to avenge his two dead sons and it's clear losing them genuinely devastated him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Balon is a real piece of work, but he's still repulsed by his brother Euron's unhinged behavior and casual blasphemy.
  • General Failure: The Ironborn are a naval power, but own little land and have few numbers, and they're raiders and pirates, not trained knights. The best thing to do (and what Robb offered) in the War of the Five Kings would be to declare for one of the other four, help them secure the seas, and in doing so get richly rewarded for the Ironborn's part in the victory. What does Balon opt for? Side with himself and try to invade the North. Due to the Ironborn's inferior numbers, inferior training for fighting on land, and difficulty in supplying and reinforcing their troops the further inland they go, this ends with spectacular failure. In Season 6, Yara calls him out on how all of his plans for the Ironborn have ended in ruin for them.
  • The Ghost: Like Stannis, he never appears in the first season, and is talked about by other characters. Patrick Malahide portrays him in Season 2.
  • Grumpy Old Man: You'd be hard pressed to find one scene of Balon that doesn't rub in your face what an angry, bitter, joyless, cantankerous sack of crap he is.
  • Hate Sink: He's bigoted, spiteful, uncharismatic, unthinking and indirectly responsible for turning Theon's life into a living hell. When faced with the latter, he doesn't give a shit because his son is no longer capable of bearing children, and his murder at the hands of the more vicious Euron doesn't really garner him much sympathy. The latter even openly admits to murdering him at the Kingsmoot, and hardly anyone raises any objections to it as a result.
  • Honor Before Reason: Of a sort. Balon is so dedicated to his vision of the Iron Price that he spurns Robb Stark's alliance, Theon's allegiance, and trade in general, despite those things potentially granting him his old lands and full title, an heir, and the ability for his kingdom to prosper, respectively.
  • Hypocrite: Balon is quick to point out the flaws of others and is especially critical of Theon for not paying the 'iron price' and being raised by the Starks... when Balon himself is the man who gave Theon away after being utterly destroyed when he got too big for his watery boots. He also resents his losses and shames before Westeros, when by all rights his own belief in the Iron Price means everything was taken from him fair and square, and through nobody's fault but his own for not being stronger.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the series until Season 2.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After Theon pointed out that everything and everyone Balon resents is Balon's own fault, Balon hesitates, clearly shaken by Theon's comments. He then roundly rejects them.
  • I Have No Son!: He wrote Theon off the family tree when he was taken by the Starks and acts as if it was Theon's fault, rather than his own. In "Mysha", he disowns Theon again, when it's revealed he's been castrated by Ramsay Snow, thus making him unable to produce any heirs. He's even willing to simply let Theon rot in Ramsay's dungeon for all he cares.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Long after the War of Five Kings is over, Balon is still sending his men to try and conquer land on the North even though they repeatedly get repelled. When Yara points out how fruitless his endeavors has been, Balon shuts her down reasoning that since he is technically the last remaining King of the war, it's by his rights that the land should be his for the taking..
  • Irony: He disdains Theon for being weak and unmanly. Theon, who has been a senior commander in an Army which has regularly defeated regime forces, something he singularly failed to do himself. Moreover, Theon fought against and helped capture Jaime Lannister, widely regarded as the single most dangerous swordsman in the world, while Balon bent the knee to Robert. His accusations strike the audience as rather hollow. Unfortunately, Theon takes them to heart.
  • Jerkass: He impugns Theon's masculinity close to half a dozen times within the first five minutes, after not having seen him for over a decade. He also shows contempt for the idea of either buying or negotiating for things from people, believing that it is more desirable to murder them and then rob their corpses instead. This man is an asshole in Dennis Leary's sense of the word. In Season 3, it is revealed just how much of a scumbag he truly is when he abandons Theon to a life of unspeakable torture at the hands of Ramsay Snow after receiving Theon's castrated penis in the mail, and repeatedly insults him as an idiot who "isn't a man anymore" despite the fact that Theon sacrificed everything to make him proud and was only captured by Ramsay due to his attempt to bring honour to his family.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As nasty as he may be he isn't wrong to think Theon cares for the Starks more than he admits and while his later refusal to try to save his son from Ramsay is undeniably heartless he correctly points out that it was foolish of Theon to try to hold Winterfell and that Theon did it without orders from anyone to do so.
  • Karmic Death: Spent almost every second onscreen insulting and belittling his family members. He ends up getting killed by a family member.
  • Moral Myopia: He rebelled against Robert Baratheon because of his 'oppressive' rule. Which, in Balon's case, meant denying his 'right' to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the mainland with impunity. His declaration of independence and his attack on the Starks during the War of the Five Kings is rooted in the same vicious idiocy, and equally doomed to miserable failure.
  • Never My Fault: Balon seems to avoid mentioning the fact that he began a rebellion against Robert, was utterly defeated (resulting in the deaths of his sons), bent the knee and sold his only living heir as a hostage.
