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    Art, dance , film ,books, archaeology , history, politics. hockey, figure skating, dogs ..and on and on.

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  1. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Well, I'm back sooner than I expected to be. This brings up language again. Here's Jon being sent on the suicide mission to kill Mance , (ASOS) ... ..and here's Ghost and John (ADWD).... I think this is a clue that Thorne is back (there are many others). These two examples are the only places "stink" is used in this way - in any character's POV. I think they are meant to connect. In ASOS, Jon couldn't actually smell Thorne, but I think Ghost can actually smell his presence in ADWD. Jon assumes it's the boar's scent, but he's wrong. It's not his nemesis but Jon's that Ghost senses. Mully did something suspicious while Jon was with Selyse - maybe tampered with Longclaw . ... Or maybe Clydas delivered the original letter, leaving it on Jon's table (as he's done before) and Mully came in and took it. I think Bowen and Mully are what Mully's old grandmother would call "winter friends" - friends forever. Ghost bares his teeth at Jon and later tries to leave with him to get at Thorne, not Borroq's boar. Jon doesn't recognise the danger he's in. Bowen wouldn't be such a threat without Thorne ( one of the main reasons Jon tried to reassign Thorne). ETA: About "Bastard".. Yes, they've all used it ... I never really felt the same vehemence from Stannis, though. Even when inwardly seething, he's outwardly contained (if rude) ... with Mance I felt more heavy sarcasm (to be fair, maybe with a smidge of hindsight gained once he revealed himself)... From Ramsay, I'd expect it in person (see: rant on Lady Dustin) .. of the other letters he's written, Asha's is the most threatening and it's couched in almost polite language. The threat is in the blood and skin. It's cold by comparison to the PL. (and as I've often said, when a possible attack from him is immenent, he gives no warning) ... Lady Hornwood receives a lofty "no Bolton would be questioned by a woman. " in the letter she received ... As you say, Thorne and Slynt take top honours for nasty use of "Bastard" ... and IMO, a lot of what Slynt says is parroting Thorne.
  2. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Fair points, but I don't think Stannis is the one doing the manipulating. I don't think Stannis would have changed his mind since he wrote from Mott Cailin saying he needed Jon at the wall. Of course, I think he sent the letter from the crofters' village following the battle I agree this has some importance, maybe in more ways than one. I believe Marsh says that this advice came from an uncle , not his father. It's always intrigued me because this uncle (that Marsh seems to idolize) could have been a maternal uncle and knowing what house he belonged to might explain a lot about Marsh and his motivations. I don't think it would be enough for the conspirators to just lock Jon out on the wrong side of the wall. It definitely would not be enough for Thorne. His plans for Jon's demise have been thwarted over and over again - by Mormont, then Aemon, then Stannis, then Sam and Mormont's raven. Thorne, at least, wouldn't want to trust the deed to wildlings or to the Others. He'd want to be certain of Jon's death as a result of his planning and preferably by his instrument. As for the NW brothers accompanying Jon - Jon would pick the men, so there would be no way to limit the men to his supporters only ... but we know that some Bowen cronies are included in those Jon thinks of his more able and experienced men (I'm thinking of Mully, in particular). What we shouldn't forget is the Black Gate. We don't see everything that has gone on at the wall, but we did see Stannis pointedly tell Sam that he expects Sam to show him the gate. I assume this probably happened off-page. So, who else would be present? NW leadership would surely want to be included. Wouldn't Stannis want to send someone through to check it out? Neither he nor any of his men could do that. ...Wouldn't the NW want to confirm Sam's story themselves? Wouldn't they want to take note of what landmarks to look for on the other side? ... Wouldn't they already have done it? Sam returned at the same time as Bowen. Bowen was in charge of the NW until Jon's elecion. Bowen and Thorne were thick.... Survivors of Jon's ranging could have been expected to return by this route. In fact, I don't think Thorne was absent from the wall for very long at all, returning secretly in this way. Just in Passing, @Clegane'sPup and @three-eyed monkey .. I simply throw up my hands over the gates ... The plan of WF in the wiki is now different from what was shown back in the dinosaur days of 2013 or so. Harking back to many a lengthy discussion and explanation and beating into my head, the main gate was set in the outer wall and the east gate was directly behind it set in the inner wall. Both eventually led to the Kingsroad (travelling to the south) via an approach road running eastward from the Kingsroad