The Game of Thrones is a deadly one, and like all good games, it has winners and losers. Welcome to Game of Thrones: Winners & Losers, where we take in the latest episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones and determine the top MVP’s as well as those who were handed a healthy dose of defeat.
Below you’ll find the winners and losers for Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 9, “Battle of the Bastards.” If you find your favorite character listed as a loser, just remember that the tides on Game of Thrones are always shifting; I swear it by the Old Gods and the New.
*Spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones below*
1. Sansa Stark
While the bastards were battling it out in a medieval recreation of Saving Private Ryan’s opening scene, Sansa Stark was winning the war for Winterfell. The idea of character agency has always been what has plagued the writing of Sansa’s story, but that idea was buried in a pile of bodies this week when Sansa pulled up squad deep with Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale to put the Boltons in the dirt like the Golden State Warriors (Go Cavs). Beauty-Not-Brains incarnate, Jon Snow, said he’d protect Sansa, but no one can protect her because, “no can protect anyone,” even though Sansa’s secretive power move was what saved Jon and what was left of his men. Then to cap things off, Sansa got vengeance. Well, Sansa got the closest thing to vengeance that she was able to against the monster that took the last vestiges of her innocence. Sansa was the master strategist, executioner, and top dog, so to speak. She’ll certainly have some explaining to do for bringing one of the conspirators against Ned Stark into the fold, but she can have that conversation after sleeping in her own bed in her own home, where she belongs.
2. Daenerys Targaryen
If you ride a giant dragon through the air and bring hellfire down on suckers like a wrathful, gorgeous warrior Queen then yeah, you’re going to rank pretty high on this list. Dany’s story this season is like one giant hype video that started in the finale of season five and hopefully will climax next week in season six’s final installment. Dany aligned with the Greyjoys and gained access to the ships, she had her Dothraki horde clear out the riff raff in Mereen, and she roasted the Masters while remaining sensible enough to send one back to the other revolting cities to tell of her exploits. Dany is ready for Westeros. I could watch her fly all around Esos on the back of Drogon, just scorching clowns every week without mercy, like some of her scarier impulses suggest doing, but it’s time for her to get into the mix, to politic with Tyrion at her side in Westeros and get into position to lead the Seven Kingdoms against the undead.
3. Jon Snow
“That lucky bastard” has never applied to a character more than it does to Jon Snow. I mean sure, Jon’s a skilled fighter that definitely kicked a little ass out on the battlefield, but for him to essentially be buried alive in a mound of bodies, surrounded by hostile enemies with sharpened spears, only to emerge a little muddy and bloody but mostly unscathed is pretty fortunate. Jon made a lot of questionable moves, like mansplaining danger to his sister, but when it came down to the one-on-one fight with Toad Face Ramsay Bolton, Jon Snow went Rocky on his ass and beat that toady face to a pulp. Jon Snow fought at Winterfell just like the flames predicted and walked along the battlements as a victor. He may have lost his brother, but that was a life he was never going to save. Now he has the chance to save thousands, just hopefully not as the chief strategist. Just bring your luck and that sword, Jonny Boy.
4. Yara Greyjoy
If you ever get the opportunity to team up with someone who has three dragons at their disposal, I’d surely take it. Dany isn’t the easiest person to convince, yet Yara secured a partnership with the Queen of Dragons that will see her and her brother take back the Iron Islands and rid of their boorish uncle. Yo, but did you catch the eyes that these two were making at each other? Yara was definitely using a flirty wit in her curt answers to Dany’s questions, but Dany always responded with an impressed smile, and did I see her blush? Yara made her opinions on the fair queen’s appearance known, and Dany seems to respond to displays of power, and it must be refreshing to see it come from another woman. Do we have a love connection here? Will Yara, not Euron, be the one to woo Dany? They have a lot in common; horrible fathers, disappointing brothers, claims to thrones, and chips on their shoulders. Yara made a very powerful alliance tonight, and possibly, it will blossom into something more.
5. Wun Wun the Giant
Ok, so Wun Wun met a pretty cruel fate fighting for a castle and people that he probably couldn’t give a damn about, but if it wasn’t for his huge, powerful frame, the gates of Winterfell would have held. Ramsay Bolton was almost right about one thing, Jon Snow and his men weren’t equipped for a siege, but with Wun Wun on their side, they didn’t need to be. Wun Wun was ripping apart Bolton men like he was taking paper towels from the roll. He tore into the Winterfell gates like I do to a rack of BBQ ribs. Undoubtedly the MVP for Team Stark, Wun Wun died a hero, fighting till his last breath. Oh man, better not let this guy change to a wight, or you could have serious problems on your hands. Giant Zombie? Bigger than The Mountain? Better hurry up and make a giant bon fire.
