It’s probably hard for most to mourn the brutal death of Ramsay Bolton. He was a violent, evil, smug, morally bankrupt son of a bitch with an insatiable appetite for inflicting pain in the most horrifying ways possible. Over the course of his Game of Thrones reign, we watched him flay, castrate, and hunt humans with a twinkle in his eye and a smile teasing his plump lips. The nicest thing anybody could say about Ramsay Bolton, bastard son of Roose Bolton and unrightful Lord of Winterfell, is “at least he didn’t eat babies,” though nobody can really prove he didn’t eat babies. He might’ve eaten babies.
But death is kind. In death, even the vilest people are granted a sort of amnesty. People have to find something nice to say about you once you are, say, torn to shreds by your own murderous hounds. They have to stop wishing they could kill you. They have to think about the best parts of you.
In death we can appreciate how irresistibly nasty Ramsay Bolton was. Ramsay brought a new, complex, sort-of brio to being a horrible human — part impish schoolboy, part pure psychopath. He didn’t have many friends, but he loved dogs. He wasn’t very good at not getting his face smashed in by Jon Snow, but he had a special way of smirking before doing something homicidal that was strangely alluring. That gleam in his clear blue eyes relayed a special sort of deviance. What I’m really trying to say is that Ramsay Bolton was super hot. I’m sorry. No, I’m not. He was smoking hot.
Imagine Ramsay if he didn’t like peeling human flesh off the living — if the worst thing he did was ghost someone after three months, or steal money from his grandma. Honestly, he was just another misunderstood, mischievous dude with some daddy issues. Granted, his issues were pathologically homicidal and deeply terrifying, but if you ignore the specifics, was he not just another cinematic bad boy with a twinkle in his eye? How can your body not respond to that?
I am aware how troubling this attraction was, and I, like the rest of both the real and the fictional universes, am in a healthier place now that Ramsay is gone. But his sex appeal made me reconsider who I am as a person, and I learned that I am a person who was sort of into the way Ramsay Bolton bit into that huge sausage after he castrated Theon. I embrace the darkness. I know that now.
It was 50 Cent who once rapped “I watch gangsta flicks and root for the bad guy / and turn it off before it end, ’cause the bad guy dies.” In my version of the Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay lives, cuts off Jon Snow’s man bun with a sexy-ass smirk, and then hits me up on Tinder. R.I.P. Ramsay, you will be missed.
HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.