StephenTheAndal

Who delivered the letter from Lysa to Catelyn?

16 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi all,

 

Reading the first book again for the first time and wondering about the letter that Maester Luwin delivers to Ned and Cat that alleges the Lannisters to have murdered Jon Arryn. 

 

I googled, and found an old thread from this board but it was archived so I was unable to post in it. In that thread, some of the theories were:

 

Ser Mandon Moore: as others stated in that thread, I don't think this is a logical choice mainly just because he was not present in Winterfell with the king's party. 

 

An informant/courier: I don't feel good about this option either. Mainly because of when Catelyn says, "She knew it meant death if it fell in the wrong hands." I can't think of anyone present in king's party who would share mutual loyalty with Lysa.

 

In the other thread, people also mentioned the idea of Luwin being behind some type of scheme, making note of the literary device of tugging at his collar (twice) and trying multiple times to flee the chambers upon delivering the message. This sounds like a crackpot theory at first, but a lot of the supporting evidence is certainly intriguing...

 

I don't have any theories, and it very well could be an informant/courier, as my note about this above comes with the assumption that Lysa played a vital role in the delivery of the message. If she was not involved (i.e. if Littlefinger was behind it without her involvement ), then it's feasible that LF or someone else would be at least marginally less careful than Cat says Lysa would have been. 

 

Here is the old thread if it interests anyone: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/76094-how-did-maester-luwin-get-lyssas-letter/&page=1

 

 

What do you think? 

Edited by StephenTheAndal
Typos

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1 hour ago, StephenTheAndal said:

Hi all,

 

Reading the first book again for the first time and wondering about the letter that Maester Luwin delivers to Ned and Cat that alleges the Lannisters to have murdered Jon Arryn. 

 

I googled, and found an old thread from this board but it was archived so I was unable to post in it. In that thread, some of the theories were:

 

Ser Mandon Moore: as others stated in that thread, I don't think this is a logical choice mainly just because he was not present in Winterfell with the king's party. 

 

An informant/courier: I don't feel good about this option either. Mainly because of when Catelyn says, "She knew it meant death if it fell in the wrong hands." I can't think of anyone present in king's party who would share mutual loyalty with Lysa.

 

In the other thread, people also mentioned the idea of Luwin being behind some type of scheme, making note of the literary device of tugging at his collar (twice) and trying multiple times to flee the chambers upon delivering the message. This sounds like a crackpot theory at first, but a lot of the supporting evidence is certainly intriguing...

 

I don't have any theories, and it very well could be an informant/courier, as my note about this above comes with the assumption that Lysa played a vital role in the delivery of the message. If she was not involved (i.e. if Littlefinger was behind it without her involvement ), then it's feasible that LF or someone else would be at least marginally less careful than Cat says Lysa would have been. 

 

Here is the old thread if it interests anyone: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/76094-how-did-maester-luwin-get-lyssas-letter/&page=1

 

 

What do you think? 

 

First off welcome to the forum. To the best of my knowledge there is no real consensus in the fandom on who left the letter. Probably Lothar Brune or another loyal freerider in the service of Baelish.

Still Luwin's behavoir on rereading has made me more curious about his motivates. I mean "no one" saw whoever left the box, not Luwin or any of his servants.

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Posted (edited)

I think everything points to Littlefinger being behind the letter, so I'd assume it's some messenger of his. 

Although we don't have a definite timeline, the self-titled "Most precise timeline" I found puts the letter's arrival less than a week from the King's arrival and offer of Handship. That's pretty tight timing considering it would take longer than that to get a mounted messenger down to KL to confirm arrival and then back to Winterfell. Or maybe the arrival date could be estimated. Or someone had sent a raven to KL and Littlefinger got wind of it.

