As announced earlier this week, the title of next Sunday’s (and this season’s penultimate) Game of Thrones episode is “Battle of the Bastards,” which suggests exactly one thing: The death of the show’s most despised character, Ramsay Bolton, is near. (Unless, of course, Game of Thrones returns to its old habits and does something like have Ramsay Bolton gleefully murder Jon Snow mere weeks after his resurrection. It’s possible!) But if this season does continue its trend of fan-service plot, then we at The Ringer have some suggestions. Here’s who we’d want to see kill Ramsay, either for cathartic or entertainment purposes. — Gabe Fisher
Mallory Rubin: In a realm full of vile people doing vile things, Ramsay Bolton (née Snow) has always been the human equivalent of a chamber pot: a stinking vat of filth and decay festering dangerously in the corner because no one’s found the courage to come and throw it out the fucking window.
While Ramsay has no shortage of victims who’ve earned the right to flush him away, he deserves a special kind of plunging and bleaching that only one soul can truly provide. Sure, I’d like to see two farm boys pelt him with acorns before burning him to a crisp and hanging his charred limbs from the gates. Of course I’d cheer with reckless abandon if Walda’s shade rose from the grave and fed him to the dogs. Obviously I’d grab some popcorn and pork sausage if Theon got a chance to flay him living. But nothing would match the catharsis of watching Sansa take her vengeance on the monster who robbed her of so much.
I don’t know if a paring knife to the throat will suffice; I’m not sure if Sansa has the stomach for a hunt; I can’t say if Ghost will lend a paw (and jaw) to the cause. But I’m certain that Winterfell won’t feel like home again until the real Reek is purged, and I’m certain that Sansa knows it.
Gabe Fisher: When you think of the horror that is Ramsay Bolton, the first victim who comes to mind is Theon, a.k.a. Reek Greyjoy. Theon suffered at the hand of Ramsay for just about as long as I have been a cognizant, thinking human being; I practically grew up alongside the torture of Theon Greyjoy, among other formative, more cheery cultural moments.
The thing is, there is no way that Theon wants to be anywhere near Ramsay Bolton. (And who can blame him for that?) That’s where Yara comes in. We might have had our doubts about the strength of their bond, but all concerns should’ve been laid to rest after Yara’s half-fraternity-hazing, half-pump-up speech in last week’s episode, in which she simultaneously forced her brother to chug a beer and lovingly told him to get his life back together.
So: who wouldn’t want to see Yara, ale in hand, arrive from across the globe to stab her sword through Ramsay’s back?
Kate Knibbs: Rickon is the most useless character on Game of Thrones, but it doesn’t have to be this way for Knockoff Bran. Give the little fellow something to do! Like unexpected last-minute bastardcide! I admit it’s not as obviously satisfying as having Sansa or Jon Snow kill Ramsay, but GoT has been leaning into fan service too heavily this season, anyway. A vote for Rickon is a vote for a much-needed dose of narrative chaos. It’s also a great way to set up a tween romance between Lyanna Mormont and the least relevant Stark.
Riley McAtee: Lyanna Mormont, the tough-talking tween of Bear Island, is the ruler that Daenerys Targaryen wishes she could be. She heeds the advice of her council, can control a room without setting it on fire, and if she had three dragons under her command she would have undoubtedly taken the Iron Throne several seasons ago. But Lyanna Mormont doesn’t have dragons or a horde of Dothraki, she just has 62 fighting men. So in lieu of the Iron Throne, she can grab a consolation prize: stabbing Ramsay Bolton in the fucking throat.
Chris Almeida: I’m going to be the voice for implausible internet theories here and vouch for somebody who, currently, isn’t even near Westeros.
It can be assumed that Varys hasn’t had a particularly pleasurable life. He lost his man parts as a child, when a sorcerer used them as part of a ritual, and was generally mistrusted as a result. Thus, it makes sense that Varys isn’t sexually interested in women. “Convenient excuse,” says the internet. Because you know who else don’t have man parts or interest in human women? Mermen!
The internet has laid out a not-really-convincing-at-all-but-let’s-go-with-it-anyway argument that Varys is a merman and that his endgame is to get Dany’s dragons to melt the Wall and cause a massive flood, likely killing everybody near the wall — Ramsay included — and making the merworld much larger than before, as would be beneficial for a merman.
Not convinced? Seems legit to me.
Of course, when considering the physical safety of everybody working on the show and the mental safety of everybody who watches it, maybe we should just hope for a more … predictable choice.
Zach Kram: Jon slaying Ramsay might work best as part of a narrative arc; Sansa doing the deed would pack the most poetic justice; Ghost tearing the Bastard of Bolton limb from limb would have the most delicious irony.
But in yearning for the death of the show’s most cruel yet boring villain, I want pure brutality — a satisfying rejoinder to the hours of torture we (and Theon, and Sansa, and Fat Walda) have endured at his hands.
Something like this:
Jon Snow doesn’t have a Hulk in his army, but he does have a giant, and Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun — a sort of Game of Thrones analog to the Big Friendly Giant, right down to his usual placidity and vegetarianism — can bring the same ferocity to next week’s proceedings.
Wun Wun is twice as tall as the Hulk, isn’t afraid to bash puny men into walls when provoked, and already helped rally the troops last week with his simple declaration, “Snow.” Now’s the time for him to help one Snow by taking out a former one.
Also, it’s an #EvenYear, baseball friends. Time for a giant to star on the season’s biggest stage, just before winter arrives.
David Shoemaker: So yeah, Game of Thrones is known for eschewing traditional endings and expected comeuppances. But it also goes for some well-placed gore with even greater frequency. For a character as bad as Ramsay, he’s either going to be the last man standing or he’s going to get what he has coming to him in the most gruesome way possible. I’m going with option B, and I can say it with the certainty of a full-blood heir: No matter who gives him the shove into the kennel, Ramsay’s dogs will be what do him in. Is it a copout to not pick a specific person? Sure, maybe. But in a world with dire wolves and dragons, animals are characters, too. And don’t act like the dogs won’t like it.
Ben Glicksman: There are plenty of more deserving candidates — Sansa, Theon, a shadow baby bearing Jon Snow’s face — but damn, something has to make Cersei happy soon. She’s in the midst of a horrible, no good, very bad stretch: She only has one child left; the religious nutjobs who made her walk naked through King’s Landing have just been further empowered; and Jaime has been dispatched to Riverrun. Brutal. While offing Ramsay would make no sense strategically, nothing warms Cersei’s heart quite like a good, old-fashioned murder session. So grab a bottle of red, jam out to “The Rains of Castamere,” and bash Ramsay’s skull in with the shame bell. I’m just looking out here. Let’s help Cersei get her groove back.
[Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.]