Roose Bolton is the Lord of the Dreadfort and the head of House Bolton. He declared for Robb Stark in the War of the Five Kings, but ultimately betrayed Robb and murdered him during the massacre at Edmure Tully's wedding at The Twins. Roose was then appointed Warden of the North as a reward.
Roose Bolton is the head of House Bolton, a vassal family to House Stark of Winterfell. He is the Lord of the Dreadfort. Roose takes pride in his house sigil; the flayed man. Although torture is outlawed in the North, his family is famous for flaying the skin from their enemies as a means of torture and execution. Roose fought for Lord Eddard Stark in the civil war known as Robert's Rebellion and proved his worth as a soldier in the Battle of the Trident.
Roose Bolton had a trueborn son, Domeric, who perished, forcing Roose to rely on his bastard son, Ramsay Snow.
House Bolton banners are present among Robb Stark's forces as they assemble at Winterfell and march south to fight House Lannister following the imprisonment and execution of Lord Eddard Stark. Robb is proclaimed King in the North by his bannermen following the death of Eddard, although Roose is not seen.
Roose fights for King Robb Stark in his decisive victory at the Battle of Oxcross. The following morning Roose reports that they killed five Lannister men for every casualty they suffered. He expresses concern over the volume of prisoners they have taken, saying that they are struggling to feed their own men. Robb insists that the prisoners be treated well and rejects Roose’s suggestion that they torture the officers, reminding him that the Boltons' traditional practice of flaying their enemies is outlawed in the North. Roose warns Robb that the high road is pretty but difficult. Robb counters that he is treating his prisoners as he hopes the Lannisters will treat his sisters.
They come across a nurse, Talisa Maegyr, and a silent sister treating a wounded Lannister soldier. The healer is preparing to amputate his leg to prevent a wound infection spreading. The soldier is begging her not to proceed but she insists on the necessity of amputation. Roose criticizes her spending time on the Lannister soldiers and she retorts that the Northmen are not her men. Robb helps to restrain the wounded man as she saws off his lower leg.
He later brings Robb and Catelyn Stark news of Winterfell's fall at the hands of the turncloak Theon Greyjoy. He reports that there is no news of Robb's brothers, but that Ser Rodrik Cassel has been killed. An enraged Robb declares that he must return north to retake his castle and save his brothers, but Roose counters that they have the Lannisters on the retreat, and must continue their offensive. He tells the King that he can have his bastard son, Ramsay Snow, muster several hundred men to retake Winterfell. Robb relents, but orders that the safety of his brothers is paramount. Robb insists that Theon must be brought to him alive so he can inquire as to why he betrayed the North - and so that Robb can execute him personally.
After the Battle of the Yellow Fork Robb's bannermen gather to hear Queen Regent Cersei Lannister's rejection of their peace terms. They complain that the prison cells are overflowing. Robb leaves the camp with a small force to negotiate the surrender of the Crag. Catelyn releases Jaime Lannister, enraging Robb and his bannermen and resulting in her being placed under guard. Roose meets with Robb to discuss the situation of Winterfell. Robb details a plan to offer mercy to Theon's men so that they will abandon him allowing them to retake the castle with minimal bloodshed. Roose is confident that it will work. Their discussion is interrupted by Talisa and Roose leaves them alone.
Roose, along with the rest of the Northern host, arrives at Harrenhal, finding the ruined castle abandoned and the captives slain, save for a man in maester robes named Qyburn. While Robb and Talisa attend to the man's injuries, Roose discusses Jaime Lannister's escape with Rickard Karstark, and assures him that the dead will be avenged in time.
Messenger-ravens come to Harrenhal bearing news of Hoster Tully's death, and of Winterfell's destruction. Roose delivers the messages to Robb, who charges Bolton with holding Harrenhal with a portion of the Northern army, while he and the bulk of his forces ride for Riverrun.
Roose's minion, Locke, successfully recaptures Jaime Lannister, and delivers him to his Lord at Harrenhal. Roose is visibly angered at Jaime's mutilated state.
Roose negotiates with Jaime and Brienne over dinner. Bolton weighs up his options; bluntly informing his captives that the safest course of action would simply be to murder both of them, and discreetly dispose of their bodies. Although Jaime attempts to sway Roose by reminding him of the consequences of crossing his father, Roose is unperturbed at the prospect of having Lord Tywin as an enemy, as the war is keeping him fully occupied. Ultimately Roose relents, agreeing to release Jaime, and return him safely to King's Landing on the condition that he inform his father that Bolton had no part in the loss of Jaime's hand. He also retains Brienne as a hostage, stating his intention to charge her with treason.
Before Jaime departs for King's Landing, Roose asks Jaime to give his regards to Jaime's father Tywin. Jaime then asks Roose to tell Robb Stark that the Lannisters send their regards.
