Curtain Call: Alfie Allen

Theon Winterfell

I’ve been planning this post for years.

I remember reading Axechucker’s Curtain Call for Kristian Nairn back in 2016. “Every time I sat down to write this, it felt like a eulogy,” he wrote. “Like I was speaking words of praise and affection for someone who had passed away.” I thought, “That’s how it’ll feel when Theon dies.”

Indeed it does.

Theon was important to me, for reasons that I’ve addressed elsewhere and I’m forever grateful to Alfie Allen for playing such a difficult character with empathy and for making Theon the multifaceted, fallible antihero he was.

Reviewing Allen’s eight-season run on Game of Thrones, it’s truly gobsmacking (that’s right – gobsmacking) how fully he inhabited Theon in each phase of his development, from his time as Ned Stark’s overcompensating ward (“try smiling with your lips closed,” anyone?) to the needlessly cruel Prince of Winterfell, to the brainwashed lackey known as Reek and finally, to the brave, broken man who rescued Yara Greyjoy and sacrificed himself in the Godswood.

Allen effectively played three different characters and, in lieu of dialogue, often communicated a monologue’s worth of information in a single look.

stormborngif

Prior to Game of Thrones, Allen starred in the West End revival of Equus, taking over the role of Alan Strang from Daniel Radcliffe (remember when people made a big deal about Radcliffe appearing naked in a play? That was Equus).

Watching old interviews of a baby-faced Alfie Allen discussing onstage nudity with nonchalance is entertaining –

– but his role in Equus proved career defining, as Allen has said that it was his performance as Strang, a mentally ill teenager undergoing a psychiatric evaluation after blinding six horses with a hoof pick, that gave David Benioff and D.B Weiss confidence that Allen could handle playing Theon Greyjoy.

If you ever wish that Allen would play a character just a tad less relentlessly grim than Theon Greyjoy or Alan Strang, you’re in luck … well, sort of. He’s appearing in an upcoming dark comedy written and directed by Taika Waititi called Jojo Rabbit, in which he plays *sigh* a Nazi.


Allen has spoken in interviews about encounters he’s had with fans who identify with Theon and one certainly gets the impression from Allen’s Instagram posts this week that he loved playing Theon Greyjoy and understands the impact that his character had on viewers.


At least, I hope he does. Allen regularly tops fan lists of actors who are overdue an Emmy but regardless of whether or not he ever gets his due, he gave a hell of a performance as one of the most dynamic and morally challenging characters in all of Game of Thrones. And it mattered.

alfiepremiere

Because what other photo was I going to use to conclude this post?

72 responses

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    1. I’ll be brief: Alfie Allen is arguably one of the most talented actors of his generation, and nobody else could have brought Theon to life like he did. I wish him a long and very successful acting career. I for one am looking forward to many years of enjoying his work in all his future projects. You’re a good man, Alfie!

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    2. It could have been none other than you, Petra, to write Theon’s Curtain Call. Thank you!

      Allen effectively played three different characters and, in lieu of dialogue, often communicated a monologue’s worth of information in a single look.

      Seeing his redemption arc, I never actually viewed Alfie playing three different characters, but you are so right! Of course he did. And he played his different characters beautifully. Thank you, Alfie!!

      #WhatIsDeadMayNeverDie

      p.s. He’ll be in a Taika Waititi movie!? SOLD! After What We Do In The Shadows – Waititi can write dark comedy fantastically!

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    3. The most beautiful scenes in The Long Night for me are his, and he has some of the best acting in the series in general. Alfie is amazing. Thank you so so much, Alfie <3

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    4. Goodbye, Theon Greyjoy and Alfie Allen. One of GOT’s greatest and most interesting characters, and in my opinion – this may be a bold statement – the best actor in the show.

      I mean, seriously, how many different sides to this character did Alfie have to portray? We first met him in season 1 as a somewhat cocky & arrogant, but still fundamentally decent person, dedicated to serving the Stark family. However, Alfie also successfully showed Theon’s confusion over the fact that he grew up alongside the Starks, and felt some camaradarie towards them, while technically being a hostage who could be killed at any moment.

