(Spoiler alert: Do not read unless you are caught up on the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode.)
“Game of Thrones” fans saw Theon Greyjoy show a glimmer of his old self again on Sunday’s episode, but if his trip to Essos with his sister, Yara Greyjoy, is successful, there are two castrated characters there that might be able to offer the therapy he so desperately needs.
In case you forgot, the brother-sister team from the Iron Islands made an impressive move by making off with an entire fleet of ships while their new nemesis, Euron Greyjoy, was crowned king. Still, that’s not going to be enough to survive, and Yara knows it, so she informed Theon this week that her plan is to team up with Daenerys Targaryen.
If the Queen of Dragons is willing to do business, it’s inevitable Theon will meet two people who know exactly what he went through when Ramsay Bolton chopped off his genitals, on top of many other forms of physical, mental and emotional torture. Although Theon seemed to perk up a bit from Yara’s tough love — a quick pep talk about either moving past his trauma or slitting his wrists — it’s Lord Varys and Grey Worm that can shed the most light on the subject of living a satisfying life without your private parts.
Go ahead, have your laugh. The jokes that would unfurl on Twitter at the sight of these three eunuchs in the same room just write themselves. EunuchBowl, House Eunuch, The Brotherhood Without Boners. The list goes on. But stop and think about who Varys and Grey Worm are and what they’ve done to get to their current position.
Varys suffered the trauma of castration just like Theon, and was left in the streets to die. Instead, he picked up his bootstraps and made a name for himself as a master of insider secrets. He has remained right next to those in power as kings rose and fell, sometimes by his influence. Along with Tyrion and Littlefinger, Varys is one of Westeros’ most skilled players, and his intellect has even allowed him to get revenge on the sorcerer who took his manhood all those years ago.
While Varys sharpened his brain, Grey Worm sharpened his body. He was castrated at a very young age, so he doesn’t know the pain of losing that equipment as freshly as Theon does. The pain he does share with Theon, however, is the trauma of slavery. Like Theon, he was given another name during his time in slavery as part of the Unsullied and broken into obedience by a callous master. Despite this, he took this pain, turned it into discipline, and directed that discipline against his captors when Daenerys offered him freedom.
The Unsullied are an ironic foil to the Greyjoys. The Greyjoys mock Theon for not having a penis. To them, that’s a sign he’s not a man; not a warrior. But GW doesn’t need a penis to be a fearsome warrior. He is the commander of a powerful army, and anyone who’s seen him fight knows he’s just as much a man as any other warrior in “Game of Thrones.”
Theon’s trip to Meereen may prove to be a life-changing one for him. Through the entire series, he has been caught in between the worlds of the Greyjoys and the Starks, existing in both but never fully accepted by either family. He tried to prove himself worthy of living up to both houses’ ideals, and he ended up on the business end of Ramsay’s knife in the process. But Varys and Grey Worm can show him that he doesn’t need to live up to others’ standards to find power. If he carves out his own path, he could show everyone just what he’s capable of.
Theon, Varys, and Grey Worm are not on our “Game of Thrones” power rankings, but they may very soon will. See which characters are dominating our Top 20 below.