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Yara Greyjoy

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"I'm going to find out who did this. I'm going to feed them to the sharks while they live."
―Yara Greyjoy[src]

Yara Greyjoy is a recurring character in the second, third, fourth and sixth seasons. She is played by guest star Gemma Whelan and debuts in "The Night Lands." Yara is an ironborn, Theon Greyjoy's older sister and his only surviving sibling. She was raised at Pyke, the stronghold of House Greyjoy. Yara is a fierce warrior and commands her own longship.

BiographyEdit

BackgroundEdit

Yara is the only daughter of Lord Balon and his wife, Lady Alannys of House Harlaw. Balon is the head of House Greyjoy and the Lord of the Iron Islands. The Iron Islands are one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Greyjoy is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Greyjoy rules the region from their seat at Pyke and Balon also holds the title Lord Reaper of Pyke.

Yara was born and raised at Pyke. She was Balon and Alannys's third child after Rodrik and Maron. She also has a younger brother, Theon. Eight years before the start of the series, Balon rose in rebellion against the Iron Throne and was defeated in a bloody war. Balon's older two sons were killed and Theon was taken by Lord Eddard Stark as a hostage for Balon's good behavior and obedience.[1] With Yara as Balon's only remaining child in the Iron Islands, he raised her as a surrogate son, encouraging her to become a reaver in her own right, which is unusual for women in the misogynistic culture of the ironborn. She is a fierce warrior and commands her own longship, to the disquiet of some of the ironborn who hold that women should not fight or command men in battle.[2]

Season 2Edit

Yara

Yara and Theon riding at Pyke.

Theon has returned to Pyke as an envoy from King Robb Stark. Yara rides out to greet him, posing as a commoner to get the measure of her brother. She offers him a lift on her horse up to the castle Pyke. He does not recognize her and is relentless in his attempts to seduce her. He presents Robb's suggested alliance to their father, Balon Greyjoy. Balon roundly rejects the terms, insisting that he is ironborn and will seize his crown. He compares Theon unfavorably to Yara, revealing her identity. He says that Yara will lead his assault.[3] Balon details a plan to attack the poorly defended north while Robb is distracted by his war with House Lannister. Yara is assigned thirty ships to seize Deepwood Motte, the stronghold of House Glover, while Theon is given a single ship to raid fishing villages along the Stony Shore. Theon is baptized by a Drowned Priest on the shores of Pyke in a show of loyalty to his blood relatives. Balon and Yara watch as he proclaims his faith in the Drowned God.[4]

Yara arrives

Yara arrives at Winterfell

Yara assembles her ships at Red Harbor. She rides to Lordsport to reach her fleet and encounters Theon struggling to command his unruly crew. She seizes the opportunity to mock him again. Her men would wait a year for her if need be, but Theon's crew is not loyal to him.[5] Yara's force takes Deepwood Motte as planned, but Theon ignores his orders and captures Winterfell instead by luring the garrison out to defend Torrhen's Square. He writes to Yara to request reinforcements to hold the castle. He announces to the assembled people of Winterfell that she will be sending him 500 men.[6]

She learns that he has executed Bran Stark and Rickon Stark (who were actually two orphans from the farm) for attempting to escape captivity. She rides to Winterfell with twenty men and tries to convince Theon to return home with her to avoid retribution from Robb Stark, but fails.[7] Theon is subsequently captured by House Bolton.

Season 3Edit

Yara Season 3 Trailer

Yara Greyjoy assembles her strike force to rescue Theon.

Following the events of the Red Wedding and Roose Bolton's ascent to Warden of the North, Ramsay Snow sends a letter and a box containing Theon's genitals to Pyke. In the letter, Ramsay demands that Yara's father order all ironborn to leave the North by the first night of the full moon under threat of flaying all of them alive and further torture and mutilation to Theon. Balon refuses to yield the lands and castles taken by the ironborn and dismisses Theon for having disobeyed him and for no longer "being a man" and unable to continue the Greyjoy line with children of his own. Yara, however decides to take the fastest ship of the Iron Fleet along with the 50 best killers of the Isles, sail up the Narrow Sea and into the Weeping Water, with the intention of marching against the Dreadfort to rescue her brother and bring him home.[8]

Season 4Edit

Yara in the dreadfort

Yara enters the Dreadfort.

