Can we just talk about Euron Greyjoy for a second? For those of us who need a recap: Euron first appeared in season 6. While that might be considered late in the game, Euron wasted no time and after arriving in Pyke during a storm was able to make short work of Balon Greyjoy, his older brother and King of the Iron Isles.
After pushing Balon to his death from atop a rickety bridge, there became a new vacancy on the Salt Throne. Euron quickly won the favor of the people on the Iron Island during the Kingsmoot, and was baptized in the sea (“What is dead may never die”). However, during his coronation as the new Salt King, his niece and nephew – Yara and Theon respectively – made off with all the best ships and sailed to Mereen where they formed an alliance with the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen. This did little to damper Euron’s spirits, however. Still wet from seawater and wearing a driftwood crown, he commanded every one of his subjects to get to work and build him 1,000 ships.
Now in Season 7 (SPOILERS AHEAD), Euron and the Iron Fleet have both undergone some serious makeovers. The Iron Islanders have done as their new king commanded and then some, not only building an impressive quantity of ships in a very short amount of time (and from what trees – let’s not ask), but also built them up to be bigger and stronger than any Yara and Theon took with them.
But the fleet wasn’t the only thing looking fresh. When Euron sauntered into the Iron Throne Room, it was with a slick new haircut and some pirate-rock star duds (reminiscent to some of us of an ex-lover who might still text us every so often at 2 in the morning). In season 6 Euron was largely forgettable, but now that Joffrey and Ramsay are both dead and gone, Euron is quickly staking his claim as the newest psychopathic villain on the block. He even got in a few good one-liners as he non-chalantly courted Queen Cersei and mocked Jaime Lannister.
While Cersei may have rejected his proposal for marriage and an alliance, Euron vowed to obtain a great gift that might change her mind. There are a few theories out there as to what this gift might be. But first – who exactly is Euron Greyjoy? And what was he doing all that time he was away from the Iron Isles?
First, it’s important to note that the Euron Greyjoy, as so many characters are, is very different from his counterpart in the books. Played by actor PilouAsbæk, we haven’t seen very much of him on screen yet.
Euron “Crow’s Eye” Greyjoy is the son of Quellon Greyjoy. He adopted his own coat of arms – notably different from the traditional kraken – with two black crows above a black iron crown and a red and black eye. With black hair and beard, he wears a dark patch over his left eye which is said to hide a black eye which shines with malice. Like the warlocks of Qarth he drinks Shade of the Evening, so his lips are stained an inky blue.
During the Greyjoy Rebellion, it was Euron who came up with a plain to sail the Iron Fleet to the Westerlands and burn the Lannister ships at Lannisport. His younger brother Victarion commanded that fleet, and the plan was successful. However, the victory was short-lived, and King Robert Baratheon used his superior army to crush the uprising. Balon Greyjoy, now King of the Iron Isles, bent the knee and surrendered his only surviving son Theon into the care of Lord Eddard Stark as insurance for his cooperation. Thus, the Rebellion was squashed, and a state of peace was reached. For a time.
Euron’s brother Victarion had taken a salt wife (In Ironborn culture a salt wife is taken by force during a raid and bound with her captor in a religious ceremony. An Ironborn may have several salt wives – in fact, it’s basically encouraged – but only one rock wife, and rock wives hold a higher status). It is unclear whether this salt wife was seduced or raped, but either way had become pregnant with Euron’s child. Furious, Victarion beat her to death with his own hands. He would have killed Euron too, but the killing of a family member was a major taboo. Instead Euron was banished from the Iron Islands for as long as Balon lived. (In the show, Euron implies to Cersei that he was exiled instead due to the Greyjoy’s defeat after the Rebellion.)
Banished from his home, Euron sailed East on the Silence, a ship which boasts such a dramatic name due the crew that mans it: mutes who have all had their tongues ripped out to ensure Euron’s secrets (mostly his freaking out during a storm) would never be revealed. It is said that the deck of this ship was painted red to better hide all the blood that has soaked into the wood. And it is also said that Euronsailed all over the world on the Silence. “I don’t mock the drowned god, I am the drowned god,”Euron said to Balon on the show.“From Oldtown to Quarth, when men see my sails they pray.”
At some point the Silence is said to have intercepted a galley carrying four warlocks of Qarth who were seeking Daenerys. It was there that Euron found and took into his possession Dragonbinder, a six-foot-long black horn decorated with strange glyphs and Valyrian steel. An ancient relic from Old Valyria, the Dragonbinder is said to make the sound of a thousand screams, kill the person who blows it, and – most importantly – control dragons.
Euron himself claimed to have once owned a dragon egg, but threw it into the sea in a rage. With a temper as fiery and a personality as wild and unpredictable as dragons, his interest in them makes sense. And with a goal to not only sit on the Salt Throne, but the Iron Throne, he knows that having dragons under his control would make him nearly unstoppable.
Euron returned to the Iron Islands, conveniently a day or so after Balon tragically fell to his death. In the books, Euron did not admit to killing Balon as he did so brazenly on the show. In fact, it could have been an assassin or faceless man (or extremely coincidental timing!).In order to win the seat on the Seastone Chair (Salt Throne in the show) he promised the use of the Dragonbinder to bring the dragons to Westeros and have them do his bidding. This is what turned the tide in his favor, and the people voted for him over his brother Victarion and niece Asha (Yara on the show) in the Kingsmoot.
Either way, Euron planned to court the Dragon Queen. In the books it was with the Dragonbinder. In the show it was with a horn of a different sort.
Now that Yara and Theon are team Targaryen and marrying Daenerys is out of the picture, Euron has set his sight closer to home. Queen Cersei is the obvious choice for an alliance. If Euron desires to sit on the Iron Throne, well, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
But what is the gift that Euron will bring her in an effort to woo her? Is it the Dragonbinder? If so, just imagine Cersei’s satisfied smile as Dany’s dragons turn against her as she brings a glass of wine to her lips. Or is such an epic and ancient artifact too complicated a device to introduce this late in the show?
If not the Dragonbinder, then what? Cersei does have many enemies. And a great number of them are currently grouped rather conveniently together on Dragonstone. Will he bring her a Sand Snake or two as retribution for the death of Myrcella? Will he bring Yara or Theon so they can bond over some familial murder? Or perhaps after Euron’s suggestion of killing a brother in the throne room, Tyrion will be the one who is presented to the Queen.
Either way, while the show leaves out so much wonderful backstory, Season 7’s revamped Euron is off to an electric start, and we can’t wait to see what kind of trouble he causes.