We all know that Theon and Jon are opposites, they have a lot of things in common, same problems, same insecurities but they deal with it in opposite ways. I and many others have written meta on this before so I’m not going to go through all of this again in detail. But here’s a little thing I just noticed:
“Jon made himself smile.” – Jon VII (A Storm of Swords) to put this line into context. This is the chapter where the wildlings attack castle black and early on in the chapter Jon is talking to Satin who is scared. He’s making himself smile as a way to comfort his friend.
“Theon made himself smile.” – Theon VI (A Clash of Kings) Theon is talking Ser Rodrik during the siege of Winterfell, he makes himself smile to show his enemies that he is not at all scared, even though he’s perfectly aware of how doomed his situation is.
These are pretty similar circumstances both men are hiding their feelings of fear behind a smile, But Jon is doing it to comfort a friend, while Theon is doing it to throw his enemies off guard.
I think one of the main differences between Theon and Jon this brings to light is that Theon is uncomfortable with his own emotions, he hides them because he wants to be able to decide what he feels and not accept his true feelings. Jon accepts his true emotions and focusses on accepting other people’s emotions just the same.