  • Orcus on His Throne: For all his talk about "I take what is mine", he hasn't actually left Pyke in his campaign to conquer the North. So far only his children have done any actual fighting and conquering.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His two eldest sons were killed during the Greyjoy Rebellion. This made Theon his heir by default.
  • Papa Wolf: Comprehensively averted. When Ramsay sends a part of Theon with a letter threatening him to back off else he will send more organs, he pretty much tells Yara that since Theon can't advance the bloodline, he is dispensable. Even Yara pretty much tells him to fuck off.
  • Perilous Old Fool: His forces are far too inadequate to take on any of the various armies he's choosing to stand against, but he insists on striking it out by himself because he's too proud, selfish and stubborn to even consider allying with anyone else.
  • Perma-Stubble Of Evil: He's an abusive, hypocritical, self-serving asshole who's badly in need of a shave.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. At the start, Balon almost seems to have a measure of legitimate affection for Yara, considering her his rightful heir and treating her with relative respect. As the series goes on, however, he makes it clear that she's just as expendable to him as Theon was.
  • Pirate: As a proud Ironborn, to the point their family words basically amount to "We steal your shit and rape anyone we don't murder!"
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Ironborn traditions and cultural predisposition towards naval raiding makes them look like one of these.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Balon believes this pretty strongly.
  • Revenge Before Reason: He passes up a golden opportunity not only to become a King of the Iron Islands again and gain complete independence for his people, and to become both fabulously wealthy and feared throughout all of Westeros by joining forces with the North solely for the sake of getting back at the family that was part of the force that put down his rebellion. From the books... 
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Balon detests the very idea of buying something with money. To him, the only price worth paying is 'the iron price' — i.e. to take it from someone you have killed yourself... Note that the words of House Greyjoy are, "We do not sow"—as in, Why be a farmer when you could be a huge bully instead and steal what other people have built? But as Balon found out the hard way, being a bully only works until you run up against someone strong enough to fight back, as evidenced by the brutal ass-kicking he received from Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Introduced to the series during the second episode of Season 2.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Declared himself the King of the Iron Islands shortly after Robert's Rebellion, but had his own dreams of rebellion quickly crushed under the heel of Robert Baratheon.
  • Sore Loser: He bitches and moans incessantly about his losses, even though his belief in the Iron Price means everything he lost was taken fairly because he wasn't strong enough to keep it. He's also fond of referring to northerners as a bunch of soft girly weaklings, even though they've repeatedly whooped his ass and taken his stuff, which should, according to his own fucked up belief system, prove that they're stronger than him.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Of the "died later than in the source material" type. He died in the third book, which was around Seasons 3 and 4 in the show. He's still alive as of Season 6 and brags about being the last surviving original King of the War of the Five Kings, whereas in the books, Stannis is the last of the five standing. Then in the second episode he is murdered.
  • Stupid Evil: Evident from his very first appearance. Balon always does the stupidest, most evil thing he can think of. He could have joined the Starks (as Theon advises) or (probably, since they were still nominally loyal to the Iron Throne before attacking the North) the Lannisters and achieve his objectives of independence for the Iron Isles — but his insistence on acting independently means his uprising is doomed to failure once the War of the Five Kings is resolved. Then again, given his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, few people would be prepared to deal with him anyway.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He hates Robert Baratheon even though Robert chose to spare his life when most others would have killed him.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: A darker take on the trope, judging from the way Balon treats Theon and his rather gaudy choice of dress, which is nevertheless positively understated compared to some of the styles we see in King's Landing.
  • Villain Ball: Rejects any opportunity the War of the Five Kings offers for the benefit of the Iron Islands just to go on a petty raiding spree on the North that is promptly swatted away like a minor nuisance the moment the war comes to end.
  • Virtue Is A Weakness: Embodies the Ironborn "Old Way" and holds any lifestyle that doesn't involve mass killing, robbery, rape and enslaving with complete contempt.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: He's the last of the Five Kings left after Stannis' defeat, but he's kidding himself if he thinks his overall contributions to the war effort were anything more than minimal at best. Not that he has very long to celebrate his "victory", however.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: He likes to think of his rebellion nine years ago as an attempt to free himself from the southern tyranny. Most non-Ironborn aren't very convinced about this, since the main form of oppression by the "southern tyranny" was to keep his people from indulging in looting and plundering their neighbors.

