Game of Thrones: Is Euron Greyjoy the Worst Villain Yet?

By AT&T Digital Media Productions editorial team

Over six seasons, Game of Thrones has been home to some of the most evil people on television. Just when viewers thought nothing could top the cruelty of King Joffrey, along came a bastard in every sense of the word with Ramsay Bolton. With those two antagonists out of the picture, who will step into their murderous void this season? Odds point to a character Thrones fans got a glimpse of in Season 6: the megalomaniacal, bloodthirsty pirate Euron Greyjoy. Here’s what Theon and Yara’s crazy uncle’s been up to so far, and what to expect this season.

The Iron Price

Euron emerged on scene the midway through Season 6, as the action returned to the Iron Islands after a lengthy absence. While self-styled King of the Iron Islands Balon Greyjoy brooded in Pyke, his younger brother was sailing the known world—and some of the unknown. Euron returned from years at sea and proclaimed Balon’s rule at an end, forcing his brother over a rope bridge onto the rocks below.

In the wake of Balon’s murder, the Iron Islanders resurrected an ancient tradition, the kingsmoot. Half town hall meeting, half bar fight, this gathering of delegates chooses a new leader by yea or by nay. Balon’s eldest living son Theon, by the laws of gods and men the rightful heir to the Iron Islands, shocked the assembled Ironborn by pledging to support his capable sister Yara, a skilled sailor and reaver whose men worship her.


euron greyjoy

Euron gave his own stump speech, arguing that the Ironborn shouldn’t listen to Theon or Yara, who are both missing what he considers a key piece of equipment necessary to rule. He went on to decry Balon’s failed revanchism, even apologizing for not killing him sooner. Strangely, this act of kinslaying and kingslaying worked in Euron’s favor, with the Ironborn admitting a begrudging respect for someone willing to pay the iron price to rule.

Still, running merely against an opponent instead of for something never works, so Euron pulled out his trump card: a promise to lift the Iron Islands to heights they’d never seen before. Under a Euron administration, he promised the Ironborn will conquer not only the fishing villages along the Stony Shore, but the entire world. But they wouldn’t do it alone. Euron vowed to sail to Meereen with a fleet of 1,000 ships, show Daenerys Targaryen his, um, giant squid, and persuade her to take what is theirs with fire and blood.

Theon and Yara never stood a chance. As raucous cheers of “Euron” swept over the shore, they stole the fastest ships in the Iron Fleet to get to Daenerys before Euron, and succeeded in joining forces with Westeros’ would-be queen. Now, the two biggest fleets in the world are on a collision course, promising naval warfare that will put the Battle of the Blackwater to shame.


euron greyjoy

Call me Crow’s Eye

While it’s only been alluded to in the show so far, Euron has an incredibly interesting backstory. He’s rumored to practice blood magic, which he may have learned while sailing the Jade Sea. Perhaps he picked up some spells in Asshai, home of the sorceress Melisandre. He’s also allegedly visited the smoking ruins of Valyria, which, as seen in Season 5, is inhabited by the deranged Stone Men, carriers of the deadly plague known as greyscale. Some fans even speculate that he’s a former pupil of the Three-Eyed Raven, which may explain his nickname, “Crow’s Eye.”

At some point on his world tour, Euron descended into madness and had to be lashed to the mast of his own ship. In Ironborn culture, a ship’s captain is its king, and a man who can’t weather a storm is unfit to rule. After being pushed to his mental breaking point, Euron returned to his homeland with delusions of grandeur, and a new motto: “I am the storm.”

It’s unclear who squealed on Euron to his fellow Ironborn, as his ship, the Silence, is crewed by mutes. No, they weren’t born that way. Yes, he cut out their tongues.


euron greyjoy

You’re on: Let’s get kraken

Speaking of silence, everyone involved with GoT has remained tight-lipped about its most eagerly awaited season yet. But a few details have slipped out. In a March 2017 interview, actor Pilou Asbæk said of his character’s upcoming arc that there will be enough chaos “to get satisfied—good satisfied.” Clearly, we’re in for some Greyjoy-on-Greyjoy-on-Greyjoy action. But what of his promise to seduce Daenerys? After all, she had her own cocky warmongering boy toy in one Daario Naharis—and left him behind in Meereen, declaring him no fit consort for a queen. She’s unlikely to buy what Euron’s selling, especially having been warned of his true nature by Yara. If only there were another powerful woman, with a famously developed taste for mayhem, who’s been conveniently single for, say, the last five seasons...oh, that’s right: Cersei Lannister! Cersei has managed to vanquish all her enemies, but in a way that certainly didn’t earn her any friends. With only her twin brother Jaime left by her side (and that’s no sure thing, given the way he looked at her during her coronation), Cersei will look to form new alliances. While she once turned up her nose at the Ironborn, declaring them a “pack of sorry squids,” Euron’s military prowess and powers of persuasion may prove seductive as Cersei clings to her newly-won regency. Hey, he’s no Jaime, but he’ll do in a pinch.

Of course, this is all speculation. Euron might smash Daenerys’ fleet and send her scurrying back to Essos—or her dragons might decide to turn him into grilled calamari. The only way to know for sure: watch Season 7 of Game of Thrones, exclusively on HBO.