to the main gate stretching about 1/4 of the way around the castle. The gate's position was sort of on the SE. vector (or maybe ESE). There was no gate facing directly E. ... (If true, this might be because it would face Bolton territory ?!?) This whole arrangement might not be as strange as it first seems when you remember that the inner walls were raised long before the outer walls. It would be only logical to align the new main gates with existing gates.... At the same time, the north gate did face N, and led. directly to the northbound Kingsroad. The hunter's gate faced sort of NW or maybe WNW and there was no S. gate. According to this layout neither Freys nor Manderlys could exit before both gates had been worked free and then it would be Freys first followed by Manderly's men. (I always assumed with some sort of safety gap between.) The map in the wiki now is much different, and it's only a fan map , so I'm hesitant to trust it entirely. It shows a South gate which it must mean to be the main gates (there's nothing labelled "Main Gate") It shows an East gate way up at the north end of the east wall. It shows the Hunter's gate facing directly west. The only thing more or less in the same location as the old map is the North Gate . I think this is what is meant by the Kingsroad gate since it's the one that is in closest proximity to any part of the Kingsroad.. I still trust the old map more, in large part because of this quote from ACOK, Bran VII, when Bran & co are splitting up... . ... But the Kingsroad coming up from the south (on any map) doesn't run to the east of WF. If the new map is anywhere near correct, the "south gate" (if it exists) would have been a better option. If Osha meant to follow the Kingsroad southward then the location of the east gate according to the old map makes more sense. (After all, if the object was to separate Bran and Rickon by a wide distance, it wouldn't make much sense to have them both travelling northward on opposite sides of the Kingsroad.) The two quotes from Osha and Roose are the only mentions of Winterfell's east gate. It seems obvious that the descriptions, matched with the actions are meant to obscure Osha and Rickon's movements. I don't know that GRRM meant to confuse us much about Roose's deployments because the battle was originally going to appear in ADWD. ... If we're left scratching our heads, it's just a cruel twist of fate. I also disagree with Ran's early assessment (I don't know whether he's had any second thoughts). We don't know that Jon has seen anything more than Ramsay's signature. He may or may not have shown the letter to Stannis ... But regardless, Stannis has a very frightened Maester Tybald right where he wants him. He would know Ramsay's signature very well and I'm sure could render a passable forgery. At CB, the conspirators need only copy it. @Ser Hedge , I wanted to offer some alternative projections to your post at the top. Now, I'll have to come back to do it since I seemed to get myself off on a side track.
  3. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Omigod.. sort of caught up, but too many quotes to deal with. I'm just going to flag a few people I think might be interested, or that I would have quoted ... @three-eyed monkey ... @kissdbyfire ... @The Coconut God ... @Impbread .. and what the hell, anyone else It's not only important what is said in the letter, but the way it's said. Though we can't actually hear tone or inflection, I think we can discern them if we look closely. Whore : I'll correct myself from the last page - the letter speaks of his (Stannis') red whore, not Jon's ,but I don't think that makes much difference. This is the only time the term appears. We never see Ramsay use the word whore as an insult to or about anyone (even in reference to the hated Lady Dustin) We don't see Mance use it as an insult to or about anyone. We have seen Stannis use it, mysoginistically victim-blaming Gilly (goat's milk is better than whore's milk) when he learns of the incest forced on her by Craster. However, I don't think Stannis would use "whore" to describe Mel, even when hiding his identity. She's not just a sexual object to him, and to equate Mel with a whore would be to equate himself with Robert. Stannis prides himself in being a different sort of man.(Yet I think Stannis wrote the original letter.) ... Last but not least, Thorne refers to Ygritte as an “unwashed whore” in (to me) the same sneering way that the letter uses “red whore”. Bastard: I believe if Stannis has used it, it would have been matter-of-factly (I can think of no instance where he hurls it as an epithet at anyone). ... Ramsay uses it once in reference to his horse, but while telling Theon to take care of it... "Just see to Blood. I rode the bastard hard."