    King Euron Greyjoy 

King Euron Greyjoy

Played By: Pilou Asbæk

See King Euron Greyjoy.

    Aeron Greyjoy 

Aeron Greyjoy
"What is dead may never die"

Played By: Michael Feast

"We speak in the presence of the Drowned God!

The youngest of Balon Greyjoy's brothers. He is a Drowned Man, a priest of the Drowned God.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Owing to his Age Lift, he has white hair here to contrast his dark hair in the books.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While his book counterpart was hardly a heroic character, he utterly despised Euron and fought tooth and nail to oppose his claim. Here, he seems perfectly happy to accept him as the new king, and doesn't lift a finger to stop his attempt to murder Yara and Theon. Though he doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic about it.
  • Adapted Out: In Season 2, he was replaced by a nameless Drowned Man and his part of greeting Theon upon his arrival to the Iron Islands is given to Yara.
  • Age Lift: Michael Feast is 70. Aeron in the books is in his late 20s.
  • All There in the Manual: His name, confirming it is Aeron and not some nameless priest, is mentioned in the episode recap of the official viewer's guide.
  • Badass Preacher: It's not very clear, but back in Season 1, Tyrion says Theon's uncles were responsible for the destruction of the Lannister fleet and the burning of Lannisport, the absolute high mark of the First Greyjoy Rebellion. Euron and Aeron are Theon's only uncles, so it stands to reason Aeron is (or was) one Hell of a reaver.From the books... 
  • Barbarian Longhair: As befitting of a Priest of a ravager religion.
  • Brutal Honesty: He bluntly states that Yara's chances of winning the Kingsmoot are slim.
  • Cold Ham: Aeron tends to speak in a very cold and stable tone of voice, but his deep voice combined with his resonating speeches about the drowned god make him a very over-the-top man.
  • Demoted to Extra: He appears in the second book and is a POV character in the fourth book, where his background (including his fear of Euron) is explained. In the show, he is entirely written out of Season 2 and his role after Balon’s death is limited.
  • The Fundamentalist: Very big on the traditions of the Drowned God.
  • The Ghost: Before the casting of Season 6, we didn't hear anything about Aeron, only that Theon had 'uncles' during a talk between Tyrion and Theon early in Season 1.
  • Heir Club for Men: Aeron is the first to cast doubt on Yara's position as heir to the Salt Throne, giving her a blunt reminder that the Ironborn have never once elected a Queen. The fact that he invoked that Yara should be elected, when Balon was never elected, is further indication of his sexism.From the Books 
  • High Priest: Seems to be the top Priest of the Drowned God faith.From the books... 
  • Loyal to the Position: Aeron doesn't seem to favor any of the candidates in the Kingsmoot. Be it before or afterwards, he is only there to conduct the election and serve whoever is elected.
  • Minor Major Character: Aeron's very slim on screentime, but he's actually a vital cog in Ironborn politics. It is he who calls the Kingsmoot, he who conducts it, and it is he who legitimizes Euron as king (via drowning). As unofficial leader of the Drowned Men, he's basically the nearest thing the Ironborn have to a pope.
  • Number Two: One infers this was his role with Balon, and now is his role to Euron.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Aeron's yet to change his expression from a grim, dour frown.
  • Principles Zealot: His very first line is a strong-worded "The law is clear!" when Yara suggests that she rules by default after Balon's death. Aeron is as big on tradition as one would expect from a holy man.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Aeron doesn't really seem to support Euron's batshit insane ruling, but he serves him, because that's what he does.
  • Rousing Speech: He delivers one for Euron when he legitimizes him by drowning.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Euron is a bombastic, arrogant, flamboyant pirate. Aeron is a cold, stoic, solemn Priest.
  • The Stoic: Aeron's expression pretty much doesn't shift from a frown. Ever.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Euron tells Yara in Season 8 that they are the only Grejoys left alive, save for Theon. What happened to Aeron is not explained. Euron does say they [Yara and Euron] are the only Greyjoys with balls left, so it could be a dig at Aeron, but in any case he never appears or is mentioned after the Kingsmoot.
  • Younger Than They Look: Aeron's meant to be several years younger than Balon, but the fully white hair and much more weathered appearance of Aeron, particularly in Season 6, don't make this readily apparent. Although this may be Reality Is Unrealistic as actor-wise the ages more or less sync up (Michael Feast is nearly two years younger than Patrick Malahide).