      In season 2, we see him at his worst, trying desperately to please his father, and doing doing horrible things like taking Winterfell, beheading Ser Rodrik (and even that he sucked at), and killing the two orphan boys. And yet… through all of that… I never hated him. Thanks to Alfie’s fantastic performance, I always had a degree of sympathy for him, as I could see how truly conflicted he was, from his initial reluctance to kill Ser Rodrik, to the look on his face after he displayed the burned bodies of the orphans. And of course… who could forget his conversation with Maester Luwin at the end of the season. That is still one of my favourite scenes in the whole series, as he lets out his frustrations, seemingly with the people around him, but truly with himself, due to the choices he made. He knew he had done terrible things, but there was no way he could turn back after all of it. Alfie was simply incredible here (as was Donald Sumpter).

      Through most of season 3, he was being tortured by Ramsay, but Alfie still did fantastic at portraying his fear while in the hands of an unknown power. He also made me feel truly bad for him when he confessed to his “rescuer” that he had made terrible mistakes and that Ned was his real father. From that point on, I was rooting for him to escape.

      In my opinion, seasons 4 & 5 show Alfie’s best work. He has to play a truly borken man (hell, is he even a man anymore?) who is completely subservient to Ramsay, yet still has maybe a slight glimmer of humanity to him. That has to be one of the hardest things to portray, and not only does Alfie pull it off, he pulls it off incredibly well, from his faces while watching Ramsay torture people, to his reaction to learning of Robb’s death, to expression while Ramsay rapes Sansa (a mixture of sadness, fear, and – just for a moment – anger). This of course, all culminates in the final moment, where he kills Myranda and saves Sansa, both of them escaping Winterfell together.

      Theon’s recovery process through seasons 6 & 7 was very interesting to watch. We can see him recovering from the trauma he has been through, but it is very hard and doesn’t happen in an instant. He saves Podrick, and speaks confidently for Yara at the Kingsmoot, but there is still something of his old self missing, and Yara has to give him a pep talk to help him get it back – Alfie’s acting in that scene, all with no dialogue, is once again, remarkable. Realistically, however, it’s not enough, as he runs from Euron when his PTSD kicks in (and in his defense, what was he supposed to do? He would have gotten them both killed if he had attacked).

      Theon’s conversation with Jon is another of my favourite scenes, as Jon tells him what he always needed to hear (but maybe didn’t realize it) – That he’s both a Greyjoy and a Stark. This was the missing piece Theon needed, and it spurrs him to take command of the Ironborn – whether they like it or not – and save his sister. He has no fear anymore, because he’s already been through hell. He wears his trauma as armour, so it can’t hurt him anymore. Tyrion would be proud.

      The culmination of everything Theon has been through is finally shown in season 8, as he rescues his sister, and returns to Winterfell to help fight the Army of the Dead. His reunion with Sansa legitimately made me tear up, as did Bran’s final words to him – “You’re a good man”. Alfie’s face is all you need to show how much this means to Theon. Because of this, he faces death head on and charges the Night King. He may have failed to kill him, but he died in the best way anyone can. And his attack DID buy just enough time for Arya to arrive and save bran, so it wasn’t for nothing.

      RIP, Theon Greyjoy. You were a good man. Thank you.

      And Alfie… As I said at the top, you were, IMHO, the best actor in this whole show. You had to play more sides to your character than anyone else, from the cocky young soldier, to the desperate murderer, to the scared torture victim, to the completely broken creature, to the man recovering from his trauma, to the hero using his trauma to his advantage and going out like a boss. Not only did you have play all of these different aspects of Theon, but you did all of them unbelievably well. You deserve all the Emmys.

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    5. Alfie is that d u d e. The show (all 3 remaining episodes) will be poorer without him.

      Great job, man!

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    6. Amazingly subtle and profound acting. If anyone deserved an Emmy out of this show, it is Alfie. I sobbed during his final scenes.

      And Petra, I’ll be forever jealous of your hand. 😁

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    7. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to call Alfie Allen the best, most nuanced and sensitive actor in the show. He didn’t need lines to let us know exactly what he was feeling: Just the slump of a shoulder, a break in eye contact with another character, a twitch of the corner of his mouth spoke volumes (and broke hearts, as often as not).

      Not only did he play three characters, but there were moments when he had to play all three simultaneously. For me, his most bravura thespian moment was when Ramsay had sent him to negotiate with the Ironborn at Moat Cailin. He was Reek ‘pretending,’ on Ramsay’s orders, to be Prince Theon. And in playing that role, a little glint of his true self began to emerge, a hint of confidence – only to collapse when challenged, and he started backsliding into Reek again. But he couldn’t let himself betray how far he had fallen into this broken persona, because he knew what punishments awaited him if his mission failed. So he had to drag himself back up and continue ‘pretending’ despite his rising panic, desperate to convince his ‘subjects.’ It was an absolutely stunning master class in acting.

