'Game of Thrones': The Once and Future Impact of Sansa Stark's Greatest Enemy

The major character's gruesome death in "Battle of the Bastards" was only an ending of sorts.
Courtesy of HBO

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for season six, episode nine of HBO's Game of Thrones.]

Ramsay Bolton and Hannibal Lecter have more in common than one might think. 

They're both inclined to toy with their victims, physically and mentally. Ramsay doesn't eat people, but has little problem feeding them to the dogs; indeed, House Bolton's built their legacy on the raw backs of flayed men. Hannibal's intelligence speaks for itself, but Ramsay's own twisted mind deserves recognition, as seen in his ruthlessly clever handling of the "Battle of the Bastards." Both men have memorable encounters with biting faces, even if for Hannibal it meant the end of captivity, and for Ramsay it meant the end of all things.

Except… maybe it wasn't the end of all things. Yes, Ramsay died. ("Thankfully, for the world's sake," actor Iwan Rheon noted when speaking with The Hollywood Reporter this week; truly everyone was rooting for this monster's death, his own performer included.) But here's where Lord Bolton and Doctor Lecter have another thing in common: their cold, calculated taunting and tormenting from the discomfort of a prison cell.

"Hello, Sansa," Ramsay bloodily breathes at Lady Stark when she arrives at his cell at the end of "Battle of the Bastards," bringing two of Hannibal's most famous words to mind: "Hello, Clarice."

Ramsay proceeds to speak in turns to Sansa, to himself, and to no one in particular, as he observes his awful new surroundings: "Is this where I'll be staying now? No. Our time together is about to come to an end. That's alright. You can't kill me; I'm part of you now."

House Stark's high-profile prisoner dies a minute or two later, but there's power in those final two sentences. At worst, Ramsay speaks to his psychological impact on Sansa, permanently altering her outlook on life moving forward. There's no doubt that he's made Sansa, already a Northerner, even colder in their time together. Look no further than the grin tugging at her lips as Ramsay's dogs eat him alive for further proof.

But there's another possibility some have pondered: Ramsay's comment — "You can't kill me; I'm part of you now" — speaks to his bloodline's continued existence, which would mean Sansa is pregnant, carrying Ramsay's child. The theory emerged earlier in the season, during "The Door," when Sansa meets with Littlefinger and explains how she can still feel what Ramsay did to her body. Viewing Ramsay's final words through that context makes them all the more chilling, and adds new meaning to Sansa's own retort: "Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear."

But will his bloodline disappear? Not if this theory pans out.

For his part, Rheon interprets Ramsay's remark to Sansa as complimentary toward his soon-to-be former wife: "I think it's great that we're seeing another brilliant female character emerging out of what was a horrific situation. Now, Sansa's going to take this new strength she's got and she's going to move forward. But I do think Ramsay is sitting there and thinking … well, he actually says it: 'I'm part of you now.' He's broken her, but it's made her stronger. I think he's still quite impressed with her."

If Sansa is carrying Ramsay's child, expect that development to become more explicit as soon as Sunday's season six finale. But even if the Bastard of Bolton's bloodline ends in the maws of his own dogs, his legacy of cruel brutality will live on in the people he's left behind: Jon Snow, turned into a violent animal after watching his little brother die at Ramsay's hands; Theon Greyjoy, physically and mentally mutilated during his time with Ramsay; and especially Sansa, smirking with quiet pride at Ramsay's disturbing demise, a page pulled right out of her own abuser's playbook.

Watch the video below for more predictions about the season six finale:

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