Ramsay Snow

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House Bolton.svgRamsay Snow
the Bastard of Bolton
House Bolton.svg
Ramsay Bolton.jpg
Ramsay Bolton, by Amok ©

Culture Northmen
Born or before 282 AC[4]
Father Roose Bolton
Mother Unknown miller's wife

Played by Iwan Rheon
TV series Game of Thrones:
Season 3 | 4 | 5 | 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.[6][7]

Appearance and Character

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.[1][8] 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.[8]

Ramsay's attire includes calfskin boots, velvet doublet, silver-chased swordbelt, and a sable cloak.[3] He also sometimes wears a black leather jerkin over a pink velvet doublet slashed with dark red satin, along with black boots, belt, and scabbard.[8] 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.[3]

Ramsay's weapons include a falchion, a dagger, and a flaying knife, all with hilts of yellow bone.[7]

Ramsay considers himself a true Bolton despite his birth[9] 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.[3][7]

Ramsay is a sadist; he is cruel, savage and wild, taking delight in torturing others. He is quite fond of the old House Bolton custom of flaying their enemies alive.[8]

Ramsay is a cunning[10] and capable manipulator. He is particularly good at thinking on his feet,[3] though less savvy when it comes to long-term consequences and intricate politics.[7] 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.[8]

Ramsay's father, Lord Roose Bolton, chides him for his "amusements", and encourages Ramsay to incorporate his creed of "a peaceful land, a quiet people"[7] into his own, if Ramsay ever hopes to rule. Roose states that Ramsay is fearless, which is a bad thing, as fear keeps a man alive in a treacherous world.[7]

Ramsay, though savage in battle, was never officially taught at arms. His tutor in martial prowess is Reek, his serving man, who has 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.[7]


Ramsay is the product of rape between Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, 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, Lord of Winterfell. 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.[7]

Ramsay hunting on Blood, by Thrumugnyr ©

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.[7]

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."[7]

In 297 AC, Roose's heir, Domeric Bolton, attempted to forge a sibling connection with his younger half-brother, despite Roose's order not to do so. Domeric soon died of a sickness of the bowels, according to Maester Uthor, although Roose believes his heir had been poisoned by Ramsay, making the bastard a kinslayer. Ramsay also earned the enmity of House Dustin, as Barbrey Dustin, Lady of Barrowton, was fond of her late nephew.[7]

Roose brought Ramsay to the Dreadfort as he had no other sons, trueborn or otherwise.[9] Ramsay doubtless learned to read and write while there.[11] Ser Rodrik Cassel is not aware of Roose having ever acknowledged his bastard son.[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.[7]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Ramsay by GibiLynx ©

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.[9] Lady Donella Hornwood, who has lost her husband, Lord Halys Hornwood, and her son, Daryn, sends a message asking about Ramsay's intentions, as the lands of Houses Bolton and Hornwood neighbor each other. Ramsay replies that no Bolton would be questioned by a woman.[9]

Ramsay does not attend the harvest feast at Winterfell,[9] and he abducts the widowed Lady Hornwood while she returns to her own lands from the feast.[12] Donella is forced to marry him at sword-point before a septon and a heart tree, and he also forces her to sign a document proclaiming him her heir.[1] Lord Wyman Manderly responds to his cousin's capture by occupying Hornwood,[12] and fighting in the Hornwood breaks out between Manderlys and Boltons.[1] Ser Rodrik Cassel, the castellan of Winterfell, rides east to resolve the feud.[12]

Ramsay continues his depredations on Hornwood lands, such as raping and killing a northern girl. Ramsay spots Rodrik's party in the distance while Reek rapes the body, so he switches clothes with Reek, smears himself in filth, and has his servant ride away. Reek-disguised-as-Ramsay is killed by an arrow to the back, while Ramsay-disguised-as-Reek is captured by Rodrik's men.[3] Rodrik yearns to put Ramsay-disguised-as-Reek to death, but he needs him as a witness to many of Ramsay's crimes and instead imprisons him in Winterfell's dungeon.[1] Rodrik is too late to save Lady Hornwood, who is found starved to death in a locked tower after having eaten some of her fingers.[1] Jojen Reed has a green dream of "Reek" having killed Bran and Rickon Stark and skinning the boys' faces.[1]

In the riverlands, Roose informs Ser Edmure Tully that his son 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.[13]

