Ramsay Bolton by Amoka©
Ramsay Bolton |
The Bastard of Bolton
The Bastard of the Dreadfort
Lord of the Hornwood|
Lord of Winterfell
Castellan of the Dreadfort
Lady Donella Hornwood 1st|
"Arya Stark" 2nd
A Clash of Kings (Appears)|
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Appears)
|Played by||Iwan Rheon|
|TV series||Season 3|
Ramsay Snow is the bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton. He is known as the Bastard of Bolton and the Bastard of the Dreadfort. Ramsay considers himself a true Bolton despite his birth 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.
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 Boys", though never within their or Ramsay's hearing, and are just as depraved as Ramsay. Ramsay's personal steed is named Blood.
Appearance and Character
Ramsay is an ugly 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. 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.
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.
Ramsay is a capable manipulator and possesses a low cold cunning. He is particularly good at thinking on his feet, though less savvy when it comes to long-term consequences and intricate politics. 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.
Ramsay's father Roose chides him for his "amusements", and encourages Ramsay to incorporate his creed of "a peaceful land, a quiet people"  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.
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.
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 a dozen 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.
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 would 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 Ramsay, 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 Bolton brought Ramsay to the Dreadfort and made him his heir as Roose had no other sons, trueborn or otherwise. Ramsay doubtless learned to read and write while there.
Ramsay is accompanied by Dreadfort men called the Bastard 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.
A Clash of Kings
While his father, Lord Roose Bolton, is away at war alongside King Robb Stark, Ramsay Snow begins to amass troops at the Dreadfort. When he receives news that the neighboring lands of House Hornwood have lost both their lord and his heir, he attacks, taking the Hornwood keep and forcing the widowed Lady Donella Hornwood to marry him. 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.
Ramsay is feared throughout the North, and quickly gains infamy after the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings. He callously practices rape, murder, and other sick indulgences 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, though quick thinking on Ramsay's part allows him to evade death - his necrophiliac accomplice and serving man Reek takes the fall for him.
Rodrik's party comes across Ramsay shortly after he had raped and killed a peasant girl and his companion Reek had raped the corpse. Ramsay is able to survive by switching clothes with Reek, who is killed in his place. Rodrik yearned to put Ramsay-disguised-as-Reek to death too, but he needs him as a witness to many of Ramsay's crimes. Ramsay narrowly escapes death due to his cunning and willingness to sacrifice others for his own ends.
Ramsay is taken as a prisoner to Winterfell in the guise of Reek. After Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Ramsay exchanges a vow of service to Theon for his release. 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. 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.
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.
After consulting with his father, Ramsay and his forces march to Winterfell just as Ser Rodrik Cassel and his host move to greet them. Ramsay swaps his serving man's garb for a full set of armor complete with a red helmet, and meets with Rodrik. 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. Ramsay then rides to Winterfell'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.
A Storm of Swords
After the Red Wedding House Bolton is rewarded for their service to the Lannisters, with Roose named Warden of the North and Ramsay being given a girl posing as Arya Stark (Jeyne Poole); this gives Ramsay a claim to become Lord of Winterfell. They also receive a decree of legitimization from King Tommen Baratheon, making Ramsay an official Bolton, Ramsay Bolton, instead of a bastard Snow.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
At Winterfell, Ramsay weds Jeyne Poole, with only himself, his father and Theon knowing the girl is not Arya Stark, and repeatedly abuses her while Theon watches. 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. 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. 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
Quotes by Roose to Ramsay
All you have I gave you. You would do well to remember that, bastard.
- Roose Bolton to Ramsay.
You must be more discreet.
- Roose Bolton to Ramsay
Power tastes best when sweetened by courtesy; you had best learn that if you ever hope to rule.
- Roose Bolton to Ramsay
Quotes about Ramsay
This Ramsay was a monster and a murderer, and he died a coward. Or so I was told. 
The boy is a sly creature by all accounts, and he has a servant who is almost as cruel as he is. Reek, they call the man. It's said he never bathes. They hunt together, the bastard and this Reek, and not for deer. I've heard tales, things I can scarce believe, even of a Bolton. And now that my lord husband and sweet son have gone to the gods, the bastard looks at my lands hungrily.
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.
- A Knight of House Manderly
- Wyman Manderly's reponse to the above remark.
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.
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.
Never call him that! Ramsay Bolton, not Ramsay Snow, never Snow, never, you have to remember his name, or he will hurt you.
References and Notes
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 12, Reek I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II, pp 253-263.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell, pp 616-617.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I, pp 673-686.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII, pp 907-908.
- The Winds of Winter, Theon's sample chapter, made available on GRRM's website as of December 28, 2011
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
- The Winds of Winter, Theon's sample chapter, made available on GRRM's website as of Dec 28th, 2011
- The Winds of Winter, Theon's sample chapter, made available on GRRM's website as of Dec 28th, 2011
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at House Bolton.