    Queen Yara Greyjoy 

Queen Yara Greyjoy
"So good to see you, brother. This is a homecoming I'll tell my grandchildren about."

Played By: Gemma Whelan

"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. In Season 6, she declares herself Queen of the Iron Islands, steals most of Euron's fleet, and sets sail for Mereen to make an alliance with Queen Daenerys.

  • 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, light brown 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.
  • 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. In Season 6, after her bid for the Seastone Chair fails at the Kingsmoot, she and Theon steal nearly half the Iron Fleet and sail to Meereen to pledge themselves to Dany's cause before Euron does, knowing that he will most likely use her to conquer Westeros and then kill her once the Iron Throne is his. In the books, Asha just quietly drops out of prominence once Euron is crowned king, and Victarion sails to Meereen to pledge himself to Dany — on Euron's orders.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Although she is quite kinky in the books, she has not been depicted sleeping or having relationships with women. She has thus far only been depicted having sex with a woman in the show, though it's still entirely possible she's bisexual, as Gemma herself suspects. "Stormborn" more or less confirms the bisexual angle.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: In line with the rest of the Greyjoys. Her book counterpart is described as being very striking, if boyish, while Yara — while not unattractive, especially during her softer and friendlier moments — is plainer, with harder features.
  • 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. That being said, her crueler tendencies are heavily implied to be 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.
    • Her plan in the Kingsmoot is to revive and rebuild the Iron Fleet to never before seen heights implying designs of conquest on a large scale. In the books, she made it clear that she has different intentions, she wants to seek allies with the mainland, abandon superficial conquest and parlay peace with the North in exchange for some land to settle, and convert the Ironborn from reaving to trade. Her speech gets cut off before the end so it's a little confusing as written, though in context from her prior statements that attacking the mainland is getting them nothing, it appears she meant that she wants to build a defensive fleet to ward off any counter-attack by the mainland. That being said, the fact that Yara eventually agrees to give up piracy and rein her people in under Dany's rule displays that, while more of a traditionalist than her book counterpart, she's still open-minded enough to commit to change.
  • Aloof Big Sister: To Theon.
  • Alto Villainess: Her voice is deep and quite raspy, basically making her a female Guttural Growler. The "Villainess" part is downplayed after she seeks to save her brother.
  • Armor Is Useless: Totally averted in "Stormborn". Yara, who typically does wear the usual Greyjoy halfplate, is caught off-guard and has no time to don her armor when Euron attacks her flagship. If she'd had that opportunity, Yara may actually have stood a chance against her suitably plate-mailed uncle.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Despite the bickering and vicious mocking, she and Theon care about each other deeply. She even defies her father in organizing a rescue mission for Theon immediately after receiving his castrated penis. When Theon returns to Pyke again in Season 6, Yara—already on edge and a bit paranoid after Balon's death—is furious at first, but when Theon tearfully confesses that he's there purely to support her as the new ruler of the Iron Islands, she is stunned and untenses at once. All the bravado leaves her, and she nearly hugs him on the spot.
    • Yara also isn't terribly fond of her father, but still swears gruesome, bloody vengeance when Euron murders him. Even when they're arguing at the beginning of Season 6, Balon never threatens to disinherit Yara, and mentions he expects that she'll rule after he's dead—though in the very angry climax to their last argument he says that if she won't obey he'll make another who will (it's unclear how much he meant that last one).
      • In the books, Balon considers Yara his heir, given that he thinks Theon is outright dead, even though he could easily name his younger brother Victarion (cut from the show) as his heir, or even his other brother Aeron the priest. In fact this was a particular sign of favoritism by Balon, given how shocking the Ironborn consider it for a woman to rule, and he must have known it risked a succession crisis when anti-Yara lords rallied behind her uncles.
  • Badass Boast: See the quote at the top of the page. The end result might have been a total failure, but it's still pretty badass.
  • Badass in Distress: She ends up captured by Euron after he raids her fleet.
  • Badass Longcoat: Yara wears the ubiquitous longcoat and breastplate of the Ironborn. Suffice it to say, she pulls it off with aplomb.
  • Big Sister Bully: The second season sees Yara more or less treat Theon as The Chew Toy. That being said...
  • Big Sister Instinct: Despite everything, Yara does make it clear over the course of the following seasons that she does, in fact, care for her little brother. When Balon leaves Theon to die at the hands of the Boltons, Yara opts to go rogue and run a rescue mission. Though it amounts to little in the end, it does a lot to cast her in a better light.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Daenerys, as strong-willed women looking to make their mark in a patriarchal society. The admiration between the two when they first meet is instant and obvious.
  • 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 lets Balon have it in "Mhysa" after he decides to leave Theon to be tortured to death, ceaselessly degrading and dehumanizing him in the process. The result is pretty fantastic.
      Yara: He's your son!
    • She demonstrates this again in the sixth season, giving her father a blunt dressing-down for the outrageous stupidity of their continued involvement in the war.
  • The Captain: Already the de facto commander of the Iron Fleet (well, most of it anyway...), she becomes the commander of Dany's armada after she and Theon swear themselves to support her cause.
  • Character Development: Yara spends a long time learning to respect Theon and work around his traumas and conflicts, all of which culminates in going along with his wishes entirely by sending him off to fight for House Stark in Season 8, letting Theon live the life he wants to live with no more than a sad smile and a sincere hug.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: After Theon's takeover of Winterfell and killing two boys to pose as the Starks when they escape, Yara lets him absolutely have it.
    [...] You made them prisoners in their home and they ran away. Is that treachery? I call it bravery. The little boy prisoner made you a promise and you got mad because he broke it. Are you the dumbest cunt alive? A cunt. A dumb cunt who killed the only two Starks in Winterfell. You know how valuable those boys were. You are weak. And you are stupid.
  • Composite Character: As her post-Kingsmoot story in the books was wrapped up with Stannis, who'd already been killed on the show, she instead takes over the role of her Adapted Out uncle Victarion.

