Theon Greyjoy

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Theon Greyjoy
Greyjoy coat sigil.png
Brittmartin Theon.jpg
Theon Greyjoy by Brittmartin©

Alias Prince of Fools
Theon Turncloak
the squid prince
Theon Kinslayer
The Prince of Stink[1]
Title Prince of Winterfell
Captain of Sea Bitch
Lord of the Iron Islands (by law of the green lands)
Allegiance House Greyjoy
Culture Ironmen
Born In 278 AC or 279 AC[2], at Pyke
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (POV)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (POV)
The Winds of Winter (POV)

Played by Alfie Allen
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6

Theon Greyjoy is a member of House Greyjoy and is the sole surviving son and heir apparent of Lord Balon Greyjoy. At the end of the Greyjoy Rebellion, Theon was taken as a hostage and ward to Lord Eddard Stark. He becomes a POV character in A Clash of Kings. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Alfie Allen.[3]

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Theon Greyjoy

Theon is a lean, dark, handsome youth.[4] He is known for his arrogance and his cocky smile. He is promiscuous and vain, but behind his arrogant exterior hides insecurities relating to his uncertain familial and social identity, that start to surface during his POVs in the second novel.

Theon sometimes wears a black surcoat emblazoned with the kraken of House Greyjoy over a shirt of fine mail.[5]


Theon was a young boy of ten when his father's rebellion was crushed and his two brothers, Rodrik and Maron were killed, making him the heir to House Greyjoy and the Iron Islands. He was taken as a hostage and ward by Lord Eddard Stark and has been raised at Winterfell for nine years since.[6] He was raised with the Stark children and tutored along with them in all disciplines. His relationship with the Starks is respectful, while he considers Robb Stark a close friend and brother. He feuds, however, with Jon Snow, the other outsider of the family. Theon seeks approval from the Starks, but usually feels unsatisfied. He is a skilled bowman.[7]

Theon refers to the King of Winter Theon Stark as his namesake.[8]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Theon is present when the Stark boys witness the execution of Gared, kicking the head afterwards.[4] He remains in Winterfell after Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark leaves for King's Landing to assume the position of Hand. During this time, Theon saves Bran Stark from a group of wildlings and Night's Watch deserters, but Robb Stark criticizes him for risking Bran's life.[9] This event wounds Theon. After the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings, however, Theon becomes Robb's trusted battle companion. He fights at Robb's side at the Battle of the Camps and at the Whispering Wood, where he takes pride in coming very close to Jaime Lannister during the fighting.[10]

A Clash of Kings

Theon returns to Pyke – by Mark Evans ©
Theon Greyjoy in Winterfell – by Diener ©

Robb, who is now King in the North and of the Trident, sends Theon home to the Iron Islands to forge an alliance with his father, Lord Balon Greyjoy, if he ravages the Lannisters' coast with his longships. Balon and Aeron Greyjoy criticize Theon's mainland, northern ways and reject Robb's proposal.[11] Later, Theon meets his sister, Asha, who flirts with him under an assumed identity and humiliates him. Theon learns of Balon's plans to ravage the North, but receives a position of minor authority.[12]

Under the supervision of Aeron and Dagmer Cleftjaw, Theon commands eight longships charged with reaving the Stony Shore. Captaining the Sea Bitch, he raids several villages and has some difficulty controlling his men. When Benfred Tallhart's Wild Hares march to intercept him, Theon ambushes the party. At Aeron's insistence, he drowns the survivors as a sacrifice to the Drowned God of the Iron Islands. Dissatisfied with his duties and jealous of Asha's acquisition of Deepwood Motte, Theon formulates a plan to go against orders and capture Winterfell itself. He convinces Dagmer Cleftjaw to march on Torrhen's Square to draw out Winterfell's garrison.[13] With a small party, Theon raids Winterfell and overwhelms its remaining guards.[5]

With Winterfell under his control, Theon takes Bran and Rickon Stark hostage. Theon has difficulty controlling Winterfell's population, many of whom are known to him. He frees "Reek" from the castle's dungeon and takes him into his service. Maester Luwin also serves Theon, and pleads for him to show mercy and tolerance. Bran and Rickon Stark manage to escape with the help of Osha, Hodor, Meera and Jojen Reed. Theon fails to track the boys down, however. Following the advice of "Reek", he kills two boys around the same age from the Acorn Water mill and presents their preserved corpses as the Starks'.[14]

When mysterious deaths start happening to those of Theon's men who had been part of the search party (Gelmarr, Aggar and Gynir), Farlen is blamed by Theon without evidence. As he is about to be executed Farlen points out to Theon that Lord Eddard did his own killings, forcing Theon to do the deed himself. Theon, however, knows Farlen did not commit the murders, but it was in fact "Reek", who with Theon's knowledge killed the three ironborn to keep the secret of the "Stark bodies" more secure.[15]

Meanwhile, Ser Rodrik Cassel has repulsed Dagmer Cleftjaw from Torrhen's Square. As the return of Winterfell's garrison looms, Theon reaches out to Asha for help. She arrives with her men, but tells Theon that the ironborn will never succeed in holding landlocked castles. After leaving behind a token group of men, she abandons Winterfell and advises Theon to do the same. Theon rages that even his greatest achievement has earned him no respect from either the northmen or the ironborn, and sinks into despair.

Theon frees "Reek" to seek help at the Dreadfort before the garrison returns under the command of Rodrik.[15] At the start of the parlay with Rodrik Theon learns that he has acquired the moniker "Theon Turncloak". As a final gambit, Theon threatens to hang Rodrik's daughter, Beth, if Winterfell is attacked. As Theon awaits Rodrik's decision, Luwin convinces Theon to join the Night's Watch, where his crimes will be forgiven and he can earn respect. Before Theon can surrender, however, Bolton men arrive and surprise attack Rodrik's forces, scattering them. As Theon attempts to thank "Reek", the servant reveals his true identity as Ramsay Snow, takes Theon prisoner and burns Winterfell.[16]

A Storm of Swords

Lord Roose Bolton delivers a piece of Theon's skin to King Robb Stark and his mother, Catelyn Tully, shortly before the Red Wedding. Theon is reportedly being flayed alive by Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of Bolton, at the Dreadfort.[17]

A Feast for Crows

Most of the ironborn, including his sister Asha, believe Theon to be dead.[18]

A Dance with Dragons

Theon has been tortured repeatedly by Ramsay, who has since been legitimized as Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay removes the skin on several of Theon's toes and fingers, leaving him in agony for days before removing the joints but only after Theon begs him to remove them. He broke and removed several of Theon's teeth because Ramsay hated his smiles. It is also implied, but not confirmed, that Ramsay removes Theon's genitals as well.[19] Though this is only referenced covertly in the novel, the fact that Theon loses his penis in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", an episode of Game of Thrones written by George R. R. Martin, has tended to be looked at in fandom as a confirmation of these hints. Theon is forced to take on the guise of Reek, Ramsay's former serving man. Theon is forbidden to bathe and is caked from head to toe in filth and excrement.

Reek – by Marc Fishman ©

Due to the torture he endured at Ramsay's hands, Theon's appearance has dramatically changed. He looks like he has aged forty years and several of his teeth have been knocked out; many more are loose meaning Theon cannot eat without suffering agony. Theon has lost three stone in weight, his skin has turned pasty, and his hair is white and brittle. He can no longer use a bow due to the loss of some fingers and he hobbles like an old man due to the loss of several toes.[20]

Before he endures the worst of Ramsay's tortures, Theon once escaped with the help of Kyra, his former bedwarmer at Winterfell. It turns out, though, that they were allowed to escape by Ramsay. His captor lets them get a day's head start before hunting them with his hounds. Theon is taken back to the Dreadfort dungeon and Kyra meets a cruel and grisly death at the hands of Ramsay and his hounds. Theon is mentally and physically broken by Ramsay and lives in great fear of him.[20]

