- "If you think this has a happy ending you haven't been paying attention."
- ―Ramsay Snow to Theon Greyjoy
Ramsay Snow is a recurring character in the third season. He is portrayed by Iwan Rheon, and debuts in "Dark Wings, Dark Words". He was first referred to in Season 2, but his name is actually mentioned in "Mhysa".
Ramsay Snow, better known as "The Bastard of Bolton", is Lord Roose Bolton's bastard son and only living child. He stayed behind at the Dreadfort when his father left for the south to fight in the War of the Five Kings.
Ramsay besieges Winterfell in the name of King Robb Stark as ordered. He infuriates Theon Greyjoy - who currently held the castle in the name of the Iron Islands and his father - by blowing a horn all through the night. In the morning of the next day, when Theon rallies his men to defend the castle, he is betrayed and knocked out cold by his men, who take Robb Stark's offer of mercy for any ironborn in the castle except Theon, as expected. However, the castle is sacked by Ramsay afterwards and instead of letting the ironborn walk free he flays them alive.
Following the Sack of Winterfell, Ramsay and his men take Theon to the Dreadfort, where the ironborn prince is subjected to gruesome tortures. Embarking on a twisted campaign of psychological manipulation, Ramsay poses as an ironborn emissary of Theon's sister, Yara, and falsely claims to have been sent by her to liberate him.
Ramsay Snow sends a false report to Harrenhal, where the main force of the Northern army has established, of the sacking of Winterfell by the ironborn, of the disappearance of Bran and Rickon Stark, and the unknown whereabouts of Theon Greyjoy
Later that evening Ramsay returns, and releases Theon, provides him with a horse and tells him to ride east to Deepwood Motte, where his sister is waiting for him. Theon's captors, however, track him down and capture him again. As punishment, their leader attempts to rape Theon. Ramsay appears and swiftly dispatches the kidnappers with bow and arrow, deepening the bond of trust between them.
Afterward Ramsay promises Theon to take him to Deepwood Motte. Some time later the men reach a holdfast, Theon questions them having to sneak inside since Yara's men are loyal to her. Ramsay warns Theon that some of the men belong to his father Balon. As the mysterious boy struggles to open a locked gate Theon confesses his jealousy of Robb's status, the murder of the two boys he passed as Bran and Rickon and acknowledges that Eddard Stark was his true father. After opening the gate Theon and Ramsay enter a darkened room. The young man lights a torch and Theon, much to his horror, notices he's back in the torture chamber. Armed men enter and Ramsay claims that Theon killed their comrades and escaped but he has brought their captive back. 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.
Theon is freed from his constraints by two young women, Myranda and Violet. They give him water and clean his wounds. Theon is apprehensive about their aid, until they disrobe and begin pleasuring him. The three are soon interrupted by Ramsay, who enters the chamber wielding a knife. After taunting Theon about his sexual prowess, he orders his men to restrain Theon as he appears to remove Theon's genitals.
Ramsay admits that the rumors about Theon were true, and that he did have a "good-sized cock", before momentarily tricking Theon into believing that the pork sausage he is eating is his penis. Ramsay talks about amputees having phantom limbs and wonders if Theon will have a phantom penis, feeling an itch whenever he sees naked girls. When Theon begs to be killed, Ramsay states that he is no good to him dead. Ramsay decides to give Theon a new name, and beats him until he starts calling himself "Reek". Ramsay also sends a letter to Balon Greyjoy and a box containing Theon's penis. He threatens to flay every ironborn in the North alive if they have not left by the full moon.
Spoken by Ramsay
- "My mother taught me not to throw stones at cripples, but my father taught me aim for their head!"
- ―Ramsay Snow to Theon Greyjoy
Spoken about Ramsay
- "I will kill that man. I don't care how many arrows they feather me with, how many spears they run through me - I will kill that hornblowing cunt before I fall!"
- ―Theon Greyjoy
- "Ramsay delivered the terms. The ironborn turned on Theon as we know they would. They handed him over trussed and hooded. But Ramsay... well, Ramsay has his own way of doing things..."
- ―Roose Bolton
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Roose Bolton||Walda Bolton|
Behind the scenes
Iwan Rheon's character was announced and then credited only as "Boy" in order to keep his true identity as Ramsay Snow a secret until "Mhysa."
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ramsay Snow is Roose Bolton's bastard son. He is an ugly man. Even splendorous garb cannot disguise this fact. He is big boned and slope shouldered, with a fleshiness to him that suggests that later in life he will turn to fat. Ramsay is a sadistic psychopath, serial rapist, and rumored cannibal. 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 introduced in A Clash of Kings, though his to appearance in the TV series was pushed back until the third season. He is first mentioned by Lady Donella Hornwood that he masses troops at the Dreadfort. She sends him message inquiring about his intentions, and he rudely answers that it is none of her business.
Following the deaths of Lady Hornwood's husband and son, Ramsay forces her marry him and to sign a will that names him as her heir, so he can inherit her lands. He rapes her and locks her in a tower, and does not give her any food. When Ser Rodrik Cassel finally arrived to free her, it was too late. She starved to death after eating some of her own fingers.
Ramsay and his servant "Reek" catch a peasant girl and raped her to death. Reek continues even after the girl dies. It is then when Ser Rodrik's men find them. Ramsay is supposedly killed, and Reek taken prisoner to Winterfell. Rodrik wishes to put Reek to death, but needs him alive as a witness to many of Ramsay's crimes, hoping that after Roose Bolton hears his tale, he will abandon his claim for the Hornwood lands.
