There was, to put it mildly, a lot going on in Game of Thrones penultimate season six episode, “The Battle of the Bastards.” So much so that three dragons set fire to an entire navy and that was still only the second biggest battle of the hour. In almost any other episode of almost any other television show, that would have been the main event. (Especially if it had happened during an episode of, like, Mad Men. I always said that show needed more nautical battles involving mythical winged beasts.) But the showdown between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton was a long time coming, and it was the title of the episode, so let’s stick to that for now. Here are your winners and loser from the titular bastard battle.
LOSER: Ramsay Bolton
Ramsay’s death was both inevitable and long overdue. Not necessarily long overdue within the story itself, because there’s utility in keeping a smug monster around long enough to make his violent death feel like a victory for the audience, but definitely long overdue from an “Yoooooo I would like to see bad things happen to this guy” perspective. While his demise didn’t quite live up to my slightly unhinged fever dream for it, they could have done a lot worse than having him run like a coward, get his face bashed in by Jon Snow’s mud-covered fists, and get fed to his own dogs by the wife he spent the better part of a season tormenting. I’ll take it.
NOTE: The funniest possible thing would have been if they killed him off with a sudden aneurysm or something during that pre-war meeting. Like if he had just frozen mid-sentence and fallen off his horse into the mud, and Jon looked at everyone all confused, unsure if it meant he had just won. It would have been bad, anticlimactic television, sure. But very funny.
LOSER: Jon Snow
It’s tempting to proclaim Jon a winner, since he technically “won” the Battle of the Bastards and took back Winterfell. But he really did all that despite himself. I mean, let’s break this down a bit:
- He stayed up all night developing a strategy and then abandoned it the second he saw Rickon.
- He did this despite the fact that Sansa specifically told him a) Rickon was going to die, and b) Ramsay was going to do something to mess with his mind.
- His decision to run headlong into battle by himself got hundreds, if not thousands, of his men killed.
- He only lived because Littlefinger and the cavalry arrived.
Jon Snow is like the anti-Daenerys. I feel like if he had a dragon he’d accidentally fly it into a wall and kill it, then spend three episodes moping about it.