Game Of Thrones Season 6 Episode 9, Season 6, Episode 9, ‘Battle of the B***ds’
“You’re going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton,” Sansa Stark told her husband early in “Game of Thrones” on Sunday. “Sleep well.”
And I’m going to enjoy watching it, she could have added. Or we could have added. Because I’m guessing most of us did.
Ramsay Bolton’s demise was arguably the most eagerly anticipated death ever on “Game of Thrones” and the show handled it with flair, dispatching him in a poetic, canine-fueled fashion that was no less satisfying for being telegraphed early on. I haven’t fed my hounds in seven days, Ramsay told Jon Snow and friends during the pre-battle trash-talking session, at which point I suspect most of us guessed who would ultimately end up in the dog dish.
Whether you actually sleep well Sunday night probably depends on your tolerance for blood, guts, dead giants and other hallmarks of grim medieval battle, as presented in the tense, grimy and at times oddly beautiful clash that preceded Ramsay’s end. (Though if you’re still watching “Game of Thrones,” your tolerance for such things is probably pretty high.)
As directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who also oversaw last season’s terrific “Hardhome” episode, the lengthy sequence was terrifying, gripping and exhilarating, sometimes all at once, a sweeping display of all the different ways one can die on the battlefield. There were slashings, shootings and spearings aplenty, of course, but also horse tramplings, neck-bitings and, in one nervy, claustrophobic sequence, a near suffocation by Jon Snow as his army found itself caught between a shield-lined pincer and a sturdy bank of dead soldiers. He emerged in time to see the Arryn cavalry arrive, beckoned by Sansa’s letter, presumably, to turn the tide of the clash.
Sansa watched them from horseback next to Littlefinger, and the ramifications of his aid – what it will cost, what she will be willing to give up – will have to be sorted out next week. But on Sunday the shot affirmed Sansa’s arrival, finally, as a major player in the story. She spent the episode alternately calculating, cleareyed – Rickon’s dead, she told Jon early on – and above all, forthright and confident, asserting her role as a leader in the effort and scolding Jon for ignoring her insights into Ramsay. By the end she was observing a victory she’d orchestrated and lingering for an extra look at the mauling of the man who brutalized her. Her small grin as she walked away from the Ramsay buffet signaled her delight at the end of both her former tormentor and her status as a woman who would be vulnerable to monsters like him. (Monsters like Littlefinger, however…)
We’ll have more on the B***d Battle later but first let’s revisit the other big subplot, as Daenerys Stormborn had a few words for the slave masters who launched their attack last week. Those words included “surrender or die” and “thanks for the ships,” as we saw another thrilling action sequence that I believe reunited the dragon triplets for the first time since they were quite young.