      For my money, Theon Greyjoy is the best-written PoV in the books, the most complex and tragic character arc in both books and show, and by far the most challenging role to play convincingly. Alfie absolutely nailed it every time he was onscreen. What a gift to us viewers! Nina Gold truly struck gold when she found him.

      The last three episodes will be all the poorer for Alfie’s absence. I plan to follow his subsequent career closely and see him in as many things as I can. Bravo, sir.

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    8. I’ll agree with the call to give Alfie Allen an Emmy…NOW!

      Early in the series I was not connecting with the character of Theon. As he endured the psychological torture of being Reek and was cracking at Moat Calen it finally hit me. Alfie Allen is amazing at portraying the broken but still struggling Theon. From that point on I’ve been hoping for Theon and impressed by Allen. They both ended their time on GOT with great heart and honor.

      Thanks for the curtain call, Petra!

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    9. BigMac,

      Totally agree with your entire comment. There are not many actors who can have me disliking the character, to hating him, to feeling sorry, to cheering him on every step of his arc. Allen knocked it out of the park every scene he was in. The look on his face while shaving Ramsey, listening to the news that Robb had died – you could see the horrible conflict of emotion. I wish he had gotten nominatd for an emmy or at the very least won one of WOTW yearly awards. Maybe this year. wishing him luck in his career and hope I get to see him on the scree again

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    10. Firannion,

      For me, his most bravura thespian moment was when Ramsay had sent him to negotiate with the Ironborn at Moat Cailin. He was Reek ‘pretending,’ on Ramsay’s orders, to be Prince Theon. And in playing that role, a little glint of his true self began to emerge, a hint of confidence – only to collapse when challenged, and he started backsliding into Reek again. But he couldn’t let himself betray how far he had fallen into this broken persona, because he knew what punishments awaited him if his mission failed. So he had to drag himself back up and continue ‘pretending’ despite his rising panic, desperate to convince his ‘subjects.’ It was an absolutely stunning master class in acting.

      Probably my favorite scene of his. Thats also one of my fav Ramsey scenes – when he kneels as his father names him his heir. The gasp and look on his face of joy was so unlike him, yet shows how desparat he still is for his fathers approva.

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    11. Alfie Allen’s portrayal of Theon Greyjoy is arguably the single best performance delivered by an actor that I have ever seen. His talent is astonishing. I’ve never seen a character arc quite as complex and interesting as Theon’s. I went from not caring about him all that much, to hating him, to feeling sorry for him, to loving him unconditionally. I am blown away by his character development and Alfie’s performance. Theon was (is) my favorite character. Watching him die last week was heartbreaking. Alfie’s superb acting made Theon’s final moments all the more moving and powerful. I am so sad to see this phenomenal character and actor leave. The show will not be the same without him. Alfie Allen deserves an Emmy for his performance!!!! Someone please give it to him!! Alfie, you’ve touched so many people with your incredible ability and commitment. I cannot thank you enough. You will be missed <3

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    12. What can I say other than I love Alfie, what a brilliant actor. He made me go from hating Theon to loving him as one of my favorite characters. I’m going to grieve for him for a while. I hope all the best for Alfie! He smashed that role out of the park!

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    13. Alfie’s portrayal of Theon was nothing short of brilliant. He was worthy of an Emmy for this role years ago. His death hurt…the tears in his eyes just broke me.

      I was Alfie all the success in the world.

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    14. Love, love, love Alfie. I’ve been saying since season two that he should get an Emmy. He’s the most underrated actor on the show. He perfectly nailed that insecurity under the douchebro facade in the early seasons, he pivoted the entire character to the broken and pathetic Reek and he convinced me that he is redeemed. Alfie doesn’t get the attention that some of the other actors do, but I hope future casting directors hire him a lot. Cause he can do anything.

      I hope that even though Theon died far from the sea, he can find the Drowned God’s halls. Maybe hang out with some krakens and Patchface.

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    15. Oh, Petra. I know that even though you’ve been steeling yourself for this for a long time, it hurts like hell. I’m so glad you were able to process so much s*** through the character of Theon, so glad you got your hand kissed by Alfie, and for myself, so happy to have experienced what everyone else on this thread has already written beautifully about—one of the most brilliant, nuanced, complex performances any film or TV actor has ever given, period.

