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Ramsay Bolton vs Jon Snow & the Night's Watch


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#1 Lord Tywin's Privy

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:48 AM

At the end of ADWD, Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton (nee Snow) informing him that a.) he has captured (and apparently flayed) Mance Rayder and his surviving spearwives, b.) he has defeated Stannis Baratheon's army at Winterfell, and that c.) he is marching towards the Wall to confront both Jon and the Night's Watch, and "get his wife back."

Given Theon's POV chapter from The Winds of Winter, however, we learn that Stannis did indeed receive Jon's letter that the Karstarks were going to betray him; at the end of ADWD it is left up to conjecture whether or not stannis got this news from Jon (who, btw, is supposed to be staying out of these matters altogether, being a sworn brother of the NW.) This is a major sticking point at the end of ADWD-- we know that if Stannis is not alerted of the karstark's treachery that he will almost surely be defeated by the boltons. the chapter that grrm released, though, has him not only learning of their betrayal before they could carry it out but also putting those involved to death.

We also learn that the sounds of "war horns" heard from inside the walls of Winterfell by Roose Bolton and his men toward the end of ADWD,are in fact only a ploy by Stannis (who knew he had the cunning??) to draw men out of the castle and into spikes his men had dug into the earth, which, covered by the tremendous snowfall, killed at least a couple of freys (hurray!).

Though Stannis's army is underfed (starving, actually), tired, and with a lot less horses than they set out with, it seems that Ramsay's claim that he "smashed" stannis's forces might yet be nothing more than deliberate deception-- ie, make Jon think that he has no more allies in the north and he will either surrender or make a rash decision (which he does).

Theon, however, is alive and (somewhat) well. "arya" aka jeyne poole, is being readied by stannis to send to jon snow at the wall, and stannis is sending Massey (IIRC) to sail to bravoos and come back with 20,000 more swords.

I suppose the big questions are:
When did Ramsay send the letter to Jon? If it was after the events in the Theon chapter from TWOW then he very well couldve been telling the truth about defeating stannis's army. He does seem to be telling the truth about having caqptured mance, and given his predilection for torture, he got mance to tell him about mel and jon's plans.
This leads into question 2: melisandre tells jon that the ruby she put on mance's wrist binds him to jon, and that he cannot betray jon while wearing the spellbound gem. it doesnt seem as though mance himself can take it off though. when he and jon fight (when jon still thinks he's rattleshirt) mance is obviously trying to kill him but cant. and If mance wants to but is unable to take off the ruby, even though it seems like he wants to, it follows to reason that his spearwives cant either--- because if they could why wouldnt mance have one of them remove it after they set off from castle black? So did Ramsay remove it? Could he remove it? Could Mance betray melisandre and jon's plans to free "arya" while still wearing it?

Is ramsay simply bluffing about all of this? No, he cant be bluffing about everything. Obviously he knows who Mance is and what he was up to, he couldnt have known this unless he was told. Maybe he only captured one of mance's spearwives and not mance himself?

Also, is he lying about stannis's defeat?
And did Jon die because asking men to join with him in battle and forsake their vows (not taking sides in the wars of the seven kingdoms) was the last straw? He had been becoming more and more the unconventional Lord Commander-- allowing wildlings to pass under the Wall, allowing giants to pass. Was planning to go to war with ramsay bolton simply the last straw; the reason why he was cut down by his own sworn brothers? Did the Boltons plan it that way?

Also, what about Wyman Manderly? He is obviously loyal (to a point) to the starks (commanding davos to retrieve rickon from skagos)-- but he joins the boltons when they call him, to avoid death, and also, presumably, to screw up the Boltons' plans as best he can. In the theon chapter from TWOW, though, stannis sees him as nothing but a traitor and another one of Roose Bolton's lap-dogs; and rightfully so-- he still believes that manderly beheaded his Hand and emmissary at white harbor. When Roose decides to put the manderlys and the freys in his vanguard, though, what will happen? will stannis kill wyman manderly before manderly is able to tell stannis that he is not on Bolton's side?
Or will manderlys men prevail and join forces with stannis to defeat the boltons and the other houses fighting alongside the lord of the dreadfort?

