Son of Lord. Roose Bolton.
He has a fleshy appearance, with large, wormy lips and long hair.2 Of particular note are his pale eyes, reminiscent of his father.
Ramsay is cruel, savage and wild, taking delight in torturing others. He is quite fond of the old Bolton custom of flaying their enemies.
Ramsay is a capable manipulator and possesses a low cold cunning, particularly good at thinking on his feet, though less savvy when it comes to long term consequences and intricate politics. Ramsay openly enjoys abusive and sick practices such as having young women stripped naked and released into the Bolton forests, before hunting them with a pack of feral dogs. He gives a quick death to women who give him good sport (after raping them first), then flays their corpses. He likes to name his dogs after the women he enjoys most to “honor” them. The women who don’t give him good sport are raped and then flayed alive. All the skins of his kills are brought back with him to the Dreadfort as gruesome trophies. The bodies of the woman are fed to his dogs.
His father chides him for his “amusements”, and encourages Ramsay to incorporate his creed of “a peaceful land, a quiet people” into his own, if Ramsay ever hopes to rule. Roose states that Ramsay is fearless which is a bad thing, as fear will keep a man alive in this world of treachery.
Ramsay, though savage in battle, was never officially taught at arms. His tutor in martial prowess was Reek, his serving man, who had never received any sword training himself. Ramsay’s swordsmanship style is vicious and highly aggressive, wielding his sword as if it were a butcher’s cleaver.
Ramsay is the product of rape between Roose Bolton and a miller’s wife. While hunting, Roose saw the miller’s wife and decided to illicitly practice the banned tradition of the ‘First Night,’ wherein a lord had the right to bed the commoner’s bride. He hanged the miller under a tree (for not informing his Lord of the new marriage) and raped the man’s bride beneath his swaying body. A year later the woman arrived at the Dreadfort with the newborn Ramsay. Roose nearly killed her and the babe, but when he saw the child had his eyes, the taboo of kinslaying stayed his hand. The woman claimed her husband’s brother stole the mill and cast her out. Roose angered by this had the man’s tongue removed so he would spread no tales to Roose’s liege Lord Rickard Stark. Roose then gave the woman the mill along with a pig, several chicks and a bag of stars every year on the condition that she never reveal to Ramsay the truth about who his father was.
Ramsay’s mother arrived a dozen years later claiming she needed help in raising Ramsay, who grew up wild and unruly. Roose sent Ramsay a servant known as “Reek.” Reek, despite taking constant washes, always smelled bad due to some “unknown birth condition” that caused his skin to reek (thus his nickname). Giving him to Ramsay was actually a cruel jest by Roose, but the two grew inseparable. Roose would later reflect on whether Ramsay had “corrupted” Reek or whether Reek had corrupted Ramsay, though Reek would follow Ramsay’s orders quite faithfully; Ramsay mentioned once that Reek “knew better” than to deny him.
Despite Roose’s instruction to Ramsay’s mother, either she or Reek later informed him of his true parentage. Roose believes that both Reek and Ramsay’s mother were urging Ramsay on, and constantly reminding the increasingly violent bastard of his “rights.”
While most bastards would content themselves with their lot in life, Ramsay had larger ambitions. Roose’s elder (and trueborn) son Domeric attempted to forge a sibling connection with his half-brother Ramsay, though Ramsay swiftly went about disposing of him with poison, thus robbing Roose of his heir and becoming a kinslayer. Ramsay earned the enmity of House Dustin in the process, whose lady was fond of Domeric. Two years prior to the beginning of the War of the Five Kings, Roose Bolton brought Ramsay to the Dreadfort and made him his heir as Roose had no other sons (trueborn or otherwise).1