But I'd wager that Littlefinger had an agent either shadowing the king's party or traveling with it. I doubt that it was someone officially in the king's party, as that would have made the person more recognizable, more notable when absent, and more likely to blab to other members of the court. A random person would be the safest. We already know from Mance how easy it is to fall in with such a huge party, and that any royal caravan attracts a great number of followers. It would have been no problem for a random person to follow them up the road and camp out near Winterfell.

The implications on the plot are important. That letter was written to influence Ned's decision to come south, and we know Cersei didn't want Ned as Hand, so the question is who does want Ned to be Hand? It's pointed out that Ned and Robert hadn't seen each other in almost 10 years, that they left each other on bad terms during the rebellion, and that their current relationship is strained. That really doesn't sound like a BFF situation. And we're also told that Robert loathes to make his own decisions, so we can surmise that someone gave Robert the idea. That leaves Varys and Littlefinger. We know from Arya's eavesdropping that Varys was uncomfortable with Ned and considered him unpredictable as part of his plans with Illyrio. That leaves Littlefinger as the person who suggested that Ned be the Hand, and set off the entire sequence of events in the books.

 

25 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

Still Luwin's behavoir on rereading has made me more curious about his motivates. I mean "no one" saw whoever left the box, not Luwin or any of his servants.

Luwin did walk on Ned and Cat post-coitus, so it's understandable that he's uncomfortable. As much as I love eating tinfoil, the Citadel Conspiracy is just a huge can of worms. Lady Dustin seems to think they're behind the Tully/Stark alliance, but I'm not sure how that extends to making Ned the Hand. 

Although I'm always happy to speculate. The coalition formed by that alliance is clearly geographical: the Riverlands, the Vale, and the North. Those three regions are all bound together by familial ties and form a contiguous territory. If the Maesters want that region to have more influence in KL, it would make sense to replace Arryn with the head of house Stark. And he's the only choice, with Hoster Tully on his lengthy deathbed.

But Littlefinger seems to be collecting alliances in those same regions. He was behind Arryn's murder, and himself pointed out that Starks tend to die in the south ("...and melt when you ride below the Neck."). Hoster's illness is cast as suspicious, as well. If there is a Maester plot, it looks like Littlefinger is trying to either subvert or hijack it.

Edited by cgrav

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25 minutes ago, cgrav said:

I think everything points to Littlefinger being behind the letter, so I'd assume it's some messenger of his. 

Although we don't have a definite timeline, the self-titled "Most precise timeline" I found puts the letter's arrival less than a week from the King's arrival and offer of Handship. That's pretty tight timing considering it would take longer than that to get a mounted messenger down to KL to confirm arrival and then back to Winterfell. Or maybe the arrival date could be estimated. Or someone had sent a raven to KL and Littlefinger got wind of it.

But I'd wager that Littlefinger had an agent either shadowing the king's party or traveling with it. I doubt that it was someone officially in the king's party, as that would have made the person more recognizable, more notable when absent, and more likely to blab to other members of the court. A random person would be the safest. We already know from Mance how easy it is to fall in with such a huge party, and that any royal caravan attracts a great number of followers. It would have been no problem for a random person to follow them up the road and camp out near Winterfell.

The implications on the plot are important. That letter was written to influence Ned's decision to come south, and we know Cersei didn't want Ned as Hand, so the question is who does want Ned to be Hand? It's pointed out that Ned and Robert hadn't seen each other in almost 10 years, that they left each other on bad terms during the rebellion, and that their current relationship is strained. That really doesn't sound like a BFF situation. And we're also told that Robert loathes to make his own decisions, so we can surmise that someone gave Robert the idea. That leaves Varys and Littlefinger. We know from Arya's eavesdropping that Varys was uncomfortable with Ned and considered him unpredictable as part of his plans with Illyrio. That leaves Littlefinger as the person who suggested that Ned be the Hand, and set off the entire sequence of events in the books.

 

Luwin did walk on Ned and Cat post-coitus, so it's understandable that he's uncomfortable. As much as I love eating tinfoil, the Citadel Conspiracy is just a huge can of worms. Lady Dustin seems to think they're behind the Tully/Stark alliance, but I'm not sure how that extends to making Ned the Hand. 

