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Prince Theon Greyjoy

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/theon_greyjoy_s7.png
"You know what it's like to be told how lucky you are to be someone's prisoner? To be told how much YOU owe THEM?"

Played By: Alfie Allen

"I'm a Greyjoy. I can't fight for Robb and my father both."

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... 

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After his capture by the Boltons, he has been extensively tortured by Ramsay Snow into adopting a second personality called Reek, serving as The Igor to Ramsay. Theon-Reek tells Ramsay and Roose that the two Stark Princes are Not Quite Dead, casting a Spanner in the Works of their plans to usurp the North. Nonetheless, Ramsay kept him as his personal pet and slave, appearing for all the world like one physical person is in fact two characters. Eventually Theon returned when he and Sansa escaped.


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    A-D 
  • 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.
  • 2 + Torture = 5: After having broken him completely, Ramsay finally brutally beats him into accepting "Reek" as his new name.
  • Abled in the Adaptation: In the books, Ramsay actually chopped-off Theon's toes and fingers and even plucked most of his teeth, plus his castration is only implied. Here, Theon only got castrated and lost one finger, though he suffers from a limp for a while because of Ramsey's tortures.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The show puts more emphasis on Theon's Conflicting Loyalty to his two families and his desire to be respected. His torture from Ramsay's hands are also showcased directly (and a lot) compared to the books.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Book Theon had fingers and toes removed, his hair had turned white and since Ramsay tortured him by keeping him in a cell covered in feces, he was constantly filthy as opposed to the more grubby servant garb he wears. He is unrecognizable from the earlier Theon Greyjoy to such an extent that when Asha/Yara sees him she doesn't recognize him at all whereas in Season 4, she easily recognizes Theon at once.
  • Adaptational Badass: Theon's torture in the books didn't just destroy him mentally, but physically as well. Show Theon, once he manages to shake some of the stress, is capable of decently holding his own in a scrap. Special mention goes to his archery skills. Book Theon will likely never hold a bow again due to his severed fingers and toes. Show Theon, while rescuing Yara, rather effortlessly snipes several of Euron's men.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Theon is a much more pleasant person in the show than in the books. He might as well be a different character. He is friends with all the Starks, including Jon, in the show, where in the books he was only really liked by Robb. He also showed regret for his actions long before being captured by Ramsay Snow. He even tells Sansa that he feels that his torture is what he deserved for his actions. In the books he feels that he is innocent and does not deserve the torture he suffered. He also only regrets betraying Robb. In the show he regrets everything he ever did. He takes full responsibility for his crimes instead of blaming them on other people like in the books. He also did not rape a woman who was his bedwarmer.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: All of the Greyjoys look considerably plainer and rougher than their book counterparts, but Theon gets it the hardest. Considered famously handsome in the books, here he looks ratty even before spending time at Ramsay's hands. The show balances this out by significantly toning down the physical damage done to him by the end of the aforementioned torture.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the books, aside from Robb most of the Northmen don't care about him (and the feeling being mutual for the most part) and his position as a hostage is very clear. He certainly isn't part of the family. Therefore the morality of his betrayal is a gray issue. In the show he is accepted as part of their family making the morality of his choice a black and white issue. Being on better terms with the Starks emphasizes the wrongness of his betrayal.
    • When Sansa begs his help in escaping, he betrays her confidence to Ramsay, resulting in Sansa's serving woman ally being flayed to death. Book Theon never sold out Jeyne Poole in anything like that manner.
  • Adaptation Expansion: His captivity and torture are only given mention after the fact in the books.
  • A Friend in Need: With Sansa Stark. At the end of Season 5 and the outset of Season 6, he takes several extreme risks just to protect Sansa and help her escape from the Boltons.
  • Agony of the Feet: He has a very severe and noticeable limp, no doubt a permanent reminder of having a drill very slowly cranked through his left foot, and, of course, the castration.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: 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 has been treating Theon's fingers, Theon might not even have that anymore. Thankfully “Winterfell” shows he hasn’t lost an ounce of his skill, despite the Fingore.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: On the receiving end of one from Bran: "Did you always hate us?"
