Ramsay Snow

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Ramsay Snow
House Bolton.svg
Ramsay Bolton by Amok©
Ramsay Bolton by Amok©

Alias(es) Ramsay Bolton
The Bastard of Bolton
The Bastard of the Dreadfort
Reek (II)
Red Helm
Title(s) Lord of the Hornwood
Lord of Winterfell
Castellan of the Dreadfort
Allegiance House Bolton of the Dreadfort
House Bolton of Winterfell
Predecessor Donella Hornwood (Lady of the Hornwood)
Theon Greyjoy (Prince of Winterfell)
Culture(s) Northmen
Born In or before 282 AC[1]
Spouse(s) 1st: Lady Donella Hornwood
2nd: Lady "Arya Stark"
Father Roose Bolton
Mother Unknown miller's wife
Book(s) A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)
The Winds of Winter (mentioned)

Played by Iwan Rheon
TV series Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6

Ramsay Snow is the bastard son of Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort and head of House Bolton, and is known as the Bastard of Bolton and the Bastard of the Dreadfort. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Iwan Rheon.

Ramsay has a group of men-at-arms who stand high in his favor and follow him loyally, although their true allegiance lies with Lord Roose. They are called the Bastard's Boys, though never within their or Ramsay's hearing, and are just as depraved as Ramsay. Ramsay's personal steed is named Blood, and he keeps a pack of female hunting hounds.[2][3]


See also: Images of Ramsay Bolton

Ramsay is an ugly young man, even when dressed finely. He is big boned and slope shouldered, with a fleshiness indicating he will be fat later in life. Ramsay's skin is pink and blotchy, his nose broad, his hair long and dark and dry.[4][5] Although his mouth is small, Ramsay's lips are wide and meaty, wormy looking, and he smiles a wet-lipped smile. His distinctive eyes resemble Roose's - small, close-set, and oddly pale, like two chips of dirty ice. Ramsay sometimes wears a garnet cut in the shape of a drop of blood in his right ear.[5]

Ramsay sometimes wears a black leather jerkin over a pink velvet doublet slashed with dark red satin, along with black boots, belt, and scabbard.[5] For battle Ramsay wears dark armor with a red helm and a pale pink cloak. His rounded helm and gorget resemble the face and shoulders of a skinless and bloody man whose mouth is open in a silent scream.[6]

Ramsay's weapons include a falchion, a dagger, and a flaying knife, all with hilts of yellow bone.[2]


Ramsay considers himself a true Bolton despite his birth[7] and is highly resentful of his baseborn status, referring to himself proudly as the trueborn scion of the Dreadfort and violently correcting those who refer to him otherwise.[6][2]

Ramsay is a sadist; 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.[5]

Ramsay is a cunning[8] and capable manipulator. He is particularly good at thinking on his feet,[6] though less savvy when it comes to long-term consequences and intricate politics.[2] He openly enjoys abusive practices such as having young women stripped naked and released into the Bolton forests, before hunting them with a pack of feral dogs. He gives a quick death to women who give him good sport (after raping them first), then flays their corpses. He likes to name his dogs after the women he enjoys most to "honor" them. The women who do not give him good sport are raped and then flayed alive. The skins of his kills are brought back with him to the Dreadfort as gruesome trophies. The bodies of the woman are fed to his dogs.[5]

Ramsay's father Roose chides him for his "amusements", and encourages Ramsay to incorporate his creed of "a peaceful land, a quiet people"[2] into his own, if Ramsay ever hopes to rule. Roose states that Ramsay is fearless, which is a bad thing, as fear will keep a man alive in this world of treachery.[2]

Ramsay, though savage in battle, was never officially taught at arms. His tutor in martial prowess was Reek, his serving man, who had never received any sword training himself. Ramsay's swordsmanship style is vicious and highly aggressive, wielding his sword as if it were a butcher's cleaver.[2]


Ramsay is the product of rape between Roose Bolton and a miller's wife. While hunting along the Weeping Water, Roose saw the miller's wife and decided to illicitly practice the banned tradition of the first night, wherein a lord had the right to bed the commoner's bride. He hanged the miller under a tree for not informing his lord of the new marriage and raped the bride beneath his swaying body. A year later the woman arrived at the Dreadfort with the newborn Ramsay. Roose nearly killed her and the babe, but when he saw the child had his eyes, the taboo of kinslaying stayed his hand. The woman claimed her husband's brother stole the mill and cast her out. Angered by this, Roose had the man's tongue removed so he would spread no tales to Roose's liege lord, Rickard Stark. Roose then gave the woman the mill along with a pig, several chicks and a bag of stars every year on the condition that she never reveal to Ramsay the truth about who his father was.

