Starspear

Anyone else thinks that ADWD goes too far with Ramsay Snow?

88 posts in this topic

I agree wholeheartedly with the OP. I don't mind the graphic violence and aggressive sexuality that is par for the course in the series, but Ramsey (and I fear Qyborn will be this way too) take it a bit too far. I can hate the guy just as much without knowimg as much as Martin tells us. I actually think I could stomach it more if it were just told outiright, but presenting it through Theon's tortured and terrified memories makes it feel so much more personal.

Yes, there are real people in our own f*cked up world who are this deranged, but I did not begin or fall in the love with this series in order to delve into psychopath's torture methods. I want to read to know the characters and see how this epic story progresses. This could be accomplished (better?) without knowing Ramsey's gratuitous evil.

Well said. It also gives enormous power to the abuser, unlike every other act of violence and torture in the series.

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I completely disagree. It is necessary for Theon's story arc. Ramsay's sadism drives Theon to madness, it breaks him and strips his identity, but it also drives Theon to reclaim his identity. Seeing Jeyne's suffering breaks "Reek" and Theon comes back to save Jeyne. Ramsay's escalating sadism is something that although unpleasant, serves its purpose. Not to mention the fact that Theon, in reality, kind of deserves exactly what he receives.


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Ramsay, on the other hand, represents degeneration. He's Roose write crueler, e.g. more inhuman. Not necessarily more immoral, because Ramsay probably doesn't have any idea that there is a thing called moral, while Roose definitely does. But, that Ramsay is a bigger menace to the world than his father is, that should be pretty obvious. Now, if one of purposes Ramsay serves in this story is to show how deep nay degeneration go (which, if you think about it, resonates very much in our world), then I wouldn't say he's over the top. Personal taste is a different matter, but I wouldn't say Ramsay nastiness is there just because.

Is he really though? I can't say I agree. Ramsay definately is more vicious and seems like the bigger psychopath on the surface. But lets not forget Roose seems quite fond of stuff like flaying, the first night and probably a whole lot we don't know anything about. The difference seems to be that Roose keeps it quiet while Ramsay parades it to the world. (Also, Roose says to reek something about how leeching takes away the rage. Perhaps Roose acted similarly to Ramsay before starting his leeches?)

In a way Ramsay is more human to me because he atleast shows emotions. Mostly extreme rage but still. Roose doesn't really and this makes him more alien to me. To quote Barbrey Dustin

''Roose has no feelings, you see. Those leeches that he loves so well sucked all the passions out of him years ago. He does not love, he does not hate, he does not grieve. This is a game to him, mildly diverting. Some men hunt, some hawk, some tumble dice. Roose plays with men. You and me, these Freys, Lord Manderly, his plump new wife, even his bastard, we are but his playthings.''

Ramsay is only such a big menace to the world because Roose allows him to be. To me Ramsay is just part of whatever game Roose is playing. Lets not forget Theon/Reek, (a man horribly tortured by Ramsay and absolutely terrified of him) thought ''The son is just the shadow of the father''

Ramsay is just the cruelty, one piece of the bigger, completer, horror of Roose. At least that's my take on it.

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Ramsay is pretty boring. It is sort of baffling that Roose leaves him around; he's not even that useful. He helped with the sacking of Winterfell, but his maiming of Theon was not necessarily a positive thing (and he continually fucks up. Roose even comments on the fact that his psychopathic tendencies are noticed and likely sprouting even more resentment towards him).



Most characters are more well rounded or have gone through character arcs. Roose is evil, but not 1 dimensionally evil; he's ambitious, but he won't just flay and rape and torture people for the hell of it. Tywin committed many evil acts but all for the good of family, and he has shown he will let his enemies live if they submit. So many examples of this.



Not really sure why Ramsay has to be an exception of important minor characters (although the Mountain's men are shown to be also bastards... but they are also not in the story as much). Iwon Rheon's depiction of Ramsay has been a bit more 3 dimensional at least.


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I apologize as I didn't have time to start from the beginning and read everyone's replies but I think the reason for building up Ramsay into such an almost cartoonishly hateful character is so GRRM will be able to get the majority of the audience on board for when Reek/Theon comes full circle in his character development and kills Ramsay in almost a heroic way. I'm a huge fan of Theon's character throughout the series and would like to see him get some confidence/sense of humility and even humanity back.



The true start to that "road to redemption(/Seastone Chair?)" could be killing Ramsay, not helping Jeyne Pool(fArya) escape.


Edited by jbent87

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No point going back and forth.