After the capture of Winterfell by Theon Greyjoy and his ironborn, "Reek" exchanges a vow of service to House Greyjoy and Theon's father, Balon Greyjoy, for his release from Winterfell's dungeon.[2] He quickly becomes one of Theon's more trusted attendants, assisting Theon in his hunt in the wolfswood to bring the escaped Bran and Rickon back to Winterfell.[14] "Reek" orchestrates Theon's cover-up of the Stark boys' escape by killing two miller's sons 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, "Reek" kills Gelmarr, Aggar and Gynir, ironborn who know the truth about the bodies. Theon uses Winterfell's 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.[11]

The tide soon turns against Theon, however, when Dagmer Cleftjaw is defeated in the fight at Torrhen's Square 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. "Reek" 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.[11]

Ramsay and the Dreadfort garrison 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 Rodrik's arm off and leads his forces in a rampage through the stunned northmen's ranks.[3]

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, 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. Telling his men to save Big Walder and Little Walder Frey and burn the rest, 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.[3] Ramsay also burns the winter town.[15] Bran and Rickon emerge from the crypts of Winterfell after the Boltons depart.[16]

A Storm of Swords

Ramsay by Eeba-ism ©

While traveling through the northern mountains toward the Wall, Bran Stark is told by a Liddle that "flayed men" are riding the kingsroad and that the Bastard's boys are asking about strangers.[17]

At Riverrun, Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers tell Robb Stark, King in the North, that they had received news of Winterfell from their kin, Big Walder and Little Walder. According to the boys, Theon Greyjoy burned Winterfell, but Ramsay was able to save the castle's women and children by taking them to the Dreadfort.[18]

Ramsay keeps Theon at the Dreadfort, where he reportedly flays him. He sends a small piece of his skin to his father, Lord Roose Bolton, at Harrenhal. When Roose arrives at the Twins for the wedding of Lord Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, Lord Bolton presents the flayed skin to Robb as a gift, to show vengeance is being exacted for Bran and Rickon Stark's "murders."[10] Roose has been plotting with Lord Walder Frey and Lord Tywin Lannister,[19] however, and Roose murders Robb at the Red Wedding.[20]

House Bolton is rewarded for their service to the Lannisters and Baratheons, with Roose named Warden of the North and Ramsay betrothed to Arya Stark; this would give Ramsay a claim to become Lord of Winterfell. Ser Jaime Lannister recognizes, however, that the girl being sent north from King's Landing is not Arya, but a girl feigning to be Robb's long-missing sister.[21] Ramsay also receives a decree of legitimization from King Tommen I Baratheon, making him Ramsay Bolton instead of a bastard Snow.[21]

A Feast for Crows

Ramsay, now the castellan of the Dreadfort,[22] is reportedly gathering an army to march south to attack the ironborn-occupied Moat Cailin from the rear.[23]

A Dance with Dragons

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

Ramsay forces Theon Greyjoy to take on the role of "Reek", inspired by 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.[8] It is also hinted that Ramsay may have sexually abused Theon, or even emasculated him.[6][24][N 1] Ramsay makes Big Walder and Little Walder Frey his squires;[8] Theon observes Little Walder becoming more like Ramsay each day.[7]

During a feast at the Dreadfort, Theon is brought before Ramsay as he dines next to Arnolf Karstark and Hother Umber.[8][25] Ramsay plays mind games with Theon, before telling him he has a part to play.[8] Ramsay plots for Arnolf to publicly declare for Stannis Baratheon while secretly supporting Roose Bolton, the new Warden of the North.[26]

Calling himself the Lord of the Hornwood, Ramsay resolves the siege of Moat Cailin by sending in Theon as an envoy. Ramsay promises food and safe conduct to the sick and starving ironborn if they surrender.[6] After the garrison does so, however, Ramsay has all of them, bar his pet Theon, flayed alive, and he displays their skinless bodies on poles along the causeway by Moat Cailin. When Roose's army arrives from the south, Theon recognizes that the girl claimed to be Arya Stark is actually Jeyne Poole. 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.[6]

The Boltons call upon the northern bannerman to assemble in Barrowton to pledge loyalty to the Iron Throne and attend the wedding of "Arya" to Ramsay.[27] Ramsay sends letters to Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square, which are held by Asha Greyjoy and Dagmer Cleftjaw, ordering them to flee the north or share the fate of the ironborn of Moat Cailin. Ramsay includes pieces of Theon's skin with the messages.[28] Ramsay also sends a letter to the Night's Watch at Castle Black.[27]