Yara carries out her intentions of sailing to rescue Theon. She utilizes longboats and canoes to get upriver and approach the Dreadfort, and she and the ironborn soldiers use grappling hooks to scale the walls and find out where Theon is being held. However, when they enter the kennels where he is sleeping, Theon, believing it to be another one of Ramsay's psychological mind games, claims he is Reek and refuses to go. Ramsay enters with some guards, and in the ensuing fight most of both sides are killed. Yara offers Ramsay his life if he surrenders Theon, but Ramsay instead releases his hounds and the Ironborn are forced to retreat without Theon. Once back to the boats, Yara claims her brother is dead.[9]

Season 6Edit

Following the death of her father King Balon Greyjoy, Yara assumes the title of the rightful Queen of the Iron Islands despite her uncle Aeron's insistence that a kingsmoot must be assembled to elect the new sovereign - she swears on the Salt Throne that she will avenge the death of her father and kill his murderer (she is unaware that her uncle Euron was responsible).

AppearancesEdit

Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Season 6, Episode 6 Season 6, Episode 7 Season 6, Episode 8 Season 6, Episode 9 Season 6, Episode 10

Image galleryEdit

Family treeEdit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Balon Tree
Balon Greyjoy
Deceased
 
House-Greyjoy-heraldry
Alannys Greyjoy
née Harlaw
 
Euron Greyjoy Promo
Euron Greyjoy
 
House-Greyjoy-heraldry
Victarion Greyjoy
 
Aeron Tree
Aeron Greyjoy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rodrik tree
Rodrik Greyjoy
Deceased
 
House-Greyjoy-heraldry
Maron Greyjoy
Deceased
 
Yara
Yara Greyjoy
 
Theon Tree
Theon Greyjoy
 
 
 
 

QuotesEdit

Spoken by Yara
"You were a terrible baby, do you know that? Bawling all the time, never sleeping. And one night you just wouldn't shut up, screaming like a dying pig. I walked over to your crib, I looked down at you. I wanted to strangle you. And you looked up at me and you stopped screaming. You smiled at me. Don't die so far from the sea."
―Yara Greyjoy to her brother Theon Greyjoy.[src]
"I'm going to pick the fastest ship in our fleet. I'm going to choose the 50 best killers on the Iron Islands. I'm going to sail up the Narrow Sea all the way to the Weeping Water. I'm going to march on the Dreadfort. I'm going to find my little brother and I'm going to bring him home."
―Yara vows to save her brother from Ramsay Snow.[src]
"My brother is dead."
―Yara realizes that Ramsay has all but destroyed Theon.[src]
Spoken about Yara
"She's commanded men. She's killed men. She knows who she is."
Balon Greyjoy expresses his delight with Yara.[src]
"You've got bigger balls than he ever did. But with those... big balls of yours...how fast can you run?!"
―Ramsay to Yara[src]

Behind the scenes Edit

  • On an interview with Thronecast, Gemma Whelan specified that "Yara" is pronounced "yah-ruh", not "yeah-ruh".[10]
  • On the Season 2 Blu-ray, Yara narrates Histories & Lore videos on "House Greyjoy" and "The Drowned God".
  • After Season 2, Yara only briefly appeared once in Season 3 and once in Season 4, then not at all in Season 5, before returning as a major presence in Season 6 for the substantial Kingsmoot subplot from the fourth novel. After her return in episode 6.2 "Home", actress Gemma Whelan was asked in interviews if she ever knew when Yara would be returning for her major subplot. Her response was that she never really knew when the Greyjoy storyline would return to focus with the later Kingsmoot subplot: even by Seasons 2 and 3 the production team felt lucky enough to get renewed one season at a time. Thus they didn't have any firmly established plans about whether the Yara/Kingsmoot subplot would appear in Season 5, Season 6, or not appear at all - though Whelan was made aware that Yara could potentially have much more to do several seasons into the future, but nothing was definitive. She simply had to hope along with the audience that it would eventually appear in the TV series at some point.[11]