The bestiality you refer to is not book-based, unless you personally interpret a desperate line said by Jeyne (quote below) to read bestiality -- which many of us don't, and never even considered. Again, I hear a very desperate young girl saying she will literally do anything to save herself from his anger... (like Viserys talking about the horses fking Dany).

Clearly, some people, like yourself, did indeed read it as bestiality, which is fine -- it's subjective.

But afaik, there is no other reference, no direct reference, to this at all in any book of the series -- if there is, just let me know which book/chapter, because it would not be the first time I issed something.

Quote: "Jeyne pulled her wolfskins up to her chin. “No. This is some trick. It’s him, it’s my … my lord, my sweet lord, he sent you, this is just some test to make sure that I love him. I do, I do, I love him more than anything.” A tear ran down her cheek. “Tell him, you tell him. I’ll do what he wants … whatever he wants … with him or … or with the dog or … please … he doesn’t need to cut my feet off, I won’t try to run away, not ever, I’ll give him sons, I swear it, I swear it …"

The fact that she even mentions the dog kinda suggests that GRRM wants to imply that its involvement has been at least discussed by Ramsay and Jeyne at some point. It doesn't seem to me like something anyone is very likely to say completely impromptu, however desperate.

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My initial reaction was that I found the Ramsay character to be unrealistic - I couldn't understand why Roose hadn't slit Ramsay's throat long ago. (I had a similar reaction to Rorge and Biter.)
 
Roose, however, is an intelligent, though twisted, person. And there's something decidedly weird about his relationship with Ramsay and Ramsay's mother.
 

There's a crackpot theory going around that Ramsey is somehow related to Craster and the White Walkers through his wildling roots.  It's built around the fact that Roose hasn't done anything to curb Ramsey's behavior even when he murder's Roose's trueborn heir.  This in a world where bastards are routinely cast aside and brutally discarded for no reason at all.  Could fear be driving the generally pragmatic Bolton's unbelievably permissive attitude?  Is there a Faustian bargain yet to be unveiled in the coming novel?  Honestly I hope so because otherwise Martin is just making his writing seem cheap and distasteful like Medieval Saw style horror porn.

This was a Bran Vras theory. (Search is down so I can't supply the link. Sorry.) Curiously, it relied heavily on the fairy tale trope of the washerwoman at the ford (Ramsay's mother), and the hold that she seems to have on Roose. Ran called out the baby-switching parts of the theory, and Bran Vras stormed out. But the part about Ramsay's mother had a lot of value to it. There may be much more than meets the eye to Ramsay.

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Dude, the books aren't exactly euphemistic so there's no reason to be all coy or childish about it. In fact, Martin goes into such explicit detail that my question seems tame in comparison. What exactly did I miss concerning bestiality?
 
As far as Ramsey being such a despicable character, umm, that's sort of the point. Even some of the most vile characters in the books have some redeeming qualities or perhaps some sort of justification. With Ramsey, there's nothing good about him and the reader is given no reason to sympathize with him. Why Martin has decided to go that route, we'll have to see, whether its satisfaction when he dies or disappointment and disgust when he triumphs. Honestly though, nothing he does seems completely out of place in the depraved world of ASOIAF. Much of what he does is committed by other people as well: flaying, murder, psychological torture. He just happens to be a bit more brazen about it.
 
The people of the North weren't exactly going to let him get away with it either, as they had killed Reek thinking it was Ramsey. He only gets away with it now because of his already influential father's rise in political power. To me, that's what Ramsey exemplifies, what happens when the actions of a person go unchecked due to fear of consequences resulting from taking action against a member of a wealthy or powerful family.
 
To answer the question posed by the thread title, no I don't think ADWD goes too far. In addition to showing the utter depravity of Ramsey it helps to not only solidify the notion that Theon could be turned into Reek 2.0 but gives some sort of insight into why Ramsey would do such a thing, i.e.- he's a fucked up guy who obviously sees other humans as playthings and he knows Daddy isn't going to do anything about it worse than a scolding.

Agree

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I have no doubt Ramsay has threatened Jeyne with all sorts of "partners" just to enjoy her fear and revulsion, but she's his possession, there's no way he's sharing.

 

Once he tires of her, perhaps he'll cease doing anything with her himself and amuse himself by thinking up ways, and "partners", to inflict degradation upon her, but not while there's still any chance he'll be in contact with the same areas himself.

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Ramsay is one of the best Martin's creations in my eyes, so, needless to say, I definitely don't think the author went to far with him, nor that Ramsay is just meant to shock the readers.

