Over the last few years, we’ve explored the rich, complicated, and controversial history of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in our series History of Thrones. It began as a way to help us predict what might happen next on Game of Thrones. Sometimes we were right, sometimes we were wrong, but looking through the fascinating past of Westeros was always interesting. With the final season nearly at its end, we’re going to continue by looking at what we know about characters and events that are new to the show. However, be warned, what is dead may never die, but may contain spoilers.
You can find all other History of Thrones entries here.
Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Islands’ Kingsmoot
It’s probably not the safest decision for an older, tall thin man to walk across a rickety wooden bridge between two towers in the middle of a storm at night, but it’s even more dangerous to run into Euron Greyjoy anywhere.
Balon never stood a chance.
Euron Greyjoy, the younger brother and murderer of Balon Greyjoy, didn’t wait to make an impact upon his return to the Iron Islands, but that’s exactly what we’d expect from a man exiled for dishonoring his family and feared for pillaging the world over.
The now-dead Balon Greyjoy (Theon and Yara’s mean father) had three living younger brothers: Euron, Victarion, and Aeron (a.k.a. Damphair, a priest of the Drowned God). While it does not seem like Victarion will be a part of the show, what Euron did to him is important to our understanding of who Euron is and where he’s been all these years.
Shortly after Balon’s failed rebellion against Robert, Euron either seduced or raped Victarion’s salt wife (basically a type of concubine), and while Vicatarion beat her to death for what happened, Euron was allowed to live because of that old Westerosi rule about kinslaying (you know, the one everybody ignores).
Euron was, however, banished from the Iron Islands by Balon, and told never to return while Balon lived. So Euron did what any Iron Islander would do, he went off on his ship, named Silence, and started reaving the world over, as far away as Asshai. He even claims to have walked among the supposedly cursed ruins of Valyria, a trip no one has survived since its doom roughly 400 years ago.
Why name his ship Silence? It might have something to do with his habit of cutting out the tongues of his crew (on the show it was to stop them from saying how he lost his senses in a storm, an unforgivable sin for an Ironborn). It’s hard for anyone to dispute your amazing stories of plunder and conquest when they can’t speak.
In the books Balon’s death is slightly different than what happened on the show, but it is, essentially, all the same. We don’t see him killed on that bridge, but from the visions of a witch it appears he was thrown off by either a Faceless Man or Euron himself. In said vision, it is said the assassin without a face has “on his shoulder perched a drowned crow with seaweed hanging from his wings.” Euron’s nickname in the books is Crow’s Eye, for the eye patch he wears, and he just so happens to magically show up the exact day after his brother Balon is killed. The show confirmed who we already really knew was responsible for Balon’s “accident.”
In the books there is no clear heir to the Seastone Chair—the throne of the Iron Islands—what with Balon’s sons all dead (or presumed dead in Theon’s case) and Yara being a woman. So Aeron “Damphair” Greyjoy calls for the ancient method of selecting the next ruler, a kingsmoot—on the show it is implied this is the only method used, but that makes little difference at this point.
Book readers know who is going to win this kingsmoot, and if you’re paying attention to the show you can probably guess already, but we’ll just focus on the rules of a kingsmoot for now.
Ship captains enter their name, and try to get a majority of other captains to voice support for their claim by persuading them with speeches, and—of course—showering them with gifts. All inhabitants are bound by the decision of the kingsmoot.
Except in the case where someone with a legitimate claim, normally the son of the deceased king, was not present for the kingsmoot. Upon their return there is precedent for declaring it unlawful and therefore invalid.
So, for example, let’s say Theon Greyjoy is planning to return home after escaping from Ramsay Bolton, but the kingsmoot has already taken place. It is then possible the whole thing can be thrown out and done again, with Theon being allowed to lay his claim to the Seastone Chair.
Euron Greyjoy, hated by his brothers and family, has been long away from home—his lips purple from drinking shade of the evening (the beverage of choice of warlocks in Qarth), his mind addled by his time away and delusions of grandeur (you’re THE Drowned God, buddy?). Euron even has several of those warlocks as hostages when he comes back (Euron mentioned sailing to Qarth on the bridge during “Home”), so rumors of his use of dark magic might not be that far fetched. And if you don’t mind a spoiler he might have returned from the ruins of Valyria with something very, very valuable.
Euron Greyjoy was thought dead by his brother, but on the Iron Islands what is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger. The Crow’s Eye has risen, having traveled the world over, and Westeros is a much more dangerous place because of it.
Featured Image: HBO