Warning: This post contains spoilers for the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones fans, rejoice! Ramsay Bolton is dead at last. After nearly four seasons of committing some of the series’ most horrific acts, the monstrous Warden of the North finally met his long-awaited — and fittingly barbaric — end in “Battle of the Bastards,” the ninth episode of the HBO drama’s sixth season.
Following Sunday’s installment, director Miguel Sapochnik spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the decision-making process that went into creating Ramsay’s final scene — a sequence in which he was mauled to death by his own hounds as Sansa Stark watched.
“I must admit I kind of wanted to make people start to feel for Ramsay in that wonderful way Thrones turns these things on their head but [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] were clear: They didn’t want anyone to sympathize with Ramsay Bolton and this time they wanted blood,” he told EW. “In a way I agree, this is not a time to be morally ambiguous. Ramsay needs to die, and horribly. This is what the audience has been waiting to see. That said, there’s no need to dwell on the actual carnage. What’s left to our imagination is always way worse. The most effective moment for me was the sound of a squealing pig you hear from Ramsay in the background as Sansa walks away. Apparently it’s actually what happens when you rip someone’s wind pipe open while they’re still alive and gasping for air.”
The director also touched on what the events of the episode meant for Jon Snow, marking his defeat — and subsequent beatdown — of Ramsay as the turning point of his emotional recovery from his murder at the hands of his Night’s Watch brothers in the season five finale. “Early on, Kit [Harington] and I discussed what that moment was and how it should be an empty victory for Jon,” Sapochnik said. “His character takes a nose dive into darkness this season in some respects. His faith in humanity is fractured and fragile, he’s tired of fighting and living and yet he cannot seem to die and so in a way he’s lost. From a certain point of view, ‘Battle of the Bastards’ is all about his journey back to life, at the 11th hour, rediscovering the desire to live.”
“The Winds of Winter,” the tenth episode of Thrones‘ sixth season airs Sunday at 9 p.m. E.T. on HBO.
Read more at EW.com.