      I’ve noted elsewhere that Saner Half, who always enjoyed GoT but nevertheless wrote it off as LotR Lite (yes, we’ve had arguments), has been far more appreciative of the show on rewatch. One of the things that’s really struck me the last few months is that almost every time Alfie Allen is onscreen, SH says something like “God, he’s incredible” or “He’s the best actor on this show, and they’re *all* great.”

      Theon Greyjoy died far from the sea, but his end was one to rival Sidney Carton’s.

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    16. Wolfish,

      Oh wow, Sidney Carton! I have not thought of that character for ages (from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities). You are so right. I recalled part of his famous last line and looked up the whole thing.

      “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

      Theon did good and will rest in peace.

      Thanks, Wolfish, for your insight and knocking the dust off my memory for another great character.

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    17. I agree with what everyone above has written. Most underrated character! Should have gotten an Emmy long time ago. Hope he gets it now.

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    18. Long live Theon Greyjoy…and Theon Stark. Alfie was (and is) perhaps the best of the best.

      What is dead may never die.

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    19. Allen effectively played three different characters and, in lieu of dialogue, often communicated a monologue’s worth of information in a single look.
      So perfectly put and exactly right. Great post!

      “My real father lost his head in King’s Landing. I made a choice. I chose wrong.”
      That’s the moment it hit me. That just like the people he’d grown up with, I hadn’t been paying close enough attention. Alfie lifted the veil of what I’d thought Theon was and showed me how much more he had in him, hidden out of sight.
      I don’t like to think about what he went through after that.
      But just like Jorah, I couldn’t imagine a more full circle, or heroic death for him than what he gave us.
      And all of it, the pain, the resilience, the acceptance, was there in his eyes. He really is an exceptional talent.

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    20. Thank you for this curtain call, Petra.

      I was a regular viewer until the end of season 3, where I couldn’t let go of thinking about Theon Greyjoy. Then season 4 came, and the far too few episodes Alfie was in, just blew me away, and Theon Greyjoy became the only character I was truly invested in.

      My love for Theon and admiration for Alfie Allen just got bigger and bigger with each season. I rewatched the show from its beginning and what an eyeopener that was. Suddenly I understood Theon’s background which I had totally missed among a ton of other characters’ introductions in season 1 and gradually, layer upon layer was added to this amazing character, and through it all, Alfie Allen carried the challenging part on his figuratively speaking crazy broad shoulders.

      I think if I should say one word about Alfie’s acting which always stands out, is that it’s honest. (There is no false pretense, no wish to look good, no hiding under vanity of any kind – he’s insanely brave, just like his character was.)

      With Theon’s death, I’ve lost interest in the show but will watch it with my family because I must. And that’s sad but it’s the truth.

      I’ve read somewhere that Alfie should have been the breakout star of the show and I agree. Here’s to Alfie’s future career which I intend to follow with interest for a good long time. Hopefully, he’ll get the parts that will land him those much-deserved awards, the show for some inexplicable reason never ended up giving him.

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    21. Alfie! Thank you so much.
      Hands down the GoT actor without much official recognition most deserving of awards and nominations.

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    22. I saw a meme about Theon that made me cry. It basically said this:

      Theon Greyjoy entered Winterfell 4 times.
      The first time, he was a hostage
      The second time, he was a traitor
      The third time, he was Reek
      And the fourth time, he was Theon, of House Stark, come home

      I’ve always thought his and Jaime’s arcs mirrored each other very closely. Needing redemption for doing something awful to Bran Stark/House Stark and the fact that they both ended up back at Winterfell, defending Bran and House Stark, was just a beautiful ending to both their arcs. I was convinced Jaime would die but as Beatrix Kiddo would say: Cersei, you and I have unfinished business.

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    23. Best actor on the show. Probably the most challenging role of all. Simply amazing how he portrayed all these different phases of Theon. Even after gaining back some of his former self, he still had this damaged look in his eyes right till the end. Which makes his loss hurt even more.

      What an actor!

      And now his watch is ended.

      PS. Have you washed your hand yet, Petra?