  • Ascended Extra: In Season 1, he was mostly just Robb's sidekick who also served as some male Fanservice. From Season 2 onwards he's one of the show’s main characters.
  • The Atoner:
    • Sincerely regrets betraying the Starks and officially starts to try and make amends for what he did by saving Sansa's life and helping her escape from the Boltons.
    • Season 8 sees him volunteer to be Bran's guard as the latter acts as The Bait for the Night King. He tells Bran he wants to make up for taking Winterfell from him and forcing Bran and Rickon to go on the run.
    • As of The Last of the Starks, Theon's atonement is considered complete, as Sansa pins a dire wolf sigil on his body. Theon is put to rest as a Stark.
  • Attempted Rape: Saved by Ramsay Snow, of all people. Later becomes Ramsay's victim, who mind rapes, tortures, and castrates Theon.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: 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. From the books... 
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Despite the bickering and vicious mocking, he and his sister Yara care about each other deeply. Yara even openly defies their father to set a rescue mission for Theon when they learn Theon is the Boltons' prisoner.
    • Despite his resentment over being a glorified hostage, he cares deeply for the Starks. So much that this affection is what allows him to finally break out of the "Reek" persona that Ramsay's tortures forced upon him.
  • Bad Boss: His employees are not any better.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Theon's decision to betray the Starks haunted him for much of the series. After helping her escape from the Boltons, Theon plans to take Sansa to the gates of Castle Black so she can be reunited with her brother Jon. She then suggests Theon join the Night's Watch so his crimes would be erased. Theon's not having it.
    Sansa: We just have to make it to Castle Black. Once we're with Jon, Ramsay won't be able to touch us.
    Theon: Jon would have me killed the moment I stepped through the gate.
    Sansa: I won't let him. I'll tell him the truth about Bran and Rickon.
    Theon: And the truth about the farm boys I killed in their place? And the truth about Sir Rodrick who I beheaded? And the truth about Robb who I betrayed?
    Sansa: When you take the Black, all your crimes are forgiven.
    Theon: I don't want to be forgiven. I can't even make amends to your family for the things I've done.
  • Beard of Sorrow: In Season 3. Justified, given that his captors haven't allowed him to shave.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Inverted. It's not until after his horrific torture at the hands of Ramsay that he becomes sympathetic again, and starts truly regretting his past actions.
  • 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 manages to easily take over Winterfell but that's because every able-bodied man is out fighting with Robb Stark. It quickly becomes apparent that he's in over his head.
  • Blade on a Stick: After running out of arrows in the battle at Winterfell in Season 8, he picks up a spear and starts cutting down any wight he can find. He finally charges at the Night King with the spear, but the Night King sidesteps, breaks the spear, and impales Theon with one of the broken pieces.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: To the point that he denies his very name and identity to his own sister. Mostly as a result of his conditioning from Ramsay's Tricked Into Escaping gambit. It turns out that he remembers perfectly well who he is but it takes Sansa and his own guilt for him to reclaim himself.
  • 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 at least one finger.
    • His status as a Lord and his place in the Greyjoy family is taken away in two tragic ways — one, with him being tortured by Ramsay and to accept "Reek" as his new name after Ramsay decides 'Theon' is "too noble" a name for someone like him; and secondly, with his own father utterly disowning him due to him "not being a man anymore" and abandoning him to a horrific fate.
  • Broken Pedestal: Spends most of his life believing that all Ironborn are Proud Warrior Race Guys who fights to the bitter end. He realized how wrong he was the hard way when his men sold him to the Boltons.
  • 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.
      Theon: 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", then?!
    • 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.
  • Career-Ending Injury: It is heavily implied that the injuries he suffered from Ramsay's tortures ended his career as a warrior. His limp in particular permanently damaged his maneuverability. That said, he shows in Season 6 that he's still able to hold and use a sword and in Season 7 it's pretty much subverted completely when he actually fights impressively well against Euron's raiders and kills a decent number, but flees the battle when Euron sets off his PTSD.
  • Character Tics: As a result of his indoctrination, Reek has great difficulty making eye contact; also, perhaps as a physical side-effect of all the torture, he's also prone to twitching during times of stress. Unfortunately, this still remains to some extent after he rediscovers himself as Theon Greyjoy.
