'Game of Thrones' Season 8: Theon Greyjoy might be the "old friend" Bran was awaiting in episode 1
Theon was like a big brother to Bran when they were growing up but eventually things went downhill when Theon decided to betray the Starks
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) claimed he awaited the arrival of an "old friend" in episode 1 of 'Game of Thrones' season 8, and when Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) finally arrived, it was automatically assumed by fans that he is the "old friend" Bran has been waiting for. While this certainly is a probable conclusion to Bran's statement, it must be kept in mind that everyone in the south thought Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) had actually murdered Bran and the late youngest Stark boy, Rickon, during the Fall of Winterfell back in Season 3. And so, is also a much-awaited reunion.
Back then, Theon was driven by the urgency to prove himself as the rightful descendant of the Ironborns since his father had already given his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), a much higher stature than him. In order to prove to his father that in spite of growing up with the Starks he still retained the blood of an Ironborn, Theon attacked Winterfell at its most vulnerable moment.
Theon abandoned his father's initial instruction to raid the Stony Shore and devised a plan that would win him the respect of his crew - feign an attack on Torrhen's Square, the seat of House Tallhart, to draw away the Stark men defending Winterfell. Soon, Winterfell stood without guard, and Theon immediately raided the House claiming himself as "Prince Theon".
Known for their unhinged loyalty, the Northerners refused to obey Theon even after Bran had yielded the castle to Prince Theon, and this became a major obstacle for a man who was struggling to gain respect, at least from his own people. However, his plans to brag go to waste when Osha rescues Bran, Rickon and Hodor, along with their direwolves, and even his search party is unable to trace them. At this point, Theon almost lost all hope of regaining his lost pride but with his first mate, Dagmer's advise, he burns two shepherd boys and puts their corpses in front of the Northerners, claiming them to be the remaining two younger Stark boys, Bran and Rickon.
However, all that trouble to erase the Stark's name from Winterfell was absolutely in vain since the Ironborns, led by Yara, were not pleased with the usurping of Winterfell, and Theon goes on to refuse to give up the Stark house, thus sealing his own fate. Theon's betrayal to the Starks is far more seditious than Jaime's act of selfishness.
Although both men were equally driven by the urge to remove the young Stark boy from their way, there was a difference in their intent. Jaime pushed Bran off the tower to save his secret relationship with Cersei as Bran had already seen them together, but Theon - who grew up with the Starks and is actually an "old friend" to them - attacked Bran only to get a kingdom which he was already a part of.
Episode 1 of season 8 showed a very different side of Theon than the one we had seen earlier. After rescuing Yara from Euron Greyjoy, he indicated to her that he would rather go and fight alongside the Starks in the Great War than return to the Iron Islands. While this will probably be his last act of redemption, Theon might be answerable for a lot of things to the Starks. However, he will also be, perhaps, forgiven because of risking his life to save Sansa and be taken back into Winterfell as the "old friend" he once was. Episode 2 of 'Game of Thrones' season 8 arrives to HBO April 21, and Theon Greyjoy has a lot waiting ahead of him.