“I’ve got a couple of references that I used for him”: Game of Thrones Actor Would’ve Made Heath Ledger Proud With His Scary Acting That Was Inspired by The Dark Knight

Iwan Rheon’s Ramsay Bolton turned out to be an amalgamation of three notorious onscreen characters.

heath ledger in the dark knight, game of thrones


  • Iwan Rheon disclosed his strong inspiration behind portraying the menacing psychopath Ramsay Bolton, in Game of Thrones.
  • The actor claimed deriving his initial inspiration from Heath Ledger’s Joker and later getting influenced by two other muses.
  • During his discussion about Ramsay Bolton, Rheon opened up about his character’s driving forces and complications.
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Ramsay Bolton, the psychopathic ‘Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North’ has been deeply despised by audiences since his first appearance on Game of Thrones. Well, the actor behind the role, Iwan Rheon, certainly deserves all the credit for evoking the strongest feeling of hatred in viewers’ hearts for his character.

Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones

Crowned as one of the most hated men on TV, for wreaking havoc in the North since sacking Winterfell, Iwan Rheon apparently had a strong inspiration behind his character. According to NDTV, the actor revealed being influenced by an unlikely source for his sadistic character. It’s apparently Heath Ledger’s iconic Joker, who stands behind Ramsay Bolton.

Iwan Rheon Modeled Ramsay Bolton on Heath Ledger’s Joker

Portraying the role of the menacing psychopath Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones, who not only seized Winterfell but also abused Sansa Stark, and terrorized its people, Iwan Rheon got crowned as one of the ‘Most Hated Man on TV’. But apart from sheer dedication and immense grip over stagecraft, it also requires some level of inspiration to portray such a psychopathic role.


According to a statement acquired by NDTV, Iwan Rheon thus explained how his sadistic wrongdoer was essentially modeled on Heath Ledger’s infamously unhinged Joker. Claiming to have initially based his Game of Thrones character on The Dark Knight villain, Rheon noted that he further birthed him as an amalgamation of Joker, Liam Gallagher, and Dennis the Menace.

The Joker intimidates a crowd in The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight

I’ve got a couple of references that I used for him. It was somewhere in between the Joker from The Dark Knight and Dennis the Menace, with a bit of Liam Gallagher in there too.

While the unpredictability and maniacal nature of Heath Ledger’s Joker helped Iwan Rheon to set the foundation for Ramsay Bolton, the actor weighed in on the derived sense of chaos and complexity that made Ramsay a compelling and terrifying villain. In an interview with The Independent, Rheon further admitted following Dennis the Menace’s “childlike glee in doing all these horrible things”, and picking up on Liam Gallagher’s “attitude and walk”.

Iwan Rheon Discussed the Driving Force of Ramsay Bolton

After citing his three muses for the short-lived Warden of the North, Iwan Rheon proceeded to identify his Game of Thrones character as a sociopath who lacks empathy and is only capable of gruesomeness. Therefore, speaking with NDTV on the matter of his onscreen character, Rheon also discussed the driving forces of Ramsay Bolton.


He does have motivations in life, like all the other characters do in their striving for power. But he is a sociopath, without a doubt. You know, there’s his lack of empathy towards other people and his love of hurting other things is frightening.”

Disclosing how Ramsay Bolton functioned through the storyline and what caused his sadistic behavior, Iwan Rheon later addressed the dispensable nature of his character. Claiming that the fear of being left out was always haunting Ramsay, the actor implied that while emitting this evil energy, his psychopathic character was actually dealing with a lot of darkness, from within.

Iwan Rheon as psychopathic Lord of the North in Game of Thrones
Iwan Rheon as psychopathic Lord of the North in Game of Thrones

He’s never had any security in his life. He feels dispensable, so he is constantly having to prove that he’s useful.

In the end, no matter how difficult his life might have been, rarely anyone feels sympathetic towards the sadist Lord of Winterfell. All thanks to Iwan Rheon for successfully managing to stir up hatred through his performance.

Game of Thrones is available on Max.


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1737

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1700 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.