Over its eight seasons, Game of Thrones proved it was able to build smaller characters into key aspects of the show as well as make the audience change their minds about certain characters. In the case of Theon Greyjoy, both are true which helped to make him one of the most interesting figures in the series.
Ten years after the series first aired, it is interesting to look back on the entire arc of Theon. He is a character who experienced both victories and defeats. He was a treacherous villain at times and a redemptive hero at other times. If fans are interested in revisiting his complicated journey, there are some key episodes that really highlight who Theon Greyjoy was.
10 The Night Lands (Season 2, Episode 2)
In season 1 of the show, Theon was largely a supporting character who was Robb Stark’s right-hand man and didn’t step into the spotlight himself. That changed in season 2 when Theon became much more pivotal.
In this episode, Theon is sent home to the Iron Islands by Robb to recruit his father to his campaign. Theon thinks he is returning home as a hero but is met with disdain and hostility. It also establishes that Theon is surprisingly not the worst member of his family.
9 The Old Guards And The New (Season 2, Episode 6)
Theon’s arc in the second season is all about him wanting to prove himself to the family that seems to hate him, and he does so by betraying the family who accepted him. Taking a group of soldiers, Theon attacks the unprotected Winterfell and holds Bran Stark as his hostage.
The episode is a great showcase of Theon’s misguided and pathetic attempts to be respected. His tough-guy act is easy to see through and the messy beheading of Rodrik Cassel made it clear that this downfall would not be pretty.
8 The Prince Of Winterfell (Season 2 Episode 8)
The relationship between Theon and Yara was always a very complicated one in the show. Starting with their very awkward reunion on the Iron Islands, Yara continued to prove she was the child their father was proud of and she was not at all impressed with her Northern-raised brother.
However, this episode gives a hint to a stronger bond than Yara had admitted. She comes to Winterfell and chastises Theon for his foolish act of taking the castle. However, her hard demeanor cracks when she encourages her brother to come home and Theon begins to realize his mistake.
7 Valar Morghulis (Season 2, Episode 10)
Most fans probably felt it was a safe bet that Theon would not be making it out of season 2 with his life. Things just kept going from bad to worse for him with no escape in sight. By the season finale, he was locked away in Winterfell surrounded by a Northern army.
Maester Luwin attempts to convince Theon to escape to the Wall where he can live in exile, but Theon’s ego won’t allow it. Instead, he gathers his men together and launches into an epic and impassioned speech that has a very unexpected ending which spells more trouble for Theon.
6 And Now His Watch Has Ended (Season 3, Episode 4)
While season 2 seemed bad for Theon, that was nothing compared to season 3. He is reintroduced being held captive by some unknown enemies who continuously torture him. Then he is saved by a mysterious boy.
While attempting to make their escape, Theon looks back on the mistakes he made the prior season. He admits that, while he was raised in the Iron Islands, he truly belongs to the Stark family.
5 The Laws Of Gods And Men (Season 4, Episode 6)
Following that brief show of affection in season 2, Yara proves that she does truly love her brother after learning that he is being held prisoner by Ramsay Snow. She assembles a group of soldiers to raid the Dreadfort and save him.
Unfortunately, this episode also shows just how far gone Theon is as he has been brainwashed into thinking he is Reek. Instead of leaving with Yara, he stays and maintains his loyalty to his cruel captor.
4 The Mountain And The Viper (Season 4, Episode 8)
As much as fans hated Theon in season 2, it was hard not to feel sympathy for him, watching as he underwent endless abuse at the hands of Ramsay. When attempting to retake Moat Cailin from the Ironborn, Ramsay sends his pet to take the castle.
After having his mind warped for a long time, Theon is forced to pretend to be his old self and he persuades the Ironborn to surrender to Ramsay. It is a masterful performance from Alfie Allen as a man trapped between two identities and tortured by it.
3 Mother’s Mercy (Season 5, Episode 10)
The storyline of Sansa being forced into a marriage with Ramsay was one of the more controversial ones in the show. However, it was key to setting up Theon’s ultimate redemption arc.
Reuniting with Sansa was extremely uncomfortable given his betrayal of the Starks and when given the chance to help her, Theon proves he is still very much under Ramsay’s control. But during the finale, Theon finally does what fans had been waiting for him to do, killing Myranda and escaping with Sansa.
2 The Dragon And The Wolf (Season 7, Episode 7)
After watching Theon make so much progress since escaping Ramsay’s captivity, it was hard to see him fall apart again when Yara was taken. But this episode has him confronting the mistakes he’s made and endeavoring to come to terms with his life.
His conversation with Jon Snow in which he expresses his shame ends with Jon telling him that he is both a Greyjoy and a Stark. This leads to him rallying Yara’s remaining men for a rescue mission in a moment that feels like a rare victory for Theon.
1 The Long Night (Season 8, Episode 3)
Given the many controversies of the show’s ending, a number of character endings were unsatisfying for fans. However, Theon’s end in this episode was generally well-regarded and seemed fitting.
With the Night King and his army descending on Winterfell, Theon volunteers to protect Bran who will be targeted. It gives Theon the chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the Stark he hurt the most. Bran’s final words to Theon and Theon’s brave charge made for an emotional death for the character.
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