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Recap / Game of Thrones S6E9: "Battle of the Bastards"

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The fleets of Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis continue to bombard the city of Meereen. Daenerys surveys the attack with Tyrion from the Great Pyramid. He cites the fleet as a backhanded compliment: if the Masters didn't fear a city without slaves (and thus without them in power), they wouldn't be here to destroy it. Satisfied that Tyrion isn't completely at fault, Daenerys declares her intention to crucify the "Wise" Masters, set their fleets on fire, kill all their soldiers and raze their cities. Tyrion, disturbed, points out that she's starting to sound a lot like her father (apparently, Jaime told him his secret at some off-screen point), and suggests taking another approach. Thus, Daenerys and her court meet with the Masters, who offer them onerous terms of surrender. Daenerys says they have misunderstood: she is there to discuss their surrender. The Masters scoff at this... Until Drogon drops in behind Daenerys. Mounting him, Daenerys leads her dragons (Rhaegal and Viserion unceremoniously bust themselves free) against their fleet, making short work of several ships. At the same time, Daario and Daenerys's new Dothraki army ride into town and make short work of the Sons of the Harpy, who find heavily armed fighters on horseback far more challenging than unarmed slaves or ambushed soldiers. Meanwhile, Grey Worm tells the Masters' (slave) soldiers they have a choice: die for men who will not die for them, or go home. The Wise Masters' bodyguards choose the better part of valor. Tyrion reminds the frightened Masters of their pact with him, which they violated. One must die as punishment for this. The two high-born Masters volunteer their low-born colleague. Instead, Grey Worm kills both high-born Masters. Tyrion tells the sole survivor to warn his people what happened to them if they ever have future ideas of taking back Meereen.


Later, Yara and Theon come to Meereen for a royal audience with Daenerys. Tyrion reminisces mockingly over the last time he and Theon saw each other, at Winterfell years ago. They have brought a hundred ships. In return, Daenerys expects they want her to support Theon on the Salt Throne. He explains, however, that it is Yara with the claim, plus the rest of the situation. Tyrion tells her that between the former Masters' fleet and the portion of the Iron Fleet the Greyjoys have offered, she has just barely enough ships to carry her army. Yara and Theon tell her of Euron's proposal, admitting that he will provide a larger fleet but pointing out that he will want her hand in exchange, and that he will probably do away with her once he gets what he wants (the Seven Kingdoms). Daenerys says their fathers were evil men who left the world worse than they found it, but they are different. To rule the Iron Islands, the Greyjoys must support her as queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and give their raiding ways up. Yara agrees reluctantly.


In the North, Jon and Sansa meet with Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay condescendingly thanks Jon for returning Sansa to him. He tells Jon to surrender and swear loyalty to him as the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. In return, he will pardon him for deserting the Night's Watch, and the lords with him for betraying House Bolton. He warns Jon he does not have the power to take Winterfell, and says there's no need for slaughter. Jon agrees, and instead challenges Ramsay to a Combat by Champion. Ramsay, unfortunately, is too smart for this. Jon is reputedly a great swordsman, so Ramsay isn't sure he can win a Sword Fight against him; in contrast, he is sure that his army, twice the size of the Starks', can win. He asks if Jon will let his little brother Rickon die instead of surrender. Sansa asks for proof Ramsay has him, so they throw the head of Rickon's direwolf, Shaggydog, at their feet. As he starts asking for their surrender again, Sansa warns Ramsay he will die tomorrow. Ramsay says he looks forward to having her in his bed again and his dogs will love devouring Jon's men. Saying he'll meet them in the morning, he departs.

Later, in his tent, Jon says if Ramsay were smart he'd stay inside Winterfell. Davos says Ramsay won't because he knows all the North is watching and can't have the Northern lords sensing weakness on his part. Fear is his power, so he can't have that. Jon says it's his weakness too, as his men don't like fighting for Ramsay. If they see the tide turning, they'll desert him. Tormund's concern is for Ramsay's cavalry, as Stannis Baratheon showed what mounted riders can do against infantry back at the end of Season 4. Jon reassures him trenches will protect their flanks. Davos says they must let Ramsay charge them and yield the center, so he can be surrounded three ways. Tormund asks Jon if he thought Ramsay would really fight him personally. Jon says no; it was to make him angry so he'd come at them with everything. After they leave, Sansa rebukes Jon for not consulting her insight while he drew up his battle plans against Ramsay, since she knows how he thinks. Jon admits his mistake. He asks how they can rescue Rickon but Sansa says there's no way Ramsay will permit him to live. Jon insists they can't give up on their brother and they argue. He asks Sansa what he should do but Sansa explains she doesn't know anything about battles and can only tell him not to do what Ramsay wants. As they argue more, Jon asks where they can get more men, explaining that they've exhausted all their resources. Sansa tells Jon she won't return to Ramsay alive. Jon replies that he won't let Ramsay touch her but a despondent Sansa responds nobody can truly protect anyone. Davos and Tormund reminisce about Stannis and Mance Rayder, hoping this till will go better for them. Jon goes to Melisandre, telling her that if he falls this time, not to bring him back. She replies that it is the Lord of Light's will she follows, and has to try as it seems to be his will. Davos walks to the remains of the pyre where Shireen Baratheon was sacrificed by her father Stannis, finding the burnt carved stag he gave her and realising how she died — and who caused it...

The next morning, Jon's army assembles before Winterfell. Crosses bearing flayed men have been set on fire in the field to intimidate their forces. Ramsay comes forward with Rickon in tow. He draws a dagger and Jon starts forward, afraid he's about to kill Rickon. Instead, he cuts the boy's bindings. As Ramsay tells Rickon to run to Jon, he nocks an arrow in his bow as Jon rides forward desperately to rescue Rickon. Ramsay fires and misses. Nonchalantly, he nocks and fires another arrow without even looking. Ramsay's third arrow also misses. Jon reaches out to his brother.

The fourth arrow takes Rickon through the chest.

Jon is upset.

Sansa's advice was for Jon to not let Ramsay manipulate his emotions... but Jon Turns Red and charges at the entire Bolton army — alone. Behind him, Ser Davos panics and starts to reorganize the Stark forces. Jon rides into a hail of arrows, leaving him horseless. The Bolton cavalry ride down at him. Alone, Jon draws his sword and prepares for a hopeless Last Stand... but The Cavalry, his own cavalry ordered forward by Davos, smash into the Bolton lines, saving him. Behind them, Tormund Giantsbane leads the infantry charge. As horses and men careen past him, trampling each other, ramming each other, stabbing each other, Jon slays every Bolton soldier he can get his hands on.

Ser Davos and Ramsay order their archers to nock... draw... Ser Davos tells them to unstring their bows, as they'd only hit their own side. Ramsay has no such compunctions. The arrows fall indiscriminately, forming a literal wall of corpses, dead and screaming horses and men. Ramsay orders more arrows, watching without emotion as what's left of the North slaughters itself before him.

Having committed his cavalry, Ramsay now sends in his foot soldiers. The Bolton infantry surrounds the Starks on three sides, hemming them in against the wall of corpses, then close in with their spears behind a shield wall. With lockstep movement, they stab with their spears, and advance to where the dead wildings just were. Stab and advance, again and again. Over the mound of bodies, by now easily thirty feet tall, come the Umbers. Jon's forces slam against the shields, trying desperately to break out from the trap, but cannot. At last, the wilding morale is broken, and they charge toward the Umber side in hopes of escape. Jon is knocked down and falls under the press, nearly smothering to death before he can break free. Meanwhile, Tormund is locked in battle with Lord Umber, brutally beaten before at last, he manages to kill him. But the shield wall is impenetrable; not even Wun Wun, literally ripping men apart with his bare hands, can make a dent in it, as another soldier always seems to be there to fill in the gaps made, with their spears not allowing the wildings to take advantages of the holes made in the shield wall.

As the Stark cause falters, something sounds from the horizon, and all eyes turn towards the hills.

A warhorn sounds, and The Cavalry of knights — not just the mounted warriors of the North, clad in boiled leather and mail and maybe sometimes plate, but literal Knights In Shining Armor — crest the rise. From their lances hang blue banners, with the moon and falcon fluttering on them. At their head rides Lord Petyr Baelish, called Littlefinger, with Sansa Stark by his side. House Arryn and the Vale have joined the fray.

The Knights of the Vale hit the Bolton infantry in the rear, rolling up the shield wall almost effortlessly; the Bolton infantry, though armed with long pikes suitable for use against cavalry, are unable to turn due to the many layers of spears fencing them in. Ramsay retreats in a fury to Winterfell while his army is routed. He closes the gates: Jon's forces are not equipped for The Siege. However, Wun Wun simply smashes the gates in, despite being filled with arrows, and enough Stark men stream in around him to rout what defenders remain. Wun Wun is killed by a last fatal arrow from Ramsay, who says he's reconsidered: a Duel to the Death with Jon sounds fine. But he still has his bow, while Jon has only his sword. Jon drops Longclaw and grabs a shield. As he advances, he blocks one arrow, two arrows, three, and then flings the shield away and pounds Ramsay into unconsciousness with his bare fists. He stops when he notices Sansa.

With the flayed man struck down, the direwolf banner is unfurled from the ramparts once again. For the first time in a long time, there are Starks in Winterfell. Jon orders Rickon's body to be taken to the crypts, to be buried alongside their father. He's soon met by Sansa, who demands to know where her former husband is.