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels Yara is called Asha Greyjoy, but her name was changed in the TV series; possibly to prevent confusion with Osha the wildling. Ironically, as the daughter of a Great House and one of Balon Greyjoy's only two surviving children, Asha Greyjoy is actually a much more prominent character than Osha the wildling; Asha Greyjoy is even a POV character in several chapters. Thus it is curious why they changed Asha's name and not the other way around. It is probably because Osha was already introduced in Season 1 and the similarity with Asha Greyjoy's name wasn't realized until production on Season 2 began.

In the German dub of the TV series, however, the character is still called "Asha" as in the books.

Another small change is that in the books, "Asha Greyjoy" has short black hair, a lean build, and a sharp beak of a nose. In the TV series, "Yara Greyjoy" has blonde hair. Other than these minor naming and cosmetic differences, Gemma Whelan's portrayal is actually quite faithful to Asha Greyjoy's behavior and actions in the books.

Balon is greatly proud of his wild headstrong daughter, and believes she can succeed him, although it is doubtful the other ironborn would accept her as their queen. He wishes Theon dead so he would not stand in Asha's way, though this resentment has been cut from the television series, where Balon appears to be genuinely saddened after "losing" Theon to the Starks.

Asha's uncles Victarion, Aeron, and Rodrik "the Reader" Harlaw respect her and acknowledge her power, but do not believe she can rule the ironborn due to her gender. Other ironborn often mock Asha ribaldy. However, Asha is confident and strong-willed enough to dismiss such attitude scornfully, and she always talks back sharply and make fun of those who taunt her.

Asha's crew adore her devotedly. Half of them love her as their daughter, the other half want to have sex with her, and all of them would die for her.

Some time after Winterfell was sacked, Asha comes there, but finds only unrecognizable dead bodies, partly eaten by wolves. She believes Theon is dead, but admits she cannot be certain. She, not Balon, receives a taunting letter from Ramsay with a piece of Theon's skin. That makes her realize what has become of her brother, but unlike in the show she never attempts to save him from the Dreadfort.

Over the years Asha has had several lovers, some shared her bed for half a year, some for half a night. She takes precautions (moon tea) to prevent getting pregnant. Her favorite lover is Qarl "the Maid", and she had thoughts about marrying him, but that would be impossible because he is too lowborn. Tristifer Botley, who was fostered by Asha's mother, proposed to her, but she declined (using her dagger to emphasize her refusal) because she prefers having adventures at sea and in battle rather than staying at home and raising children. So far in the books, there is no indication that Asha is homosexual, though she is seen kissing a woman in the series' sixth season.

Asha becomes a POV narrator starting in the fourth novel, A Feast for Crows. This storyline was pushed back so it corresponds to TV-Yara starting in Season 6.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

v  d  e
Lord: Heir: Princess Yara Greyjoy/Prince Theon Greyjoy (disputed)
House-Greyjoy-Main-Shield
Seat: Pyke, Pyke Lands: The Iron Islands
Title(s): King of the Iron Islands · Lord Reaper of Pyke · King of Salt and Rock · Son of the Sea Wind · Lord of the Iron Islands
Ancestors:The Grey King · Vickon Greyjoy
Current members:Aeron Greyjoy · Queen Alannys Greyjoy · Euron Greyjoy · Victarion Greyjoy
Deceased members:Balon Greyjoy · Rodrik Greyjoy · Maron Greyjoy
Household:{Dagmer} · {Lorren} · {Drennan} · {Gelmarr} · {Stygg} · {Aggar} · {Wex} · {Urzen}

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