Game of Thronesfinally has a hero house again.
There’s been a Stark-size hole in the show, given that most of the northern house died and the rest were scattered across the Seven Kingdomsin Season 3.
Yes, Sansa is finally catching some breaks, Arya’s sight has returned and Jon is back, if in a mopey kind of way. But there hasn’t been a house with a cohesive, high-stakes narrative since Robb and Catelyn met their demise at the Red Wedding.
That is, until now.
The ballad of Theon and Yara Greyjoy has been quietly building steam since way back in Season 2, when Yara (known as Asha in the books) pulled alascivious power move against Theon, revealing herself as both a far better warrior and master of strategy.
Balon Greyjoy’s only daughter had been underrated ever since, all while upending the Westerosi world order by thumbing her nose at traditional female roles. She stood up to the worst dad since Tywin Lannister before launching a brave and loyal (if ultimately empty-handed) mission to rescue her mutilated brother.
And now she has pretty much the whole existing Iron Islands fleet. Homicidal uncle and his shipbuilders not withstanding, she’s about one battle and a stirring speech away from ascending as the first woman to rule the Iron Islands.
Or at least from feeding Euron to the sharks while he lives.
Either way, on a show that has caught some criticism for its treatment of women, you can’t help but cheer during moments like the one below and last week’s ballsy attempt at claiming the Salt Throne, right in the scornful faces of all those patriarchal Ironborn.
Yara Greyjoy is what the Mother of Dragons could have been
Yara is what the Mother of Dragons could have been if she weren’t so busy putting down rebellions and getting captured. Yara refuses to shut up and obey, no matter how many times she’s told.
Which brings us to the other side of this coin: poor, broken Theon, who’s paid for his Season 2 betrayal of the Starks a thousand times over. (Should have listened toyour sister, mate.)
Theon’s imprisonment, and devolution into Reek, set up the ultimate redemption story, which is now playing out for our viewing pleasure. Few scenes in the show’s history have been more satisfying than Reek screwing up what was left of his courage to aid Sansa’s escape. Or the tearful farewell in the snowy woods outside Winterfell when he decided he wasn’t worthy of her forgiveness.
Or the moment of desperation when Theon tried to win back Yara’s trust before the Kingsmoot, insisting she was their father’s rightful heir, defying the line of succession.
Much of the power of these scenes comes from the acting. Alfie Allen’s fragility as Theon versus Gemma Whelan’s force-of-nature Yara make the Greyjoy story more exciting than just about any of the show’s other scenes these days.
Plus they’re fishing buddies in real life. It’s just too perfect.
‘This is our queen’
Last week’s Kingsmoot gave us House Greyjoy at its apex, with Yara peacocking like the queen she is, even if her scornful subjects won’t admit it. During Theon’s stump speech, the reunited house shared the most touching sibling moment since the Stark children adopted those Direwolf pups (RIP Summer, Shaggydog, Grey Wind and Lady).
On a show where loyalty is for sale at bargain basement prices, this was a life raft.
Then Euron showed up and ruined everything, handily winning over voters with a classic political gimmick: sexist, violent rhetoric. That just upped the ante a bloodthirsty villain is what these two needed to make their eventual triumph that much sweeter.
There’s no better hero than the one who was wronged and has to claw his or her way to victory, with a little revenge thrown in at the end for good measure.
Besides, without their failed attempt at succession, we wouldn’t get that shot of the duo stealing all of Pyke’s best ships while Euron was busy appeasing the Drowned God; a smash-and-grab at its finest. Your move, uncle.
Down but not out, will the hunted Greyjoys head to Dothrak to join Danaerys, outmaneuvering the overconfident Euron? Will Yara and Theon team up with Daenerys and the Dothraki, invade Westeros, take the Iron Throne, and unite with the Starks at Winterfell to fight the ultimate battle against the undead?
Or will they first sail to Braavos to pick up Arya, perhaps, then try their hand at toppling the Lannisters via secret skullduggery back in King’s Landing? Blackwater Bay hasn’t seen any action in a few seasons.
One thing’s certain: with all those options, this brother-and-sister armada has the best potential storyline on the show right now.
Sure, the Starks are still fun. And if a girl ever actually becomes a bo staff-wielding assassin, and she and Sansa lead Jon in the battle to retake Winterfell, maybe theyll have a shot at reclaiming the Iron Throne of our hearts.
But for now its Team Greyjoy all the way.
Read more: <a href="http://mashable.com/2016/05/27/forget-the-starks-house-greyjoy/">http://mashable.com/</a>