When Jon Snow held back from giving Ramsay Bolton the deathblow in the June 19 episode, "The Battle of the Bastards," I was initially disappointed. But that all changed when Sansa got to kill Ramsay on Game of Thrones by using his own hounds against him. Personally overseeing Ramsay's death was the solidifying mark of just how much Sansa Stark has developed in Season 6. However, that moment was not only sweet revenge, it was also a tactical win for Sansa. With her secretly aligning with Littlefinger, the Knights of the Vale were able to save Jon Snow's army, which led to the epic moment of Ramsay's death. Clearly, Sansa learned a thing or two from Cersei's bizarre tutelage at King's Landing to earn the title of ultimate winner of the Battle of the Bastards all while displaying what a strong and powerful leader she has become.
Although the battle for Winterfell appeared to be Jon's to win or lose, Sansa was the one who had much more at stake. She was personally raped by Ramsay in Season 5 and though nothing can legitimize a person being raped (in this case, a fictional character), I'm glad that Sansa has at least had significant character growth after the torture she experienced from Ramsay. Sansa took what was unfortunately handed to her and rose above it to become one of the series' most feminist characters.
As with many of the female characters on Game of Thrones, Sansa has been dealt an unfair hand time and time again — particularly when it came to whom it was most advantageous for the eldest Stark daughter to marry. From Joffrey to Tyrion to Ramsay, Sansa has been passed around as a pawn for political power, but Ramsay was the last straw. As she noted to Jon, she had valuable insight on the husband she had escaped from and knew the best way to defeat him, even without the years of tactical experience that Jon and his band of advisors had.
While it is always a gamble on whether or not to trust Littlefinger, Sansa interpreted correctly that he genuinely wanted to make it up to her for orchestrating her marriage to Ramsay. Knowing that the others in her camp would understandably distrust Littlefinger's motives, she took the situation into her own hands by writing to him for aid. While it would have been great if the Knights of the Vale had arrived before Rickon was murdered, Jon's army being saved by Sansa's planning was a dramatic display of just how valuable Sansa is as a strategist since there was no way Jon could have won without his sister intervening.
But, the most exciting part of Sansa's victory was the personal vengeance she received by being responsible for Ramsay's death. As much as I adored Jon's protectiveness of his younger sister, this was Sansa's death to deliver, and he stepped aside to let her kill that literal and figurative bastard. She used the intel that he hadn't fed his dogs in seven days to kill Ramsay in the most perfect way — death by his own hounds. By having Sansa kill Ramsay, Game of Thrones allowed her to have the final word against her abuser and, while she's right that Ramsay's words and actions most certainly will disappear now that he's dead, Sansa showed that her powerful and inspiring words and actions are here to stay.
Image: Helen Sloan/HBO; winterfellskingdom/Tumblr