...so, not in a cruel or insulting way. ... Mance uses it to Jon many times, but without hatred behind it. He's reminding Jon of their first conversation and Jon's supposed reason for joining him (rubbing it in a bit, but not smearing him). ... Disguised as Rattleshirt, he's trying to hint to Jon about his own real identity so that Jon can make use of him in the way Jon and Stannis discussed. ,,, But Thorne uses bastard about and to Jon freely and dripping with contempt. The same "tone" is clear in the letter. I found it really informative to compare the letter to the scene where Thorne and Slynt question Jon in ASOS, Jon IX. I think there is a discernible pattern in the tactics and desired result common to both. (And if not for the presence of Maester Aemon, Thorne would likely have succeeded in getting Jon executed in the first instance.) We can tell that Thorne has been working away at Slynt, encouraging his resentment of Ned and projecting it onto Jon, fueling Slynt's pre-judgement with his own hatred and false accusations. Slynt confirms this when he says, “Ser Alliser had your measure true enough, it seems.” .. and we know that Thorne continued doing much the same with Bowen and others up until Jon sent him ranging. In both the interrogation and the PL there's an attempt to implicate Jon in the deeds of others: letter - “Your false king lied and so did you, You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.” ... interrogation - “Lord Snow is nothing if not arrogant,” said Ser Alliser. “He murdered Qhorin just as his fellow turncloaks did Lord Mormont. It would not surprise me to learn that it was all part of the same fell plot. ...” Both cases are marked by repeated insults and goading until, in the case of the interrogation , Jon does react by choking Thorne, which Thorne then uses to try to prove his case (that Jon did indeed turn his cloak)... “You see for yourselves, brothers. The boy is a wildling.” Of course , thanks to Aemon, the plan falls short of success. I believe the plan has not succeeded with the PL either, since I don't think Jon is dead, or even "mostly dead". But I'll leave that aside, for now. (And I'll leave aside the suicide mission which is in many ways dissimilar, although Jon realises that Thorne is the brains behind that plan, too.) I think the plan that was being formulated was to kill Jon on his ranging to Hardhome ( a fate Thorne accused Jon of planning for him). The danger to Jon is hinted at a number of times and I think the conspirators were set to make sure of it. However the ranging would be dangerous for their agents too ... as well as for any brothers who were not in on the plot. With the arrival of the letter, the chance to get John to go to WF instead would be safer for them (and must have seemed like a gift.) It would just take some of Alliser's tried and true tweaking. BUT... one of the recurring themes running through our story is - no matter how carefully laid a plan is, someone is likely going to throw a spanner in the works. Jon's decision to take only wildlings and the wildlings' rousing willingness to be led by him are a couple of really weighty spanners. Hence the rushed (and I believe botched) assassination attempt. So I think Stannis wrote the original letter (disguised as Ramsay) intending to warn Jon to try to scoop up Arya's party (which includes Tycho, bearing Stannis' hope of help from Braavos) and to warn Jon to protect CB against Ramsay. I agree that Stannis has a Trojan Horse plan and I expect he will win his battle at the crofters' village . I expect Ramsay will follow the Freys and Manderlys after giving them a good head start. Roose wouldn't want to risk his own men (or as few as possible) but they do need to retrieve "Arya". I just think there are spanners (at least one major one) in Stannis' future , but I've beaten my fingers up enough for one night. I'll elaborate tomorrow.
  4. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Life has been keeping me away (and problems with my hands), so I have a lot of thoughts pent up and I hope I've saved some of the multiple posts I started and couldn't finish. Anyway, when you think of the distance Jon's letter had traveled, compared to Roose's letter, Jon's should have been sopping. GRRM purposely has Theon point out that Roose's letter would be wet, precisely for comparison, I'd bet. There may have been time to dry it (e.g. by Clydas' fire), but then parchment wouldn't have dried flat and if it was pressed that would take longer to dry. So... I don't think there's any perhaps about Thorne's involvement.I think the letter reads most like the way we have seen Thorne speak to Jon when he's really trying to goad Jon into doing something rash. - Bastard, bastard, bastard ... earlier, Ygritte was an "unwashed whore"... here, Mel is Jon's "red whore" (not just the more usual red witch)... earlier, Thorne tries to goad Jon into attacking him, a senior officer, which is itself punishable by death ... now Jon is being goaded into attacking Winterfell , which is no doubt included in the conspirator's supposed reasoning / excuse for the assassination.... and many other etc's. (I could go on.) I agree the original letter was written by Stannis, but I think it was wriiten not from Winterfell, but from the field after the battle and after Ramsay , arriving late for the battle, continues on after his bride and his Reek. I've missed a lot, here. I have pages to read to catch up...
