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|“||Ramsay. Snow, my wife called me before she ate her fingers, but I say Bolton.||„|
|~ Ramsay reveals his identity to Theon Greyjoy|
|“||If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.||„|
|~ Ramsay Bolton to Theon Greyjoy.|
Ramsay Bolton, formerly known as "Ramsay Snow" and sometimes called "The Bastard of Bolton" is one of the major antagonists in the Song of Ice and Fire novels as well as Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on the books. He serves as a supporting antagonist in Season 3, one of the secondary antagonists of Season 4 (along with his father Roose Bolton and Mance Rayder), the main antagonist of Season 5, and one of the two main antagonists of Season 6 (along with the High Sparrow).
Ramsay is widely regarded as being one of the most evil and repulsive villains in the series, who some consider to be worse than King Joffrey Baratheon. His character first appears during the second book, imprisoned by Bran Stark and freed by Theon Greyjoy. However he was cut from the second season and his role in Winterfell was taken by another character, Dagmer Cleftjaw, who's also in the books, but never betrays Theon. Ramsay indirectly appears in season 2, blowing the horn repeatedly to annoy and scare the ironborn.
Ramsay Snow was the son of Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, and a miller who he killed and later raped his wife over his dead body. After she gave birth to the boy she went to Lord Bolton, who wanted to have the girl whipped and kill Ramsay until he saw that the baby had his eyes. Roose promised food and money every year if she did not reveal Ramsay’s true parentage. 12 years later the woman returned to Roose and said that he was growing wild and that without a father figure had become an angry problem child. Lord Bolton sent a servant called Reek to help raise Ramsay this however only made him worse as Reek corrupted him into, raping, stealing and even murdering. Everytime Ramsay saw a girl he liked he would hunt her down in the wolfswood with Reek. Ramsay raped the girls and when he was done he killed them and Reek had sex with their corpses. Sometime later, Bolton’s trueborn son Domeric, tried to meet his brother. Domeric Bolton was considered a pleasant person by the northeners, and Ramsay, out of jealousy and anger, poisoned him a short time later. Lacking any more sons Roose Bolton took his bastard to the Dreadfort and raised him there.
A Clash of Kings
During the War of the Five Kings, Roose Bolton rode south with Robb Stark, but Ramsay stayed in the north and amassed men in the Dreadfort. Lord Halys Hornwood died in Battle on the Green Fork, while his only heir, Daryn died at the Battle at the Whispering Wood. Ramsay learned about House Hornwood having no male members anymore, so he planned to take the Hornwood for himself. After Robb Stark declared himself King in the North, Bran Stark planned to have King Robb legitimize Larence Snow, the bastard of Lord Hornwood who lives at Deepwood Motte. The widow Lady Donella Hornwood, née Manderly, was kidnapped by Ramsay while she was returning to the Hornwood from Winterfell. Ramsay forced Lady Hornwood to marry him and name him her heir so he could take her lands. After the wedding Ramsay locked his wife in a tower and starved her to death, before dying Lady Hornwood ate her fingers. Ramsay’s fame spread through the North and Bran, as Lord of Winterfell, sent Ser Rodrik Cassel to capture Ramsay, while Lord Wyman Manderly started fighting the Boltons in the wolfswood. The problems with Ramsay Snow stopped when Ser Rodrik captured them. Ramsay and Reek were captured while raping and killing a peasant girl. Because Reek's horse lamed during the hunt, there was no chance for them both to survive. He made Reek pass out as him while he took the disguise of Reek and convered himself with the girl's filth. While the true Reek was killed by Rodrik, Ramsay was taken as prisoner to Winterfell for interrogation.
While Ramsay is a prisoner in Winterfell, Theon Greyjoy attacks the fortress and kills a few men, Alebelly being the first one to die. Theon captures the castle and forces the people to plead loyalty to him as Prince of Winterfell, but Maester Luwin manages to send a raven to the Manderlys at White Harbor. The blacksmith Mikken refuses to bend the knee and is killed by the ironborn Stygg, and the librarian Septon Chayle is thrown into a well to honor the Drowned God. Ramsay is admitted at his service as Reek.
When Bran and Rickon Stark escape from the captured castle along with Jojen and Meera Reed, Hodor, Osha and two direwolves, Reek joins Theon's hunting party with the Ironborn, Maester Luwin, Farlen, and the two wardens of Lord Walder Frey, Little Walder and Big Walder. They don't find the fugitives and don't get any result from questioning a miller in a mill outside Winterfell. It was Ramsay’s idea to kill the miller’s sons to hide the escape of the princes of Winterfell and pretend they found them and punished them. Theon orders Reek to kill the 3 ironborn witnesses, Gelmarr, Aggar, and Gynir, to hide the truth about the corpses of the 2 boys. Theon uses Farlen as a scapegoat and blames him for the ironborn's deaths, and personally executes him after Farlen points out that Lord Eddard did his own killings. The "official" reason of the deaths of the Stark boys is that Theon did it as a payment for the lives of his dead brothers, Rodrik and Maron Greyjoy.
When Asha Greyjoy arrives at Winterfell from Deepwood Motte, as Theon requested more men to hold the castle, she sees the bodies of the children. She's so disgusted that she only leaves a few men for Theon, and after Theon refuses to burn the castle and go with her she rides back to Deepwood Motte. Everyone in the North thinks Bran and Rickon are dead and want Theon's head and King Balon Greyjoy thinks he lost two valuable hostages to keep the lands and towns he conquered.
Ramsay leaves the castle before northern troops, arrive to take back their capital, Theon frees him with the promise that he will bring at least 200 men from the Dreadfort. Theon promises to give him Palla, Farlen's daughter who was already raped by the ironmen. In the south Robb Stark learns about Bran and Rickon's fate and Stannis Baratheon fails to take King's Landing, causing the War of the Five Kings to go towards its end. Ramsay's father, Roose, and the Freys think Robb Stark will lose his rebellion, so they start to communicate with Tywin Lannister for peace and collaboration. Roose has recently married Fat Walda Frey, daughter of Merrett Frey, and has already consumed the marriage. He pretends to be completely loyal to Robb, but he starts to realize that the northern cause is lost and that Robb will never surrender to the Lannisters and give up his crown. In the North, Ramsay takes his troops from the Dreadfort to march on Winterfell.