  • Child of Two Worlds: A Deconstruction, he's too Northern for the Iron Islands and too Ironborn for the North. His failure to resolve that identity crisis leads to tragedy for him and everyone else. He eventually becomes Reek, a mindless puppet broken of will, neither Ironborn or Northern. He finally snaps out at the end of Season 5.
  • 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.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He has shades of this. Though he's not really that pragmatic in other ways, from what we see, Theon actually has a fair measure of success in combat because he's sneaky and doesn't fight fairly.
    • In Season 1, he rescues Bran and ends the standoff between Robb and the wildlings by shooting their leader in the back.
    • In Season 2, he lures Ser Rodrik and the guards remaining in Winterfell away with a feint attack on Torrhen's Square. He then sends his men over the walls and takes the castle as it sleeps. He also successfully unleashes a No Holds Barred Beat Down on Black Lorren by exploiting the element of surprise.
    • Finally, in Season 5, he saves Sansa Stark from a world of hurt by chucking Myranda to her Disney Villain Death, a feat that he accomplishes by attacking from behind and subverting her expectations that he's totally Ramsay's creature (though that may not have factored in his decision to do it).
    • At the start of Season 6, he and Sansa are surrounded by Bolton soldiers and about to be dragged back to Winterfell, but suddenly Brienne and Podrick ambush the soldiers. During the ensuing fight, Pod is knocked off his horse and finds himself outmatched by the soldier he fights on foot. Before the soldier can deliver the killing blow, however, Theon gets his hands on a dropped sword and thrusts it into the back of Pod's attacker.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: His biological family versus the one that raised him. He chooses his biological family, neatly summed up by his entry and image quotes, above, but ultimately regrets it as he realizes that Yara is the only one who actually cares for him. By the end of season 7, he has a talk with Jon and realizes that he doesn't have to choose one over the other, as shown when he rescues Yara from Euron then leaves her at the Iron islands so he can help the Starks fight the Night King.
  • Covered with Scars: Though Reek's face has been left mostly unmarked, during the bath scene it's revealed that the rest of his body is covered with dozens of painful-looking scars.
  • 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.
    • Though in Season 6 he is badass enough to try and lead the Bolton soldiers away from Sansa and later stab one in the back whilst Brienne and Pod were temporarily incapacitated. In Season 7, he fights and kill a few of Euron's raider before he absorbs the horror of the scene and starts reliving his trauma.
    • Season 8 solidifies his badass status, as he helps to defend Bran from the wights, and then after all of his men have fallen, he single-handedly uses a dragonglass polearm to down dozens of wights single-handedly, eventually engaging in a doomed charge against the Night King himself. He's easily defeated, but it took guts to go that far.
  • 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.
  • Defiant to the End: His last act is to charge at the Night King to buy Bran a few more seconds of life. Theon knew full well that he was going to die and decided to fight to the bitter end.
  • 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. He later dives even further when he meets Sansa and admits his guilt into betraying the Starks and outright admits he deserves to be tortured for killing children.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: He betrays Robb and the other Stark's to win the love and respect of his cunt father, (which doesn't happen) when ironically Robb was the one who really gave a shit about him. Theon eventually realizes what a mistake this was. Also, Yara is shown to care about him at the end of the day, meaning even within his own biological family, he was still looking for the approval of the wrong relative.
  • Disability Immunity: Probably the first time in TV history where a previous Groin Attack actually helped someone in a fight. When he gets in an argument with Harrag, the guy makes the mistake of trying to kick him in the balls, forgetting that there's nothing there. This allows Theon to tackle Harrag and beat the shit out of him.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Theon kills Myranda when she threatens to torture Sansa out of jealousy, He then grabs Sansa and jumps from Winterfell's walls with her, stealing Ramsay's prize.
  • 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.
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    E-N 
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: Averted. The horrific torture and mind-breaking he suffers alongside castration by Ramsay's hands gets some sympathy he lost when he went off the rails to please his father.
  • Everyone 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.
  • Face Death with Dignity: 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. He then spends several years in hell...
    • 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. He immensely regrets it.
  • 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.
