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Varysblackfyre321

Has Theon become a better person?

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Reading his pov chapters (even as he regains his sense of identity), I never really get the feeling he's truly repentant for what he did at WF-as much he's sorrowful over having to deal with the consequences of them. 

Like, he thinks the killing of little Walder as an amusing thing, and says "they were just some Miller boys" he killed. 

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What defines a good person? We need to stablish that if we're going to avaluate if he's become better

 

Edited to add: mine was a rethorical question. Is Theon on a path of redemption? Is he trying to become a more honourable person by his own standards? Those would be questions easier to answer than if he's become "better" whatever that means. 

Edited by Lady Dacey

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Martin doesn't seem to really do altruistic characters. Even characters that undergo redemption, do so for selfish or self-pitying reasons. Theon mourns all he has lost. The brothers and home he had at Winterfell even if he didn't recognize it at the time. He remains a shit.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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6 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Reading his pov chapters (even as he regains his sense of identity), I never really get the feeling he's truly repentant for what he did at WF-as much he's sorrowful over having to deal with the consequences of them. 

Like, he thinks the killing of little Walder as an amusing thing, and says "they were just some Miller boys" he killed. 

As he regains his sense of identity, he is just becoming his old self. Everything was a joke to him before, I bet once he "recovers" his own self will be a joke to him too, especially with all the missing appendages.

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Not particularly. While his chapters are interesting as he rediscovers himself he’s not become a better person for it as far as I can tell.

41 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

As he regains his sense of identity, he is just becoming his old self. Everything was a joke to him before, I bet once he "recovers" his own self will be a joke to him too, especially with all the missing appendages.

Agreed.

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It's more of an identity crisis. It does look a lot like remorse. But I think it's more accurate to suggest that Theon is struggling with who he is over what he has done.

I swear, Theon Greyjoy is a psychiatrists wet dream. One minute he's telling Cat that Ned is a second father to him, the next he's insisting that he was a prisoner of the Starks. One minute he's telling his biological father that his blood is salt and iron, then in ADWD he prays to the heart tree! 

Like Jaime, Brienne, Jon and Dany, he doesn't know who he is. And he keeps getting it so very wrong. 

One thing we do have is a comment to his sister Asha who's pretending to be Esgred,
 

Quote

"Only a fool humbles himself when the world is full of people eager to do it for him."


So that suggests that a full strength Theon regards humility as pointless. He's always been the very cocky, self assured guy. He can't hide behind the Reek identity anymore. So does he revert to type? His praying to the heart tree seems to signify remorse. But it's important to understand that the man is out of his wits, driven half mad and living in constant fear. This IRL makes people turn to religion all of the time. 

 

Spoiler

He's currently chainned to a wall as Stannis' captive. All he can do here is reflect. So I suppose it makes sense that his perspective on people such as Ned Stark and the aforementioned disillusionment of being a prisoner will become more apparent. Ned could of done as Stannis and Ramsey and Roose had. Treated him as a prisoner. But Ned raised him as a son, or as close as he dared to. If this doesn't smack Theon in the face whilst chained to Stannis' wall then the boy really is too thick for words.  

So the jury is out. Theon is a bit of an idiot but the reader can hope that his new perspective will motivate him to undo a lot of the damage caused. Whether or not he'll ever be in charge of his own destiny again is completely up in the air. There are a number of ways out of his predicament and you have to say there is room for a redemption arc. I'm just not convinced that Theon was ever a decent person and I don't imagine years of abuse has made him any sweeter. 

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6 minutes ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

It's more of an identity crisis. It does look a lot like remorse. But I think it's more accurate to suggest that Theon is struggling with who he is over what he has done.

I swear, Theon Greyjoy is a psychiatrists wet dream. One minute he's telling Cat that Ned is a second father to him, the next he's insisting that he was a prisoner of the Starks. One minute he's telling his biological father that his blood is salt and iron, then in ADWD he prays to the heart tree! 

Like Jaime, Brienne, Jon and Dany, he doesn't know who he is. And he keeps getting it so very wrong. 

One thing we do have is a comment to his sister Asha who's pretending to be Esgred,
 


So that suggests that a full strength Theon regards humility as pointless. He's always been the very cocky, self assured guy. He can't hide behind the Reek identity anymore. So does he revert to type? His praying to the heart tree seems to signify remorse. But it's important to understand that the man is out of his wits, driven half mad and living in constant fear. This IRL makes people turn to religion all of the time. 

 

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He's currently chainned to a wall as Stannis' captive. All he can do here is reflect. So I suppose it makes sense that his perspective on people such as Ned Stark and the aforementioned disillusionment of being a prisoner will become more apparent. Ned could of done as Stannis and Ramsey and Roose had. Treated him as a prisoner. But Ned raised him as a son, or as close as he dared to. If this doesn't smack Theon in the face whilst chained to Stannis' wall then the boy really is too thick for words.  

