“Game of Thrones” character Theon Greyjoy once seemed merely churlish but now, after so many despicable decisions (and one unforgivably horrific atrocity) he finished the show’s second season in blackguard villainy. But, deep down, he “just wants love,” according to Alfie Allen, the actor who plays the craven ward of Winterfell in the hit HBO series.
“He wants to have this idyllic family with his sister,” Allen said. “But it doesn’t turn out that way. And when it doesn’t, it leads him to make more of these decisions that he didn’t usually make. I think Theon’s trying to assert his power to the fullest of his abilities and to do that means doing despicable things. Even if that’s not who he is deep down.”
Allen, who is the brother of singer Lily Allen, spoke to Hero Complex contributor Patrick Kevin Day about Greyjoy’s complexities ahead of the show’s season finale, which aired Sunday to a record 4.2 million viewers. After a season of playing a character fans love to hate, Alfie said he was thrilled for Greyjoy’s shining moment in the finale.
Check out the excerpt below, and read the complete interview over on Show Tracker, our sister blog for all things television. Also, check out Day’s interviews with Robb Stark actor Richard Madden and red priestess Melisandre actress Carice van Houten.
ST: Your final scene in Episode 10 was one of your favorites from the season, correct?
AA: It’s cool. I shouldn’t say he goes out in a heroic blaze, because he’s not a hero. But he goes out in a blaze. People betray him that he put his trust in. I hope it was one of those points where you find yourself rooting for someone you didn’t like for the whole series. When you see how badly he wants it, you’ll find yourself rooting for him slightly. It’ll twist your moral compass a bit.
ST: What has been the public reaction to your character’s despicable behavior?
AA: Different. Some people hate me. Some people throw their arm around me and say, “Mate, I know where you’re coming from.” I think Theon is one of the most human characters on the show, to be honest. There’s a lot people can relate to in real life. It definitely made it easier for me to play the character because I think it’s a universal theme that people are looking for the approval of their parents the whole time.
ST: You were left to interpret Theon on your own, independent from how he’s portrayed in the books?
AA: Yeah, in the books Theon sets out to betray the Starks. That doesn’t put him in a good light straightaway. So when we were talking about it in the first series, David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] were saying they were going to go there in a different way. So that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. The way I wanted to play it was that he’s going over to Pyke to enjoy a bit of status and also form an alliance between Robb and the Greyjoys and possibly command his own army into battle and to get the approval and respect of his father. But it all gets thrown back in his face and he’s forced to make these brash decisions and he’s pushed past the point of no return. He just has to carry on being that person. It’s very sad.
— Noelene Clark
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