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Bran Vras

Three theories on Roose Bolton (The fate of Domeric, Last day in Harrenhal, Lady Dustin)

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This is the first of a series of three posts on Roose Bolton. Since the other parts are just as long as this one and largely independent, I'll post them later. If a theory has to emerge from all this (I don't have it yet), it will be more sinister than ever.

Lord Bolton I: The fate of Domeric

Roose has been married To Bethany Ryswell. It's not well known that Bethany was Roose's second wife. Nothing is known about the first wife. Roose and Bethany had one son, Domeric, who died a few years ago from a sickness at the stomach. Roose says that Domeric had brothers who died in infancy. We don't even know if those brothers were Bethany's children.

Before I am reminded that everybody knows that Ramsay killed Domeric, let's examine the evidence for that. It's implied in ACoK, when Roose reacts to the false report of Ramsay's death:

“A fate he no doubt earned,” Bolton had written. “Tainted blood is ever treacherous, and Ramsay’s nature was sly, greedy, and cruel. I count myself well rid of him. The trueborn sons my young wife has promised me would never have been safe while he lived.”

We know that Roose is a strange fellow, but even the worst persons are spoken of in the best possible terms when they pass away, aren't they? We hear a second hand rumour (no mention of Domeric)

“Not Ramsay Snow? Does Lord Roose have another bastard?” Robb scowled. “This Ramsay was a monster and a murderer, and he died a coward. Or so I was told.”

and, in the presence of Roose

"Your bastard was accused of grievous crimes,” Catelyn reminded him sharply. “Of murder, rape, and worse.”

“Yes,” Roose Bolton said. “His blood is tainted, that cannot be denied. Yet he is a good fighter, as cunning as he is fearless. When the ironmen cut down Ser Rodrik, and Leobald Tallhart soon after, it fell to Ramsay to lead the battle, and he did. He swears that he shall not sheathe his sword so long as a single Greyjoy remains in the north. Perhaps such service might atone in some small measure for whatever crimes his bastard blood has led him to commit.” He shrugged. “Or not. When the war is done, His Grace must weigh and judge. By then I hope to have a trueborn son by Lady Walda.”

Kinslaying is surely worse than murder and rape. The blame is explicit in ADwD. Roose to Ramsay:

Unlikely. And those boots would come dear. They would cost us Barrowton, House Dustin, and the Ryswells.” Roose Bolton seated himself across the table from his son. “Barbrey Dustin is my second wife’s younger sister, Rodrik Ryswell’s daughter, sister to Roger, Rickard, and mine own namesake, Roose, cousin to the other Ryswells. She was fond of my late son and suspects you of having some part in his demise. Lady Barbrey is a woman who knows how to nurse a grievance. Be grateful for that. Barrow-ton is staunch for Bolton largely because she still holds Ned Stark to blame for her husband’s death.”

Note that Roose does not accuse Ramsay of the murder to his face, although he is not shy of telling Ramsay anything else. When Manderly recites the horrific crimes of Ramsay to Davos, there is no mention of Domeric.

Finally Roose to Theon:

“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?”

[...]

“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.”

To summarize: everybody is convinced that Ramsay is a monster, but only Roose accuses him of Domeric's murder. Despite Ramsay's viciousness, there is no sign that he has any knowledge of poison or means to get any. One would rather imagine Ramsay murdering someone in a "hunting accident", an unfortunate drowning, a slip from the parapet etc.

Walda hopes to have many sons with Roose. She writes it in ACoK

“I pray for you morn, noon, and night, my sweet lord,” she wrote, “and count the days until you share my bed again. Return to me soon, and I will give you many trueborn sons to take the place of your dear Domeric and rule the Dreadfort after you.”

Here is the simplest plausible story I can imagine:

1) Roose is responsible for the death of Domeric.

2) He realized that his bastard son is a psychopath that can attract the blame for the crime, hence admitted Ramsay at the Dreadfort,

3) He never misses an opportunity to put the blame on Ramsay, and to remind everyone of his bastard's cruelty,

4) Other children of Roose (sons) have died in the past. They were infants, but probably not stillborns, otherwise they wouldn't be mentioned, I think. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) we don't know that story. But here is how Arya reacts to Fat Walda's letter:

Arya pictured a plump pink baby in a cradle, covered with plump pink leeches.

From that it's easy to speculate that Roose plans to kill Walda's sons (no mention of daughters above), and still blame Ramsay. All that reminds us of Craster and what we suspect of the sacrifices to the Others. More evidence to follow in the second theory.

Edit: the second theory is here and the third one here. While I am at it, I added important additions to the first theory here and here.

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This is the first of a series of three posts on Roose Bolton. Since the other parts are just as long as this one and largely independent, I'll post them later. If a theory has to emerge from all this (I don't have it yet), it would be more sinister than ever.

Lord Bolton I: The fate of Domeric

Roose has been married To Bethany Ryswell. It's not well known that Bethany was Roose's second wife. Nothing is known about the first wife. Roose and Bethany had one son, Domeric, who died a few years ago from a sickness at the stomach. Roose says that Domeric had brothers who died in infancy. We don't even know if those brothers were Bethany's.

Before I am reminded that everybody knows that Ramsay killed Domeric, let's examine the evidence for that. It's implied in ACoK, when Roose reacts to the false report of Ramsay's death:

We know that Roose is a strange fellow, but even the worst persons are spoken of in the best possible terms when they pass away, aren't they? We hear a second hand rumour (no mention of Domeric)

and, in the presence of Roose

Kinslaying is surely worse than murder and rape. The blame is explicit in ADwD. Roose to Ramsay:

Note that Roose does not accuse Ramsay of the murder to his face, although he is not shy of telling Ramsay anything else. When Manderly recites the horrific crimes of Ramsay to Davos, there is no mention of Domeric.

Finally Roose to Theon:

To summarize: everybody is convinced that Ramsay is a monster, but only Roose accuses him of Domeric's murder. Despite Ramsay's viciousness, there is no sign that he has any knowledge in poison or means to get any. One would rather imagine Ramsay murdering someone in a "hunting accident", an unfortunate drowning, a slip from the parapet etc.

Walda hopes to have many sons with Roose. She writes it in ACoK

Here is the simplest plausible story I can imagine:

1) Roose is responsible for the death of Domeric.

2) He realized that his bastard son is a psychopath that can attract the blame for the crime, hence admitted Ramsay at the Dreadfort,

3) He never misses an opportunity to put the blame on Ramsay, and to remind everyone of his bastard's cruelty,

4) Other children of Roose (sons) have died in the past. They were infants, but probably not stillborns, otherwise they wouldn't be mentioned, I think. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) we don't know that story. But here is how Arya reacts to Fat Walda's letter:

From that it's easy to speculate that Roose plans to kill Walda's sons (no mention of daughters above), and still blame Ramsay. All that reminds us of Craster and what we suspect of the sacrifices to the Others. More evidence to follow in the second theory.

I like how you put all of this together.

The only theory I get from this: Roose Bolton is in league with the Others and has been sacrificing his sons like Craster.

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I think you've proved that Roose killed his son Domeric and is blaming Ramsay. Don't know about the Others bit like Craster, maybe it's just because he's crazy. Also, read somewhere that perhaps Lady Dunstin isn't totally team Bolton and is in league with Manderly. This would reinforce the theory especially if she suspects either Roose or Ramsay in Domeric's death and possibly in the death of the infants. If she never forgets or forgives, her husband dying at war versus cold blooded murder of her nephew(s) (...wonder what happened to her sister too) should lead to a greater hatred of House Bolton.

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heres my thing... why wouldn't he want successors? He knows he can't live forever... and i thinks hints he's dropped about his shortness of life would have him suspect ramsey of possibly even killing him eventually.

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Wasnt there another mention by Theon about Domeric? I remember something along the lines of Ramsays gang talking about how he killed Domeric. Something Theon overheard while being Ramsays bitch. I am not sure though.

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I don't think he'd need a motive but I don't see him offing his own either.

It seems like the whole point of life to the Lords in the Westeros is to beget trueborn sons to inherit and continue the family dynasty and play the game of thrones.

Unless he is pulling a Craster but he'd have to be getting something huge in return, to risk the end of his House. I don't see what it could be unless he's bargaining to live forever.

