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Giant Ice Spider

The Family Traditions of House Bolton (Theory)

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Of all the Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, House Bolton of the Dreadfort are one of the most mysterious. To me at least, one thing stands out as odd: the lack of siblings, cousins, and daughters (that we know of). So here I am, clad head-to-heel in tinfoil plate armour, to tell you what I think is going on.

Murder. Lots, and lots, of murder.

Specifically, I think that the Boltons have a long & proud history of mass infanticide. The reason for this, I believe, is Bolton paranoia that any spare children could lead to a war of succession among siblings or cousins or uncles/nephews etc.

Lord Roose Bolton, the renowned turncloak and proponent of naturism during strategic meetings, seems pretty chill about this sort of subject:

Quote

"And won't my bastard love that? Lady Walda is a Frey, and she has a fertile feel to her. I have become oddly fond of my fat little wife. The two before her never made a sound in bed, but this one squeals and shudders. I find that quite endearing. If she pops out sons the way she pops in tarts, the Dreadfort will soon be overrun with Boltons. Ramsay will kill them all, of course. That's for the best. I will not live long enough to see new sons to manhood, and boy lords are the bane of any House. Walda will grieve to see them die, though."

Now, you may argue that Roose is generally cool and uninterested, but we do know there are a few things he cares about: squealing, the right of the first night, m'lord vs my lord, and Ramsay's reputation, to name but a few. It seem odd to not have fratricide/kinslaying on the list, unless he was himself a kinslayer. And in case you were wondering, I did remember this:

Quote

"Ramsay killed him. A sickness of the bowels, Maester Uthor says, but I say poison. In the Vale, Domeric had enjoyed the company of Redfort's sons. He wanted a brother by his side, so he rode up the Weeping Water to seek my bastard out. I forbade it, but Domeric was a man grown and thought that he knew better than his father. Now his bones lie beneath the Dreadfort with the bones of his brothers, who died still in the cradle, and I am left with Ramsay. Tell me, my lord … if the kinslayer is accursed, what is a father to do when one son slays another?"

The way I interpret this quote is as follows: Roose believes that, when two brothers meet, one will inevitably end up killing the other. Roose forbade Domeric to see Ramsay, because of his worldview and knowing Ramsay was a savage idiot, that sweet, gentle Domeric would be killed and Roose would lose the better of his two options for heir. And when, as far as he is concerned, Ramsay killed Domeric (I don't think it was Ramsay, BTW), Roose decided he had been proven right. That brothers always end up killing each other, validating his reasoning for killing Domeric's siblings, and why Roose's father presumably murdered of all of Roose's brothers.

Now, as to daughters, I suspect the Boltons do not want anyone else to have a claim to the Dreadfort. That, or they're afraid of a Rhaenyra-esque figure fighting a war of succession with her brother.

This theory would explain why the Starks did not take daughters from the Boltons upon defeating them (as was their custom with others). There were no daughters.

I cannot explain why no Stark girls were wed to male Boltons, however. All theories have flaws, and this is no exception. It could be that the Boltons, seeking to destroy the Starks, want nothing to do with them. That's just a guess though.

So yeah, here is my shitload of tinfoil. Enjoy.

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I do not believe this theory because if the Boltons were murdering there children in such a way the Starks of WF would have heard "something" by now, over so many generations the Boltons having only 1 child would be very odd and also in a feudal society children often die unexpectedly either by sickness, infections, wars, no proper medical care even a small break COULD be fatal so putting all your eggs in one basket is a horrible idea.

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11 hours ago, Stormking902 said:

I do not believe this theory because if the Boltons were murdering there children in such a way the Starks of WF would have heard "something" by now, over so many generations the Boltons having only 1 child would be very odd and also in a feudal society children often die unexpectedly either by sickness, infections, wars, no proper medical care even a small break COULD be fatal so putting all your eggs in one basket is a horrible idea.

I think that is how they pass off their infanticides without the Starks noticing.

It had occurred to me that it was a risky plan, but GRRM doesn't seem to have taken the difficulty of maintaining unbroken male lines into accounts. The Arryns, for instance, are famously infertile, and yet they're 6,000 years old or something.

