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  1. Shade of the Evening. Jojen paste. Sourleaf. Lemon cakes. Arbor Gold. I'm sure it's a closely-guarded secret handed down from the woods witch of The Whispers.
  2. Seams

    Shade of the evening.

    I suspect the little dwarves are piglets - there is a reference to their snout-like noses when Dany enters the HotU. If so, what Dany perceives as the dwarves tearing at the breasts might actually be suckling. The pig motif runs throughout the books and is probably related to the boars who are present at key moments such at the death of Robert, Joffrey (Groat rides Pretty Pig) and of Jon Snow (Borroq's boar). I think we also see piglets running around a well when Brienne thinks she has taken a wrong turn into a blind alley in Duskendale. I suspect wells are are magical entrances, very similar to the entrance Dany is seeing for the first time at the HotU. Isn't there also a wagon or cart with a load of piglets in Arya's arc? If the dwarves are really piglets, this gives us another clue about Tyrion's connection to the pig motif. He has a snout after his nose is cut off in battle. He rides Pretty Pig. He feeds acorns to Pretty Pig and cleans up the pig's poop in Penny's room on the ship. There does seem to be a sacrifice associated with pigs, as Tyrion seems to accept that Pretty Pig will have been killed and eaten after he and Penny and Ser Jorah escape from Yezzan zo Qaggaz and join the Second Sons. Only pork rinds can pay for life. (There is also an early scene at Winterfell, where Cersei is discussing Bran's fall and coma with Myrcella and Tommen, where Tyrion crunches a piece of bacon. I don't know what the significance is of this early reference to Crunch and Pretty Pig, but I know breaking a fast by eating breakfast has significance in ASOIAF.)
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    Predict her future: Penny

    I know I said earlier that Penny is the equivalent of Ygritte, but she is also part of Tyrion's Odysseus parallel. Recall that Odysseus left his wife Penelope and had a serious affair with a witch (enchantress, sorceress) named Circe during his travels. In some versions of the Odysseus story, the hero collects his long-neglected wife and son and they go back to cohabit with his lover, Circe. In other versions, Odysseus escapes Circe and goes home to Penelope, never to return to Circe's island. If the "escape from Circe" plot resolution holds for ASOIAF, maybe your prediction will come true and Penny and Tyrion will team up to defeat Cersei. GRRM is playing with that myth in Tyrion's voyage chapters, but he is also playing with the sister / brother incest motif we saw with traditional Targaryen marriages and with Cersei and Jaime. Penny wants to make it with Tyrion; he is not interested and says that kissing Penny is passionless, like kissing a sister. I suspect we are seeing a contrast with Jaime and Cersei, where brother really did sleep with sister. Aside from they Odyssey allusions, the other interesting thing about Penny is the money connection in her name. (Penny and Groat are both names of coins.) I would love it if Penny ends up having a connection to the still-mysterious subplot involving the Iron Bank of Braavos. Maybe she is a secret agent version of Tycho Nestoris, sent out to protect the interests of the bank as Tyrion continues to sign IOUs all over the planet. Of course, the Penny name could also connect her to Ser Arlan of Pennytree, the mentor of Dunk in the Dunk and Egg stories. I think Ser Arlan represents the Old Gods or the First Men. His selection and care and training of Dunk is like a blessing from nature and magic, bestowing power on the chosen one. (I suspect both Dunk and Tyrion are dragonseeds -- secret Targs.) The Pennytree marks an entrance to the Otherworld inhabited by gods, and can be entered only by chosen mortals. We see Brienne contact Jaime at Pennytree. I suspect they are able to "enter" this portal because they are members of the Kings Guard / Rainbow Guard. Maybe Targs and kings guards have the mojo that allows them to mingle with the gods.
  4. I got to the first paragraph, where you explained that you would be using content from the show, and stopped reading. You cannot introduce show content in this forum. Go back to the first page of this forum, the book forum. "ASOIAF" means this is all about the books - "GOT" refers to the show. There is a pinned post that says, "Show spoilers - important". If you haven't read that, you should read it. If you edit your post quickly to remove show content, they might let you leave it here. If not, they may move it to the tv show forum or delete it. I realize you are new, but a number of us are really trying to avoid show content because it does spoil the book discussion and probably contains major spoilers.