Sansa visits Ramsay, who is in a cell and tied to a chair. Ramsay, still overconfident that he will escape somehow to wreak more horror, taunts his former wife, saying that he's part of Sansa now, whether she likes it or not. She retorts that his name, house, and memory will vanish over time, wiping the smirk from his face, before revealing that the cages of his hounds are open. Ramsay watches this with apprehension before declaring they're loyal, they won't harm him, but Sansa notes he starved them in anticipation of feeding them Jon. And, lo and behold, as he orders them to sit, stay, heel, DOWN... they don't listen. As Ramsay's overconfident demeanor begins to crumble and, for the first and last time in his life, give way to overwhelming fear, the alpha dog bites his face, twice, before giving into its hunger. The other hounds soon follow suit and proceed to tear their former master apart. The Bastard of Bolton is finally undone — in more ways than one — by his own cruelty. Their barks, growls, and ripping of flesh soon overwhelm his screaming, and Sansa watches for a moment before turning and walking away, ending the episode with a secret smile on her face.

This episode contains the following tropes:

  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: If Rickon ran in a zig-zag pattern, stutter-stepped, varied his speed, or basically did anything other than run straight ahead, there's a good chance he'd still be alive. His actor even acknowledged this after the episode aired.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: The Vale forces make a Big Entrance for a well-timed Big Damn Heroes moment just as it seems that Jon and the Stark loyalists are doomed.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the books, Rhaegal and Viserion burn Quentyn Martell, and wreck havoc on Meereen. Here they break out of the cells and help Daenerys and Drogon save Meereen by attacking the Slavers fleet.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Yara Greyjoy is upset that Daenerys wants the Ironborn to abandon their Rape, Pillage, and Burn ethos and submit to her laws. In the novels, Asha Greyjoy is critical of the same mindset and wants to change it. Here, Yara invokes the same Culture Justifies Anything defense used by more macho Ironborn. That being said, it doesn't take her much consideration to agree to give up piracy under Daenerys' terms, since she won't be getting a better deal elsewhere.
  • Adaptation Distillation: It seems Ned's bones simply reached Winterfell and were interred in the crypts off-screen in the show, and were left unmolested by the Boltons during their occupation. In the books, special attention is given to how his remains hadn't yet reached Moat Cailin when the Ironborn seized it and have since disappeared, which turns out to fortunate since the pro-Bolton Lady Barbrey Dustin wants to feed them to her dogs. (Fanon generally accepts that since they disappeared in the Neck, they were taken in by Ned's old friend Howland Reed).
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: More like a semi-circle of doom, but the Bolton shield wall with spears is basically this.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Masters offer up their low-born member as a sacrificial lamb for breaking the pact, who wastes no time falling to his knees and begging for his life. Fortunately for him, Grey Worm's contempt at his cowardice is far surpassed by his loathing of the man's colleagues.
    • A Bolton soldier who Jon briefly duels until the former is knocked down by a panicking horse can be heard begging for mercy before Jon delivers a Coup de Grâce with Longclaw.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Battle of Winterfell revolves around the Starks bringing this to an end by reclaiming their ancestral home from the Boltons.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Unlike Smalljon Umber, who we get to see slain, Lord Karstark simply disappears at some point in the battle. We know he doesn't return to the castle with Ramsay Bolton, but we don't know whether he survived the battle, either. The first episode of Season Seven reveals his fate.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted with extreme prejudice.
    • Rickon is killed by a single arrow and is riddled by several more post-mortem when Ramsay orders his archers to fire on Jon.
    • The Rain of Arrows from Ramsay's archers is portrayed as a horrific, unending barrage of Death from Above, cutting down hundreds of soldiers.
    • Though Wun Wun is able to shrug off a few arrows during the battle, dozens of them prove enough to bring the giant down as he breaches the gates of Winterfell. He makes it about ten feet inside before he sinks to his knees, weak from being filled with so many, and is then finished off with a last one through his eye by Ramsay.
  • Armchair Military: Played with for Ramsay. While he does go out to the battle, he never takes part in it himself, watching from the sidelines and calmly issuing orders to his men. This is in marked contrast to the Stark alliance, which consists of Frontline General examples to their detriment. The difference shows just how cold and uncaring Ramsay is about his men. As soon as it does seem that the battle is going to come to him, he tries to run away.
  • Armor-Piercing Question
    • Played with during the parlay. When Ramsay rejects Jon's offer of combat by champion, Jon asks if Ramsay's men would still fight and die for him knowing he's unwilling to return the favor. The question clearly agitates Ramsay who merely points at Jon and tells Sansa, "Oh, he's good." Ultimately subverted when the question isn't nearly as armor piercing as Jon hoped and Ramsay maintains his calm for the battle.
    • Davos was shocked when Tormund asked him if he'd seen the "demons" in Stannis.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • Jon helps a Stark loyalist stab his sword straight through a Bolton soldier's face and helmet.
    • Averted with Jon as his Valyrian steel sword is able to cut through the lightly armored Boltons like butter, although everyone else's weapons seem to face little to no resistance as well.
    • Averted with the volleys of arrows as all of the Northern soldiers wear light armor.
  • Aspect Montage: The opening scene shows the loading and firing of a catapult in a number of key shots.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The two Masters who had the gall to attack Meereen, despite being offered a peace treaty and an alternate outcome. It is hard to feel sorry for them.
    • Smalljon Umber's brutal death at Tormund Giantsbane's hands. This was the same traitor who sold out Rickon and watched him die without empathy after all.
    • Ramsay's death is horrible, bloody, and thoroughly, thoroughly deserved.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: So many men die in the assault on Winterfell that the remainder are fighting a literal wall of their corpses. Some of them aren't even dead yet, and Jon nearly gets trampled into it. This is invoked by Ramsay, who wants a large number of corpses to pile up between the two armies as a makeshift wall and has his men fire arrows into his own cavalry as they're fighting the Stark army to provide the bodies.
  • Back from the Brink: House Stark is finally resurrected after Jon, Sansa, and their loyalists successfully retake Winterfell.
  • Back for the Dead: Rickon Stark makes his second appearance after reappearing this season and... dies before the episode's end. He doesn't even get a single line.
  • Badass Army: Despite being outnumbered two-to-one, the Stark army manages to inflict more casualties on a numerically superior army than they receive in turn. A Downplayed example would be the late-arriving Knights of the Vale, who are mounted and far more heavily armored than their Bolton opponents.
  • Badass Boast: Near the end of the meeting where the three Great Masters are sneeringly setting humiliating terms for Dany's surrender, Drogon is shown flying in from behind them toward Dany, who of course sees him easily. She lets them know how truly screwed they are with just five words right before he reaches them.
    Razdal mo Eraz: Your reign is over!
    Daenerys: ...My reign has just begun.
  • Badass Normal: Davos. Despite being a knight, he has little experience in fighting and battle when compared to his cohorts. Nonetheless, he gives the most orders to the Stark army and even rallies his archers to enter the noticeably bloody skirmish.
  • Batman Gambit: Both Jon and Ramsay try to pull one in the prelude to the final battle. In the parley, Jon goads Ramsay by taunting him as a coward, hoping to make him angry enough to spoil for a fight, and later builds his battle plans on taking the Bolton charge to deny them the advantage of their numbers and superior cavalry. Ramsay, on the other hand, has Rickon run across the battlefield while almost whimsically firing arrows at him with the idea of provoking Jon to run forward from his protected lines to rescue him, and his outnumbered force forward to rescue him. As Sansa predicted, Jon's plan fails while Ramsay's succeeds.
  • Battle Chant:
    • Bolton spear men start shouting ominous battle cries as they close in on the Wildlings in tight formation with their shields protecting them.
      Bolton Commander: INFANTRY! ADVANCE!
      (the Bolton soldiers take three steps forward, punctuating each one with a "Hu-ah")
    • Smalljon Umber also rallies the Bolton infantry with one of these.
      Smalljon Umber: WHO OWNS THE NORTH?
      Bolton Soldiers: WE DO!
      Smalljon Umber: WHO OWNS THE NORTH?!
      Bolton Soldiers: WE DO!
      Smalljon Umber: SHOW ME!
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The titular battle, which is filmed on a scale that rivals or surpasses the Battle of Blackwater. The Battle of Fire at Meereen we see is also satisfying, especially since we see another Field of Fire.
  • Big Brother Instinct: It is the urge to save Rickon that convinced Jon to retake Winterfell but when his brother is killed, Jon charges straight at Ramsay's army in a blind rage and compromises their battle plans. When Jon finally catches up to Ramsay, it is this that drives Jon's Extreme Mêlée Revenge against him.
  • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Wun Wun secures victory for Jon's side by breaking down the gates of Winterfell, but dies almost immediately afterwards from a well-placed arrow to the eye from Ramsay. Even before that, it was clear that he was running out of road thanks to the dozens of arrow hits he suffered during the siege.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For the Northern storyline at least, as the Essos storyline had a triumphant Happy Ending. The Starks finally retake Winterfell and Ramsay Bolton and his lackeys are dead at last. However, the Starks have charitably lost about half their army in the process, if not more, including Rickon and Wun Wun. This leaves Littlefinger in control of the largest army in the North, and who knows what he'll want from Sansa in return for helping her.
  • Birds of a Feather: Yara's offer of an alliance with Dany is appealing as much because she's a fellow Warrior Princess as it is the fleet of ships she's bringing.
  • Blatant Lies: In the pre-battle negotiation, Ramsay calls himself a "man of mercy". That statement is demonstrably so full of shit.
  • Blofeld Ploy: Once it's made clear that the Masters have lost, Tyrion tells them that one of them must die for violating their pact. Two immediately offer up their low-born companion, who drops to his knees and begs for his life. Grey Worm steps up, sizes up the "volunteer"... and slits the throats of the other two.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: By end of the episode, Jon is covered from head to toe in blood and dirt. Tormund doesn't fare much better.