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Posted (edited)

Roose had a most accomplished heir in Domeric before Ramsay killed him.  He also said he had other sons who died in the cradle.  I don't think he ever intended to have just one son.  He knows that Ramsay will kill any children he has from his current wife because he knows what Ramsay is.  I agree with Stormking902.  Multiple sons were cherished in the feudal world, as we see every other great and noble house with multiple sons.  This theory runs counter to the realities and thinking of the time.

Edited by Stallion That Mounts Texas

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13 hours ago, Stallion That Mounts Texas said:

Roose had a most accomplished heir in Domeric before Ramsay killed him.  He also said he had other sons who died in the cradle.  I don't think he every intended to have just one son.  He knows that Ramsay will kill any children he has from his current wife because he knows what Ramsay is.  I agree with Stormking902.  Multiple son were cherished in the feudal world, as we se every other great and noble house with multiple sons.  This theory runs counter to the realities and thinking of the time.

It does seem risky to place all one's eggs in one basket, but this could also explain Roose's health-nut-ness. The Boltons have made a habit of living healthily to ensure their deliberately fragile line doesn't end.

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On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 11:32 AM, Giant Ice Spider said:

snip

My theory on Roose goes like this:

He is the last surviving son of the Night King, having been rescued by Joruman and the KoW just before he was due to be sacrificed. Roose has spent the last 7000 years or more fathering children on human brides, waiting until they come of age, then killing them, flaying them, and wearing their skins to make a near-perfect likeness of his new host, thus continuing on as the new lord of whatever seat he happens to be occupying. I say near-perfect because the only difference is the eyes, which remain pale white. White irises are always accompanied by blindness and a host of other problems, so the fact that Roose can see at all is enough to conclude that he is not natural.

This is how Roose knew that Dom was not his child and Rams was, the eyes, and why Roose didn't bat an eye (sorry) when Dom was killed, since he cannot wear the skin of someone else's son. Dom was most likely Brandon Stark's son, which is where he would have gotten his close affinity for horses, just like Lyanna -- almost as if they can sense their horse's thoughts.

This also explains why Roose needs to keep leeching himself, to prevent blood from pooling in his extremities, why he is virtually hairless, never sweats and is able to silence big boisterous louts like the Greatjon with barely a whisper.

So by legitimizing the man who killed his "trueborn" son, who would have done nothing by bring honor and glory to House Bolton and probably make an incredibly good marriage to boot, Roose puts his actual son on the seat of Winterfell -- a perfect position for the next skinchanging. If Roose dies by the end of the series, look for Ramsay to suddenly calm down, start speaking in whispers and leeching himself.

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12 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

My theory on Roose goes like this:

He is the last surviving son of the Night King, having been rescued by Joruman and the KoW just before he was due to be sacrificed. Roose has spent the last 7000 years or more fathering children on human brides, waiting until they come of age, then killing them, flaying them, and wearing their skins to make a near-perfect likeness of his new host, thus continuing on as the new lord of whatever seat he happens to be occupying. I say near-perfect because the only difference is the eyes, which remain pale white. White irises are always accompanied by blindness and a host of other problems, so the fact that Roose can see at all is enough to conclude that he is not natural.

This is how Roose knew that Dom was not his child and Rams was, the eyes, and why Roose didn't bat an eye (sorry) when Dom was killed, since he cannot wear the skin of someone else's son. Dom was most likely Brandon Stark's son, which is where he would have gotten his close affinity for horses, just like Lyanna -- almost as if they can sense their horse's thoughts.

This also explains why Roose needs to keep leeching himself, to prevent blood from pooling in his extremities, why he is virtually hairless, never sweats and is able to silence big boisterous louts like the Greatjon with barely a whisper.

So by legitimizing the man who killed his "trueborn" son, who would have done nothing by bring honor and glory to House Bolton and probably make an incredibly good marriage to boot, Roose puts his actual son on the seat of Winterfell -- a perfect position for the next skinchanging. If Roose dies by the end of the series, look for Ramsay to suddenly calm down, start speaking in whispers and leeching himself.