After Ramsay's father, Lord Roose Bolton, announces his return to the North, Ramsay has Theon washed and properly clothed, and sends him to deliver peace terms to the ironborn occupying Moat Cailin, promising them food and safe passage if they surrender. When they do surrender, Ramsay has them all flayed alive and displays their skinless bodies along the road to the ruined castle. Theon is present when Ramsay is introduced to his bride "Arya Stark", whom Theon instantly recognizes as Jeyne Poole.[21]

Because Theon was a ward of Winterfell for ten years and is the closest thing to kin "Arya" has, he gives the bride away at the wedding in Winterfell. Jeyne pleads with Theon several times before the wedding to help rescue her, but Theon refuses.

During the wedding banquet held in Winterfell's hall Theon is reviled by those in attendance. Theon thinks to himself:

Let them laugh. His pride had perished here at Winterfell; there was no place for such in the dungeons of the Dreadfort. When you have known the kiss of a flaying knife, a laugh looses all its power to hurt you.[19]

During the bedding Ramsay has Theon strip his bride for him and makes Theon watch as he humiliates and degrades Jeyne, then forces him to prepare her sexually before he rapes her.[19]

Theon silently hopes that when Stannis Baratheon comes he will kill Ramsay.[citation needed]
"We flew" - Jeyne and Theon escape Winterfell by leaping from the battlements.
Art by Juliana Pinho

When several Bolton men are murdered at Winterfell, Theon is thought a suspect, although he wonders if a hooded man he meets is instead to blame. The idea of Theon being the murderer is quickly dismissed by Roose, who claims that Theon is too broken and weak to have carried out the murders.[22] The murders cause tension in the castle between the Freys, Boltons, Manderlys and other northern houses, finally erupting into a brawl.[23]

Theon flees to the godswood, seeing hints of Bran Stark's face in the weirwood, hearing it whisper his name and temporarily restoring his sanity.[22]

He is then summoned by the musician at Winterfell, "Abel", and learns that his six companion washerwomen are actually wildling spearwives, responsible for some of the deaths to use the confusion in the castle to free "Arya Stark". They enlist the help of a reluctant Theon.[23] As they are escaping, Jeyne's scream when one of the Bolton men is killed by Frenya alerts the guards. They reach the top of the walls, only to realize that the rope has been left with one of the spearwives down below. Under attack by guards shooting arrows, Theon grabs Jeyne and jumps from the battlements.[23]

Theon reunited with Asha – by mustamirri ©

Theon and Jeyne land in snow and are caught by Mors Umber, who sends them to rendezvous with Stannis's army at a crofters' village a few days ride away.[23] Asha, who is a captive with Stannis's army, barely recognizes Theon due to his torture at the hands of Ramsay.[24]

The Winds of Winter

Theon is now a prisoner of Stannis Baratheon, who plans to have Theon eventually executed in order to placate the northern lords who want Theon dead for his murder of Bran and Rickon Stark. Stannis intends to keep Theon alive for the time being as he might have useful information about Roose and Ramsay Bolton. Theon is present during the agreement between Stannis and Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank of Braavos, as well as the exposure of Arnolf Karstark's planned treachery and the subsequent arrest of Karstark's family and men.

After Asha's attempts to ransom him fail, she urges Stannis to execute Theon as Eddard Stark would have - by beheading him in front of a heart tree. This is likely done in an attempt to spare Theon the agony of being burned alive as a sacrifice to R'hllor.[25]

Quotes by Theon

Catelyn: If even part of what I suspect is true, Ned and my girls have ridden into deadly danger, and a word in the wrong ears could mean their lives.

