A Clash of Kings-Chapter 11
|A Clash of Kings chapter
|Aboard the Myraham, Lordsport and Pyke
|121 UK HC (Other versions)
|Chapter chronology (All)
After an absence of ten years, Theon Greyjoy arrives back home on the island Pyke aboard the Myraham. He docks at Lordsport and is disappointed to discover that his father, Lord Balon Greyjoy, has send only Theon's uncle Aeron, a priest of the Drowned God, to escort him to Balon's castle. At Pyke, Theon is greeted coldly by his father, after which he presents Balon with Robb Stark’s letter. Balon rejects the proposed alliance with Robb, instead insisting that he will pay the iron price and carve out a kingdom of his own.
Theon Greyjoy is aboard the Myraham, which is taking him to the castle of his father Balon on Pyke. Although there is no safe anchorage, Theon insists the Myraham pass by the castle so he can watch his home rise just as it dwindled when he was taken away as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark ten years before. Theon is unable to make out the banner above the Sea Tower, but he knows it is the golden kraken of House Greyjoy. In the sky beyond the castle, the red comet is still visible. Theon decides it is his comet, sliding a hand to the letter from Robb Stark, King in the North, that he considers as good as a crown. The captain's daughter asks Theon if the castle is as he remembers it and he confesses it looks smaller. He then gives the captain permission to make for port at Lordsport and takes the girl below deck, where he has her satisfy him orally. The girl asks to come ashore with him, to be his salt wife, but Theon rebuffs her, explaining that the days of the Old Way are gone and that her place is on the Myraham, despite her protests that her father will hit her for having slept with Theon.
In the harbor of Lordsport, Theon notices at least fifty or sixty longships including those of Houses Goodbrother, Wynch, and Harlaw. Theon considers why his father has called the banners, wondering whether it is because of caution, or whether Lord Balon had anticipated as to why Theon was finally coming home after all these years. From aboard the ship, Theon discovers there is no honor guard to escort him to Pyke. As they make port the captain of the Myraham announces him, but the waiting merchants are unimpressed and do not recognize him. He orders a horse from an innkeeper, but their conversation is interrupted by a priest of the Drowned God, who says he will escort his nephew to Balon's castle. Theon does not recognize the grim, bearded priest until he remembers his father writing that his uncle Aeron Greyjoy had gone down in a storm and turned holy after the near-death experience. Theon finds that Aeron's cold manners are totally unlike the amiable man he remembers from his youth. Abruptly, Aeron asks if Theon prays to the Stark gods now, and Theon (who seldom prays at all) says no. Aeron commands him to kneel in the mud and drenches his head with seawater from a waterskin, reconsecrating him to the Drowned God.
Aeron informs Theon that his mother now lives on Harlaw because of her health and his sister Asha has taken her ship, Black Wind, to Great Wyk with messages from her father. Theon asks why his father has assembled his forces, but Aeron insists Balon commanded secrecy. When Theon protests, stating he has a right to know as Balon's heir, Aeron replies "we shall see" to that, stating that, although Balon has no other sons but Theon, he does have a daughter. When Theon furiously replies that he will not allow himself to be cheated out of his birthright by a woman, Aeron comments that Theon is a fool if he believes that Balon will ever hand over the Iron Islands to a Stark, making Theon realize that, although he was never truly accepted by the Starks, he is now neither truly accepted by his own family, either.
They reach Pyke at sunset, from where Aeron departs immediately. Theon is brought to his chambers by Helya, who informs him that Balon awaits him atop the Sea Tower. Theon dresses richly before leaving to meet his father. Balon is smaller, gaunter, and greyer than Theon remembers him. Balon asks what Theon is now, and Theon replies he is a man and Balon's heir. Balon only says they will see. Balon criticizes Theon's clothing and asks if the gold chain around his neck was bought with iron or gold. Theon, recalling that the Old Way stipulates a warrior may only wear jewelry taken from enemies he has slain, has to admit the chain was bought with gold. Balon yanks the chain off Theon's neck, declaring that his daughter has taken an axe for a lover and that he will not have his son dress like a whore. Balon accuses Theon of having grown weak due to the green lands and decides the Starks have made Theon theirs, calling Theon Robb Stark's envoy. Theon claims the letter of Robb he carries was based on Theon's own counsel, which amuses Balon. However, when Theon tells Balon that Robb looks upon him "as an older brother", Balon grows angry.
Theon hands his father the letter, but it fails to impress Balon. In the letter, Robb offers Balon a crown in return for having the ironborn attacking the westerlands, specifically Lannisport and Casterly Rock. Theon tells Balon the proposed plan is his own and asks for his reward Casterly Rock as his own seat. Balon scoffs at the notion of receiving such handsome reward for "a notion and a few lines of scribbling" and shows his dislike for the notion that Robb will give him a crown, as "what is given can be taken away". Balon burns the letter and backhands Theon when he protests. Balon declares that he will pay the iron price for his crown and take it by conquest as Urron Redhand did five thousand years before. However, Balon feels Casterly Rock to be too strongly defended and Lord Tywin Lannister to be too cunning by half. Theon asks what kingdom Balon means to carve out instead, but realizes he already knows the answer.
Places and terms mentioned
Nicknames and titles:
- Possibly King Robert's Hammer, the flagship of the royal fleet.