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It’s not often that we walk away from an episode of HBO Canada’s Game of Thrones with giant grins. In fact, it’s usually just the opposite — we flick off our TVs while clenching our fists or wiping away tears from the emotional turmoil that just went down.

But last night… last night that finally changed when fans got the moment they’ve been waiting for ever since the heinous character that is Ramsay Bolton was first introduced. As a double bonus, not only did Bolton finally go down, but the Starks actually caught a break after being kicked in their dire wolves for far too long.

Oh, and did we mention it’s all thanks to one Sansa Stark?

That’s right, the character who was once considered one of the worst (or useless, depending on who you asked) characters of the series has redeemed herself in a large way this season, and it all culminated in Sunday night’s second-to-last episode, “The Battle of the Bastards.”

We had an inkling that Sansa was going to come through in some way when she told Jon Snow what was what in regards to her dear old husband and his plan to take back Winterfell. But even we were shocked when she rode in with Littlefinger and the Arryn army — players we more of less forgot about this season with so many other things going down.

It was just in the nick of time, too. Did anyone else think Jon was going to a) get shot with an arrow, b) get trampled by his own people or, c) suffocate behind that crazy shield wall? Talk about the battle to end all battles.

But it was Ramsay’s eventual capture and demise that really had us cheering. From the moment the bastard picked up his bow and arrows (yep, the same ones he killed Rickon with earlier in the episode), and re-challenged Jon Snow to a dual, we knew his days were up. You don’t mess with the real Bastard of Winterfell, guys.

Apparently you also don’t want to take a beating from him. Because damn, Jon Snow knows how to throw a punch. To be honest, we didn’t mind watching that extended beating, either. Not after all the terrible things Ramsay has done. It was like we were all finally beating the snot out of him for playing with our emotions for so long.

Even that paled in comparison to Sansa’s last word, though. Sure, we had a hard time watching the screen when Ramsay’s own hounds attacked his face and began eating him alive, but Sansa sure didn’t. Her victorious smile was all we needed to restore our faith in this show.

Now we’re ready to go into next week’s big finale with a little bit of hope. Or, at the very least, knowing that the Stark banner is once again flying high.

Now if only Arya could join them…

 

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada.