- "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."
- ―Ramsay Bolton to Theon Greyjoy
Ramsay Bolton (formerly Ramsay Snow) is a major character in the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons. He initially appeared as a recurring character in the third season. He is played by starring cast member Iwan Rheon, and debuts in "Dark Wings, Dark Words". He was first referred to in Season 2, but his actual name is not mentioned until "Mhysa".
Ramsay Snow, better known as "The Bastard of Bolton", is Lord Roose Bolton's bastard son and the product of rape: years ago Roose discovered that a miller had wed without his permission. He had the miller hanged and raped his wife. Ramsay was born shortly afterwards, and his mother brought him to the Dreadfort, his father's castle, for Roose to acknowledge as his son. Roose very nearly killed both Ramsay and his mother, but relented upon realizing that the child was indeed his.
Ramsay is Roose's only living child following the death of Domeric Bolton, as well as the only possible heir to House Bolton until the birth of a child by Roose's new wife, Fat Walda Frey. He stayed behind as castellan of the Dreadfort when his father left for the south to fight in the War of the Five Kings.
Ramsay keeps a pack of dogs, which he employs for hunting. He is also in a relationship with the kennelmaster's daughter, Myranda, whom he supposedly planned to marry before his father ultimately had him legitimized.
After Winterfell is seized by Theon Greyjoy for the ironborn, Ramsay is dispatched by his father Roose Bolton to re-take it in the name of King Robb Stark. Ramsay's forces besiege the castle and he infuriates Theon by blowing a horn all through the night. The following morning, Theon rallies his men to defend the castle, but he is betrayed and knocked out cold by his men, who accept Robb Stark's offer of mercy for the ironborn garrison if they surrender and hand over Theon. However, the castle is sacked by Ramsay afterwards and instead of letting the ironborn walk free, he flays them alive.
Following the Sack of Winterfell, Ramsay and his men take Theon to the Dreadfort, where the ironborn prince is subjected to gruesome tortures. Embarking on a twisted campaign of psychological manipulation, Ramsay poses as an ironborn emissary of Theon's sister, Yara, and falsely claims to have been sent by her to liberate him.
Ramsay Snow sends a false report to Harrenhal, where the main force of the Northern army has established, of the sacking of Winterfell by the ironborn, of the disappearance of Bran and Rickon Stark, and the unknown whereabouts of Theon Greyjoy.
Later that evening Ramsay returns, and releases Theon, provides him with a horse and tells him to ride east to Deepwood Motte, where his sister is waiting for him. Theon's captors, however, track him down and capture him again. As punishment, their leader attempts to rape Theon. Ramsay appears and swiftly dispatches the kidnappers with bow and arrow, deepening the bond of trust between them.
Afterward Ramsay promises Theon to take him to Deepwood Motte. Some time later the men reach a holdfast; Theon questions having to sneak inside since Yara's men are loyal to her. Ramsay warns Theon that some of the men belong to his father Balon. As the mysterious boy struggles to open a locked gate Theon confesses his jealousy of Robb's status, the murder of the two boys he passed off as Bran and Rickon, and acknowledges that Eddard Stark was his true father. After opening the gate Theon and Ramsay enter a darkened room. The young man lights a torch and Theon, much to his horror, notices he's back in the torture chamber. Armed men enter and Ramsay claims that Theon killed their comrades and escaped but he has brought their captive back. Kicking and screaming, Theon is refastened to the rack, as Ramsay drops his facade, grins sadistically and tells the men to put Theon "back where he belongs".
Ramsay awakens Theon with a horn to continue torturing him. He threatens to remove Theon's pinky finger if he cannot guess Ramsay's true identity and their current location. After several guesses, Ramsay tells Theon he is correct in guessing that Ramsay is the brother of Torrhen Karstark, and that they are in Karhold. However he then points out that Theon never asked if he was a liar. He admits that he was lying, and begins flaying Theon's finger while his victim screams for him to cut it off.
Theon is freed from his constraints by two young women, Myranda and Violet. They give him water and clean his wounds. Theon is apprehensive about their aid, until they disrobe and begin pleasuring him. The three are soon interrupted by Ramsay, who enters the chamber wielding a knife. After taunting Theon about his sexual prowess, he orders his men to restrain Theon and then removes Theon's genitals.
Ramsay admits that the rumors about Theon were true, and that he did have a "good-sized cock", motioning towards Theon's blood-stained, badly-sewn up britches before momentarily tricking him into believing that the pork sausage he is eating is his penis. Ramsay talks about amputees having phantom limbs and wonders if Theon will have a phantom penis, feeling an itch whenever he sees naked girls. When Theon begs to be killed, Ramsay states that he is no good to him dead. Ramsay decides to give Theon a new name, and beats him until he starts calling himself "Reek". Ramsay also sends a letter to Balon Greyjoy with a box containing Theon's penis. He threatens to send more of Theon's body parts and flay every ironborn in the North alive if they have not left by the full moon.Tansy in the woods with his hounds, Myranda, and Theon, recently renamed "Reek". With bows in hand, he and Myranda gleefully pursue Tansy, firing arrows at her as they go. Ramsay explains that Tansy had made Myranda jealous, so she has to go because she causes too many problems otherwise. Myranda manages to strike Tansy with an arrow in the leg before Ramsay happily releases his dogs on her, killing her. Shortly afterward, Lord Roose Bolton arrives at the Dreadfort where Ramsay waits for him. Roose introduces Ramsay to his newly acquired wife, Walda Bolton, and asks to see his captive. Ramsay also greets Locke and congratulates him for his mutilation of Jaime Lannister. Locke assures him that the Kingslayer had screamed loudly enough that Ramsay would have enjoyed it. Ramsay brings "Reek" to his father, who quickly becomes furious with Ramsay for torturing and mutilating a valuable hostage. Roose explains that he wanted to use Theon as a bargaining chip to rid the North of Iron Islanders, and for that he needed him unharmed. Roose chastises Ramsay for his actions, and laments placing too much trust in him. Ramsay tries to prove that his torture had a purpose. He orders Reek to shave him with a razor, demonstrating that he will never betray them, and adds that his method revealed key information; that Theon did not kill Bran and Rickon Stark. Theon also tells them that their half-brother Jon Snow may be sheltering them at the Wall.
Finding it enlightening, Roose sends Locke after the Stark boys, and Ramsay suggests that they kill Jon as well, since he is half-Stark and may pose a threat to their future hold on the North. Roose orders Ramsay to take Moat Cailin, a vital base in the North, from the Greyjoy forces, and promises that if he succeeds, he will reconsider Ramsay's position.Ramsay engages in particularly violent sex with Myranda, forcing her to strangle him as they both climax. Meanwhile Yara Greyjoy, intent on rescuing her brother Theon from Ramsay's clutches, leads a force of fifty ironborn reavers in rowing boats up the Weeping Water towards the Dreadfort. They manage to enter the castle and find Theon in a kennel alongside the dogs, but he refuses to go, having become loyal to Ramsay. Ramsay soon arrives and drives the ironborn from the Dreadfort with his soldiers. When an ironborn asks if they are leaving without her brother, Yara declares her brother to be dead. Later, Ramsay rewards Reek with a bath for his loyalty. When Reek undresses, Ramsay smiles when he notices his victim's missing genitals. Ramsay gently washes Reek while asking his captive whether he loves him, which Reek confirms. He continues by instructing Reek that he has to pretend to be someone he is not: Theon Greyjoy.
Ramsay besieges Moat Cailin and sends Reek to treat with the ironborn garrison, posing as Theon Greyjoy. Theon vouches for Ramsay's promise of safe passage back to the Iron Islands if they surrender. The ironborn surrender, and Ramsay instead flays them all alive. Having taken Moat Cailin, Ramsay and his father meet on an open field. Roose hands him a document legitimizing his bastard son and granting him the right to call himself "Bolton". Ramsay is delighted, and they then make their way towards Winterfell.
While eating with his father, Ramsay tells him that he managed to "persuade" House Cerwyn, one of House Stark's vassals, to pay their taxes by flaying Lord Medger Cerwyn, his wife and older brother alive, and coercing their son to pay in their stead. Finally out of patience with his son, Roose scolds Ramsay for his actions, because since Tywin Lannister is dead, the Lannisters will no longer support them and they will not be able to hold the North with terror alone, since the Northern Houses will eventually rise up against them at the slightest excuse. Roose then reveals that he has arranged for Ramsay to marry Sansa Stark to placate the Northerners. When Sansa arrives, Ramsay greets her with politeness. Later, Petyr Baelish speaks with Ramsay, who promises never to harm Sansa after Baelish subtly warns him against it. As Ramsay takes his leave, he expresses his gratitude to Baelish for finding him a suitable match.
Later, Myranda tells Ramsay of her jealousy for Sansa, since Ramsay had previously promised to marry her while he was still a bastard. Ramsay coldly admits his attraction to Sansa and openly states his opinion of her beauty, and becomes angry when Myranda threatens to marry someone else and leave him. Ramsay approaches Myranda and reminds her of what he does to people who bore him. He forces himself on Myranda, who bites his lip but reciprocates. Ramsay later confronts Reek about his encounter with Sansa, and warns him not to keep secrets from him again. Though he seems like he will punish Reek, he ultimately forgives him.
At dinner, Ramsay initially expresses delight at his wedding to Sansa, but things turn sour when he brings Reek into the room and coerces him into apologizing to Sansa for allegedly killing Bran and Rickon, and suggests that Reek should give Sansa away at their wedding. Roose puts a stop to his son's behavior by announcing that Walda is pregnant with a boy. Ramsay's expression turns angry, as he sees Roose and Walda's child as a potential threat to his position as his father's heir.
