It would not be an exaggeration to call Game of Thrones the greatest television show of the 21st century. There are other contenders, to be sure, but when you think of modern, big-budget, prestige television, you’re probably thinking of the HBO series, which featured a great story, a mega-production, and an appropriate cast for each character.
Throughout its nearly decade-long run on the small screen, Game of Thrones made numerous contributions to popular culture. It reminded us all that it’s possible to drink and know things, provided us with the musical hit “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” and, perhaps most importantly, showcased a wide variety of heroes and villains that will live on for decades. Names like Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) endure as some of the most talked about characters on the small screen, and are largely regarded with fondness, unlike Iwan Rheon’s Ramsay Bolton.
Introduced in the season 3 episode “Dark Wings, Dark Words”, Ramsay Bolton was the illegitimate son of Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). He was by his father’s side when House Bolton betrayed House Stark and overcame Winterfell, but he had his own dark motives. After killing Roose, his wife Walda (Elizabeth Webster), and his young son, Ramsay took the throne for himself and ruled with an iron fist. Thankfully, his reign of terror came to an end with Season 6’s “Battle of the Bastards,” and as a result, Iwan Rheon’s tenure on “Game of Thrones” also came to an end.
By the time Game of Thrones season 6 began, Ramsay Bolton had become a fixture of the show, and not for the best of reasons. Week after week, the former Ramsay Snow found new and disturbing ways to torture those in his life. This ranged from physically, verbally, and emotionally assaulting his wife, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), to brutally stripping Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) of his identity. Therefore, when the time came for his comeuppance, he felt earned and came at the right time.
In an interview, Iwan Rheon spoke about the gruesome death of Ramsay Bolton, who was ripped apart by his own wild and hungry dogs. And although he was not so in agreement with the way and the moment, he approved the decision of the production.
“I think this is a very fitting death, and a very just death, with a certain sense of irony…he’s been talking about these dogs for so long, and all of a sudden, he’s his food.”
“Although I am convinced that the character could still have contributed a lot to the story.”
Ramsay Bolton’s time at the helm of Game of Thrones was a tough ride for those with weak stomachs. He committed some horrific atrocities that weren’t for the faint of heart and clearly weren’t easy for Iwan Rheon himself to enact. Suffice to say, both the character and the actor behind him left the show at the right time.