  • Book Ends: Sansa's plot for the last two seasons as a whole. It began when she, Littlefinger and the Arryn men at arms entered the courtyard of Winterfell and presented themselves to Ramsay and Roose. It ends when she, Littlefinger, and the Arryn knights return to the same courtyard and finish Ramsay and his forces.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Several unfortunate horses and soldiers get arrows through the face during the Bolton's repeated volleys. Ramsay finishes off Wun Wun with a surprise arrow to the eye, but when he tries it on Jon, this mistake allows his opponent to block all three arrows with a shield, instead of aiming for his legs or torso first.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Bolton shield wall is what nearly annihilates the Stark forces, and consists solely of a bunch of guys with tall, broad shields and long spears. They move as one unit, a few steps at a time, stab, a few more steps, stab... and the Wildling/Stark forces have no reply to it. Even Wun Wun can't breach it, and the more it advances, the more they're all pressed together, unable to maneuver or even swing their swords. Definitely an example of Shown Their Work and a Call-Back: Jon explained to Ygritte two seasons ago that the Wildlings don't fight like an army, more a collection of ferocious but undisciplined warriors. The Boltons fight as soldiers, in a tight formation with a practical, efficient battle plan. Now we see which one of those is really useful when it comes down to it. History buffs will probably see the obvious parallels to the Greek phalanx and the Roman shield walls.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Davos confesses that he nearly shits himself the night before large battles. He acquits himself very well on the field, however.
  • Broken Pedestal: Melisandre is shown to be no longer sure of her purpose as derived from the Lord of Light other than keeping Jon Snow alive. There's literally nothing else she can even assure Jon, as she states that it's not up to her whether or not to bring back Jon should he die again because she believes there must be a purpose for him being brought back; she just doesn't know why. Eventually, she is shown to have regained some confidence when Jon retakes Winterfell.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Almost literally, in the Masters' parlay with Dany. Seriously, when are these guys going to learn to stop pissing her off?
  • Call-Back:
    • For the director, who also did Season 5's "Hardhome". There's an Epic Tracking Shot The Oner following Jon as he runs through the Big Badass Battle Sequence.
    • Jon emerges from a pile of dead and dying men, a dark parallel to Daenerys being lifted above a crowd in Season 3's finale, "Mhysa".
    • Ramsay should have listened to what his father had to say about "mad dogs".
    • Last time a Stark son was involved in a proposal for Combat by Champion, it was Robb who was wise enough to deny a fight against Jaime, one of the best swordsmen alive back then. This time it's Ramsay who has heard enough about Jon's combat prowess to know he should stick with the safe option.
    • The horn that announces House Arryn's arrival sounds quite similar to the one Ramsay used while besieging Winterfell, and later while torturing Theon.
    • When the Wildlings are surrounded by the Bolton infantry, they learn the hard way why rhythm and coordination are important in "Southron" warfare, as the Wildlings are uniformly closed upon and systematically mowed down by two lines of shield men protecting pikemen. A couple of seasons before, Ygritte mocked Jon for the silliness she perceived from the very idea of having a person in an army (a drummer) who is specifically responsible for keeping rhythm.
    • A few episodes back, Wun Wun smashed through Castle Black's gates. Here he gets killed doing the same.
    • As a call back to season 2, yes Davos has seen real demons.
  • Camera Abuse: As Jon is beating Ramsay's face into the snow, some blood splatters on the edge of the camera.
  • Capital Offensive: Jon and Sansa lead Wildlings, Northern houses, and the Knights of the Vale in a march on Winterfell, their ancestral home and seat of the North.
  • Catharsis Factor: After almost four seasons, the Starks retake Winterfell.
  • The Cavalry:
    • The Dothraki, led by Daario, charge into Meereen and rout the Sons of the Harpy on the ground as the dragons torch the Masters' navy from the skies. Presumably this is to rescue the people caught outside the gates being killed by the Sons of the Harpy, though it's unclear why any of them are there (except possibly trying to escape from the fleet's bombardment).
    • Jon is the benefit of this twice: first his own lancers save him, and then the Knights of the Vale show up right when all hope was seemingly lost and save the day by attacking the Bolton infantry in the rear with a cavalry charge announced by the sound of blowing horns.
  • The Chessmaster: Ramsay's plan to defeat Jon's army almost goes off without a hitch. The only thing he did not plan for was Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale.
  • Co-Dragons: Harald Karstark and Smalljon Umber to Ramsay Bolton, though only the latter is actually seen on the battlefield. On the Starks' side, Davos Seaworth and Tormund Giantsbane to Jon.
  • Collateral Angst: Rickon. He was only kept alive so he could be killed in front of Jon, to motivate Jon into wanting to kill Ramsay even more than he already did.
  • Combat Breakdown: Though the battle plans fall apart immediately in the battle itself, Jon progresses from a badass soldier with clean clothes to little more than a wild man covered with battle remnants over the course of the fight, and from a Master Swordsman to Extreme Mêlée Revenge that is rather disturbing to watch.
  • Combat by Champion: When meeting before combat, Jon offers to fight Ramsay one-on-one in order to reduce the amount of bloodshed. Ramsay, who has the advantage of numbers, does not take the offer. He hypocritically asks for it when he's finally defeated, though he uses a bow instead of a sword. Jon, being more honorable, briefly entertains him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Ramsey all the way. He refuses to be baited by Jon, baits Jon in turn with Rickon's death, and even when utterly defeated tries to exploit Jon's honor with an offer of Combat by Champion (which he promptly tries to cheat at).
  • Commander Contrarian: The night before the battle, Sansa criticizes Jon for not seeking her input on the upcoming battle or on Ramsay. When Jon does ask her for advice, she actually doesn't have any to give, except that Rickon is a Dead Man Walking and that Ramsay will force Jon into a trap. She is proven right but at that point, Jon, Davos and the rest decide that Trap Is the Only Option.
  • Commonality Connection: Yara points out the similarities between her and Daenerys, which they promptly bond over. They're both daughters of terrible rulers (bonus points for Tyrion, another terrible father's child, being in the same room) who wound up getting killed by usurpers, and both aspire to become the first female rulers of their respective kingdoms.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: While Smalljon Umber had the upper hand on Tormund, he gets distracted when he hears the battle horn from the Knights of the Vale. This gives Tormund the opportunity to take a bite out of Smalljon and then stab him multiple times.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The shield wall the Bolton forces employ IS effective at dealing with the Stark infantry...but is completely unsuited for the Vale cavalry due to not having a defense for the flank and being over-committed. As such, the Vale knights literally roll over the Boltons and wipe them out to the last man within minutes.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Ramsay is Eaten Alive by his own dogs; given who he is, his screams of agony are satisfying to hear.
    • Smalljon Umber first gets his throat ripped out, and later is stabbed multiple times while still alive during those stabs.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Masters suffer an embarrassing defeat thanks to the dragons. Not only do they lose the battle, their entire fleet is seized by Daenerys, their soldiers abandon them, and two of them are killed for being cowards.
    • The Sons of the Harpy quickly discover that murdering slaves from the shadows in dribs and drabs in no way, shape, or form, makes them capable of withstanding Dothraki screamers.
    • Jon's forces learn the hard way just how effective a shield wall is in infantry combat before the Vale knights end up saving the day.
    • The Vale knights make very short work of Ramsay's infantry, who have helpfully lined up in formation with their backs outward.
    • When Jon and Ramsay finally engage in a fight, it's not even a fair fight and Jon ends up beating the hell out of his face.
  • Darkest Hour: Jon is being trampled by the retreating Wildlings and Northmen, Ramsay's forces have them cornered on all sides, and defeat looks imminent. Then House Arryn and its bannermen ride in, turning the tide.
  • Dead Man Walking: Sansa points out that Rickon is as good as dead. There is no way Ramsay would allow him to survive, as he has a better claim to Winterfell than himself (and, for that matter, Jon and Sansa).
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Wun Wun is brought down by dozens of arrow and spear wounds, with an arrow to the eye as a finisher.
  • Death by Adaptation: Though his fate in A Song of Ice and Fire remains to be seen, in the novels, Rickon is assumed to still be alive in Skagos, and far away from Winterfell.
  • Death by Irony: Smalljon Umber, a very large man who hates Wildlings and joins the Boltons so they can help him kill the Wildlings (and is the leader of a house which, in the books, has a roaring giant as their emblem), ends up being killed by Tormund, a Wildling with the sobriquet "Giantsbane".
  • Death Is Cheap: For Jon it is anyway, as he has to specifically ask Melisandre not to resurrect him, a promise she won't make. It ends up being unnecessary, but Melisandre never claims she wouldn't resurrect him again if she needed to.
  • Death Glare: It's a battle episode, so plenty of those are exchanged. Some stand out though.
    • Lyanna Mormont gives one to the Bolton negotiation party. That girl knows what's up.
    • Davos gives one to Melisandre after the battle, having figured out her part in burning Shireen at the stake.
  • Decapitation Presentation: To prove they have Rickon, Smalljon tosses Shaggydog's head to Jon Snow.
  • Defiant to the End: With all of his men defeated, Ramsay still refuses to surrender, offering to take Jon up on his offer to fight one on one. Jon obliges and beats him within an inch of his life, only relenting to allow Sansa to be the one to kill him. Ramsay also attempts this attitude with Sansa at first, but is quickly forced to realize that it's over for him and he's reduced to begging for his life.
  • Defiled Forever: Ramsay taunts Sansa by claiming that he's part of Sansa now, referring to all the abuse he inflicted upon her. Sansa retorts that he won't even be a memory. Then she sics his own starving hounds on him.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Ramsay is left to be devoured by his own hounds.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Nobody, except for Sansa, counted on the Knights of the Vale arriving. This goes double for Ramsay, who is suddenly being besieged by someone who is supposed to be an ally.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Killing all his own cavalry may have seemed a good idea at the time, but it also left him without scouts to alert him to developments outside his immediate line of sight — rendering himself and his troops vulnerable to a surprise attack by enemy reserves or reinforcements. Ramsay seems to have forgotten (or more likely he didn't pay attention) that Littlefinger is obsessed with Sansa, and Littlefinger now controls the Vale (or that his number is the only reason people don't rise against him). Not considering this costs him the battle. This is justified, though, as Littlefinger is supposedly an agent of the Lannisters, who gave the Boltons their current titles. One doesn't usually consider their allies turning on them in their battle strategies (funny since that's exactly how the Bolton rose to power).
