When we first meet Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones, it isn’t hard to hate him. He treats a young Jon Snow like a freak, and it’s obvious that he doesn’t quite belong inside the Stark family that he has been living with for the past nine years. Over the course of the show’s run, though, it’s become clear that Theon is a much more complicated character then he may initially have seemed.
We come to understand the pressures put on him by his father, and we’ve witnessed his brutal torture at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. It’s true, of course, that Theon has done some horrendous things in his time on the show and in the books. But, in the years since he was first introduced, Alfie Allen has turned Theon, aka Reek, into a character well worth watching. He’s had one of the best arcs in the run of both the show and the books, but he also has a history that’s well worth exploring.
Theon’s life didn’t begin with the beginning of the show, and some of the most interesting elements of his character haven’t been explored on screen. Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Theon (And Reek).
15. He Has Four Brothers and Sisters
Although we’ve only been introduced to one of Theon’s siblings in the world of the show, Theon has quite a few siblings in the books. Theon is the youngest of his brothers, and so is last in line to succeed his father. Although Theon originally had more siblings, both of his older brothers were killed during Greyjoy’s rebellion, which is also how Theon came to be under the care of Ned.
Greyjoy’s rebellion involved an attempt by the Iron Islands, and Balon Greyjoy specifically, to secede from the Seven Kingdoms and become independent. The rebellion took place nine years before the events of the books and show. Although this makes Theon the heir to the Iron Islands, we learned during Game of Thrones’ sixth season that the folks in the Iron Islands actually elect their leaders. In this way, the ironborn are unique in the world of Westeros, as most of the kingdoms follow a system of dynastic rule.
14. He was believed dead by King Tommen
Theon does not get point-of-view chapters in every one of Martin’s books, and so it’s not always totally clear what’s happening with his character. In A Feast for Crows, King Tommen’s small council seems to suggest that Theon is most likely dead after the Boltons take Winterfell and become the Wardens of the North. Of course, we know that’s not actually the case, but it does speak to the power of Martin’s point-of-view structure.
When you aren’t privy to any sort of omnipotent descriptions of what is occurring in Westeros, it becomes much harder to filter out information you know to be false. If the small council suggests that Theon is dead, the reader has no idea whether they are misinformed or not until we see him pop up again. The world of Westeros is big, and all of the news that travels around it isn’t reliable, which makes navigating the world treacherous for both the characters and book readers.