Quite a few threads on /r/asoiaf have been talking about Theon’s tragic story and bad, bad choices lately, and I’d like to consolidate all the replies I’ve made into one longer blog.
The first time I read ASOIAF, I hated Theon Greyjoy. I thought he was a cocky, arrogant, sexist shithead, and he betrayed the nice guys, the Starks – how very dare he! He absolutely deserved the torture he suffered at the hands of Ramsay Snow.
But… did he? Would anyone? No. I have strong personal, political views about torture and ill treatment (short version: comply with the Convention Against Torture.)
And then I watched the show. Somehow, seeing Theon’s story play out in the flesh, removed from the often dispassionate process of reading, and enhanced by the really excellent acting of Alfie Allen in season 2, I started to feel sorry for Theon and think about how, deep down, he was just a lost, lonely, scared little boy for his whole life.