 

Even if just a side character in Theon's arc, Ramsay would be welcomed. Thorn between Greyjoys and Starks, Theon struggled with an identity from the get-go, but not before he completely lost his identity in ADWD did Theon touched the bottom. For that, a monster like Ramsay was needed, especially because it was Theon himself that released the monster while occupying Winterfell in ACOK. If Ramsay was not as big a monster as he is, Theon's loss of humanity wouldn't be as believable, and the return of his humanity (awakened by Jeyne Pool) wouldn't be as effective.

 

However, I happen to think Ramsay's more important than just a side character in someone else's story arc. First, as noticed by another poster in another thread, he is the perfect opposite to Jon, just like Joff was to Robb. Both Jon and Ramsay are bastards, managing through life pretty much on their own, and arriving very far: Jon become LC, Ramsay becomes the heir to Dreadfort and The North. It's no wonder then, that they are to jump at each other throats at the end of ADWD. Their arcs could also be juxtaposing each other in symbolic aspect: Jon represents change, rooted in tradition (which he respects) but change nevertheless - he let the wildlings through the gates; Ramsay, on the other hand, represents degeneration. He's Roose write crueler, e.g. more inhuman. Not necessarily more immoral, because Ramsay probably doesn't have any idea that there is a thing called moral, while Roose definitely does. But, that Ramsay is a bigger menace to the world than his father is, that should be pretty obvious. Now, if one of purposes Ramsay serves in this story is to show how deep nay degeneration go (which, if you think about it, resonates very much in our world), then I wouldn't say he's over the top. Personal taste is a different matter, but I wouldn't say Ramsay nastiness is there just because.

 

I agree. ASOIAF is partly a horror story, and Ramsay fits that bill. Without him being as awful as he is, we could not believe  the breaking of Theon; as well as,  the heroic act of Reek saving Jeyne. Yes, hinting at bestiality is horrific, but Martin is trying to be horrific. He is not writing a stand up happy fantasy book. 

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My initial reaction was that I found the Ramsay character to be unrealistic - I couldn't understand why Roose hadn't slit Ramsay's throat long ago. (I had a similar reaction to Rorge and Biter.)
 
Roose, however, is an intelligent, though twisted, person. And there's something decidedly weird about his relationship with Ramsay and Ramsay's mother.
 

This was a Bran Vras theory. (Search is down so I can't supply the link. Sorry.) Curiously, it relied heavily on the fairy tale trope of the washerwoman at the ford (Ramsay's mother), and the hold that she seems to have on Roose. Ran called out the baby-switching parts of the theory, and Bran Vras stormed out. But the part about Ramsay's mother had a lot of value to it. There may be much more than meets the eye to Ramsay.

 

Yipes! I never thought it had any value to it.. we know it was told to Theon by Roose . Why would Roose tell Theon such personal information? It's just like Barbrey's stories to Theon - whatever truth is in these stories has been twisted to suit the purposes of the storyteller... and the rest is pure fabrication.

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I think ultimately the problem is we've seen too much of him, he's been around too long. The last paper villains we got were the Astapori slavers and we only had to suffer them for a couple of chapters before Dany ended their existence.

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It's not about being childish. It's about having a bit of taste. We're not living in Westeros. We're living in this world and can avoid some of the villainy that in fictional contexts is more acceptable (no need to elaborate on how evil exits in our world; yes, we know).
 
My main concern is keeping the boards clean in case traffic from immature or under-18s happen to come across (ASOIAF is of course not for children).
 
I think the forum's rules are sensible:
http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/forum-20/announcement-66-reminder-on-offensive-content-civility-and-discussing-rape/

I don't agree with your point about age. I'm 32 now and started reading these books when they first came out a few months before I turned 16. And I don't think age has anything to do with maturity.

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Just my two cents, but I don't think it's actually relevant whether it is something that he actually had her do or just something that he threatened her with, the point is not to show you what a bad guy he is, it is to show what Jeyne Poole has become, just as the point of Theon's descriptions was to show you what Theon has become. GRRM can't tell the stories of Theon or Jeyne Poole - or the Walders and the northern lords, for that matter, but of course in an entirely different way - without having to give some details about Ramsay. We all got that Ramsay's an evil psychopath from way early on, no problem, but Ramsay is an event in the stories of other characters and that event has to be described for us to understand those characters. Ramsay in uninteresting in himself, sure, but it is interesting to see what effect he has on others. Not that I read about Jeyne or Theon and think, "hmm, that's so interesting" in some detached way. It is hard to read, but I read it and I think that I've obtained a lot more information about the character than I had before.

