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An Ode to My Favorite ‘Game of Thrones’ Character: Theon Greyjoy (No, Really)
Helen Sloan/HBO

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

When someone asks your favorite Game of Thrones character, most people probably respond: Jon Snow (oh, reallll original, guys). Or Daenerys Targaryen (I’ll give you 20 bucks if you can spell it right, too) or even Cersei Lannister (the person who says this is a Slytherin and also enjoys the Saw movie franchise). 

But my favorite is (was...R.I.P.) Theon Greyjoy portrayed by Alfie Allen. Think about it: He’s been through A LOT (and doesn’t have the balls to prove it…sorry, guys.)

He starts out as a ward—a captive guest, so to speak—of Ned Stark at Winterfell. Then, he betrays the Starks and takes Winterfell for himself (and pretends to kill Bran and Rickon by burning two little farm boys and saying it's them)...which leads him into the care (er, torturous dungeons) of Ramsay Bolton.

He pays a steep price for this betrayal: his humanity. The depraved Ramsay captures Theon in what kicks off a long game of physical and mental torture. A sadistic Ramsay mutilates Theon’s body, most notably by castrating him, and forces him to bear witness to endless accounts of other torture, rape and violence (i.e. what happens when you don’t feed your hounds). Under Ramsay’s control, Theon sinks into the depths of himself, transforming into a sub-human creature called Reek. (It still hurts me to think of Reek, but here we are.)

And yet Reek/Theon ends up saving Sansa’s life—the daughter of the family he originally betrayed—by pushing Ramsay’s lover, Myranda (I shudder to type her name), over the parapet. I actually stood and cheered when this happened. Without him, Sansa would still be Ramsay’s captive. Or worse, she would’ve been the one running zig-zags across the open field before the Battle of the Bastards. (R.I.P. real Rickon.)

Theon finally pledges allegiance to his sister Yara (someone he also formerly betrayed) and publicly recognizes her as the true heir to House Greyjoy. Woo! There’s our guy bending the knee to his sister despite the fact that he himself is the true heir. Uh, yeah, Theon’s learned his lesson. 

Remind you of anyone? Cough, cough, Jon Snow

At the end of season seven, he takes a knee to the groin (nice try, Harrag!) which, without his, er, family jewels, actually helps him win in a hand-to-hand combat to gain back the support of the Ironborn. (Real question: Is that box with his man-parts in it still floating around the Westerosi universe somewhere?) 

He then goes back to Winterfell after saving his sister Yara from their evil uncle Euron (10 points for Gryffindor!). He was still on Team Daenerys (20 points!). He pledges to protect Bran Stark from the Night King (50 points!!!), which brings his story full circle, considering he was the one who took the Starks' fortress away back in season two and caused Bran and Rickon to escape North to the Wall.

He also discovers a friend in Sansa Stark, and while the embrace from episode two is a knowing one (both suffered horribly at the hands of Ramsay, with no one but each other who understands the true depth of their sorrow and pain), it also feels a tad bit romantic, so don't say we didn't call it...

Finally, he ends up giving his life in episode three to protect Bran from the Night King after Bran absolves him of his past sins against the Stark family. While his spear-jousting skills don't seem like the best tactic to destroy the Night King, he makes the ultimate sacrifice for his true "family," the only real home he has ever known. (We're not sobbing uncontrollably, you are.)

In all seriousness, I think the official GoT photographer, Helen Sloan, said it best: “I’ve always loved Alfie [Allen],” she told Vulture. “I think he has shown the most different facets, and for me, photographically, I’ve seen him in the most different states. I love to shoot Alfie and he gets it and he respects photography.” Not only that, but he’s gone from one of the worst villains on the show to one of the most pathetic to the most tortured, and now, finally, has come full circle to be back on the good guys’ side again…albeit, humbled AF.

So, who would I bend the knee to (pre-Long Night battle, obvi)? Euron can bet your bottom dollar it’s the Ironborn Prince Theon of House Greyjoy.

RELATED: The ‘Game of Thrones’ Creators Hid the Show’s Ending in the Most Unexpected Place

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