Battle Of The Bastards : ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 6, Episode 9 – Review

As Jon’s forces are decimated, the Boltons surround them, circling them inside a shield wall, with their backs pressed to the massive mound of bodies. They have tall shields and long-spears, which they use in Roman-style formation—something we haven’t seen in any previous battle in Westeros that I can recall. I admit to being a bit annoyed by this entire scene. It’s just another example of Ramsay doing everything perfectly. He was the one to ruin Stannis’s attack by stealth attack and fire last season. He’s also a military tactical genius, apparently, deploying strategies nobody else in the Seven Kingdoms has thought of. I’m also annoyed that the Boltons have so many men. It seems unrealistic that they’d have so many after their many battles, even with the other northern houses pledging their swords.

Image via HBO

No matter. Sansa brings the knights of the Vale in at the last moment. Her brother is lucky to be alive at this point. Jon Snow has almost been shot by arrows, crushed under a horse, stampeded by heavy cavalry, sliced and diced a hundred different ways, and crushed under a mob of wildlings and soldiers trying to escape the massacre. Maybe Sansa should have introduced the knights of the Vale a tiny bit sooner, or let Jon know that she had them as an option, or something.

Earlier, in camp, she complains that Jon didn’t let her in on the battle plans. This would have been a good time to tell him about Littlefinger, and to at least bring that option to the table. They could have planned accordingly, instead of nearly being butchered to a man. I don’t understand why she didn’t do that, if she was planning to bring them anyways. I don’t understand why she had to complain about not being included in the conversation when she was standing right there and could have offered up her thoughts at any time. Come on Sansa, don’t be like Catelyn. Be smart and communicate!

Thankfully, the only casualties that weren’t unnamed soldiers and wildings were the last giant (no!!!) and young Rickon Stark. Tormund very nearly dies, but decides to rip out Umber’s throat with his teeth instead. Nice move. Everybody almost dies, but nobody of any real consequence outside of Rickon (whose importance to the story has been negligible for a long time now) meets their maker—on the Stark side, at least.

Good riddance, Ramsay.

Image via HBO

Ramsay is fed to the hounds, which is fitting. It’s also wonderful because he’s finally taken off his guard for once. His composure is shaken. Instead of going down with a maniacal grin on his face, his last words are to a dog, ordering him unsuccessfully to get down. The dog rips his face off instead. “They were loyal,” Sansa tells Ramsay before he dies. “Now they’re starving.”

I’m glad to see Ramsay go. He was too perfect a villain. In a sea of grey, the bastard of Bolton was the darkest jet black. While some characters are wicked but human—many of the Lannisters, for instance—Ramsay was merely vile. Actor Iwar Rheon did a terrific job in the role, and he was delightfully vile at times, but he was simply too good at everything he tried. He was the Mary Sue of bad guys, and it got old sometime a season or two back. I’m glad he’s dead, and that Jon won, and that we can move on to other, more interesting villains, like Littlefinger and the High Sparrow.

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