One last question: how could the King of westeros, even if he is a Lannister, let any house--even one they just got in bed with (ie the boltons) threaten to destroy the ancient order of the night's watch? It seems obvious that ramsays letter was driven by impulse, so i doubt he had the backing of the iron throne on that... could this lead to a break in the Frey-Bolton-Lannister alliance?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

#2 Evamitchelle

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:10 AM

If Ramsay was telling the entire truth about what happened then I don't see how he could have failed to re-capture Theon, who was presumably still with Stannis' men when they got attacked. The part about Mance and the spearwives is probably true (at least we know he captured/killed a couple of spearwives), but I don't think they knew anything about Stannis' plans since he got the 3,000 men of the Mountain Clans after Mance was sent to Winterfell and didn't plan anything in advance so much as got stuck at a particular location and tried to make the best of it.

Spoilers for the preview chapter of TWoW
Spoiler


#3 jarl the climber

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:44 PM

As far as the night watch is concerned Ramsey is more interested in Jon and the NW men who are supporting Stannis. Jon did let Mel send Mance to rescue Arya so there is some justice to Ramseys complaints. Cersei did have a plot to assasinate Jon. The idea came from Qyburn who was going to send 100 men,Cersei was going to have Ser Osney lead it after he killed Margerys champion(that bit didn't work). Don't know what happened to the 100 men. Pycelle knew of the plot and the men may have been sent. Perhaps the Boltons have been clued into this by the lannisters and Bowen Marsh who supported Janos Slynt and was known to be supportive of the Lannisters was given control of the plot and men but who knows.

#4 Great Dayne

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:00 PM

I was actually going to post the same question as the op.

My issues are this, from the letter, the writer knows a lot of what was going on. There are too many details about the attempt to get "Arya". Either Ramsay tortured Abel "Mance" or one of the spearwives to get the info. I don't know if the spearwives would have some of the information.

As far as Stannis goes there are three possibilities 1. he actually defeated Stannis. 2. he defeated the Umnber that was outside of Winterfell beating the drums and claiming victory. 3. the White Harbor men murdered the Freys and claimed to have defeated Stannis to deceive the Boltons.

We know that Stannis has "Arya" so if number one is true than maybe she fled with Theon (which I doubt). Or he is lying about Stannis and Stannis still has her.

My question is why would Ramsay write to Jon Snow? If he has not defeated Stannis then wouldn't that potentially bring more men against Winterfell? Is it part of a conspiracy to get Jon involved in the war so he can be considered an oathbreaker?

There are theories that Mance wrote the letter but I don't see the logic behind it. Would like to hear people's opinions I know my post is similar to op's but I I can't figure this out.

#5 The Mother of The Others

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:37 PM

There's a super-pooper of a thread about who else could have written the letter and how much of the letter is true. http://asoiaf.wester...ossible-glamor/

Basically, even though it's fun to say that Ramsay is too stupid and not crafty enough to write a letter to get Jon removed as Lord Commander, this letter is actually right up his alley, right in Ramsay's wheelhouse. He's a freakin genius at 1) being a hothead 2) getting people's goat 3) exploiting positional weaknesses of others in power for his own gain 3) removing people who are in his way 4) manipulating other people's reality and swapping his preferred version of the world in place of theirs.