  5. In The Sworn Sword, I believe dirt and brown are associated with earth and is the place where plants grow. Earth, of course, cannot grow plants without water and the water shortage for Standfast is the central conflict of the story. So I'm not sure that brown is only the color of poo. Daemon II falling in the mud might be seen as a sort of baptism into these elements of life, even though the overt meaning was that he was humiliated and lost his jousting match.
  6. I don't think so. From the wiki: The significance of Daemon II Blackfyre / John the Fiddler would be in the nickname he earned in jousting with Gledon Flowers: the Brown Dragon. There is a meaning in the color Brown, but I'm not sure what it is. Bloodraven imprisoning The Brown Dragon may be the key to Daemon's purpose, and he will no longer be needed in the story. The second Blackfyre Rebellion that unfolded at Whitewalls seems to be slightly different from the others, as Aegor / Bittersteel refuses to help and Danelle Lothston sends bannermen to support Bloodraven's side while she typically remained neutral in the other Blackfyre uprisings. So I think John the Fiddler was a one-off and we won't see him again. Lord Alyn Cockshaw, however, might reappear in person or in a new guise (in the manner of many of GRRM's reborn characters). If he does reappear, he will probably express hatred for Dunk as soon as he sees him.
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    Wow, I never noticed that v.17

    I didn't go into it in that initial analysis of garnets (in the chipped garnet link in my previous comment) but there is probably also wordplay in "garnets" and "strange," which would bring in symbolism of The Stranger. Ser Ilyn Payne, the King's Justice, is also part of the Stranger motif. (Fwiw, he uses the sword Ice to behead Ned but then has a silver sword with a dragonglass pommel carved into a death's head with ruby eyes.) I always thought it was significant that Ned follows the letter of the law, beheading Night's Watch deserters as soon as he encounters them, but Lord Commander Mormont seems to take a more forgiving approach and expresses some mild regret at losing a good man like Gared. When Mormont's sword, Longclaw, is remade with a wolf's head and garnet eyes, Jon uses it to behead Janos Slynt for insubordination. So maybe the garnet eyes cause the sword to be more like Ned Stark's "King's JustICE" sword, Ice? This might help to clarify the difference: garnets might be cold-blooded, while rubies are warm-blooded? But that wouldn't explain why Ser Ilyn's silver sword (at Joffrey's wedding feast) has ruby eyes.
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    Wow, I never noticed that v.17

    Good points about the Targaryen rubies. There are so many rubies that I haven't tried to make a systematic analysis, so my generalization about the Lannister association was probably not on solid ground. I do think there is a bury / ruby association, but I don't know what that might be. And the gravedigger is the man associated with burying, so that's not a strong Lannister clue or a Targaryen clue (as far as we know). My garnet theory stems largely from the chipped garnet carried by Ser Arlan of Pennytree and inherited by Ser Duncan the Tall. But I was also intrigued that the garnets for the wolf's head pommel in Long Claw were obtained by Sam Tarly at Mole's Town. I think that's very significant. Maybe garnets are used for eyes and rubies for blood?
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    Poll: Will Brienne Be A New Hound?

    No. The man wearing the Hound helmet held the rope that hanged Brienne - she is the puppet, not the puppeteer. (Sandor played with his brother's jointed wooden knight years ago, making him the puppeteer in that relationship.) Ser Duncan the Tall wounds his own face in an attempt to assuage Rohanne Webber, who wants the blood of Bennis after he causes the "claret on the cheek" wound to her digger. And Bloodraven is born with a wine stain birthmark on his face. I think these facial features would have to be part of the same basket of symbols if you are using facial wounds as a basis to compare Brienne and Sandor. Maybe also include the bruise Robert raises on Cersei's face when he slaps her. I think Brienne is more likely to be a new Barristan than a new Hound.
  10. I suspect we need to look to the legend of Gendel and Gorne for a distant model of Jon's "March on Winterfell" strategy. (Or a version of the results we can expect from that march.) Gendel and Gorne were brothers and they shared the title of King Beyond the Wall. They marched to Winterfell, killed the Stark lord but Gorne also died. The son of the Stark lord continued the battle and won, with help from the Night's Watch marching in behind Gendel's wildling fighters. The Night's Watch version of the tale says that Gendel died; the Free Folk version says he lived but he and the wildlings were lost in Gorne's Way on the return trip. Their descendants supposedly still live in the tunnels beneath the Wall. I could see Jon Snow and Stannis as the contemporary equivalents of Gendel and Gorne. As Warden of the North and Lord of Winterfell, maybe Roose and Ramsay are the equivalents of the Stark lords. The deep snow would represent the tunnels: I imagine many fighters will be lost in the snow on the trip to, or the retreat from, Winterfell.
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    Ironborn appreciation

    I like Rodrik The Reader and his support for Asha. The Greyjoy words are, "We do not sow," but the Harlaw sigil is a scythe. Someone must be sowing if the Harlaws reap.
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    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    I realize I'm mostly alone on my "Melisandre wrote the pink letter" ice floe, but I want to note that there are hints in the subtext that might reinforce this and/or might show a larger conspiracy leading up to the stabbing of Jon Snow. The Night's Watch brother who first attacks Jon is named Wick Whittlestick. This is a guy we have seen only once before, opening the door to the ice cell holding Cregan Karstark. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I think there is symbolism around the Karstarks and winter / snow, so it may be significant that Wick liberates one "Snow," opening the door that eventually allows Cregan to move to the Lord Commander's tower, and then kills the previous "Snow". (Aside from the name of Jon's assassin, there are a number of potential anagram wordplay clues that might hint at the word "whittle": With the little monster, like as not. First to fly the battle, he was. Is that what my lord wishes to hear he had won at the Bridge of Skulls who will come stand with me I realize the letters of "whittle" are pretty common and could be found in any number of phrases throughout the book. I notice them here because of the suddenly-but-only-momentarily important character with the Whittlestick name. What or who is being whittled? Jon? The whittle clue may hold one more layer of wordplay. We did see one person in Jon's arc make something important out of wood: Jon slid his new dagger from its sheath and studied the flames as they played against the shiny black glass. He had fashioned the wooden hilt himself, and wound hempen twine around it to make a grip. Ugly, but it served. Dolorous Edd opined that glass knives were about as useful as nipples on a knight's breastplate, but Jon was not so certain. The dragonglass blade was sharper than steel, albeit far more brittle. (ACoK, Jon V) Maybe it's not about whittling per se, but about something that can be made by whittling: a wooden hilt. In ASOIAF we have seen or heard about the making or destruction of a lot of swords. Some are lost but not forgotten. Only a few of the sword discussions also involved hilts. Most memorably, Jeor Mormont had the destroyed bear hilt of longclaw remade in the image of a wolf. Sam Tarly helped by obtaining the garnets for the eyes of the wolf hilt. Why would the stabbing of Jon be compared to the making of a hilt? The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it. Mance's wife, Dalla, tells this to Jon Snow before she dies. She is a symbolic mother for Jon Snow (along with Gilly and, I suspect, Mother Mole. Jon's obsession with rescuing Mother Mole and her followers is a symbolic way of searching for his mother.) So the mysterious Wick Whittlestick is introduced to call our attention to the making of a hilt. There was a blade without a hilt that couldn't be effectively used. Jon Snow is the hilt that was needed. I think a number of parties all want to "hold" that hilt but we don't know which of them are working together in the assassination of Jon Snow. Wildlings? Night's Watch? Melisandre? Ramsay? Northern lords? All of the above? I had a thought a few years ago that Joffrey's death looked like a "Murder on the Orient Express" plot, with many people who wanted him dead all taking a turn with the stabbing, so to speak. Maybe this is what we are seeing with Jon's death as well. But we do know that Melisandre wants to be an effective sorcerer, and that she uses some tricks - powders hidden in secret pockets - to make her magic appear to be more powerful. Wouldn't she love to have a better "hilt" to wield that sorcery blade more effectively? On the other hand, the men who stab and cut Jon explicitly say, "For the watch." Maybe they want to ensure that his blood magic is used for Night's Watch purposes, and not for Melisandre's agenda. Or maybe the goals of the Night's Watch and of Melisandre happen to coincide - the night is dark and full of terrors. (Sorry, I realize I am drifting from the Ramsay / pink letter focus of this thread. I didn't want to start a new thread when I had the not-entirely-new Melisandre / pink letter insight to share, and I thought this thread had petered out and could be used without detracting from an active discussion. I'll try to stop adding other stuff now that people are interested in the original topic again.)
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    Wow, I never noticed that v.17

    Garnets are associated with Targaryens, I believe, or with the people who are loyal to them. The Lannisters are all about rubies. I don't think all twin references allude to Cersei and Jaime. We have the Frey castle called The Twins and the Redwyne twins and some others.
