What is it About the Name Ramsey?

There are certain names in pop culture that conjure images of multiple characters and celebrities. “Ramsey” is one of those names.

Depending on your personal interests, you will likely think of either the financial guru, Dave Ramsey; the popular chef and television host, Gordon Ramsay; or the well-crafted television antagonist, Ramsay Bolton. Incredibly different people, but each well-known and larger-than-life, all three interesting, brash, and self-assured.

Their unpredictability piques our interest and keeps us engaged. Regardless of our feelings towards these three men, they remain prominent cultural figures.

Why do we like these Ramseys? It’s simple. These men are over the top depictions of traits that we value as a culture.

We don’t watch Ramsay Bolton because we like what he does to his foes, nor do we watch Gordon Ramsay or Dave Ramsey because we like watching them yell about cooking or finances. We watch them because they are bold examples of discipline, confidence, and drive—attributes we strive to achieve. We watch them because we cannot help but be fascinated (and in some ways, encouraged) by them.

We watch them because they are bold examples of discipline, confidence, and drive.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay, a wildly popular British celebrity chef, is perhaps best known for his highly-addictive reality television shows. In these programs, Ramsay is infamous for his loud and creative insults towards aspiring chefs and clueless restaurateurs.

His confidence borders on cockiness in these shows, but he balances that cockiness with hard-earned respect—both given and received.

Not only is he a popular television host, but he also currently owns 35 restaurants globally and holds a career total of 16 Michelin stars. His training in fine cuisine required years of dedicated and disciplined study in restaurants all over Europe. His dedication and drive is just as captivating as his crafty insults. After all, the perfect Boeuf Bourguignon is impossible to master without discipline and training (just ask Julia Child).

His television shows remain incredibly popular and are watched by millions of fans across the country, driving business in his numerous restaurants by his millions of fans.

Dave Ramsey

Likewise, millions of people have flocked to Dave Ramsey for personal and professional financial advice.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Ramsey has written numerous financial literacy books, hosted a popular radio show, and gone into the world of podcasting. Financial wellness has only become more relevant to our culture, particularly after we experienced the 2008 recession—driving  Ramsey’s popularity even higher.

Dave Ramsey preaches financial discipline, lecturing his followers to not spend outside of their means, keep credit card debt and spending low, and to pay off debt with consistent payments. He instills a strict ethic of self-discipline that many of his followers claim has helped them become debt-free.

Ramsey’s personality, similar to Gordon Ramsay, is brash and certainly not loved by everyone, and he does have his fair share of controversies and detractors, but his viewers, readers, and listeners nevertheless number  in the hundreds of thousands, with many of his YouTube videos reaching upwards of two million views.

Ramsay Bolton

Finally—the character who seems like the outlier in this comparison—Ramsay Bolton. One of the main antagonists in Game of Thrones (a show filled with numerous antagonists), Ramsay Bolton is the illegitimate son of Roose Bolton, who becomes Warden of the North after they destroy House Stark.

Ramsay is known for his cruelty, creativity, and ambition. While his torturous and murderous ways certainly do not inspire viewers to like his character, many fans found him to be endlessly captivating.

Obviously the least likable of the three by far, Ramsay Bolton still shares similarities with our two previous Ramseys. He is unpredictable, but that is because he is so self-assured and committed to achieving his ultimate goals. Ramsay was raised in a cruel world, but he not only convinced his father to recognize him as a legitimate heir, but he and his father convinced the Lannisters to assist them and commit a serious breach of the Westerosi moral code (the Red Wedding, which still hurts to think about). Horrible goals, but he achieved every single one that he set his mind to.

Ramsay Bolton is the ultimate “bad guy,” but his confidence and unpredictability made him a pop culture icon.


Whether it be Gordon screaming about food being “fresh-frozen,”; Dave shouting about the stock market and personal responsibility; or Ramsay finding ways to destroy Theon Greyjoy and the Starks, we are captivated by the unashamed enthusiasm and commitment they have for their goals and ideas.

Many of us wish we were as self-assured as these three men. Their discipline, confidence, and drive inspire us. While I don’t suggest sieging a castle and starting a war with Jon Snow, adding in some Ramsey-style confidence is just the thing to bring us closer to achieving our own goals.

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