The letter does all of these things. By "talking to" the captured women in Mance's party, Ramsay would have discovered how the Wall was cooperating with Stannis way too much to still be called "neutral" (which is a positional weakness for Jon that Ramsay knows he can exploit). And now here Jon's agents were inside Winterfell on a mission to take away Ramsay's claim to legitmacy as lord of the castle?!?!? That's too much. Jon must be removed. And Stannis was on his way? Ramsay would have felt surrounded by a coordinated enemy. The hothead in Ramsay would have lashed out with the letter then, attacking the weak point in the Wall-Stannis alliance to stop any further coordinated efforts by them against Winterfell. Ramsay knew that Jon was doing a precarious balancing act by getting too involved in the war for a man of the Night's Watch. It would only take a well-worded shove to push Jon over the edge. Jon's brothers would do the rest of Ramsay's work for him. Just flush Jon out of hiding, like one of the animals (and people) Ramsay was always hunting, and make Jon enter the war openly, and that'd be the end of the Lord Commander and the Wall would return to neutrality. OR, the Wall would openly enter the war, which would mean King's Landing would send more forces north to finish off Stannis' oathbreakers and end all of Ramsay's problems. So write a letter. A letter full of whatever lies would be most hurtful, most enraging, most likely to make Jon snap and act in a way unbefitting a Night's Watchman. Even if it doesn't work, hell, you've still put the enemy camp into confusion by sending them all that misinformation. Throw the enemy's plans into disarray to give the Boltons more of a chance against Stannis.

#6 anuran

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:43 PM

At the end of ADWD, Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton (nee Snow) informing him that a.) he has captured (and apparently flayed) Mance Rayder and his surviving spearwives, b.) he has defeated Stannis Baratheon's army at Winterfell, and that c.) he is marching towards the Wall to confront both Jon and the Night's Watch, and "get his wife back."


In TWoW chapter (GRRM's gift) Stannis says to Justin,
Spoiler


Is Ramsey going to the Wall or Stannis first? I guess it will be Stannis, where he will find nothing and then to the wall, where ...

#7 Damar

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:02 PM

Ramsay seems like the first who'd gladly murder all of the Night's Watch and burn down Castle Black on a mere whim.

#8 Arya Targaryen

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:03 PM

I read once, long ago in one of the topics, that Ramsey wrote a letter full of (true or false) information to make Jon send those people to him. BUT. He didn't know one thing. "Arya" hasn't reached the Wall. In that case Jon would know, that she is not Arya.
Ramsey of course knows Arya is fake, just doesn't care. But until they can pretend that she is a real deal, they've got Winterfell.
I think there was some kind of battle, but Stannis is still alive. I think Ramsey tortured and killed the spearwives, but Mance is hiding in the crypts (or anywhere - he can take care of himself)
But both of them (Stannis and Mance) are dangerous. Hence hostages are needed.
So Ramsey writes his letter, assuming Jon will understand what he means. He thinks Jon will not care about Val and the babe or Selyse, Shireen and Mel, now, that Stannis is "dead". And a living Mance is a huge threat towards Jon as well, as he can be accused of treason. Ramsey thinks that Jon is similar to him in a way: that he wants power, and wants to stay LC, even if it means the lives of some people whom he just shouldn't care about.
But there is one thing Ramsey doesn't know: that Arya hasn't reached the Wall therefore Jon still thinks she is his sister. Ramsey expects that Jon won't care about some random girl or Theon (who killed his brothers!). But the fact is: Jon doesn't know it.

Going against Ramsey in the middle (beginning) of winter sounds definitey stupid, but consider this:
1) Ramsey threatened the Watch, so Jon may feel he has the right to act.
2) It is winter and snowstorms, aye, but Jon has the most competent men: the wildlings. Stannis struggled in the snow, Jon and the wildlings won't.
3) He marches on Winterfell, a castle which is his home, and probably no one knows the place as much as him.
4) Jon seem to be an excellent strategist (like Robb)

I totally expect, that Ramsey will at some point kill Roose (and Fat Walda, of course). After that, he will meet Jon, and his dogs will be introduced (and fed) to Ghost. Bastard vs Bastard swordfight /cool4.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':cool4:' /> /fencing.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':fencing:' />

Edited by Arya Targaryen, 10 January 2012 - 04:05 PM.


