Pretty much every Game of Thrones fan who read the books loves the version of Euron Greyjoy who appears on the page — or at the very least, least finds him dynamic. He’s a swaggering, eye-patch-wearing, blue-lipped psychotic pirate. But Pilou Asbaek, who plays Euron in the show, cast some major shade on the version of Euron from the Song of Ice and Fire books while explaining the changes to his look in Season 7.
In an interview with Vulture on Tuesday, Asbaek said that he did read the books but felt compelled to “create [Euron] new.” He explained, “You have to be strong, and make the decision: We are not going to do blue lips. We’re not going to do the eye-patch. We have a saying in Denmark: ‘Only one crutch per character.’ You can’t have a wooden leg, a parrot, and an eye-patch.”
The “blue lips” referred to a special wine that stains Euron’s lips in the books. Although he says he admires the books for echoing Icelandic sagas, Asbaek’s words cast some major shade on Book Euron. And he’s got a point, because Book Euron is a lot to handle. He’s got far too many “crutches” to appear in a television scene without being wildly distracting from anything else going on in that scene.
In “Dragonstone” how could you focus on Jaime’s displeasure with Euron’s presence, if Euron is there with blue fucking lips? In “Stormborn” how could you focus on Theon’s existential angst if the guy staring at him is wearing a pirate eye-patch?
As much as the internet had a field day with TV Euron’s new bafflingly modern punk aesthetic, if he swaggered in the throne room with an eye patch and blue lips, that would be a hell of a lot more distracting. It would also be difficult to explain the blue-lips part to non book readers without clunky, out of place exposition about the wine.
His over-the-top appearance and persona works on the page because he has a complicated backstory involving banishment from the Iron Islands for doing unspeakable things with his brother’s saltwife. As a result of this banishment, he traveled and plundered the weird and mystical parts of the world like Asshai and Valyria, giving him a taste for stuff like blue wine and items like a magic dragon horn. But since the show cut out his brother to streamline the Iron Islands sub-plot, it hasn’t had time to explain the context for his weird habits and mystical items.
So instead of blue-lipped pirate, that’s why the televised version of Euron has been described as “like if Pacey from Dawson’s Creek had an older brother who was way into Staind at one point but now denies it.”
Game of Thrones Season 7 is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO.