Next week's episode of Game of Thrones, "The Battle of the Bastards," promises to be a big one. The show has excelled in the past at devoting entire episodes to important battles, and the one between Jon and Ramsay over Winterfell has high stakes for both the characters and the fans. Who will win the Bastard Bowl?
Obviously everyone and their mother is rooting for Jon – who doesn't want to see Ramsay get his comeuppance after everything he's done? There is literally no one more deserving of getting stuck with the pointy end than Ramsay Bolton and the consequences of Jon losing would be catastrophic. Not only would it be horrible to lose Jon just after his return, but Ramsay would gain even more power, retain Winterfell, and live to torment Sansa another day. It's unthinkable that Ramsay could win. I refuse to think it.
However, the downside is that Jon and Sansa are vastly outnumbered. Ramsay has his own trained, vicious army and the support of House Umber and House Karstark besides; Jon and Sansa just have the wildlings, Lady Badass Mormont's sixty-odd men, and potentially Littlefinger's support from the Vale. There is a whole lot working against them.
The preview for "The Battle of the Bastards" was devoted entirely to this conflict. Shots of the battle itself showed Ramsay's army to be efficient, organized, and highly trained whereas Jon's group is more of a ragtag bunch with hearts of gold. Sadly, hearts of gold do not win wars, though if this were an 80s sports movie my money would totally be on the underdogs. Unfortunately, this is Game of Thrones; good intentions never get you very far here.
Ramsay's smug, overconfident face proves he's certain of his victory, especially when contrasted with Jon's pouty furrowed brow. Jon may talk a big game in the preview – and he's right in saying he's triumphed under more dire circumstances than these – but Sansa's right too. He doesn't know Ramsay. He doesn't know the depth of Ramsay's depravity. This isn't going to be a war fought between two honorable men with equally valid points of view; Jon is fighting a power-crazy psychopath and he very well might be out of his depth.
That's the Debbie Downer perspective, anyway. Jon is an important character. He wouldn't have come back if he wasn't. Ramsay, on the other hand, is a one note villain who only seems to exist to cause trouble. This is Jon's story, not Ramsay's; Ramsay is just a complication. The greater the odds stacked against Jon and Sansa, the greater the triumph.