Balon and Victarion have forsaken Theon, ignoring his calls for aid, despite they could destroy together Rodrik's army and prevent them from going to attack Moat Cailin from the rear. The northern army led by Ser Rodrik Cassel, Leobald Tallhart, and Lord Cley Cerwyn arrives to besiege Winterfell and most of Theon's men desert him, leaving only him and 17 loyal but angered men to hold the castle, though some of the deserters are ashamed. Shortly after the failed parley at the winter town with Theon and Rodrik, the Bolton army, made of roughly 600 men, arrives at the evening to join with Rodrik's forces.
During the siege Rodrik offer his hand to the helmeted Ramsay, who takes off Rodrik's arm and reveals his true identity before killing him. The outnumbered Bolton force attacks the northern army, leading to fighting in the streets of the winter town. From atop Winterfell's battlements, Theon, Maester Luwin, and Black Lorren watch the Dreadfort men repeatedly wheel and charge the Stark soldiers, preventing them from forming up between the town's burning houses. Cley Cerwyn is killed by an arrow to the eye, and Leobald Tallhart dies as well. While the Stark army is routed and dispersed, Ramsay loses only twenty or thirty of the Dreadfort men. After the Battle of Winterfell, Theon recognizes "Reek" and opens his gates to the men of the Dreadfort and Ramsay reveals his true identity and what really happened between him and the true Reek. He demands Theon to give him his own bedwarmer Kyra. Theon gets angry and starts to threaten Ramsay, who strikes and then proceeds to sack the castle and kill all the remaining ironborn, burn the castle and slay all the inhabitants of Winterfell, save for Little Walder Frey and Big Walder Frey, and the women and children, whom he takes them to the Dreadfort. Ramsay burns alive the horses of Bran and Theon, Dancer and Smiler. The Boltons stab Maester Luwin and Winterfell is left in ruin.
A Storm of Swords
The "official version" of the events at Winterfell is told by Roose and Ramsay to the North. Little Walder and Big Walder write letters for Lord Walder Frey and King Robb in which they tell the false story where Theon and his ironmen destroyed the northern force and killed Rodrik, Cley, and Leobald. After that Theon and his men put the men of Winterfell and the winter town to the sword, but Ramsay heroically led women and children to safety to the Dreadfort. Lothar Frey tells this story to Robb at Riverrun.
Ramsay takes Theon captive and drags him to the Dreadfort, where he tortures him physically and psychologically and forces him to abandon his identity and becomes the second "Reek". Ramsay flays and mutilates Theon, as well as testing him by letting him escape until he stopped trying. A girl prisoner from Winterfell named Kyra is punished with a slow and painful death with the hounds, after being tested by Ramsay. Ramsay removes a few fingers from Theon's hands and foots, so he doesn't walk very well. He punches Theon in the face until he loses some teeth, as Ramsay always hated his smile. Reek sleeps in the kennels of the Dreadfort, covered in dog's feces and being eaten by the rats. During his staying in the fortress he physically ages prematurely and becomes a thin broken man with white hair. When Roose arrives at the Twins for Lord Edmure Tully's wedding, he shows a piece of Theon's skin, but his status is unknown to him. Asha Greyjoy leaves Deepwood Motte with her hostages, as Euron Greyjoy is claiming the Seastone Chair for himself, and before she sails to Great Wyk, she goes to the ruins of Winterfell but she finds no trace of Theon's body.
Roose Bolton betrays Robb Stark and personally slays him during the Red Wedding. Ramsay is then legitimized by King Tommen I and named heir to the Dreadfort and Lord of Winterfell. He also calls himself Lord of Hornwood. Tywin Lannister claims to have found Arya Stark and she's engaged to Ramsay. The girl is actually a fraud from the Lannisters, Jeyne Poole, a childhood friend of Sansa Stark. Only Tywin is aware of this, though many other Lannisters recognize her as a fraud.
A Dance with Dragons
Castellan Arnolf Karstark swears fealty to King Stannis Baratheon, but in reality he's serving the Boltons, plotting to have Harrion Karstark killed by the Lannisters, so he can become the new Lord of Karhold. Arnolf advises Stannis to attack the Dreadfort, then he has his maester sending ravens to the Boltons. Thanks to the Karstarks, the Boltons learn about Stannis planning to fight against them, thus avoiding a surprise attack from his forces.
Roose and his Bolton-Frey army are unable to return to the North, as it's still invaded by the ironborn. Victarion Greyjoy left Moat Cailin with most of his forces and the Iron Fleet, back to the Iron Islands for the kingsmoot and stop Euron. Ramsay takes that opportunity and marches with his forces from the Dreadfort headed to Moat Cailin. Little Walder and Big Walder Frey follow him. He leaves a garrison at the castle, ready to welcome Stannis, who's still at Castle Black, in Arnolf's trap. Arnolf's plan is botched thanks to Jon Snow, who advises Stannis to win the support of the northmen and avoid the Dreadfort.
During the war, Moat Cailin has been attacked multiple times by guerrilla attacks from the crannogmen of the Neck. By the time the northern forces led by Ramsay and Theon arrive to liberate the fortress, the garrison of Moat Cailin has only 67 ironborn, led by the wounded Ralf Kenning. During the siege the Ryswells and Dustins burn the remaining ironborn ships in the Fever River. Forces led by Hother Umber attack the ironmen, but they manage survive 3 northern attacks, much to the northmen surprise. Ramsay sends Reek "disguised" as Theon Greyjoy to offer peace to the ironmen. The garrison has been weakened by poisoned arrows and contaminated water. The cellar's vaults have flooded, so corpses are now left where they fall. All of the ironborn within the Children's Tower have died, save two cannibals eating the corpses, who were then executed by Dagon Codd. Ralf Kenning is now incapacitated and near death on part of a poisoned arrow. Theon puts him out of his misery by slitting his throat before offering his terms to the leaderless remaining ironborn. Dagon Codd distruts the Boltons and refuses, but Adrack Humble kills him with an axe and accepts to surrender. Before allowing them to travel to the Stony Shore to seek transport, however, Ramsay reneges on the deal and has all 63 of the remaining ironborn flayed alive. Roose Bolton is finally able to travel back to the north with his host, his wife, Fat Walda, and the false Arya Stark, whom Theon recognizes her as Jeyne Poole.
Roose is infuriated to find Theon ruined, saying that Theon was a precious hostage against the Greyjoys. Many castles and towns are still occupied by the ironborn, but Roose can't deal with them as he calls his bannermen to march on Winterfell and prepare for Stannis's invasion. Euron is not bothered at all by the losses since he plans to take Westeros.
The Boltons and Reek stay in Barrowton for a while, being guest of Lady Barbrey Dustin. During his stay at Barrow Hall, Ramsay kills an old man in a fit of rage, after the man calls him "Snow" instead of "Bolton". Roose is seriously angered by his son's actions and says that he's acting brash and foolish and drawing attention to himself with his cruel and barbaric amusements. In fact they have powerful allies in the Freys and the Lannisters, but the northmen despise them and only accept House Bolton's authority grudgingly, with the exception of Barbrey Dustin, who was fond of Domeric Bolton but hates Ramsay. Roose is also furious at his son for talking openly about his role in the Sack of Winterfell, fearing a rebellion from them, if they learn about the Bolton's other treacherous deeds, such as the Battle of Duskendale, where Roose had deliberately sent a huge portion of the northmen army to its own destruction. Roose admits that the existence of Ramsay caused him to regret having raped the miller's wife who gave birth to him. Later the Boltons and Lady Dustin start marching to Winterfell with their army.
No one knows what really happened during the first battle at Winterfell, but Lord Wyman Manderly and Robett Glover find out the truth from Wex Pyke, former squire of Prince Theon and only free survivor from the Sack of Winterfell. They learned from him that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive and later they reveal it to Lord Davos Seaworth, who whent to White Harbor to have them join with Stannis for the battle against the Boltons.
Later, Asha is captured by Stannis after liberating Deepwood Motte from the Ironborn, while Dagmer Cleftjaw keeps holding Torrhen's Square along with other Ironmen leaders still holding castles and towns in the North.
Roose, Ramsay, Fat Walda, Lady Dustin, Steelshanks Walton, Ser Aenys Frey, Ser Hosteen Frey, the two Walders, "Arya", and Reek arrive at Winterfell with the army. Later they are joined by many other northern armies. The Boltons have the support of the Iron Throne, House Frey, House Karstark, House Ryswell, House Dustin, part of House Umber under Hother Umber (nominally), House Hornwood, House Cerwyn, House Manderly (nominally), and House Locke. Thus any northmen who's fighting for Stannis is considered a rebel by the crown. After taking Deepwood Motte from the ironborn and winning the support of the northern armies, Stannis learns that Ramsay is going to marry Arya Stark, so he plans to save the girl and starts to march on Winterfell.
Winterfell is suffering from both a hard white frost and the looming menace of the coming of Stannis Baratheon's troops. Even so, Ramsay marries Fake Arya in the godswood. The wedding is attended by the northern lords who arrived with their armies to fight Stannis, including Lord Wyman Manderly, Lord Rodrik Ryswell, Hother Umber, Lady Jonelle Cerwyn, and Lord Ondrew Locke. A musician named Abel arrives to sing for the wedding; the man is actually an agent of Melisandre, sent to free the fake Arya and bring her to Jon Snow. Ramsay is named Lord of Winterfell when he marries the 13 year-old Jeyne "Arya Stark" Poole. The Boltons feast with the northern lords, including Wyman Manderly who arrived from White Harbor. In reality, Lord Manderly sent Lord Davos Seaworth to the island of Skagos to find Rickon Stark, and after killing the Freys in his castle he marched on Winterfell, planning to defect the Boltons for Stannis. During the wedding night Ramsay rapes Jeyne Poole, after forcing Theon to get her wet with his tongue. Ramsay sexually humiliates both Theon and Jeyne in bed.
Ramsay and his father stays in the fortress with their bannermen preparing for the attack of Stannis Baratheon. Jeyne remains locked in her room, while Ramsay regularly rapes her as well as letting his dogs rape her for his own amusement. When Ramsay gets angry he beats the fake Arya and bends her to his will. Theon instructs Jeyne to NEVER refuse an order from Ramsay and never betray him, unless she wants to suffer and horrible death. The northmen are strongly annoyed by the rumors of Arya's treatment, and Roose is scared that they might get tired and betray him, realizing that the northmen have more men than him. Some of them such as Hother Umber are loyal to the Boltons only because of the captives from the Red Wedding, like Lord Jon Umber. There also tensions between the northmen and the Freys at Winterfell.
At Winterfell a sudden winter snowstorm infuriates in the northern lands. Roose Bolton is pleased that the old gods are against the heretic King Stannis. Bolton declares in the Great Hall that Stannis is at the mercy of the weather while they are sheltered in Winterfell. Roose's men cheer, while the Freys don't since they are not used to the weather and 3 of them already died (actually killed by Mance's spearwives). Stannis and his forces are suffering losses and marching slowly, as a result of the heavy snow blizzard.
