Major spoilers below for the latest and greatest episode of Game of Thrones.
On Sunday night, Game of Thrones put forth what was arguably its most ambitious episode yet with "The Battle of the Bastards," which delivered on its promise of being the biggest battle scene ever created for TV. One of the episode's most important moments came not on the battlefield, but in a dark and mostly quiet cell where Ramsay Bolton has been strapped to a chair after getting pummeled to a blood-faced pulp, and it was the very place where he met his hound-toothed fate. According to director Miguel Sapochnik, there was one big rule showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had for him during this subdued and grisly scene.
I must admit I kind of wanted to make people start to feel for Ramsay in that wonderful way Thrones turns these things on their head but [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] were clear: They didn't want anyone to sympathize with Ramsay Bolton and this time they wanted blood. In a way I agree, this is not a time to be morally ambiguous. Ramsay needs to die, and horribly. This is what the audience has been waiting to see. That said, there's no need to dwell on the actual carnage. What's left to our imagination is always way worse.
I don't blame Sapochnik for having the instinct to present the impending victim in a way that offers viewers a reason to not only feast upon his demise. If the Rolling Stones can have sympathy for the devil, then perhaps Game of Thrones viewers could have sympathy for the devil of the seven kingdoms. But that wasn't even an option, and that's just fine by me. Though there's no courtroom, there's still plenty of visual evidence from years past to make his sentencing quite just. Even actor Iwan Rheon thought Ramsay needed a brutal death.
Still, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that wish their imaginations could come to life as far as Ramsay's death is concerned. Yeah, having the castrating rapist helplessly getting disemboweled by hounds was a righteous way to take him out, especially when you added in the fact that Sansa watched and relished it just long enough to please her. And it was prefaced by him getting beaten up. But it's hard to put a limit to the punishment that some people wish upon immoral psychopaths, and though there's no standards and practices in place for what truly justifies getting hounded to death, it fits here.
Sapochnik also shared with EW his two favorite aspects of the scene, which are kind of brutal themselves.
The most effective moment for me was the sound of a squealing pig you hear from Ramsay in the background as Sansa walks away. Apparently it's actually what happens when you rip someone's wind pipe open while they're still alive and gasping for air. The other thing I loved was the close-up shot of Sansa as she watches the dogs attack. There's a moment where she turns to leave but then stops and leans back in, lingering a moment longer. It's my favorite shot of my episodes this year.
If you're not learning about the sounds that ripped windpipes make while you're watching TV, then what the hell is this medium even for, amirite?
Beyond putting an end to Ramsay Bolton's reign of perverse terror, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones' sixth season also showed us that Jon Snow shouldn't rule anything in the future, and that Dany's dragons are still hot to trot. Find out what's coming in the season finale when it airs on HBO on Sunday, June 26.