#9 Lord Tywin's Privy

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:23 PM

I read once, long ago in one of the topics, that Ramsey wrote a letter full of (true or false) information to make Jon send those people to him. BUT. He didn't know one thing. "Arya" hasn't reached the Wall. In that case Jon would know, that she is not Arya.
Ramsey of course knows Arya is fake, just doesn't care. But until they can pretend that she is a real deal, they've got Winterfell.
I think there was some kind of battle, but Stannis is still alive. I think Ramsey tortured and killed the spearwives, but Mance is hiding in the crypts (or anywhere - he can take care of himself)
But both of them (Stannis and Mance) are dangerous. Hence hostages are needed.
So Ramsey writes his letter, assuming Jon will understand what he means. He thinks Jon will not care about Val and the babe or Selyse, Shireen and Mel, now, that Stannis is "dead". And a living Mance is a huge threat towards Jon as well, as he can be accused of treason. Ramsey thinks that Jon is similar to him in a way: that he wants power, and wants to stay LC, even if it means the lives of some people whom he just shouldn't care about.
But there is one thing Ramsey doesn't know: that Arya hasn't reached the Wall therefore Jon still thinks she is his sister. Ramsey expects that Jon won't care about some random girl or Theon (who killed his brothers!). But the fact is: Jon doesn't know it.

Going against Ramsey in the middle (beginning) of winter sounds definitey stupid, but consider this:
1) Ramsey threatened the Watch, so Jon may feel he has the right to act.
2) It is winter and snowstorms, aye, but Jon has the most competent men: the wildlings. Stannis struggled in the snow, Jon and the wildlings won't.
3) He marches on Winterfell, a castle which is his home, and probably no one knows the place as much as him.
4) Jon seem to be an excellent strategist (like Robb)

I totally expect, that Ramsey will at some point kill Roose (and Fat Walda, of course). After that, he will meet Jon, and his dogs will be introduced (and fed) to Ghost. Bastard vs Bastard swordfight /cool4.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':cool4:' /> /fencing.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':fencing:' />


That would be badass if ghost kills Ramsay's "bitches."

#10 Jamie Lannister

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:07 PM

Ramsay invading the Wall would be a pretty epic battle for survival... preferably ending with Jonor Snowhai running the Bastard through with Lightbringer.

#11 Lord Tywin's Privy

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:54 PM

Lol i like the azor ahai reference!

#12 Lord Tywin's Privy

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:33 AM

Since GRRM sometimes juggles timelines-- does anyone have any thoughts on theon's preview pov chapter from TWOW and whether or not it may have happened before Ramsay sent his letter to Jon?

If so, Ramsay couldve been telling the truth about stannis's death and defeat. if not, he's obviously lying and simply trying to instigate jon into making a rash desicion (which he does)-- deciding to march south and engage the boltons in battle to retake winterfelland save arya... maybe this is all part of another bolton scheme-- drawing jon out with the intention of taking him unawares and ambushing him? or maybe theyre secretly working with bowen marsh-- after all marsh wanted janos slynt as the LC and seems to be on the side of the lannisters. or maybe the boltons (or just ramsay, if he's acting on his own, but personally i think roose might be behind the whole ruse) just figures that some of the brothers of the NW-- namely bowen marsh and his fellow conspirators-- would consider jon's decision to march on winterfell as breaking his oath and thats the last straw. Given the boltons history of secretly scheming to murder others to improve their station and gain power, without directly taking part (ie the red wedding) and -- at least roose-- is really skilled in this respect-- could they have maybe conspired to incite jon 's sworn brothers to murder him?? could ramsay know about cersei's plan to "remove" jon as lord commander? after all the boltons are in bed with the lannisters. Ramsay may not be the best strategist but he's definitely good at manipulating people.

#13 Lord Tywin's Privy

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:42 AM

On a similar note, what's with all the talk of jon being an oathbreaker? (not in this thread but in others) Ramsay outright threatened the night's watch and its LC jon snow, what else can jon do but answer ramsay's threat? I think it's completely within his rights as LC to answer ramsay's threat and march on winterfell. by the laws of westeros people cant just go around threatening to destroy the ancient order of the NW.

Of course Jon's motives are colored by his concern for his sister, and he definitely has not stayed neutral in the wars of the realm as he is supposed to, but when someone threatens the NW it seems like the LC's obligation to answer any such threat. what else can he do-- sit back and let the boltons carry out their intentions??