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    24. Aww. I love that photo of you and Alfie so much. 😊

      I wasn’t sure what Theon’s ultimate end would be if he really had to go, but like Jorah it seemed right – heartbreaking as it was. I’m really glad that Bran’s “Home” speech was to him. Theon surprised me in the best way – he went from a character I intensely disliked, to one that I wholeheartedly was rooting for the past several seasons. Like Iain Glen, Nikolaj CW, and Maisie Williams, Alfie has the rare ability to say it all with even the slightest change of expression.

      I often think of just how well this show has been cast. Especially with the Curtain Calls, I marvel at just how ‘right’ the actors were for the role. Alfie took it a step up from there. ❤

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    25. Have to say that Alfie played Theon brilliantly, such a flawed and multifaceted character. He’s always been a grey character for me, never a bad guy but flawed and capable of doing bad things in an effort to address his insecurities.

      I loved the ending of his arc however I saw a twitter post stating that the last thing Theon saw was the Night king walking over his dying body going to kill Bran, in that moment he may feel like he failed the Starks again.

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    26. Of all the characters, Theon had the bravest, scariest, most complex arc. Someone upthread called Alfie the most sensitive actor on the show – that rings so true, and I don´t think Theon would have been the same character I came to love over the years if someone less nuanced would have played him.

      Be at peace now, Theon.

      And thank you, Alfie – may you get all the recogniton you deserve.

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    27. Alfie Allen’s portrayal of Theon should have won him at least one Emmy. Those who failed to nominate him, favouring more “popular” actors, should hang their heads in shame.

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    28. onefromaway,

      “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

      Yes, fits Theon perfectly. (loved that book, haven’t reread it in ages. Think its time)

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    29. OK, I was just getting all teary-eyed reading the Iain Glen/Jorah Curtain Call. I’m probably going to be an emotional wreck after reading this one. Theon is one of my absolutely favourite POV characters in the books (so excellently written) and Alfie Allen has been so amazing, so outstanding as Theon.

      I’ll get the tissues ready and read now.

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    30. A very fine actor playing a fine character. I loved his scenes as they are simply unforgettable and run the true emotional gamut of feelings.

      The sentimentalist in me, wished for Theon to be the one described as “Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow” and delivering the fatal blow to the Night King. This would have fit show Theon to a “T,” as (having been savagely rendered incapable of fathering children) metaphorically, he would, therefore, “cast no shadow” and his feat would have insured the futures of other men’s “shadows.”

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    31. Jon Snowed:

      I loved the ending of his arc however I saw a twitter post stating that the last thing Theon saw was the Night king walking over his dying body going to kill Bran, in that moment he may feel like he failed the Starks again.

      Yes, Theon didn’t die immediately. He saw the Night King making his way towards Bran.

      On my second watch I was screaming internally, tears in my eyes, “No, not this for Theon! Hasn’t he suffered enough already?!? He’ll die thinking he failed, he’ll never know his brave, desperate defence of Bran bought Arya enough time to sneak in there and do the deed.” Like, did he have to die thinking he’d failed? When he actually died an absolute hero, fully redeemed. OK, I’m tearing up again.

      I hope Theon gets to know his heroic defence of Bran wasn’t in vain in the watery halls of the Drowned God.

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    32. Thank you, Petra, for this heart-felt Curtain Call for the character Theon and the amazing actor who played him, Alfie Allen.

      Thank you to all you commenters who express my thoughts so well, especially BigMac, and Firannion.

      Theon is one of my top favourite characters in the books. Not because I particularly like him. He isn’t likeable, or heroic or noble or whatever. But it’s a character so well written that I can understand him, have empathy with him. His ADWD chapters in Winterfell are some of the best writing GRRM has ever done. (And not only for the Theon/Reek character development, they’re also chock-full of important information and hints 🙂 )

      It took an actor of Alfie Allen’s immense talent to bring him to life for us in a believable way. His acting made us believe everything his character went through, and made us empathise and sympathise with the character.

      Allen effectively played three different characters and, in lieu of dialogue, often communicated a monologue’s worth of information in a single look.

      Any serious actor is happy to get a role as juicy, as challenging as Theon Greyjoy. Alfie Allen certainly seems very happy he got the chance. He is also aware, and humbled by how much the character and his portrayal of it have touched people.

      A few years ago I used to frequent a more book-focussed forum, and there was a member there who’d written and self-published a whole 200-page book about the character Theon Greyjoy. She was first a show-only but Alfie Allen’s portrayal of Theon drew her to read the books and it all grew from there. She had a wonderful moment when she was able to present the book to Alfie Allen at a con, tell him his acting work started it all. Wow, what better recognition for an actor than to know your work has inspired people so much!

