New ASOIAF Fan-Fic: Domeric Bolton Lives
The alternate-history forum I've been a member of since high school has spawned another road not taken in the fantasy world of A Song of Ice and Fire. It's called "Domeric Lives: The New Trajectory of House Bolton."
In canon, Domeric Bolton returned from being fostered in the Vale and learned he had an illegitimate half-brother. He had no other siblings--apparently they all died as infants or children--and so he decided he was going to befriend him. Unfortunately said illegitimate half-brother was none other than the infamous Ramsay Bolton (then Snow). Soon after visiting him, Domeric fell ill and died. Roose and others suspect Ramsay poisoned him, but as Roose later tells Theon, "if the kinslayer is accursed, what is a father to do when one son slays another?" Lacking options, Roose made Ramsay his new heir apparent and so Ramsay's career of carnage (beyond whatever bad stuff he might've done as an unstable miller's son in a village somewhere) begins.
This time around, Domeric asks Ramsay a question about how he amuses himself, prompting Ramsay and his henchman Reek to decide on a "hunting accident" later rather than poison now. This eventually teaches them the lesson that you never challenge someone on their strengths--it'd be easy to poison the naive Domeric, but attacking a trained warrior and exemplary rider is not a good idea when you lack military training and all you've got is low cunning and extreme aggression. Reek ends up dead and Ramsay a prisoner in the Dreadfort dungeon, since Domeric has taken his father's teachings about kinslaying to heart.
This is where things get interesting. Roose lets Domeric decide Ramsay's fate, as both a punishment (he'd explicitly forbidden Domeric to seek out Ramsay) and as a lesson in lordship. Domeric won't kill Ramsay himself, nor will he send him to Lord Stark to be executed. Nor does he take the next best option and send him to the Wall, where the Night's Watch might get some use out of him.
Why? Domeric doesn't want to be like his father Roose or their infamous forebears. He has bigger and grander--dare I say it, more "legitimate"--ambitions for House Bolton than being a family of monsters and maniacs. He wants the Boltons to be respected and loved by nobles and commoners alike, not just feared, and thus more politically powerful. As his first step along that path, he decides to tame Ramsay rather than get rid of him.
The first thought that came to mind upon reading about Domeric's ambitions was actually Michael Corleone. For those of you not familiar with the film The Godfather and its sequels, he wanted to legitimize all of his mafia family's operations. I've seen it said online that although people tend to idealize Domeric Bolton due to his playing the harp, his innocent desire for a brother, and the bad end he suffered at the hands of the vile Ramsay, he was still a Bolton. And even if he's not as nasty deep down as the other members of his family, the story makes it clear that in order to win the respect of his father and House Bolton's sworn men, soldiers, etc., he's going to have to be hard-core.
So will Domeric's naivete and good intentions doom him somewhat later than in canon, or do we have an alternate-universe Michael Corleone on our hands? We'll have to see...