Although I'm always happy to speculate. The coalition formed by that alliance is clearly geographical: the Riverlands, the Vale, and the North. Those three regions are all bound together by familial ties. If the Maesters want that region to have more influence in KL, it would make sense to replace Arryn with the head of house Stark. And he's the only choice, with Hoster Tully on his lengthy deathbed.

But Littlefinger seems to be collecting alliances in those same regions. He was behind Arryn's murder, and himself pointed out that Starks tend to die in the south ("...and melt when you ride below the Neck."). Hoster's illness is cast as suspicious, as well. If there is a Maester plot, it looks like Littlefinger is trying to either subvert or hijack it.

I think Baelish wanted to be Hand after he arranged for Jon Arryn's passing. He knew that Robert didn't love his brothers much and he was a likely candidate in his own mind. Then Robert headed North and it became obvious he was going to offer it to the Ned. Baelish then sent the letter via Lysa since he needed a counterbalance to the Lannister threat. His goal was keeping Stannis off the throne IMO.

I don't think there is a Grand Maester conspiracy, meaning all Maesters but a few ones at the highest level, like a secret society inside the Maesters seems plausible enough.

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Posted (edited)

20 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

I think Baelish wanted to be Hand after he arranged for Jon Arryn's passing.

Hard to say. I disagree, but it's entirely plausible, as power is a universal motive. I mentioned the difficulty of Ned and Robert's relationship to point out that Ned doesn't seem like a natural choice for Robert. As many times as we're told they're old friends, we also see them in conflict and recalling past conflicts. 

And one bit of very convenient timing - Littlefinger offers to show Ned the brothel with Robert's newborn bastard only hours after Ned quits the Handship and makes arrangements to go back North. Littlefinger wants Ned to stay in King's Landing and finish barking after Baratheon bastards. And in terms of the narrative, Littlefinger is one of the first characters to greet both Ned and Cat when they arrive.

A more vague point could also be made on Littlefinger's style. He wields power because other powerful people think he's not powerful. Master of Coin is viewed as a dull job, but we know that Littlefinger has a long history of "rubbing two dragons together" and using that money to influence countless people to act in his interest. And given the poor luck of Hands, it seems like would Littlefinger prefer to wield his power as a perceived background player.

Edited by cgrav

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 I think it was someone sent by Littlefinger. He told Lysa to write the letter not only to create tension between Stark and Lannister but also make sure suspicion was off of him and Lysa. I going to go with Lothar Brune. He was a freerider that would not have looked out of place in the kings party, but also wouldn't stand out so no one would notice if he sneaks away to deliver the message to Luwin. 

I think the Luwin theory would be interesting and his behavior could be considered suspicious. However, his uneasiness is easily explained by the fact that it was obvious that Ned and Cat had just finished having sex and both of them were walking naked. He's justifiably uncomfortable. Plus he doesn't display any other suspicious behavior throughout the books IIRC. He has obvious devotion to the Starks.

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I would just assume that it was some random servant who would not draw attention to himself, or herself, when making a delivery. And I don't think that this servant knows about the false bottom in the box, only that he or she has been paid to deliber the goods to a certain person and presumably when that person isn't around to question the deliverer.

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1 hour ago, cgrav said:

Hard to say. I disagree, but it's entirely plausible, as power is a universal motive. I mentioned the difficulty of Ned and Robert's relationship to point out that Ned doesn't seem like a natural choice for Robert. As many times as we're told they're old friends, we also see them in conflict and recalling past conflicts. 

And one bit of very convenient timing - Littlefinger offers to show Ned the brothel with Robert's newborn bastard only hours after Ned quits the Handship and makes arrangements to go back North. Littlefinger wants Ned to stay in King's Landing and finish barking after Baratheon bastards. And in terms of the narrative, Littlefinger is one of the first characters to greet both Ned and Cat when they arrive.

