It’s fun to guess at who the man is in the title of this week’s episode. There are plenty of men without honor in Westeros and Essos. The show’s breakout star of late, Alfie Allen’s Theon Greyjoy is the easy candidate, beheading Rodrik, roasting two children alive (supposedly Bran and Rickon), and betraying the Northern kingdom that was his home for half his life. But we’re meant to sympathize with him too; he was the prisoner for that half of his life, taken from his home and his family. The Greyjoy Rebellion bred this little shit, and it’s almost easy to believe that it isn’t his fault that he’s turned into a despicable, cruel Joffrey-in-the-North.
“What is Dead May Never Die” is the pledge of the men of the Iron Islands. When they undergo this ‘baptism’ by saltwater in their adolescence, they are ‘drowned’ in the waters in homage to the old tradition — Ironmen were literally drowned, then resuscitated, and having suffered that little ‘death’, they style themselves as dead men, unable to be killed on the battlefield.
Theon Greyjoy bathed in saltwaters at the climax of Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, and made the choice to betray the North, and his foster brother, Robb Stark.