So that episode where Euron attacked Greyjoy Ironborn fleet and took Yara prisoner, then taunted Theon to save his sister and Theon jumped over the rail?
That was … interesting to me.
Recently I read something which summed up the debate of whether GOT is feminist or not as the result of inherent contradictions between the author of the source material– who explicitly identifies as feminist– and the showrunners, who have been equally clear about their lack of concern for feminism. This is how consensual-yet-icky-and-morally-ambiguous book sex scenes get translated, onscreen, to what is unambiguously non-consensual, icky, and morally grotesque. The showrunners lost the nuance and motives of the women involved, and presented them as objects of shock value and titillation.
This is an interesting theory to me, and one I tend to agree with. I’ve heard the arguments that the source material itself is sexist, and personally I disagree. I’ve never gotten that vibe from it, even when I go back and read specifically cited passages. (Legend of the Seeker— now that’s some disturbingly sexist source material, like wtf dude).
Anyway, I thought of the author-vs-showrunners thing with the whole Euron-Yara-Theon face-off, because at this point we’re pretty firmly into showrunner territory– there’s no (known) source material to refer to.
Why does that matter? Because Yara believed in Theon. She always has. The backstory– show and book– makes it clear that Yara has always defended her brother’s right to return to the Ironborn. That she resisted him being fostered to Winterfell, that she fought to launch rescue missions when their father gave him up for lost, and that she believed he could recover even from the trauma and torture that made him Reek.
Yara’s support of Theon is a large part of his recovery from Reek to Theon, warrior of the Ironborn. And off all the Ironborn– against all doubts– Yara chose her brother as her bodyguard.
Now, yes– some of Yara’s behavior around Theon is less than kind or considerate. But personally, I didn’t read her sexual antics as the unmitigated cruelty most people were interpreting them as.
At first I did, don’t get me wrong. I mean, it’s pretty gross that she’s openly and obviously engaging in foreplay in front of her brother, and looking at him with those smirks that are hard to read as anything but taunting– until it occurred to me that Yara is basically presenting herself as a cock-less man. She drinks and swears and sails and fights and fucks alongside her men– same ale, same seas, same battles, and same brothels.
She wasn’t taunting Theon; she was trying to show him you don’t need a cock to fuck women. He’s moping around feeling like he’s half a man because he’s got no cock, and Yara’s trying to show him it’s not the cock makes the man, its the action.
Grey Worm could teach him a lesson or two.
In any case, the damaged pieces of Theon seemed to be going back together, and it looked like Yara’s faith was well placed.
And then Euron attacked, and took Yara prisoner. Dared Theon–her make bodyguard– to rescue his sister (suddenly, with a knife at her throat, a damsel in distress)– and Yara’s face visibly collapsed in disappointment as Theon flung himself overboard rather than face a threat.
They both survived into Ep3, with Theon rescued by the surviving Ironborn and Yara a prisoner of her uncle. I was surprised about that. Yara seems more the type who would go down fighting, and while Ep3 explained the other two captives of that raid, thus far there’s really no explanation for Yara to be alive.
I suspect Theon may have yet another opportunity to redeem himself– maybe in an echo of Yara’s long ago foiled attempt to rescue Reek. But since this is GoT, even if he attempts a rescue, I doubt it will go well. I think Theon had his last opportunity to be a hero, and failed. And the moment Yara looked to a man to return her support was the moment she was doomed.