  • Daddy's Little Villain: Is clearly much more favoured than her brother by their father and 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. In Season 4 she only appears in one episode as well (though it's a memorable appearance), and is entirely absent from Season 5. However, come Season 6, she reaches POV character status as the star of the Ironborn plotline.
  • The Dragon: Is effectively this to her father's Big Bad in the second season's Stark/Greyjoy storyline.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She's ruthless — and still has standards.
    • Yara is disgusted when she finds out that Theon has apparently killed Bran and Rickon in the second season, because it was both morally wrong and robbed them of two valuable hostages.
      Yara: The little boy prisoners made you a promise and you got mad when they broke it? Are you the dumbest cunt alive?
    • Likewise, Balon's disregard for Theon's torture and mutilation at the hands of the Boltons leaves Yara visibly livid, despite her own poor relationship with her brother.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: The moment she sees her uncle Euron Greyjoy at the Kingsmoot, she immediately realizes that he killed her father and openly accuses him of this.
  • A Girl in Every Port: When Ellaria asks her whether she has a boy in every port, she responds: "A boy, a girl. Depends on the port."
  • Heir Club for Men: Despite having the well-deserved Undying Loyalty of her own men, Yara's claim to the Seastone Chair is immediately thrown into doubt by Euron's sudden reappearance. The Ironborn vote for Euron even after he admits to killing Balon.
  • Hello, Sailor!: A rare female example.
  • 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 that Theon would stoop so low as to murder children. Later, in making her alliance with Daenerys Targaryen, she agrees to Dany's condition that the Ironborn forswear their culture of piracy in exchange for the Iron Isles' independence. While she hesitates initially, she acknowledges that the world has moved on and it's time to leave their people's old ways behind if they want to truly prosper.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear in the series until Season 2.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Yara has remarkably piercing eyes, particularly when she's angry. This is demonstrated nicely by the Death Glare archived above.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Between her moral boundaries and the loyalty and relative affection she shows for her family, Yara shows enough heart throughout the series to set herself apart from the rest of the Ironborn, despite being a hard and ruthless raider herself.
  • The Lad-ette: Yara dresses as the other Ironborn do, is just as hard a drinker and tough a fighter as any of them, and loves the ladies just as much as any of them.
  • Last of Her Kind: With Theon's death during the Battle for the Dawn, Yara is the last of Balon's line and the second-to-last Greyjoy on Westeros. With Euron's death in “The Bells”, she’s the last surviving Greyjoy.
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to the other Ironborn leaders including her own father, she's seemingly the only one with a basic grasp of large-scale political and military strategy. Balon's "plan" was to opportunistically attack the North purely because they were an easy victory while their army was away — then keep fighting to hold the towns and castles they'd captured long after that war in the south ended. TV-Yara even gives a variation on book-Asha's famous "pinecones and rocks" speech, pointing out that attacking the North of all places has brought them absolutely nothing — as opposed to say, trying to capture the mines of the Westerlands or the farms of the Reach (after all, winter is coming). She outright berates her father for trying to fight mainland armies when their strength is at sea. Only Theon also brought up these concerns — that the North was their natural ally and they should have teamed up against the Lannisters — but he caved because he wanted to impress his father.