Theon: Lord Eddard is a second father to me. I do so swear.[26]

- Catelyn Tully and Theon

A dead enemy is a thing of beauty.[9]

- Theon after killing Stiv

Stark is grey and Greyjoy's black, but it seems we're both windy.[11]

- Theon to Aeron Greyjoy

Only a fool humbles himself when the world is so full of men eager to do that job for him.[12]

- Theon to Esgred

The boar can keep his tusks, and the bear his claws. There's nothing half so mortal as a grey goose feather.[27]

- Theon after a hunt

Quotes by Theon, as Reek

I'm not him, I'm not the turncloak, he died at Winterfell. My name is Reek, It rhymes with freak.[28]

– Theon, to Barbrey Dustin

Theon found himself wondering if he should say a prayer. Will the old gods hear me if I do? They were not his gods, had never been his gods. He was ironborn, a son of Pyke, his god was the Drowned God of the islands … but Winterfell was long leagues from the sea. It had been a lifetime since any god had heard him. He did not know who he was, or what he was, why he was still alive, why he had ever been born.

“Theon,” a voice seemed to whisper. His head snapped up. “Who said that?” All he could see were the trees and the fog that covered them. The voice had been as faint as rustling leaves, as cold as hate. A god’s voice, or a ghost’s. How many died the day that he took Winterfell? How many more the day he lost it? The day that Theon Greyjoy died, to be reborn as Reek. Reek, Reek, it rhymes with shriek.[22]

– Theon's thoughts before the heart tree

Robb, who had been more a brother to Theon than any son born of Balon Greyjoy’s loins. Murdered at the Red Wedding, butchered by the Freys. I should have been with him. Where was I? I should have died with him.[22]

– Theon's recollections

Quotes about Theon

She studied Theon Greyjoy's sly smile, wondering what it meant. That young man had a way of looking as though he knew some secret jest that only he was privy to; Catelyn had never liked it.[29]
Catelyn Tully's thoughts

Asha: You’d do well to heed what I told you about choosing a crew. If you had troubled to learn the first thing of Sigrin, I could never have fooled you. Ten years a wolf, and you land here and think to prince about the islands, but you know nothing and no one. Why should men fight and die for you?

Theon: I am their lawful prince.
Asha: By the laws of the green lands, you might be. But we make our own laws here, or have you forgotten?[12]

Asha Greyjoy and Theon

Your lord father did what he could to gentle Theon, but I fear it was too little and too late.[5]
– Maester Luwin, to Bran Stark

Well, I’m no great warrior like you, brother, I saw the heads above your gates. Tell me true, which one gave you the fiercest fight, the cripple or the babe?[15]

Asha Greyjoy, to Theon

Rodrik: For ten years you have been a ward of Stark.

Theon: Hostage and prisoner, I call it.
Rodrik: Then perhaps Lord Eddard should have kept you chained to a dungeon wall. Instead he raised you among his own sons, the sweet boys you have butchered, and to my undying shame I trained you in the arts of war. Would that I had thrust a sword through your belly instead of placing one in your hand.[16]

Rodrik Cassel and Theon

When they told me Winterfell had fallen, I wanted to go north at once, I wanted to free Bran and Rickon, but I thought ... I never dreamed that Theon could harm them, truly. If I had ...[30]

Robb Stark, to Catelyn Tully

If Theon had died in place of Lord Karstark’s sons, how much ill would have been undone?[10]
Catelyn Tully's thoughts

Oh, it was cleverly done, I'll grant you. If only you'd had the good sense to raze the castle and carry the two little princelings back to Pyke as hostages, you might have won the war in a stroke.[15]
Asha Greyjoy, on conquering Winterfell

He had only the vaguest memory of Theon Greyjoy from his time with the Starks. A callow youth, always smiling, skilled with a bow; it was hard to imagine him as Lord of Winterfell.[31]
Tyrion Lannister's thoughts


Lady of House Stonetree
Lady of House Piper
Lady of House Sunderly
Alannys Harlaw
Euron "Crow's Eye"
Aeron "Damphair"

References and Notes

  1. Bad reference param1.
  2. See the Theon Greyjoy calculation.
  3. Game of Thrones/Cast and crew
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
  8. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
  13. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 37, Theon III.
  14. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  16. 16.0 16.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 12, Reek I.
  21. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
  24. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
  25. The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Theon I.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
  27. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  28. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.

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