It's almost unfair how consistently good Game of Thrones is. The show boasts highly complex characters, awesome conflict, almost believable magical aspects, and lots of hot naked people. *SPOILERS* in this article, so be careful if you haven't seen the most recent episode, "Kill The Boy."
The casting and acting on the show is amazing, but arguably the best and most versatile character is Theon Greyjoy a.k.a. Reek. Obviously, if you saw the episode you know that Reek (which is what I'll refer to him as in this article, due to the fact that that is who he is at this point in time) is reunited with Sansa Stark in one of the most excruciatingly awkward scenes that I can remember from the entire series.
Being back in Winterfell is not easy for Reek, and Ramsay Bolton isn't making it any better for him. The actor who plays Reek, Alfie Allen, talked to Variety about Reek's current situation:
“It’s been leading up to that point — he acknowledged her existence and that’s rejigging some memories for him, and being in Winterfell in general is bringing back some memories. I’d already been with the dogs in the kennels in season three, but for the character, he spends a lot of time in there with the dogs, so the way the scene came out was more that he didn’t want Sansa to be punished for being there and recognizing him and for knowing his existence … He didn’t want her to be discovered by Ramsay. She doesn’t really know the full extent of what Ramsay is yet, whereas Reek does, so he just wants her to be safe.”
It seems like this is the first time that Theon might be poking out a little bit from the utterly damaged body of Reek/Theon. Sansa is a connection to the past, and an important one. She might be the key to Reek's sanity, but it won't happen right away - it's heavily nuanced. Allen continued:
“This is one of those scenes where there’s a bit of Theon coming back and wanting to keep her safe, because he betrayed her brother and inadvertently played into the series of events which led her to this point.”
I found it so interesting that Theon/Reek has absolutely no desire to betray his master. He's like an abused dog and he is treated as such. He went and told Ramsay that Sansa came to him, and then was forced to apologize even though he'd literally done nothing wrong.
“There’s a toing and froing of emotion, without a doubt — he’s trying to protect Sansa but he has to admit that he’s seen her and she’s seen him, [out of] fear but also wanting to obey. There’s moments of Stockholm Syndrome added into the mix of it and there’s been so many changes to the character throughout the whole series that [his relationship with Ramsay] is one that never stays the same. Keeping distance from [Ramsay] as a character within the storyline and then also keeping that obedience there and never wanting to be punished, but to also have that closeness between them, is something that’s been very interesting to play.”
Ramsay, of course, is a master manipulator and complete psychopath, so he uses this opportunity to pit Sansa against Theon. He mentions that Theon killed her brothers, which we know isn't actually true. However, in classic Game of Thrones fashion, both characters are not privvy to all of the facts. They both think that the boys ARE, in fact, dead.
“He’s absorbing information but wanting to serve the food and keep people happy, but then he’s used as a tool to make Sansa really uncomfortable, and I don’t think he has the emotional configuration to feel any way about that."
He decrees that Reek shall walk Sansa down the aisle at their wedding, another twisted tactic Ramsay will use, seemingly for the sole purpose of his own amusement. He loves making things awkward, and he enjoys being terrible.
I'm truly hoping there's a comeuppance for Ramsay, because he's been so bad for so long. Allen went on to explain the conflicting emotions Reek feels:
“It’s definitely not a prospect he’s looking forward to, walking her down the aisle. He’s scared for her — he feels guilt, he feels shame about it; at the same time, there’s a part of him that doesn’t want that to happen, but he’s living in constant fear and needs to obey. I would say that he would hope it’ll be a peaceful wedding.”
Sansa doesn't know how much danger she is in, but she clearly has allies behind the scenes. She also has seen a lot, so she isn't as fearful and timid as she once was. Theon/Reek just wants for things to not get any worse.
“That’s what Theon — or Reek — is scared of, things getting worse. But you just never know… She might end up controlling the castle.”
We'll see what happens at Sansa and Ramsay's wedding. For some reason, I don't think it'll go smoothly, but you never know with this show. There's a reason it's so good... you're invested in a lot of characters who are all flawed. I can't wait for next week's episode, which airs Sunday night at 9 ET.
Also, unrelated but GoT has the best intro on television. Hands down.