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    33. Ι went from disliking Theon to hating him, feeling sorry for him, suffering with him, wishing I could do something to help him and finally being proud of him. All this thanks to GRRM and the showwriters, of course, but also (and maybe mostly) to Alfie Allen. He’s one of GOT’s actors that I will most certainly follow in their future career, which I wish them to be long and successful.
      Having been abused myself, Theon, as well as Sansa, and Sam, have always been my favourite characters. Thankfully I was prepared for Theon’s demise, so it was less painful, but although I get the glory in it, I so wish that Theon could somehow survive and go on vacations to a spa resort in Cancun.

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    34. Petra:

      I’ve been planning this post for years.

      I know how you feel. I’ve been planning my response to the NCW/Jaime Curtain Call for years.

      They’re only characters in a book/TV series, not real people. The actors who’ve portrayed the characters so brilliantly are real people and we should celebrate their amazing work.

      But deep down, the characters also seem like real people to us. It’s like they’ve all become our friends. We’re grateful we’ve got to know them and we’ll mourn their passing. A piece of us dies with each character, and that piece is a big chunk when it comes to Theon and Alfie Allen’s brilliant portrayal of him.

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    35. Hands down the best actor on GOT. His portrayal of Theon was truly remarkable and it bums me out that he never gets the accolade that he deserves.

      The scene of Sansa’s wedding night gets me every time, for many reasons. And although it was controversial at the time, that shot of Theon at the very end had me in bits.

      Bravo Alfie. Bravo. 👏

      And RIP Theon- you ARE a good man.

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    36. Sue the Fury:
      The most beautiful scenes in The Long Night for me are his, and he has some of the best acting in the series in general. Alfie is amazing. Thank you so so much, Alfie <3

      +1. Wonderful actor. I cried my eyes out when Bran said: You’re a good man Theon, and how Alfie acted that reaction.

      For me Theon has also the best redemption arc of the show, followed closely by Jaime, very close but Theon wins.

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    37. Thoughtful, nuanced acting throughout and a truly satisfying, redemptive character arc. Alfie Allen, I salute you and can’t wait to see you in your next great role!

      Nice wrap-up, Petra, thanks!

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    38. talvikorppi,

      Well said!

      Alfie is one of the best actors on the show (though I must say that the casting in this show is excellent in general)- he’s done an excellent job with a particularly difficult multi-dimensional character.
      While I was very emotional to let him go, I loved how they ended his arc. Probably one of the most emotional and meaningful moments in GoT for me.

      I’m looking forward to whatever Alfie does in the future, and I wish him the best of luck in his life!

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    39. Lady MarMar,

      He did unspeakable things. But they were necessary in order to save mankind. If those boys weren’t used as decoys, the Ironborn would’ve hunted down and killed Bran. No 3ER and no trap for the NK.

      All of the unspeakable acts are what brought the characters to where they needed to be, at that time- and Bran himself said.

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    40. Likewise.. I stood up and clapped too!

      Not sure about anyone else, but I suspect Bran woke up at that precise moment not only to give Theon absolution, but to give him that final boost to charge the NK, buying time for Arya to strike. It adds a whole other layer to that beautiful and emotional moment for me.

      kevin1989: +1. Wonderful actor. I cried my eyes out when Bran said: You’re a good man Theon, and how Alfie acted that reaction.

      For me Theon has also the best redemption arc of the show, followed closely by Jaime, very close but Theon wins.

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    41. I really hope Alfie gets an Emmy for his portrayal of Theon Greyjoy/Reek. His acting throughout the series has been excellent. So many facets to Theon’s character and Alfie nailed them all.

      RIP Theon Greyjoy and long live Alfie Allen.

      My favourite Theon scenes has always been these ones – “First time I saw Winterfell” and the look on his face when interrupted as the horn sounds and then he starts again – “First time I saw Winterfell, looked like something that had been here for thousands of years…

      and then his famous speech to his men 🙂

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    42. Consistently compelling performance throughout from Alfie especially so during the long “torture porn” arc which must have been an ordeal enough just acting it out. Always felt his acting and contribution has been underestimated especially when it comes to awards where he has been apparently overlooked. From the cocky and snarky Theon of season 1 to the broken man to his redemption, he nailed it all.