After dinner, Ramsay expresses his distress at the possibility of the unborn child jeopardizing his claim on the North to his father, who reprimands him for his behavior earlier but scoffs at his worry. He then regales Ramsay with the tale of how he met his mother, a miller's wife who had married without Roose's knowledge or consent. Roose had the miller hanged and raped his wife beneath his swaying corpse, even though she fought him the whole time. Sometime later, the miller's wife came to the Dreadfort and left the infant Ramsay with him. Roose had been prepared to throw Ramsay into the sea to drown, but stayed himself because he knew, deep down, that Ramsay was his son. Roose then states that Stannis Baratheon is at Castle Black and will likely attempt to take Winterfell from them during his journey to King's Landing, and Ramsay promises to help his father counter Stannis.Later, when Theon comes to fetch Sansa for the wedding, she refuses to hold Theon’s arm, even after he pleads her to, saying that Ramsay will punish him if she doesn’t. Reek then gives Sansa away to Ramsay, and they wed in front of the Godswood. After retreating to the bedroom, Ramsay tells Sansa to take her clothes off. Reek is about to leave but Ramsay tells him he must stay. Ramsay quips to Reek:, "You grew up with her as a girl, now watch her become a woman." Annoyed by Sansa's hesitance, he angrily rips open the back of her dress and pushes her face-down over the side of the bed. As he unbuckles his clothes, Sansa obediently remains still but begins crying softly. Reek is visibly distraught and begins silently crying himself as Ramsay proceeds to roughly consummate their marriage, and though he is still too weak to intervene, a flash of anger briefly spreads across Reek's face as this is going on.
Over the next few days, Ramsay continues to rape and beat Sansa every night. He is informed by a reluctant Reek of Sansa's plan to escape by signalling Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne to come and rescue her, and retaliates by flaying Sansa's elderly maid who delivered Brienne's message to her. Ramsay forces Sansa to look at the corpse, and walks with her across Winterfell, boasting about how he will succeed his father as Warden of the North and she will be his Wardeness, but Sansa counters that Roose is expecting a boy with Walda, a boy who may be Ramsay's baby brother but may still become Roose's true heir, since Ramsay is still technically a bastard, who was even legitimized by Tommen Baratheon, who Sansa claims is also a bastard. Ramsay, visibly angered, counters that even bastards can rise, like her half-brother Jon Snow did when he became the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and taunts Sansa for not knowing the news about Jon's new title. He then orders Sansa taken back to her chambers and locked up again.
As Stannis approaches Winterfell, Ramsay is present at a council meeting on how to counter him. While Roose suggests that they wait out the siege inside Winterfell and allow Stannis and his army to die in the cold, or even for Stannis' men to mutiny against him, Ramsay advocates taking twenty of his best men to face Stannis in the open, on the basis that Stannis will not leave the North so easily, and they need to show the rest of the North how they will deal with Southern invaders.
Ramsay takes his men into Stannis's camp and they torch some of his tents, severely depleting Stannis' men and resources, and manage to flee back to Winterfell without being spotted.
However, Stannis remains undaunted. Though his numbers are greatly reduced, he leads a siege to Winterfell. Ramsay, however, leads the Bolton forces into battle and massacres Stannis' men, sustaining minor cuts to the face in the process. In the aftermath, Ramsay slays a half-dead man, despite his claims of surrender. Having defeated Stannis, he smugly heads back to Winterfell, saying "my wife must be lonely", unaware that Sansa and Theon have killed Myranda and escaped from the castle.
- "This is turning into a lovely evening!"
- ―Ramsay to Yara's crew
Ramsay is sadistic, savage, wild, psychopathic, and completely capable of committing unspeakable atrocities without remorse, simply for pure amusement. Ramsay fully admits - and indeed revels in the fact - that he tortures and kills innocent people for no reason whatsoever, and that they do not deserve what he is doing to them. It simply makes him feel powerful.
Ramsay is fearless - almost a beast in human skin - glorifying in the violence of personal combat. Ramsay does not rave and rage, however: he has a pervasive, playful, childlike giddiness as he inflicts pain on others, from flaying men alive to hunting and killing girls for sport. The cold-blooded torture of other people is little more than a hilarious game to Ramsay.
In his own twisted way Ramsay is actually quite intelligent, possessing a certain "low cunning" with which he tricks his enemies. He is particularly good at thinking on his feet, but reckless when it comes to long term consequences and intricate politics. Ramsay deeply enjoys playing mind games with his enemies using psychological torture, often tricking them into trusting him only to then break his empty promises to them - such as when he was torturing Theon, promising he would stop if he correctly guessed their location and Ramsay's identity. At one point, Ramsay initially gave Theon the impression he guessed right but then cruelly said "you forgot to ask if I'm a liar" and flayed his finger anyway. One of Ramsay's favorite "tricks" is to kill enemies after they have surrendered to him, while under a flag of truce.
On the other hand, Ramsay is also very impulsive, not fully considering the long-term consequences of his actions much to his father's chagrin. When Lord Medger Cerwyn refuses to pay Ramsay taxes or even acknowledge Bolton rule, Ramsay flays Cerwyn alive along with his wife and brother while forcing his son to watch, and puts the corpses on public display. Roose angrily warns his son that this disproportionate brutality is severely damaging their long-term position but Ramsay largely ignores his warnings, instead privately holding a massive feast for himself even as other lords are worried about stockpiling provisions for the winter. Despite his marriage to Sansa giving his House a much greater hold over the North, Ramsay keeps her locked up in her bedchamber all day after their wedding only so he could brutally rape her at night. Even though Sansa's only motive for marrying him was to avenge her family, Ramsay once again shows his lack of political tact by mistreating his bride rather than making her happy and comfortable, which finally prompts Theon to rebel against Ramsay and help Sansa escape, severely weakening House Bolton's hold on the North.
Furthering his childish attitude, Ramsay appears to have a strong aversion to having things denied or even taken from him. He becomes angry when Theon initially refuses to acknowledge his new name, Reek, and beats him and screams in his face to make him accept it, and when his father says that Stannis Baratheon may take back the North, which legally becomes Ramsay's birthright following his legitimization, Ramsay shows signs of fury at the mere thought of having the North taken from him, and promises to help his father defeat Stannis.
Ramsay is also shown to be greatly frustrated by his bastard status, and is easily angered when he is referred to in such a way. When he is legitimized as "Ramsay Bolton", he is clearly overwhelmed to the point that he almost cries with joy and gets on his knees to solemnly promise his father that he will live up to his family name and traditions and not fail him. Despite his legitimization, however, he is still wary of his origins, and knows deep down that if his father were to have a trueborn son with his new wife, it may very well be a threat to his future claim, which Sansa uses to mock him. A possible source of this resentment is his jealousy of Jon Snow, a fellow Northern bastard who was raised by his father, Ned Stark, along with his trueborn sons and eventually rose to become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and as such, Ramsay desires to rise to a powerful political position as Jon did, which he himself states to Sansa by comparing himself to Jon. He is also visibly stunned when he learns that he is actually the product of a violent rape and that his father nearly killed both him and his mother when he was a baby, implying that despite his negative qualities, he held his mother in high regard when she was alive, and even remarked to Theon that she tried to encourage him to be kind as a child (though he didn't listen).
Spoken by Ramsay
- "Do I look like a fucking Umber to you?"
- ―Ramsay to Theon after he incorrectly guesses they are at the Last Hearth.
- "This isn't happening to you for a reason. Well, one reason. I enjoy it."
- ―Ramsay to Theon as he flays his right pinky.
- Theon Greyjoy: "Please, mercy! Mercy!"
- Ramsay Snow: "This is mercy. I'm not killing you. Just making a few...alterations."
- — Ramsay castrates Theon.
- "People talk about phantom limbs. An amputee might have an itch where his foot used to be, so I've always wondered, do eunuchs have a phantom cock? The next time you think about naked girls, will you feel an itch? Sorry. I shouldn't make jokes. My mother taught me not to throw stones at cripples... but my father taught me, 'aim for their head'!"
- ―Ramsay mocks Theon after castrating him.
- "You don't look like Theon Greyjoy anymore. That's a name for a lord, but you're not a lord, are you? You're just meat. Stinking meat. (Sniffs him) You reek.....Reek! That's a good name for you!"
- ―Ramsay renames Theon "Reek".
- Ramsay Snow: "What's your name?"
- Theon Greyjoy: "(Looking angry) Theon Greyjoy. (Ramsay punches him)"
- Ramsay Snow: "What is your name?"
- Theon Greyjoy: "(Smirking) Theon Greyjoy. (Ramsay punches him again)"
- — Ramsay and Theon.[src]
- Ramsay Snow: "WHAT...IS...YOUR...NAME!?"
- Theon Greyjoy: "Reek....my name....is Reek."
- — Ramsay and Theon.[src]
- "If you make it out of the woods, you win!"
- ―Ramsay to Tansy.
- "Rip her! Rip her! Rip her!"
- ―Ramsay orders his hounds to maul Tansy to death
- Yara Greyjoy: "Give me my brother and no more of your men will die."
- Ramsay Snow: "You've got bigger balls than he ever did. And with those big balls of yours, how fast can you run?"
