While many were elated to see Ramsay Bolton — one of the most notorious villains in “Game of Thrones” history — meet his maker in Season 6, the folks responsible for making his death seem real say it could have been worse.
Image Engine, the company tasked with creating many of the effects seen in Season 6 of the HBO series, opened up about what went into killing the bastard of house Bolton. In an interview with Variety, visual effects supervisor Mat Krentz revealed that they went all out for the scene, which aired in Season 6, episode 9 — “Battle of the Bastards.” He and his team created a CGI jaw for Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and added animated effects to make it look like as though his flesh was tearing as the dog chowed down on him.
Despite their hard work, the powers that be on the “Game of Thrones” staff found the effect too gorey, forcing Image Engine to scale back. Instead they used a 2D composite for the effect, which created an equally gross, but slightly more tame, effect. The CGI gurus often turn to household items to make the deaths on “Game of Thrones” seem more realistic. In doing this composition lead Edwin Holdsworth revealed that they used meat — an unusual medium that helps to recreate the look of tearing flesh, blood and guts.
“Some shots were really specific, like someone getting their head smashed directly against a wall,” Holdsworth explained. “To get the look right for that we filmed real meat being smashed. We used the same technique for shots where one character has their hand pulled apart. The best way to match the level of gore needed was to pull some meat apart, and use that in the comp. It all felt more realistic that way!”
Ramsay was killed in one of the most highly anticipated episodes of Season 6. During the show, he and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) finally came face-to-face to battle for Winterfell. The bastard of house Stark headed into the showdown with an army assembled by he and half sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) with the help of Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey). Despite being the underdogs, Jon, Sansa and their men emerged victorious and were able to return to their home. Ramsay was confined in a cell on the property in which Sansa was free to get the revenge she rightfully deserved. She decided to turn Ramsay’s hungry dog on him, looking on as her abusive husband was ripped to shreds.
Rheon opened up about finally meeting Jon in the show during a June interview with Entertainment Weekly. He admitted that he and the beloved bastard on “Game of Thrones” had far more in common than either character would care to admit, but also had a lot of notable differences. Rheon said that Jon is “the antithesis” of Ramsay, but gave nothing away about how the episode would unfold.
“Anyone who has asked me, ‘Who would you like Ramsay to meet?’ My answer has always been, ‘Jon Snow,’” he said. “He’s the antithesis of Ramsay. They’re almost a yin and a yang. They both come from such a similar place and yet they’re so different. And even though they’re enemies, they’ve both risen so far as bastards, which is almost incomprehensible, and now they’re both facing each other. They couldn’t be anymore different, yet more similar.”