    • The Masters didn't count on Daenerys retaliating against them, especially since she has three full-grown dragons at her beck and call.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Subverted. Tyrion's increasingly nervous explanation of the siege of Meereen looks like he's going to get him in trouble with Daenerys, but she trusts his judgement and even listens to his counsel when he suggests a course of action other than to kill them all.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • The upperclass Masters who sell out the lowborn Master to Greyworm, Greyworm gives them the Karmic Death they deserve for that.
    • Ramsay does little to no fighting on his own and flees back to Winterfell as soon as the Knights of the Vale show up. Plus, when he chooses to have that duel with Jon after all, he uses a bow. He then exposes his true self when he's reduced to desperately begging his dogs to "sit!".
  • Do with Him as You Will: After Jon has finally defeated the sadist Ramsay Bolton, he understandably beats Ramsay to a pulp for all the hell Ramsay has done to his family (Ramsay murdering his little brother and raping his younger sister) and for what Ramsay's done in general. However, Jon decides the final say on Ramsay's life should go to his sister Sansa, who has suffered at Ramsay’s hands even more than Jon has. Boy, does Sansa ever get the guy back.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • A minor one occurs when Grey Worm swiftly slits the throats of the two Masters who had, just moments before, promised to sell him and Missandei back into slavery.
    • Sansa gets her revenge and has Ramsay tied inside the kennels to be devoured by his own hounds. As Ramsay has been starving them for a week in anticipation of feeding Jon and his men to them, the trope name is both literally and metaphorically accurate.
    • The entire episode is for the Starks finally winning after several years of shit being thrown at them, quite the comeback from the Red Wedding.
  • Due to the Dead: Jon orders Rickon to be buried in the crypts next to his father.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • Subverted with Jon. When his horse is killed and he's facing down the entire Bolton cavalry alone, realizing his mistake, he simply pulls his sword to meet their charge. His own cavalry arrives just in time to make sure that a second death didn't come that day.
    • Wun Wun accepts his Death of a Thousand Cuts as his final act turns the post-battle siege of Winterfell into a small nuisance.
  • Easily Forgiven: Like Brienne, Tormund reminds Davos that he served the man who killed his King as he reminisces about Mance Rayder. Unlike Brienne, Tormund doesn't seem to hold a grudge and even invites Davos to drink with him.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The Bolton infantry, thanks to having Jon's army trapped in a corner, can even push back Wun Wun simply by holding the line and letting the pikemen stab him every time he gets too close. Tormund also tries to pierce through them with even less success and has to be pulled back by his allies.
    • Said infantry got hit with the opposite end of this trope when the heavily armored Arryn cavalry arrive on horseback, annihilating the tightly packed Boltons.
  • Enemies Equals Greatness: Tyrion convinces Daenerys that Meereen being attacked is a good thing because it shows that the Masters fear the idea that a city can prosper without slavery, which would prove that slavery itself is unnecessary.
  • Entitled Bastard: Did Ramsay really expect loyalty from his dogs when he starved them for a week and they are desperately hungry to eat anything?
  • Epic Tracking Shot: A notable one when Ramsay orders the first arrow volley against the Starks and his own men. The camera follows the arrows up through the air and down onto the battlefield.
  • Event Title: Battle of the Bastards.
  • Evil Counterpart: The entire premise of the episode, as evidenced by the title. We also got a showdown between Tormund and Smalljon Umber, both of whom are burly Boisterous Bruisers.
  • Evil Is Petty: Ramsay shoots Wun Wun in the eye, even though the giant was practically dead already. And he also wasted the shot on Wun Wun instead of shooting Jon.
  • Exact Words: Daenerys, Missandei, Grey Worm, and Tyrion meet with the Masters to discuss terms of surrender. When the Masters boast of all the conditions Daenerys will be forced to accept, Daenerys clarifies that it's the Masters who will be surrendering, punctuated by Drogon flying in to demonstrate that "the Mother of Dragons" isn't just a fancy title.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: At the climax of his Combat Breakdown, Jon relinquishes all semblance of humanity as he savagely beats Ramsay within an inch of his life. His animalistic nature is so disturbing, even the Wildlings aiming bows at Ramsay beforehand give pause and stare. However, he stops when he sees Sansa, who has been subjected to countless horrors that Ramsay has subjected her to. Ramsay would probably have preferred death by extreme melee revenge.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Melisandre's visions finally did come true — just not in the manner she expected. Her sacrifice of Shireen cleared the blizzard to create a march to Winterfell with full strength, and also allowed for the cavalry charge by the Knights of the Vale.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Wun Wun gets an arrow to the eye, the last of many arrow wounds he sustained breaching the gate to Winterfell.
    • Tormund stabs Smalljon Umber in the eye — and many other places — after taking a bite out of him during their brawl.
  • Famed in Story: Jon's reputation as a Master Swordsman makes Ramsey wary of taking him on.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Sansa (rather justifiably) considers being recaptured alive by the Boltons. She tells Jon she won't be recaptured, with the implication that she'll kill herself if it's likely. Though Jon says he’ll protect her from Ramsay, Sansa has become so jaded and broken from her experiences over the previous five seasons that she can’t allow herself to believe that anyone can truly protect anyone anymore, not even her own brother who she loves and who loves her.
  • Final Battle: Of the Stark-Bolton conflict. A millennia-old rivalry and bloody history finally ends definitively in favour of the Starks, albeit at great cost. The Boltons have historically lost to the Starks before, but this time the house is effectively extinguished.
  • Fingore:
    • Although it's subtle, Davos is seen rubbing his maimed right hand, implying a phantom limb pain was happening.
    • Jon takes out his first opponent, shattering his sword and slicing off his fingers.
    • When Wun Wun is pounding the door of Winterfell apart, a Bolton soldier spears his hand to the door. Rather than remove the spear, he pulls his hand hard enough to free it from the spear, shredding his hand in the process.
  • Foil: Aside from the titular bastards, this episode in particular casts Tyrion and Theon in this light. Both were disowned by their now dead fathers for being unfit heirs, despite many efforts to prove themselves. Both used to be cocky and promiscuous men (Theon's promiscuity went away with his castration, Tyrion suffered an emotional blow with the same effects). Both are now broken exiles advising queens who are also in exile and form a pact to take over Westeros.
  • Foreign Queasine: Apparently, the Free Folk's version of a Gargle Blaster is fermented goat's milk. Tormund assures Davos it's better than "that grape water you Southerners like to suck on", but the latter declines to partake.
  • Foreshadowing: Bronn's and Jaime's scathing critique of the Freys' so-called "siege" in an earlier episode rings true here. The Boltons' lack of a picket line allowed the Knights of the Vale to "fuck them up the arse" as Bronn colorfully put it, as they were decidedly not allies.
  • Four Is Death: The fourth arrow that Ramsay fires is what killed Rickon.
  • Frontline General: Deconstructed. Jon takes Ramsay's bait and rides out into No Man's Land, much too far ahead of his army to effectively command them. It's Davos and Tormund who actually marshal his forces; Tormund also fights at the front of his group of Wildlings and Davos marshals the archers to charge himself, despite not being a strong fighter.
    Davos: We may as well be taking shits back here! [draws sword] FOLLOW!!! [they charge]
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Davos decides to lead the reserves in a charge toward the battlefield, one man stays back, just standing there with his horse.
    • As Jon locks eyes with Ramsay across the battlefield, you can just see a few dozen Knights of the Vale stopping their charge to gawk at the giant right next to them.
  • Gargle Blaster: Highly alcoholic fermented goat milk seems to be a Wildling specialty. Understandably, Davos politely declines a tasting.note 
  • General Failure: Ramsay encircles the Stark forces, a sensible move. But instead of allowing them to flee and running down each individual man with cavalry, as his late father did to Stannis' forces, Ramsay sacrifices all his cavalry to form a wall of corpses so that he can trap the Stark men in one place where he can watch them all die. This leaves him without scouts or a mobile reserve and forces the Stark men to stand and fight, when they might have preferred to run. It also loses him the battle when his lack of scouts enables the Vale to enter the battle with no warning, and his lack of a mobile reserve means he has no means of delaying their entrance and allowing his infantry to regroup. Lastly, Ramsay's hold on the North is dependent on other houses fearing his cruelty and superior numbers, yet even if he'd won the battle after his bit of Unfriendly Fire, he would have undermined his own ability to continue ruling because of it.
  • Gorn:
    • Ramsay, Bastard of Bolton and Hate Sink extraordinaire, first gets his face beaten to a pulp and then winds up becoming live dog food, all while the camera avoids Gory Discretion Shots in large parts. Nobody's complaining.
    • The corpse wall is not only made of corpses, but we get to see a bunch of still-living people holding their innards as the bodies continue to pile up.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One of Ramsay's men gets ripped in half by Wun Wun.
  • Handshake Substitute: A Forearm Clasp is used by Yara Greyjoy of the Iron Islands and Daenerys Targaryen when they seal their deal.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: None of the named characters wear any helmets in the battle, but the regular soldiers do.
    • Also loosely extends to the majority of Jon's army although some of the Stark bannermen do wear steel helmets and chainmail coifs.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Wun Wun is mortally wounded by archers while tearing down the Winterfell gate, ensuring victory for the Starks and preventing a costly siege.
  • Ho Yay: Yara coyly propositions Daenerys when the subject of marriage alliance is brought up in their parlay. Daenerys does respond with some invested curiosity. Though Daenerys accepts the alliance, Yara's proposition is implied to be still up in the air.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Masters are forced to offer one of their own to die as payment for breaching the peace treaty Tyrion brokered. The two highborn slavers quickly agree that this "honor" should go to their lowborn newcomer, disowning him in the process. Disgusted by the alacrity with which they throw one of their own under the bus, Grey Worm slits their throats instead, in one swing to boot.
