Game of Thrones: 10 Things That Make No Sense About The Boltons


Even in Game of Thrones, a series infamous for acts of violence and cruelty, House Bolton occupies an especially infamous place. This is the House, after all, that literally has a skinned man as its emblem, and the history of their House is marked with numerous instances of excessive brutality. They have also been responsible for some of the most heinous and vicious acts seen on television in recent years.

As compelling and cruel as they are, however, there are still more than a few things about House Bolton that don’t quite make sense, even to someone who has watched the entire show. Game of Thrones always prided itself as a dark deconstruction of fantasy epics but even so, House Bolton’s actions just make them stand out for all the wrong reasons. Here are ten ways that House Bolton just doesn’t really make sense.

10 Why Did Roose Legitimize A Bastard?

The relationship between Roose Bolton and his bastard Ramsay Snow is one of the most fascinating and layered in the whole show. While Roose resists legitimizing Ramsay for as long as he can, eventually he gives in.

However, it’s a rather strange move for Roose to make, especially since there is almost no one else in the North, let alone Westeros, who took this dramatic step. In a way, this makes sense given the chaos that often erupts due to the presence of legitimated bastards. But even so, Roose could have taken any other option that didn’t involv legitimizing his sadistic bastard son.

9 Why Was Roose So Disloyal?

Roose Bolton Game of Thrones

The Red Wedding, rightly, is one of the most infamous moments in the entire history of the show. This was the moment, after all, when characters that the audience had grown to love over several seasons, were horribly butchered.

While House Frey deserves the lion’s share of the blame for this event, it was Roose Bolton who delivered the killing blow to Robb Stark. It’s a dramatic moment, certainly, but it remains very unclear why Roose would turn so definitively against his liege lord. Sure, he was promised power and land but in the grand scheme of things, Bolton suddenly turning traitor at the cusp of Northern victory is weird.

8 How Did They Get So Much Of The North To Side With Them?

War in the north - 10 Biggest Clues from the New

With the death of Robb Stark, Roose Bolton manages to seize control of the North. This makes sense, since he would want some reward for his betrayal of Robb.  What makes a little less sense, though, is why everyone else in the North – who are noted for their loyalty, even to dead leaders – would throw in their lot with Roose, especially knowing as they do that there are at least a few members of House Stark still alive.

Compounding this issue is the fact the Boltons were never shy about having a hand in the Red Wedding, where most of the Northern leadership was wiped out. Most of the North kneeling to the Boltons goes against what the show has encouraged the audience to understand about the distinctly Northern frame of mind. Though the argument could be made that this is a subversion of expectations, these houses’ questionable loyalty is never properly explained.

7 Why Did Anyone Trust Them, Anyway?

There’s no question that House Bolton has one of the most macabre sigils in all of Westeros. After all, it’s a bit hard to match a flayed man on one’s banners. The fact that House Bolton has this as their sign at all says a great deal about what they value and how they think about themselves.

What doesn’t make sense is why anyone else in the North – particularly House Stark – would think that a noble House so invested in wanton cruelty should ever be trusted. The fact that House Bolton has been around even before the main story’s events only makes this matter worse.

6 Why Didn’t Ramsay’s Treatment Of Theon Make People Turn On Him?

Game of Thrones has a well-deserved reputation as a series that isn’t afraid to show the brutality and violence of a medieval setting. Even in a show noted for its violence, however, Ramsay’s torturing – both psychologically and physicaly – of Theon Greyjoy is a bit egregious, both for the audience and for the people within the show.

While Theon was hardly popular among the people of the North, the sheer excess and sadism on Ramsay’s part does make one wonder why other people continued to put up with him and just didn’t turn against him when they had the chance.

5 Why Didn’t Anyone Do Anything About Their Penchant For Rape?

Roose Bolton from Game of Thrones

At one point in the show, it’s revealed that Ramsay was the result of Roose raping his mother and hanging his father. Roose’s brutality, however, was but one example in a family well-known for their tendency to assault women. And worst of all, this horrendous act is only second to what the Boltons are really known for: torture.

This being the case, it does make one wonder why someone like Ned – a man for whom honor meant more than almost anything else – didn’t take more of a hand in making sure that the men who owed him their allegiance weren’t complete monsters.

4 Why Did Roose Think It Was A Good Idea To Give Ramsay Power?

Roose Ramsey Bolton Game of Thrones Season 6

One thing that has always been confusing about the relationship between Roose and his bastard Ramsay is why, given all that he knew about his bastard, Roose thought it was in any way a good idea to give him any power at all.

The show seems to want the viewer to believe that he does so because he sees a bit of himself in Ramsay, but Roose of all people should know that an unstable man like him should never be trusted with any power.

3 Why Is Ramsay So Obnoxious?

Ramsay Snow has the dubious distinction of being the most obnoxious character in the entire series and that’s saying a great deal, since Joffrey was also really terrible. It’s not just that Ramsay is a sociopath, that’s kind of a given. What really doesn’t make sense is how he really has no depth or complexity as a character outside of being sadistically annoying.

He seems to just be present to inflict all sorts of torture on Theon-and, later, Sansa. Despite these major actions, he really doesn’t show any depth or growth as a person, and just remains as obnoxious as he always was.

2 Why Did Roose Let Himself Be Alone In The Same Room With Ramsay?

The series goes to great lengths to show the viewer that Roose is a canny political operator, the sort of man who always has an eye for the main chance. More than that, he also seems to be profoundly cynical.

Given this, it seems rather out of character and careless for him to allow himself to be not only in the same room with Ramsay (hardly the most trustworthy person), but also close enough that Ramsay would be able to kill him.

1 Why Didn’t Roose Try To Make Another Heir Earlier?

Roose Bolton in Game of Thrones

As anyone who has watched the show knows, blood matters. A lot. Time and again, the audience is shown that bastards, while they are often given some forms of preferential treatment, are practically useless when it comes to issues of inheritance and politics.

That being the case, it sort of beggars belief that Roose, who should have known that he needed a son to carry on both his name and his legacy, wouldn’t have made more of an effort to produce a legitimate heir earlier than he does.

NEXT: Game of Thrones Season 8: 5 Characters Who Got Fitting Deaths (and 5 Who Didn’t)


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About the Author: Kajal Khatri

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