Game of Thrones: 25 Wild Revelations About Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton's Rivalry

Game of Thrones is a show with many rivalries. Arya against those whose names are on her list, some of who she's already eliminated. Cersei against everyone, since she doesn't like or trust anyone anymore. Daenerys against Cersei, since not only is Cersei on the throne that Daenerys wants, but she's Cersei. She isn't easy to like.  Yet Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton's rivalry is definitely an interesting one. In another, very different world, they might have been friends. That may seem hard to believe yet it's true. The two of them were both raised as illegitimate children, so they must have both felt like outsiders when they were growing up. If Ramsay was a different kind of person, he and Jon would probably get along well.

As it is, though, their rivalry is iconic. Whether it's the fact that they originally had the same last name or that Ramsay and his father were initially loyal to House Stark, Jon and Ramsay's rivalry is very interesting. Their rivalry is initially all on Ramsay's side. He seems to have something against Jon from the beginning. He would often suggest to his father that they eliminate Jon. Yet in the end, Jon is able to defeat Ramsay. With some– ok, a lot of– help from Sansa and the knights of the Vale. More on that later. Jon, though,  only fights Ramsay to regain Winterfell and because Ramsay has threatened Jon himself and his family: Sansa and Rickon. If Ramsay had not provoked an attack, Jon would not have fought him.

Without further ado, let us get into: 25 Wild Revelations About Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton's Rivalry. 

25 Both Of Them Were Raised As Illegitimate Children

Though Ramsay– eventually– has the name Bolton, both he and Jon Snow were raised as illegitimate children. Ramsay's father reluctantly raised him because he knew that Ramsay had to be his son. Ramsay is the result of a union between his father, Roose Bolton, and the wife of a miller that lived nearby. However, this is not a happy story. Roose Bolton got angry at the miller because he got married without permission from him. So he got rid of the miller and assaulted his wife. Soon after, the miller's wife showed up at Roose Bolton's home with a baby: Ramsay. Everyone knows Jon Snow's story, which is a tiny bit happier. Though he was treated badly by his adoptive mother, Catelyn Stark.

24 They Used To Have The Same Last Name

Though they're not brothers or anything, they did have the same last name for a while. Before he was legitimized, Ramsay was known as Ramsay Snow. That's because that is the name illegitimate children in the North of Westeros get. It's where Jon Snow got his last name from, as well. As is mentioned before, in another world they might have been friends. Both of them were raised as illegitimate children, in the Northern part of Westeros, and both must have felt like outsiders growing up. If Ramsay wasn't such a horrible person, he and Jon would probably get along. As it is, though, they must be rivals.

23 Ramsay Was Legitimized By Tommen Baratheon

Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones

Yes, that's right. A royal decree from King Tommen Baratheon, another illegitimate child, is what changed Ramsay's name from Snow to Bolton. Jon had to go through so much more. Though he now knows that he is not the illegitimate child of Ned Stark, he still went through much of his life believing that he was. That must have been hard. Ramsay, on the other hand, got legitimized easily, probably because of how his father helped the Lannisters by betraying the Starks. Though why Roose Bolton would want to acknowledge Ramsay as his son, we don't know. They're one messed up family, that's for sure.

22 Ramsay And His Father Were Initially Loyal To House Stark

Ramsay Bolton and his father, Roose, were initially loyal servants of house Stark. When Theon Greyjoy took over Winterfell, Ramsay's father sent him to retake it for Robb Stark. It's hard to remember this, though, given Ramsay and Jon's rivalry. It's true, though. Ramsay and his father initially supported Robb Stark in the war against the Lannisters. Poor Robb. He was betrayed by those who were supposed to stay loyal to him. Luckily, Jon ends up defeating Ramsay in battle, making him able to take Winterfell. So the Starks are able to get their revenge against Ramsay.