- — Yara Greyjoy and Ramsay Snow.[src]
- "Kraken. Hmm, strong, as long as they're in the sea. When you take them out of the water.....no bones, they collapse under their proud weight and slump into a heap of nothing. You'd think they'd know that. Unfortunately they're not very bright."
- ―Ramsay to Theon about the Ironborn.
- "Remember what you are, and what you're not. Bring me Moat Cailin."
- ―Ramsay to Theon.
- Ramsay Snow: "You didn't really think I'd let them go, did you? It's fallen out of fashion, flaying. Sad, but true. But traditions are important. Where are we without our history, eh?"
- Theon Greyjoy: "Yes, my lord. Will we go home now?"
- Ramsay Snow: "I believe we will, but to our new home."
- — Ramsay and Theon after they recapture Moat Cailin.[src]
- Roose Bolton: "Now tell me, what is your name?"
- Ramsay Snow: "(Annoyed) Ramsay Snow."
- Roose Bolton: "Not, not Ramsay Snow. (Hands him a legitimization decree) From this day until your last day, you are Ramsay Bolton, son of Roose Bolton, Warden of the North."
- Ramsay Snow: "You honor me. I swear I will uphold your name, and your tradition. I'll be worthy of you, father. I promise."
- — Lord Roose Bolton and Ramsay[src]
- "Jealousy bores me. You remember what happens to people who bore me."
- ―Ramsay to Myranda.
- "You've known Sansa since she was a girl. Now watch her become a woman."
- ―Ramsay to Reek as he forces himself onto Sansa Stark.
- Ramsay Bolton: "I'm Lord Bolton's eldest son."
- Sansa Stark: "But you're a bastard, a trueborn will always have the stronger claim."
- Ramsay Bolton: "I've been naturalized by a royal decree from..."
- Sansa Stark: "Tommen Baratheon? Another bastard?"
- — Sansa antagonizes Ramsay by reminding him of his baseborn origins.[src]
- "Bastards can rise high in the world, like your half-brother Jon Snow. Born the Bastard of Winterfell, now the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. You didn't know? Yes, he's done very well for himself."
- ―Ramsay defends his bastard-born status by citing Jon Snow as an example.
- Ramsay Bolton: "Stannis isn't from the North. You are, father. I think you're missing an opportunity to show the people of the North how House Bolton treats southern invaders."
- Roose Bolton: "And what do you recommend?"
- Ramsay Bolton: "That we not sit and wait for Stannis to decide what sort of fight this is going to be. That we hit fast, and hit hard, and leave a feast for the crows."
- Roose Bolton: "A smart commander does not abandon a defensive advantage. As long as we stay behind these walls, they can't touch us. Not to mention the snow is so deep, we couldn't get an army through to engage them even if we wanted to."
- Ramsay Bolton: "I don't need an army. I need 20 good men."
- — Ramsay makes his case for a preemptive attack on Stannis Baratheon.[src]
- "Winterfell is mine. Come and see."
- ―Ramsay proclaims his hold on Winterfell.
Spoken about Ramsay
- "I will kill that man. I don't care how many arrows they feather me with, how many spears they run through me, I will kill that hornblowing cunt before I fall!"
- ―Theon Greyjoy
- "I will kill that man! I swear to the Drowned God, the Old Gods, the New Gods, to every fucking God in every fucking Heaven, I will kill that man!"
- ―Theon Greyjoy
- "And whoever kills that fucking hornblower will stand in bronze on the shores of Pyke!"
- ―Theon to his men.
- "You little bastard!"
- ―Master Torturer's final words before being killed by Ramsay.
- "Ramsay delivered the terms. The ironborn turned on Theon as we know they would. They handed him over trussed and hooded. But Ramsay... well, Ramsay has his own way of doing things..."
- ―Roose Bolton, revealing that after Ramsay promised the twenty ironborn in Winterfell safe passage, he flayed them all alive anyway.
- "I place far too much trust in you."
- ―Roose Bolton to his son.
- "Don't you want to chase the rats out of your home?"
- ―Melisandre attempts to persuade Jon Snow to help Stannis Baratheon defeat Roose and Ramsay.
- Theon Greyjoy: "Do what he says! Do what he says or he'll hurt you!"
- Sansa Stark: "He already hurts me every night! All day I'm locked in this room and every night he comes! It can't be any worse!"
- Theon Greyjoy: "It can. It can always be worse."
- — Theon and Sansa talk about Ramsay.[src]
- "I know what Ramsay is. I know what he'll do to me. If I'm going to die, let it happen while there's still some of me left."
- ―Sansa stands her ground when confronted with the prospect of waiting for Ramsay to return from battle.
- "Dying? Who said anything about dying? You can't die. Your father was Warden of the North, and Ramsay needs you. But I suppose he doesn't need all of you. Just the parts he needs to make his heir, until you've given him a boy or two and he's finished using them. Then, he's got incredible plans for those parts."
