- For the seat of House Baelish, see Drearfort.
Artwork by lykhaon ©
|Location||Westeros, the north|
|Government||House Bolton , feudal lord.|
The Dreadfort is a fortress in the north and the seat of House Bolton in northeastern Westeros. Located on the banks of the upper Weeping Water, it is southeast of the Lonely Hills and north of the Sheepshead Hills. The Dreadfort is north of Hornwood, south of Last Hearth, and southwest of Karhold.
Steelshanks Walton serves as Lord Roose Bolton's captain and Nage is one of his guards. Ben Bones is the castle's kennelmaster and Tybald serves as maester. Letters from the Dreadfort use pink sealing wax.
The Dreadfort is a strong fortress, with high walls and triangular merlons that look like sharp stone teeth. It has thick stone walls and massive towers. Its great hall is dim and smoky, with rows of torches grasped by skeletal human hands jutting from the walls. Long tables stand before a dais with a high table. The hall has a vaulted ceiling and wooden rafters turned black from smoke.
Boltons are buried beneath the Dreadfort.
The Dreadfort was the seat of the Red Kings from House Bolton during the Age of Heroes. The Boltons eventually submitted to the Kings in the North from House Stark near the start of the Andal invasion.
The Dreadfort once joined House Greystark of the Wolf's Den in rebellion against the Starks. Centuries ago, the Boltons rose up against King Harlon Stark and the Dreadfort held out for two years under siege before the Boltons surrendered.
Domeric Bolton, the heir of Lord Roose Bolton, died at the Dreadfort after visiting his baseborn brother, Ramsay Snow, along the Weeping Water. Maester Uthor called it a sickness of the bowels, but Roose blamed poison. Lord Bolton subsequently brought Ramsay to live at the Dreadfort. The Bastard of Bolton has earned a dark reputation from hunting women, and victims who give him good sport are sometimes the namesake for hounds in the Dreadfort's kennel.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
Lady Donella Hornwood learns that Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Roose, is massing men at the Dreadfort. She is concerned, as the lands of House Hornwood lands adjoin those of the Boltons. While returning from Winterfell's harvest feast, Donella is seized and forced to wed Ramsay. In response, Lord Wyman Manderly seizes Hornwood to prevent Ramsay from occupying it, and White Harbor knights battle Dreadfort men in the Hornwood forests. News reaches Winterfell via Ser Rodrik Cassel, but he does not have the manpower to stop them.
"Reek", a servant of House Bolton, is captured by Rodrik after the supposed death of Ramsay. After the capture of Winterfell by Theon Greyjoy, "Reek" aligns himself with Theon. Because Theon lacks the manpower to hold Winterfell, he allows "Reek" to leave to hopefully gather a few hundred reinforcements. However, "Reek" returns to Winterfell with six hundred men from the Dreadfort. He attacks Rodrik's army of Stark loyalists in a battle at Winterfell, reveals himself to be the still-living Ramsay Snow, and orders the sack of Winterfell.
A Storm of Swords
Lothar Frey reads a letter to Robb Stark, now King in the North, at Riverrun. According to Big Walder Frey, the women and children who survived the sack of Winterfell, which allegedly was caused by Theon's ironborn, were taken to safety at the Dreadfort by the Bastard of Bolton.
The hosts of Roose and Robb meet at the Twins for the wedding of Lord Edmure Tully. Robb agrees with Roose to keep Theon captive at the Dreadfort. The Boltons turn on their Stark allies, however, and aid the Freys in slaughtering them at the Red Wedding. King Tommen I Baratheon signs decrees which name Roose the new Warden of the North and which legitimize Ramsay Snow as Ramsay Bolton. The Hand of the King, Lord Tywin Lannister, intends for the Dreadfort to battle the ironborn for control of the north.
A Feast for Crows
Ramsay serves as castellan of the Dreadfort.
A Dance with Dragons
Theon Greyjoy is kept in a dungeon below the castle where he has been subjected to Ramsay's flaying since the sack of Winterfell. Big Walder and Little Walder Frey eventually bring the mutilated Theon, now called "Reek", to Ramsay's feast with Arnolf Karstark and Hother Umber.
Ramsay marches with a host to resolve the siege of Moat Cailin. Arnolf writes to Stannis Baratheon at Castle Black that the Dreadfort is weakly garrisoned with fewer than fifty men, half of them servants. However, Jon Snow explains that the Dreadfort is a strong castle, and he convinces Stannis to instead march from Castle Black to Deepwood Motte.
I know the Dreadfort. It is a strong castle, all of stone, with thick walls and massive towers. With winter coming you will find it well provisioned. Centuries ago, House Bolton rose up against the King in the North, and Harlon Stark laid siege to the Dreadfort. It took him two years to starve them out.
—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
Theon was not afraid to die. Underneath the Dreadfort, he had learned there were far worse things than death. Ramsay had taught him that lesson, finger by finger and toe by toe, and it was not one that he was ever like to forget.—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- The Winds of Winter, Theon I
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 12, Reek I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Domeric Bolton.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.