  5. I just discovered that I had an unfinished post saved from weeks ago (before life called me away). I'm just going to put up most of it as is and then continue. I'll come at this backwards... I think a letter appearing to be from Ramsay was received at CB for Jon while he was with Selyse. If Clydas is not to be trusted, it went straight to Bowen... if he is to be trusted, he maybe left it in Jon's solar, only to have it purloined by Mully and delivered to Bowen, (As three eyed monkey suggested) ... Side note: IMO, Thorne is already back at CB, hiding in the wormways and directing the conspirators - probably from the very same cell that Sam found in the book vaults in AFFC - either way, Bowen then takes the letter to Thorne. I think the conspirators would accept what was written as fact, but forge it anew, adding extra inflammatory language (including all the "bastard"s) intending to goad Jon into going south with the NW. This would bolster their claims of treason , which (along with their declaration of "For the watch") they hope will win exoneration for themselves when they kill Jon. They would have parchment and ink at their disposal but would have to reuse wax from the seal. Language used, short version : Ramsay hates being called a bastard himself but I don't think there's an example of him taunting anyone else with it.. He tells Theon to look after his horse in Barrowton, adding.. "I rode the bastard hard", but IIRC from past searches, that's the only example I found, and it shows no animosity toward the horse. It's Thorne who has used "bastard" repeatedly to Jon in the same sneering, insulting way used in the letter. ... Even when Mance used it to try to give Jon a clue to his identity, it never read quite so much like a curse, to me. Red Witch / Red Whore - again, we can see that "red witch" is not exclusive to Mance, but is probably fairly common since it's in use in White Harbour (and used by a high born lady) ... "Red whore" is seen nowhere else but in the PL, but the clue is in how it's used ... Ramsay doesn't even use "whore" in his furious rant against Lady Dustin, who he despises. But Thorne calls Ygritte "this unwashed whore" (with a smirk). Though used at different times for different women, both the PL's Red whore and Thorne's unwashed whore are used as insults to provoke Jon, not the women themselves. I think these examples come from the same vindictive source. Signing, "Trueborn Lord of Winterfell" is just one last way of calling Jon "bastard". In the other letters from Ramsay that we see, Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, e.g., has been enough to make a point of his legitimacy (even he doesn't add the redundant "trueborn", previously) .... But if Thorne has had input in the letter, I don't think he could resist getting in one last barb. The conspirators would also love to be rid of Selyse, Shireen, Mel, et all (don't want to feed them & want to please KL), so I think it's an open question whether the original letter even asked for them. What does/would Stannis want if he wrote the original letter? Yes, he always wanted to install Jon in Winterfell, but with Jon's continuing refusal, he'd settle for another northman. Mainly, he wants a Lord of Winterfell indebted to him for the position. In his letter to Jon from Moat Cailin he says... I don't think he would change his mind about wanting Jon at the Wall. He plans to return (no doubt to wait for the outcome of Massey's trip) and he sees Jon as the best and most trustworthy leader to have at the Wall - to protect his interests. Even though Jon is unwilling to be Stannis' man in WF, even with Arnolf and his offspring busted, Stannis still wouldn't want Roose (or Ramsay) to restore WF to it's former strength. Stannis still wants possession of the castle. I'll note here that I don't think Stannis has any ravens with him because Jon doesn't hear from him until he reaches Moat Cailin and hasn't heard since. It's very possible Lady Glover is in short supply of CB ravens - she's been under occupation, and there's been a crisis or two at the Wall. (Regular deliveries of ravens from the watch interrupted.) I think Stannis is restricted to using Tybald's ravens, but since they are definitely behaving as if possessed, I feel sure one could be steered to Castle Black by BR or Bran. I say this taking a few things into consideration, such as whether Ramsay leaves WF... Yes, I too feel sure we can trust Theon's judgement in this. We also have to consider what Roose is likely to do. He always tries to conserve his own men, but it's