- ―Myranda to Sansa about what Ramsay needs her for.
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Telltale Game Series appearances|
|Iron From Ice||The Lost Lords||The Sword in the Darkness||Sons of Winter||A Nest of Vipers||The Ice Dragon|
née Frey 15px
|Sansa Stark||Domeric Bolton|
Behind the scenesRedaguoti
Iwan Rheon's character was announced and then credited only as "Boy" in order to keep his true identity as Ramsay Snow a secret until "Mhysa." The only clue as to his identity was the manner in which Theon is fastened to the rack while Ramsay tortures him, identical to the symbol of House Bolton, representing a flayed man in an X-shape. Even though Ramsay did not appear prominently until A Dance with Dragons (he appears in A Clash of Kings, but disguised as a servant, Reek, until the final chapters), book readers would know immediately after dropping his façade in the TV series who he truly was.
During casting for Season 1, Rheon originally auditioned for the role of Jon Snow, but lost to Kit Harington. Throughout the series, particularly A Dance with Dragons, Ramsay is portrayed as Jon's foil in many ways, given that Jon and Ramsay are both bastards of Northern noble families (Stark and Bolton, respectively), and are each other's polar opposites, as well as the Boltons once again becoming the sworn enemies of the Starks after the Red Wedding. A Dance with Dragons even ends with Jon on the verge of leaving Castle Black to confront and kill Ramsay personally, though he is stabbed before he can depart. On Jon and Ramsay's rivalry, Rheon claims, "Jon and Ramsay are literally the opposite to each other, you know. Jon's very noble and honorable, and Ramsay's none of those things". In real life, despite not yet having been seen onscreen together in the series, Rheon and Harington are close friends.
In the booksRedaguoti
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ramsay Snow is Roose Bolton's bastard son. He is an ugly man which even splendorous garb cannot disguise. He is big boned and slope shouldered, with a fleshiness to him that suggests that later in life he will turn to fat. Ramsay is a sadistic psychopath, serial rapist, and rumored cannibal. He is cruel, savage and wild, taking delight in torturing others. He is quite fond of the old Bolton custom of flaying their enemies alive.
Roose only acknowledged Ramsay in his teenaged years, thus Ramsay spent a rough youth in poverty as the bastard son of a poor miller's widow, until he somehow found out about his parentage and insisted on claiming his "rights". The result is that - in contrast with Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell - Ramsay is a crude, almost half-feral savage who is uneducated and knows nothing about courtly behavior. When Ramsay does send (dictated) letters to his enemies, they are often extremely crass, unstructured, and blunt, laced with profanity and taunting threats, and with pieces of human skin enclosed. While the letter Ramsay sends to Balon in the Season 3 finale of the TV series is not present in the books, it closely matches his "writing style" from the novels.
Ironically, Ramsay actually somewhat seems to like his mother, and speaks highly of her - she is after all the one who convinced him to go to the Dreadfort to pursue his "rights", though she also found him wild and unruly. Moreover, Ramsay has actually convinced himself that Roose fell in love with his mother at first sight, and thinks of their union as a poetic romance. In reality, Roose raped the miller's wife on a whim, under the very tree he had her husband hanged from, and afterwards was casually disappointed that raping her wasn't as physically pleasurable as he'd thought it would be.
One of Ramsay's most monstrous hobbies is to have young women stripped naked and released into the Bolton forests, before hunting them with a pack of female feral dogs, that are deliberately trained to be vicious and mean-tempered. If the women do not give him good sport in the hunt, he punishes them by raping them, then flaying them alive. If the women give him good sport in the hunt, however, he will grant them the mercy of a quick death...after raping them first. He then flays their corpses. He names new female hunting dogs after the women who gave him the most enjoyable hunts before he killed them, as a warped way to "honor" them. The skins of his kills are brought back with him to the Dreadfort as gruesome trophies. The bodies of the women are fed to his dogs.
Ramsay is introduced in A Clash of Kings, though his appearance in the TV series was pushed back until the third season. He is first mentioned by Lady Donella Hornwood who notes that he is massing troops at the Dreadfort. She sends him a message inquiring about his intentions, and he rudely answers that it is none of her business.
Following the deaths of Lady Hornwood's husband and son, Ramsay forces her to marry him and to sign a will that names him as her heir, so he can inherit her lands. He rapes her and locks her in a tower, and does not give her any food. When Ser Rodrik Cassel finally arrived to free her, it was too late - she had gnawed off all of her fingers. As one of Ramsay's favorite torture tactics, he had flayed the skin off of all of the old woman's fingers, leaving her to bite them off as the only way to end the agony, after which in delirium from hunger she ate some. Ramsay later gleefully boasts about this accomplishment.
