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Jamie Lannister

[Book spoilers] Theon's letter

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I had to sign in to these forums just to agree on the original writer of the thread - Theon's letter (and the Theon-parts in overall in this episode) were totally awesome! And to be honest, the character started to make much more sense with this episode than it ever did in the books. Im starting to wait quite eagerly to see how this storyline keeps developing!

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I totally agree. The HBO writers have made Theon comprehensible. Book-Theon is a man who betrays his foster family without hesitation or regret. We are certainly led to infer that Theon only pretended to be Robb's "brother" and liege, that he was waiting for an opportunity to break from the Starks and exact the iron price. Book-Theon is totally unsympathetic. Even after all the suffering he endures, we lack sympathy for him. He is not a tragic figure; he's just wicked and pathetic.

The HBO writers have made Theon into a human being, a boy whose father surrendered him to the enemy as hostage, a boy who is searching for a father's love, a boy torn between conflicting loyalties. He makes his decision to fully identify with the Ironborn, but we see that it was not an easy decision for him. There is a tragic depth to HBO-Theon that I find to be a significant improvement over the books.

It will make his eventual story arc all the more tragic should they follow it.

Yes, yes, yes. :) I won't belabor the point, but I REALLY like how the tv show is handling Theon. And I think they began building his struggle to belong and with whom to identify even last season. Brilliant.

I also loved the little exchange (which I don't think was in the book-?) in season 1 between Jory and Jaime. They've just reminisced about fighting during Greyjoy's rebellion and Jaime says something like ...

Jaime: It was so strange seeing the Greyjoy boy at Winterfell; like seeing a shark on a mountaintop.

Jory: Theon- he's a good lad.

Jaime: I doubt it.

TV Greyjoys want to take a castle in the north and live in it.

Balon hints on it but Asha actually says she wants a castle of her own in the north. Thats not very Greyjoy-like.

They do not sow.

In the book, if I recall correctly, Asha says this exact line. I read it as her saying it lightly, almost jokingly, in keeping with her confident character.

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Of course they want Castles. Just look at Pyke. How do you think they're going to consolidate power on land?

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Alfie Allen was brilliant in this episode. Never really payed much attention to him in the past. Agrees with you all that it was done better than in the novels. The part where he confronts his father about being sent off to Winterfell was utterly heartbreaking and one I missed from the books. TV-Theon is starting to become one of the more complex characters on the show.

Yea - Alfie has so totally impressed me. He was good in Season 1 -- but this episode cemented him as a great character.

I really was pissed at Balon and thought Theon was so right about what he said. And it fell on deaf ears.

Alfie knocked it out of the park this ep -- and my guess is GRRM was probably glad that things happened this way on TV.

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I thought that Theron's letter was a horrible deviation. The books portray him as a cocky and ambitious man. He has an arrogance and a disregard for other's well being and that's why he sided with his father instead of foster brother. It sets the stage for his character reversal when he gets captured by Ramsey Bolton.

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TV Greyjoys want to take a castle in the north and live in it.

Balon hints on it but Asha actually says she wants a castle of her own in the north. Thats not very Greyjoy-like.

They do not sow.

Er, what? Asha's line "I've always wanted a castle" is straight from the book, dude. Seriously, it's hilarious when people complain about alleged deviations that do not exist.

I thought the letter scene was brilliant and very poignant. Probably because we know Theon will turn into Reek so it makes it all the more tragic, we can't really hate Theon too much. And yes, Theon was conflicted in the books, he tries to lie to himself many times about it but any savvy reader will notice the cracks of denial through his POV chapters.

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Theon's baptism was such a good scene. "What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger" - I love the parallel of this to Theon's iron-born past. It was dead but it never died, and now it's rising again, harder and stronger.

Theon in the books was completely unsympathetical because it seemed like he stepped off the boat with a plan to take Winterfell. It made the Reek transformation almost welcome. When it happens in the show it'll be so tragic after seeing him almost flip a coin to decide his loyalties. I agree with a poster earlier that this is one change that is significantly better than the books (along with "what do we say to the god of death?", that's an awesome line, especially considering Arya's future)

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Yeah, this idea this is was handled better in the TV series than the books is just bogus. If you were paying close attention in the Theon's chapters you can detect all the inner struggles. It's just much more subtle, which the TV series is bringing to the forefront more.

Which is a great decision because you have to revels things differently in a TV show than a book, since you can't go inside a character's head in a TV show, so I think the scenes they added were great. Theon was always one of my favorite characterizations in the books (noticed I said characterization, not character) because that inner struggle I found fascinating.

And really, I find all the people who say they found so and so "unsympathetic" in the books are really more a failure of the reader than the author. Because GRRM gives almost every character some reason to for sympathetic. I never understood how people could find Cat and Sansa unsympathetic. Heck I was sympathetic to a point with Chett and Pate, and he gave them both only 1 prologue chapter each.

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I thought it was beautiful, in those few seconds with the letter and the candle Alfie Allen just seemed to exude the turmoil and indecision Theon must have been feeling. A most welcome addition, having always been a Theon fan it's something I could imagine him doing. I think had I been in my cups I would most definitely have shed a tear!

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*slightly off topic, but the scene with Theon being "baptised" with the salt water was absolutely beautiful. The landscape shot, right before the zoom in, was breathtaking. Pike, and the Iron Islands are the most beautiful of locations thus far.

Some love for my part of the world - the North Coast of Northern Ireland.

The Baptism scene looks like it was filmed h very close to Ballintoy harbour, the place we see Theon arrive when he comes to the Iron Islands.

http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h290/potatoe57/Ballintoy2.jpg

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I liked this scene too, Theon seemed to turn his cloak without a second thought in aCoK. (First his father implies hes not going to attack Lannisters but someone else, and in the next chapter he is already scavenging northern coast).

This reminded me of the 5th book when Theon starts to think about whether he should have remained loyal to Starks or not.

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One of my favorite scenes not only of this episode but the series so far. It's quiet and simple and powerful. Nothing is said. Just Theon surrounded by darkness. And then cutting to his 'baptisim'. Reluctantly saying the words in the hopes dad might approve of him. Just wonderful. Almost makes me a Theon supporter!

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I'm torn on this one. Because yeah, it was kind of climatic and explained what happened in Theon's head more thoroughly. But was it intended in the original story? I just feel that both his speech to Balon and the scene with the letter is just an attempt to make him more likeable, less traitorous character than he was supposed to be originally. Well, we shall see how this turns out next episodes.

Sure his "internal struggle" was hinted in the books but the show presents a totally different level of justification to his actions.

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I'm a little torn on this. It's a little out of character for Theon, who seems to never have a care in the world about anything but becoming king of the world, but I could see him at least contemplating a letter like that alone. So maybe it's not all that far-fetched. It was also very beautifully done, and tragic and sad as well.

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I'm torn on this one. Because yeah, it was kind of climatic and explained what happened in Theon's head more thoroughly. But was it intended in the original story? I just feel that both his speech to Balon and the scene with the letter is just an attempt to make him more likeable, less traitorous character than he was supposed to be originally. Well, we shall see how this turns out next episodes.

Sure his "internal struggle" was hinted in the books but the show presents a totally different level of justification to his actions.

I agree. Sometimes I feel like the writers are really heavy handed in trying to make the characters easier to empathize and sympathize with. But only time will tell. If Cersei turns out to be a pretty nice woman or something though, they have royally went too far with it.

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