    • Subsequent episodes show that Theon still has most of the fingers on his right hand at least. He was able to hold the razor with that hand when giving Ramsay a shave, and there's a closeup of a glove being put on his hand before he's sent to Moat Cailin. Most likely because he wouldn't be much use as a slave if he couldn't hold or carry anything.
  • Flaying Alive: Ramsay skinned parts of him, particularly his hands.
  • Foil:
    • To Jon Snow. Both are raised under the House of Stark. Jon, as the illegitimate son of Lord Eddard Stark, wishes to be a legal Stark and Theon — though a trueborn son of House Greyjoy and a hostage/ward of the Starks — wants to be a Stark. 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 treats him poorly. Jon is loved by his father and half-siblings and grows up with his family while Theon grows up away from his family and has a father who doesn't even like him.
    • To Jaime Lannister. Both start off as cocky young men. At least once, Theon winds up in an incestuous situation with his sister while Jaime and his sister Cersei frequently engage in incest. After experiencing dire circumstances, both are captured and lose a vital body part, which initially breaks them, and both manage to escape. Both return home, but find they no longer have the power and influence they expected upon returning home. Both share close relationships with their sisters. However, after Theon returns home, Yara is far more supportive of Theon, while Cersei is less so with Jaime.
  • Forced to Watch: Ramsay forced him to watch as he rapes Sansa on their wedding night.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: By Season 7, the surviving Starks have become sympathetic of him despite his betrayal in Season 2, especially as he saved Sansa from the Boltons. But they (Jon specifically) make it clear to Theon that his betrayal still stings.
  • 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. This proves to be his undoing; he's willing to die rather than be "the Greyjoy who ran", not realizing that his Ironborn fighters think defiant last stands when running away with the loot is an option are just stupid.
  • 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.
  • Groin Attack: Ramsay castrates him with a gelding knife.
    • The Season 7 finale finally has him discover an upside to this, as he's now able to No-Sell any further strikes to the area.
  • Handicapped Badass: Downplayed. Despite his torture, he is still able to hold his own with a sword in a fight. However, his experiences had definitely left their mark on him both Physically and Mentally.
  • 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.
    • Subverted by his betrayal in Season 2. Now Robb wants to kill him.
  • 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. Robb, the one person who actually respected Theon, would kill him on the spot. He's too scared to join the Night Watch and face Jon Snow after everything he's done. Finally, Theon gets somewhat of a chance of redemption when he is welcomed back by his sister and the two align with Daenerys in Essos.
  • Heel Realisation: In Series 3, long after his antics have caused every member of his adopted family to despise him. In Season 5, he outright tells Sansa he deserves being tortured into Reek for killing those miller's boys and betraying Robb.
    Theon: I deserved everything. I deserved to be Reek. I did terrible things. Turned on Robb. Captured Winterfell. Killed those boys.
  • The Hero Dies: The main protagonist of the Greyjoy storyline, he dies midway through the final season at the hands of the Night King.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Is the last man left standing in the Godswood during the final battle at Winterfell, going down in one final charge to defend Bran from the Night King.
  • He's Back: In the Season 5 finale, Theon begins to break free from his Reek persona, killing Myranda and saving Sansa while the Greyjoy theme plays. At the end of Season 6, the sight of the flag of the (dissident) Greyjoys as part of the Targaryen armada brings a smile to his face, signalling that he's well on the path to recovering from his ordeal. By the end of Season 7, it's safe to say Reek has been put to rest, as Theon demonstrates with his determination to rescue his sister and his No Holds Barred Beat Down of the Ironborn captain, complete with one of his trademark smirks.
    • “Winterfell” sees the return of Theon The Archer.
  • I Have Your Wife: Theon was raised by Ned Stark as insurance for Balon Greyjoy's good behavior.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A heroic version. He was killed by the Night King using his own spear.
  • 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.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: A reoccuring theme in Theon's early character arc. Despite being raised by the Starks, he was never truly considered one of them. When returning to his homeland, Theon was hit with the cold hard reality that he was not missed. He overthrows Winterfell in a gambit to win his father's affection but ends putting himself in an unwinnable situation when the rest of the North wants him dead. This all ultimately leads to his his capture by Ramsay.