So the jury is out. Theon is a bit of an idiot but the reader can hope that his new perspective will motivate him to undo a lot of the damage caused. Whether or not he'll ever be in charge of his own destiny again is completely up in the air. There are a number of ways out of his predicament and you have to say there is room for a redemption arc. I'm just not convinced that Theon was ever a decent person and I don't imagine years of abuse has made him any sweeter. 

Well he is basically the Gollum of this story, isn't he. So the question is, how is Martin going to use him to help get the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom? My view is that he does something to help restore the Starks/or assist the rebirth of Azor Ahai. Something that will be crucial to winning the War for the Dawn.

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9 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Reading his pov chapters (even as he regains his sense of identity), I never really get the feeling he's truly repentant for what he did at WF-as much he's sorrowful over having to deal with the consequences of them. 

Like, he thinks the killing of little Walder as an amusing thing, and says "they were just some Miller boys" he killed. 

I think @Lady Dacey is exactly right. Calling someone "good" especially in asoiaf is a really sticky thing. You would, in order to do this, have to first lay out an objective moral system that works in this universe and I believe that is impossible.

What you can say about Theon is that he has certainly become more well behaved. But a beaten dog behaving well is in no way representative of his moral growth as a character.

Think of the difference between Jamie and Theon. Both were mutilated (though admittedly Theon seems to have got the worst of it) but Jamie's character arc since he was, uh, unhanded, has been through introspection whereas Theon's character arc has been through submission. Even as he regains some part of himself it is only in opposition to Reek and in turn Ramsey. Theon isn't trying to GROW and be a better man than the Theon prior to his taking of Winterfell. He is trying to GO BACK to the way he was before his imprisonment and torture.

Whether or not this is "good" or "bad" or "evil" or whatever is impossible to say and truly irrelevant in the end. What is important is that Theon is idealizing a former version of himself unlike Jamie who is trying to become a better version of who he was prior to his misfortunes.

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Wheter Theon is a better person or not will be decided when he has regained his own self and been healed of Ramsay's damage. But I don't think that he'll do a 180 degree turn around. But hopefully he'll have gained some wisdom from his ordeal.

I do not however think or hope that his great redemption will come from aiding his wardens in some fantastic way. But I hope that he'll repair his relation with his sister.

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7 hours ago, YOVMO said:

I think @Lady Dacey is exactly right. Calling someone "good" especially in asoiaf is a really sticky thing. You would, in order to do this, have to first lay out an objective moral system that works in this universe and I believe that is impossible.

What you can say about Theon is that he has certainly become more well behaved. But a beaten dog behaving well is in no way representative of his moral growth as a character.

Think of the difference between Jamie and Theon. Both were mutilated (though admittedly Theon seems to have got the worst of it) but Jamie's character arc since he was, uh, unhanded, has been through introspection whereas Theon's character arc has been through submission. Even as he regains some part of himself it is only in opposition to Reek and in turn Ramsey. Theon isn't trying to GROW and be a better man than the Theon prior to his taking of Winterfell. He is trying to GO BACK to the way he was before his imprisonment and torture.

Whether or not this is "good" or "bad" or "evil" or whatever is impossible to say and truly irrelevant in the end. What is important is that Theon is idealizing a former version of himself unlike Jamie who is trying to become a better version of who he was prior to his misfortunes.

Huh. To answer Lady Dacey by "better "I was thinking more empathetic,less selfish and arrogant.  I agree that Theon is trying to go back but I also see Jamie doing so too you know to a degree. He was in a very dark place since having took up in the KG. He actually started off as a pretty ok kid who genuily wanted to be a hero.  I think spending time with Briene awoke in something and seeing her try to be the ideal knight  stirred some of the old Jamie. I think his unhanding by Hoat hes been taking a steady trek back to what he once was. To a degree. He's certianly matured, recognizing how toxic his relationship with Cersi was. 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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6 hours ago, LionoftheWest said:

Wheter Theon is a better person or not will be decided when he has regained his own self and been healed of Ramsay's damage. But I don't think that he'll do a 180 degree turn around. But hopefully he'll have gained some wisdom from his ordeal.

I agree with this. He can be judged as a better or worse person only if he has the chance and space to prove it. 

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On 1/17/2018 at 9:34 AM, YOVMO said:

I think @Lady Dacey is exactly right. Calling someone "good" especially in asoiaf is a really sticky thing. You would, in order to do this, have to first lay out an objective moral system that works in this universe and I believe that is impossible.

This is kind silly.  Someone can be good and not be perfect.  Robb is not perfect, but what we see of him is mostly good.  Ditto Catelyn, or Daenerys, or many other characters.  Whereas people like Tywin are obviously unrepentant vicious psychopaths.

That being said, I think it's silly to view anyone as having a "redemption" arc, because GRRM isn't interested in that.  Jaime is clearly a more self-aware and introspective person as of ADWD, but that doesn't wipe out the fact he threw Bran out a window.  Or even the fact that he's still actively upholding a regime that he knows to be not only illegitimate, but immoral.