A more vague point could also be made on Littlefinger's style. He wields power because other powerful people think he's not powerful. Master of Coin is viewed as a dull job, but we know that Littlefinger has a long history of "rubbing two dragons together" and using that money to influence countless people to act in his interest. And given the poor luck of Hands, it seems like would Littlefinger prefer to wield his power as a perceived background player.

Well its a matter of perspective. Baelish has been in KL for about 8 years I think. Eddard Stark has played no part in the governance of King's Landing. I mean we know that they were BFF in their youths but they haven't even seen each other in about a decade, since the end of the Greyjoy Rebellion. Baelish was Jon Arryn's protege and he likely considered himself an excellent choice. Honestly I am not sure any of the players predicted that Robert would choose Ned.

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A Faceless Man disguised as Septa Lemore who is also Ashara Dayne sent by Quaithe, wife of Bloodraven. 

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17 hours ago, Renly's Banana said:

A Faceless Man disguised as Septa Lemore who is also Ashara Dayne sent by Quaithe, wife of Bloodraven. 

Can you please expound? I haven't heard this one yet. 

 

Thanks for the discussion and warm welcome everyone. 

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Littlefinger was behind getting Lysa to write the letter so it follows that he would have arranged to have the letter concealed in the box that was delivered to Maester Luwin or that he coached Lysa to use courier of his choosing.  But it doesn't necessarily follow that it had to be anyone who contributed to the story beyond that.

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How about this scenario: Catelyn knows her husband well, she suspects that his feelings of duty will press him to stay in the north, she knows he'll probably refuse Robert's offer. We know that Ned expected he would be offered the job of the Hand, he is not surprised when Robert offers it to him in the crypt. If Ned had known, Catelyn would have known, they discussed all matters of importance. Catelyn was worried that if Ned refuses the offer, Robert will take offence, but I think she is also ambitious. She is not from the north and probably not thrilled that the children, especially the girls will grow up there, locked away from the world. 

She writes the letter, in her and Lysa's secret language, in case anyone stumbles upon it, then gives it to the Maester. Luwin is not thrilled to trick his Lord this way, thus his confusion when he tells the story of how he came upon the letter. The mysterious box needed to be destroyed, so it's gone. Catelyn builds a fire and burns the letter before Ned could see it, touch it and notice any suspicious circumstance related to it. She tells him about the warning that came in the letter and then she says:

“Now we truly have no choice. You must be Robert’s Hand. You must go south with him and learn the truth.”

Ned is still not convinced, so Maester Lewin chips in and the two of them succeed in the end.

I'm not saying she had any backward motives, I believe she did was she thought was right. We see Catelyn being quite resourceful later, she is certainly capable of pulling this off. What do you think about this possibility?

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LF & Lysa talk about in front of Sansa when Lysa tries to throw Sansa out the moon door. Lysa says she wrote the letter at LF’s request.

A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII     "Tears, tears, tears," she sobbed hysterically. "No need for tears . . . but that's not what you said in King's Landing. You told me to put the tears in Jon's wine, and I did. For Robert, and for us! And I wrote Catelyn and told her the Lannisters had killed my lord husband, just as you said. That was so clever . . . you were always clever, I told Father that, I said Petyr's so clever, he'll rise high, he will, he will, and he's sweet and gentle and I have his little baby in my belly . . . Why did you kiss her? Why?

 

I assume the deliverer of the box was a person in LF’s hire that was among the King’s entourage.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn II     Ned looked irritated. "Been left? By whom? Has there been a rider? I was not told."   "There was no rider, my lord. Only a carved wooden box, left on a table in my observatory while I napped. My servants saw no one, but it must have been brought by someone in the king's party. We have had no other visitors from the south."

 

For purposes of the story Luwin was curious about the box and decided to examine the box and found the secret compartment.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn II     "A wooden box, you say?" Catelyn said. "Inside was a fine new lens for the observatory, from Myr by the look of it. The lenscrafters of Myr are without equal." <snip>    "What is it that they would have us see more clearly?"     "The very thing I asked myself." Maester Luwin drew a tightly rolled paper out of his sleeve. "I found the true message concealed within a false bottom when I dismantled the box the lens had come in, but it is not for my eyes."

 

The only curious thing I find is that no one noticed a stranger in Luwin's quarters.

 

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On 3/25/2017 at 7:59 PM, StephenTheAndal said:

Can you please expound? I haven't heard this one yet. 

It's obfuscation. The George Guard are pledged to protect George (GRRM) above all and employ any number of agit-prop techniques (like the insidious R+L=J theory to rile up and obscure the public ("the public, the public, how many fools does it take to make a public?") so that George (The Night King) will be secure in his position as "Emperor of the Universe".

Seriously, I'm a very recent newcomer, myself. There are inside jokes, etc. among the fandom, apparently developed over many years (I wonder why?). My only thought from first reading through n'th reading was why was a letter delivered by person, not by raven? Especially considering the timing required, if I understand a previous post.

Edit: I see that this is an old thread, resurrected, so StephenTheAndal is not likely to respond...

Edited by Wild Bill

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Robert's retinue numbered hundreds of people when he went to Winterfell, and the retinue would need things like money and supplies in the course of the journey. Who keeps track of the royal expenditures on the trip? Not Robert, that's for sure. No, the retinue would have included any number of servants, and even lesser bureaucrats charged with whatever chest(s) contained coin for the journey and the account books to go with them. Some one of these people, in reality one of Littlefinger's many agents at court, must have delivered the message. And as already noted by Clegane's pup and others, all these conspiracy theories that Luwin or Catelyn created it are disproven by the texts themselves. Here's another useful quote, from AGoT:

 

Quote

"My quarrels?" Catelyn could scarce believe what she was hearing. A great fire burned in the hearth, but there was no trace of warmth in Lysa's voice. "They were your quarrels first, sister. It was you who sent me that cursed letter, you who wrote that the Lannisters had murdered your husband."

"To warn you, so you could stay away from them! I never meant to fight them! Gods, Cat, do you know what you've done?"

(The fact that there absolutely had to have been agents of Littlefinger in the royal progress was a major factor in why my very early conspiracy theory that Littlefinger was behind the attempt on Bran's life... which, apparently, is what the writers went with on the TV show, but as we know is not the case in the novels.)

 

Edited by Ran

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13 hours ago, Ran said:

Robert's retinue numbered hundreds of people when he went to Winterfell, and the retinue would need things like money and supplies in the course of the journey. Who keeps track of the royal expenditures on the trip? Not Robert, that's for sure. No, the retinue would have included any number of servants, and even lesser bureaucrats charged with whatever chest(s) contained coin for the journey and the account books to go with them. Some one of these people, in reality one of Littlefinger's many agents at court, must have delivered the message. And as already noted by Clegane's pup and others, all these conspiracy theories that Luwin or Catelyn created it are disproven by the texts themselves. Here's another useful quote, from AGoT:

:agree: 

Here is the relevant quote about LF's many agents at court in case anyone is curious:

Quote

And in the process, he moved his own men into place. The Keepers of the Keys were his, all four. The King's Counter and the King's Scales were men he'd named. The officers in charge of all three mints. Harbormasters, tax farmers, customs sergeants, wool factors, toll collectors, pursers, wine factors; nine of every ten belonged to Littlefinger. They were men of middling birth, by and large; merchants' sons, lesser lordlings, sometimes even foreigners, but judging from their results, far more able than their highborn predecessors.

As for logistics, we should keep in mind that the letter wasn't even necessarily sent from the Eyrie. Lysa could have written it while still in KL and given it to LF, who then gave it to his agent before the king's party left KL.

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