Game of Thrones: is it OK to hate Theon Greyjoy again?
Contains spoilers Oh, Theon. Just when we thought the child-murdering villain turned tortured wreck turned unexpected hero had completed his redemption arc and emerged as a fully-fledged Redeemed Person, Game of Thrones went and reminded us all that the series is actually a very complex show, about complex, broken people, and that happy endings are emphatically not par for the course. In last night's episode, the action-packed Stormborn, Theon's evil Uncle Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) ransacked ships belonging to Theon (Alfie Allen) and sister Yara (Gemm Whelan) and took Yara captive, threatening to slit her throat. She looked to her brother for aid... and was rewarded by the sight of him hesitating, paralysed by fear, then swiftly scarpering, fleeing the scene by jumping overboard. So I've gone from liking Theon, to hating Theon, to pitying Theon, to liking Theon again, to HATING THEON AGAIN #GameOfThones— Langston Leake (@NotMrHughes) July 24, 2017 Under the circumstances, it probably wasn't that bad a move: Euron could easily have murdered Yara with just a second's notice, effectively rendering any heroics useless. That said, it was clear that Theon's splashy flight was definitely motivated less by strategic forethought, and more by an overt sense of helpless panic. In effect, the terrified, tortured Reek, the personality he adopted while being held captive by the sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), had returned. Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones Credit: HBO For fans of the show, needless to say, it's all been intensely confusing. Furthermore, something about Theon seems to provoke a much stronger angry reaction than, say, Jaime Lannister, another character who has committed horrific acts in the past, but later redeemed himself. Of course, Theon's crimes so far are pretty heinous. In season two he unwittingly sleazed on on his own sister (admittedly not that bad by Thrones standards but bear with us: it gets worse), betrayed the Starks, including his former close friend Robb, tried to take Winterfell for himself, and cold-bloodedly ordered the murder of two innocent young boys. Yes OK, they weren't Bran and Rickon, the innocent young boys he originally pretended to have murdered. But they were still presumably quite happy to be alive and all that. Ramsay Bolton and Theon Greyjoy in season three of Game of Thrones Despite this pretty impressive back catalogue of Not Very Nice Acts, many viewers went on to feel a sort of appalled sympathy for the character after he was tortured by Ramsay in season three, both mentally and physically, and later castrated, a sad culmination of his former sexual pride. Indeed, the torture was so effective that, when Yara attempted to rescue him, Theon rejected her aid, convinced it was just another trick of Ramsay's designed to test his loyalty. In seasons five and six, however, he had something of a turnaround, helping Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) escape from Ramsay's clutches, reclaiming his identity as Theon, and reuniting with Yara. But, given last night's events, the tide of public sympathy may have turned once more. Is it OK to hate Theon again? Here's a quick round-up of some of the fan reaction so far. Yes, he's a a sister-betraying coward. Yara: He's my protector Theon: #GameofThronespic.twitter.com/j08f8QDoXW— Cathy Holland (@cathymholland) July 24, 2017 The world to Theon Greyjoy tonight: #ThronesYall#GameOfThonespic.twitter.com/pAdRkdPjnG— Sarah Harper (@sharperspeaks) July 24, 2017 No, he's still traumatised. Theon suffered torture and abuse & was utterly broken. He's doing his best to survive despite horrible PTSD but yet people expect heroism?— Vanessa Cole (@vkcoleartist) July 24, 2017 I mean yeah Theon's the worst character on this show, but also PTSD doesn't just go away. THAT is what being "triggered" actually is. #GoTS7— Rhiannon (@RhiGiblet) July 24, 2017 Ya know what. Looking back on it, I don't think Theon became a coward when he abondended his sister. His PTSD took over.#GoTS7e2— Nathan (@NathanNathannsp) July 24, 2017 I'm sorry, were we ever supposed to stop hating Theon? The sympathy for Theon is cute, but let us remember the road that got him here. THE NORTH REMEMBERS!— The Unburnt ���� (@_Rickii_) July 24, 2017 Theon is the worst character in TV history. #GameofThrones— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) July 24, 2017 Joffrey: "I'm pretty sure I'm the most hated character of all time" Theon: "Hold my beer"#GameOfThones7#GameofThrones#ThronesYallpic.twitter.com/MFe5VAVE0K— Lucy on the Ground (@lucyo21) July 24, 2017 What do you think? Game of Thrones: the book characters who were cut from the show