 

 

 

For those not in Ramsay's complete control, i.e., people who could resist him without suffering for it, moreover, Ramsay's character serves as a filter that allows us to judge the "true knight"-ness of those he encounters. We judge people by their willingness to stand against Ramsay, but we see over and over that their willingness is not based on their knowledge of his psychosis, but the advantage to their cause. And so his father has given up trying to disown him because it is easier to just let him have his way. Lords sworn to the North let a girl they believe to be Arya Stark get served up to Ramsay and ally themselves with him for it. We judge this world and these people by their inability to contain this evil. The fact that this is a world where Ramsay Snow might become Lord of Winterfell is informative, it is illustrative, it speaks loads for the people around him, it prevents us from idealizing the Northmen who rallied to Robb, because we see now what their allegiance has bought his "sister." Do you imagine how Ned or Jon or Robb or Catelyn or Sam or Brienne or Tyrion would have reacted to being guests at that wedding? I think we are supposed to, and then to look at all the northmen and think, "oh, well, you are a rotten bunch of bastards almost as much as that guy."

This is very interesting but not entirely fair. Most northern Lords are already weak and thanks to the war and Lannister/Frey/Bolton policies have lost faith in each other. This is a much dirtier world than the world where aGOT starts in. Standing up to Ramsey or Roose makes little sense if they cannot follow through by completely smashing them or saving fArya, it will just put more people in danger of being tortured by them.

I think in some sense it also shows that both corruption and honor are group behaviors. Honor breeds honor, corruption breeds corruption. In a corrupted world, honorable keep losing power until they disappear into abyss. So, even if they want to do something about the whole situation, it cannot be a spur of moment act.

 

As for the OP, I also find Ramsey ridiculously over the top, and his violence hard to read.

Also, why do people keep putting "rape, torture, flaying, burning people alive, abuse (physical and psychological), child soldiers" in the same sentence with "incest"? How are they comparable really?!

Edited by shizett

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I enjoy delving into abnormal psychology, so I enjoyed the direction GRRM decided to take the Winterfell saga. There's nothing there to suggest that Ramsay's acts are intended as shock value and nothing more. Quite the contrary - you look at Roose's tale of Ramsay's conception, and then Ramsay's hunting method and you see some deep-seated self-loathing implicit on the outcomes of Ramsay's hunts...and he transfers a great deal of that onto Theon, a member of the Nobility that consider bastards to be subhuman. I would rather have this bit of abnormal psychology laid bare for study than pages of walking, singing, eating or any of the other filler mainstays of fantasy fiction.

 

Some of you seem to have missed the memo: the Westerosi system of government is a rotten, horrid thing when you strip away the fairtale trappings of noble knights, lovely princesses, and conquering kings. That is on the greater themes of the series - Ramsay, Theon's breaking, and Jeyne's torture at the hands of Baelish and then Ramsay, are symptomatic of the system's sickness.

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Personally I don't mind it. He's fucked up yes and I occasionally go a bit "Holy f**k Martin, did you really write THIS?", but I have no problems with it being in the book. I've read just as bad stuff in Malazan and The Second Apocalypse both, and wouldn't want them altered either. Personally I think that if an author can make me go "Holy f**k ... did you really write THIS?" without making it seem like it's forced, its just a good thing. For example, Wheel of Time. There are many parts in it where I absolutely hated something that happened, to the point where I didn't want to read on but was regardless unable to keep away from the book for more than five minutes (Yeah, it really happened :D Was an interesting experience), but I wouldn't want them removed from the series. Wouldn't be the same without them.

Edited by Esa1996

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On April 22, 2014 at 11:21 PM, Starspear said:

There's a limit that I can accept in fantasy (or perhaps depravity is the better word).

 

 

 

 

A thread for those who feel the same.

 

I actually thought Ramsay didn't go far enough. If his purpose was to emasculate, brutalize, and traumatize Theon, he should've raped Theon.

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Ramsay does not go too far (well, maybe a bit - villains don't need to be complete cartoons).  George certainly does go too far.  The way he handles the scenes is voyeuristic.  When dealing with Ramsay's depravity, we do not need to know all the details.

Poor poor Theon, being forced to go down on a 12-year old girl.  It's not his fault, right?  Right?  Ramsay's making him do it, and Ramsay is BAD.  

Yeah, sure George.  Whatever.

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