Another murder at Winterfell occurs: this time one of Roger Ryswell's men has been found dead at the inner wall of Winterfell. Roose Bolton and his host are still stuck inside Winterfell's walls due to the relentless snow storms. They expect Stannis' forces to attack them, but have no idea how close he may be due to the storms. Tensions rise among the people inside Winterfell, with no one quite certain whether it is a good idea to wait passively for Stannis or instead to pursue him outside. It doesn't help that food is somewhat scarce and distributed quite unevenly. The northmen and the Freys start arguing aggressively and Roose starts showing hints of fear. The next morning Aenys Frey's squire is found dead and naked outside in the snow. Later on that day another man, a crossbowman sworn to House Flint, is found dead with a crushed skull, presumably from a horse kick. Nevertheless, the suspicions and tensions keep growing to the point that open quarreling happens among the host's Lords inside the Great Hall. Some are tired of waiting for Stannis and want to attack him. A fight nearly breaks out as Ser Hosteen and Aenys Frey blame Wyman Manderly for the deaths of their three kin Rhaegar, Jared, and Symond. It almost comes to a duel before Roger Ryswell and Barbrey Dustin calm them down, though Roose does nothing throughout the near altercation and Theon sees something new in Roose's eyes for the first time: a hint of fear. Soon the newly rebuilt stable collapses, killing two men and twenty-six horses. Roose Bolton gives orders for the surviving horses to be brought inside the walls of Winterfell.
The situation in Winterfell becomes more dangerous when the next victim of the murders is one of Ramsay's bastard boys, Yellow Dick. This death is taken more seriously since it means messing personally with Ramsay.
Days later, men outside Winterfell start blowing horns repeatedly, scaring the people in Winterfell and Winter Town. Everywhere people whisper "Stannis" and wait for the inevitable attack. The men blowing the horns are actually Mors Umber and his scouts, serving under Stannis, preparing traps and confusing the Boltons for the southern king. Stannis and the rest of his army are still camped in a crofter's village, starving in the snow and preparing sacrifices of prisoners to improve the weather.
Another person dies in Winterfell. This time it's the child Little Walder Frey, son of Merrett. However Mance's spearwives tell Theon that this is not work of theirs. The child Big Walder Frey blames the Manderlys for the murders he dispute turns into a spar of words and when Lord Wyman Manderly insults both the dead boy and House Frey simultaneously, Hosteen draws his sword in a blind fury and attacks Manderly, who is sliced under his chins and collapses; his knights leap to defend him and a vicious and bloody fight breaks out. In the end, six White Harbor men lie dead, two Frey men, as well as one of Ramsay's Bastard Boys, Luton. Roose and Ramsay quell the tension by telling the men present if they want blood, they should turn their anger on Stannis. Hosteen replies that once they bring Roose Stannis' head, they will come for Wyman's. Ramsay is ready to lead the army against Stannis' army. The singer Abel is actually Mance Rayder, believed dead by the entire North, who also supported Stannis for killing the hated wildling king, and helps Theon and Jeyne to escape Winterfell. All of Mance's spear wives are killed in the process, until the plan fails. The guards alert the castle and Theon, terrified by Ramsay's reaction and punishment, jumps off the walls of Winterfell with Jeyne. Without a Stark hostage now there's nothing in Winterfell to keep the angry northmen under control; Ramsay is forced to remain in the castle, while Ser Aenys Frey and Ser Hosteen Frey lead the Frey-Manderly vanguard to the crofter's village in order to kill Stannis.
At Castle Black, Jon Snow receives a letter addressed to "Bastard", sealed with with pink sealing wax, which is used by House Bolton. The letter says:
|“|| Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore. Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you. You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me. I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell. I want my bride back. I want the false king's queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want this wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.
|~ Ramsay Bolton, Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.|
The letter is shown to Jon, Tormund and Queen Selyse, but whether the letter came from Ramsay and what of the letter is true is unknown. Tormund is skeptical of the pink letter and sees it as a bait to draw Jon into the game of thrones, either from Ramsay or from Stannis, who may be tricking Jon into bringing assistance for him. Anyway Jon takes the bait and plans to head to Winterfell with the wildlings, while also allowing the men of the Night's Watch to follow him if they want. Many men of the Watch are now furious as Jon has been taken by personal feelings, thus threatening the neutrality of the Night's Watch for the war in the south rather than the threats beyond the Wall. Before Jon can start marching, a group of mutineers, led by Bowen Marsh, stab repeatedly Jon to death, while crying "For the Watch!".
The Winds of Winter
It's revealed that Stannis Baratheon is still alive and planning to destroy the Frey-Manderly vanguard cavalry in the wolfswood. He has captured Theon Greyjoy and sent the fake Arya Stark to the Wall, as a sign of gratitude to Jon Snow for warning him about the Karstark's treachery. Arnolf Karstark and his men, and Theon are all sentenced to death by Stannis. Theon warns Stannis that Ramsay is coming to fetch back his escaped bride and his Reek; he tells the king to be scared by the bastard of Bolton. Stannis is not impressed by Ramsay's deeds, and boasts about how he held Storm's End against the entire might of the Reach, causing Robert to win the rebellion, took Dragonstone from the Targaryens, defeated Victarion Greyjoy and destroyed the Iron Fleet, and destroyed Mance Rayder's army when he had twenty times his numbers. Stannis challenges Ramsay and asks what battles the bastard has ever won that he should fear him.
Game of Thrones
After Winterfell is seized by Theon Greyjoy for the ironborn, Ramsay Snow is sent by his father, Roose Bolton, to take the castle back for King Robb Stark. Ramsay's forces besiege the castle and he infuriates Theon by blowing a horn all through the night. The following morning, Theon rallies his men to defend the castle, but Ramsay tricks the ironborn to betray Theon, having granted them mercy if they surrender the castle and hand Theon. However, after their betrayal, Ramsay breaks his promise, savagely sacks Winterfell and flays the ironborn alive.
Following the Sack of Winterfell, Ramsay and his men take Theon to the Dreadfort and make him a subject of physical and psychical torture. Ramsay sends a fake report to Harrenhal of the sacking of Winterfell by the ironborn, of the disappearance of Bran and Rickon Stark, and the unknown whereabouts of Theon Greyjoy. Later, Ramsay poses as an ironborn emissary, sent by Theon' sister, Yara, to free him. He releases Theon and tells him to ride east to Deepwood Motte, where his sister is waiting for him. Ramsay sends Theon's captors after him and they succed in capturing him again, only for Snow to appear and kill them. Having earned Theon's trust, Ramsay leds him back to the Dreadfort into his torture chamber. Kicking and screaming, Theon is refastened to the rack, as Ramsay drops his facade, grins sadistically and tells the men to put Theon "back where he belongs".
