Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones’ most recent episode.
Things are not looking good for the Bolton boys. Now that their most prized prisoners have escaped Winterfell, they have to figure out another way to hold the North. “Losing Sansa is massive,” said actor Michael McElhatton, who plays Roose Bolton on Game of Thrones. “The fight is not over. I think the Boltons are aware that they can’t rest on their laurels, and they’ll always be looking over their shoulders.”
Once word gets out to any Stark or Greyjoy loyalists about the damage done to both Sansa and Theon, it’ll be that much harder to secure allies, which is why Roose reprimands Ramsay about his rape-and-torture methods: “You played your games with [Sansa], you played your games with the heir to the Iron Islands, and now they’re both gone.”
“I think there is going to be retribution for the crimes of the past,” McElhatton teased. “We’ve done some of the most awful things to the most loved characters, including Robb as well as Sansa. We killed and raped them! Nothing happens without some kind of consequence, so there will be debts to be paid in season six.”
Without saying whom, McElhatton noted that some people will “come back” from previous seasons. As much as we might wish that to be a Lady Stoneheart reference (in the books, she’s the reincarnated body of Catelyn Stark), he’s most likely referencing folks from House Frey, Roose’s partners in the Red Wedding, who continue to hold the groom, Edmure Tully, prisoner. But if the Boltons are shopping for allies, they’ll need some Northern lords in the mix — perhaps a few who don’t mind not having a Stark in Winterfell.
“It’s interesting to see how the Boltons proceed politically to get the best out of the Northern houses,” said actor Iwan Rheon, who plays Ramsay. “They need certain ones, but they don’t need them all. They just need more to be with them than against them, which would tip the balance of power. So there’s a certain level of diplomacy yet to be done.”
Diplomacy, however, isn’t Ramsay’s strong suit. “He still believes force is stronger,” Rheon said. “Roose has a great political mind, whereas Ramsay’s a lot more instinctive — just do it, and think about it later.” He’ll need to learn how to play the long game, Rheon notes. Being a “natural actor” who can appear at first to be a nice guy won’t be enough. “Ramsay duped Littlefinger, and, at the very beginning, he duped Theon Greyjoy,” but he was only doing it for a laugh,” he says. “It’s so wrong!”
In the meantime, pregnant Walda Frey — Roose’s wife — should stay far away from Ramsay. Roose’s needling about potentially making his unborn son his heir ahead of his legitimized bastard only endangers her well-being, McElhatton and Rheon agree.
“I wouldn’t let him around any pregnant women,” McElhatton said.
Should the Boltons manage to gain allies and hold their position, the worst possible people would be in charge of the North just as Westeros is about to face its biggest threat: the White Walkers. “We’re easier to hate than the White Walkers,” Rheon laughs. “We’re human.”