    • Ramsay had starved his dogs for days to make them extra-eager for delicious human flesh, a taste which he developed in them in the first place. This decision comes back to bite him in the ass. And jaw. And all the other body parts too.
    • Ramsay's constant Kick the Dog moments finally catch up to him when they cost him his entire army to a man.
  • Hollywood Tactics: They come up in several ways, and Surprisingly Realistic Outcome follows with all of them:
    • Despite coming up with a serviceable battle plan that might have allowed victory against a numerically superior force, Jon ultimately blows the whole thing by leading a direct charge instead, exactly what he said they shouldn't do. His army is very nearly slaughtered by Ramsay, who has more men and a trap which Jon just walks right into. Ramsay goaded him into this, though, despite Sansa warning that Ramsay would try something like this and that Rickon was dead already.
    • Ramsay has some good basic ideas, first in his ploy to kill Jon in order to destroy the leadership of the opposing army, and second with the idea of utilizing the superior tactics and armaments of the Bolton infantry. However...
      • He commits all his forces to destroying the Stark army and thus has no rear guard to defend against any other allies or reinforcements that the Starks might have. Once infantry is committed, the only thing it can do is try to destroy the enemy right in front of it, as trying to change direction or formation while in a shield wall is a slow, cumbersome process that leaves the infantry uniquely vulnerable until they can finish doing so and reestablish a cohesive formation. (Paying close attention to the Bolton infantry during the charge of the Vale forces shows that some of the Bolton forces were desperately trying to turn around and adjust for the new threat, but the vast majority failed to do so in time, which is why the Knights of the Vale were able to smash them so effectively.) As such, anything new or unexpected coming at the infantry while they're already committed is a serious problem, which is why you don't kill off a big chunk of your army and leave it with such a glaring vulnerability. Had the Bolton cavalry still been intact, they could have been used to scout the area, warn of incoming enemies, or form a defensive screen to protect the Bolton infantry and allow them to attempt to change formation during the Vale's charge.
      • Ramsay's plan to encircle the Stark forces entirely with the shield wall and the Smalljon's forces coming down the mountain of bodies works well for dramatic purposes, but not tactics-wise. Historically it's usually a bad idea to trap your opponent entirely with no means of escape, as they have no choice but to fight to the death if they can expect no quarter. Indeed, Tormund's forces do rout and try to escape (but cannot), which would have been much faster and lower on casualties for the Boltons. Roose had the right idea last season when he had his cavalry envelop Stannis' forces in a pincer movement that still left the rear open, which encouraged the Stormlanders to rout, after which they got picked off with ease.
      • Even had his plan worked to perfection, (despite the parts that should have obviously been impossible to plan out, such as making sure that his own men die in such a way to create a wall in the first place) slaughtering so much of his own army through friendly fire and then suffering more casualties during the infantry battle would have been a needless and severe blow to the Bolton forces and left them able to field far fewer men. This would have left them vulnerable to other upstarts within the North or external foes.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Ramsay lets Rickon go and fires three arrows at him as Rickon runs toward across the field to Jon. Ramsay’s third arrow, after a lot of set-up, misses. Ramsay fires another arrow off-screen, just as Jon is about to reach Rickon, but Ramsay’s fourth arrow hits and kills Rickon instantly.
    • Wun Wun smashes a gap in the Bolton shield wall and Tormund is able to take down several soldiers, but it quickly reforms.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: When Daenerys asks if Yara's offer of a fleet comes with a marriage pact like that of her Evil Uncle, Yara cheekily replies that she wouldn't demand it but is up for anything. Daenerys does not appear uninterested.
  • Humiliation Conga: Ramsay fails in every way it is possible to fail. He loses a battle he had every advantage in, loses Winterfell, gets beaten to a pulp by Jon, is told by Sansa that he and his house will be forgotten, and is finally eaten by his own dogs. To add insult to injury, by killing his family, Ramsay led his own house into extinction.
  • Hypocrite:
    • The Masters have the gall to accuse Daenerys of having trouble adjusting to the new reality (i.e. her "defeat"), when they are (according to Tyrion) attacking Meereen precisely because they refuse to accept the reality of a post-slavery society and have rejected every single one of her attempts at peace.
    • Tyrion takes pleasure in pointing out Theon's failures and agrees with Theon when he says Yara is more fit to rule. Tyrion's short stint as ruler of Meereen didn't exactly go well, though, since the city was only saved from destruction by the timely arrival of Daenerys and her army.
    • Ramsay calls Jon "Bastard" as if it's Jon's actual name, all the while ignoring that he's one himself.
      • Although this is also Fridge Brilliance, since Ramsay knows better than most how difficult it can be to be a bastard child, and the insecurities it can bring, and thus knows it will affect Jon.
      • More minor example, but he also refers to Rickon as "little man," despite the fact that the youngest Stark child is nearly eye-to-eye with Ramsay himself.
  • Human Pincushion:
    • Wun Wun has at least two dozen arrows in him by the time he finishes breaching Winterfell's gates. Prior to that, the arrows and crossbow bolts were clearly hurting him but also making him angry.
    • After being shot by an arrow through the heart, Rickon's corpse was hit by a few more from the ensuing Rain of Arrows.
  • Impaled Palm: Wun Wun takes a spear through his hand while he is breaking down the gates of Winterfell. Rather than yank the spear out, he rips his hand free and keeps on battering the door from the outside.
  • I Reject Your Reality: After Ramsay returns to Winterfell, he tells one of his generals that "[the Stark] army is broken". The Bolton captain incredulously reminds him that their own army is also broken, which Ramsay dismisses because the Starks don't have the manpower or supplies to mount a siege, at which point Wun Wun smashes the doors open.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Ramsay wastes his first arrow to kill Wun Wun, instead of Jon, and then proceeds to accept Jon's offer of a single combat proposal... after the battle, after horrific losses on both sides. Needless to say, Jon's had enough of his bullshit.
  • Idiot Ball: Jon is warned not to do what Ramsay wants, yet falls for it when Ramsay baits him by killing Rickon.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Rickon is shot through the heart by an arrow. After he dies, his corpse is hit by a few of the Rain of Arrows just to hammer the point home that he isn't getting back up.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Justified. Ramsay uses a Penobscot Flatbow, a bow designed to double the range of an archer with extreme accuracy with minimal added effort, to shoot down Rickon; being an already experienced archer, he even has the luxury of missing thrice before delivering the fatal shot.
  • In Mysterious Ways:
    • Melisandre and Jon discuss the Lord of Light and why he brought Jon Snow back. Jon doesn't want to return if he dies again but Melisandre insists she will do it if that was the Lord of Light's will. Jon wonders why the Lord of Light would lead people on and keep things in the dark like that, while Melisandre shrugs and says that it's the only god they have.
    • Melisandre also accepts that the Lord of Light's ways are mysterious to her, hence she leaves out some of her visions to Jon (namely seeing the Bolton banners dip, and Jon fighting in Winterfell), merely telling him "don't lose" and that she isn't sure if Jon is important only for the next battle or for something greater (when she had told Davos that he was the Prince That Was Promised).
      Melisandre: I serve the Lord of Light, I do what he commands.
      Jon Snow: How do you know what he commands?
      Melisandre: I... interpret his signs... As well as I can.
  • Internal Reveal: Davos finally learns the fate of Shireen.
  • Intimidation Demonstration:
    • Ramsay's burning crosses of flayed men set against the background of his larger army. Though a few of Jon's men look perturbed at the sight, they still rally behind their utter hatred of the Boltons.
    • The Bolton shield wall. Though the Stark army still tries to fight against it at first, they nonetheless panic and try stampeding towards the only exit.
  • Invincible Villain: Averted and Deconstructed. Ramsay has gotten so used to getting away with all sorts of atrocities that the thought of losing never even seems to occur to him. This, compounded by his Sanity Slippage, ends up costing him his army, the battle, and ultimately his life and house.
  • Invulnerable Horses: Averted; Jon is thrown from his horse when it's caught in a Rain of Arrows.
  • It's Personal: Tyrion callously responding to the Greyjoys has more to do with his personal dislike of Theon rather than any preconceived notion regarding the Ironborn. (See Jerkass)
  • Jerkass: Tyrion starts to insult Theon and takes joy in his fall from grace because the last time they met, Theon had called him an imp. He seems to have forgotten that the last time they met, he'd started the conflict by rudely rejecting Theon's friendship, mocking his family, and then chastising him for his loyalty to his "masters", the Starks.
  • Just Desserts: Ramsay ends up eaten by his own dogs.
  • Just in Time: A handful of them - almost all to Jon's benefit.
    • The Stark lancers collide with the Boltons before the latter can mow down Jon.
    • During the fog of war scene, one Stark horseman smashes straight into a Bolton rider who was heading straight for Jon.
    • Tormund saves Jon from a Bolton soldier.
    • The arrival of the Knights of the Vale as the Stark army is stuck and immobile in the shield wall.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Ramsay's is finally cashed in. Fittingly, he doesn't seem to even realize he isn't Talking Your Way Out or winning handily until the moment his dogs begin licking his face in the preface to killing him.
  • Karmic Death:
    • After going against their deal, Tyrion tells the Masters one of them has to die. The high-born Masters offer their low-born colleague because he isn't like them and doesn't speak for them. Grey Worm acts like he's about kill the low-born, then kills the two high-born instead.
    • The Smalljon is killed by one of the very people he hates, a Wildling. The House Umber coat of arms is a giant breaking his chains; the Wildling that kills him is Tormund Giantsbane.
    • Ramsay is killed by being fed to his supposedly loyal dogs, exactly what he was planning on doing to any officers he captured, and how he killed girls he hunted for sport, his step-mother, and his half-brother. Bonus points for the fact the dogs were so desperate to eat only because he had been starving them for a week, and had deliberately given them a taste for human flesh.