Ramsay awakens Theon with a horn to continue torturing him. He threatens to remove Theon's pinky finger if he cannot guess Ramsay's true identity and their current location. After several guesses, Ramsay tells Theon he is correct in guessing that Ramsay is the brother of Torrhen Karstark, and that they are in Karhold. However he then points out that Theon never asked if he was a liar. He admits that he was lying, and begins flaying Theon's finger while his victim screams for him to cut it off.
Then, Ramsay instructs two young women, Violet and Myranda, Ramsay's own lover, to free and pleasure Theon. However, Ramsay soon interrupts the three, orders his men to restrain Theon and then removes his genitals. When Theon begs to be killed, Ramsay states that he is no good to him dead. Ramsay decides to give Theon a new name, "Reek", and tortures him until he accepts it. He later sends Theon's manhood to the Iron Islands, along with a message, to King Balon Greyjoy, threatening to send more parts of Theon and flay every ironborn in the North alive if they have not left by the full moon.
At the beginning of Season 4, Ramsay frees Theon and forces him to work for him as his own servant. Some time later, Ramsay hunts a girl named Tansy in the woods with his hounds, Myranda, and Theon, recently renamed "Reek". With bows in hand, he and Myranda gleefully pursue Tansy, firing arrows at her as they go. Ramsay explains that Tansy had made Myranda jealous, so she has to go because she causes too many problems otherwise. Myranda manages to strike Tansy with an arrow in the leg before Ramsay happily releases his dogs on her, killing her.
Shortly afterwards, Lord Roose Bolton arrives to the Dreadfort with his newly acquired wife, Walda Frey, as Ramsay waits for him. Roose introduces Ramsay to Walda, then asks to see his captive, meaning Theon. Ramsay brings "Reek" to his father, who quickly becomes frustrated with Ramsay for torturing and mutilating a valuable hostage, explaining that he wanted to use Theon as a bargaining chip to rid the North of Iron Islanders, and for that he needed him unharmed. Roose chastises Ramsay for his actions, and laments placing too much trust in him. Ramsay tries to prove that his torture had a purpose, ordering Reek to shave him with a razor and demonstrating that he will never betray them, and adds that his method revealed key information; that Theon did not murder Bran and Rickon Stark. Theon also tells them that their half-brother Jon Snow may be sheltering them at the Wall. Roose finds it enlightening and sends Locke to finds the two Stark boys. Roose instructs Ramsay to take Moat Cailin from the Greyjoy forces and promises that, if he succeeds, he will reconsider Ramsay's position.
Sometime later, Yara Greyjoy, intent on rescuing her brother Theon from Ramsay's clutches, leads a force of fifty ironborn reavers in rowing boats up the Weeping Water towards the Dreadfort. They manage to enter the castle and find Theon in a kennel alongside the dogs, but he refuses to go, believing it to be another trick of Ramsay. Ramsay soon arrives and drives the ironborn from the Dreadfort with his soldiers. However, Yara manages to escape the Dreadfort and abandons the mission, declaring Theon to be dead. Ramsay rewards Reek with a bath for his loyalty. Ramsay gently washes Reek while asking his captive whether he loves him, which Reek confirms. He continues by instructing Reek that he has to pretend to be someone he is not: Theon Greyjoy.
Ramsay besieges Moat Cailin and sends Reek to treat with the ironborn garrison, posing as Theon Greyjoy. Theon vouches for Ramsay's promise of safe passage back to the Iron Islands if they surrender. The ironborn surrender, but Ramsay once again breaks his promise and flays them all alive. Having taken Moat Cailin, Ramsay and his father meet on an open field. Roose hands him a document of legitimization, renaming him "Ramsay Bolton". The news delight Ramsay as they make their way towards Winterfell.
Ramsay manages to "persuade" House Cerwyn, one of House Stark's vassals, to pay their taxes by flaying Lord Medger Cerwyn, his wife and older brother alive, and coercing their son to pay in their stead. He later tells his father of this while they eat. Finally out of patience with his son, Roose scolds Ramsay for his actions, because since Tywin Lannister is dead, House Lannister will no longer support them and they will not be able to hold the North with terror alone, since the Northern Houses will eventually rise up against them at the slightest excuse. Roose then reveals that he has arranged for Ramsay to marry Sansa Stark to placate the Northerners. When Sansa arrives, Ramsay greets her with politeness. Later, Lord Petyr Baelish speaks with Ramsay, who promises never to harm Sansa after Baelish subtly warns him against it. As Ramsay takes his leave, he expresses his gratitude to Baelish for finding him a suitable match.
Later, Ramsay shares an intimate moment with Myranda, who tells him of her jealousy of Sansa since Ramsay had previously promised to marry her when he was still a bastard. Ramsay coldly admits that he made that promise while he was a bastard, but now that he is a Bolton of the Dreadfort, he needs a more suitable match; furthermore, he admits his attraction to Sansa and openly states his opinion of her beauty, and becomes angry when Myranda threatens to marry someone else and leave him. Ramsay approaches Myranda and reminds her of what he does to people who bore him. He forces himself on Myranda, who bites his lip but reciprocates. Ramsay later confronts Reek about his encounter with Sansa, and warns him not to keep secrets from him again. Though he seems like he will punish Reek for his behavior, he ultimately forgives him.