#14 Blue Sun

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:02 AM

when he and jon fight (when jon still thinks he's rattleshirt) mance is obviously trying to kill him but cant. and If mance wants to but is unable to take off the ruby, even though it seems like he wants to, it follows to reason that his spearwives cant either--- because if they could why wouldnt mance have one of them remove it after they set off from castle black? So did Ramsay remove it? Could he remove it? Could Mance betray melisandre and jon's plans to free "arya" while still wearing it?


He wasn't trying to kill him. If he wanted to, he could've easily at the end, but it wouldn't have served any purpose but to get himself killed in turn. Also, she removed the ruby from him when she took off the glamor.

Edited by ManyFacedOne, 12 January 2012 - 01:02 AM.


#15 Arya Targaryen

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:04 PM

Mance is not an idiot. He very well knows that if he kills Jon, the NW would choose somebody worse (even if he can get away with the murder)
When they fight, Mance keeps saying, he would kill Jon if he had a dagger. But he had a dagger! as Jon pointed out right after the fight.

#16 Lord Tywin's Privy

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:42 PM

He wasn't trying to kill him. If he wanted to, he could've easily at the end, but it wouldn't have served any purpose but to get himself killed in turn. Also, she removed the ruby from him when she took off the glamor.


He wasn't trying to kill him. If he wanted to, he could've easily at the end, but it wouldn't have served any purpose but to get himself killed in turn. Also, she removed the ruby from him when she took off the glamor.


Oh thanks for clarifying, i didnt remember that part

#17 christopherkwchan

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 02:28 AM

What if it was Melisandre or anyone in the Queen side to try to deceit? Makes more sense that they hear about Mance

#18 Jojen Dayne-Reed

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:14 AM

(Note: I saw this somewhere else and stole it. So I can't take credit)

Ramsey is being honest but the letter isn't true either. Ramsey (known to throw temper tantrums) sends the Frays and Wyman Manderly after stannis. Manderly has already been shown to enjoy killing Frays.
The Manderly troops (with or without Stannis) turn on and kill the Freys. Manderly returns to Wonterfel 'victorious' after a battle with 'Stannis'. He puts a fake head on a stick and calls it Stannis.
But obviously he can't bring back Poole or Theon because he didn't fight Stannis for real so he has to tell Ramsey something. Ramsey assumes they're at the wall (probably having learned a lot from a captured spear wife.)

This ties everything up and leaves Stannis alive. Ramsey wrote his own letter (no need for back bending 'how would Mence know X'). It also fits Manderly's deceptive nature (foreshadowed with Davros and the Frey pies).

Edited by soulcaketuesday, 14 June 2013 - 11:16 AM.


#19 BurningCandle

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:34 AM

I'm wondering if the Maester from WoW sample is the one who sent it, at Ramsay's behest.

#20 Suzanna Stormborn

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:14 PM

Mance sent the letter. When he is at the wall posing as Rattleshirt, he refers to Jon as "Bastard" about a dozen times. Same as the letter. The question is why did Mance send it under the guise of Ramsay Snow? also why didn't Jon pick up on who it was really from?
1. mance wants Jon to bring an army of wildlings and knights watchmen south to help do something and was tricking Jon into it
2. Mance thought Jon would figure out who the letter was really from and wanted Jon and only Jon to know that Winterfell was secure.
3. mance is tricking Jon to get him killed (unlikely IMO)
4. mance was worried about the letter getting intercepted by the Bolton men, so he wrote it under the guise of 'Ramsay is still in charge of Winterfell' so no more Bolton men would come to Ramsay's rescue. In which case he wanted Jon to come with another army to back up the small band of Wildlings with mance who are now holding Winterfell (this seems most likely to me)

I am going with number 4 because mance is in a tight situation. he has Ramsay chained to a wall somewhere in WF with 5 women and no army. Jon won't come down from the wall for any reason except an extremely threatening letter from Ramsay like he received. mance is one of the smartest and most clever people in the books. i do not believe for one second Ramsay captured and killed him, but I do believe that Jon would only head south under the most dire circumstances. so Mance had to trick him.