Ramsay's mother arrived at the castle years later claiming she needed help in raising Ramsay, who grew up wild and unruly. Roose sent Ramsay a servant known as Reek. Reek, despite taking constant washes, always smelled bad due to some "unknown birth condition" that caused his skin to reek, thus his nickname. Giving him to Ramsay and his mother was actually a cruel jest by Roose, but Ramsay and Reek grew inseparable. Roose would later reflect on whether Ramsay had corrupted Reek or whether Reek had corrupted Ramsay, though Reek would follow Ramsay's orders quite faithfully; Ramsay mentioned once that Reek knew better than to deny him.

Ramsay hunting on Blood - by Thrumugnyr ©

Despite Roose's instruction to Ramsay's mother, either she or Reek eventually informed him of his true parentage. Roose believes that both Reek and Ramsay's mother were urging Ramsay on, and constantly reminding the increasingly violent bastard of his "rights."

While most bastards content themselves with their lot in life, Ramsay had larger ambitions. Roose's elder, trueborn son Domeric attempted to forge a sibling connection with his half-brother, though Ramsay swiftly went about disposing of him with poison, thus robbing Roose of his heir and becoming a kinslayer. Ramsay earned the enmity of House Dustin in the process, as Lady Barbrey Dustin was fond of her nephew, Domeric. Two years prior to the beginning of the War of the Five Kings, Roose brought Ramsay to the Dreadfort as he had no other sons, trueborn or otherwise.[7] Ramsay doubtless learned to read and write while there.[9]

Ramsay is accompanied by Dreadfort men called the Bastard's Boys, such as Sour Alyn, Luton, and Skinner. However, they are tasked by Roose with spying on Ramsay on behalf of the Lord of the Dreadfort.[2]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

The Bastard of Bolton - by Nick Alcorn ©

While his father, Lord Roose Bolton, is in southern Westeros during the War of the Five Kings, Ramsay begins to amass troops at the Dreadfort.[7] When he receives news that the neighboring lands of House Hornwood have lost both Lord Halys and his heir Daryn, Ramsay attacks, taking the Hornwood keep and forcing the widowed Lady Donella Hornwood to marry him.[10] He rapes her, forces her to sign a document proclaiming him Lord of the Hornwood, then locks her in a tower without food, where she starves to death after eating some of her fingers.[4]

The infamous Ramsay practices rape, murder, and other crimes around the lands adjacent to the Dreadfort. Ser Rodrik Cassel attempts to put an end to his atrocities after Ramsay forced himself upon Lady Hornwood. Rodrik's party comes across Ramsay shortly after he raped and killed a peasant girl and his companion Reek raped the corpse. Ramsay is able to survive by switching clothes with Reek, who is killed in his place.[6] Rodrik yearns to put Ramsay-disguised-as-Reek to death too, but he needs him as a witness to many of Ramsay's crimes and brings him to Winterfell.[4]

In the riverlands, Roose informs Ser Edmure Tully that Ramsay has been killed by Rodrik, and he hopes his campaign against Harrenhal will make up for his bastard's actions in the eyes of Robb Stark, King in the North.[11]

After Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Ramsay exchanges a vow of service to Theon for his release from Winterfell's dungeon.[12] He quickly becomes one of Theon's more trusted attendants, assisting Theon in his hunt to bring the escaped Bran and Rickon Stark back to Winterfell.[13] He orchestrates Theon's cover-up of the Stark boys' escape by killing two peasant boys of an age with the Starks, and then flaying the corpses to avoid recognition. Theon presents their flayed corpses as the Starks, then has their heads mounted on spikes over the castle walls. With the approval of Theon, Ramsay kills Gelmarr, Aggar and Gynir, ironborn who knew the truth about the bodies. Theon uses the Winterfell kennelmaster Farlen as a scapegoat and has him executed for the murders. Theon contemplates killing Reek too, but thinks better of it, fearing the servant had written and hidden an account of the truth.[9]