      What is dead may never die!

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    43. Great character, especially in the show. By the end, I had been hoping that somehow he would survive – a broken character being one of the survivors and having to live with what he’s done and has been done to him seemed fitting to me. Still, this was moving as well.

      None of it would be possible without Alfie’s great acting. By the way do we have any exit interviews with him yet? I’ve been dying to see how he was thinking about what’s in Theon’s head at the end.

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    44. The arrogant young ward who became a turncloak. The turncloak who became a prisoner. The prisoner who became a broken man. The broken man who became a survivor. The survivor who became a penitent. The penitent who became a warrior. The warrior who died a hero.

      What else can be said about Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy that hasn’t already been said? He is an extraordinary talent, gifted with a brilliantly complex character and a deeply challenging storyline, one that at times pushed the audience to the limits of our endurance. And yet, there was a common thread to all of it, one person who made it all feel real and vivid and agonizing and heartbreaking and so very, very well-earned.

      Few actors have been more versatile than Alfie Allen. Few characters have endured more horror and suffering than Theon. Arguably no one has undergone a greater change throughout the eight seasons of this show … and, as a consequence, arguably no one has tested the audience more. There were definitely a few times when I got frustrated by the general audience’s reaction to Theon (never more so than when people condemned him for leaping off the ship rather than blindly charging Euron) because it felt like they weren’t truly grasping the depths of the trauma that he had endured and just how deeply and irrevocably it had scarred. But I suppose it makes sense – it’s a deeply uncomfortable topic to engage with, one that our society has not done the best job with. And Alfie painted such a stark and uncompromising picture of PTSD that there were times when even I wanted to look away. And yet, I couldn’t, because Alfie wouldn’t let me. That was part of his brilliance.

      “Theon … you’re a good man. Thank you.” I’ve described The Long Night as 82 minutes of pure cardiac arrest. Needless to say, I was pretty on edge. But when Bran said those words to Theon … that was when the release came, and the tears started to come. It was a perfect ending for a character who’s been there since the very beginning, and journeyed through hell and back along the way. Nothing comes without its price, be it blood, gold, iron, or torn fragments of soul. Theon paid them all, and he got if not what he deserved, then definitely what he needed. That was about as close to pure catharsis as it was possible for any character in this story to achieve.

      I sincerely hope there are only bright things coming in Alfie Allen’s future. Anyone who watched his performance in this show would be wise to cast him any role and reap the rich rewards from doing so. It feels appropriate to call him underrated because he hasn’t received the awards acclaim that some of his cast mates have. But thankfully, almost everyone – at least in our Game of Thrones community here – seems to acknowledge just how exceptional he is. In a cast where so many actors have been so perfectly matched to their characters, Alfie stands tall at the head of the pack. I truly believe that no one could have done it better.

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    45. Black Raven,

      Ok. thanks for those links, Black Raven. Now I’m getting all teary-eyed again. Suberb scenes, suberb actig.

      I cannot forget the scene where Theon tried to emulate Ned. The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. His sentencing of Ser Rodrick to death wasn’t fair or just. And it played out that way, with Theon hacking and hacking at Ser Rodrick’s neck. It was horrific, and I remember thinking, no Theon, this isn’t who you are. I hated him in that moment, but also empathised and felt sorry for the poor bugger. Alfie Allen made it possible.

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    46. This was the only death in the episode that had any impact on me. Theon was practically looking forward to dying that way as penance for his actions, so I couldn’t think of a more fitting way for him to go out.

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    47. I remember seeing Alfie Allen in one of the John Wick movies where he played the self-entitled, cruel but cowardly son of a Russian mobster who stole John Wick’s car and killed his puppy. Not a terribly complex character. Nothing to root for about him at all. When his character was finally killed, I felt like blowing my nose to rid myself of a bit of unholy snot.

      Not so with Theon, who died so very, very bravely protecting Bran and rose above his torture to rescue his beloved sister Yara.

      Allen was given great material to work with in GoT and lived up to his promise as an actor in every season. I hope he gets great roles for the rest of his career where he can use his talents for depicting characters with complexity who struggle, like we all do, with making the right choices and redemption for the wrong choices we’ve made.

      Hats off!

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    48. I was often bored reading the Reek chapters of the books but I’m looking forward to reading them all again when this is over due to the magnificent performance of Alfie. He brought Theon alive and made his story one we can empathize with. I’ve also enjoyed your love for both of them Petra. A good man indeed.

