Excitement for the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale is largely revolving around fan favorites Jon Snow, Daenerys and the Lannister siblings. However, another set of siblings could be just as important in this season's culminating episode: Yara and Theon Greyjoy. WARNING: Game of Thrones spoilers to follow.
Yara was last seen as Euron's captive and Theon's last appearance was at Dragonstone, where he received a frosty welcome from Jon Snow. Theon returned in the hopes that Daenerys could help rescue Yara. The Mother of Dragons has been a bit busy lately with Jon Snow, Cersei's army, and the Army of the Dead, but all pieces are coming together now in King's Landing.
The promo reveals that Theon is making the trip with Tyrion, Varys, and the Dothraki to King's Landing while Euron's fleet is parked right outside the city. After being absent for a couple episodes, the Greyjoy siblings are now poised to make a significant impact.
Yara And Theon Share A Strong, Underappreciated Bond
Theon was never a fan favorite, and many viewers felt even more bitter towards him after he jumped overboard in "Stormborn." For many reasons fans should be less hard on the character, and from a narrative perspective audiences need to realize Theon is still around because he has a significant role to play. Theon is not simply a coward at this point; he is a PTSD survivor trying to make things right.
As disappointing as Theon's decision to jump overboard was, it made sense with the reality that the PTSD caused by Ramsay doesn't just magically disappear with time. He was able to fight Euron's men because that's combat, but Euron's cruel manipulation when he takes Yara and taunts Theon in an impossible situation is straight out of Ramsay's playbook.
Ultimately, Theon's choice was pretty smart as well. Rushing at Euron would've ended in death, while jumping overboard allowed Theon to live to fight another day, as every moment since then has been about getting Yara back.
Gemma Whelan (the actress who plays Yara) understands Theon's character and the bond they share as brother and sister, as highlighted in an interview with Newsweek after the events of "Stormborn":
“She feels betrayed, but I think she gets it. The one thing about Yara is that she loves her brother. She’s really upset at this point that they’re defeated, and she sees that he gets spooked and has no choice [but to save himself].”
Theon's decision in Season 6 to return home and do everything in his power to help Yara rule the Iron Islands — and later ally with Daenerys — shows his dedication to her. Yara's dedication is just as strong, as she made Theon a critical part of all those decisions. Back in Seasons 3 and 4 Yara also risked a great deal to try and save Theon from the Boltons. Not only does Whelan believe that the sibling bond is still there, but also that it may now propel Theon to take action:
“I don’t know if he has the thought, ‘If I quit now, I can save her.’ I think he does have PTSD, and afterwards he will be pissed [off] at himself. He might do something about it.... You never know.”
Theon has been trying to do something about it by reconnecting with Daenerys. Now in King's Landing, they have a chance to do something about it.
Could Yara Become A Deal Breaker In The Negotiations?
Many of the most important characters throughout the entirety of #GameofThrones will be present for the negotiations at the Dragonpit. Officially, they're all there in support of Daenerys or Cersei, but each individual has his or her own motives. Theon is there to get Yara back from Euron. Whether it's in conversation with Daenerys, Tyrion and Varys before reaching the Dragonpit or at the actual negotiations, I am confident Theon will make a stand to save Yara. It won't be as foolish as single-handedly rushing at the enemy with a sword, but rather playing the game of thrones wisely.
While the intended focus of the negotiations is all sides banding together to fight the Army of the Dead — with the recently captured wight as a focal point — many human conflicts are at stake as well. Unity between these sides is challenging for many reasons, one of which is Euron keeping Yara as his captive as a condition for bringing together the forces of Cersei and Daenerys. It's difficult to say outside of Theon how Daenerys and others on her side would feel about this concession. If Daenerys really stands for a more progressive world, she will not condone what's essentially an uncle enslaving his niece, not to mention that the powerful woman in question allied herself with Daenerys in the first place. Euron will never give up Yara and Cersei needs to keep him happy, so she will not allow Yara's release.
However, with faith that Theon is going to do whatever he can to get Yara back, he could do something extreme and unexpected in order to make this a reality, something akin to when he killed Myranda and jumped from the ramparts of Winterfell with Sansa. Thus, Yara's future could become a tipping point in the negotiations and what causes the flickering, fragile truce behind this meeting of enemies to extinguish.
How Yara And Theon Can Turn The Tide
If all hell breaks loose in King's Landing, Yara and Theon can make a devastating play by killing their Uncle Euron. Minus the men loyal to Yara, most of the ironborn crowned Euron and follow him because he brought them out of the shadows. Rather than skulking on the Iron Islands, he amassed the Iron Fleet and now the ironborn are out on the open seas as the merciless reavers they feel they're meant to be.
Until Euron showed up at the Kingsmoot, though, the ironborn were ready to crown Yara as the first Queen of the Iron Islands. If Euron dies at the hands of Yara or Theon, they would likely follow Yara again. Euron openly admitted to the ironborn that he killed their former king, Balon Greyjoy, and most of them still crowned him with much enthusiasm.
The ironborn seem similar to the Dothraki, who don't care about bloodlines and follow the one with the most strength. The longevity of Greyjoy rule shows that bloodlines have more meaning to the ironborn than to the Dothraki, but not to the extent of most Westerosi individuals. The leader they follow has more to do with strength considering how easily they crowned Euron, turned their backs on Yara and Theon, and Yara's surviving men continue to treat Theon with open scorn. Killing Euron and taking control of the Iron Fleet could show that kind of strength.
The Iron Fleet is the most impressive armada left in Westeros after the extensive losses Daenerys's fleet has suffered. If the Iron Fleet falls into the control of Yara or Theon, Cersei would lose her greatest ally at this point. Her army of Lannister and Tarly soldiers was largely obliterated through death and bending the knee thanks to Daenerys, Drogon and the Dothraki.
Tycho Nestoris promised the Iron Bank would provide Cersei with a mercenary army, but that could turn into a deadly trap rather than a saving grace. The loss of the Iron Fleet would likely mean the end of Cersei's reign and an inability to continue fighting the war against Daenerys. This could render the negotiations somewhat pointless if Cersei doesn't have substantial forces to offer. The Iron Fleet could also be crucial to the cause Jon and (now) Daenerys champion, whether it's transporting soldiers north or attacking the Army of the Dead from the coast.
Matters never resolve that neatly, though. If Yara and Theon kill Euron it will show — particularly for Theon — that they are true ironborn who take what is theirs. But what does that mean in the context of the following shot from the promo showing what looks like Theon sinking to his knees on the beach?
Following this whole line of thought, there are two viable options here: Theon is sinking to his knees like that out of devastation over Yara dying in the attempts to kill Euron. The second option is Theon sinks to his knees from wounds inflicted from the battle against Euron.
There are endless possibilities, but one thing is clear: Yara and Theon Greyjoy are currently flying under the radar, but they are about to make a major splash in the game of thrones.
What impact do you think Yara and Theon will have on the Season 7 finale? Share your prediction in the comments below!