Theon Greyjoy, some unpleasant thoughts…


Game of Thrones – HBO – Theon Greyjoy

Now the net is lit up with discussions relevant to where TV GoT went wrong with the Sansa Stark wedding night scene from last week’s episode. In perusing those discussions, I’ve seen quite a bit of anti-Theon sentiment, most notably that Sansa was sacrificed for Theon’s character arc, including a few “Who cares about Theon Greyjoy?” statements, to which I must reply that I Do!

We should care about Theon Greyjoy.

I’m not trying to be devil’s advocate here, but I didn’t see the scene that way at all. Sansa and Theon are very similar IMO. Both were young and delusional once. Both internally absorbed with their own perceived destinies. Sansa should have been Queen, and for a while there she acted like a Cersei-in-the-making. We still see remnants of that I’m-better-than-you arrogance in her dressing down of Myranda. Then we have Theon who felt his iron-born birthright had been taken from him by the Starks. Both were naively ruled by their highborn delusions of grandeur, and both have subsequently been stripped of their status and their innocence.

We should care about Theon Greyjoy.

Yes, Theon’s betrayal of Starks is something to contend with and feel conflicted about. That his rage and jealousy and his perceived notion of what men should be in this primitive world led him to make some very bad, very evil decisions. We can hate him for that, but…

Was his rape lesser than Sansa’s?

Theon was raped. He was young man whose idea of being a man had been tainted by the world he lives in. Theon was raped. By the world. By Ramsey Bolton. He was violated emotionally, physically, and sexually. He was stripped not only of his manhood but of his entire personhood as well. Mutilated, inside and out, and despite his being a man, and a shit of a man at that, I wept no less for him than I did for Sansa. Rape is rape.

I care about Theon Greyjoy. Theon is not Reek. Theon is not Ramsey, and Sansa will never be a Bolton.

I didn’t see that scene as a sacrifice, and maybe it’s because I’ve written my fair share of horrific stories, but I saw that scene as a point of convergence. Two once arrogant, self-centered, self-serving characters stripped of all delusion — destroyed and born again — must come together for something greater than themselves. Did I want to witness that destruction? Hell no. Do I understand the mechanics behind it? Yes, but like I said in my earlier post, the rape trajectory is notoriously difficult to navigate. We know that in the Ice and Fire World lessons are learned hard. My only hope is that these two characters come out the better for it. We saw Brienne save Jamie. I’d like to see Sansa save Theon, and I’d like to see Theon become the man Ned would have raised him to be.

I care about Theon Greyjoy.

So if we’ve been forced to muck through the nastiness so that we might witness a real alliance in the making, let’s get to it quickly. The last real alliance ended badly before it even got to blossom, and you know I’m speaking of Arya and The Hound. That, right there, is a testament to good writing: that we could feel sympathy for The Hound. I’d like to see that with Theon.


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