How Game Of Thrones' Iwan Rheon Feels About Playing A Character Like Ramsay Bolton

In a show filled with murderers, characters filled with intense moral ambiguity and some of the meanest people ever to vie for a throne, Game of Thrones’ Ramsay Bolton is the absolute top of the bottom rung of humanity. Usually, when actors tackle these kinds of characters, they say that the people aren’t really villains, because they have reasons for everything they do. Well, such is not the case with Iwan Rheon, who is charged with helping to bring Ramsay to brilliantly brutal life on screen. And, he’s got some pretty clear ideas of his character.

He’s a complete scumbag. But I find that quite fun. He’s a fun character to play. Obviously some scenes are disgusting and I dreaded doing them. But in this kind of environment [on the set] it doesn’t feel like you’re actually doing it, you’re playing it, so it doesn’t ever become too much. What’s difficult is, as an actor, you still need to understand him in order to make it truthful and to empathize with him.

Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon spoke with Entertainment Weekly about some of the things that are in store for Ramsay this season, and, well, Rheon just came right out and said the guy he plays is an uber-dick, didn’t he? Rheon noted that it’s “quite fun” to play someone with no moral compass whatsoever, as usually seems to be the case for many actors, seeing as how they get to rage and rampage all over the place and do things they (I hope) wouldn’t dream of doing in real life. But, I really like the part where Rheon admits that some of the scenes of Ramsay being an evil, rotten, sadistic bastard were hard to film. I can certainly see how filming a lot of the scenes which show how demented the man is would be “disgusting” and something that would bring dread to the actor having to participate in them.

Ramsay Bolton is the bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton, who was legitimized as an heir last season on Game of Thrones. Ramsay is good at killing and good at torturing people, and he does both things with vicious, unpredictable glee. The Bolton tradition is to flay victims alive, so, uh, at least you can say he comes by it honestly.

Possibly, the most brutal of Ramsay’s scenes deal with Theon Greyjoy, a character who was tricked into believing that Ramsay was actually on his side for a while, to gain his trust and them severely torture him later. Ramsay flayed Theon’s finger and later…oh, boy...cuts his genitals off and sends then to Theon’s father, after, of course, temporarily pretending to Theon that he is actually eating his genitals in front of him. Then he beats Theon until he agrees to call himself Reek. Damn, y’all.

So, Game of Thrones has definitely proven that Ramsay is bad to every bone in his body, but, I’ll admit, “complete scumbag” doesn’t feel strong enough for the man. And, in a large way, we have actor Iwan Rheon to thank for that.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.