‘Succession’ star Jeremy Strong is ‘honored’ by comparisons between his character and Theon Greyjoy on ‘Game of Thrones’

Jeremy Strong and Alfie Allen as Kendall Roy and Theon Greyjoy on their respective HBO shows.

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Jeremy Strong and Alfie Allen as Kendall Roy and Theon Greyjoy on their respective HBO shows.
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Graeme Hunter/HBO and Helen Sloan/HBO

  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for season two of HBO’s “Succession.”
  • Jeremy Strong stars as Kendall Roy on “Succession,” and people are starting to see similarities between his character and Theon Greyjoy on “Game of Thrones.”
  • “That’s amazing,” Strong said in an interview with Insider when we brought up the comparison.
  • “Kendall is a very subjugated, broken, collapsed person [this season],” Strong said. “I thought of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ but ‘Game of Thrones’ is a good one. I’m honored.”
  • Keep reading for our full interview with Strong from the 2019 Emmy Awards red carpet.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jeremy Strong stars on HBO’s “Succession,” where the threads of bleak family dynamics have many similarities to HBO’s other hit series “Game of Thrones.”

Some people, including Vanity Fair’s “Still Watching” podcast host Joanna Robinson, have even pointed out how the controlling and abusive relationship between Kendall Roy and his father Logan on “Succession” has started to look very similar to Theon Greyjoy’s transformation into “Reek” at the hands of Ramsay Bolton.

“I thought of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ but ‘Game of Thrones’ is a good one,” Strong said through laughter when Insider brought up this comparison during an interview on the Emmy Awards red carpet last week. “I’m honored.”

Read more: Meet the dramatic mogul-families that ‘Succession’ draws inspiration from, including the Trumps, Murdochs, and Redstones

We spoke with Strong about this character connection, as well as one powerful moment from season two of “Succession” where he improvised during a tense scene.

Jeremy Strong attends the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

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Jeremy Strong attends the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Kim Renfro: “Do you watch ‘Game of Thrones?'”

Jeremy Strong: “Oh, I’m obsessed.”

Renfro: “Have you seen that people are making a connection between Theon/Reek and Ramsay Bolton on ‘Game of Thrones’ and Kendall’s abusive relationship with Logan Roy?”

Logan and Kendall Roy together on HBO's

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Logan and Kendall Roy together on HBO’s “Succession.”
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Peter Kramer/HBO

Strong: “[Laughing] No. Wow. I guess now that you say that … this season I can see it. That’s amazing. Kendall is a very subjugated, broken, collapsed person [this season] who is very much his father’s … well, I thought of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ but ‘Game of Thrones’ is a good one. I’m honored. Those guys are amazing so that’s very funny.”

Renfro: “Do you hope that Kendall will have a similar arc to Theon?”

Strong: “I do hope he’s able to get out of the hell and that pain he’s in. As you’ll see this season, there are rungs up the ladder that start to get him out of that. So the Theon arc would be cool.”

Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox star as Kendall and Logan Roy on

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Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox star as Kendall and Logan Roy on “Succession.”
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HBO

Renfro: “One of the most powerful moments of season two so far happens when Logan hits Roman, and then Kendall immediately steps in to protect his brother. What was filming that scene like?”

Strong: “That just happened in a take, really. Brian [Cox] connected with Kieran [Culkin] and that was my response to it. I don’t even think it was scripted, it was just a sudden thing in the way it would be with a sibling. To feel protective of your younger brother when there’s a history of abuse in our family.”

Tom and Shiv standing together on season two, episode six of

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Tom and Shiv standing together on season two, episode six of “Succession.”
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HBO

Strong [continued]: “My heart was racing … that was real. What you saw was real. That’s one of the most exciting things about the show is that we get to discover moments on camera within a take and then that’s what the audience sees. It’s a sort of dangerous and exciting way of working.”

Read more: HBO’s ‘Succession’ season 2 has a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes

Renfro: “How aware are you of the meme-ification of “Succession” on Twitter and elsewhere online?”

Strong: “I will preface this by saying I kind of stay away from all of that [online], but I’m aware that [‘Succession’] penetrated the zeitgeist. I guess it is surprising because you don’t take it for granted – that anything you work on has that kind of reach and penetration. But it also does somehow feel like the show is right on the bullseye of this intersection between the tech/media landscape, the political landscape, the .01%, the Facebook-Apple-Amazon-Netflix-Google megalopolis – all of it. And then it’s also about this poisoned family at the nucleus of our culture. So I’m not totally surprised that it’s relevant.”

Season two of “Succession” is airing now on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.