As Game of Thrones Season 8 (and the entire series) comes to an end, there’s plenty of loose threads still left to address, but perhaps the biggest is Euron Greyjoy, a persistent thorn in Daenerys’ side who’s time has finally come. Not just because we hate him, but because everything about this character, and House Greyjoy in general, seems to be pointing to a final showdown.
There’s another version of House Greyjoy’s common words, “What is dead may never die.” In H.P. Lovecraft’s horror story “The Nameless City,” the troubled author of the demonic textbook, Necronomicon, says, after dreaming of the titular ruins: “That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons, even death may die.”
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For both the Greyjoys and Lovecraft’s “Old Ones,” the words allude to a rebirth through death; only in death, and not fearing it, can one come back stronger than before. Euron Greyjoy has certainly had his share of death and rebirth, though it’s never been as literal as someone else in Game of Thrones: Jon Snow.
You can’t get any more classic than the showdown between Jon Snow, the hero of Winterfell, and Euron Greyjoy, the power-hungry pirate who’s aligned himself with Cersei Lannister. You can guess who will sit on the Iron Throne from now until the show’s finale weeks from now, but we can all agree that Euron isn’t going to live to see the end.
As Game of Thrones Season 8 barrels towards its finale with its final pieces in place — Jon Snow and Daenerys vs. Euron and Cersei — here’s why it makes narrative sense for Euron to die. (You know, besides, “He’s evil.”)
George R. R. Martin Fears Lovecraft
Perhaps this whole time Game of Thrones wanted Euron Greyjoy (played by Pilou Asbækto) to be its main villain. While you can reasonably criticize how D.B. Weiss and David Benioff chose to pursue this narrative — Euron wasn’t introduced until the show’s sixth season, which is mind-boggling and the main reason fans aren’t sold on him — it makes more sense when you consider George R. R. Martin’s love for Lovecraft.
George R. R. Martin really, really loves H.P. Lovecraft. While Martin’s influences run deep, ranging from Stan Lee to J.R.R. Tolkien, he has spoken especially high of the 20th century horror writer, even beginning a scholarship in Lovecraft’s honor.
“No werewolf, no vampire, no thing going bump in the night could give me chills to equal those provided by the cosmic horrors that Lovecraft evoked,” Martin wrote on his LiveJournal blog in 2017.
Euron: Lord of All Evil?
Enter: the Greyjoys, the one house in Westeros with strong ties to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Many of the connections are surface level: Their sigil is a krakens, they worship the “Drowned God” who lives beneath the sea, and once again, they belief that “what is dead may never die.”
But Euron Greyjoy harnesses a little more of the series’ Lovecraftian elements than the rest of the Ironborn. In the books, Euron is an exiled pirate whose villainy is unspeakable and reprehensible — the true embodiment of an Old One in physical form. He captains a crew whose tongues have been ripped out, he assaulted his brother, Aeron, purely to exert dominance, and he’s something of an occult master with unknown levels of expertise in dark magic. He possesses the Dragonbinder, a Valyrian horn that is said to control dragons.
TV Euron isn’t really the same Euron as in Martin’s books. TV Euron has been more akin to a “drunker Jack Sparrow” who acts purely out of self-interest. The darker, otherworldly Euron that Martin illustrated in his novels is absent on the show, but just because this version isn’t as scary doesn’t mean he’s not any less of a threat to the well-being of Westeros.
The Prince That Was Promised vs. the Dark Lord
I am super impressed by this one fan on Reddit who guessed, nine months ago, that Euron would be the final villain of Game of Thrones in a scenario where the Night King is killed early in Season 8. Here we are, on the other side of “The Long Night,” and we’re looking at a Game of Thrones without the White Walkers and all the remaining forces pointing their weapons at Cersei and Euron Greyjoy.
“The Prince That Was Promised” prophecy is itself suspect, and it may not refer to Jon Snow. But reading the wiki entry , it’s hard to imagine it being anyone other than Jon. Letting Snow be the prophetic son (“of fire and ice”) and having him step up to a pseudo-supernatural tyrant is exactly the kind of epic fantasy you’d expect from a writer who loved Marvel comic books and horror in equal measure.
Game of Thrones may have never given given us the Euron that George R. R. Martin first envisioned, but in the final episodes of Season 8, maybe the show can deliver that epic showdown we’ve been waiting for.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.