Euron Greyjoy is a monster. There is no denying that Westeros' worst person (now) is Theon's uncle. Euron is violent, crude and about as evil as anyone on Game of Thrones
can be or has ever been. Unlike Cersei who the show has established firmly as a three-dimensional character, Euron is single-minded and terrifying. Euron may not be deep but he is still a wildly entertaining character and the best villain (so far) in Game of Thrones
A Charismatic Psychopath
There are plenty of unlikable or unpopular characters on HBO's Game of Thrones. Between Cersei, Littlefinger and even deceased characters like Roose Bolton there are a handful of people that most viewers don't want to see "win." These somewhat dastardly people aren't true villains. They have been developed and explored enough that they don't exist to be hated. They have stories and motivations of their own.In reality Game of Thrones has only had two real villains before Euron, Joffrey and Ramsay.
While Joffrey and Ramsay were certainly cruel, they lacked in one big area that Euron excels at as a villain. Neither Joffrey or Ramsay were particularly fun to watch. They weren't charismatic. Joffrey had his moments of being someone viewers loved to hate but mostly he was a complete terror. Ramsay, meanwhile, had all the energy of a character who should be much more charismatic but he was so one-dimensionally awful and most of his scenes involved long torture that he never really rose above a disgusting annoyance.
There is something equally charming and horrifying about Euron Greyjoy. Euron is someone who delights in every violent act he commits. He is vile and horrific but is almost infectiously joyous about his murderous activities. Euron is having so much fun doing such terrible things that is hard not to enjoy watching him as morbid as it might seem.
The Sunny Side of Being Evil
The smartest thing about Euron is that the show hasn't gone too far with him. Game of Thrones has pulled back with their latest villain seemingly learning their lesson from Ramsay. It hasn't felt unnatural. In his big battle scene where he captured Yara and killed most of the Sand Snakes, Euron was still vicious and brutal. HBO's Game of Thrones has also implied that Euron has done way worse than kill a couple of people. Unlike Ramsay and Joffrey, both who became sadists and torture machines (though Ramsay was far worst in this regard), Game of Thrones has showed a rare bit of restraint. Euron is violent but the show hasn't crossed the line with him where he is just nasty.
Most of Euron's scenes involve him being a pig but they also have him doing a fair bit of fun banter. Euron is flashy and interesting any time he is on-screen. Game of Thrones can often be quite dreary and oppressive, especially in these late game episodes. This is especially true in King's Landing where Cersei is descending into madness and Jaime is incredibly conflicted about what to do about his sister's actions. Euron is a breath of fresh air, even if that air is evil and stinks of seawater and blood. Euron has all the swagger that made Jaime such a compelling "bad guy" but before Game of Thrones really showed off another side to his character.
It is unclear if Game of Thrones will be able to maintain Euron's character for long. Euron can easily become just as vile as Ramsay and his fun scenes of banter could be outweighed by him being a monster. Euron is not a deep character and he is not intended to be one. Euron is a flash in the tremendously evil pan. With only just a handful of episodes to go in Game of Thrones' run though Euron being this charismatic monster does bring some new life to the show.
As Game of Thrones nears its endgame, the show is knocking down rows of dominoes that have taken years to set up. There is nothing wrong with this, at all. Moments like Olenna's death or fire and ice meeting are terrific but they've also been rather expected. Every Game of Thrones fan knew that Jon and Dany would eventually join together and that Olenna was not long for this world. Euron is a wildcard. He can't be predicted. In a show that prided itself on being so shocking and unexpected a character as magnificently unforeseeable as Euron is a welcome addition.
But what do you think? Do you enjoy Euron Greyjoy or do you find him just as disgusting as Ramsay or Joffrey?
(Image courtesy of HBO)