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    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    I noticed a few things about storm-related imagery in the chapters I examined. 1) There is a lot of detail framed in terms of a rising tide or rising flood waters. She made her way down, the hem of her scarlet skirts swishing over the steps. It almost seemed as if she floated. Coming home, they would be slowed by thousands of free folk, many sick and starved. A river of humanity moving slower than a river of ice. That would leave them vulnerable. Dead things in the wood. Dead things in the water. How many men are enough? I'm not sure the flood metaphor is the same thing as the storm metaphor. Perhaps the point is to show that Jon is caught between two forces - one coming from above and one coming from below. Melisandre tells Jon to look to the skies. Yarwyck points out that the second or renewed storm is blowing in from the south. In the AGoT Catelyn POV I see as a parallel for the pink letter chapter, the rising water is represented by the rivers surrounding Robb at Riverrun and is almost certainly a metaphor for the rising tide of war: And the river lords were rising too, Blackwood and Bracken and Mallister, houses who had never been ruled from Winterfell, yet Catelyn watched them rise and draw their blades bending their knees and shouting the old words that had not been heard in the realm for more than three hundred years ... If the rising waters represent war, the snow and storm probably represent the approach of the Others. If the author wants us to compare rising waters and deep snow, this could help to make sense of some of Patchface's cryptic remarks, such as, "Under the sea the crows are white as snow ... " 2) Tormund may command storms. Tormund Giantsbane timed his arrival perfectly, thundering up with his warriors when all the shoveling was done. ... He had ice in his beard and more crusting in his mustache. Someone had already told the Thunderfist about Gerrick Kingsblood and his new style. "King o' the Wildlings?" Tormund roared. "Har! King o' My Hairy Butt Crack, more like." I know that a lot of the discussion of Tormund's love life, based on his tall tale about having sex with a bear, speculates that he is the father of the children of Maege Mormont. I can't argue with that, but I wonder whether the author's point is to portray Tormund as a bear character - like a skinchanger, in a way, or just a parallel to Jeor Mormont. We see other bear characters, such as Small Paul who is huge and hairy and can break a wildling's back with a hug. My guess is that Tormund is a variation on the theme of Jeor Mormont and he acts as a mentor and supporter for Jon Snow. Like Small Paul, Tormund indicates an interest in taking possession of Mormont's raven. My point with the Mormont parallel is to show that Tormund is kind of a god of the Wall; part of a group of empowered bear characters who are ascendant in various ways at this location in Westeros. (Of course, there is also a giant motif around Tormund. He cuts open a giant and hibernates inside her, emerging as her baby some months later.) I'm at the beginning of formulating this theory, but I wonder whether there is a Storm God archetype in ASOIAF, beginning with the House Durrandon legend, and people such as Jon Arryn and Jeor Mormont and Robert Baratheon have fulfilled this role in echoes of the original Storm God? 3) Alys Karstark may personify snow (or winter). Or maybe the Karstark family in general represents winter. There are Karstarks in the AGoT Catelyn POV I examined and in this pink letter chapter. Robb will eventually execute Lord Karstark; Jon helps Alys to be safe and to thrive. (Or so he intends.) He initially imprisons Cousin Cregan Karstark in the Wall but, in the pink letter chapter, he moves Cregan into the Lord Commander's tower that has sat unoccupied since the fire and Mormont's death. Is Cregan's time in the ice cell a sort of gestation period? Does he emerge as the baby of the Wall and take possession, in a sense, of the commander's seat? Jon directs that the giant Wun Wun should help to dig out the snow that will allow the opening of the door to the ice cell. Does that make the giant a sort of midwife for the rebirth of Cregan? (And provide a connection to the Tormund Giantsbane rebirth from a giantess?) Melisandre tells Jon Snow that she sees his sister approaching on a dying horse. When the girl arrives, it is Alys Karstark, not Arya, as Jon had expected. Jon tells Melisandre that her vision was wrong; the girl is not his sister. But Jon Snow's name is Snow. If Alys personifies snow, then she actually might represent a sister for Jon; a metaphorical sister of which he has not been cognizant. "You're not scared?" The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. "Let him be scared of me." The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. Her cheeks were flushed and red, and her eyes sparkled. "Winter's lady" Jon squeezed her hand. Alys introduced a dancing metaphor as she sat with Jon Snow at her wedding celebration. "Do you dance often, here