Ramsay Snow is the acknowledged bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton and is known as the Bastard of Bolton or the Bastard of the Dreadfort. In contrast to his father, Ramsay is vicious, unpredictable, uncouth, and fearless. He enjoys torturing others and is fond of the Bolton custom of flaying enemies. His father disapproves of his behavior and believes that Ramsay has become too infamous throughout the North. Roose also believes that Ramsay murdered Roose’s heir and expects that Ramsay will kill all of Roose’s future children. Like his father, Ramsay’s most striking feature is his small, colorless eyes, “like two chips of dirty ice.” He is bluntly described as ugly, with blotchy skin, dry dark hair, and a large fleshy frame that suggests he will grow fat with age.
While his father is away at war in A Clash of Kings, Ramsay gathers troops at the Dreadfort, the seat of House Bolton. When he hears that the neighboring House Hornwood lost both its lord and heir, he abducts Lady Hornwood and forcibly marries her to claim her lands. He then rapes her and locks her in a tower where she starves to death. When he is to be brought to justice, he switches clothes with his servant Reek and Reek is killed instead. Under his guise of Reek, he is brought to Winterfell as a captive. Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell shortly after, and Ramsay is released in exchange for a vow of service. When Stark men move to take back Winterfell, Ramsay goes to the Dreadfort and gathers an army of Bolton men. Upon returning to Winterfell, he defeats a Northern army led by Ser Rodrick Cassel, reveals his identity, burns Winterfell, and takes Theon captive. After Robb Stark‘s death in A Storm of Swords, Ramsay is allowed to marry Arya Stark, allowing him to claim the title Lord of Winterfell as all male Starks are dead. King Tommen Baratheon also presents House Bolton with a decree of legitimization for Ramsay, making him Ramsay Bolton. Should any character refer to Ramsay as a bastard or as Ramsay Snow after this, Ramsay violently reminds them of his legitimization. At Winterfell in A Dance with Dragons, Ramsay marries Arya, who he knows is actually a disguised Jeyne Poole, and physically and sexually abuses her. After Jeyne and Theon escape with the help of Mance Rayder, Ramsay sends Jon Snow a letter stating that he has captured Mance and killed Stannis Baratheon, who was attacking Winterfell. In the letter, he demands Theon and Jeyne back and wants several other members of Stannis’s court as captives. If he is denied, he will kill Jon and annihilate the Night’s Watch. In the upcoming novel The Winds of Winter, parts of the letter are revealed to have been a lie, as Stannis is still alive and preparing for battle against the Boltons and their allies. Ramsay and his men have left Winterfell to find Theon and Jeyne; Stannis is confident that his superior military experience will grant him victory over Ramsay. Ramsay is played by Iwan Rheon in the third season of the HBO adaptation. His identity is confirmed only at the very end of the season, as is his castration of Theon. Conversely, the novels make no secret of the identity of Theon’s captor, though Theon is believed dead until A Dance With Dragons, where his gelded state is only implied.