Actor Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) recently made Variety’s list of 10 Brits to Watch in 2017, and dropped a small hint about Theon’s journey in Game of Thrones season 7. Variety writes that, according to Allen, “Theon has moved on from his “Reek” years in the upcoming season of “Thrones.””
The 30-year-old Allen has been with the show wince season 1, and said that “it’s basically been my 20s.” Since his first appearance in 2011, Theon has been through the ringer, to put it mildly. What might a Theon who’s moved past his time as Reek mean? Let’s take a look at Theon’s past and extrapolate.
The only surviving son of Balon Greyjoy, Theon was taken as a hostage by Ned Stark after Balon’s failed rebellion. Ned and Catelyn treated him kindly enough, raising him beside their own children. Yet there was always some bitterness in him. You could see it in the way he laughed at the deserter from the Night’s Watch before Ned Stark executed him in “Winter is Coming,” the pilot. When the Stark boys found the litter of direwolf pups, Theon wanted kill them, before Jon stopped him.
In season 2, Robb Stark marched south to war, and Theon was an invaluable part of Robb’s inner circle. But when Robb sent Theon to the Iron Islands to enlist the help of Theon’s birth father, Balon Greyjoy, Theon turned on Robb, choosing instead to help his father mount another rebellion. When Theon and his force of Ironborn soldiers invaded Winterfell, he executed Ser Rodrik Cassel and murdered two miller’s boys.
But his infamy wouldn’t last, as someone far more twisted than he was about to enter the game: Ramsay Bolton, then Ramsay Snow.
Ramsay took back Winterfell at the behest of his father, Roose. He took Theon prisoner, and mercilessly tortured him throughout season 3. He even removed Theon’s body parts (including “Theon’s favorite toy”) and sent them to Theon’s father and sister as a warning to leave to North.
By the time season 4 rolls around, Ramsay had brainwashed Theon completely. He now went by Reek, and did whatever Ramsay bid, up to and including joining Ramsay when he hunted people with vicious hounds. So under Ramsay’s control was Theon that he even helped his master turn Ironborn soldiers, his own people, out of Moat Cailin. Ramsay killed them all, even though he’d promised to let them leave in peace.
By season 5, the Boltons had taken up residence in Winterfell, and Theon/Reek went with them. Reek served Ramsay during the day and slept with Ramsay’s dogs at night. When Sansa Stark was brought to Winterfell to marry Ramsay, Theon slowly started to come back to himself. Brainwashed or not, he still felt ashamed for betraying Sansa’s family, and seeing Ramsay abuse her like he’d abused others, together with Sansa pressing Theon for help, made him realize he could still try and make up for what he’d done. And the end of the season, Theon and Sansa escaped Winterfell, and Ramsay, together.
In Season 6, Theon parted with Sansa, who now has Brienne of Tarth as a protecter, and returned home to the Iron Islands. After a tense reunion with his sister Yara, he was thrust back into the spotlight when he spoke on his sister’s behalf at the Kingsmoot. But when the Ironborn chose Euron Greyjoy to be the new king, Theon and Yara escaped across the Narrow Sea and made an alliance with the Dragon Queen, Daenerys Targaryen.
By the time season 6 ends, Theon has regained much of his old self. He is now acting as an advisor for his sister, Yara, who has designs on being the Queen of the Iron Islands. He has atoned somewhat for his crimes against House Stark by helping to save Sansa from Ramsay and by telling her that her younger brothers still lived. This Theon seems far more patient and wise than he was before he became Reek, when he was impulsive and brash.
Hopefully, we’ll see Theon continue to grow in this direction in season 7. And when he finally comes face to face with Jon Snow, who surely wants to punish him for what he did, perhaps the cooler-headed Theon will prevail. If Theon truly has moved on from his Reek years, then I hope he survives the rest of the series.