    • Ramsay refuses to fight Jon Snow one-on-one before the Second Battle of Winterfell because he is intimidated by Jon's reputation as a skilled swordsman. When the single combat later happens, Jon throws his sword down and beats Ramsay near to death using only a shield and his fists.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Tyrion takes the opportunity to mock Theon for his failures without any provocation, bringing up Theon's insults from their last meeting at Winterfell, in the first episode of the series (almost five years previously, according to the timeline). It doesn't qualify as a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment because Theon's been through so much he can't fight back or even look Tyrion in the eyes, so Tyrion just comes off as petty.
    • Ramsay releases Rickon and has him run to Jon, only to shoot an arrow through his heart seconds before the two can reach each other.
  • Kill It with Fire: The dragons utterly torch several ships in the Masters' armada to make a point, melting flesh from bones and outright splitting the ships from the force of their attacks.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Ramsay wants Jon to kneel before him which would end the conflict and spare the lives of Jon's men. Jon declines and offers a Combat by Champion instead. Ramsay doesn't bite.
  • Last Stand: After being manipulated by Ramsay to cross into No Man's Land, and having his horse shot out from under him, Jon realizes the hopelessness of his situation and draws Longclaw, preparing to meet the Bolton's cavalry charge. His own cavalry arrives at the last second.
    • Jon even tosses Longclaw's scabbard aside; he's in the fight to the end.
  • Last Villain Stand: With all of his men massacred and at the point of who knows how many arrows, Ramsay changes his mind about Combat by Champion, and tries it against Jon. This is not portrayed even remotely positively, as it shows that he is just a Dirty Coward who places his men's lives far below himself, and who will only try a last ditch effort to kill an opposing commander himself when he has nothing left to lose.
  • Layman's Terms: Tormund doesn't understand complex tactics like a pincer move, which he fell victim to thanks to Stannis, so Jon simplifies it to "attack from the sides". Even that is too complex for Tormund and Jon simply says they won't do that.
  • Leave No Survivors: Despite what Ramsay offers to Jon, this is exactly what he intends to do to the entire Stark army. Aware of this and all of the other Bolton atrocities, the Stark loyalists intend to take no quarter as well.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Jon tries to provoke Ramsay into becoming this, but Sansa points out that Ramsay is better at provoking people. Jon becomes a textbook example when he singlehandedly charges on horseback into battle (after Rickon dies) rather than rush back, forcing Davos and Tormund to reluctantly follow into the fray to save their commander and best fighter.
  • Literal-Minded: Davos tells Tormund that Stannis "had demons in his skull," referring to Melisandre's influence. Tormund takes the comment at face value and asks if he ever saw them, and Davos has to explain that he doesn't mean actual demons. Given that Davos did in fact witness Melisandre's use of Black Magic, including the "shadow baby," Tormund is unintentionally accurate. This wasn't in Stannis' head, however, though it did come from him.
  • Living Legend:
    • The episode marks the day when Daenerys Stormborn effectively outlaws slavery in Slaver's Bay in one fell swoop. Her argument? "Dracarys".
    • During the parley, Ramsay admits that there were rumors floating around the North about Jon, building him up as this. Now that Jon has ousted House Bolton from Winterfell with a smaller and more ragtag army (along with reinforcements from the Vale), it's safe to say the legend will only grow.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Boltons employ a massive shield and spear wall to great effect against the Stark alliance, such that not even Tormund or Wun Wun can break through it. Later on, Jon uses a smaller kite shield (with the Mormont bear on it) in his "duel" with Ramsay, and he successfully blocks three arrows with it.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Wun Wun grabs a Bolton soldier and tears him in half, spilling his innards.
  • Make an Example of Them:
    • Tyrion's defense of his policies. He points out that by allowing commerce to return to the city, he and Meereen proved to the Masters that a free city was more profitable than a slave one, and could peaceably subsist rather than devolve to the anarchy that they always claimed justified their ownership of people. This drove the Masters to finally attack them militarily and put a halt on their success story.
    • Daenerys plans to do this to the Masters and their cities in retaliation for the attack on Meereen. Tyrion talks her into pursuing a surrender by showing off the power of the dragons instead. That way, Daenerys gets an entire fleet (minus those ships that were made an example of) and the Masters will think twice about attacking again.
  • Man Bites Man: Tormund literally goes for the jugular, tearing out a large chunk of the Smalljon's throat with his teeth.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • The Masters have one when Drogon shows up.
    • The Sons of the Harpy slaughtering Meereeneese citizens at the front gate have one when they see the entire Dothraki khalasar charging at them with arakhs raised in a follow-up to Daenerys' dragon attack in the harbor.
    • All of the Stark forces share one as they witness Ramsay and Rickon's "game". Not only do they lose their rightful liege lord, they also watch as their commander throws their entire battle plans to the wind in blind anger.
  • Meaningful Background Event: As Daenerys tells the Masters that they will be the ones to surrender, a declaration they mock, Drogon can be seen flying in from the pyramid about twenty seconds before he roars and makes his grand entrance.
  • Mooks: It's less pronounced than most, but even with nearly twice as many men as the Starks and luring them into a trap, the Bolton army still has disproportionate casualties on their side. Granted, a lot have to do with Ramsay killing his own men. Also reinforced with their near-identical helmets and leather armor whereas the Stark forces don a variety of protective clothing.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Ramsay's rule of the North is built around fear and terror with little to no love or respect included. Throughout the battle, he commits questionable acts for everyone to see: killing Rickon ignominiously, ordering his archers to shoot at his own cavalry, and even fleeing from the battle and leaving his infantry to die by the Vale reinforcements. Despite some of them showing obvious discomfort and even pointing out their dismal numbers once Ramsay retreats, his men continue to fight for the Bastard of Bolton to the bitter end.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Ramsay shooting Rickon to draw Jon out is straight out of Bloodraven's playbook.
    • Jon asking (and then commanding) Melisandre not to revive him is reminiscent of a moment between Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr in A Storm of Swords.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Tyrion mentions how everyone tells him the same dwarf jokes when he's dressing down Theon in Daenerys' throne room.
    Tyrion: Everyone who makes a joke about a dwarf's height thinks he's the only person ever to make a joke about a dwarf's height. "The height of nobility," "a man of your stature," "someone to look up to." You're all making the same five or six jokes.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • In the second Season 6 trailer, when Tormund says the line, "I thought he was the man to lead us through the Long Night. But I was wrong", the viewer might be led to assume he's speaking of Jon. In fact, Tormund was talking to Davos about how they believed their respective kings (Mance Raydar in Tormund's case and Stannis Baratheon in Davos's case) would lead them to victory and the actual final line is, "But I was wrong, just like you."
    • From the same trailer, it was thought that the line, "Do you like games, little man?" was directed to Tyrion by the Masters, but in the actual episode, this is said by Ramsay to Rickon.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • It took three seasons to bear fruit, but Bran's order for Rickon to seek refuge with the Umbers finally killed him.
    • Tormund's charge towards the wall of corpses ends up almost killing Jon when the Wildlings and Northmen inadvertently trample him into the mud.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Ramsay's horrific actions, both in this episode and across the season in general, has resulted in not just his own demise but the complete eradication of House Bolton. The biggest example in this episode is his decision to sacrifice the Bolton cavalry to ensure the destruction of the Starks' own horses, all for an inefficient, gruesome plan, leaving him with nothing to counter the Vale knights when they arrive.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ramsay never stood a chance against Jon, having every arrow blocked and was then beaten to within an inch of his life. See Extreme Mêlée Revenge above.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Daenerys announces her plans for the Masters, Tyrion points out that her father would have done the same in her position. This dissuades her from her intent to level cities and exterminate denizens.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Daario does this to one of the Sons of the Harpy as the Dothraki horde tramples the man's cohorts underfoot.
    • Tormund brings Jon back to his senses as they both see a horse with a decapitated rider gallop by their side. Wun Wun swats the horse dead, which was unfortunately coming his way.
  • Offscreen Teleportation:
    • Despite being the last of the Stark forces to rush into battle, Davos and his archers manage to arrive to the battlefield at the same time as Tormund and the rest of the infantry.
    • Jon is intently watching Ramsay retreat to Winterfell while Wun Wun is in the middle of a crowd hundreds of yards away trying to avoid trampling Wildlings and the Vale knights who are still mowing down Boltons. Not five seconds later, he's made it next to Jon and Tormund.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Masters when Drogon passes over their heads and then comes to land on a monument looking over them, roaring his displeasure at their threats to his mother.
    • Ramsay's look when he sees the knights of the Vale arriving to hit his infantry in the rear and shatter their formation, and then notices Jon is very much alive.
    • Ramsay has another one just a few minutes later when he realizes that, rather than besiege the castle conventionally, Jon can just have Wun Wun demolish the gate.
    • And a final one when it's clear his hounds don't care that he's their master, he starved them for a week and he's the nearest source of meat.
    • Hard to tell with that mask in the way, but the body language of the one in charge of the Sons of the Harpy screams this as he hears a cacophony of war cries growing louder and looks up from murdering freedmen to see every Dothraki in Essos riding straight at them, weapons drawn, howling for blood, about to trample them into the dirt.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Jon is a killing machine on the battlefield, racking up more kills than he did at the Battle of Castle Black and Hardhome combined.
    • Wun Wun himself is a single-man siege engine when he single-handedly smashes through Winterfell's gate, saving months of time and hundreds of lives from having to siege Winterfell conventionally.
  • The Oner: As with "Hardhome", there's an extended Epic Tracking Shot following Jon in the battle.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Jon was well on his way to beating Ramsay to death with his bare hands, but when he looks up and sees Sansa watching, he realizes that she's the one who deserves to finish him — and indeed she does, with an assist from Ramsay's hungry hounds.