Afterwards, Roose arrives at The Twins to attend the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. However, he has been secretly plotting with House Frey to ultimately bring about the downfall of the Starks. During the wedding, Roose stays seated beside Lady Catelyn, and just prior to the massacre he directs her gaze to his arm, coaxing her to pull back his sleeve to reveal chain mail underneath. Upon her discovery, he flashes her a sinister grin, revealing that the Starks have been betrayed, causing her to strike him and yell at Robb to run. The Freys turn on the Starks, Bolton moves away from the massacre only to later approach Robb and whisper in his ear "the Lannisters send their regards", as he stabs him in the heart.
After killing Robb, Roose climbs to the top of The Twins and watches the massacre of the Stark forces. The next day, he and Walder Frey gloat over the deaths of the Starks and the capture of Edmure Tully, though Roose is wary about the escape of Brynden Tully. Walder comments that it must have been difficult following Robb Stark, and Roose notes that Robb never once listened to his advice. Walder jokingly raises a toast to the Young Wolf, and Roose says that he will now be forever young. Roose then explains to Walder what really happened at the Sack of Winterfell: it was actually Roose's bastard son Ramsay Snow, leading a force of Bolton soldiers, who burned Winterfell to the ground. Roose falsely reported to Robb that Theon and the ironborn were responsible to deflect suspicion from the Boltons - while Ramsay captured Theon and has been sadistically torturing him in the Dreadfort's dungeon. Roose decided to betray Robb long ago, after the Lannisters won the Battle of the Blackwater, and was simply feigning loyalty this entire time, even as he was plotting the Starks' destruction.
Roose is forced to smuggle himself back into his own lands, due to the ironborn holding Moat Cailin. Arriving at the Dreadfort with his new bride, Roose introduces Lady Walda to his bastard son, Ramsay, before demanding to see the Bolton's prized hostage. He is angry with Ramsay for sending terms to Balon Greyjoy behind his back and for mutilating Theon, as it gives them less leverage over the Greyjoys. He notes that Tywin Lannister might have named him Warden of the North, but he has given him no assistance towards controlling it; the Northerners are still furious over the Boltons' betrayal at the Red Wedding. Bolton is shocked and worried to learn that Theon never actually killed Bran and Rickon Stark, which means that if the Northerners discover they are alive they will rally behind them, not the Boltons. He and Ramsay muse that Jon Snow, who is half-Stark, may be sheltering them. Roose orders Locke to hunt down the remaining Starks and kill them before the Northerners discover that they're alive. He then instructs Ramsay to head south with Theon and reclaim Moat Cailin which will allow their army to return north and help them conquer their lands.
Later, Roose and his army meet Ramsay near Moat Cailin where Ramsay presents him with the fortress's flag. Roose instructs Ramsay to walk with him, and they climb a hill. He asks if there has been any word from Locke, and Ramsay answers that there has been nothing. Roose dismisses this as unimportant, speculating that the Stark children are most likely dead. At the top of the hill, Roose points out that the north is larger than all of the other kingdoms combined, and that, thanks to Ramsay's actions, he now has control of it. He then hands Ramsay a document, legitimizing him as Ramsay Bolton. After Ramsay swears to honor him and uphold his traditions, Roose leads his forces towards Winterfell, presumably moving his base of operations to the ruined fortress.
Roose Bolton's hold on the North is opposed by the remaining Northern lords, most of whom lost sons and men at the Red Wedding. While scolding Ramsay for needlessly flaying a Northern lord, along with his wife and brother, alive for refusing to pay their taxes, Roose claims that they do not have enough men to rule the North should the Stark bannermen rise against them, reminding Ramsay that the pact they made was with Tywin Lannister, who is now dead, meaning that the Lannisters will likely no longer support them. He tells Ramsay that the best way to strengthen their hold is not by flaying people and subsequently enraging their loved ones, but by marrying into good families. He has arranged with Petyr Baelish to have Ramsay marry Sansa Stark.
When Baelish and Sansa arrive, Roose greets Sansa with courtesy and she reciprocates, despite knowing he personally killed her brother. Later, while speaking with Baelish, Roose expresses his doubt as to whose side Baelish is truly on and is visibly concerned with reprisals from Cersei should she find out Sansa is marrying Ramsay, though Baelish assures Roose that the Lannisters have lost a great deal of power in the wake of Tywin's death. Roose reveals that he has read a letter sent for Baelish from Cersei before handing it to him, and demands to read Baelish's reply to Cersei before it is sent off.
While having dinner with Sansa and his family, Roose grows increasingly annoyed with Ramsay when he begins to torture Sansa emotionally by having Reek apologize to her for allegedly murdering Bran and Rickon, and suggesting that Reek give Sansa away at their wedding. Roose turns the tables on Ramsay by revealing that he and Walda are expecting a son.
Ramsay later confronts Roose about this, and Roose counters that Ramsay disgraced himself at dinner. He then regales Ramsay with the tale of how he met his mother, a miller's wife who got married without paying Roose homage. Roose had the miller hanged and raped his wife beneath his swaying corpse, even thought she fought him the whole time. Roose was later visited by this woman carrying Ramsay and claiming he was his son. Roose reveals to Ramsay that he very nearly killed both him and his mother, but stayed himself when he realized by looking into Ramsay's eyes that he was his son after all. Ramsay is visibly stunned after hearing all of this from his father. Roose then changes the subject to Stannis Baratheon, who is garrisoned at Castle Black but will surely make another attempt for the Iron Throne, for which he will need to take the North from the Boltons. Roose reminds Ramsay that the North is theirs, and they vow to counter the coming attack on Winterfell.
A few nights later, Roose officiates Sansa and Ramsay's wedding ceremony in the godswood.
As Stannis's army approaches Winterfell, Roose discusses how to retaliate with his council. Roose advocates remaining inside the castle to wait out Stannis's siege, since Stannis's army will break before they run out of supplies. Ramsay, however, suggests that his father meet Stannis in open battle to show him how he will deal with Southern invaders. He asks Roose for "twenty good men" as part of a sabotage mission, one that destroys Stannis's supplies, breaks the morale of his army, and causes his sellswords to desert.
Although Stannis is easily defeated by the Bolton army in the ensuing battle when he reaches Winterfell, it turns out to be a pyrrhic victory for them as Sansa escapes from Winterfell with Theon, stripping Roose of his easily most powerful political asset.
Though Roose congratulates Ramsay for his victory over Stannis Baratheon, he reminds him that they have effectively betrayed the Lannisters by marrying Ramsay to Sansa Stark, who Ramsay allowed to escape. Roose reminds Ramsay that they cannot defend themselves without support from the other Northern houses, who will only do so if they have Sansa, whom Ramsay drove away with his abuse. Ramsay insists that he has men searching for Sansa and Theon, while Roose reminds him that without Sansa, he cannot produce an heir to the North, and subtly warns him that if it comes to be, he will disinherit him in favor of his unborn son with Walda.
Lord Harald Karstark informs the Boltons that the hunting party Ramsay sent to find Sansa and Theon has been massacred. Roose chastises Ramsay for his recklessness and is obviously disgusted at Ramsay's suggestion that they attack Castle Black and kill Jon Snow, who may be sheltering them, since the murder of Ned Stark's final (and bastard) son in the Night's Watch will serve as the final straw for the other Houses who despise them for betraying the Starks. Maester Wolkan arrives to announce that Walda has given birth to a boy, unsettling Ramsay. Though Roose promises Ramsay that no matter what, he will always be his firstborn, Ramsay sees through his lies, and he is stabbed in the chest by his own son, ironically in the same manner in which he killed Robb Stark. Ramsay then orders Wolkan to announce that Roose was poisoned by their enemies.Afterwards, he proceeds to have Lady Walda and her newborn son mauled to death by his hounds.
Following the death of Roose and his son, Ramsay becomes the new Lord of Winterfell, Lord of the Dreadfort, and Lord Paramount and Warden of The North.
Lord of the Dreadfort and head of House Bolton, Roose took pride in his family name and ruthlessly sought its advancement. A proven soldier who fought at the Battle of the Trident, Bolton joined arms with Robb Stark only to betray him at the Red Wedding to gain favor with Tywin Lannister. He broke that alliance when, with Littlefinger, he arranged for his now-legitimate son Ramsay to marry Sansa Stark to solidify his position as Warden of the North. After his new wife Walda gave birth to a trueborn son, Roose and his young family were murdered by Ramsay.
Roose Bolton is cautious, intelligent, ruthless, and easily capable of unspeakable cruelty. He has a visible lack of primary emotions, never publicly expressing anger, happiness, or sadness. He is very politically astute, and during his service to Robb Stark he frequently offered advice that was the most pragmatic, albeit the most ruthless (such as recommending that they put prisoners to the sword because they were having difficulty feeding them all).
When he realized that Robb Stark had no chance of winning the war, he sought an alliance with House Frey and House Lannister. Roose's cold realism clashed with Robb's idealism which he had inherited from his father Ned Stark. When all seemed lost, he did not attempt to fight for a losing cause and instead decided to safeguard his family's future by cynically turning on his liege lord.
Roose is a cunning strategist, both on and off the battlefield. Roose's betrayal was sudden and unexpected, and it resulted in the utter decimation of the rebellious Northern lords and their armies while his own forces remained basically intact. This would allow House Bolton to overpower the now defenseless home territories of these other Houses in the North, ensuring Bolton rule. Bolton's calculating nature was also apparent when he chose a new bride to cement his new alliance with House Frey: because Lord Walder promised him the girl's weight in silver as a dowry, he simply married the heaviest of Walder's female descendants, called Fat Walda.
Roose does value the legacy of House Bolton as something bigger than himself, unlike how Robb Stark jeopardized House Stark's future by marrying a girl on a whim of love and disregarding a vital political marriage.
Unlike Robb Stark, he believed that he wasn't a lord to indulge his own petty whims and that strengthening his House was his first priority: in that context, he married Walda Frey when her grandfather offered to give him his new bride's weight as a dowry, making him very rich and guaranteeing his alliance with House Frey. As a result, Roose is somewhat critical of his bastard son Ramsay's more wild or shocking actions, because as Roose's only heir, Ramsay represents the future of House Bolton.