at Castle Black?" "Every time we have a wedding, my lady." "You could dance with me, you know. It would be only courteous. You danced with me anon." "Anon?" teased Jon. "When we were children." She tore off a bit of bread and threw it at him. "As you know well." "My lady should dance with her husband." "My Magnar is not one for dancing, I fear. If you will not dance with me, at least pour me some of the mulled wine." (ADwD, Chap. 49, Jon X) A snowflake danced upon the air. Then another. Dance with me, Jon Snow, he thought. You'll dance with me anon. (ADwD, Chap. 58, Jon XII) Note: Jon always pictures Robb Stark with snow melting in his hair. Now we have snow dancing in the air. And it appears that Jon is about to take on vengeance in the manner of a Stark heir. If you read the wedding scene with Alys and the Magnar of Thenn, the marriage is one of ice and fire, "Stark" and wildling, black and white, arranged by Jon. When he opens the Shieldhall, there are torches alternating with shields on the walls - further symbolism of the newly-introduced balance between ice (Wall = shield) and fire (torches). Of course, he also persuades Tormund to bring the Free Folk south of the Wall, uniting crows and wildlings against a common foe. Another new balance or diplomatic armistice only Jon could achieve. @Rose of Red Lake I realize you were trying to use the descriptions of the snow storms to sort out the timeline for the roughly concurrent events in Theon and Jon's arcs. I know that timelines can be helpful and I have never been very good at working them out. My guess is that the author is using the arrival and cessation of snow in literary ways that may not match up precisely with literal events and timelines. Storms and flooding and thunder and snowfall are important clues, in my thinking, but more metaphorical than temporal.
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    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    I haven't checked in with this thread for a month so forgive me if I am repeating points already made by others. I suddenly find myself on "Team Mel," so to speak, convinced that Melisandre wrote the pink letter. Her motive was not to get Jon Snow to march toward Winterfell; what she wanted was for Jon to "crown" himself so she could use his king's blood to strengthen the Wall. The chapter with the pink letter (ADwD Chap. 69, Jon XIII) is full of literary subtext setting up Jon to be sacrificed. A few examples: The chief builder of the Night's Watch, Othell Yarwick, enthusiastically drinks mulled wine provided by Jon: "Marsh listened attentively, ignoring the mulled wine, whilst Yarwyck drank one cup and then another." Queen Selyse has settled on her own rationale to declare Gerrick Kingsblood as King of the Wildlings. He is descended from the little brother of a king named Redbeard. The red beard reference may foreshadow the first cut on Jon Snow, whose throat will be slit by Wick Whittlestick. Melisandre's desire for king's blood is well known, and Jon thought he had taken steps to protect against her blood lust by sending Mance's baby and Maester Aemon away from the Wall. Mormont's raven shares one of its famous insights, "thrice," as Qyburn would say: "Corn? Corn? Corn?" This has been interpreted as an allusion to the harvest death of John Barleycorn or the sacrifice of the harvest king. In ASOIAF, a boar is often present at the death of a king. In the chapter with the pink letter, Jon confines his direwolf so it will not clash with the boar of the skinchanger, Borroq. There's also some subtle stuff around the Karstarks in both chapters. In the Catelyn POV, Rickard Karstark says, "... we must not give up the Kingslayer." Of course he is referring to the imprisoned Jaime Lannister, but the use of the nickname tells me the author wants us to apply this line to more than one context. We know that Karstark will turn against Robb and help with the kingslaying at the Red Wedding. And sure enough, we will see Jon slayed (slew?) after reacting to the pink letter. In the Jon POV, Cregan Karstark is moved from his ice cell in the Wall to an undervault in "the Old Bear's former seat," the Lord Commander's tower. It seems significant both that Cregan has been acting like an animal (a direwolf?) and that he should occupy the Lord Commander's tower before Jon Snow ever takes occupancy. The PL chapter also includes a number of parallels to AGoT, Chap. 71, Catelyn XI, in which Robb is "crowned" by his bannermen. Robb's elevation to king occurs just after he and Catelyn learn of Ned's death. As soon as Jon reads the pink letter, Tormund remarks: "Snow? ... You look like your father's bloody head just rolled out o' that paper." When Robb is proclaimed king, Catelyn notes a return of historical allegiances: "... Catelyn watched them rise and draw their blades, bending their knees and shouting the old words that had not been heard in the realm for more than three hundred years, since Aegon the Dragon had come to make the Seven Kingdoms one ... yet now were heard again, ringing from the timbers of her father's hall." Similarly, in