After Theon takes Winterfell, Reek offers to serve him if released from captivity. He becomes one of Theon's supposedly more trustworthy attendants, helping him hunt for Bran and Rickon. It is Reek who advises Theon to kill and flay two unnamed miller's sons to pass off as the Starks, and Theon accepts his advice. Afterwards, Theon orders Reek to secretly murder Gelmarr, Aggar and Gynir for their knowledge of the truth, and he does. Since Theon needs a scapegoat, he falsely accuses Farlen the kennelmaster and executes him. Theon does not kill Reek, fearing that the blackguard hid a written account of what they had done.
After Rodrik defeats Dagmer Cleftjaw at Torrhen's Square, the Northmen march on Winterfell to liberate it. Theon refuses to give up the castle, using Beth Cassel as hostage to prevent Rodrik from attacking, and his men prepare to make a final stand. Reek offers to help Theon by taking a large sum of money to the Dreadfort and returning with much-needed reinforcements, asking for Palla in return. Theon reluctantly agrees, since he has no other choice. He promises to give Palla to Reek providing that he brings two hundred men.
When Northmen led by Rodrik Cassel surround Winterfell, an army of 600 men bearing the flayed man of House Bolton arrives, lead by a mysterious armored captain. As Rodrik offers his hand in friendship, the captain cuts off his arm and the Bolton army attack the other Northmen and defeats them, suffering only minor casualties. They enter the castle and the captain presents Theon with the bodies of Rodrik, Leobald Tallhart and Cley Cerwyn. He removes his helmet and reveals himself to be Reek, then reveals that he is in fact the real Ramsay Snow. He had switched clothes with the real Reek when Rodrik arrived to cheat death and get into Winterfell - while Reek was killed by Rodrik's men. He tells Theon that he would much enjoy the use of his bed-warmer Kyra instead of Palla, and when Theon refuses, Ramsay knocks him out. Ramsay and his men then put Winterfell to the torch and its people to the sword, as well as abducting Theon and killing almost all the other ironborn. In addition to Theon, Ramsay took two of Lord Frey's grandsons who were being fostered at Winterfell, and a few of the castle staff, among them Palla, Old Nan, and Beth Cassel.
In the months following his victory and later the death of Robb Stark and his entire army at the Red Wedding, Ramsay passes the time by regularly taking one of the captured female servants from Winterfell, stripping her naked, then releasing her in the woods around the Dreadfort so he can hunt her for sport. If he feels the woman gave him "bad sport", he will rape her, flay her alive, and then slit her throat. Ramsay rewards those who gave him "good sport" by still raping them, but slitting their throats before he flays their corpses. Ramsay does this quite openly and without fear of reproach; indeed he openly boasts about his hunts, making grim trophies out of the girls' flayed skins and even making the skins into capes which he wears in public. He feeds their flesh to his dogs.
Ramsay is the product of rape: years ago Roose wanted to have sex with the beautiful new wife of a poor miller on his lands, so he had the miller hanged and raped his wife. Roose only acknowledged Ramsay in his teenaged years, thus Ramsay spent a rough youth in poverty as the bastard son of a poor miller's widow - until he somehow found out about his parentage and insisted on claiming his "rights". The result is that - in contrast with Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell - Ramsay is a crude, almost half-feral savage who is uneducated and knows nothing about courtly behavior. When Ramsay does send (dictated) letters to his enemies, they are often extremely crass, unstructured, and blunt, laced with profanity and taunting threats. While the letter Ramsay sends to Balon in the Season 3 finale of the TV series is not present in the books, it closely matches his "writing style" from the novels.
It is unclear from the books whether Ramsay contacted his father after Theon let him go, got orders from Roose to destroy Winterfell and followed them, or that he committed all the above actions on his own and only later reported to Roose.
Roose Bolton and the Freys lie about their reports from what happened at Winterfell. Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers inform Robb and Catelyn that they got a letter from Lord Frey's grandsons: Winterfell has been destroyed and Ser Rodrik was killed by the Ironborn, but the survivors were taken to the Dreadfort by Ramsay. Lothar and Walder claim not to be sure of Theon's fate.
Ramsay's torture and emasculation of Theon are not directly described in A Storm of Swords, but rather alluded to in A Dance with Dragons. Ramsay does not send a letter and a box containing Theon's genitals to Balon Greyjoy, the Greyjoys remaining oblivious to Theon's survival. Ramsay does send his father some skin flayed from Theon's finger, which Lord Bolton shows to Robb and Catelyn before the Red Wedding as proof that Theon is being punished for his betrayal. Ramsay sends letter of warning to Asha, to which a piece of Theon's skin is enclosed, but that happens much later. Neither Asha nor any of the ironborn know what happened to Theon, believing him to be dead (though a few ironborn lords point out that his death was never confirmed).
- Ramsay Snow at A Wiki of Ice and Fire (MAJOR spoilers from the books)
|Lord:||Lord Roose Bolton||Heir:||Ramsay Snow|
|Seat:||The Dreadfort||Lands:||The North|
|Title(s):||Lord of the Dreadfort · Warden of the North · Lord Paramount of the North|
|Current members:||Walda Bolton|
|Household:||Locke · Reek · Steelshanks · Myranda · Violet|
|Overlord:||House Baratheon of King's Landing|