Ramsay and his servant "Reek" later caught a peasant girl and raped her to death. Reek continued even after the girl died. It is then that Ser Rodrik's men found them. Ramsay was supposedly killed, and Reek taken prisoner to Winterfell. Rodrik wished to put Reek to death, but needed him alive as a witness to many of Ramsay's crimes, hoping that after Roose Bolton heard his tale, he would abandon his claim for the Hornwood lands.
After Theon takes Winterfell, Reek offers to serve him if released from captivity. He becomes one of Theon's supposedly more trustworthy attendants, helping him hunt for Bran and Rickon. It is Reek who advises Theon to kill and flay two unnamed miller's sons to pass off as the Starks, and Theon accepts his advice. Afterwards, Theon orders Reek to secretly murder Gelmarr, Aggar and Gynir for their knowledge of the truth, and he does. Since Theon needs a scapegoat, he falsely accuses Farlen the kennelmaster and executes him. Theon does not kill Reek, fearing that the blackguard hid a written account of what they had done.
After Rodrik defeats Dagmer Cleftjaw at Torrhen's Square, the Northmen march on Winterfell to liberate it. Theon refuses to give up the castle, using Beth Cassel as hostage to prevent Rodrik from attacking, and his men prepare to make a final stand. Reek offers to help Theon by taking a large sum of money to the Dreadfort and returning with much-needed reinforcements, asking for Palla in return. Theon does not trust Reek but reluctantly agrees, since he has no other choice. He promises to give Palla to Reek providing that he brings two hundred men.
When Northmen led by Rodrik Cassel surround Winterfell, an army of 600 men bearing the flayed man of House Bolton arrives, led by a mysterious armored captain. As Rodrik offers his hand in friendship, the captain cuts off his arm and the Bolton army attack the other Northmen and defeat them, suffering only minor casualties. They enter the castle and the captain presents Theon with the bodies of Rodrik, Leobald Tallhart, and Cley Cerwyn. He removes his helmet and reveals himself to be Reek, then reveals that he is in fact the real Ramsay Snow. He had switched clothes with the real Reek when Rodrik arrived to cheat death and get into Winterfell, while Reek was killed by Rodrik's men. He tells Theon that he would much enjoy the use of his bed-warmer Kyra instead of Palla, and when Theon refuses, Ramsay knocks him out. Ramsay and his men then put Winterfell to the torch and its people to the sword (among them Maester Luwin), as well as abducting Theon and killing almost all the other ironborn.
In addition to Theon, Ramsay took two of Lord Frey's grandsons who were being fostered at Winterfell, and a few of the castle staff, among them Palla, Old Nan, and Beth Cassel. The two Frey boys soon entered into Bolton service, after the Freys and Boltons united to betray the Starks at the Red Wedding and switched allegiance to the Lannisters. The women of the castle staff, meanwhile, Ramsay used to avidly indulge in his favorite hobby: hunting them for sport, raping them, flaying them alive to make trophies out of their skins, then feeding their corpses to his dogs. Ramsay disposed of much of the former female population of Winterfell in this fashion.
It is unclear from the books whether Ramsay contacted his father after Theon let him go, got orders from Roose to destroy Winterfell and followed them, or that he committed all the above actions on his own and only later reported what he had done to Roose, who had independently come to the same conclusion that the time was ripe to betray the Starks. Roose Bolton and the Freys lie about their reports from what happened at Winterfell. Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers inform Robb and Catelyn that they got a letter from Lord Frey's grandsons: Winterfell has been destroyed and Ser Rodrik was killed by the ironborn, but the survivors were taken to the Dreadfort by Ramsay. Lothar and Walder claim not to be sure of Theon's fate. When Roose reports Ramsay's actions to Robb (falsely making it sound as if Ramsay saved the day by driving the ironborn from Winterfell), Catelyn sharply reminds him that Ramsay has committed many vile crimes, among them murder and rape. Roose answers nonchalantly that after the war is over, Ramsay will be tried for his crimes, and maybe his deeds will atone for the crimes he committed - or not. He is not overly concerned of the possibility that Ramsay may be executed (particularly because he knows Robb will not live long enough to judge Ramsay).