  • Parental Favoritism: Yara has earned her father's favor. She's the only person he seems to show any affection for.
  • Pet the Dog: When she tries to persuade Theon to come with her instead of foolishly staying in Winterfell
    Yara: Little brother, don't die so far from the sea.
  • Pirate Girl: It comes with being an Ironborn.
  • Put on a Bus: Barely appears after her major introduction in Season 2; only a brief 3 minute scene in Season 3, another brief 3 minute scene in Season 4 (which wasn't well received), then not at all in Season 5.
    • The Bus Came Back: Her primary story arc from the novels, the Kingsmoot, ultimately wasn't omitted from the TV series but simply pushed back to Season 6. Yara went from being a character casual viewers barely remembered in Season 5 to one of the standout parts of Season 6, widely praised by critics.
  • Replacement Goldfish: With two sons dead and the third one hostage, Balon considers her his heir.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: She sets out to find Theon and kill his captors, but it's quickly subverted. When she finds him, 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".
    Yara: 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!
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After Euron wins the Kingsmoot, she and Theon go into exile rather than stay at the mercy of their murderous uncle, and a sizeable portion of dissident Ironborn follow them in taking the best Ironborn ships with them.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Introduced to the series during the second episode of Season 2.
  • She Is the King: She's vying to be the first female Ironborn ruler, and would have done so had it not been for her Evil Uncle Euron. Not to be outdone, she sails to Meereen and allies with Daenerys to take the Salt Throne and remedy the matter.
  • Sibling Rivalry: With Theon, although she doesn't consider him a serious rival and more of a lost boy.
  • Smug Smiler: Yara's default expression is a self-assured, cocksure smirk. Theon is frequently on the receiving end, at least in the second season.
  • Smurfette Breakout: In-Universe. She is Balon's only daughter, but is unquestionably the most successful and competent of all his children, posthumous or otherwise.
  • The Smurfette Principle: She's the only prominent female Ironborn shown onscreen (exactly as in the novels, in which the Ironborn are very misogynistic and her status as a tomboyish warrior is quite unusual).
  • Supporting Leader: Despite having the authority, Theon is still the main Greyjoy character of the series.
  • There Are No Therapists: She truly loves Theon, but when he still has PTSD when they're in Volantis in Season 6, she tells him that if he doesn't want to live he should just kill himself, or he should keep going — though she does apologize for being a little insensitive. This might seem cruel to us, but in the behind-the-scenes videos, the showrunners directly explained that "Yara isn't a trained psychotherapist", most people in Westeros don't really know about PTSD and the Ironborn, in particular, are more blunt than others, so they felt that it would be untrue to her background if she wasn't kind of blunt in this scene. Still, a lot of viewers went on to point out that despite the showrunners' justification, this still shouldn't have worked for Theon, as it likely wouldn't for anyone.
  • Tomboy: Yara can drink and fight with the best of them.
  • 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.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After the death of her father, Yara loses her bid for the crown to her uncle Euron. Euron's first decree is to have Yara and Theon killed, forcing the two to flee.

