WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones, which debuted Sunday on HBO.
Theon Greyjoy has been a frustrating character for many seasons of Game of Thrones. His story began in the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion. As Balon Greyjoy's last living son, Theon became a ward of Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell. The first season showed Theon as an arrogant young man, but one that was loyal to Robb Stark, who was like a brother to him.
To win the Iron Islands' favor in the War of the Five Kings, Robb sent Theon to treat with his father. Balon Greyjoy shames Theon for acting like a prissy prince when he hasn't "paid the iron price" for anything. This leads to Theon siding against the Stark family, seizing Winterfell and killing children until he's taken by Ramsay Bolton and brutally abused.
The other child of Balon Greyjoy that's still living is his daughter, Yara. She is the most qualified for the Seastone Chair, but her people went the traditional (male) route and chose her Uncle Euron in the Kingsmoot. Euron is a murderous egomaniac who hunts down his niece and nephew to ensure his rule is never challenged, leading to Yara's capture and Theon's cowardice.
Theon was so broken by Ramsay that he couldn’t save his sister from Euron and leapt off the ship, abandoning her. When Theon mounts Yara’s rescue at the end of Season 7, we assumed that this would take a while, but, instead, it happens in Season 8's premiere episode. This must mean that the Greyjoys have a more prominent role to play in the show's final season than we initially thought.
Yara means to go back to the Iron Islands to take back her father’s kingdom. With Euron busy bedding Cersei, she has a high chance of success. The people of the Iron Islands value conquering and pillaging, but they also want a ruler who is there for the people, and Euron is gone. Yara's return could be the inspiration they need to accept a female ruler of the Iron Islands.
As we saw in Season 7, Yara favors Daenerys, so the queens could form a powerful alliance. The Iron Islands is good real estate to have in the war against the dead. In the Season 8 premiere, Yara says that once she has control over the Iron Islands, Daenerys and her people can retreat there whenever needed since the dead can't cross water.
Even if the army of the dead could cross water, they would at the very least be significantly slowed down by it. This gives the North another avenue to explore if the first battle with the dead goes poorly, which it probably will because this is Game of Thrones and happy victories are rare. They can retreat and regroup in the Iron Islands if the North is fully compromised, which may be happening sooner than we thought with the Umber’s home already taken by the Night King.
Meanwhile, Theon wants to join the Starks in Winterfell, likely another way for him to make amends for his betrayal of that family. The Theon redemption arc that began with his assisting Sansa's escape from Ramsay is now fully underway. Only time will tell how far Theon will go to redeem himself in the eyes of the Starks, perhaps sacrificing his own life for them. However, Yara and her position in the Iron Islands is the Greyjoy to watch out for in Season 8.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.