Ramsay's torture and emasculation of Theon are not directly described in A Storm of Swords, but rather alluded to in A Dance with Dragons. Ramsay does not send a letter and a box containing Theon's genitals to Balon Greyjoy, the Greyjoys remaining oblivious to Theon's survival. Ramsay does send his father some skin flayed from Theon's finger, which Lord Bolton shows to Robb and Catelyn before the Red Wedding as proof that Theon is being punished for his betrayal. Ramsay sends a letter of warning to Asha, in which a piece of Theon's skin is enclosed, but that happens much later. Neither Asha nor any of the ironborn know what happened to Theon, believing him to be dead (though a few ironborn lords point out that his death was never confirmed). Arguably this is the only "sane" reason that Ramsay kept Theon alive, though the main reason was still that Ramsay took sadistic glee in unfairly inflicting torment on a random person. The succession laws in the newly independent Iron Islands are unclear, i.e. Asha/Yara feels that as the older sibling she is the heir, but according to the most common inheritance law in the Seven Kingdoms, as Balon's only surviving son Theon is the heir to the Iron Islands. Ramsay is not simply holding Theon hostage, as he has no intention of letting him leave alive and makes no attempt to contact the Greyjoys about his survival. Rather, Ramsay's goal was this very uncertainty: even if Theon were dead, the ironborn's line of succession would at least be clear, but not revealing the fate of Balon's heir generated confusion and dissent within their ranks. The TV version altered this, but still makes clear that Ramsay never offers hostage terms for Theon. In the TV version, Ramsay's plan is that slowly torturing Theon and mailing pieces of him to Pyke will eventually frighten the Greyjoys into withdrawing from the North.
Although Ramsay is noted as being a fierce fighter, he is undisciplined in warfare, lacking form or finesse, and is described as wielding his sword like a meat cleaver. In the TV series, however, he is depicted as a deadly hunter and archer, easily dispatching six of his own men within seconds. According to Roose, Ramsay has deluded himself into believing that massacring unarmed prisoners (such as at Winterfell and Moat Cailin) makes him a skilled battlefield commander, when in fact he has never won a real battle. He also receives a long rebuke from his father for flaying alive unarmed men who surrendered Moat Cailin after Ramsay promised them safe passage home. Roose points out that Ramsay will never be trusted again, and the enemies of the Boltons will now fight to the death rather than surrender to them.
In the books, Ramsay is known for his ostentatious taste in clothes; garbing himself in velvet, silk, and satin, usually in the Bolton colors - pink and red. In the show, however, Ramsay's attire is considerably more subdued, in order to fit in with the established drab dress code for northern characters. That being said, the leather jerkin Ramsay wears in season four is, in fact, a very dark shade of reddish purple: a subtle reference to his literary counterpart.
Ramsay marries a fake Stark (actually Jeyne Poole, masquerading as Arya Stark instead of Sansa) also procured by Littlefinger, instead of Sansa Stark herself. In turn, Sansa is betrothed to Harrold Hardyng, Lord Robert Arryn's unlikely heir, instead of Ramsay. Ramsay subjects Jeyne to emotional and physical torture, even forcing Reek to take part. When Stannis Baratheon's army approaches, Ramsay prepares to lead a counterattack, but the actual battle has yet to be depicted.
Notably, Ramsay unwittingly serves as the true catalyst of the Mutiny at Castle Black. He apparently sends a letter to Jon Snow at Castle Black, boasting that he has killed Stannis and captured Mance Rayder (whose execution was faked and whom Jon sent to Winterfell to rescue Jeyne, believing it was Arya), but revealing that Jeyne and Theon have escaped. In the letter, Ramsay furiously demands that Jon return Jeyne and Theon to him, and hand over Selyse Baratheon, Shireen Baratheon, Melisandre, Val (Mance's sister-in-law) and several of Stannis's court to him as hostages, threatening that if Jon does not, he will march on the Wall and kill him. This leads Jon to decide to head to Winterfell in order to confront and kill Ramsay personally, but he is stabbed by his Night's Watch brothers before he can leave Castle Black. Whether the contents of Ramsay's letter are entirely true or not remains to be seen, as well as the possibility that the letter was not even written by Ramsay, since it lacked a piece of flayed skin tied to it, his calling card. For unknown reasons, Ramsay's growing rivalry with Jon has been cut so far from the television series, though it is alluded to when Ramsay compares himself to Jon and outright expresses a desire to rise to power like Jon did (in the books, it is not Ramsay who tells Sansa that Jon is the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but Myranda Royce), and is likely to be expanded on in the sixth season.
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
- ↑ 2,0 2,1 "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "And Now His Watch is Ended"
- ↑ "The Climb"
- ↑ "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
- ↑ "Mhysa"
- ↑ "The Lion and the Rose"
- ↑ "The Laws of Gods and Men"
- ↑ "The Mountain and the Viper"
- ↑ "High Sparrow (episode)"
- ↑ "Kill the Boy"
- ↑ "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
- ↑ "The Gift (episode)"
- ↑ "Hardhome (episode)"
- ↑ "The Dance of Dragons"
- ↑ "Mother's Mercy"
- ↑ "The Laws of Gods and Men"
- ↑ HBO: Bastards of Westeros
|Lord:||Lord Roose Bolton||Heir:||Ramsay Bolton||100px|
|Title(s):||Red King (former) · Lord of the Dreadfort · Warden of the North · Lord Paramount of the North · Lord of Winterfell|
colspan="5"| Rogar Bolton
colspan="5"| Domeric Bolton
colspan="5"| House Baratheon of King's Landing