Nerd School: The Greyjoy Rebellion

by Joe on May 11, 2012

“So why was Theon with the Starks anyway?” “Was he kidnapped?” amongst my friends I tend to be the Game of Thrones expert, and I usually have to field questions like this. Since our friend Theon is now getting his own storyline (complete with incest) I’m going to take it upon myself to tell you the tale of the Greyjoy Rebellion.


Six  years after Robert seized the Iron Throne during his own rebellion, Theon’s father Balon Greyjoy decided that since he swore fealty to the Targaryens,  he wasn’t subject to the new king. Proclaiming himself king of the Iron Islands, he effectively separated his kingdom from the rest of Westeros and rebelled against the Iron Throne.

Balon believed that King Robert’s rule was still insecure, that he lacked support from those who still called him usurper, and  he wouldn’t be able to muster an offensive against him. This didn’t prevent Balon from mustering the powerful fleet of The Iron Islands in defense.

The Iron Fleet was based off of the Viking Long Ship which favored speed and maneuverability against the heavier trading ships of Westeros and Europe

Robert was actually able to muster a large warhost, galvanizing many of the nobles that were former enemies.  Balon struck first including the burning of the Lannister fleet at anchor, in a surprise attack on Lannisport.

His brother Victarion, Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet, led the attack, and his brother Euron planned the attack. This first victory gave the Ironborn almost absolute freedom to launch attacks on the west coast of Westeros. His son, Rodrik, was later slain in such an attack on Seagaurd by Lord Jason Mallister in one of the Greyjoy’s first defeats.

Robert had superior numbers and resources and used them to crush the rebellion. His brother Stannis, who had already proven himself a capable sea commander during Robert’s rebellion, and Paxter Redwyne were able to catch and smash the Iron Fleet, off the coast of Fair Isle. Victarion’s loss at such a significant battle signaled the death knell of the Greyjoy Rebellion. Robert’s forces were finally able to cross to the Iron Islands.

While Stannis subdued the island of Great Wyk and Ser Barristan Selmy led the attack on Old Wyk, The main battle was occurring on  Pyke. Robert’s forces assaulted the southern wall with siege engines,  breaking the main watch-tower and bringing parts of the surrounding wall down. Maron Greyjoy, Balon’s second son, was killed in the breach.  Jorah Mormont, Jamie Lannister, and Jory Cassel were all part of the final assault.  In the end, Balon Greyjoy was forced to swear fealty once more to the Iron Throne and his surviving son, the nine year old Theon, was given to Eddard Stark to ward/act as a hostage to ensure Balon’s good behaviour.

Robert’s victory allowed him to cement his rule over the Seven Kingdoms, all while Balon lost his two eldest sons and had his last surviving son Theon taken from him. All Balon was left with was his three surviving brothers, Victarion, Aeron, and Euron, and his daughter Yara (Asha in the books).

This leads to Theon’s dilemma in Season 2. Theon believes that his family will help Rob secure The North’s freedom, because of their mutual hatred of the throne. However Theon has been gone so long that he has forgotten the nature of the Ironborn.  So, Does Theon choose the side of his captors, who he has known longer than his own father, or does he side with his family and seek to once again carve out a kingdom of The Iron Islands


Read some other stuff from Joe, hear him on the Planet Arbitrary podcast, or follow him on Twitter @planetarbitrary


Previously on Game of Thrones

S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4, S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

S2E1, S2E2, S2E3, S2E4, S2E5, S2E6


Read Joe’s other articles:

Game of Thrones: Casting Roundup 1 and 2, Game of Thrones Primer IIGame of Thrones Primer I, Inn at the Crossroads Interview, Season 1 recap

Star Trek: Evening the OddsStar Trek Blu-rays 1 and 2 Trek in your Queue 1 and 2, Obama TrekStar Trek: A Different Generation, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs

Doctor Who: Doctor Who Season 6 Round Up, An Alternate History of the DoctorDoctor Who Season 6 primer

Misc: Sci-Fi ComposersThieving Sci-Fi, Paranormal Activi3The Walking Dead Primer, The Genre Problem, Conan Primer, Mutant Fatigue, Sci-Fi A-Team, A Love Letter to Natalie PortmanThor Primer?


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Otto May 11, 2012 at 7:49 am

I like it when the ugly dude fingered the girl who looked like a dude on the horse. There is nothing better than ugly people sex.


Joe May 11, 2012 at 8:05 am

amen to that man


Angry nerd May 11, 2012 at 8:18 am

Actually both of them are cute/sexy in real life.


Joe May 11, 2012 at 9:10 am

everyone needs love, one of the best things about GoT is that they don’t make the characters sexy, even the good looking people are made to look ugly


Bob May 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm

The Greyjoy rebellion was 8 years after Robert’s not 6.


Joe May 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

a wiki of ice and fire says 6, and game of thrones wikia says 5, the show says 8, it seems opinions vary, but we know the show made the children older so maybe the timeline is a bit warped in translation


Sweet Summer Child May 12, 2012 at 3:51 am

Thanks for this.


Joe May 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

no prob, thanks for reading


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