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Roose Bolton

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Fear is what keeps a man alive in this world of treachery and deceit.
~ Roose Bolton
The Lannisters send their regards
~ Roose while betraying and killing Robb

Roose Bolton is one of the main antagonists of A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. He is the secondary antagonist of Season 3 (along with Tywin Lannister), one of the secondary antagonists of Season 4 (along with his son Ramsay Bolton and Mance Rayder), one of the two secondary antagonists of Season 5 (along with the Night's King), and a minor antagonist of Season 6.

He was formerly a bannerman of House Stark who fought alongside Robb Stark during the War of the Five Kings, but after conspiring with Walder Frey and Tywin Lannister to orchestrate the infamous event known as the Red Wedding that resulted in the death of both Robb and his mother Catelyn, he becomes the new Warden of the North, while his son, Ramsay becomes the new Lord of Winterfell.

In the TV series, he is portrayed by Michael McElhatton.


He's the head of House Bolton and Lord of the Dreadfort. He receives regular leechings, which he believes to improve his health, prompting some to call him "The Leech Lord".

Roose Bolton practices the banned and now illegal tradition of the First Night privilege. He is however extremely discreet with his activities in order to avoid the attention and possible ire of House Stark.

Lord Roose fought at the Battle of the Trident during Robert's Rebellion. When Ser Barristan Selmy, seriously wounded, was brought before Robert Baratheon, Roose counselled that they should kill him. Robert ignored Roose and spared Ser Barristan's life, sending his own maester to tend to his wounds.

Just before the War of the Five Kings, Roose's trueborn son Domeric Bolton, the only one who survived the cradle, died of a "bad belly." Having no other trueborn heirs, Roose then brought his bastard son Ramsay Snow to the Dreadfort and made him his unofficial heir.

During the War of the Five Kings, Roose serves as one of Robb Stark's bannermen. As the war progresses, Roose begins to notice that Robb may be incapable of winning the war, causing him to later betray him. At one point, Roose makes allies with Walder Frey and Tywin Lannister. Together they plan to murder Robb Stark and all of his bannermen by luring them into the wedding of Robb's uncle Edmure and one of Walder Frey's daughters. During the wedding, Roose and Walder betray the Starks by massacring them along with their bannermen. As the massacre is nearly finished, Roose stabs Robb in the chest with a sword (a dagger in the TV series), killing him. With Robb dead, Roose is named Warden of the North.

After the events of the Red Wedding, Roose and his bastard son Ramsay plan to hold the North by taking Moat Cailin with the help of Theon Greyjoy. Once the fortress is taken, Roose pleased with Ramsay's accomplishment and shows him that King Tommen has made him Roose's trueborn heir, shortly before they make their way to Winterfell.

At Winterfell, Roose plans to have Ramsay marry Arya Stark (actually not the real one, but a girl named Jeyne Poole) in hoping to gain more power in the North. Roose also tells Ramsay that Stannis Baratheon is marching his way to Winterfell in order to take the North. Both Roose and Ramsay plan to fight against him.

House Bolton has the support of the Iron Throne, House Frey, House Karstark, House Ryswell, House Dustin, part of House Umber under Hother Umber (nominally only), House Hornwood, House Cerwyn, House Manderly (nominally and not by loyalty), and House Locke.

In the TV show Jeyne Poole appeared only as a background character in season 1, and she's replaced by Sansa Stark in the role of Ramsay's new wife. With the help of Petyr Baelish, Sansa becomes engaged to Ramsay.

In Season 6 of Game of Thrones, when Roose's wife Walda has a baby boy, Ramsay kills Roose by stabbing him. Ironically, Roose's death is very similiar to the death of Robb, being stabbed in the heart and betrayed.

Personality Edit

Bolton's silence was a hundred times more threatening than Vargo Hoat's slobbering malevolence. Pale as morning mist, his eyes concealed more than they told.
~ Jaime's thoughts about Roose

Roose Bolton is an almost textbook example of an extremely high-functioning sociopath, one who is willing to do anything to get ahead in life, as long as he can get away with it. He has no love or hate for anyone, only seeing people as obstacles to get in his way, or pawns to serve their purpose. As opposed to his bastard son, he has almost perfect impulse control and understands the need for restraint on his sadistic urges. If he is given the chance to get away with something, it becomes clear where Ramsay got it from, as Roose's brutality and callousness rivals his son's.

Roose is extremely intelligent and a master of political strategy. His planned betrayal of the Starks and the North during the Red Wedding was carefully plotted by him, as he left entire Northern units in positions to be wiped out by the Lannisters, until his forces were the largest in the Northern army. While he frequently scolds his son for his acts, it's never due to how horrible they are, but out of sheer pragmatism. Allies who see his son hunting women and skinning other nobles may not be allies much longer. "A peaceful land, a quiet people" has always been his rule, though "a quiet people" can be achieved in a number of ways, such as cutting the tongue out of a witness of his rape of Ramsay's mother and the murder of her husband.

He is also paranoid of anyone. In a world of deceit, lies and backstabbings, ironically all of which he is a master of, he credits fear as what keeps him alive.

Roose has a number of quirks that are considered strange or out-of-place in Westeros, and especially the North. For example, he is an extreme health nut. He never drinks, leeches himself regularly to get the bad blood out, eats prunes and drinks hippocras to improve digestion. The leeches themselves have drained his skin of a great deal of color, making him pale as well as quieting his voice to a near whisper, to the point where people have to lean in to hear what he says. Roose is also quite a literary man. Whenever he finishes reading a book or letter, he always burns it afterwards to prevent anyone else from obtaining the same knowledge he gained.


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