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This is the first of a series of three posts on Roose Bolton. Since the other parts are just as long as this one and largely independent, I'll post them later. If a theory has to emerge from all this (I don't have it yet), it would be more sinister than ever.

Lord Bolton I: The fate of Domeric

Roose has been married To Bethany Ryswell. It's not well known that Bethany was Roose's second wife. Nothing is known about the first wife. Roose and Bethany had one son, Domeric, who died a few years ago from a sickness at the stomach. Roose says that Domeric had brothers who died in infancy. We don't even know if those brothers were Bethany's children.

Before I am reminded that everybody knows that Ramsay killed Domeric, let's examine the evidence for that. It's implied in ACoK, when Roose reacts to the false report of Ramsay's death:

We know that Roose is a strange fellow, but even the worst persons are spoken of in the best possible terms when they pass away, aren't they? We hear a second hand rumour (no mention of Domeric)

and, in the presence of Roose

Kinslaying is surely worse than murder and rape. The blame is explicit in ADwD. Roose to Ramsay:

Note that Roose does not accuse Ramsay of the murder to his face, although he is not shy of telling Ramsay anything else. When Manderly recites the horrific crimes of Ramsay to Davos, there is no mention of Domeric.

Finally Roose to Theon:

To summarize: everybody is convinced that Ramsay is a monster, but only Roose accuses him of Domeric's murder. Despite Ramsay's viciousness, there is no sign that he has any knowledge of poison or means to get any. One would rather imagine Ramsay murdering someone in a "hunting accident", an unfortunate drowning, a slip from the parapet etc.

Walda hopes to have many sons with Roose. She writes it in ACoK

Here is the simplest plausible story I can imagine:

1) Roose is responsible for the death of Domeric.

2) He realized that his bastard son is a psychopath that can attract the blame for the crime, hence admitted Ramsay at the Dreadfort,

3) He never misses an opportunity to put the blame on Ramsay, and to remind everyone of his bastard's cruelty,

4) Other children of Roose (sons) have died in the past. They were infants, but probably not stillborns, otherwise they wouldn't be mentioned, I think. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) we don't know that story. But here is how Arya reacts to Fat Walda's letter:

From that it's easy to speculate that Roose plans to kill Walda's sons (no mention of daughters above), and still blame Ramsay. All that reminds us of Craster and what we suspect of the sacrifices to the Others. More evidence to follow in the second theory.

If Roose killed all the infants, or sacrificed them to the Others(Craster style), then why was Domeric allowed to live so long? Why bother letting him get so old and stuff, if Roose just planned on killing him. This is one of my issues with this theory, that Roose "did it".

Another problem I have with the theory, I can't imagine Roose going past the Wall, and into the Haunted Forest, every time his wife had a baby, so Roose could give his sons to the Others. Also how would Roose get past the Wall in the first place? By sea? I can't imagine the Lord of the Dreadfort going beyond the Wall, with his baby sons, and none of the Black Brothers ever knowing about it. If the Watch knew about it, I can't imagine them never talking about it.

It makes since for Craster to sacrifice his sons to the Others, that way the Others leave him alone. What would be Roose's motive for sacrificing sons to the Others?

Okay let's take the Others out of the equation, what would be Roose's motive for killing his infant children? I can't think of one, other than just doing it to be a sick bastard. Wouldn't Roose need an heir to? I can't imagine Roose is okay with being the cause for the extinction of House Bolton.

Another thing, if Roose is killing his kids, be it through the Others or not, why not do the same with Ramsey? Why let Ramsey live? He is bastard borne, you would think he would be the first to go.

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^ I don't think the OP is saying that Roose is necessarily sacrificing his children to the Others, only that, if he is killing his children (which I 100% do not buy in the slightest), he could be compared in a way to Craster, and we already have Craster as an example of someone in the story who commits infanticide against his own children.

ETA: Wait, no, that is what he's saying. Oh. :shocked:

Again, I ask, what's the motive here? WHY would Roose be killing his own children? I see a definite motive for Ramsay. Roose, no.

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I don't know about Roose giving his children to the Others - actually, that seems unlikely. But I do like these bits of evidence pointing that Roose, not Ramsay, killed Domeric. And the fact that we have no idea of his first two wifes' fate is suspicious. I will add his other children here for practical purposes, but they could have died from natural causes, not uncommon among children there.

Every lord wants and needs heirs. I agree. But Roose hardly fits the norm. The man is a sociopath, there's no denying that. I think he might be obsessed with certain manners of killing outside battle - not that different from Ramsay's hunts, only more subtle. So, trying to think like him, I'd say he might have killed his children from an urge, but maybe the common thing that made him kill the kids would be that they don't remind him of himself? We don't know how old they were when they died, but probably old enough for him to realize there was little of himself in them. As for Domeric, I think he waited that long to kill him because he did know he needed an heir, at that point he only had Domeric and Ramsay. Maybe he was watching and waiting to see which of them was worthy of his blood? Maybe the fact that Domeric decided to show compassion or whatever and go after the bastard was what turned Roose against him. As for his first wifes, he could have killed them simply for sadism, or after they had given him all the children they were capable of bearing, and were of no use to him anymore. Poor Walda, I doubt she will be luckier...

Of course, everything I wrote is sheer (probably crackpot) speculation, I'm just trying to follow this interesting theory Bran Vras presented us with. ;)

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Roose is strangly ambivilent about the death of his heir Domeric and the deaths of his other true born sons. And he doesn't seem to care if his future sons with Walda die, in fact it seems he would prefer it if they did.

I don't get it. Most men have a strong desire to father as many trueborn children as possible and, naturally, for those children to live long and healthy lives. I thought Roose's attitude was to show what a cold-blooded (to say the least) person he is. Having said that though, I don't see that Roose murdered his children and I certainly don't think he did a Craster. It seems that Roose is a 'whatever will be, will be' type of fellow, and if Ramsey happens to kill all of Roose's trueborn children, well then, meh. I guess it is also survival of the fittest, too, letting nature take it's course. And psychopaths seem to win that race, unfortunately.

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I don't know about Roose giving his children to the Others - actually, that seems unlikely. But I do like these bits of evidence pointing that Roose, not Ramsay, killed Domeric. And the fact that we have no idea of his first two wifes' fate is suspicious. I will add his other children here for practical purposes, but they could have died from natural causes, not uncommon among children there.

It's just the one first wife. Bethany Ryswell. She died of a fever in 298 AL, according to the Wiki.

I don't buy that Roose killed Domeric because he wanted Ramsay to succeed him. For one, Domeric was squiring in the Vale when he sought Ramsay out for a visit, if I remember correctly. So he would have gone from the Vale to where Ramsay was living, which at that time was not the Dreadfort. And he died shortly after (I'm not sure where he died, perhaps on the way back to the Vale or in the Vale). When would Roose have had the opportunity to poison him in that instance?

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I feel that Roose is a "player" (of the Game of Thrones). He is strategic, and so far he has played the game well - after all, he is now Warden of the North. So I think its worth bearing this in mind when considering where he is at.

Lets look at the main points of your post:

* Roose has an aversion to legitimate male heirs - why so? Could it be a simple strategic reason in that it protects him from being played (having sons ransomed/killed/etc). As he states in the quote above "Boy lords are the bane of any house".

* Roose has the perfect patsy in Ramsay - why is this important?

a) Roose can terminate his legitimate heirs now that it he has established amongst most the nobility that Ramsay killed Domeric, and that Ramsay "will kill them all of course" in future.

B) Roose effectively controls Ramsay via his henchman (Roose confirms to Theon in ADWD that they are 'his' men) - so Roose has himself a wonderful weapon at his disposal, one that he can use in much the same way as Tywin Lannister used Gregor Clegane and his men (i.e. as his "shock troops"). Roose can wash his hands of any atrocity and blame Ramsay, and still remain in power.

I think the connection to the Others while certainly possible is probably a stretch at this point, particularly as the episode of Domeric and other male heirs happened well before the Winter.

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* Roose has an aversion to legitimate male heirs - why so? Could it be a simple strategic reason in that it protects him from being played (having sons ransomed/killed/etc). As he states in the quote above "Boy lords are the bane of any house".

He says this, yes, but Domeric was not a young boy when he was killed. He'd served seven total years as a page and a squire and was approaching adulthood if he wasn't considered an adult already.

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It's just the one first wife. Bethany Ryswell. She died of a fever in 298 AL, according to the Wiki.

I don't buy that Roose killed Domeric because he wanted Ramsay to succeed him. For one, Domeric was squiring in the Vale when he sought Ramsay out for a visit, if I remember correctly. So he would have gone from the Vale to where Ramsay was living, which at that time was not the Dreadfort. And he died shortly after (I'm not sure where he died, perhaps on the way back to the Vale or in the Vale). When would Roose have had the opportunity to poison him in that instance?

I thought Domeric died in Bolton lands, midway between Ramsay's house and the Dreadfort? Is it ever stated where Roose was back then?

What I find strange in all this is that, well... poison doesn't sound like Ramsay. He's not subtle. Roose is. Of course, maybe it was a particularly nasty poison that made Domeric suffer horribly for weeks - that sounds a bit more like Ramsay. But there is no evidence he knows of poisons, so... it's complicated.

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I thought Domeric died in Bolton lands, midway between Ramsay's house and the Dreadfort? Is it ever stated where Roose was back then?

What I find strange in all this is that, well... poison doesn't sound like Ramsay. He's not subtle. Roose is. Of course, maybe it was a particularly nasty poison that made Domeric suffer horribly for weeks - that sounds a bit more like Ramsay. But there is no evidence he knows of poisons, so... it's complicated.

That's possible, sure. I don't remember where he was, but I don't think it's a given that Roose would have been in his vicinity to poison him or even have him poisoned. And if Roose was eager to off him and blame Ramsay for it, why try to disuade Domeric from meeting Ramsay?

Ramsay might have been forced to be subtle if he thought that he wouldn't be protected if he killed Domeric in a "public" way. Roose was also resigned to and ready for Ramsay being executed; the Reek-Ramsay switch was, if I remember correctly, done on the fly. It also, oddly enough, points to at least some cunning on Ramsay's part.

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Again, I ask, what's the motive here? WHY would Roose be killing his own children? I see a definite motive for Ramsay. Roose, no.

If Roose did do what the OP thinks, it has to be connected to him leeching himself. A person wouldn't leech themself willingly unless they thought they were tainted. I'm guessing that the taint could be illness, evilness or weakness. Maybe he sees this same taint in his children?

If it's weakness that Roose purges from himself with leeches, perhaps he found Domeric weak because he was a gentle boy that liked to read, if I remember correctly.

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If Roose did do what the OP thinks, it has to be connected to him leeching himself. A person wouldn't leech themself willingly unless they thought they were tainted. I'm guessing that the taint could be illness, evilness or weakness. Maybe he sees this same taint in his children?

So why kill Domeric and the babies but leave the most tainted one of his offspring alive?

If it's weakness that Roose purges from himself with leeches, perhaps he found Domeric weak because he was a gentle boy that liked to read, if I remember correctly.

Domeric liked to read but he was also a talented rider and a successful squire who was expected to do well in tourneys and probably become a knight at some point. He doesn't strike me as being a pushover or weak, not even by Roose's standards.

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Yeah, I mostly agree with Apple Martini's assesment: no motive.

And speaking personally, I wouldn't call Roose a "psychopath" by any means. He's a guy that'll do just about anything to get what he wants, but that's it. If Roose never had to kill anybody to gain the upper-hand, then he wouldn't bother doing so (unlike Ramsay, who very obviously kills people because he gets a fucking kick out of it). Which is not to say that Roose has any aversion to killing/torture, he clearly doesn't, but that also isn't particularly weird for a powerful lord in Westeros. In short, Roose is a pragmatist. He does things for a good reason, and he plays the game of thrones when he thinks he has an advantage. When he thought it was a good idea to ride for the Starks, he rode for them. But he had no problem breaking his oath when it was clear the Lannisters were winning.

As for the whole Craster/Others thing, that just seems totally out of left field to me and really has no evidence to support it. Most people in Westeros barely believe the Others even existed at all, and virtually no one south of the wall thinks they've been around in the last eight-thousand years or whatever it is.

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The Others stuff is looney, so I won't even touch that, but I highly doubt Roose killed Domeric. I really can't think of one convincing motive he'd have to kill his own son and heir, especially considering he had no other sons at the time (or wife for that matter).

And Roose doesn't care about his sons dying because Roose has no emotion, as Lady Dustin pointed out to Theon.

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