the PL chapter: "The Shieldhall was abandoned. In the last hundred years, it had been used only infrequently. As a dining hall, it left much to be desired -- it was dark, dirty, drafty, and hard to heat in winter, it cellars infested with rats, its massive wooden rafters worm-eaten and festooned with cobwebs. ... Is there any man here who will come stand with me?" The roar was all he could have hoped for, the tumult so loud that the two old shields tumbled from the walls. The ancient crown of the Kings of Winter had been lost three centuries ago, yielded up to Aegon the Conqueror when Torrhen Stark knelt in submission. What Aegon had done with it no man could say. Lord Hoster's smith had done his work well, and Robb's crown looked much as the other was said to have looked in the tales told of the Stark kings of old; an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes wrought in the shape of longswords. Of gold and silver and gemstones, it had none; bronze and iron were the metals of winter, dark and strong to fight against the cold. (ACoK, Catelyn) Just as Robb's crown is comprised of nine swords, Jon counts nine "swords" whose willingness to follow him provide reassurance that he can challenge Ramsay Snow: "Soren Shieldbreaker was on his feet, the Wanderer as well. Toregg the Tall, Brogg, Harle the Huntsman and Harle the Handsome both, Ygon Oldfather, Blind Doss, even the great Walrus. I have my swords, thought Jon Snow, and we are coming for you, Bastard." This completes the symbolic crowning of Jon Snow, imho. Yarwyck and Marsh slip out of the hall as soon as the line about having the swords passes through Jon's mind. Both chapters involve giants and suckling babes. For Robb we see "the little Darry boy" (dairy) and the Greatjon: "Whatever you may decide for yourselves, I shall never call a Lannister my king," declared Marq Piper. "Nor I!" yelled the little Darry boy. "I never will!" ... "Why shouldn't we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead!" [The Greatjon] pointed at Robb with the blade. "There sits the only king I mean to bow my knee to, m'lords," he thundered. "The King in the North!" For Jon Snow, giants and suckling babes overlap in the persons of Tormund Giantsbane, his son Toregg and Gilly's baby, known as Monster: " ... I want all the leading men in the Shieldhall when the evening watch begins. Tormund should be back by then. Where can I find Toregg?" "With the little monster, like as not. He's taken a liking to one o' them milkmaids, I hear." And then there's this: "Send women, then. Send giants. Send suckling babes. Is that what my lord wishes to hear?" Bowen Marsh rubbed at the scar he had won at the Bridge of Skulls. There are Renly references or allusions in the chapter in which Robb is crowned as well as the chapter with the pink letter. "... We've had word from the south. Renly Baratheon has claimed his brother's crown." "Renly?" she said, shocked. "I had thought, surely it would be Lord Stannis ..." "So did we all, my lady," Galbart Glover said. In the pink letter chapter, the Renly allusions are indirect. Again that whole Gerrick Kingsblood of House Redbeard conversation, which hinges on his being descended from a younger brother and thus not considered a legitimate heir by the wildlings. Tormund says that the younger brother was called the Red Raven because he was, "First to fly the battle, he was. 'Twas a song about it, after." At Joffrey's wedding feast, there was a song about Renly's ghost at the Battle of the Blackwater and his spirit flew after the battle for a last look at his lady wife. (I also think there is a lot of Targaryen symbolism surrounding Renly. Flying in battle would be a logical reference to a dragon rider.) GRRM loves irony so Selyse, wife of Stannis, crowning a descendant of "Renly" is a nice example of his sense of humor. The Renly references are important in sorting out the pink letter because we strongly suspect that Melisandre (with help from Renly's brother, Stannis) sent a shadow baby to kill Renly. Remember Renly's final word? "Cold," said Renly in a small puzzled voice, a heartbeat before the steel of his gorget parted like cheesecloth beneath the shadow of a blade that was not there. (ACoK, Chap. 33, Catelyn IV) Compare this to Jon Snow's last thought, after the attack by his "brothers": He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold ... I'm not saying that Jon Snow was also killed by a shadow baby, but the link to Renly's death does give us a major clue that Melisandre may have brought about the stabbing attack on Jon Snow. tl;dr: There are key parallels between the Robb Stark "King in the North" scene at Riverrun, the crowning and death of King Renly, and the pink letter chapter featuring Jon Snow. Each of the young men is made "king", and each ends up being killed as a direct response to his crowning. Because Melisandre believes in the power of king's blood to spark magic, and because of her role in Renly's death, I believe she engineered a "crowning" for Jon Snow so she could shed his blood to strengthen the Wall as a shield against the coming invasion.