Roose Bolton

Lord Roose Bolton is the head of House Bolton, the former ruling great house of the North, and the Lord of the Dreadfort.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Roose Bolton becomes Warden of the North after Robb’s defeat. Though he assumes the title of Warden, Stannis Baratheon marches on Winterfell to reclaim the lost castle. After Lord Eddard Stark got killed by King Joffrey, Roose answered the call of Robb stark, the new Lord of Winterfell. He marched in support of the North, but along the line, he got greedy and sided with Walder Frey of House Frey. In fear of Tywin Lannister, Roose makes a deal with the Iron Throne and plots a heinous crime that destabilizes the North.

Roose Bolton Details

  • Name: Roose Bolton.
  • Culture: Northmen.
  • Religion: Old Gods of the Forest.
  • Year of Birth: On or before 260 AC in the Dreadfort.
  • Allegiance: House Bolton, House Stark, House Lannister.
  • Aliases: The Leech Lord, Lord Leech, Lord of Leeches.
  • Children: Domeric Bolton, Ramsay Snow.
  • Wives: Bethany Ryswell, Fat Walda Frey, and an unnamed woman.
  • Titles: Lord of the Dreadfort, Warden of the North.
  • Eye Color: Pale.

Appearance and Personality

Roose Bolton is an average-looking man with anemic-looking skin. He has a flat hairless chest, and his skin looks like no blood flows through it. Roose has an uninteresting face with no beard. However, though he has unremarkable facial features, his pale eyes glister in a way that makes them look like two moons in a sea of uninteresting clouds.

Though his son, Ramsay, behaves like a demon sent from hell, Roose is much calmer and level-headed. He speaks softly with an elegance that forces anyone who wants to hear him to silence. Though Roose appears gentle, he is a deadly and cunning person who calculates his chances and sides with anyone he deems has a better chance of winning.

For his attire, Roose wears a pale red-spotted pink cloak with black ringmail. He wears a dark grey plate armor over a leather tunic colored red. To match his armor, Roose wears a helmet adorned with red silk. He also believes that leeching makes a person healthy and goes for regular leechings. He also loves alcohol, especially hippocras, a heated drink of wine with sugar and spices.


Early Life

Roose was born in the Dreadfort, and though he looked calm, he had devious tendencies. He regularly practiced the First Night, an abolished tradition that gave a lord the right to sleep with a newlywed bride before her husband did. Though he practiced the abolished First Night, he covered his tracks to ensure the Warden of the North, Lord Rickard Stark, never found out what he was doing.

Roose once raped a miller’s wife and hanged the miller when he condemned his actions. Later, the woman got pregnant and conceived a son, Ramsay. Because the young boy had the same pale eyes as he did, Roose decided to keep the child. He cut off the woman’s brother’s tongue and sent her funds annually.

Robert’s Rebellion

When Eddard Stark called his banners, Roose answered his liege’s call and marched in support of the new Lord of Winterfell. After Robert Baratheon killed Rhaegar Targaryen at the Battle of the Trident, Ser Barristan Selmy, a knight of the kingsguard, got injured severely. Roose advised Robert to slay him, but he refused and assigned his maester to heal the knight.

When his first wife died, Roose married Bethany Ryswell. When Ramsay’s mother demanded her son get a servant, he sent her Reek, a terrible-smelling man. Later, Bethany died. When Domeric, Ramsay’s half-brother, visited him, he died, presumably of a bad belly. However, Roose suspected Ramsay of killing his heir.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

When Eddard Stark gets arrested, his son, Robb Stark, calls his banners. Roose answers the call. At Moat Cailin, Robb decides to split his army in two to save Riverrun and distract Lord Tywin Lannister. He grants command of the second army to Roose Bolton.

After trying to cross the twins, Robb meets with Walder Frey to make a deal. Roose advises him against Walder, but when Robb agrees to marry one of Walder’s daughters, the old Lord decides to join the North’s cause. After becoming allies with the Freys, Roose takes command of their army and heads to the Trident. He launches a surprise attack on Tywin but gets defeated in the Battle of the Green Fork. He then retreats in good order to Moat Cailin.