  • Onrushing Army: Both commanders hoped to bait their enemies into doing so, but it's ultimately the Starks who charge the majority of their forces into battle (if only to help save Jon). While Davos and his archers stay behind to look for an opening, they end up running into the fray as well.
  • On Second Thought: After his entire army is destroyed by the combined forces of the Stark and Arryn armies, Ramsay decides that he would like to invoke Combat by Champion after all. That said, he already lost his entire force, so he had no real other options besides summary execution.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Melisandre is no longer preaching zealously about the Lord of Light, as she has been completely thrown off-balance by the recent events she's faced and she is uncertain. The contrast in her demeanor and frankness is evident, as she now answers questions sincerely with the best of her limited knowledge instead of going on fanatic diatribes. In the end of the episode, she seems to have regained some of that lost confidence back after Jon wins the Battle of Winterfell.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: In Season 5, Cersei gave Littlefinger mandate to eliminate the Boltons after she learned from him that they married Sansa. By waiting for Sansa to escape and ask for his help in defeating Ramsay, he's simultaneously doing as Cersei asked while getting into Sansa's good graces. And since King's Landing and the rest of Westeros is basically a rump state with no control over its own capital and limited authority in the Riverlands, Littlefinger has an open field to swing whichever way the wind blows.
  • Out-Gambitted: Both generals are planning to use a Batman Gambit to bait the enemy into their envelopment tactics. Ramsay's works better. Fittingly enough, Ramsey himself gets Out-Gambitted by Sansa at the end of the fight.
  • Overcrank: Two notable instances: one when Jon stops his horse in distress as Ramsay finally wounds Rickon; the other when the Stark cavalry charges in to save their commander.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Feeding a prisoner to vicious hounds would be an unquestionable atrocity for a ruler to commit, unless that prisoner just happens to be Ramsay Bolton.
  • Planning with Props: Jon does strategic planning in his tent on The Big Board with stones as army units.
  • Plot Armor: Jon Snow manages to survive the brutal melee thanks to every Rain of Arrows missing him, several Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind moments, and is somehow not trampled to death by the Wildlings retreating. Tormund and even Davos, who is not precisely a renowned swordsman or fighter, also survive the battle.
    • Justified in that the show creators wanted to show that Jon survives not through skill or through superior tactics. He just gets incredibly lucky.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Had Sansa told Jon about her ace in the hole (the Knights of the Vale coming in), Jon Snow would have made different battle plans. Even if he then still fell for the Rickon bait, the Stark army losses could have been much lower.
  • Prophecy Twist: Melisandre finally sees the banners of House Bolton fall down and the victory she saw in Stannis' flames. She also saw Jon fighting in Winterfell and lived to see it happen. In a bit of Character Development, Melisandre has grown savvy about this which is why she didn't inform Jon about her visions before the battle as she did to Stannis, merely telling him "don't lose".
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • Ramsay has the most this episode - fitting enough for his swan song. He even manages a grin while Jon is beating in his face.
    • Sansa leaves the kennels with a smile as her abusive husband gets eaten alive by his own hounds in the background. You can't blame her...
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: A weaponized version of this, as crack shot Ramsay fires arrow after arrow at a slowly-advancing Jon Snow, and he just keeps blocking with a shield and stubbornly refusing to just die. You can see his smugness starting to crack around the second shot. "This is new...this is the part where they usually start dying...Oh, Crap!..."
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Jon's ranks are comprised of Wildlings, minor Northern bannermen, a handful of survivors from Stannis' army, and a giant.
  • Rain of Arrows: Ramsay's archers fire continuous barrages into the Stark army, regardless of arrows hitting their own men.
  • Rape and Revenge: Sansa's revenge on Ramsay is gruesome, bloody, and oh so richly deserved.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: DVD commentary and interviews with the cast and crew state that the original idea for the battle included Ramsay's cruelty and irrational actions alienating several key Northern lords, (a possibility that the show had teased for a long time) who would defect from his side and be a major part of Ramsay's undoing. However the crew was given considerably less time to film the battle than they originally wanted, and a big chunk of that time was eaten up by heavy rains, which both wiped out several days of filming and turned the entire field into a bog too soft and muddy for either the actors or horses to enter even when the rain stopped. After realizing they wouldn't have nearly enough time to film the battle as scripted, the idea of Jon nearly being trampled and then having to claw his way out of the press of bodies was born, and took the place of some of the original plans.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Much like Tyrion when they first met, Yara's bluntness at certain points in their negotiation seems to endear her to Daenerys. She even goes the extra mile of openly flirting with the Mother of Dragons.
  • Retcon:
    • Jaime apparently confided to Tyrion about the wildfire beneath King's Landing and Aerys II's plan. When Jaime trusted this knowledge to Brienne in Season 3, he made clear he had never told anyone else, and Tyrion himself was surprised about the wildfire in the capital in Season 2. Either he knew it all along or Jaime told him about it when he returned to King's Landing, which does make a bit of sense given his recent character development.
    • Of the Revision type. Since Rickon is to be buried "next to [his] father", Ned's remains evidently made it safely to Winterfell in the show, which doesn't conflict with canon but requires his remains to have been dispatched by Catelyn before Renly's assassination and interred by Bran before Theon took Winterfell completely off-screen and unmentioned until this episode, including during the episodes Bran and Rickon spent actually living down in the crypts. It's also possible that it's just a statue of Ned built on his tomb in preparation to receive his bones, so it still represents him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Jon abandons any tactics he planned for the battle and leads a direct charge the moment that Ramsay kills Rickon.
  • Revenge Is Sweet: When Ramsay Bolton is defeated in the Battle of the Bastards, Jon Snow pummels him into a bloody smear until he stops when his half-sister Sansa steps in, letting her be the one to enact revenge for all the horrible things that he did to her and to the North. Once Ramsay is locked up, Sansa gives him "The Reason You Suck" Speech and lets his hungry hounds devour him. As she walks away while listening to Ramsey being torn apart by his dogs, Sansa smiles triumphantly.
  • Rightful King Returns: After most of three years under control of the Ironborn and the Boltons, Winterfell finally returns to House Stark.
  • Rule of Three: Subverted. Three times, Ramsay is shown firing his bow. All three of his shots are ineffectual, so the audience breathes a sigh of relief, thinking that Rickon is safe. And then, the fourth shot — fired from off-screen — kills him instantly.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Ramsay is basically flayed alive by his dogs, which is a close relative of wolves.
  • Sanity Slippage: Word of God says that Ramsay has a mental breakdown when the Knights of the Vale join the battle and cannot comprehend that he has lost, deliberately echoing the last days of Adolf Hitler. When Jon beats him to a pulp, he's actually grinning throughout, not unlike the Joker in The Dark Knight; he mistakenly thinks this means the Starks won't actually kill him. Even when he's chained up in the kennel, he starts giving a Hannibal Lecture to Sansa, saying that he has still won in a sense because he hurt the Starks in ways that will last forever. Sansa then directly shoots this down by telling him that all memory of him and his house will eventually be forgotten. To go with the Hitler analogy, compare to if during the fall of Berlin, Hitler tried to petulantly rationalize to himself, "Even if I die, I still won because I killed all the Jews" — grasping at straws because he killed many, but not all of them.
  • Scenery Censor: The sparse lighting in Ramsay's cell makes his death look a lot less gory than it is. What a shame...
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • It takes very little convincing from Grey Worm to get the Masters' bodyguards to drop their weapons and leave.
    • Tormund panics when he can't break through the shield wall, uttering "Fuck this!" and proceeds to rally his men toward the wall of corpses.
    • After victory is taken from him by the timely arrival of Littlefinger's forces, Ramsay Bolton bolts from the battleground for the safety of Winterfell.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!:
    • The Masters give an ultimatum to Daenerys: surrender Meereen, return all the slaves she "stole", and leave Slaver's Bay. Daenerys responds with dragons and more. She drives a hard bargain.
    • When Ramsay can't get Jon to surrender due to the disparity of their armies, he tries to use Rickon to force the issue. Sansa bluntly refuses to negotiate, and admits to Jon in private that Ramsay will kill Rickon no matter what, which is exactly what he does at the start of the battle.
  • Secret Test of Character: When the three Masters are given an ultimatum that one of them must die, the two highborn ones volunteer the lowborn Yezzan, which leads to Grey Worm killing both of them instead for their cowardice and snobbery.
  • Selective Memory: Tyrion gleefully bullies Theon for supposedly making imp jokes the last time they met. The problem is they only had one scene together prior and Theon had in fact tried to be polite while Tyrion was the Jerkass.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: The sound drowns out for dramatic effect when Jon sees Rickon Stark getting shot in front of him.
  • Shield Bash:
    • The Bolton army does this Roman-style after having the Stark army surrounded.
    • Jon begins his Extreme Mêlée Revenge against Ramsay by smashing him with the shield he is using against the latter's arrows.
  • Shooting Superman: Despite Jon being armed only with a shield and blocking his arrows three times, Ramsay attempts to shoot him a fourth time even when he's already in striking distance. He's constantly aiming at his head and staying in place made it easy for Jon to take him down. It helps show his Sanity Slippage, as he still thinks he can shoot Jon in the face when Wildlings have him in their mark and can't get through the shield.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ramsay's "field of burning flayed men" tactic of psychological warfare echoes Vlad the Impaler's use of impaled corpses.
    • The Bolton army's shield and spear formation is directly taken from the history of Ancient Rome. Weiss and Benioff explicitly cite the Battle of Cannae as inspiration, with the Boltons as the Carthaginians and the Starks as the Romans, though it's not quite a 1:1 parallel since the Carthaginians were outnumbered by the Romans in that instance.note 