If Domeric isn't Roose's, why does he survive past infancy?

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On 7/24/2018 at 10:21 AM, Giant Ice Spider said:

I think that is how they pass off their infanticides without the Starks noticing.

It had occurred to me that it was a risky plan, but GRRM doesn't seem to have taken the difficulty of maintaining unbroken male lines into accounts. The Arryns, for instance, are famously infertile, and yet they're 6,000 years old or something.

No they are not famously infertile. And neither is their line an unbroken one. It's about to be broken for a second time just in the last three centuries alone. Both of Sharra's sons died and line continued through a cousin. Jon Arryn's line was going to continue through relatives until Robyn and it may very well do so.

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7 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

No they are not famously infertile. And neither is their line an unbroken one. It's about to be broken for a second time just in the last three centuries alone. Both of Sharra's sons died and line continued through a cousin. Jon Arryn's line was going to continue through relatives until Robyn and it may very well do so.

I misspoke, but said cousin was a male-line descendant of the Arryn founder. Also, I'm pretty sure LF gave Sansa a lecture on how the Arryns (at least recently) haven't been overly fertile.

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1 minute ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

I misspoke, but said cousin was a male-line descendant of the Arryn founder. Also, I'm pretty sure LF gave Sansa a lecture on how the Arryns (at least recently) haven't been overly fertile.

We can't know that either; Harrold is from the female line so that cousin or an ancestor of his may very well have been born to an Arryn woman but inherited the name along with a title as Harrold is expected to do now.

And the lesson wasn't Arryns not being fertile since there are some with children. It's just Arryn's of the main line being unlucky and Jon being not so fertile.

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7 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

If Domeric isn't Roose's, why does he survive past infancy?

Because it's no big deal for Roose. He's been at this for thousands of years. Plenty of time to make things right.

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18 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Because it's no big deal for Roose. He's been at this for thousands of years. Plenty of time to make things right.

Roose does not strike me as the sort of man to procrastinate, but that's just me

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10 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

Roose does not strike me as the sort of man to procrastinate, but that's just me

He doesn't, but he's on a completely different time-scale than humans. When you are 10,000 years old, a few years (or a few decades) is the blink of an eye.

This is why people are like mice to Roose: here for a little while, and then gone. This is why Lady Barbrey observes:

Quote

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.

and it's why Roose himself comments:

Quote

If she pops out sons the way she pops in tarts, the Dreadfort will soon be overrun with Boltons. Ramsay will kill them all, of course. That's for the best. I will not live long enough to see new sons to manhood, and boy lords are the bane of any House. Walda will grieve to see them die, though.

Huh? Boys are the bane of any house? Every lord in his right mind wants sons, multiple sons, because that is how you build a strong house and then link it to other strong houses.

Roose also knows that he will not live long enough to see his sons grown. He's only in his mid-40s. Why would he say it this way unless he already knows exactly when and how he will "die."

So Ramsay will kill them all, ho hum, what a shame. My line will descend not from noble blood but through this physically repulsive, despicable murderer gotten from a lowly commoner. No rational lord, no matter how vile, thinks this way. Roose does because all he needs is Ramsay at the moment. In a few short decades he'll be sitting in the high seat of Winterfell (again), occupying the body of the son he fathered while wearing Ramsay's skin.

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12 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

He doesn't, but he's on a completely different time-scale than humans. When you are 10,000 years old, a few years (or a few decades) is the blink of an eye.

This is why people are like mice to Roose: here for a little while, and then gone. This is why Lady Barbrey observes:

and it's why Roose himself comments:

Huh? Boys are the bane of any house? Every lord in his right mind wants sons, multiple sons, because that is how you build a strong house and then link it to other strong houses.

Roose also knows that he will not live long enough to see his sons grown. He's only in his mid-40s. Why would he say it this way unless he already knows exactly when and how he will "die."