At the dinner, Ramsay expresses his delight on marrying Sansa, but things turn sour when he brings Theon and forces him to apologize to Sansa for allegedly killing her brothers, Bran and Rickon and suggests that Reek should give Sansa away at their wedding. Ramsay's delight turns to concern when Roose interrupts him by informing that Walda is pregnant with a boy, as Ramsay sees the baby as a threat to his position as his father's heir. After the dinner, Ramsay expresses his distress at the possibility of the unborn child jeopardizing his claim on the North to his father, who reprimands him for his behavior earlier but scoffs at his worry. He then regales Ramsay with the tale of how he met his mother, a miller's wife who had married without Roose's knowledge or consent. Roose had the miller hanged and raped his wife beneath his swaying corpse, even though she fought him the whole time. Sometime later, the miller's wife came to the Dreadfort and left the infant Ramsay with him. Roose had been prepared to throw Ramsay into the sea to drown, but stayed himself because he knew, deep down, that Ramsay was his son. Roose then states that Stannis Baratheon is at Castle Black with an army and will likely attempt to take Winterfell from them during his journey to King's Landing, and Ramsay promises to help his father counter Stannis.
Later, Reek gives Sansa away to Ramsay, and they wed in front of the Godswood. After retreating to the bedroom, Ramsay tells Sansa to take her clothes off. Reek is about to leave but Ramsay tells him he must stay and watch her losing her virginity. Annoyed by Sansa's hesitance, he angrily rips open the back of her dress and pushes her face-down over the side of the bed. As he unbuckles his clothes, Sansa obediently remains still but begins crying softly. Reek is visibly distraught and begins silently crying himself as Ramsay proceeds to rape Sansa and though he is still too weak to intervene, a flash of anger briefly spreads across Reek's face as this is going on.
Over the next few days, Ramsay continues to rape Sansa every night. Then, a reluctant Reek informs him of Sansa's plan to escape by signalling Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne to come and rescue her, and retaliates by flaying Sansa's elderly maid who delivered Brienne's message to her. Ramsay forces Sansa to look at the corpse, and walks with her across Winterfell, boasting about how he will succeed his father as Warden of the North and she will be his Wardeness, but Sansa counters that Roose is expecting a boy with Walda, a boy who may be Ramsay's baby brother but may still become Roose's true heir, since Ramsay is still technically a bastard, who was even legitimized by Tommen Baratheon, who Sansa claims is also a bastard. Ramsay, visibly angered, counters that even bastards can rise, like her half-brother Jon Snow did when he became the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and taunts Sansa for not knowing the news about Jon's new title. He then orders Sansa taken back to her chambers and locked up again.
As Stannis approaches Winterfell, Ramsay is present at a council meeting on how to counter him. While Roose suggests that they wait out the siege inside Winterfell and allow Stannis and his army to die in the cold, or even for Stannis' men to mutiny against him. However, Ramsay advocates taking twenty of his best men to face Stannis in the open, on the basis that Stannis will not leave the North so easily, and they need to show the rest of the North how they will deal with Southern invaders.
Then, while Stannis and his men are unable to march due to a snow blizzard and starving in mountains of the wolfswood, Ramsay takes his men into Stannis's camp and they torch some of his tents, severely depleting Stannis' men and resources, and manage to flee back to Winterfell without being spotted. Though his numbers are greatly reduced following desertion and he is left without resources, Stannis leads a siege on Winterfell. Ramsay leads the Bolton forces in the battle and massacres Stannis' men without major losses on his side, but still sustaining minor cuts to the face in the process. Having defeated Stannis, who was slain by Brienne of Tarth, he heads to Winterfell, saying "my wife must be feeling lonely", unaware that she and Theon had killed Myranda escaped from the castle.
|“||I prefer being an only child.||„|
|~ Ramsay Bolton, killing his stepmother and his half brother.|
Having discovered Myranda's dead body and Sansa and Theon's escape, Ramsay mourns Myranda in his chamber, reminiscing with her corpse about how he knew her since they were children. Myranda showed him no fear, not even at the sight of his fearsome dogs. Ramsay promises that the corpse will be paid for many times over and voices regret that she will not be there to witness retribution. Maester Wolkan interrupts, asking him what should now be done with their remains. Ramsay suddenly changes his mood and orders Maester Wolkan to feed her body to the hounds. Later, his father congratulates him for his victory against Stannis, but confronts him for allowing Sansa and Theon to escape. Ramsay claims that he has sent men and hounds to find them, but Roose counters that, without Sansa, Ramsay makes no good heir, threatening to disinherit Ramsay if Sansa manages to escape. This leaves Ramsay visibly frustrated.
Harald Karstark, the Lord of Karhold, later arrives at Winterfell to notify Roose and Ramsay that Theon and Sansa have disappeared. Ramsay, assuming they will go to Castle Black to seek shelter from Sansa's brother, Jon Snow, suggests that they send men on the Wall to kill Jon (unaware that he is still dead at the moment). Roose immediately dismisses the suggestion, on the basis that Snow is a bastard and untouchable by the Seven Kingdoms as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and the Watch are sworn not to take part in the wars and conflicts of the Realm. Both Harald and Ramsay try to persuade Roose that a living son of Ned Stark is a danger, but Roose again threatens Ramsay that if he "acquires a reputation as a mad dog, he'll be treated as a mad dog, taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed". Maester Wolkan then arrives with news that Lady Walda has given birth to a son. Ramsay hugs Roose and congratulates him, though being unable to restrain his anger. Roose tries to calm him down by telling him he will always be his firstborn, but Ramsay stabs his father in the chest, killing Roose instantly. Ramsay forces Wolkan to announce that Roose has been poisoned by their enemies and to bring Walda and the baby with him. Ramsay leads Walda to the kennels and locks them inside, setting his hounds to maul his stepmother and half-brother to death. This move allows Ramsay to inherit his father's lands, becoming the new Lord of the Dreadfort, Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North and head of House Bolton.
In the third episode, Ramsay and Harald Karstark meet with Jon Umber, the new Lord of the Last Heart. He informs Ramsay that Jon Snow has led the wildlings through the gates of Castle Black and explains how dangerous can they be if they march their way south, led by the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Ramsay offers his assistance if the Smalljon swears fealty to him as Warden of the North, but Lord Umber is quick to chastise Ramsay and even expresses his knowledge about Ramsay killing his own father to inherit his position, though Ramsay tries to cover up the murder. Smalljon states that he does not blame Ramsay for killing Roose, as Umber would have killed his own father, Greatjon Umber, and questions the validity of loyalty, citing Roose's betrayal of King Robb Stark. In order to strengthen the truce, Smalljon brings Ramsay a gift - two hostages, revealed to be Rickon Stark and the wildling girl Osha. When Ramsay doubts that the boy is really Rickon, Smalljon presents him the decapitated head of Shaggydog, Rickon's direwolf. Ramsay understands and sarcastically welcomes Rickon home, throwing him in the dungeons.
