- "The high road is very pretty, but you'll have a hard time marching your army down it."
- ―Roose Bolton to Robb Stark
Lord Roose Bolton is a recurring character in the second and third seasons. He is played by Michael McElhatton and debuts in "Garden of Bones." Roose Bolton is the Lord of the Dreadfort and the head of House Bolton. He is fighting for Robb Stark in the War of the Five Kings.
He is the head of House Bolton, a vassal family to House Stark of Winterfell. He is the Lord of the Dreadfort. Roose takes pride in his house sigil; the flayed man. Although torture is outlawed in the North his family are famous for flaying the skin from their enemies as a means of torture. Roose fought for Lord Eddard Stark in the civil war known as Robert's Rebellion and proved his worth as a soldier in the Battle of the Trident.
House Bolton banners are present among Robb Stark's forces as they assemble at Winterfell and march south to fight House Lannister following the imprisonment and execution of Lord Eddard Stark. Robb is proclaimed King in the North by his bannermen following the death of Eddard, although Roose is not seen.
Roose fights for King Robb Stark in his decisive victory at the Battle of Oxcross. The following morning Roose reports that they killed five Lannister men for every casualty they suffered. He expresses concern over the volume of prisoners they have taken, saying that they are struggling to feed their own men. Robb insists that the prisoners be treated well and rejects Roose’s suggestion that they torture the officers, reminding him that the Bolton’s traditional practice of flaying their enemies is outlawed in the North. Roose warns Robb that the high road is pretty but difficult. Robb counters that he is treating his prisoners as he hopes the Lannisters will treat his sisters.
They come across a nurse, Talisa Maegyr, and a silent sister treating a wounded Lannister soldier. The healer is preparing to amputate his leg to prevent a wound infection spreading. The soldier is begging her not to proceed but she insists on the necessity of amputation. Roose criticizes her spending time on the Lannister soldiers and she retorts that the Northmen are not her men. Robb helps to restrain the wounded man as she saws off his lower leg.
He later brings Robb and Catelyn Stark news of Winterfell's fall at the hands of the turncloak Theon Greyjoy. He reports that there is no news of Robb's brothers, but that Ser Rodrik Cassel has been killed. An enraged Robb declares that he must return north to retake his castle and save his brothers, but Roose counters that they have the Lannisters on the retreat, and must continue their offensive. He tells the King that he can have his bastard son, Ramsay Snow, muster several hundred men to retake Winterfell. Robb relents, but orders that the safety of his brothers is paramount. Robb insists that Theon must be brought to him alive so he can inquire as to why he betrayed the North - and so that Robb can execute him personally.
After the Battle of the Yellow Fork Robb's bannermen gather to hear Queen Regent Cersei Lannister's rejection of their peace terms. They complain that the prison cells are overflowing. Robb leaves the camp with a small force to negotiate the surrender of the Crag. Catelyn releases Jaime Lannister, enraging Robb and his bannermen and resulting in her being placed under guard. Roose meets with Robb to discuss the situation of Winterfell. Robb details a plan to offer mercy to Theon's men so that they will abandon him allowing them to retake the castle with minimal bloodshed. Roose is confident that it will work. Their discussion is interrupted by Talisa and Roose leaves them alone.
Roose, along with the rest of the Northern host arrives at Harrenhal, finding the ruined castle abandoned and the captives slain, save for a man in maester robes named Qyburn. While Robb and Talisa attend to the man's injuries, Roose discusses Jaime Lannister's escape with Rickard Karstark, and assures him that the dead will be avenged in time.
Messenger-ravens come to Harrenhal bearing news of Hoster Tully's death, and of Winterfell's destruction. Roose delivers the messages to Robb, who charges Bolton with holding Harrenhal with a portion of the Northern army, while he and the bulk of his forces ride for Riverrun.
Roose's minion, Locke, successfully recaptures Jaime Lannister, and delivers him to his Lord at Harrenhal. Roose is visibly angered at Jaime's mutilated state.
Roose negotiates with Jaime and Brienne over dinner. Bolton weighs up his options; bluntly informing his captives that the safest course of action would simply be to murder both of them, and discreetly dispose of their bodies. Although Jaime attempts to sway Roose by reminding him of the consequences of crossing his father, Roose is unperturbed at the prospect of having Lord Tywin as an enemy, as the war is keeping him fully occupied. Ultimately Roose relents, agreeing to release Jaime, and return him safely to King's Landing on the condition that he inform his father that Bolton had no part in the loss of Jaime's hand. He also retains Brienne as a hostage, stating his intention to charge her with treason.
|Season two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|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|
- "In my family we say: A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man, none."
- ―Roose Bolton
- "A touch of mercy is a virtue, Your Grace; too much..."
- ―Roose Bolton to Robb Stark
- "You're in no place to insist on anything. I would have hoped you'd learned your lesson about overplaying your... position."
- ―Roose Bolton to Jaime Lannister
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Roose Bolton is noted for his practice of having regular leechings, which he believes improves his health and has earned him the nickname of "the Leech Lord". He's also noted for being extremely pale skinned and also soft spoken thus forcing those who listen to do so intently. He is also described as being mild mannered, but cunning, calculating and capable of great cruelty.
During Robert's Rebellion, Bolton joined the rebels and participated in the Battle of the Trident. After the battle he suggested Robert Baratheon to execute the imprisoned Ser Barristan Selmy, who had fought for the royalist army and had been severely injured. Robert, however, recognized Selmy's courage and sent his personal maester to treat him.
Roose had two wives. Nothing is known about his first wife (other than that he apparently had no children by her). His second wife was Bethany Ryswell, sister of Lady Dustin, and mother of Domeric Bolton, who died from a sickness of the bowels. Bethany died of fever two years after her son.
Roose is also the commander of the northern forces at the Battle of the Green Fork, which differed from the TV series' portrayal of the conflict. Roose Bolton met Tywin's host of 20,000 with a diversionary force of 16,000, retreating in good order after their surprise attack had failed and they had bought enough time for Robb Stark's success at the Battle of the Whispering Wood. Northern casualties were relatively light, though several of their lords were either killed or captured.
Roose's army continues to operate independently of Robb Stark's. When Tywin Lannister leaves Harrenhal on his way to King's Landing, Roose quickly marches his army in to occupy the castle. Arya ends up serving Roose as his cupbearer, but was unnerved by his use of regular leechings. She decides to leave the castle incognito instead of revealing her true identity, despite Roose's position as a vassal to her brother.
- Roose Bolton at the Wiki of Ice and Fire (MAJOR spoilers from the books)
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Stark - Roose Bolton entry
- ↑ "The Pointy End"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Garden of Bones"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "A Man Without Honor"
- ↑ "The Prince of Winterfell"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris
- ↑ "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ "The Climb"
|Lord:||Lord Roose Bolton||Heir:|
|Seat:||The Dreadfort||Lands:||The North|
|Title(s):||Lord of the Dreadfort|
|Current members:||Ramsay Snow|
|Household:||Locke · Qyburn · Steelshanks|