Even you if you don’t like Theon Greyjoy, the misguided heir to the Iron Islands, his redemption story arc in Game of Thrones is one of the most heartbreaking, most interesting, and possibly, most crucial to the next episode (season eight, episode three) of the HBO series.
Why? Because in season eight, episode two, Theon has returned to Winterfell to fight alongside the Starks, whom he betrayed back in season two. Not only that, but he also pledges to defend Bran, who has offered himself up as bait for the Night King. How poetic, for it was Theon who took Winterfell from Bran back in season two.
But I believe that there’s more to this promise, and as our good friend (who we haven’t seen in a while) Quaithe once said, “To go forward you must go back.” So, let us go back, specifically to season one, episode six.
For context, the Stark parents, Sansa and Arya, are in King’s Landing (Catelyn, clandestinely), leaving Robb Lord of Winterfell with Bran, Rickon and of course, Theon. One afternoon, Bran’s testing out his new saddle in the woods and finds himself alone and vulnerable to a group of bad wildlings (remember? This is how we meet Osha). Robb comes to Bran’s rescue but finds himself at a dangerous draw with a wildling holding Bran hostage, knife to throat. The wildling commands Robb to drop his weapon. Robb, without recourse, does, and BOOM: an arrow through the wildling's heart. Bran is unharmed. The wildling falls, releasing Bran, and it’s revealed that the arrow came from Theon’s bow in the distance.
Robb is not so pleased with Theon’s rash decision: “Have you lost your mind? What if you missed?”
Theon: “He would’ve killed you and cut Bran’s throat!”
Robb: “You don’t have the right—”
Theon: “To what? Save your brother’s life? It was the only thing to do so I did it!”
In season one, this scene demonstrated how Theon’s impulsive behavior could potentially conflict with his loyalty to the Starks. In context of Theon’s entire journey up to the impending Battle of Winterfell, revisiting this scene (as we must to go forward #GoTProphecy) reminds us that Theon is a sharp-AF shooter who’s already protected Bran once from North-of-the-Wall invaders. We’re even reminded of Theon’s accuracy with a bow and arrow in the first episode of season eight when he rescues Yara from Euron’s boat (remember the arrow through Mac from Always Sunny’s eye?). And we should also probably not forget the way in which Ramsey killed Rickon: an arrow through the heart. While it was Ramsay who killed the youngest Stark, it was arguably Theon who set Rickon’s sad story in motion.
So yeah, based on this scene, I really hope that Theon will be a major player in the Battle of Winterfell, specifically against the Night King. We know Theon’s a talented marksman, but just who (or what—hello, there, wight dragon), he’ll use his eye for, only Bran knows.
But whatever Theon does, we can be sure it was the only thing to do. So he did it.