Iwan Rheon Recommends Keeping Ramsay Busy


The actor behind Ramsay Bolton discusses his character's ambitions and his stepmother's future safety.

HBO: Do you think Ramsay is where he's always wanted to be-- a legitimate heir, "furthering a dynasty"?

Iwan Rheon: I think he probably feels he deserves it but it's an amazing thing that happened to him. It's similar to Jon Snow's situation, wanting that name for so long, so it's a huge moment to get the respect that his father gives him for capturing Moat Cailin. He knows that raises his status in the world; he's clever enough to realize he'll be Warden of the North when Roose Bolton dies and that's massive. This whole thing has elevated him and he wants his father to trust him and to bring him in because he's got a lot of ideas.

HBO: What is it about Myranda that has kept Ramsay interested in her? Does he like that she's trying hard not to be boring?

Iwan Rheon: I think the fact that's she's game to play his game. She's quite a dark person and he gets plenty of sex. She's treading a very fine line though -- he doesn't care about her, really. I don't think he truly cares about anyone. And I think she knows that as well so it's a very interesting dynamic.

HBO: How much does Ramsay relish parading Reek before Sansa for an apology? 

Iwan Rheon: He is always up for a little performance. It's also a bit of a power thing -- he didn't necessarily want Reek to meet Sansa until he was ready. That they've inadvertently met means that he feels he needs to regain the power. So dinner was a wonderful opportunity to make them both feel terrible. It's just a game to Ramsay. He's got loads of energy and he's a very intelligent person. So he's constantly looking for amusement. He was left at the Dreadfort while his father went off to war and he's not the kind of guy to be left to his own devices because he gets bored. When he gets bored, people get hurt.

HBO: Then Roose puts an end to the fun.

Iwan Rheon: I think that's the interesting thing, the dynamic between the two characters. Ramsay plays it as if he has the highest status in the room. But once his dad walks in, he goes down in the pecking order. All the bravado can be shot down by Roose Bolton. And Ramsay does shut up when he speaks, even though he doesn't really want to.

HBO: What does he feel when his father announces Walda's pregnancy?  

Iwan Rheon: It's a shock more than anything. In the back of his mind, he knew this could happen, but it happened quite fast. Even with his legitimacy, he knows deep down that a newborn son would be a huge threat to him. I wouldn't really count on the chances of that child surviving. Or Walda. Or anyone who's around.

HBO: What was it like to film the dinner sequence – the production seems to a have a lot of fun showing Ramsay tucking into meals.

Iwan Rheon: I think it is more fun when he's stuffing his face. It juxtaposes wonderfully with what he's saying -- he's talking about flaying while he's eating chicken and it doesn't make any difference. I think it's great eating all the time, but as an actor it's not ideal. The audience watches the scene for five minutes, but I'm doing it all day.

HBO: Would you say the the Boltons are the worst people to have dinner with?

Iwan Rheon: They've got to be up there. Roose is probably the most boring man around, he's so serious. And his son is a crazy firecracker. I wouldn't want to go round to dinner with them.

HBO: After dinner, the two have a heart to heart. How does Ramsay feel hearing about his conception?

Iwan Rheon: I think it was roughly what he thought had happened, but I thought it was interesting how his father spelled it out to drive his point home. He does want Ramsay to be his son. You have to understand, Roose needs to manipulate Ramsay a little bit. Whether he does expect he'll get a son and that will be his heir, he still needs to keep Ramsay happy. But I think he means it: Ramsay is his son. He has proved himself to be useful. It is quite a touching moment.


HBO: Who would you want to have a scene with?

Iwan Rheon: As an actor-- pretty much anyone. I think a Jon Snow-Ramsay scene would be interesting because they're polar opposites of the same thing. I don't think Jon Snow would like Ramsay very much, but I think Ramsay would love Jon Snow.

HBO: Which would be your ideal pet: dragon, direwolf or Ser Pounce?

Iwan Rheon: I'd pick a dragon -- I'm Welsh.

HBO: You're invited to a GOT wedding. Do you go?

Iwan Rheon: Ramsay wouldn't be able to keep himself away, but I wouldn't go. I'd be, "I'm so sorry, I'm so busy." Although you'd be guaranteed some entertainment.