‘Game of Thrones': Theon Made the Right Call (Commentary)


(Spoilers in advance for the July 23 episode of “Game of Thrones,” “Stormborn.”

In the last moments of “Stormborn,” the second one episode of “Game of Thrones’” 7th season, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) used to be dealt an immense setback while her fleet, commanded by way of renegade Ironborn Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), used to be ambushed — and reputedly wrecked — through the fleet commanded through her uncle, King Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek).

The shocker got here after a whole episode spent lulling audience right into a fake feel of protection with fan carrier second after fan carrier second, however made all of the extra surprising via the general scene. Yara’s brother, Theon (Alfie Allen), who most effective contemporary escaped from slavery and abuse underneath Ramsay Bolton, has been valiantly protecting their send, slaughtering who is aware of what number of in their attackers and miraculously surviving. Only in spite of everything on the other hand does he come throughout Euron, who has bested Yara in unmarried fight and has his sword towards her throat.

“Come on you c—much less coward,” Euron says. “Come and get her!”

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After a couple of seconds, a well-known, terrified glance creeps into Theon’s eyes. He appears to be falling again into the cowering, servile wretch he used to be beneath Ramsay Snow, again while he used to be referred to as “Reek.” He glances at his sister, then along side the send they’re on. One extra look at his sister and the resignation in her eyes (and tear rolling down her cheek) says all of it. He’s now not gonna battle. Instead, he leaps into the sea whilst Euron cackles with glee.

The reaction from enthusiasts used to be in large part one among scorn. This may have been his large second, however as an alternative of preventing he ran method. The basic sentiment used to be that he’s nonetheless the similar antique Theon.

But that’s a shortsighted method of taking a look at it, as a result of Theon’s movements have been greater than justifiable. Not simply justifiable, in point of fact, however his best attainable choice.

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Yes, Theon’s sideways look, his shiver, his slump, keep in mind his “Reek” personality. Yes, we have been intended to peer him having been induced by way of his uncle’s name callings. Yes, we have been intended to assume he deserted his sister to a destiny worse than dying. But did he?

Euron most probably didn’t assault Yara’s fleet in an effort to take her alive. More most probably, he meant to make just right on his risk on the finish of Season S to kill her. No, he used to be there to seize Ellaria Sand, mom of the Sand Snakes and present ruler of Dorne, who murdered Cersei Lannister’s daughter. And perhaps Tyrion as smartly if he came about to be there.

So, he bested Yara and had her at his mercy. But while in no time after he discovered himself dealing with Theon — who it will have to be cited had most probably killed greater than a dozen other folks all the way through the fight by way of this aspect — he paused. Certainly, Euron is a very good warrior to Theon. He’s verified that a large number of occasions. But, judging through the glee on his face at each and every second within the scene, he loves preventing for the sake of preventing. He doesn’t simply need to defeat Theon, he needs to humiliate him, then kill him.

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So it’s that he name callings Theon for having been castrated, then obviously threatens to kill Yara in entrance of him. It’s virtually a opposite of Ramsay Bolton’s merciless homicide of Rickon Stark in Season six.

Theon will have to have recognized this. He will have to have learned that attacking Euron may best get Yara killed.

It’s essential to keep in mind that additionally Theon has no specific love for his personal lifestyles. He’s been necessarily suicidal when you consider that escaping from Ramsay, each as a result of his disgrace over having been castrated, and his disgrace over having betrayed his highest family member (Robb Stark). He’s been in the hunt for redemption thru demise ever on account that.

And but he didn’t rush into the sword of his loopy uncle, which might have definitely given him the dying he craves. Instead, he leaps into the ocean, leaving a gleeful, however it seems that sated Euron and an overly-alive Yara on send.

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By fleeing, he stored them each, no less than for just a little longer.

It’s most certainly now not a twist of fate that initially of this episode we were given a disturbing second among Daenerys and Varys through which the queen berated the Spider for all of this ruthless at the back of-the-scenes machinations over the last few many years — together with that point while King Robert’s assassins attempted to kill her again in season M. Assassins given their orders via Varys.

Dany accuses him of getting no higher motivation than taking a look out for his personal pores and skin. Varys insists that, as a result of his lowborn history, his stint as a slave and that entire factor with the wizard who castrated him, all he in point of fact cares approximately is the folk. Not the noble homes, or kings. Just the folk. And his lengthy recreation has been approximately making an attempt to ensure the those who rule do proper via them.

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The subtext there’s that Varys is without a doubt the one one that’s been able of energy who thinks that approach. All the opposite top-u.s.a.are too focused on their very own private drama to care approximately what occurs to the common other folks. Tens of hundreds of folks died within the War of the Five Kings, however that most effective ever mattered to stated Five Kings on the subject of army power. They by no means in point of fact cared in any respect concerning the lives misplaced of their respective quests for energy.

Which way Varys is aware of he wishes to stick the place he’s, as a result of there’s no one else who can do what he does. The recreation of thrones is an overly lengthy recreation, with the easiest stakes — if Varys needs to win, he needs to be cautious.

Likewise, if Theon needs to save lots of Yara, and if he needs to defeat Euron, he can’t die on that burning send. It would possibly appear to be cowardice for him to run away there, nevertheless it’s in point of fact simply the lengthy recreation.

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Making the ones forms of selections is what all of “Game of Thrones” is set, actually. The noble sacrifice isn’t in reality all that noble should you lose the struggle as a result of it. Living to battle any other day would possibly require creating a distasteful selection however it additionally will give you choices for the longer term. Remember: while you play the sport of thrones, you win otherwise you die.

In that second, with Euron maintaining that dagger to Yara’s throat, Theon may at highest accomplish not anything via charging in.

At worst, Dany loses all of the Iron Islander part of her fleet as a result of each he and Yara are lifeless — now not all their ships have been provide for the struggle, however it kind of feels not likely that the rest of their Iron Fleet might proceed preventing towards Euron if he’s the one Greyjoy left alive on the earth. Even if Euron killed Yara after Theon jumped, the truth that he’s nonetheless alive leaves a glimmer of wish. But Euron hasn’t killed Yara.

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Which signifies that this defeat may just simply be a huge setback, somewhat than a crippling one. And Theon lives to battle any other day.

Given all that, Theon did the one factor he may just do. He made the appropriate selection.

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