“Game of Thrones” fans were introduced to the darker side of the Bolton family tree in Season 3. From Roose Bolton’s betrayal of Robb Stark at the Red Wedding to his bastard son Ramsay Bolton torturing Theon Greyjoy, it didn’t take long to realize that neither are very good men.
But what does Roose think of Ramsay? That’s a dynamic viewers didn’t get to see play out in Season 3. During a conversation with Zap2it, Michael McElhatton says his character Roose Bolton has a soft spot for Ramsay.
“He’s very wary of Ramsay, but he is his son,” McElhatton says. “He does say that he should have thrown him down a well or something, but that the babe had his eyes, so there’s something there; the survival of the species of Bolton. He is his only child. His other child is dead, he suspects Ramsay of killing him, but I think there is something very primal of that even though he’s very, very wary and he’s aware that he is a psychotic.”
The relationship between men and their bastard children has been an interesting one to watch on “Game of Thrones.” Ned raised Jon, but never quite as a full son. Robert Baratheon completely ignored his bastards, like Gendry. Jaime never acted quite like any sort of father figure to Joffrey. By contrast, Roose takes a certain amount of ownership of Ramsay.
“He doesn’t dismiss him totally,” McElhatton says. “He’s very, very wary of him, he knows he’s psychotic, but he is his son. I think that will probably play out as the seasons go on.”
McElhatton admits that he, like Roose, has a bit of a soft spot for Ramsay. Yes, this character is evil, but McElhatton believes he also has some redeeming qualities.
“I think he’s got ambition and he’s got drive, and they’re the things that really are the engine of Roose Bolton,” McElhatton explains of why Roose gives Ramsay the time of day. “He’s a political animal, and it’s just survival of the fittest and moving on. He’s not a lay about. He’s not a guy who runs and hides behind — if he had a mother — her apron strings. He’s out there in the thick of it.”
In fact, McElhatton finds the relationship between Ramsay and Roose to be fascinating.
“The one thing Ramsay craves more than torturing people and maiming them is the love and respect of his dad, and I think that’s played out. I think that’s really interesting,” he says. “Later on, it’s very moving actually. There’s a scene and you go, ‘Oh my god,’ even though it’s totally weird and quite epic. There is something about a child craving and needing the love of a parent, and the parent not giving it to them. It’s a brilliant dynamic.”
“Game of Thrones” Season 4 premieres April 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.