21 ...Until They Betrayed The Starks And Sided With The Lannisters

Ramsay himself wasn't involved in the Red Wedding, but his father Roose Bolton was. Which was a blow to the Starks, being betrayed like that by someone they trusted. So perhaps Jon and Ramsay's rivalry makes sense when put in this context. If Ramsay's anything like his father– and he's even worse– he is not the type of person to be trusted. Jon, on the other hand, is honorable to a fault. He would never betray anyone and would not trust or like those who would. Therefore Ramsay and Jon could never get along. At least not the way things are. Though, as is mentioned before, in another world where Ramsay was a different kind of person, they might have been friends.

20 Ramsay Seemed To Have Something Against Jon From The Beginning

Ramsay and Jon's rivalry starts as a one-sided rivalry on Ramsay's side. He seems to dislike Jon just for existing. Perhaps Ramsay feels that Jon received the love that he was denied as a child. Yet that's not Jon's fault. And Ramsay should know that. Roose Bolton isn't exactly the kind to show love to anyone. Another reason Ramsay might dislike Jon is because of his and his father's general dislike of the Starks. Since Jon has Stark blood, Ramsay and his father do not like him. Though Ramsay takes the rivalry to another level.

19 Ramsay Had Been Wanting To Get Rid Of Jon For A While

Game of Thrones season 4 - Jon Snow

This happened as early as during season four, seasons before their epic battle. Jon, at the time, had other concerns. He was a member of the Night's Watch and preparing to battle the Wildlings. Ramsay, on the other hand, seemed to dislike Jon intensely, suggesting to his father that they eliminate Jon. As he was believed to be the son of Ned Stark, he would be a threat to the Bolton's claims to Winterfell. Even though as a member of the Night's Watch, he could never claim Winterfell himself.

18 Ramsay Has His Father For Advice

As is mentioned before, Roose Bolton isn't exactly an affectionate father. He treats Ramsay pretty badly. Despite this, though, and the fact that Ramsay gets rid of his father, he still listens to his advice when it comes to Jon. Although he regularly tells his father that they should just eliminate Jon, he doesn't really go through with it. He seems unwilling to fight Jon one-on-one, preferring to do so with help from others. It's hard to imagine Ramsay being scared of anyone, but perhaps he is scared of Jon. It's definitely a possibility, and would explain his reluctance to fight Jon himself.

17 Ramsay Sealed His Fate Early On

Game of Thrones - Jon and Sansa Stark unite

Instead of attacking Jon right away, Ramsay waits. He shows uncharacteristic restraint by doing so and it probably leads to his defeat.  By waiting, he gives Jon and Sansa time to think of how to defeat him. And they do. If Ramsay had attacked Jon right away, he might have had a better chance of winning. Luckily for the fans, Ramsay did not figure that out. If he had won the battle, many fans would have been upset. Especially if he eliminated Jon Snow, who is a fan favorite. So it's definitely better that their rivalry ended the way it did.

16 Ramsay Formally Threatens Every Living Stark

Game of Thrones Sansa and Ramsay

Threatening people is what Ramsay does best. Him threatening to harm Sansa is not surprising. Yet it's that, along with his threats against Jon himself and Rickon, that changes this relationship from something one-sided to the rivalry that it becomes. Jon cannot allow Ramsay to threaten his family without responding. No. Jon has to take action. Threats to himself, Jon could probably take. But threats to his family are another story. Ramsay made a big mistake by threatening Jon's family, ensuring that Jon would finally play a part in their rivalry.

15 Ramsay Threatens To Destroy All Of The Wildlings

Again, Ramsay is making a mistake. Threatening Jon's friends and allies is definitely not going to result in anything good for Ramsay. If Ramsay had simply hid his dislike of Jon and written a letter without threats, things might have worked out fine. Then again, that wouldn't be like Ramsay. He loves to threaten people and if he can he carries out his threats. Luckily, Jon defeats Ramsay in battle so he cannot carry out any of his threats that he makes in his letter.

