Oh, that’s right, Reek. Robb Stark is dead.
He could not even help himself.
George R.R. Martin - A Dance With Dragons
I must not let him drive me mad. He can take my fingers and my toes, he can put out my eyes and slice my ears off, but he cannot take my wits unless I let him.
Robb had given him courage,
but now Robb was gone
Well I’m just a kid of ill repute
But the skin I wear’s my only suit
So, in the Reek II chapter in ADWD there is this little scene:
"Theon led the way up the stairs. I have climbed these steps a thousand times before. As a boy he would run up; descending, he would take the steps three at a time, leaping. Once he leapt right into Old Nan and knocked her to the floor. That earned him the worst thrashing he ever had at Winterfell, though it was almost tender compared to the beatings his brothers used to give him back on Pyke.”
a) A “thrashing” means a severe corporal punishment, usually with an object like a a whip. Even considering that beating children as punishment is perfectly fine in Westeros, can we agree that this is way out of hand for something he didn’t even do on purpose?
b) He recalls it as his worst thrashing, meaning there were more than one.
c) He immediately gets his Stockholm up again, with the whole “it was harmless compared to my brothers” because he clings to his time at the Starks for the good memories, considering at that point he is Ramsay’s pet and has no outlook for a better future and those memories are all he has left.
Theon was abused in every household he ever lived. Quite severely too, I might add. The guys who held him hostage were the best out of the bunch, but with the only comparison being Bolton’s and Greyjoy’s, this is really not something the Starks (or their fans) should put on their resume.
Can I also chime in with saying that these beatings were presumably unique to him in Winterfell? None of the other Stark children (to my understanding) recall being beaten as children, and considering how we have seen Ned Stark handle disobedience with Arya and Sansa, I find it unlikely. Also consider that Theon does not say that “THEY” were beaten, as in him AND Robb, and yet this is something that Theon recalls rather casually.
Not only that, but like mentioned, we know from his recollections that Theon has been physically punished in Winterfell for MISTAKES (falling into another person). I can’t see Bran Stark getting thrashed about for climbing, let alone making a clumsy personal mistake.
You know, and I feel like I need to clarify this every time. I love the Starks, but the idea that Theon was someone either A) treated like one of them B) treated better than Jon Snow or C) was not a child prisoner with stockholm syndrome needs to go.