  • The Igor: To Ramsay, complete with slow gait and low-bent head. Going with the Ramsay = Dracula parallelism, Reek is also The Renfield, or a deconstruction of this trope.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Night King Stabs Theon with his own spear.
  • 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 having two children killed 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 later and even Sansa realizes he's far too pathetic and miserable to truly hate.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Hell: His attempt to resolve his identity crisis (Northman/Stark or Iron Islander/Greyjoy) in the first couple of seasons, results in his capture and torture by Ramsay Bolton, where he struggles between his born identity as Theon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, and the 'Reek' identity Ramsay Bolton forced upon him. He eventually becomes Theon Greyjoy again, but still not the same guy he'd had in mind — rather, he's a mentally and physically mutilated version of Theon Greyjoy that still can't shake some of Reek's mannerisms.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: After Ramsay demonstrates just how harmless Theon is now, Locke refers to him as "your pet rat", and Roose Bolton calls him "your creature".
  • It's All About Me: He doesn't take much consideration for anything but his own immediate gratification and how other people view him. Even as Reek, he's mainly concerned about preventing Ramsay from torturing him more than usual and knowingly finks Sansa's rescue plans and gets her friend killed, even saying that he's doing this to stop Ramsay from hurting her. Sansa however gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech instead which starts his Heel Realization. The first outright selfless action he's ever done, either as Theon or Reek, is when he kills Myranda and stops her from torturing Sansa and chooses to escape with her over the walls of the castle. In the sixth season, however, this appears to have changed; when he and Sansa hear the Bolton men approaching, Theon tells her to hide while he goes to lure them away, and then to head for Castle Black where she'll be safe with her brother Jon Snow. When they corner Theon and demand to know where Sansa is, he lies and tells them that Sansa broke both legs in the fall and he left her behind to die. Unfortunately, they don't believe him and their dogs easily pick up Sansa's scent. But he tried, knowing that he was facing capture and even worse torture at Ramsay's hands.
  • Jerkass: Theon is a bit of an asshole, even before his Face–Heel Turn. Significantly less of one following his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While his betrayal of the Stark is bad he does say to Luwin how terrible it was to have people calling him lucky to have such admirable jailers.
    • Balon & Yara refuse to listen to his warnings about the North not being so easy to conquer. They are convinced he is only trying to dissuade from the attack them due to his loyalty to the Starks. This is actually true but Theon turns out to be correct about the North being well defended. In the end the Ironborn are only able to take three castles. They later surrender two of these without a fight when a Northern army actually arrives to take them back.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being a bit of an asshole at first, he is also a good person at times. He saved Bran's life, gave Robb some good advice, told Jon that he gets to keep Ghost, and even tried to make conversation with Tyrion Lannister. Even when he betrays the Starks he still tries at first to be kind and gentle with Bran.
  • 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 and two innocent peasant boys.
  • 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.
  • Loss of Identity: His time under Ramsay where he's forced to take on the Reek personality and name nearly does this to him. He completely follows Ramsay's slightest whim and command, ratting out anyone who tries to appeal or meet him, and even Ramsay is convinced that Reek is entirely his. Turns out he's not. Theon still remembers and feels guilty about killing those miller's boys and betraying Robb and finally rescues Sansa and kills Myranda when the latter points out that Sansa will likely meet the same Fate Worse than Death him, though it is very possibly Myranda was saying this out of pure jealous of Sansa cause of Ramsay's attraction to her.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: In "The Wolf and the Lion".
  • Madness Mantra: When it appears his mission to trick the Ironborn is failing, Reek begins to mutter to himself quietly "Reek, Reek, it rhymes with weak".
  • Meaningful Rename: Ramsay renames him "Reek" in "Mhysa", mostly because he stinks.
  • Mind Rape: Ramsay's physical and mental torture warps his personality into something called "Reeks".
  • 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. In Season 5, he admits that being tortured into Reek is punishment for those crimes.
  • 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.
  • No-Sell: His castration means that a Groin Attack is now useless against him in a fight, as we discover at the end of Season 7 when one of his men tries it on him repeatedly. Theon just smiles and proceeds to win the fight.

    O-Z 
  • The Oathbreaker: He broke his oath to fight by Robb's side until his dying day.