14 Jon And Sansa Unite The North Against Ramsay


This is the beginning of the end for Ramsay Bolton. Since Jon is believed to be the son of Ned Stark, a legitimate Warden of the North, Sansa and Jon are able to contest Ramsay's claim to Winterfell. They seek to restore House Stark's control over the North, and fortunately they are successful. Ramsay and his father were only holding Winterfell and the North through fear. Neither of them really inspires loyalty the way the Starks do. Though it was somewhat difficult for Jon and Sansa to get the Northern houses on their side, in the end they were successful.

13 Ramsay Agrees To Talk Before The Battle

Ramsay Bolton Game of Thrones

This is surprising. Ramsay does not seem like the type to offer any mercy. When asked to choose between the violent option and the peaceful one, Ramsay would always choose the violent option. So perhaps he is scared of Jon. Or at least he respects Jon in an odd way. It's hard to imagine Ramsay respecting anyone, though. Yet he must have some kind of respect for Jon because he sent him a letter and then talked to him before the battle. He could have let his army just destroy Jon's but he didn't. And that means something.

12 Ramsay Offers To Pardon Jon If He Bends The Knee

Now this sounds more like Ramsay. It's vaguely threatening and involves him getting everything he wants. Of course, Jon does not agree with his demands. And it's good that he doesn't. Ramsay treated Sansa horribly and Jon would not want that for a member of his family. Jon also wouldn't want to submit to Ramsay's authority. Especially since Ramsay is not the type of person to be trusted. Jon would always have to worry about Ramsay going back on his word. Between that and Sansa, Jon is better off fighting Ramsay, despite the risks.

11 Jon Offers To Fight Ramsay One On One

Kit Harington As Jon Snow In Game Of Thrones

Ramsay, of course, declines to fight Jon. Yet again Ramsay seems to be afraid of Jon. He seems reluctant to fight him anyway, preferring to have help from his impressive army.  This makes sense given Ramsay's personality. He can talk a lot and make threats, even carry out threats. But if someone can actually match him in battle skills, he won't fight them. Ramsay even admits that Jon might beat him one on one, but his army will easily defeat Jon's army. That's a typical bully type of personality: not being willing to fight people who are as strong or stronger than you.

10 The Bolton Forces Are Only Willing To Do The Bare Minimum For Ramsay

Game of Thrones season 6 Battle of the Bastards - Ramsay Bolton

This angers Ramsay. Of course, like any bully, he doesn't like to be reminded of his weaknesses. He doesn't want to be called out on his refusal to truly face any problems. He wants to keep thinking that he is the strongest and the best out of anyone. After Jon says this, Ramsay responds in a typical bully way by making more threats. More on that later. Jon, though, does not need to make threats. Unlike Ramsay, Jon is willing to truly face his problems.

9 Ramsay Underestimates His Opponents

Art Parkinson as Rickon in Game of Thrones

This is yet another mistake of Ramsay's. Threatening Jon and Sansa's family is not the way to go. And is not going to make them likely to surrender. In fact, after he proves that he does indeed have Rickon, Sansa says that he is going to be destroyed the following day. If anything, knowing that Ramsay has Rickon makes Jon and Sansa more determined to fight him. Sansa is especially angry and that is bound to upset Jon. He does not want anyone to upset his family. So not only is Jon determined to protect Rickon, he is determined to save Sansa from being upset after Ramsay's threat.

8 Ramsay Is Overconfident In A Way Jon Isn't

This time, Ramsay mentions that his hounds haven't been fed in seven days. Another mistake on Ramsay's part, since after the battle Ramsay himself is fed to the hounds. Ramsay was definitely overconfident. And it cost him everything. If he had been more realistic and understood that he could lose the battle, he probably would have won it. Yet he was unable to do so. Jon, on the other hand, knew that he could lose. Yet he fought hard to win and in the end was successful.

