[quote]I suppose we ought to be grateful Ramsey didn't test him out or anything when he first came to the Dreadfort.[/quote]
What do you want to bet [i]that's [/i]the part that was left out of the sample? -_-;
[quote]No seriously, I love Theon.[/quote]
There are more of us than I would've expected. Someday we'll take over and turn ASoIaF into a proper fandom. Then Theon will have Mary Sues, leather pants, and a harem of "Saltwives" on the astral plane. ^_^
[quote]When he said 'Sansa was the pretty one. He remembered a time when he had thought that Lord Eddard Stark might marry him to Sansa and claim him for a son, but that had only been a childâ€™s fancy.' it really cut me up.[/quote]
And of course, we never heard about this in any of his ACoK chapters, when he was insisting that he only saw Eddard as the guy who laid waste to his homeland. Theon tends push away whatever thoughts and feelings seem incompatible with his current environment or course of action, like how he suddenly decides that ruling the Iron Islands wouldn't be so great after all when taking the black looks like his only way of getting out of [s]the Alamo [/s]Winterfell alive. It would've been difficult for him to live with the Starks as his only family for ten years and never wish that Eddard could become his real father, especially considering that his real father is...well, Balon. That kind of bond never formed, though. Eddard can seem cold until you get to know him, and Theon found him so intimidating under the circumstances that he wasn't inclined to look deeply. He seems to have wanted obvious signs of approval, a few more smiles or that Sansa marriage offer.
On Eddard's part, I figure that if he regarded Theon as anything close to a son, we would have heard something about it in one of the chapters we spend inside the guy's head. As far as I recall, the only mention of Theon in Ned's chapters isn't even by name. It's something along the lines of, "Wow, Robert's sure put on weight since Balon's Rebellion, when we kicked Ironborn butt and I took Balon's son as a ward/hostage." I wish we knew more about his feelings, since it seems kind of uncharacteristic of him to spend so little time thinking about a kid he was supposed to be raising, especially since he'd been so close to his own foster father. Maybe they could've gotten past the personality differences if it weren't for the hostage situation and vice versa, but things were what they were. Although, I wonder if Theon would have had nicer thoughts about the Starks if we'd gotten his POV when he was still with them instead of when he was trying to fit in on the islands. He acted as though he wanted to impress Cat back in AGoT, which makes me think he hadn't quite given up even then.
As for speculation, I don't think Ramsay would've mentioned the "task" in front of those lords if it was something shady like assassinating Roose or checking for fake Aryas. I do think Jeyne's identity will become an issue. This chapter takes care to show us that Theon has a very clear mental image of Arya. The "ride to war" comment, however, suggests that Theon's purpose involves getting past Mount Cailin, although I can't imagine how. The Ironborn don't want him back, they probably don't see him as enough of a threat that they'd give up the North to see him dead, and I doubt they'll be easily intimidated. Asha has heard about the fall of Mount Cailin in her chapter, though, so it sounds like whatever the Boltons are planning will work, unless that was one of those telephone game screwy reports.
Asha believes that Dagmer Cleftjaw will give them a harder time at Torrhen's Square. I think that if Team Bolton is going to run into Stannis/Asha or some other trouble, it'll happen there. Dagmer was Theon's teacher and one of the few people who actually seemed to like him, so something might come out of that. In the long run, Theon's subplot is most likely heading toward (a) somehow deposing Euron before he gets the Islands wiped off the map, and (B) making the Ironborn somebody's useful ally, most likely Stannis if the Dany plan falls through. I just hope that they get the land they need, and that they have some role to play in the War for Dawn so that Theon stands a chance of surviving the Book Six POV massacre Martin has been hinting at.