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    49. Black Raven:
      “First time I saw Winterfell” and the look on his face when interrupted as the horn sounds and then he starts again – “First time I saw Winterfell, looked like something that had been here for thousands of years…

      This is honestly one of my favourite parts of the series. 😆 That horn-blower is in some serious crap in the afterlife now (if there is one, despite Jon’s ‘nothing’).

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    50. Pigeon,

      Yeah, mine also! I still roll up laughing during that scene. That sideways look on his face when the horn sounded and interrupted his conversation with Maester Luwin one could see how pissed off he was 🙂

      That horn-blower could well have been Ramsey for all we know? I would hope that Sansa told him when he arrived at Winterfell how she finished him off – being attacked and eaten alive by his own dogs! Theon would certainly have approved of that – ‘Poetic Justice’ as they say 🙂

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    51. All I can say is “Thank you Alfie Allen, for bringing to life such a complex character in a way that was consistently compelling”.

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    52. Thank you for the passionate curtain call, Petra.

      Theon was very close to my heart already in the books, and Mr. Allen simply brought him to life. What a great actor he is, the best of his generation in this series.

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    53. Arguably the most difficult character to portray of all the GOT characters and Alfie was perfect. He’s often overlooked in all the hype I find online and shouldn’t be. Excellent actor and never failed to deliver Theon’s inner turmoil.

      I hope to see him a lot more in many films/shows. He’s super talented!!

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    54. Such a talented actor, he was amazing playing one of the most complex characters. Going to miss him, but I am looking forward to seeing more of his work!

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    55. I’m so glad, Petra, that Alfie kissed your hand! He proved to be not only an amazing actor, but a delicate human being.
      As for Theon, he has never been one of my (many) favourites. I didn’t pay much attention to him during the first season, after which I began reading the books. I passionately hated him in season 2 and I admit my cruelty: I was looking forward to his being tortured by Ramsay, as I saw it as deserved punishment. But while actually watching the torture scenes, I felt that no human being, irrespective of their deeds, deserved such a treatment. It was due to Alfie’s acting, who skillfully showed not only unbearable suffering, but also remorse. My admiration and respect for such an accomplished actor grew bigger and bigger during his Reek state and, when Theon began to show again I noticed that I rather liked this new character. His friendship with Sansa made me happy and I didn’t blame him for not trying to save Yara, no matter how much I like her – I just hoped for Theon to be able to cure his PTSD. I was sure he was going to die saving someone dear to him, Yara or one of the Starks. When Bran acknowledged Theon’s being a good man, everything felt right, I wasn’t sorry for him. His death looked like one of the apotheoses in Greek mythology.

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    56. Shy Lady Dragon:
      When Bran acknowledged Theon’s being a good man, everything felt right, I wasn’t sorry for him. His death looked like one of the apotheoses in Greek mythology.

      Agreed. It was such a great scene, and it definitely had the feel of an apotheosis. It was definitely intended to be grand and heroic, the way a mythical hero is made. And Alfie was sublime throughout his final scenes.

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    57. Theon went through one hell of a character arc: from arrogant and conflicted young man that instigated his downfall to the prisoner enduring Ramsay’s cruelty to the reformed person he became, who supported and rescued his older sister. He chose to return to Winterfell to fight for his loved ones, very likely knowing he might die in the process. People often forget that even before Theon suffered Ramsay’s abuse he was already genuinely remorseful about his crimes and after saving Sansa and escaping with her, he was still accepting responsibility for his past actions and sincere about making amends. Even when he struggled with PTSD, he fought well against Euron’s men.

      Of course a large part of this characters’ journey and transformation worked because of the talented actor portraying him. Alfie Allen is a remarkable. I’ve watched his performance over the years and he’s managed to portray different facets of Theon’s character, making Theon’s development feel organic and his redemption arc earned. I wish him a bright future.

      btw Theon’s reunion with Sansa made me emotional and her weeping as she bestowed the direwolf pin on him broke my heart. Some of the best scenes from this final season.

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    58. Didn’t Alfie Allen win several polls for the best played character on this very site?
      He definitely deserves those. He’s been portraying an extremely difficult to play character for 8 seasons, through countless developments and mind shattering events. And he’s done the character(s) justice.

      Alfie Allen ultimately did make Theon a good man. May his sacrifice never be forgotten.

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