Note: Spoilers ahead about the episode ‘The Long Night’.
In the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) reminded Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) that everything he did in his life had brought him to Winterfell, brought him home.
That is what Winterfell will always be for Theon Greyjoy, the Ironborn.
Theon has had his share of pain. He was removed from his home when he was only a boy and made a ward of Ned Stark at Winterfell. Though he grew up with the Stark kids, he was never really one of them. A Northerner by heart but not by birth, Theon betrayed Ned’s son, Robb, and returned home to the Iron islands, only to find that he had neither the love nor the respect of his father and his people. It was when he decided to capture the castle at an unprotected Winterfell, burning two farm boys and passing them off as Bran and Rickon Stark, that his downfall began.
As Ramsay Bolton’s loyal and servile servant, tortured, abused and broken in body and spirit, Theon became an empty, quivering shell of his former self. His redemption arrived some seasons later, in the form of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), whom he helped escape from Ramsay.
It is said on the Iron Islands, “What is dead may never die, but rises again harder and stronger.” Theon Greyjoy died in spirit and rose again by the twisty, and often terrible, plot developments in the HBO series, finally attaining the stature of a hero through his death at the hands of the Night King in the episode The Long Night. It was at Winterfell’s place of worship, Godswood, that Theon had promised Robb Stark in the first season that he would protect Bran, and it was there that he died, defending his adoptive brother.
Equally heroic and heartbreaking were the deaths of Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). The one true friend and loyal follower of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Jorah died protecting his Khaleesi, speared by the army of the undead multiple times. Jorah had survived exile, separation from his home and family, the pain of unrequited love, and even the terrible skin condition grayscale, but when he died, it was in the arms of the woman he loved.
Another significant death was of Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the Red Priestess of the Lord of Light order who played a final part in the war against the White Walkers and walked away, her job done.
The Battle of Winterfell took its fair share of good people and crucial characters into the night, their stories complete and their purpose served. The final season is neatly and perfectly closing the multiple plots and tracks that make up the universe of A Song of Ice and Fire.