    • The final scene between Ramsay and Sansa is framed almost exactly like Hannibal Lecter meeting with Clarice Starling.
    • Ramsay learns just how loyal a hungry dog really is.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Ramsay tries to tell Sansa that he's part of her now, but she retorts there will be nothing left of him—his name, house and memory are going to disappear. Then his body does, too.
    • Daenerys gets to do this twice in the same scene to the Masters: first shutting up their insulting list of demands for her surrender by pointing out their meeting has been arranged for the Masters to surrender, and then retorts to the Masters sneering her reign is at an end by retorting that she is here to stay.
      Tyrion: We are here to discuss terms of surrender, not to trade insults.
      Yezzan: The terms are simple. You, and your foreign friends will abandon the Great Pyramid, and the city of Meereen. The Unsullied you stole from Kraznys mo Nakloz will remain, to be sold again to the highest bidder. The translator you stole from Kraznys mo Nakloz will remain, to be sold again to the highest bidder. [Grey Worm and Missandei glare at him] The dragons beneath the Great Pyramid will be slaughtered.
      Daenerys: [contemptuously] We obviously didn't communicate clearly. We are here to discuss your surrender, not mine.
      Razdahl: I imagine it's difficult. Adjusting to the new reality. [sharply] Your reign is over!
      Daenerys: My reign has just begun.
  • Sibling Team: Jon and Sansa lead the march to retake Winterfell. Between Jon's battle prowess and Sansa's cunning nature, they make a very effective Brother–Sister Team.
  • Sigil Spam: The symbol of House Bolton shows on shields and uniforms of Ramsay's men.
  • Slashed Throat: How Grey Worm kills the two cowardly Masters.
  • Smug Smiler: Littlefinger's signature smirk has never been as prominent as when he gets to taste some real military strength for the first time on his own while simultaneously getting to play the Big Damn Hero in front of Catelyn Tully's eldest daughter.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: This trope is on full display when the Bolton heavy infantry and the Wildlings face off against each other. The Bolton infantry fight as soldiers: anonymous, unified, disciplined, they simply set up a shield wall, take a few steps at a time, and thrust away with their spears. The Wildlings are fierce warriors, but however tough or skilled an individual fighter might be, they can't break the shield wall by themselves, and because they're not coordinated they can't make a concentrated push to try to breach it one spot. Even when an individual like Tormund manages to kill one or two members in the line, they simply get wounded or cut down by the next man, who steps in to fill the hole and turns the shield wall into a seemingly impenetrable row of shield and spears again. If the Vale knights hadn't arrived in time to save the Wildlings, the Wildlings would have been completely destroyed while the Bolton infantry would have suffered only minor losses.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Masters' plan relied heavily on Daenerys's dragons being out of commission.note  Unfortunately for them, Drogon is not as far away as they think he is, and Viserion and Rhaegal were set free by Tyrion before the siege started.
  • Spare a Messenger: Tyrion Lannister tells the last Master to return to his people and tell that what happens to those who try to mess with the Dragon Queen.
  • Stealth Pun: Ramsay's Karmic Death being delivered by his (female) dogs = Karma's a bitch.
  • The Strength of Ten Men: Despite being outnumbered 2-to-1 and facing a hail of arrows, the Stark cavalry is able to match the Bolton horsemen in combat. True to Lady Lyanna's earlier boast, a Mormont soldier even makes it all the way past the gates of Winterfell (or at least his shield does).
  • Storming the Castle:
    • Continuing from the previous episode, the Masters want to retake Meereen and are bombarding it with catapult fire from the sea. Dany's dragons make the attempt a miserable failure.
    • The Starks have finally come to take Winterfell back. After a bloody battle with some help from the Vale, they succeed.
  • Stupid Evil:
    • Ramsay chooses to shoot a dying Wun Wun rather than Jon Snow solely because he's a dick. This might be justified as he invokes Combat by Champion seconds later, perhaps thinking that he'd be allowed to keep Winterfell if he managed to kill Jon in a "fair" fight.
    • Ramsay's pointlessly cruel actions over the course of the show see their logical conclusion here. With the rest of his family dead by his own hand, he's ensured the extinction of House Bolton.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Dogs who have been trained to eat human flesh and starved for a week are not going to be very big on loyalty or restraint, a fact Ramsay finds out in the hardest way imaginable.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jon's life is saved on a couple of occasions by other soldiers catching arrows with his name on it.
  • Tempting Fate: A giant smashes through Winterfell's gates moments after Ramsay says they can just wait out the Starks.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: When Wun Wun is killed and Ramsay accepts Jon's offer of trial by combat, he is surrounded by Wilding and Northern archers and infantry. The time for that has clearly passed, and the rest is high, but they hold their arrows and let Jon takes care of Ramsay himself.
  • This Is Not My Life to Take: When he finally gets his hands on Ramsay, Jon seems perfectly willing to beat the Bastard of Bolton to death for his crimes. He only relents when Sansa appears, recognising that after all Ramsay has done to her, she has a far greater right to end his life.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ramsay looks at Jon Snow literally dripping with blood, obviously not his own, and says one-on-one combat "sounds like a wonderful idea."
  • Throw the Sheath Away: Jon does this as he charges the Bolton lines at the start of the battle, seemingly realizing how screwed he truly is.
  • Too Hungry to Be Polite: Inverted. Ramsay's hounds, even though unfed for a whole week, graciously wait for Sansa to tell him off for good, then exit their (unlocked) cages and proceed to have dinner.
  • To the Pain: When Ramsay mentions his plans to throw Jon and his companions to his hungry dogs, he wonders if the beasts will first go for the eyes or the balls.
  • Try Not to Die: Melisandre's only advice to Jon for the battle is "Don't lose".
  • Undying Loyalty: Despite being outnumbered and losing their intended battle strategy, the Wildlings, Northern vassals loyal to House Stark, and even a few of Stannis' surviving bannermen are willing to put their lives on the line for Jon.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: Because Tyrion unchained Rhaegal and Viserion, both of them were able to break out of the pyramid and aid Daenerys and Drogon against the Master's armada.
  • Un-person: Sansa promises Ramsay that soon enough, he and House Bolton will become this.
    Sansa: [to a defeated Ramsay] Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Jon becomes a madman when Wun Wun is shot dead. Only when he sees Sansa watching his Extreme Mêlée Revenge does he slightly calm down.
  • Use Your Head: When both combatants' arms get pinned by all the bodies around them, Smalljon Umber headbutts Tormund several times.
  • Villain Ball: When Jon and Ramsay have their one-on-one "fight", Ramsay keeps shooting his arrows at Jon's head, making it easy for Jon to block and advance. Furthermore, instead of moving, Ramsay stands in the same spot as Jon walks towards him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In his last moments, Ramsay Bolton slowly realizes that Sansa's point about starving his dogs overriding any loyalty they may have once had for him holds merit. His voice as he commands his hounds to stop becomes more and more panicked when he realizes there is absolutely no way his Manipulative Bastard tendencies are going to get him out of being Devoured by the Horde.
    • Before that, subverted as Word of God is that the reason Ramsey looks calm and arrogant even when his army is routed is that he literally cannot accept the idea he's losing. He's been in control so long that he can't see the truth before him and thus why he laughs even when Jon is pummeling him and he still somehow thinks he's going to win.
  • Voluntary Vassal: Daenerys will allow and tolerate Yara's claim as Queen of the Iron Islands, provided she submits to her authority, and respects the sovereignty of the Seven Kingdoms, which means no more reaving. [[note Renly Baratheon made a similar offer to Robb Stark via Catelyn in season 2]]
  • War Is Hell: A major point of the direction is to show the level of chaos, bloodshed, and uncertainty of medieval warfare.
  • We Have Reserves: Ramsay does not mind firing arrows into the cavalry charge where his men are, since he has nearly double the men and can afford to sacrifice them. By contrast, Davos refuses to let his men fire in case they hit their own men. This does have a practical purpose, however; there are so many dead at the end of it that they've formed a wall of corpses, allowing Ramsay's men to cover the remaining sides with shields and spearmen while infantry cut down anyone trying to charge over the wall. This, of course, bites him back in the ass when the heavily armored, mounted Arryn knights arrive, and no Bolton cavalry is available to counter the attack.
  • Wham Episode: Naturally, the big battle for Winterfell occurs in the ninth episode of the season.
  • With Us or Against Us: Tyrion warns Daenerys against taking up this mindset by exacting extreme vengeance upon the Masters for attacking her city. Instead, he advises her that the same result can be achieved with far less bloodshed via negotiation.
  • Who's Laughing Now?:
    • Tyrion can't help but taunt Theon about how Theon mocked him at Winterfell during their last visit and now he's a Loser Son of Loser Dad with a reputation as a child killer who has come to beg before Daenerys.
    • Sansa does this to Ramsay, after all the abuse she suffered from him, and how his house nearly destroyed her's. His house is extinguished, and he is eaten alive by his own kennel dogs.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Ramsay exhibits this trope in his final duel with Jon, becoming more and more agitated as his arrows have no effect whatsoever and the Bastard of Stark keeps advancing on him. Word of God is that this is the first time in the series where Ramsay's gone up against an opponent who is actually in a position to fight back against him, and being the bullying coward that he is, Ramsay grows more and more fearful as he realises he is faced with fighting someone who for once is not intimidated but enraged by his actions, and who, by his own admission, is supremely more skilled than him as a warrior.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ramsay snipes Rickon when he's feet away from Jon.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The audience is given a notification that Rickon is a Dead Man Walking for all intents and purposes with Sansa trying to despondently convince Jon of the same. Ramsay plays his sick little game by appearing to let Rickon go and run toward his brother to safety and family. As Rickon runs to Jon and Jon rides forward to rescue him, we see Ramsay shoot and miss three times. Just when we think Rickon might actually make it to Jon, a surprise arrow shot off-screen skewers Rickon right through the heart.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Non-verbal example. Ramsay's expression of annoyance and disbelief as Arryn forces show up out of nowhere, and utterly destroy his army.