  • 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 Warrior Race Guy:
    • He's trying his damnedest to be this.
      Theon: You're not a man in the Iron Islands 'till you've killed your first enemy!
    • 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.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Dies protecting Bran in Winterfell from the Night King.
  • 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.
    • He gets another fantastic one in in "The Door" while vouching for Yara at the Kingsmoot.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He is the final character killed by the Night King before the undead ruler's own demise at Arya's dagger.
  • 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. He finally gets over that fear by helping Sansa escape. But Euron triggers his fears again, causing Theon to abandon Yara.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After Euron wins the Kingsmoot, he and Yara 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.
  • Sibling Rivalry: With his sister Yara, for the respect of his father.
    • Also with Ned Stark's illegitimate son, Jon Snow, as they are both raised under the same roof and share a close relationships with Robb. Theon considers himself the better one for being a trueborn son of House Greyjoy.
  • 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 wants to take over Moat Cailin, Deepwood Moote and villages on the coast, believing that Winterfell could wait a year or two. Theon however takes the seat of the Starks by subterfuge, an action which deals a critical blow to Robb's campaign and costs him the loyalty of the Boltons.
    • Likewise to Balon and Yara Greyjoy, his breakdown under torture ends up making him a Bolton puppet which makes her effort to rescue her brother a doomed effort that costs 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. Later Ramsay's insistent on keeping Theon as Reek leads to Sansa deprogramming him to the extent that he snaps and kills Myranda and escapes with her when Ramsay fights Stannis.
    • He later throws a spanner into his uncle Euron's plans when he and Yara take the Iron Fleet's best longships with them into exile, forcing Euron to build a new fleet from scratch and delaying his plans to ally with Dany and conquer the Seven Kingdoms.
    • In the end, Theon starts the chain of events that finally culminates in the Boltons downfall during Season 6.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Towards Ramsay. The torture at his hands has worked that he abandons and refuses to recognize his sister, willingly rats out Sansa's plans to him and generally does what he says. Ultimately averted when he snaps out and escapes with Sansa out of Winterfell.
  • Stone Wall: Castration might have taken out his cockiness and made him easy to beat to a pulp, but Theon can just wait until his opponent gets tired (especially if he wastes time to his them in the groin, where there's nothing) and beat him up.
  • 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. A rare example in which his Stupid Evil comes from trying to adhere to PR where the Ironborn are concerned.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He is the central Greyjoy character of the series, but Yara has the clear authority in their group.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • He insists he has always been "Reek", making it clear that any trace of the man he once was is gone.
      Reek: Theon Greyjoy tried to escape. The master knew. He knows everything. He hunted him and caught him and strapped him to a cross and cut away piece after piece until there was no Theon left.
    • The Season 5 finale resurrects Theon again.
  • Thicker Than Water: The reason for his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: His default expression nowadays. Comprehensibly if you're forced to spend your days alongside and at the mercy of Ramsay Bolton, your face eventually gets permanently stuck in an empty, horrified look.
  • 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.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After at least three years of bad fortune, torture, and abuse, Season 6 sees Theon reestablish his identity as a Greyjoy, finally bond and mend fences with Yara, and find a proud place in Daenerys Targaryen's armada, firmly setting him on a road to recovery.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • To Ramsay for most of Seasons 4 and 5, averted finally when he kills Myranda and runs away with Sansa.
    • To Yara after Season 6 finale, being her right-hand man.
  • The Unfavorite: His father clearly does not think of him highly, instead preferring Yara.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: How the Northerners view him after his siege of Winterfell.
  • 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. However he fully accepts responsibility and later admits to Sansa that he deserves being tortured by Ramsay for what he had done.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Theon's lifelong problem since he was taken hostage by the Starks after his father's first rebellion. He's never truly home at Winterfell and he becomes a Stranger in a Familiar Land in both the Iron Islands (as the returning Prodigal Son) and in Winterfell (as the traitorous former ward). In Season 5, he decisively breaks from Ramsay by killing Myranda, knowing there's no way he can ever return to him now, and so he and Sansa run for it. In Season 6, his uncle Euron murders his father and is appointed the new King of the Iron Islands, so now even there is no longer safe for Theon.

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