So Ramsay will kill them all, ho hum, what a shame. My line will descend not from noble blood but through this physically repulsive, despicable murderer gotten from a lowly commoner. No rational lord, no matter how vile, thinks this way. Roose does because all he needs is Ramsay at the moment. In a few short decades he'll be sitting in the high seat of Winterfell (again), occupying the body of the son he fathered while wearing Ramsay's skin.

And if this is his plan, the last thing he needs is extra sons starting wars of succession.

If the sons do not know about Roose's body-snatching, then they may just pull a Daemon Blackfyre or a Renly Baratheon and revolt. If they DO know, there are a few paths this could go down. They could be horrified and try to kill Roose to get rid of him out of fear of what he is; they may decide THEY would be better vessels; or they could accidentally reveal this info to a random camp follower or something. There are so many ways this could go wrong, if excess sons are in the picture. Hence the systematic infanticide.

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9 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

And if this is his plan, the last thing he needs is extra sons starting wars of succession.

If the sons do not know about Roose's body-snatching, then they may just pull a Daemon Blackfyre or a Renly Baratheon and revolt. If they DO know, there are a few paths this could go down. They could be horrified and try to kill Roose to get rid of him out of fear of what he is; they may decide THEY would be better vessels; or they could accidentally reveal this info to a random camp follower or something. There are so many ways this could go wrong, if excess sons are in the picture. Hence the systematic infanticide.

Well, yes. All he needs is one son that he can switch into who will then become the next lord of whatever house he happens to be occupying at the moment. And if something were to happen to that son before the switch can be made, no big deal; Roose has plenty of time to make another.

I know it sounds crazy, but I think it's the only answer that ticks all the boxes about Roose. Remember the story of Brandon Ice-Eyes? That was probably Roose.

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13 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Well, yes. All he needs is one son that he can switch into who will then become the next lord of whatever house he happens to be occupying at the moment. And if something were to happen to that son before the switch can be made, no big deal; Roose has plenty of time to make another.

I know it sounds crazy, but I think it's the only answer that ticks all the boxes about Roose. Remember the story of Brandon Ice-Eyes? That was probably Roose.

That one has perplexed me. If Roose mananged to become a Stark, why doesn't he rule the North anymore? And if he was the King in the North, who was ruling the Dreadfort? TBH I think that might be a red herring.

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22 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

That one has perplexed me. If Roose mananged to become a Stark, why doesn't he rule the North anymore? And if he was the King in the North, who was ruling the Dreadfort? TBH I think that might be a red herring.

Who knows? Maybe it suited his purposes to be Lord of the Dreadfort for a while, maybe he was forced into it. The Lord of Winterfell draws a lot more attention than Lord of the DF, and with the dragons taking control he might have thought it was best to lay low for a while. Now that they're gone, though...

It's quite possible that Roose has spent time running a number of northern houses, and maybe even some southron ones as well. 7000 years is a long time.

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The Boltons had to have a lot of illegitimate children because they practiced the lord's right to the first night.  There should be many Bolton bastards around the Dreadfort.  I would think they don't sacrifice their true born children to the weirwoods with so many bastards to use.  

You may be right.  Family policy may call for only one heir at a time to prevent competition.  I also do not recall of a Bolton female marrying into another house.  Perhaps the females carry genetics that the Boltons want to keep from appearing.  

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Posted (edited)

Can't remember who exactly, but a member here described the Boltons as Sith Lords: Always two, no more, no less.

In addition to this, if Ramsay killed Dom is exactly this way - only the stronger survives, not the gallant boy who likes to play the harp. The law against kinslaying do not count much here.

Edited by The Sunland Lord

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On ‎8‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 1:44 AM, Here's Looking At You, Kid said:

The Boltons had to have a lot of illegitimate children because they practiced the lord's right to the first night.  There should be many Bolton bastards around the Dreadfort.  I would think they don't sacrifice their true born children to the weirwoods with so many bastards to use.  

You may be right.  Family policy may call for only one heir at a time to prevent competition.  I also do not recall of a Bolton female marrying into another house.  Perhaps the females carry genetics that the Boltons want to keep from appearing.  

The other reason I think there are no Bolton women is it would give another House a claim to the Dreadfort, which, again, creates wars of succession.

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