7 He Turns Rickon's Life Into A Game

Rickon Stark Game of Thrones

Poor Rickon. Being used as Ramsay's pawn must be difficult. Especially when you've lost so much already, like Rickon has. Hopefully he knew some calm before being captured by Ramsay. The poor kid has gone through enough in his short life. He deserved to have some peace before being used as a pawn in a battle between his adoptive brother, Jon Snow, and Ramsay Bolton. This scene shows how cruel Ramsay can be. He tells Rickon that it's all a game, which is most likely how Ramsay himself sees it. It's not a game for Jon or Rickon, though.

6 Ramsay Tortures Jon's Family

This is probably one of the most tension-filled moments of the battle, and of Game of Thrones itself. Will Jon save Rickon? Or will Ramsay make good on his threat and get rid of Rickon? More on that later. Fans were definitely on the edge of their seats, though, watching this scene. It seemed like Rickon would be able to escape Ramsay's clutches until the very last second. This again shows Ramsay's cruelty. He gives Rickon– and Jon– hope, only to snatch it away. We can't say Ramsay will be missed by many fans. This tracks with the way he treats Sansa in season 5, using every opportunity to hurt and abuse the Starks.

5 Jon Is Too Late To Save Rickon From Ramsay

So, yes, Ramsay made good on his threat to eliminate Rickon. Poor Rickon. Poor Jon. He was so close to saving his adoptive brother but not close enough. Again, this shows how cruel Ramsay really is. He gives them hope only to snatch it away at the last second. That's not all, though. Rickon wasn't even involved in this rivalry. At least, he shouldn't have been. If it wasn't for Ramsay's love of torturous games, he probably wouldn't have been involved at all. Maybe he would have even survived.

4 Jon Is Left Defenseless Against Ramsay's Forces

This is another scene full of tension. It certainly looks bad for Jon. Ramsay has manipulated Jon and Jon is now right where Ramsay wants him. At this point, it seems that Ramsay is winning the battle. And perhaps he would have if it wasn't for the Stark forces and the Knights of the Vale. More on that later. The scene, from an entertainment perspective, is an impressive one. Just look at it. Isn't it beautiful? Though we have to say that we're glad Jon wasn't trampled by horses. That would have been a sad way to see him go.

3 The Stark Forces Are Loyal Enough To Save Jon

Just in time, Jon is saved! All the fans hoped he would be but didn't know for sure. After all, anything can happen in the world of Game of Thrones. The show regularly gets rid of characters, even those who are fan favorites. And Jon definitely fits that description. Still, Jon was lucky enough to survive this battle anyway. Who knows what will happen in the battles to come? Jon could be eliminated by Cersei's royal army, or one of his army, or he could survive the whole show.

2 Littlefinger And Sansa End Their Rivalry

Sansa– and Petyr Baelish we guess– to the rescue! Though Jon and Ramsay's rivalry is much talked about, including in this article, Jon would have lost the battle if it wasn't for Sansa and the Knights of the Vale. Jon and Ramsay's rivalry would have turned out much worse for Jon, and for Sansa as well, without Sansa's quick thinking. If she hadn't asked for help from House Arryn, Jon would have been doomed. Though it is important to give Sansa credit, it is also important to give Jon credit as well. After all, he did fight the battle against Ramsay and end up defeating him.

1 Ramsay And Jon End Up Fighting One On One

Game of Thrones Battle of the Bastards Wildlings

Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, known as Wun Wun, is the giant that helps Jon finally get to Ramsay so they can fight one on one. Though unfortunately, Wun Wun is severely injured and finally is eliminated by Ramsay. Wun Wun's sacrifice, though, is not in vain. Jon is able to fight Ramsay and ends up defeating him. He almost eliminates him but decides instead to leave that to Sansa, knowing that she wants revenge on Ramsay as much as he does. Ramsay is then locked up. After the battle is all over, Sansa feeds Ramsay to his own hounds, who hadn't eaten in seven days.

Do you know any other revelations about Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton's rivalry in Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments!

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