Ramsay Bolton

Ramsay Bolton was born to Lord Roose Bolton and a miller’s wife. After raping a newlywed woman, Lord Roose killed her husband.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Ramsay Bolton is Lord Roose Bolton’s bastard son. Popularly called the Bastard of Bolton or the Bastard of the Dreadfort, he is one of the most sadistic people in Westeros. Born out of rape, Ramsay is ugly in appearance and mind. He has many twisted desires and fulfills his wishes by raping, mutilating, or carving people up. He also particularly enjoys a twisted game of hunting people with his hounds. Ramsay’s mother got pregnant after getting raped by Roose Bolton. Though he planned on killing her, the Lord of the Dreadfort changed his mind and offered her money to take care of the child. The boy grew up to be Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of Bolton.

Ramsay Bolton Profile

  • Name: Ramsay Bolton, formerly Ramsay Snow.
  • Year of Birth: Before or in 282 AC.
  • Titles: Lord of the Hornwood, Castellan of Dreadfort, the Lord of Winterfell.
  • Father: Lord Roose Bolton.
  • Aliases: The Bastard of Bolton, Reek, Ramsay Bolton, Red Helm, The Bastard of the Dreadfort.
  • Wives: Lady Donella Hornwood, Arya Stark.
  • Culture: Northmen.
  • Religion: Old Gods of the Forest.
  • Allegiances: House Bolton of the Dreadfort, House Bolton of Winterfell.
  • Hair Color: Black.
  • Eye Color: Pale

Appearance and Personality

Ramsay is an ugly man with a broad nose, spotted pink skin, slop-sided shoulders, black and dry hair, and a small mouth. He never looks nice, even with the finest clothes. Ramsay is big-boned and has a meaty drooling-wet smile. Though called a bastard, he has some features of Roose, including pale and small eyes. Ramsay wears a pink cloak, red helm, and dark armor to battle. He wears other clothes for different occasions, including a pink velvet doublet, darkish-red satin slashes, and black boots. Ramsay has calfskin boots, a sable cloak, a silver-chased swordbelt, and a velvet doublet. He wields a dagger, flaying knife, and falchion, all with yellow bone hilts.

Ramsay Bolton is a brutally sadistic man who loves torturing people. He hates his bastardy and claims to be a true Bolton by torturing anyone with a different opinion. Ramsay enjoys peeling human skin by flaying and abuses young women by stripping them and sending them into the forest for hunting sport. Upon capturing them, he rapes and flays them before feeding their remains to his hounds. Those who do not give him good sport suffer the most as they get skinned alive. Though fearless, Roose tells Ramsay he cannot rule if he does not have an iota of dread, as fear makes a man up on his feet.


Early Life

Ramsay was born from the illicit intercourse between Roose Bolton and a miller’s wife. While hunting along the Weeping Water, Roose sees a miller’s new wife and practices the abolished Lord’s Right to the First Night on her. To prevent Lord Rickard Stark, the Warden of the North, from finding out, he hanged her husband. Months after the affair, the woman arrived at the Dreadfort with a baby she claimed to be his. 

Though he almost killed her and her child, Roose agreed to care for the boy. However, he cut the woman’s brother’s tongue out to prevent tales of what happened from reaching the Starks. Roose gave the woman a place to stay and sent provisions every year for her and the child, but she returned later asking for help raising her unruly son. To assist her, Roose sent Reek to help, but later Ramsay learned of his birthright. When he sired no sons, Roose brought Ramsay to the Dreadfort, where the boy got his men-at-arms, called the Bastard Boys.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Clash of Kings

While Roose Bolton is in southern Westeros during the War of the Five Kings, Ramsay begins gathering troops at the Dreadfort. When Lady Donella Hornwood questions his actions, he rebukes her, stating no woman will challenge him. He refuses to attend the Harvest Feast and captures Lady Hornwood, forcing her to marry him at sword point. 

When Lord Wyman Manderly learns of Ramsay’s actions, he sends his troops to Hornwood, and fighting begins between the Boltons and Manderlys. Rodrik Cassel, the castellan of Winterfell, gets sent to resolve the disputes, and when Ramsay sees him approaching, he switches places with Reek, who rapes a girl’s corpse. Reek, disguised as Ramsay, gets killed by an arrow, and Ramsay, disguised as Reek, gets captured. Lady Hornwood’s body gets discovered as she dies from starvation. Later Jojen Reed has a green dream of Reek skinning Bran Stark and Rickon after killing them.

After Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Reek swears loyalty to him and Balon Greyjoy. He advises Theon to pretend he killed Bran and Rickon and offers to end the lives of the men who partook in the cover-up. When Dagmer Cleftjaw gets defeated at Torrhen’s Square, Ser Rodrik returns but gets killed after getting betrayed by the Boltons. Reek reveals his true identity after the Battle of Winterfell and arrests Theon. He then orders the sack of Winterfell.

A Storm of Swords

Word reaches Robb Stark of Winterfell’s sacking. However, the story gets skewed as Ramsay allegedly saved the people from Theon, who set the castle on fire. Meanwhile, Theon gets flayed in Winterfell, and a piece of his skin reaches Lord Roose Bolton, who presents it to Robb Stark.

That same evening, Robb gets killed in the Red Wedding. House Bolton becomes the Warden of the North for their part in the Red Wedding, and Arya Stark gets given to Ramsay to legitimize his claim to Winterfell. However, Jaime Lannister discovers that the girl sent is not Arya. Ramsay gets legitimized by King Tommen I Baratheon. After becoming a Bolton, Ramsay gathers men to attack Moat Cailin.

A Dance with Dragons

After becoming castellan of Winterfell, Ramsay forces Theon to become Reek by covering him in feces and never allowing him to shower. He also mutilates Theon by torture, leaving him in agony. Some claim Ramsay castrated the ironborn. Ramsay plays mind games with Theon and makes him end the siege of Moat Cailin by convincing him to make the ironborn surrender. However, Ramsay gets them flayed when they surrender. When Roose arrives with Arya, Theon realizes she is Jeyne Poole

As Stannis Baratheon marches on Winterfell, some parts of the North support him against the Boltons. Mance Rayder, the former King-Beyond-the-Wall, gets sent by Jon Snow, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, to free Arya. However, after Theon and Jeyne escape, Jon receives a message at Castle Black with Ramsay claiming he captured Mance and his spearwives. Before Jon can travel to Winterfell, he gets stabbed by his men.

Appearance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, actor Iwan Rheon portrayed Ramsay Bolton. He appeared in seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6 and starred in 20 episodes. Though he was the bastard son of Roose Bolton, Ramsay claimed to be the trueborn scion of the Dreadfort. He enjoys killing innocent people, displaying the skins of his kills as trophies, and feeding the corpses of those he killed to his dogs, a sport he enjoyed with Myranda, a girl he promised to marry. 

After retaking Winterfell from Theon, Ramsay tortures the ironborn till he becomes a new personality, Reek. After the Red Wedding, he gets legitimized and marries Sansa Stark of House Stark. He kills Roose’s new wife, his stepmother, and others, including Lord Medger Cerwyn and Rickon Stark, Jon Snow’s half-brother. During the Battle of the Bastards, wun wun breaches Winterfell’s gates, and Ramsay’s troops fall.

Ramsay Bolton: The Demon of Dreadfort

No one reaches the level of sadism Ramsay Bolton expressed throughout A Song of Ice and Fire. He was the definition of evil, a rapist, sexist, and sadist who enjoyed nothing but death and torture. It is unknown if Ramsay’s attitude stemmed from mental degradation or plain villainy, but his description shows he was far from being an ideal human. As with the worst people alive in George R. R. Martin’s world, he remains alive and well, spewing terror on humanity.


Is Ramsay Bolton the worst human in A Song of Ice and Fire?

Yes. There are many incredibly sadistic humans in A Song of Ice and Fire, but none deserves the crown like Ramsay Bolton, a man of sin. He was so monstrous that everything about him reeked of death, torture, and brutality. He loved flaying people alive and enjoyed screams of pain.

How does Ramsay Bolton get killed in the books?

Though many wish for his death, Ramsay Bolton is alive in A Song of Ice and Fire. He got legitimized after Roose betrayed the Starks. As a symbol of his father’s loyalty, he marries Arya Stark, though she is a fake.

Is Ramsay a terrible person?

Yes. Ramsay Bolton is one of the worst humans in A Song of Ice and Fire. He is a sadistic rapist who enjoys killing people as a sport. He lacks emotion and a sense of morality.

What happens to Roose in the books?

After he betrays the Starks, Roose gets promoted to the Warden of the North. He moves Ramsay’s wedding to Winterfell for security purposes.

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