Ramsay brings Osha before him for questioning and asks her why she was helping Rickon. Osha claims that she intended to betray Rickon from the start because she was captured, put in chains and made a kitchen servant by House Stark. When Ramsay asks what need he has of her, Osha attempts to seduce Ramsay while reaching for a nearby knife in attempt to kill him. However, Ramsay expresses his knowledge about her thanks to Theon and therefore stabs her in the throat, killing her. Later, Ramsay sends a letter to Jon Snow at Castle Black, sealed with with pink sealing wax, which is used by House Bolton. The letter says:
|“||To the traitor bastard Jon Snow, You allowed thousands of wildings past the Wall. You have betrayed your own kind and you've betrayed the North. Winterfell is mine, bastard, come and see. Your brother Rickon is in my dungeon. His direwolf skin is on my floor, come and see. I want my bride back, sent her to me and I will not trouble you or your wilding lovers. Keep her from me and I will ride north to slaughter every wilding man, woman or babe living on your protection. You will watch as I skin them living. You will watch as my soldiers take turn raping your sister. You will watch as my dogs devour your wild little brother. Then I will spoon your eyes from your sockets and let the dogs do the rest. Come and see.||„|
|~ Ramsay Bolton, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.|
Unlike in the novels, Ramsay is confirmed to have written this letter. It is delivered to Jon, who is with Sansa, Tormund, Edd, Brienne, and Podrick. Jon reads the letter to the group but, growing more horrified by the letter, stops when he reads Ramsay's threat to rape his sister and refuses to read these threats aloud but Sansa takes the letter from him. When Jon notes that the letter is signed "Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North," Sansa claims that Ramsay killed his father. She reminds Jon that he is the son of the last "true Warden of the North" and can unite the Northern houses against Ramsay so that they can get their home back and save their brother Rickon, imploring Jon to fight again. Jon agrees to fight Ramsay in order to save their brother. Sansa is asked how many men Ramsay has in his army and she responds that she once heard Ramsay say he had 5000 men. Jon asks Tormund how many men he has and Tormund reveals he only has 2000 Wildlings who can march and fight. When Jon and Sansa go to beseech the Northern houses for help, they are only able to recruit some of the smaller houses such as the Mormonts and the Hornwoods. Nonetheless, Jon takes the few men he has and moves to meet Ramsay at Winterfell, where they will fight for the freedom of the North.
Ramsay eventually meets with Jon and Sansa and demands their surrender, confident that he has the strength to defeat them and refuses Jon's request to solve the matter on a one on one duel. The next day, the two armies arrive in the outskirts of Winterfell for battle. Ramsay brings Rickon with him and releases him, telling him to run to his brother, Jon. At this, Jon desperately rides toward his brother to save him and as the boy runs toward Jon, Ramsay shoots arrows at him. Just as Rickon and Jon are about to reach each other, Ramsay kills Rickon, devastating Jon. This causes the battle to start, with Ramsay staying back, watching the battle and giving commands to the soldiers. Initially, the Bolton army has the upper hand and manage to surround the remaining of Jon's army, but then, Sansa arrives with the Army of the Vale, commanded by Littlefinger. Ramsay retreats to Winterfell, which is stormed by Jon, some wildlings and the giant Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun. They manage to take out Ramsay's remaining men but Ramsay kills Wun when he falls to his knees from the massive wounds he received in battle. Surrounded and with no men left, Ramsay decides to take Jon one on one with a bow, but Jon blocks his arrows with a shield and manages to get close to him. Jon shoves him to the ground and beats him almost to death, only stopping when he sees his sister, Sansa. Ramsay is imprisoned in the kennels, where he is visited by Sansa. After exchanging some words, he notices that the cages are open and his dogs surround him. He thinks his dogs won't harm their master, but as he have not fed them for a week, they attack him and devour him alive, killing him. Ramsay's death and the annihilation of his army mark the end of his reign over the North and the extinction of House Bolton.
|“||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||„|
|~ Roose about Ramsay.|
|“||The Boltons have always been as cruel as they are cunning, but this one seems a beast in human skin.||„|
|~ Robett Glover about Ramsay Bolton.|
Ramsay, throughout both incarnations, is a monstrous, savage, psychotic and brutal sadist who casually commits disgusting, horrid acts, such as rape and torture for his own amusement with no regard for anyone and thus ends up angering his father, Roose for his reckless killing of people and lack of political tact. He 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. Even though he is not a true Bolton, Ramsay follows many of their traditions and customs, more specifically their insignia of flaying men alive and wearing their skin as coats.
Typical of a psychopath, Ramsay is outwardly unapologetic and completely remorseless to the countless men he tortures and kills. Ramsay's hobbies and many enjoyments are equally sadistic and he revels in the violence, misery and death he causes and also treats the prospect of hunting, killing and torturing innocent people as a sport. His idea of a game generally include having young women stripped naked then released into the Bolton forests, before hunting them with a pack of feral dogs. He also gives quick deaths to women who give him good sport (after raping them first), then flays their corpses and name his dogs after the women he enjoys killing most to "honor" them; the women who do not give him good sport however are raped and then flayed alive and the skins of his kills are brought back with him to the Dreadfort as gruesome trophies and the flayed bodies of the woman are fed to his dogs. Ramsay has no care over this however and is simply a game to him.
