A few weeks have passed since the season 6 finale of Game of Thrones, and I think it’s time to finally address the elephant in the room. It goes without saying that there are major spoilers coming forward, so if you aren’t caught up on Game of Thrones, get off your computer and go watch it so you can stop being such a burden on all of your friends and they can finally talk about it when you’re around.
Ramsay Bolton was born pretty much exactly as you would expect; the bastard son of Roose Bolton and the raped wife of a miller whom Roose hanged. Does that offer enough back story into the most hated character Game of Thrones has to offer? Yes, it does, because I’m going to make this perfectly clear: Ramsay Bolton will go down in history as one of the best characters in TV History.
As a bastard “Snow”, Ramsay led the sacking of Winterfell in order to take back control of the castle in the name of the King Robb Stark. Knowing his actions now, can you remember a time when Ramsay was on the same side as the Starks? He actually succeeded in taking Winterfell back from Theon Greyjoy, because through all the torture, mind games, and ashamed-to-admit adorable smirks, Ramsay is a skilled combat leader. That’s…kind of where anything remotely admirable Ramsay does comes to a screaming fucking halt.
I’d probably smash
I think you all know the rest of his history: he flays everyone, he kidnaps Theon and proceeds to become the most despicable man in Westeros. Cersei Lannister was once the most despised character on the show, and as such, actress Lena Headey would actually get hate on in public by viewers. Aside from the legendary levels of stupidity it must take to not recognize a character from the actor playing them, and assault them in the streets, we got to a point where no one seemed to be that disgusted by Cersei, and all of the hate was focused on a man who had an unhealthy obsession with cutting off a man’s junk.
This is where Ramsay Snow really earned that whole “bastard” title. The psychological torture inflicted on Theon “Reek” Greyjoy from then on is truly admirable, if you happen to be a complete psychopath. He breaks Theon to the point of no return, and then decides to break him further.
There’s been much speculation, confusion, anger, and outright hatred over Ramsay’s treatment of Sansa Stark, with one scene in particular. You know the one… The night of the Ramsay-Sansa wedding is where Ramsay went, in most viewer’s eyes, from deplorable piece o’ shit to full on monster.
Regardless of how you feel about the scene, there’s no denying it was a powerful one. Powerful for multiple reasons. In one hand, rape is one of the most psychologically damaging things a person can do to another. In the other, you have a scene featuring Sansa Stark in the show that never happened to Sansa Stark in the book, which enraged viewers. But the issue at hand isn’t as simple. Ramsay wasn’t necessarily raping Sansa just to get sex. He wasn’t doing it because of the social acceptance of the subject in the time setting, and he wasn’t doing it to prove anything to Sansa herself. The purpose for this scene was to destroy any ounce of Theon Greyjoy that existed.
The only thing that Ramsay couldn’t destroy of Theon was his past. Until he had Sansa handed to him. This is a girl that Theon grew up with – a sister to him in every respect, and directly due to his own actions, his little sister was being subjected to the most horrible experience, and all he could do was watch. That is fucked up. This marked probably the first scene in all of Game of Thrones, that viewers couldn’t stomach to watch.
You see, Ramsay had a woman he actually loved, Myranda. His marriage to Sansa was nothing but political and a means to further torture Reek. One day, while Ramsay was out massacring all of Stannis “the Mannis” Baratheon’s soldiers while they tried to siege Winterfell, Reek decided to stop being such a little bitch, and finally help Sansa escape. During this escape, they kind of completely murdered the only thing that Ramsay actually loved – Myranda…oops.
Now without a wife, without a lover, and having previously been informed that his father was expecting a baby with his actual wife, making him not a bastard and the rightful heir to the Bolton throne, Ramsay was kind of in a bad place. Roose tells him that if Sansa successfully escapes to Castle Black, then Ramsay will no longer get the throne, his baby brother will. So he suggests their army march on the wall and kill Jon Snow. After being turned down for what is possibly the worst idea in history, Ramsay did what only Ramsay would do…he immediately murders his own father and has the word spread that he was poisoned by their enemies. Cold. Blooded.
Here comes check mark number two on the list of “scenes no one can watch”. To clear his path back to the Bolton family throne, he leads his step mother and brand new baby brother into a pen, and feeds them to his ravenous dogs. Let me re-write that. He feeds his step mother and baby brother to his fucking dogs.
By now, everyone has long since hated Ramsay and by the “Battle of the Bastards” we were all ready to see him die. He shows up mounted on his horse with his usual shit-eating grin on his face and pulls another punch at the Stark family. As he allows Rickon Stark to run back to Jon Snow teasing him with arrows just missing his head, he sinks one right through the heart as soon as ol Ricky gets within reach of Jon. Remember when I said Ramsay was skilled at combat? Yes, Rickon did help him by running in a straight line and not fucking zig-zagging like anyone else in the world would have, but still.
It’s really not that hard.
The battle commences and the next half hour of show time was one of the greatest fights you’ve ever seen. Follow that up with Sansa riding up with Littlefinger and the army of the Vale behind her, winning the battle for the Stark family. But here’s the thing….Ramsay had that battle in the bag. He had it won. It took the miracle of the Vale showing up to bail Jon Snow and the Wildlings out of that fight. Had Ramsay known about this, he would have been better prepared, strategized more, and probably would have won that fight.
Back in Winterfell post-retreat, Ramsay stands there with a smirk on his face and tries to use his mouth to talk his way out of trouble one last time. Cool, calm, and collected every step of the way. But as it stands, everyone rejoiced as the Stark banner draped on Winterfell once again, and we got one last look at Ramsay, and we checked off one last unwatchable scene as his “loyal” dogs ate him alive.
Ramsay was a bastard. Ramsay was a murderer, a sadist, and a rapist, but he was also a skilled strategist and combat leader who will be remembered as the biggest piece of shit you ever watched on TV. Forget Gus Fring. Forget Tony Soprano. Forget Sideshow Bob. Ramsay Bolton is the most interesting, intriguing, and downright deplorable human being to ever grace your TV screen. He’ll go down in history, and Iwan Rheon deserves a fucking Emmy for bringing him to life.