'Game of Thrones' Grim Reaper Report: You Killed [Spoiler]! You Bastards!

A look at who died — and who should have died — this week on the HBO fantasy drama.
Courtesy of HBO

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for episode nine, season six of HBO’s Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards.”]

Every week on Game of Thrones, someone dies … and unfortunately, it’s rarely the person we want to see dead. Here, in the Grim Reaper Report, we tally up the fatalities from each week’s episode, and choose who we’d rather see going to that King’s Landing in the sky.

Well, that was … fun?

This week’s much-anticipated “Battle of the Bastards,” which pitted a resurrected Jon Snow against the detestable Ramsay Bolton, involved a massive amount of blood-letting. Has any previous episode of Game of Thrones resulted in this sheer number of deaths? All the unrelenting carnage was more than a little stomach-churning, to be honest.

But in the end, there was really only one death that mattered … and it’s the one we’ve all been waiting five seasons to see.

Who Died?

Ramsay — that bastard, in every sense of the word — came into this episode as cocky as ever. He gleefully taunted Jon Snow and Sansa before their decisive battle, vowing to feed Jon to his dogs (foreshadowing alert!) and proving he had their brother Rickon by tossing out the severed head of the boy’s direwolf, Shaggydog. Not another dead direwolf! Forget all the human deaths on this show, it’s the four-legged casualties that really sting.

Oh, did I mention “human deaths”? Because there were about a bajillion of those, once Jon’s ragtag army of wildlings faced off against Ramsay’s infinitely better-equipped forces. But first, of course, Ramsay had to toy with his prey: He actually let Rickon free, only to fire arrows at him once he started running to Jon. You know, just to make it interesting.

Jon tried to save his baby bro, but an arrow from Ramsay pierced Rickon’s back just as Jon got to him. And another Stark bites the dust.

That enraged Jon enough to (foolishly) lead his men into full attack mode, charging toward Ramsay’s troops as arrows rained down upon them. And oh my, the carnage. Men screamed in agony with their guts spilling out. Horses died by the dozens. So many men died that a mound of corpses actually formed a makeshift barricade on the battlefield. One welcome sight: The wildling giant Wun Wun did get to tear an enemy soldier in half like he was breaking up a Kit Kat bar.

What’s really strange, though, is amid all this death and destruction, Jon Snow magically remained unharmed. He’s a great fighter and all, but it strained credibility watching him waltz across the battlefield and never get hit by anything more than a little mud. Maybe the Red Witch did cast a spell to help him out after all.

Still, the bodies piled up, and Jon and his comrades were squeezed in on all sides by shielded troops stabbing them with long spears. All looked to be lost … that is, until Sansa and Littlefinger rode in with the Knights of the Vale behind them. So that’s who Sansa was writing that letter to! A defeated Ramsay retreated to Winterfell, where Wun Wun battered down the door like a boss and let Jon’s troops invade before succumbing to about a hundred arrows. Rest in peace, Wun Wun. There’s a big ol’ cloud waiting for you in Wildling Heaven.

Surrounded by enemies, Ramsay decided to take Jon up on his offer of a one-on-one fight — which Jon quickly won, deflecting Ramsay’s arrows with his shield before punching Ramsay’s face to a bloody pulp. He didn’t kill him, though. He threw him into the castle’s dungeon, tied to a chair, bleeding profusely. And the guy still had the nerve to taunt Sansa like he’s Hannibal Lecter or something.

But Sansa had the last laugh: She sent Ramsay’s starving dogs into the cell with him so they could munch on his face. Consider that payback for Shaggydog, buddy — and good riddance.

But wait, there’s more death! Back in Meereen, the slavers were still flinging fireballs at the city, and they demanded that Daenerys and company leave so they could get back to enslaving. But the Mother of Dragons had the ultimate trump card: uh, her dragons, who torched the slavers’ boats from the air while the Dothraki attacked on land. The lesson, as always: Try not to be on Daenerys’ bad side when she utters the word “Dracarys.”

Who Should’ve Died?

Obviously, Ramsay’s death was a treat five seasons in the making, so no complaints there. And with the slavers getting their just deserts, this was actually one of the more fan-pleasing episodes in Game of Thrones history, deaths-wise. (Wait: Are showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss going soft on us all of a sudden? What happened to the guys who had fans cursing their TVs after the Red Wedding?)

So if there is something to complain about this week, it’s the way Ramsay died. Sure, getting eaten by his dogs was a fitting comeuppance, but it’d have meant a lot more if someone who had been touched by his cruelty had dealt the fatal blow. Which brings us to Theon Greyjoy.

He and sister Yara did show up on Daenerys’ doorstep in Meereen, offering 100 ships in exchange for Daenerys helping Yara reclaim the Iron Islands from that jerk Euron. Yara and Daenerys bonded over a shared history — “Hey! My dad was crazy, too!” — and soon agreed to join forces, girl power-style. Hmmm … a pair of powerful women teaming up to fight a misogynistic blowhard before taking over the world. Sounds familiar, somehow.

But Theon’s presence just reminded us of all those horrible scenes with him as Ramsay’s emasculated slave Reek. Ramsay stripped away Theon’s humanity — and his genitals. If anyone should’ve taken Ramsay’s life, it should have been Theon. Alas, it appears he was just a few weeks too late. At least when he does get to Winterfell, he can scratch those dogs behind their ears to reward them for a job well done. Good boys!  

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