    Prince Theon Greyjoy/Reek 

Prince Theon Greyjoy/Reek

Played By: Alfie Allen

See Prince Theon Greyjoy/Reek.

Greyjoy Household and Retainers

    Dagmer "Cleftjaw" 

Dagmer "Cleftjaw"
"They're all Iron Islanders. Do they do as they're told or do they do as they like?"

Played By: Ralph Ineson

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. A terrible death but given who he was, no one is going to mourn for him.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: To Theon.
  • 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.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: He's Theon's main henchman for the siege of Winterfell, but he's pretty much in charge without it being blatant. He manages 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even though he’s a ruthless, bloodthirsty pirate, Dagmer is disturbed by Theon’s clumsy execution of Ser Rodrik Cassel.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He’s more evil than Theon, and towers over him (Ralph Ineson stands 6’3” compared to Alfie Allen’s 5’9”).
  • Evil Mentor: He initially acts as a mentor for Theon, seeming 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. Climaxes in "The Old Gods and the New" when he convinces Theon to murder his former good mentor, Ser Rodrik.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His voice is magnificent.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars : Considering he's a bloodthirsty psychopath, the deep scar across his face is most certainly of the evil kind.
  • 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:
    Dagmer: 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.
  • Killed Offscreen: Ramsay has him and the other Ironborn raiders flayed alive between Seasons 2 and 3.
  • Number Two: To Theon.
  • Older Sidekick: He's older and more experienced than Theon, yet he serves as the latter's Number Two during the siege of Winterfell.
  • 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: Has a grin every time 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.
  • 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. Or at least, he tried to.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Theon confides in Ramsay that Dagmer was the one who personally killed two Winterfell boys.

    "Black" Lorren 

"Black" Lorren
"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.

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book, Lorren does not abandon Theon despite having the chance and actually wants to go down in one last blaze of glory.
  • 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.
  • The Brute: Of the Ironborn that Theon takes to Winterfell.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Unlike Dagmer, he did not enjoy Theon's speech.
    Lorren: [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.
  • Pirate: Like the other Ironborn Raiders.

  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Theon gives him a long deserved No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in "A Man Without Honor" after Loren lets Bran and Rickon escape and then implies it was Theon's fault because he took Osha into his bed.

  • 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.
  • Tap on the Head: Knocks out Theon with the shaft of a spear at the end of his speech in "Valar Morghulis".
  • While You Were in Diapers: He plays this off against Theon, while also threatening to kill him and take his ship.

    Ralf Kenning 

Ralf Kenning
"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: Without even realizing it. 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.
  • 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.
  • Defiant to the End: Moat Cailin is falling, but he decides to go out like a warrior.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He dies the same episode that he first appears in.
  • With Friends Like These...: Gets killed by his own men who are desperate enough to believe in a safe way out.

    Adrack Humble 

Adrack Humble
"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.