While Ramsay can be cunning and a good manipulator, he's also not good at intricate politics and doesn't understand the risks of the consequences of his wild actions. Roose Bolton is annoyed by his behavior and tries to encourage him to keep the North a quiet and peaceful land. Roose confides to Theon that he doesn't trust Ramsay at all, and he's aware about the possibility of his son killing him, if his enemies don't do it first. In the TV series version this proves to be correct, as the second Maester Wolkan announced to Roose, Ramsay, and Lord Karstark that he and Walda have bred a son, because he was constantly reminded that despite his legitimacy he was still a bastard and knew that if Roose ever had a trueborn son the North would never be his, Ramsay's paranoia overwhelms him and he kills his father, Walda and newborn brother and unofficially becomes Warden of the North. In the novels, Roose always wear chainmail armour on his person at all times to avoid that kind of death. Robett Glover has described Ramsay to Davos Seaworth as being a beast in human skin because of the unspeakable cruelty he can easily unleash without any a second hesitation.
In the HBO television adaption, Ramsay has shown to have more care about receiving love, respect and affection from his father while murdering, kidnapping and raping. Ramsay has shown to be insecure about his relationship with his father and Roose did little to help this, repeatedly reminding his son of his bastard status and threatening to disown him constantly. However, Ramsay is not presented as being any less of a monster because of this. He shamelessly admits that he tortures solely on the basis that he enjoys it and is the walking embodiment of cruelty, brutality and battlefield violence.
Unlike his book counterpart Ramsay is able to fight, while in the novels he fights wildly but never received sword training, as his first servant Reek wasn't a good fighter himself.
No matter the version, Ramsay is a walking embodiment of cruelty and sadism. He rivals monsters such as Gregor Clegane, Joffrey Baratheon, Rorge and Euron Greyjoy for the title of the worst of the worst. He enjoys torturing people, flaying them alive, hunting people (especially women), and is a serial killer and serial rapist who delights in how much pain he brings to others.
In the TV series, Ramsay is shown to be more resigned to his bastard status, to the point he refers to himself as a Snow and takes pride to sign himself as the natural son of Roose Bolton; however, this doesn't make him less frustrated when reminded of it. When he is legitimized as "Ramsay Bolton", he is clearly overwhelmed to the point that he almost cries with joy and gets on his knees to solemnly promise his father that he will live up to his family name and traditions and not fail him. However, deep inside of him, Ramsay is still wary of his origins, knowing that he may be disinherited if a trueborn son is born to Roose. Ramsay is also shown to be jealous of Jon Snow, a fellow Northern bastard who was raised and loved by his father along with his trueborn sons and eventually rose to become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Ramsay's jealousy of Jon is so strong that he expresses a willingness to kill Jon if the chance comes, though at the same time appears disturbed when he hears that Jon may come after him with a wildling army. Following the birth of Roose and Walda's son, despite Roose not outright disinheriting him, Ramsay's fear and paranoia are so great that he murders his entire family and usurps his father's position, not caring about the reprehensible act of kinslaying.
Telltale's Game of ThronesRamsay Snow is a major antagonist in the Telltale Game of Thrones video game.
After the Red Wedding, the Boltons gain control of the North, the House Forrester becomes endangered due to their loyalty to the Starks. With Gregor Forrester killed and his son Rodrik who many thought was killed at the Red Wedding, the third born Ethan Forrester is left in charge of the family. When he meets with him to discuss their terms, Ramsay begins taunting and abusing Ethan's siblings. No matter how well Ethan bargains with Ramsay, in the end he ruthlessly stabs Ethan in the neck and has his youngest brother kidnapped. This leaves the Forresters grief stricken as he leaves for the Dreadfort.
Upon hearing Rodrik Forrester is alive and causing problems for the Whitehills, Ramsay returns to Ironrath to confront the new lord. When Rodrik, Lady Elissa Forrester and his sentinel (either Duncan or Royland) return from a meeting with Ludd Whitehill, Rodrik sees that many of his soldiers as well as Tuttle or Royland is missing. He hears laughter from the great hall. He enters to find Ramsay psychologically abusing and taunting his sister Talia about the recent loss of her Ethan. Rodrik asks Ramsay's business in Ironrath to which Ramsay claims if he can break Rodrik into submission.
- Ramsay proved to be such an evil character that even his own actor Iwan Rheon said in an interview that he wanted Ramsay to die a slow and painful death.
- In addition, Rheon was greatly disturbed by the infamous scene where Bolton rapes Sansa Stark to the point the script was altered several times, and even so the scene was still infamous.
- In the TV series version the letter talking about Stannis' defeat in season 6 is actually true, as Stannis died at the end of the fifth season, unlike in the novels. Jon Snow replaces Stannis in the battle of Winterfell in the sixth season. Also the show runners tell the book readers to not worry about spoilers, as they admit they changed most of the storyline.
- Actually, in the TV series, Ramsay sends a similar letter to Jon Snow, but cutting off the part with Stannis' defeat and replacing it with Rickon's capture. Also, in Game of Thrones, Snow receives the letter after leaving the Night's Watch and when "Ramsay's bride" (Sansa Stark in this case) is actually with him.
- Ramsay has been accused of being a Villain Sue by some viewers, due to his constant success, even to the point that he succeeds in crippling Stannis' war effort with 20 men. This is in contrast with Book Ramsay, who though evil is frequently shown to be quite incompetent and a poor fighter.
- Ramsay in the show is quite different in appearance to his book counterpart. In the books Ramsay is unattractive, with pink blotchy skin, round shoulders, thick lips and long dark dry hair. According to Theon, Ramsay will get fat through the future years.
- In the TV series Ramsay has Lord Medger Cerwyn flayed alive, along with his wife and brother, for refusing to pay the taxes and being loyal to House Stark. After Cley Cerwyn is forced to watch them being flayed, he pays his taxes. In the book version Medger Cerwyn is wounded fighting the Lannisters during the Battle of the Green Fork and dies later in Harrenhal; Cley is killed by the Boltons during the Battle of Winterfell and Jonelle Cerwyn is the current head and Lady of Cerwyn and she supports the Boltons against Stannis Baratheon, while Cerwyn survivor soldiers joined with Stannis's army.
- In the first appearance of Ramsay, the Dreadfort's master torturer he killed calls him a "little bastard" which could be a hint of his true identity.