Reek © Fantasy Flight Games
|Died||In 299 AC, at the North|
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned) |
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)
Reek is a servant in service to House Bolton. His real name may be Heke. He is the personal servant of Ramsay Snow. He is reportedly never far from his master, and is almost as renowned for his cruelty as Ramsay is, and appears to practice necrophilia. Due to his stench, he is rumored to never bathe.
According to Roose Bolton, Reek always smelled appalling, apparently born with that condition. The smallfolk said his smell was a curse from the gods. To try to hide the smell, Reek would bathe three times a day, and wore flowers in his hair, but nothing helped. In another futile attempt to get rid of his smell, Reek doused himself with perfume stolen from Roose's wife Bethany. When he was caught and whipped, even his blood smelled bad, according to Roose. Reek tried it again a year later, this time drinking the perfume, and almost died. Although a maester diagnosed the stench as the result of some sickness, Reek was otherwise healthy and strong. No one in the Dreadfort could stand to be near him, not even horses, so he slept in a sty with the pigs.
When Ramsay's mother came to the Dreadfort and asked for a servant to help her raise her unruly and wild son, Roose gave her Reek as a jape. However, Ramsay and Reek became inseparable. Roose often wonders if Reek corrupted Ramsay, or if Ramsay corrupted Reek. According to Roose, Reek never had any training in arms, though he was Ramsay's tutor in martial prowess, which explains Ramsay's vicious and overly aggressive style of swordsmanship.
Reek stayed with Ramsay, even after Ramsay was brought to the Dreadfort in 297 AC and was made Roose's unofficial heir. From that time on, Ramsay and Reek became infamous in the region for the "hunts" they undertook together. They caught peasant girls, then set them free and told them to run for their lives. They then chased after the girls until they caught them, with Ramsay raping and killing the girls, then Reek having his way with the dead bodies while they were still warm. Only a few of the girls escaped.
A Clash of Kings
Lady Donella Hornwood arrives at Winterfell for the harvest feast. In a meeting with Ser Rodrik Cassel, Maester Luwin and Bran Stark, she talks about how Ramsay Snow has been massing men at the Dreadfort, and she sees that as signs of Ramsay trying to take her lands by force. In this context, she mentions Reek, who people believe never bathes and who is said to be almost as cruel as the Bastard of Bolton. She reports that the two go hunting together, but "not for deer", and alludes to stories she has heard that defy belief, even for a Bolton.
On her way home from the harvest feast, Lady Donella is abducted by Ramsay Bolton and forced to marry him that very day, although he is young enough to be her son. He subsequently styles himself Lord Hornwood. Ramsay locks Lady Donella in a tower, where she starves to death. It is said that Reek participated in the crime.
Ramsay Snow and Reek are pursued by men sworn to Rodrik Cassel for their crime against Lady Donella. They are caught during one of their "hunting" trips, which involved Ramsay raping and killing a girl. Reek's horse has lamed in the pursuit because the girl managed to run off so far, so when Ramsay spots Ser Rodrik's men just as Reek is raping the corpse, Ramsay realizes that both of them escaping is not an option. Ramsay, in an attempt to hide his true identity, pulls Reek off the dead body and gives him his own clothes and markings of identity, telling him to ride for help to the Dreadfort with the good horse. Reek had learned not to question Ramsay's orders, so he obeys. As Ramsay has expected, Ser Rodrik's men kill Reek, believing him to be Ramsay. The dead girl had soiled herself before she died, so while Reek is being killed, Ramsay smears the filth over himself and dons Reek's clothes. When Rodrik's men come back, they take Ramsay to be Reek and drag him back to Rodrik, who brings him as prisoner to Winterfell.
When Theon Greyjoy takes Winterfell, his men find Ramsay, still posing as Reek, in the dungeons. He continues to play the role of Reek, saying that his real name is Heke. Theon increasingly relies on the wretched creature, even going so far as accepting his suggestion to fake the deaths of Bran and Rickon Stark. Theon eventually sets him free, after "Reek" has promised to bring him men from the Dreadfort in support. Only after the Bolton force has defeated the men besieging the castle and Ramsay has killed Ser Rodrik, he uncovers his true identity to Theon, before most people at Winterfell are killed and the castle is set to the torch.
A Dance with Dragons
In the Dreadfort, a prisoner is kept by Ramsay, now officially the heir of Lord Roose Bolton. All but Ramsay know this prisoner as Reek, but in truth it is Theon Greyjoy. Eating and being eaten by rats, Theon's mind wanders between realities as Ramsay uses him as a plaything. The lines of identity blur as Theon is tortured and flayed, losing fingers, toes and teeth. As Ramsay's power increases and he becomes Ramsay Bolton, his plans to avenge himself upon Theon and to find a substitute for the companion he lost succeed. Theon's identity is lost to pain and torture; only "Reek" remains. Eventually "Reek" is released and sent on a mission.
See the Theon Greyjoy article for additional details.
Quotes about Reek
I knew the first Reek. He stank, though not for want of washing. I have never known a cleaner creature, truth be told. He bathed thrice a day and wore flowers in his hair as if he were a maiden. Once, when my second wife was still alive, he was caught stealing scent from her bedchamber. I had him whipped for that, a dozen lashes. Even his blood smelled wrong. The next year he tried it again. This time he drank the perfume and almost died of it. It made no matter. The smell was something he was born with. A curse, the smallfolk said. The gods had made him stink so that men would know his soul was rotting. My old maester insisted it was a sign of sickness, yet the boy was otherwise as strong as a young bull. No one could stand to be near him, so he slept with the pigs … until the day that Ramsay’s mother appeared at my gates to demand that I provide a servant for my bastard, who was growing up wild and unruly. I gave her Reek. It was meant to be amusing, but he and Ramsay became inseparable. I do wonder, though... was it Ramsay who corrupted Reek, or Reek Ramsay? 
References and Notes
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- Having a bad odor not caused by lack of hygiene is a real disease called Trimethylaminuria.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 12, Reek I.