Theon Greyjoy received a hero’s death in Game of Thrones season 8, but actor Alfie Allen was once led to believe his character’s end came much sooner. Based on George R.R. Martin’s popular novels, the fantasy epic debuted on HBO back in 2011. Though opening with moderate acclaim and buzz from audiences, the show became an outright cultural phenomenon over the course of its proceeding seasons. The show ended with it’s eighth and final season earlier this year.
Allen served as a core member of the cast since the show’s very first episode. As Theon Greyjoy, the actor enjoyed quite the journey across the show’s run. Though beginning the series as a ward of the Starks, he went on to reluctantly betray them and take over Winterfell. His reign as Prince Theon was cut dramatically short when he was betrayed by his own men and handed over to Ramsay Bolton. Across the next few seasons, audiences witnessed Theon being subjected to extreme mental and physical torture at the hands of the sadistic offspring of Roose Bolton. Broken in every sense of the word, Theon became known as Reek. His fortunes changed across the final few seasons, as, following a reunion with Sansa Stark, Theon reclaimed his identity and forged a path to redemption. That path culminated at the Battle of Winterfell – with Theon fighting and sacrificing his life for eventual king, Bran Stark.
Speaking with James Corden on The Late Late Show, as reported by ComicBook, Allen revealed that he was once tricked into thinking he was being written out at the end of season 2. The prank came directly from showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who even went as far as to produce a fake script. “In Season Two, I think it was, the script was given to me and I give this rousing speech, if I may say so myself,” the actor recalled. “And at the end of this speech, Bran pops out from somewhere and stabs me in the chest and said, ‘This is my Winterfell, not yours‘”
Allen, who will next be seen in Taika Waititi’s World War II satire, Jojo Rabbit, didn’t reveal the logistics of how Bran, then crippled, would pull off his bloodthirsty revenge. He did convey, however, that the prank failed to have the desired effect. “So I took it on the chin and got on with it. I think three weeks passed where I had finished my shooting for that season and people were telling [Benioff and Weiss] because they’d given me this fake script with a fake ending, that maybe you should tell him it’s fake because he hasn’t called in yet,” he added. “And so people decided to tell them, ‘You should call him because he might be tearing his hair out.’ But, I wasn’t, I was sunbathing.“
Fans will no doubt be glad that it was indeed a prank and that Theon wasn’t killed off in the sophomore season. Although audiences would have cheered on Theon’s well deserved (at the time) comeuppance, he arguably had one of the show’s most complete, interesting, and successful arcs. One that ultimately led to a long-overdue Emmy nomination this year. Though season 8 has received a wave of backlash since its final episode, it’s largely agreed that Theon’s sacrificial death was a fitting and supremely emotional conclusion to his journey. Like Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman (who was genuinely on the verge of an early death), it’s difficult, in retrospect, to imagine Game of Thrones without him.
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