Likewise, Theon hasn't "repented" for his previous actions.  The point of his character seems to be more to prove a point to overly moralistic fanboys.  Theon is a despicable human being prior to his capture, but the excessive nature of his torture and the stripping of his identity is meant to show us that punishment doesn't always fit even heinous crimes, and to make us feel bad for a character that has been a villain through-and-through to this point in the story.

Because Theon isn't remorseful.  For many of his chapters, he isn't even Theon, psychologically, so he's incapable of being sorry for Theon's actions!  Mostly he seems resigned, and his one act of heroism isn't even tied to his crimes in taking Winterfell et. al., but is specifically because he's regaining his sense of self.  In many ways, he saves Jeyne in order to regain some of his previous self-identification.

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7 minutes ago, cpg2016 said:

hat being said, I think it's silly to view anyone as having a "redemption" arc, because GRRM isn't interested in that.  Jaime is clearly a more self-aware and introspective person as of ADWD, but that doesn't wipe out the fact he threw Bran out a window.  Or even the fact that he's still actively upholding a regime that he knows to be not only illegitimate, but immoral.

Meh, Tommen really does have the potential to be a great king, and alternative regimes insure him and a lot of his family losing their heads. 

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Well he has certainly been humbled by this ordeal. Considering that arrogance was (at least to me) his worst quality as a person, I'd say he's "better" in a lot of ways.  

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19 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

This is kind silly. 

I am sorry, sometimes I type quickly and don't really get my thoughts in order and then put them out. More or less, what you say here is exactly what I meant. The comparison to Jamie was just to underscore the point. I couched it in terms of Theon wanting to go back to his formerly repugnant self unlike Jamie wanting to grow into the man that he wished he had been before he forgot who he was.

With the initial question "has theon become a better person" I merely stated that better and worse are very fluid in this world except for when it comes to real extremes. Hell, there is even a sympathetic story for the mountain. But as far as character growth Theon only wants to become what he was before which is a moral flaw in my opinion.

I do like that you saw he wasn't even theon for much of it. That is, of course, exactly right and an angle I didn't consider.

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21 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Meh, Tommen really does have the potential to be a great king, and alternative regimes insure him and a lot of his family losing their heads. 

So does every single character who we know nothing about in Westeros.  His potential is bound up in that he isn't a vicious psychopath, and that we know nothing else.  SUPER low bar.  If anything, the constant bullying from his mother probably makes it likely he's another Tytos.

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On 1/17/2018 at 0:24 AM, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Reading his pov chapters (even as he regains his sense of identity), I never really get the feeling he's truly repentant for what he did at WF-as much he's sorrowful over having to deal with the consequences of them. 

Like, he thinks the killing of little Walder as an amusing thing, and says "they were just some Miller boys" he killed. 

He's more humble.  Quieter.  Less cocky in every way you can think of.  All those are not voluntary developments, particularly the latter.  Is a person improved because circumstances forced them to change?  For that matter, the same question can be applied to Jaime.  Jaime thinks he's a better person, but look deeper and I don't think he is.  

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20 minutes ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

He's more humble.  Quieter.  Less cocky in every way you can think of.  All those are not voluntary developments, particularly the latter.  Is a person improved because circumstances forced them to change?  For that matter, the same question can be applied to Jaime.  Jaime thinks he's a better person, but look deeper and I don't think he is.  

Reek is more humble, is quieter, and is less cocky (in both ways).  Theon does not express remorse for his former self or his former actions, his one act of heroism is all about himself, and regaining his own identity (not a bad thing, but not a repentant one either), and nowhere can you say that Theon learned from his experiences and changed for the better.

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2 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

So does every single character who we know nothing about in Westeros.  His potential is bound up in that he isn't a vicious psychopath, and that we know nothing else.  SUPER low bar.  If anything, the constant bullying from his mother probably makes it likely he's another Tytos.

Meh I'm certian there are some people who make worse kings than Joffery or at least as bad if given the chance

Tommen actually wants to be a good king and has shown time and time again gladly do the things that are required and expected of a king.As in take apart in the dealings of the realm(such as asking to attend council meetings to learn how goverment is run and actually enjoying his approval on documents), and he actually cares about the people-he wants to help them because he really is a really nice guy(not always a requirement for being a good king true), thus he will not treat decisions regarding the fate of millions of lives lightly.

With the right mentorship he could be a great king.

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I would not say that Theon saved Jeyne merely for himself. What he did was extraordinarily brave, especially considering all his conditioned terrors. He saved a childhood friend, and someone being tortured by Ramsey. I don’t believe he was thinking “well I’ll risk death and torture so that I can regain my identity.”

Rather, I think Martin sets up contradictions like that one, so that it plays on your assumptions of who a hero is. I’ll bet Jeyne would think so.

Yes, I would also bet Theon is going to do something important for the battle of the dawn, although maybe I just hope so. (Shoot down a Nazgul?or an ice dragon? )He still has some digits left and he was a good archer. He knows how to get in and out of Winterfell. He knows about Arya. And for some reason Bran(who can see past and future) calls to him via weir wood. Who knows, though, he has Kings blood.

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