The tide soon turns against Theon, however, when Dagmer Cleftjaw's assault is broken and the northmen, enraged at Theon's duplicity and supposed murder of the young Stark children, march on Winterfell to liberate it. Unwilling to abandon the castle, though harboring few delusions about how likely a victory is, Theon and the few ironmen loyal to him prepare to make their final stand. Ramsay offers to help Theon by taking a large sum of money to the Dreadfort and returning with much-needed reinforcement, to which Theon reluctantly agrees.[9]

Ramsay and his forces march to Winterfell, where Ser Rodrik Cassel and his host move to greet them. Ramsay has swapped his serving man's garb for a full set of armor complete with a red helmet. As the castellan offers him his hand in friendship, however, Ramsay slices Cassel's arm off and leads his forces in a rampage through the stunned northmen's ranks.

Following the battle at Winterfell, Ramsay rides to the castle's gates and presents the corpses of Rodrik, Leobald Tallhart and Cley Cerwyn to an onlooking Theon as a sign of his loyalty. Theon opens the gates and meets with Ramsay himself, who removes his red helmet and reveals his true identity. He tells Theon that he would much enjoy the use of his bed-warmer Kyra, and knocks him to the floor when Theon protests. Ramsay carries out a great sack of Winterfell, murdering many of its inhabitants in cold blood, slaughtering the remaining ironmen, and capturing Theon in the process.[6]

Ramsay Snow and Theon at Moat Cailin - Conor Campbell ©

A Storm of Swords

While traveling through the northern mountains toward the Wall, Bran Stark is told by a Liddle that the Bastard's boys are riding the kingsroad and asking about strangers.[14]

Ramsay keeps Theon at the Dreadfort, where he reportedly flays him. He sends a small piece of his skin to King Robb Stark as a gift, to show vengeance is being exacted for Bran and Rickon Stark's "murders." Ramsay's father, Lord Roose Bolton, murders Robb at the Red Wedding. Afterward, House Bolton is rewarded for their service to the Lannisters, with Roose named Warden of the North and Ramsay betrothed to a girl posing as Arya Stark (Jeyne Poole); this would give Ramsay a claim to become Lord of Winterfell. They also receive a decree of legitimization from King Tommen I Baratheon, making him Ramsay Bolton instead of a bastard Snow.[15]

A Feast for Crows

Ramsay, now the castellan of the Dreadfort,[16] is reportedly gathering an army to march south to attack the ironborn-occupied Moat Cailin from the rear.[17]

A Dance with Dragons

Roose Bolton, Ramsay Snow and Reek - Sir-Heartsalot ©

Ramsay forces Theon Greyjoy to take on the role of Reek, his slain serving man, never allowing Theon to bathe and covering him in excrement. Ramsay also removes the skin on several of Theon's toes and fingers, leaving him in agony for days before removing the joints. Ramsay breaks off several of Theon's teeth as he hated Theon's smile. It is also implied that Ramsay castrates Theon. Ramsay makes "Little" Walder and "Big" Walder Frey his squires.[5]

During a feast at the Dreadfort, Theon is brought before Ramsay as he dines next to Arnolf Karstark and Hother Umber.[5][18] Ramsay plays mind games with Theon, before telling him he has a part to play.[5]

Ramsay captures Moat Cailin from the ironborn by sending Theon in as an envoy. Ramsay promises food and safe passage to the sick and starving islanders if they surrender.[3] When they do surrender, Ramsay has all of them, bar his pet Theon, flayed alive and displays their skinless bodies on poles along the road by Moat Cailin. Roose is displeased by Ramsay's behavior, stating that he needs to be more discreet with his practices as his infamous exploits are now well known throughout the north.

