WARNING: Spoilers and speculation for Game of Thrones below
Euron Greyjoy had one most perplexing plots of Game of Thrones’ seventh season. The King of the Iron Islands, bereft of his purpose in the novels*, became whatever the plot needed him to be: a ruthless uncle, a charismatic playboy, a loyal servant, a loud-mouthed cur. Consequently, Euron felt like a cipher, his character moving from scene to scene, but leaving no real mark on the narrative. Even with the reveal that Cersei set him up to leave mid-parley with Dany and Jone to retrieve the mercenaries known as the Golden Company, Euron is merely filling another superfluous role: that of ferryman. Why send Euron Greyjoy? After all, Game of Thrones could have very well written that either the Golden Company had their own ships or the Iron Bank was paying for transport. Unless the show still has pertinent plans for the character.
(*) In the novels, Euron returns to the Iron Islands for the Kingsmoot, the ceremony held by the Ironborn to choose a new ruler when their king dies. Having traveled the world, Euron reveals a magical weapon found on his journies: a horn known as the Dragonbinder. Possessing this gives Euron the edge needed with the Ironborn to become King over his niece Yara/Asha and his brother Victarian.
What reason could Game of Thrones have in needing to specifically send Euron back across the Narrow Sea to Essos? Doing so could give Euron a chance to find the Dragonbinder. An ancient Valyrian weapon, the Dragonbinder is a horn that can bind any dragon who hears it to the will of the horn’s master. In the novels, Euron already has this weapon at his disposal and has sent his brother Victarion to Meereen to court Daenerys in Euron’s name and capture her dragons. Game of Thrones, however, merged the character of Victarion into Euron and Dany has long since left Meereen. As such, novel fans had assumed the Dragonbinder had been cut from the show for time. But now, with Euron traveling to get the Golden Company, this could be another way to introduce Dragonbinder into the game. And all because of one change: Viserion.
At the end of this season, the Wall came down on Game of Thrones — but not in the way fans once imagined. Instead of the Night King using the Horn of Winter to bring down the Wall, the show instead gave the Night King a zombie dragon. Viserion’s undead blue flame collapsed the section of the Wall, essentially putting a final nail in the coffin that the Horn of Winter will appear. The Night King no longer needs it. In doing so, it may have also resurrected a need for Dragonbinder.
Before Viserion became part of the Night King’s army, it was widely assumed the Dragonbinder would’ve been used by Euron to control one or more of Dany’s living dragons. No one imagined Viserion would take the place of the Horn of Winter in the destruction of the Wall, but by doing so now the Dragonbinder could become Dany’s only hope to retrieve her wayward “child.” Should Euron discover the Dragonbinder in the final season of Game of Thrones, it wouldn’t be for altruistic reasons. Euron has no idea Viserion has been turned against the living, but he would know a gift like Dragonbinder would endear him to Cersei. Then, at some point, Daenerys or Jon would end up with Dragonbinder and use it to wrest control of Viserion back from the Night King.
But what are the odds of Game of Thrones pulling out a show-altering twist like this so late in the game? Before this year, I’d have said the odds were low. But the seventh season of the show changed the game. No longer is the narrative one of slow burns and reveals by inches. Instead, HBO is careening through the plot so quickly that a half dozen life-changing moments can happen in a single episode. For instance, in the finale alone we have Jaime leaving Cersei, Cersei unable to kill her brothers, Littlefinger’s death, Jon and Dany getting it on, the revelation that Jon and Dany are related, the revelation that Bran can’t see where he doesn’t know the look, and the Night King gaining a zombie dragon. Into this new story structure, one where Benjen Stark appears out of nowhere, it wouldn’t be absurd to think a weapon as powerful of the Dragonbinder could be introduced.
In fact, having Euron pick up the Golden Company, including their leader Daario, and then finding the horn would give Daario a way back to Dany’s heart — by stealing Dragonbinder for her — just in time for her to learn she been banging her nephew is a pretty good plot twist. Just saying.