A Clash of Kings

When the War of the Five Kings intensifies, Roose takes his army to the Twins. He marries Fat Walda, Walder Frey’s granddaughter. To limit Tywin, who left Harrenhal to meet Robb in the westerlands, Edmure Tully tells Roose to join Ser Helman Tallhart in retaking Harrenhal.

Roose then makes a deal with Vargo Hoat, the leader of the Brave Companions, to retake Harrenhal. However, after Vargo smuggles Northmen into the castle, Arya Stark sees an opportunity and uses Jaqen H’gahr to free the men leading to the fall of Harrenhal. 

When Roose learns that Stannis Baratheon lost the battle of the Blackwater, he understands the Freys no longer believe Robb can win the campaign against the Lannisters. Arya later learns Robb dishonored the Freys. Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy joins his father’s cause and tries to take over Winterfell. However, his plan fails, and Ser Rodrik Cassel besieges the castle. Ramsay betrays Rodrik and burns Winterfell.

A Storm of Swords

When Robb Stark marries Jeyne Westerling, instead of Walder Frey’s daughter, the Freys get dishonored. Catelyn frees Jaime Lannister and tasks Brienne of Tarth with taking him back to King’s Landing. However, they get captured by Vargo Hoat, who cuts off Jaime’s sword hand. When Vargo takes them to Harrenhal, Roose tells Jaime Vargo acted independently. He then releases him and sends him back to King’s Landing.

Later, Robb kills Rickard Karstark and loses the support of the Karstarks. To make up for dishonoring the Freys, Edmure marries Roslin. Roose attends the wedding and talks to Robb about the loss at the battle of Duskendale. Later, Roose leaves the wedding hall, and Robb’s men get attacked. Robb and his mother, Catelyn, get killed, and the event becomes the Red Wedding. When Tywin learns of Robb’s death, he sends a fake Arya Stark for Ramsay to marry.

A Dance with Dragons

Even after becoming Warden of the North, Roose’s support in the North dwindles. Arnolf Karstark, Alys’s uncle, publicly declares support for Stannis’s army, though he secretly supports Roose. Upon finding out, Alys travels to the Wall, where she meets Jon Snow, Eddard Stark’s bastard son.

Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy faces cruelty at Roose’s bastard son Ramsay Snow’s hands. He gets demoted to being a dog, and when Arya Stark arrives, Theon realizes she is Jeyne Poole. When Roose travels to meet Ramsay at Winterfell for his wedding, he gets angry at him for maltreating Theon and orders the ruined castle to get rebuilt. When Roose learns of Stannis marching on Winterfell, he sends the Freys and Manderlys to march on his position. Later, Theon escapes with Jeyne.

Appearance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Roose’s character got portrayed by Michael McElhatton. He appeared in seasons 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and starred in 20 episodes. In the tv series, Roose gets killed by his son Ramsay, portrayed by Iwan Rheon.

Roose Bolton: The Betrayer

Roose Bolton is a character that encompasses the idea of loyalty and betrayal. As an opportunist, he did not hesitate to betray Robb when he saw he was losing. Though it may seem fair since A Song of Ice and Fire outlines the grey nature of the world, Roose remains an evil lord of no loyalty.


Who is Roose Bolton?

Roose Bolton is the head of House Bolton. He became the Warden of the North after Robb Stark’s death. Because of his betrayal, Robb lost the war between the Starks and Lannisters. Roose got called the leech lord.

Is Roose Bolton afraid of Ramsay Bolton?

Not really. Though Ramsay is pure evil, his father is not scared of him. When Roose saw what Ramsay did to Theon, he scolded him and ordered him to act with caution and sanity to keep House Bolton’s supporters.

Was Roose Bolton ever loyal to Robb?

Yes. Throughout the beginning of the War of the Five Kings, Roose supported Robb Stark, but when Tywin defeated Stannis Baratheon, he lost faith in the Starks. Roose decided to betray Robb when he killed Rickard Karstark.

Who is Roose Bolton’s wife?

Roose’s current wife is Fat Walda. When Lord Walder Frey told Roose he would pay him to marry any of his granddaughters with their weight, Roose decided to marry the weightiest.

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