Balon Greyjoy

As an ironborn prodigy, Balon Greyjoybecame the captain of his ship at 17. However, his cruelty and bitterness cost him everything.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Balon Greyjoy was the head of House Greyjoy of Pyke and the Lord Paramount of the Iron Islands. When Robert Baratheon and his hand, Eddard Stark, get killed, Robb Stark becomes King in the North and calls everyone to arms. He sends his trusted friend, Theon Greyjoy, to meet his father, Balon, and seek an alliance, but it fails, and Balon declares himself King of the Iron Islands; this makes him a contender in the War of the Five Kings.

Personal Details

  • Full Name: Balon Greyjoy, the Ninth of His Name Since the Grey King.
  • House: Greyjoy.
  • Date of Birth: Around 255 – 261 AC at Pyke.
  • Year of Death: 299 AC at Pyke.
  • Wife: Alannys Harlaw.
  • Culture: Ironborn.
  • Religion: The Drowned God.
  • Titles: Lord of the Iron Islands, King of the Iron Islands, Lord Reaper of Pyke, The Greyjoy, Captain of the Great Kraken, Son of the Sea Wind, King of Salt and Rock, King of the Isles, and the North.
  • Successor: Euron III Greyjoy.
  • Children: Rodrik Greyjoy, Maron Greyjoy, Asha Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy.
  • Parents: Quellon Greyjoy and Lady Sunderly.
  • Aliases: Balon the Blessed, The Wet King, The Widowmaker, the Kraken King, Balon the Blessed, Balon the Brave, The Iron King.
  • Hair Color: Grey.
  • Eye Color: Black.

Appearance and Personality

Balon Greyjoy is a slim-framed haggard-looking man. He has a rugged face, hard black eyes, and long grey hair splattered with wisps of white hair, and its length runs to his shoulders.

Considered to be mad by some and great by others, like his brother, Victarion Greyjoy, Balon is religious, fearless, fiery, and prone to creating disputes. His lack of letting go of the past makes him a cold-hearted man, and when he becomes the Lord of the Iron Islands, he gets ambitious, cruel, and bitter. However, even with a terrible character, he remains a skilled warrior, with strength and skill matching that of his father, Quellon.


Early Life

Though there is no information on the exact location of his birth, Balon Greyjoy was born as the eldest son of Lord Quellon Greyjoy by his second wife, Lady Sunderly of House Sunderly. As a young boy, he was an Ironborn prodigy and even went on to captain his ship. At ten, he scaled the Flint Cliffs, a series of cliffs along the Sunset Sea, to the Blind Lord’s haunted tower. At thirteen, he excelled at the sea and became an expert oarsman. By fifteen, he sailed with Dagmer Cleftjaw to the Stepstones, where he reaved, killed his first man, and married his first two salt wives. At seventeen, he had become the captain of his longship.

Robert’s Rebellion

When Rhaegar Targaryen kidnaps Lyanna Stark, Robert rebelled against the Iron Throne. With a drive for ambition, Balon and his brothers, Euron and Victarion, convinced their father, Quellon, to join the war. When Rhaegar Targaryen died in the Battle of the Trident, Quellon got convinced the war was an avenue to gain political advantage over the Iron Throne. 

The Iron Islands’ contribution to the war effort was minimal, and Quellon got killed fighting the longships of the Shield Islands in a battle at the Mander. Balon returned to Pyke to claim the Seastone Chair. He learned that Urrigon, his younger brother, died of gangrene after getting injured in a fight dance and ordered the maester get put on the same treatment. Balon married Alannys Harlaw, who bore him four children: Rodrik, Maron, Asha, and Theon.

Greyjoy Rebellion

Upon becoming the Lord of the Iron Islands, Balon began wishing to return to the Old Way, the ancient ironborn tradition of reaving and plunder. He reversed most of his father’s reforms and began the construction of the Iron Fleet. 

When Robert Baratheon became King, Balon incited a rebellion by declaring the Iron Islands an independent state and declaring himself King of the Iron Islands.

With a plan from Euron, Victarion and the Ironmen traveled to Lannisport, where they set the Lannisters’ Fleet on fire. Though their assault on the Lannisters was successful, Balon lost his eldest son, Rodrik, during the storming of Seagard and later lost his second son, Maron, defending Pyke. After a failed rebellion, Theon got given to Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell as a ward and hostage.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Clash of Kings

When King Robert I Baratheon dies, a Civil War between the Lannisters and Starks starts. Robb Stark gets crowned King in the North, and when he sends Theon Greyjoy to request an alliance, Balon rejects his offer and declares himself the King of the Iron Islands. He sends his brother, Victarion, to capture Moat Cailin, and the mission succeeds. Balon takes the Neck, which cuts off Robb’s army campaigning in the Riverlands and Westerlands. He then sends Asha Greyjoy, his daughter and preferred heir, to capture Deepwood Motte and Theon Dagmer, and Aeron Damphair gets sent to harry the Stony Shore. With his success, Balon declares himself the King of the Isles and the North.

Jealous that his father favors his sister over him, Theon diverts from the plan and sends Dagmer to Torrhen’s Square to distract Rodrik Cassel from Winterfell. He then slips into the Castle and takes over. He refuses to give up and gets captured by Ramsay Snow, who then orders the sack of Winterfell.

A Storm of Swords

After declaring himself King, Balon sends peace terms to King’s Landing. Lord Mace Tyrell and Paxter Redwyne agree to his terms explaining that removing Balon from the war will free resources to fight Stannis Baratheon. However, Tywin Lannister rejects Balon’s offer, stating the King of the Iron Islands is at war with Robb, and that solves the problems with him. While crossing a bridge at Pyke, Balon falls to his death.

A Feast for Crows

After Balon’s death, Aeron Greyjoy calls the kingsmoot, and Victarion, Asha, and Euron lay claim to the throne. However, Euron’s claim overshadows everyone’s, and he gets crowned King of the Iron Islands. The new King promises to conquer Westeros with the power of dragons.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Balon Greyjoy’s character got portrayed by Patrick Malahide. He appeared in seasons 2, 3, and 6 and starred in 4 episodes. In the series, he got thrown from a bridge by his brother Euron greyjoy.

Balon Greyjoy: The Noisy King

Balon Greyjoy is one of the most unlikable characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, and the reason for this is because of his cruel, cold, and bitter nature. Though he was an excellently crafted character, his role in the novels fades from readers’ minds because he was not stellar enough to leave a mark. However, he remains a crucial character that propels the story forward.


Did Balon Greyjoy die in the show?

Yes. Balon Greyjoy died in Game of Thrones after getting thrown off a bridge by his brother, Euron, who was working with Cersei. After his death, Euron assumed command of the Iron Fleet and became one of the strongest players in the war between Cersei and Daenerys.

Why didn’t Balon rescue his son, Theon Greyjoy?

Balon did not rescue his son because he believed he was dead. According to reports from Ramsay, Winterfell got destroyed; this made most of the iron born assume that Theon died during the conflict, which he got blamed for causing.

What killed Balon in the books?

Balon died in an accident. While crossing a bridge at Pyke, he fell from his horse to death. Though that is the official statement, some believe that Euron is responsible for his brother’s death because his arrival at the kingsmoot seemed almost coincidental.

Was Balon a good King?

Balon was not necessarily a good or bad King. He was an ironborn prodigy and had a massive following. However, he accepted many things, like bending when defeated; this made him appear as a weak king.

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