The Boltons call upon the northern bannerman to assemble in Barrowton to pledge loyalty to the Iron Throne and attend the wedding of "Arya Stark", actually Jeyne Poole, to Ramsay.[19] From Barrowton, Ramsay and his Bastard Boys unsuccessfully search for the missing Frey envoys, Rhaegar, Symond, and Jared. During the search he kills a peasant who addressed him politely as Lord Snow instead of Lord Bolton. When Ramsay returns to Barrowton, a feast is held by House Stout at their keep, as Lady Barbrey Dustin has barred Ramsay from Barrow Hall. After hearing that Stannis Baratheon has taken Deepwood Motte, Roose decides to move the wedding from Barrowton to Winterfell to strengthen Ramsay's claim as Lord of Winterfell and to goad Stannis into fighting. Roose tells Theon that Ramsay will kill any sons birthed by Roose's new wife, Walda Frey.[2]

At Winterfell, Ramsay weds Jeyne Poole, with only himself, his father and Theon knowing the girl is not Arya Stark, and he repeatedly abuses her while Theon watches.[20] Jeyne and Theon, however, are rescued and freed by Mance Rayder, whom Jon Snow sent to rescue his "sister" when he heard of the wedding.[21][22] Although Jeyne and Theon escape, Jon receives by raven a message purportedly from Ramsay claiming he has Mance, has defeated the northern army and killed Stannis in battle and claims he now possesses Stannis's sword. He also states that he wants his bride back, as well as Queen Selyse Florent, Princess Shireen Baratheon, Melisandre, Val, the 'wildling prince' (actually the son of Gilly) and his Reek, and will come for Jon if he does not give him what he wants.[23] Whether the letter actually came from Ramsay, and which parts, if any, of the letter's contents are true remains unknown.

The Winds of Winter

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

Theon Greyjoy tells King Stannis Baratheon that Ramsay is coming to fetch back his escaped bride and his Reek.[24]

Quotes by Ramsay

Strip off their skins. Lord Bolton, he used to say a naked man has few secrets, but a flayed man's got none.[13]

—Ramsay as "Reek" to Theon Greyjoy

Ramsay. Snow, my wife called me before she ate her fingers, but I say Bolton.[6]

—Ramsay to Theon Greyjoy

Save me the Freys, and burn the rest. Burn it, burn it all.[6]

—Ramsay at the Sack of Winterfell

Quotes about Ramsay

All you have I gave you. You would do well to remember that, bastard.[2]

Roose Bolton, to Ramsay

Power tastes best when sweetened by courtesy; you had best learn that if you ever hope to rule.[2]

Roose Bolton, to Ramsay

This Ramsay was a monster and a murderer, and he died a coward. Or so I was told.[25]

Wylla: He won't ever be my lord! He made Lady Hornwood marry him, then shut her in a dungeon and made her eat her fingers.
Locke: The maid tells it true. Roose Bolton's cold and cunning, aye, but a man can deal with Roose. We've all known worse. But this bastard son of his ... they say he's mad and cruel, a monster.[26]

Wylla Manderly and unnamed member of House Locke

Robett: The evil is in his blood. He is a bastard born of rape. A Snow, no matter what the boy king says.
Wyman: Was snow ever so black? Ramsay took Lord Hornwood's lands by forcibly wedding his widow, then locked her in a tower and forgot her. It is said she ate her own fingers in her extremity ... and the Lannister notion of king's justice is to reward her killer with Ned Stark's little girl.
Robett: The Boltons have always been as cruel as they are cunning, but this one seems a beast in human skin.[27]

Roose: He should have been content to grind corn. Does he truly think that he can ever rule the north?
Reek: He fights for you, he’s strong.
Roose: Bulls are strong. Bears. I have seen my bastard fight. He is not entirely to blame. Reek was his tutor, the first Reek, and Reek was never trained at arms. Ramsay is ferocious, I will grant you, but he swings that sword like a butcher hacking meat.
Reek: He’s not afraid of anyone, m’lord.
Roose: He should be. Fear is what keeps a man alive in this world of treachery and deceit. Even here in Barrowton the crows are circling, waiting to feast upon our flesh. The Cerwyns and the Tallharts are not to be relied on, my fat friend Lord Wyman plots betrayal, and Whoresbane … the Umbers may seem simple, but they are not without a certain low cunning. Ramsay should fear them all, as I do. The next time you see him, tell him that.[27]

His blood is bad. He needs to be leeched. The leeches suck away the bad blood, all the rage and pain. No man can think so full of anger. Ramsay, though … his tainted blood would poison even leeches, I fear.[27]

Theon: Never call him that! Ramsay Bolton, not Ramsay Snow, never Snow, never, you have to remember his name, or he will hurt you.
Stannis: He is welcome to try. Whatever name he goes by.[28]


first wife
"Fat" Walda
Miller's wife
"Arya Stark"

External Links


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