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 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.[7]

Once at Winterfell, Jeyne asks Theon to help her escape, but Theon refuses. Ramsay weds "Arya" in the godswood of Winterfell, establishing House Bolton of Winterfell. Ramsay abuses Jeyne during their bedding, and he forces Theon to participate as well.[24][29] After their wedding night, Ramsay keeps his new bride imprisoned within her chambers. Ramsay frequently abuses her, and he tasks Theon with keeping her clean.[15] Other northern nobles at Winterfell, such as Lady Dustin, hear the weeping of "Arya".[15]

Alysane Mormont and the northern mountain clans support Stannis Baratheon in his march on Winterfell, insisting "Arya" must be freed from the Bastard of Bolton.[30] A fierce blizzard descends on Winterfell as Roose's host waits for Stannis.[15][31] Several men are found dead, and Ramsay offers a golden dragon for the killer of Yellow Dick.[31] Freys and Manderlys begin fighting after Little Walder's body is found in the snow, and Luton, one of the Bastard's Boys, is wounded. Ramsay kills Luton with a spear to silence the dying man's cries.[29]

Mance Rayder, once the King-Beyond-the-Wall, has been sent by Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, to rescue "Arya", Jon's half sister, after he heard of the wedding. Disguised as the singer "Abel", Mance has his six spearwife allies rescue "Arya" with Theon's assistance.[32][31][29] Jeyne and Theon eventually reach Stannis's camp at a crofters' village.[33]

At Castle Black, Jon eventually receives by raven a message purportedly from Ramsay claiming that he has Mance in a cage, that he has killed Stannis and destroyed his host after seven days of battle, and that he now possesses Stannis's sword. Ramsay 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.[34] Many free folk volunteer to aid Jon against Ramsay, but Jon is then stabbed in the mutiny at Castle Black.[34]

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.

At the crofters' village, a fearful Theon Greyjoy tells King Stannis Baratheon that Ramsay is coming to fetch back his escaped bride and his Reek, but Stannis is dismissive of Ramsay.[25]

Quotes by Ramsay

Iwan Rheon as Ramsay in Game of Thrones

Strip off their skins. Lord Bolton, he used to say a naked man has few secrets, but a flayed man's got none.[14]

—Ramsay as "Reek" to Theon Greyjoy

Ramsay. Snow, my wife called me before she ate her fingers, but I say Bolton.[3]

—Ramsay to Theon Greyjoy

You're not a man, Reek. You're just my creature.[6]

—Ramsay to Theon Greyjoy

Roose: By the king's decree you are now a Bolton. Try and act like one. Tales are told of you, Ramsay. I hear them everywhere. People fear you.

Ramsay: Good.

Roose: You are mistaken.[7]

Roose Bolton and Ramsay

Quotes about Ramsay

The Bastard of Bolton, by Nick Alcorn ©

Tainted blood is ever treacherous, and Ramsay's nature was sly, greedy, and cruel. I count myself well rid of him. The trueborn sons my young wife has promised me would never have been safe while he lived.[35]

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.[36]

The Boltons have always been as cruel as they are cunning, but this one seems a beast in human skin.[37]

Power tastes best when sweetened by courtesy; you had best learn that if you ever hope to rule.[7]

Roose Bolton to Ramsay

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.[7]

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.[24]

—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy

Stannis: Ramsay Snow, you mean. The Bastard.

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.[25]


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

External Links


  1. The fact that Theon has his penis removed by Ramsay in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", an episode of Game of Thrones written by George R. R. Martin, may be a confirmation of Greyjoys's emasculation in the books. However, in the DVD commentary of the episode, even though Martin explained that in the books the Greyjoy lost bits of his body left to the imagination of the readers, he clarified that actually did not write any of the scenes with Theon and Ramsay for Game of Thrones: (Spoilers Extended) Unused elements in GRRM's GOT scripts revealed in commentary tracks, (reddit.com).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
  4. See the Ramsay Bolton calculation.
  5. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Ramsay Snow.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 12, Reek I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
  13. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 45, Catelyn VI.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  16. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  18. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
  20. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  22. A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  23. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 The Winds of Winter, Theon I
  26. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
  28. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
  32. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31, Melisandre I.
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
  34. 34.0 34.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  35. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  36. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
Preceded by Lord of the Hornwood
299 AC–present
Preceded byas Prince of Winterfell Lord of Winterfell
300 AC–present
Heir presumptive:
Roose Bolton

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