1. Ramsay Bolton
Congratulations, you played yourself! This cocky shit may have racked up a lot of wins and had his opponent out numbered, but he poked the bear a little too hard and couldn’t perform when it came down to the wire. Remind you of anyone? (Go Cavs) Anyway, Ramsay Bolton is finally dead and the good guys prevailed. The Knights of the Vale came strolling in and blindsided Ramsay, then he got his toad face pounded in by Jon Snow like the weak worm that he was. I hated Joffrey as much as I hated Ramsay, but I missed sniveling, punchable, crack baby Billy Zabka after he was gone. I will not miss Ramsay Bolton, that grotesque goblin with his shit-eating grin. Ramsay died at the jaws of his hounds like a rotten rawhide and I couldn’t think of a more fitting end for the sadistic piece of shit. Homeboy got his face eaten by his own dogs. I think we all learned a valuable lesson here: feed your pets.
2. Rickon Stark
Really, dude? You’re going to run in a straight line? The youngest Stark child definitely takes after his half-brother Jon Snow in the brains department, that’s for sure. Look, there’s no way this scruffy looking kid, the (believed) last living Stark male, was going to survive this battle, as Sansa wisely stated toward the beginning of the episode. He was basically a goner by the time the credits rolled. Honestly, I expected his death to be more brutal than this. Pretty Ricky is just lucky he wasn’t flayed. It’s hard to feel too upset about this one, as the kid had maybe six lines in the entirety of the series and was completely MIA for half of it. I’ve suffered tragic Stark losses before, this is just a flesh wound. Rickon is now buried in the Crypt of Winterfell next to his father, both bodies there for not using their heads.
3. The Masters
Puny ships are no match for three dragons. The Masters might as well have delivered those ships to Dany with a big red bow and a note that said, “So long, safe travels” At least then they’d have gotten rid of Queen D alive. Now they rest as ashes in the ocean. Two of the Masters even had to suffer a fake-out throat slicing courtesy of Grey Worm, which now that I think about it definitely sounds better than being lit like a birthday candle by a dragon. I’ve burnt my finger in the oven and have complained about it for three days, so I don’t imagine I’d respond well to that. With one vicious display of power, Dany sent the Masters lucky that were lucky enough to be alive back to their respective cities with horror stories and serious doubts about ever rising up against her again.
4. Smalljon Umber
I was expecting this dude to double-cross Ramsay and the Bolton men the entire episode, but add Smalljon Umber to the list of guys who did not make very wise choices in “Battle of the Bastards.” To think that this guy had the potential to end up on the Winners side of things! He gave a decent battle speech, wiped the floor with some Wildlings, and was making a beeline toward a shaky Jon Snow, but that’s when Tormund Giantsbane stepped in. Things still seemed to be going well for Smalljon, he was beating our boy Tormund pretty well, until Tormund hit him with some Wildling dirty moves and pounded Tinyjon until he met his Smalldeath. The fight was knock-down drag-out awesome, but the homie Tormund prevailed. Betraying the Starks never works for Northern Houses, just ask the Karstarks.
5. Theon Greyjoy
Yes, Theon and his sister Yara made a very lucrative deal with Dany, but first, Theon had to relive some of his mistakes courtesy of non-sympathetic Tyrion. Theon’s face looked like mine when somebody reminds me of something I did or said when I was drunk. Who Theon was when he met Tyrion in episode one to who is now couldn’t be more opposite, and it would be difficult to hear about how terrible your stupid jokes were in your younger days even before someone brought up the crimes you feel the guiltiest about. Theon had to once again relive burning those two farm boys and had no defense for his insensitivity towards Tyrion. The whipping boy just took another beating, especially after having to endure Dany’s snide question about why he wasn’t suited to rule the Iron Islands. Poor Theon, I’m not sure what it’s going to take for this guy to regain even a sliver of his dignity, but I hope it happens.
Tormund Giantsbane – Survived for Brienne. – WINNER
Tyrion Lannister – Kept his job and roasted Theon. – WINNER
The Hounds – Fed. – WINNERS
Bolton and Stark Men, Wildlings – There were a lot of bodies in that pile. – LOSERS
The Knights of the Vale – Sometimes showing up late pays off. – WINNERS
Davos Seaworth – Made it out alive, but put two and two together about Shireen. – LOSER
Littlefinger – Oh that satisfied smirk. – WINNER