Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen on Reek’s Capacity to Feel Love and Whether Theon Will Ever Come Back

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Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images

Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.

After not seeing each other since season one, Theon Greyjoy — now Reek — and Sansa Stark were reunited at last, thanks to Myranda's meddling. Since the record hasn't been set straight, Sansa doesn't know that Theon didn't actually kill her younger brothers when he captured Winterfell, and he's not at liberty to tell her. He’s even forced to apologize to her for this, per Ramsay's orders. Alfie Allen chatted with Vulture about Theon/Reek's capacity to join in on torture or feel love, missing the Greyjoys, and guesting on "Gay of Thrones."

What was it like to shoot the dysfunctional family-dinner scene?
There was definitely tension in the room, but there were also moments when we just burst out laughing, basically because there was such a disparity between their sort of regality — they're sitting there being regal, I'm just shivering and listening in the corner to what's being said, and then you've got Sansa, who's just soaking it all up and trying not to show what's going on in her head. So there are three very different emotions and moods going on in the room. And to really go to those sort of tense moments, you have to keep it light between the takes. So there were moments when it was really funny to shoot. We just laughed because there were so many different things going on in the room.

Theon probably can't quite bring himself to do this anymore, because he's been tortured to the point where he's not even Theon anymore, he's Reek — but do you ever just want him to take Sansa aside and tell her the truth?  
Yeah, I would say that's part of Sansa's story line, similar to Theon's, in that they both made their way out of Winterfell and they both had these delusions of grandeur about being princes and princesses. But in terms of Theon wanting to tell her the truth? I don't think that there's much Theon there right now to do that. Being told about Robb Stark's death was kind of the point, to me, where there was a slight bit of Theon coming back, but I don't think there's enough of Theon there yet to want to tell her about Bran and Rickon not being dead.

Well, if being told about Robb Stark brings a little of Theon back, perhaps seeing Sansa brings a little more back.  
Absolutely, yeah. I can't really put a figure on how much Theon is left, but there's definitely elements of Stockholm syndrome with Theon, or Reek. It's sort of everlasting, and ever-changing, and it's constantly going up and down. Is Theon coming back? Or is he more now Reek? It's just living in the moment, and living in constant fear. He just wants to obey his master. But being in the courtyard and seeing Sansa there, that's bringing up different emotions, without a doubt.

If Theon/Reek were ordered to participate in Ramsay's games and actively hurt someone, do you think he could? He betrayed the men at Moat Cailin before, but what about someone he knew? Could he? Would he?
I was actually asked that question while we were on set, and in my mind, I would say he wouldn't want to. But they're persuasive, those Boltons!

They're not onscreen this season, but presumably, the rest of the Greyjoys are still active somewhere offscreen. We haven't heard about Balon Greyjoy, for instance, even though Melisandre named him in her blood magic spell with the leeches. Do you ever miss the Greyjoys? Or wish we could have a kingsmoot?
Um, I chose to kind of use only the scripts from an early point onwards, to process what was there rather than read ahead in the books, because I didn't want to preempt stuff that wasn't going to happen for years. I have the attitude that you can prepare as much as you can, but it's all about what happens on the day, really. And also, the TV show is a different medium than the books. It's taken its own direction in a lot of ways. So I used the books as source material to get into the Game of Thrones world, but I think I'll revisit the rest after. For now, I'll just go with the content that they feed me, and see how that goes. But as a fan of the show? I guess I have sort of been wondering about them! [Laughs.] I think as a fan of the show, I'd definitely like to see what's going on with the Greyjoys, but I really have no idea where it's going to head.

One of the things that happens in this episode, not to Theon himself, is that one of the eunuchs gets a little love. We might have thought that if someone were castrated before, that was the end of their sex lives, but does that mean there's still hope for Theon, too?
In the world of Game of Thrones, you just never know, do you? And there's a lot more to the show than just sex, obviously. [Laughs.] Although it's a necessary part of it, for sure.

I guess our only precedent on the show was Varys talking about how he had a lack of desire, and how that freed him up for other things.
I totally agree with that. But I don't think Theon or Reek is in a place yet to have that sort of stuff! [Laughs.] But for me, as a fan of the show and just as a person, I would love to see some sort of redemption or love for him! I would say yes, yes to love! [Laughs.]

So you're one of the few cast members who has done "Gay of Thrones" ...
[Laughs.] That was funny! My manager just said, "Are you up for doing this?" And I'm always up for doing a bit of comedy. It just gave me an opportunity to play around a bit. I can't even remember all the names they had for the characters! What were the names they had for us? Jog my memory!

Well, Ramsay was Enrique Iglesias ....
[Laughs.]

And Roose is Julio Iglesias ...
[Laughs.] That's brilliant! I like that a lot.  

The Hound was Dog the Bounty Hunter ...
Nice. I like that one. He's cool. He's probably one of my favorite characters, the Hound. He's brilliant. Love him. And Rory [McCann] is such a great guy.

You want to suggest some nicknames for them to use? You could use pop-star equivalents, since they seem to like those.
Oh, okay! The Hound could be Barry Manilow.

And that works, because he has a song about a dog ...
Right! "Mandy"! Brilliant.