Why Ramsay Bolton is more important than you realize

The smoke's still settling and the blood's still drying from the amazing sixth season of Game of Thrones, but let's pause to remember one of its most important characters, Ramsay Bolton. As much as we despised the murderous ruler of Winterfell, there's a lot more to him than you realize. A lot of fans complained that he's a "one-dimensional" character, only remembering him for the atrocities he committed. When you look at his circumstances, backstory, and military prowess, you'll understand the role he played was much more than just the arbitrary guy to hate. Not that we're defending the actions of a butchering torturer, but we've got to give credit where it's due. This maniacal Warden of the North left his mark in the Westerosi history books, so let's break down why Ramsay Bolton is so important to Game of Thrones.

He was born into nothing...

Ramsay Snow's backstory is almost as horrifying as he is. Many years ago, Dreadfort Lord Roose Bolton hanged a miller for getting married without his permission. In turn, he raped the miller's widow under the tree where her husband was still hanging. This was how the maniacal Ramsay was conceived, and he had pretty much no emotional response after hearing this revelation from his father.

Since Ramsay was conceived out of wedlock, he is Roose Bolton's bastard. In Westeros, inherited lands and riches only get passed down to legitimate children made from marriage, and bastards usually inherit nothing from their fathers. When Roose Bolton married Walda Frey and had a son with her, that child basically superseded Ramsay's claim to the Bolton estate, regardless of all the battles he'd won for his father. Despite Ramsay's surname being officially changed to Bolton at his father's request, Roose's newborn son jumped ahead of Ramsay because he was born from a marriage between two noble houses. As we've seen with Jon Snow, bastards are associated with negative social stigmas, so it's safe to deduce that he was treated just as poorly growing up, if not worse.

Yet he became Warden of the North

Yes, Ramsay killed his father, stepmother, and newborn half-brother to secure his position, but otherwise he would've gotten nothing. Ramsay's lineage was legitimized by his father, yet his new/trueborn brother would've had a proper claim to Roose's inheritance. Killing Roose, Walda, and Domeric ensured Ramsay got everything he wanted—the North, and command of the region's military. It's pretty impressive that someone born into nothing can ultimately have full command of the northern half of a country. Jon Snow was able to do it through selflessness, sacrifice, and hard-earned victories—but we've got to give some props to the evil bastard who did it first.

An extreme version of Littlefinger

Does being born with nothing to your name but using evil ways to ascend the social ladder sound familiar? It should, because Ramsay Bolton has a lot more in common with Petyr Baelish than you think—and it's not just kissing a repulsed Sansa Stark. Ramsay went from being a lowly bastard who'd inherit nothing from his father to murdering/scheming his way into becoming the Warden of the North. Likewise, Baelish was born as a mere servant to House Tully, and now is Lord Protector of the Vale. Had Sansa loved him back, he could've married her, likely becoming Warden of the North himself after using the Vale's knights to clear Bolton's forces out of Winterfell.

Littlefinger is a stark contrast to Ramsay's butchering ways to power. Baelish uses coercion, scheming, money, and spies as he silently plots his way to more power from behind the scenes. Don't forget: Petyr convinced Lysa Arryn to poison her husband, the former Hand of the King Jon Arryn; he betrayed Ned Stark; he killed Lysa Arryn after marrying her; he influenced Robin Arryn into doing his bidding; and he helped Olenna Tyrell poison King Joffrey, knowing Sansa would be the lead culprit alongside Tyrion Lannister. Speaking of Tyrion, it seems like everyone forgot Littlefinger tried to frame our favorite imp as the person who orchestrated the assassination attempt on Bran Stark at the beginning of the series. Joffrey, Cersei, and Ramsay may have been Game of Thrones' most evil villains, but Littlefinger is just as bad, and he's hiding in plain sight.

He almost makes you miss this guy

King Joffrey Baratheon died long after we first met Ramsay Snow, but the series felt like we traded one big bad for another. Ramsay and Joffrey's conceptions make us cringe, and they both ended up being evil monsters. Both of them loved seeing others in pain, but at least Joffrey wasn't flaying people alive or chopping off genitals and mailing them to people. Yes, Joffrey did plenty of horrible things, especially to Ned, Ros, and Sansa, but he was no Ramsay. We'd rather be Joffrey's wine-quaffing fool than step foot anywhere near the Bolton torture chambers.

Sansa might be pregnant

It's rather hard to tell how much time Sansa spent married to Ramsay, but there's certainly a chance she's pregnant after being raped on a nightly basis. Sansa had all kinds of bad luck over the years, but this might be the worst, if it turns out to be true. Ramsay was conceived from rape, and so could his son. We can all thank Littlefinger for setting up this relationship, and we all know he was well aware of Ramsay's sadistic nature. Sansa certainly won't forget his final words to her: "Our time together is about to come to an end. That's all right. You can't kill me, I'm part of you now." Now that we've gotten that horrible thought out of the way, it's time to go rewatch the scene of Jon bashing Ramsay's face in.