In the episode a "Man without Honor" it's slightly ambiguous. When Theon threatens the inhabitants of Winterfell (I believe he says something like, "I told you something like this would happen if you disobeyed your lord") and then his men hoist up the burned bodies of the miller's sons, Theon looks really, really shocked, almost as scared as the castle's inhabitants.

My interpretation was that the men killed the children without his knowledge, and hoisted them up without his knowledge. If you actually watch the scene, he does not look as though he expected those burned bodies to be pulled up.

I really want to feel sorry for this guy. Not recognised as a Robb's brother, not recognised as his father's son. Neither a Stark nor a real Greyjoy, just a naive young man, trying to be respected. I want to feel sorry for him, but not if he burned two children.

Did he?

  • 4
    This is a difficult question to answer without including spoilers. In the books, however, the idea came from someone else, but Theon was present for the killing of the children and gave the order.
    – TLP
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 12:02

3 Answers 3


Since we never see the actual deed (same goes for the books) we don't really know for sure if he killed them himself. Knowing Theon, he probably ordered their death on Cleftjaw's advice. It was probably Cleftjaw himself (or Theon's men) who actually killed the boys and burned the bodies. He may not have wielded the knife or torch, but he fully knew what was going to happen. In episode 7 of season 2 he says:

Theon Greyjoy: It's better to be cruel than weak.

His men did not respect him, neither did the inhabitants of Winterfell. In his mind, the cruelty of the act was a necessary evil in order to consolidate his rule. He does not like what is to be done. He knows it's evil. But he does it anyway. The look on his face when the bodies are revealed is him realizing that he has crossed a line that can never be uncrossed.


In the television series, Dagmar Cleftjaw kills the Miller's boys. However in the books, later on it is found out that it was really Ramsay Bolton, while he was still posing as Reek.

  • True. Theon also knows it was Dagmer who did it in the show. Dagmer also killed the farmer and his wife.
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 19:53

The answer is that Theon knew that elimination might be necessary. He was just mentally unprepared for the pain he might/would have caused on his way to ensure his rulership. Those miller's boys were pitied solely by Sansa, much further in the story, and even she had considered them as innocent but necessary victims.

  • While this is probably correct commentary, as it stands it doesn't directly answer the question of whether Theon actually killed them.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 22:52

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