Caution: so many spoilers ahead.
Until Sunday night's "Battle of the Bastards" episode of "Game of Thrones," whiny boy-king Joffrey Baratheon's blubbering death by poison was the most satisfying departure on the series. Then someone let the dogs out. Monday, the social-media world seems downright celebratory about the timely death of Ramsay Bolton.
The main story arc follows Stark bastard Jon Snow as his army faces off against bastard Ramsay Bolton and his icky flayed-man banners in a fight to regain the Stark home of Winterfell. You can nearly smell the stench of bodies, fear and blood during the tense battle scenes. But what we were really waiting for was the ultimate answer as to which bastard survives: Snow or Bolton.
It wasn't surprising Bolton ends up dead, but the way his passing is delivered is one of the most stomach-turning and visceral moments ever delivered by a show that already revels in beheadings and blood spurts. It's not Jon Snow who ultimately presides over his exit. It's Snow's sister Sansa Stark, the woman who was wed to Bolton and horrifyingly mistreated by him.
Twitter users are especially vocal about the satisfaction they feel after Ramsay's face was graphically chewed off by his own hungry dogs as Sansa Stark watched. You see phrases like "nice," "poetic justice," "won't be missed" and "most satisfying scene ever."
What is it about a television character getting chewed on by large dogs that makes so many people so happy? Here's a quick reminder as to why Ramsay Bolton was the most hated man in Westeros: He raped Sansa. He stabbed his father. He murdered his half-brother. He castrated Theon Greyjoy. He killed young Rickon Stark with an arrow. His favorite hobby was feeding people to his starving dogs. And that's just part of his rap sheet.
"Game of Thrones" never shies away from taking beloved characters away from us. (We miss you, Hodor!) But George R.R. Martin and the TV series writers don't just taketh away, sometimes they give back. Ramsay's horrifying death is a gift to the fans, but it's also a gift to Sansa's character. She wears a hint of a smile as she walks away from her torturer's screams. What this means for her development remains to be seen, but this unblinking woman is a far cry from the flighty child we first met way back in season 1.
Now that Ramsay is not-so-dearly departed, fans will need to look elsewhere for the next great villain. Will it be the High Sparrow? The Night King? They're both plenty scary, but it will be hard to top the sheer hatred viewers had for Ramsay Bolton and the muddled mixture of relief, satisfaction and disgust we felt at his death.