imperative to keep Jeyne and even Theon from falling into other hands. Since he doesn't fully trust the other houses with him in WF, I think he would make the best of a bad situation and send Ramsay and some Bolton men out after them, still retaining the greater part of his men in WF. I don't think he would send them out immediately with the Freys and Manderlies . I think he'd hold Ramsay back, maybe by as much as a day, letting the Freys and Manderlies take the brunt of battle along with the Karstarks. Ramsay could well arrive to find Stannis supposedly dead, his corpse and his sword in apparently Bolton-friendly hands. In such a case, he would light out immediately after his bride and his Reek. ... We've already seen Ramsay be fooled by Roose's use of a body double dressed in his armour when Roose returned. Foreshadowing? Coming back to the OP's list ... I don't think Stannis would ask for Selyse, Mel, etc. unless he had taken WF first ... but at the same time, I don't think he would wait the 3 days to get to WF before trying to alert Jon. If Ramsay pursues Jeyne and Theon, that also would put Tycho and Stannis' loan at risk. If Stannis thought there was even a slight chance that he could send one of Tybald's ravens to Jon, he would take it, but he'd have to keep up the ruse of his death in case the raven went to Roose. Although Stannis, personally, has not been truly converted to belief in R'hlorr, through Mel , he has been brought to realise that magic exists, and he hasn't shied away from using it in his own interest. I think he would now be open to magic from another source and equally open to taking advantage of it's use. GRRM has laid a lot of groundwork for some dramatic magic-based occurrence at the tree on the island and kept Asha's POV with Stannis to provide a fully rational account. I project that Stannis will send one of Tybald's ravens to Jon as soon as Ramsay has left the scene of the battle in pursuit of his bride and his Reek. As I mentioned previously, "seven days" must include travel time to the lake and back (3 days one way) with some harrying by Umber's boys on the way there and allegedly back (but not really, because the survivors are all secretly on the same side - Stannis's). They must have brought Stannis's unique sword and some bald guy's head back to Winterfell as "proof" of his death. Stannis' information on the approaching forces comes from Theon and Tycho, not scouts.... I think too much attention has been paid to trying to interpret the "seven days of battle" - and I include myself in this. Even quite recently I thought it must be some kind of clue as to how long "Arya" had been on her way or something like that. .. No mas. I've given up... There would be no point in including travel time from WF to the battle and back, since Jon has no way of knowing Stannis' location. Even before the weather took such a nasty turn, Jon pointed out to Stannis that a siege wouldn't work, so it can't refer to a siege with daily forays. Medieval battles in our world lasted hours, not days... there are some exceptions.. say if it's a series of skirmishes over days between two armies in the countryside ending in a final battle (but still described as a battle in our history), or one army trailing and harrying another before finishing them off ( a running battle, I guess) ... but Jon would know these sorts of things couldn't be the case. ... So I think the whole point of "seven days of battle" (if written by Stannis) is to make a claim so unbelievable that it casts serious doubt on some other claims as well - such as Stannis' death,e.g. (and the letter does specifically urge Jon to ask Mel about it). The most important thing is , Ramsay doesn't have "Arya" and wants her back, which I agree Ramsay would never tell Jon ... and he wouldn't forewarn Jon that he might attack CB to retrieve her. So... the next most important thing (or equally important) is Jon needs to take steps to defend CB from the south. We know from Jon's previous musings that the best way to do that is preemptively strike the attackers on their way.
  6. bemused

    Poll: Did Jojen Die Off-Page in DANCE?

    No, no, a thousand times no. (count 'em)
  7. Going back a bit... Probably, Daemon + Nettles = Pygmalion (GRRM echoes GBS)
  8. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    We can only wait...
  9. Even "Mance in a cage" could be written by Stannis making an assumption based on Theon's ramblings. ... When he arrived Theon was trying to tell Asha all about Abel and the spearwives. Hours have passed, and he's been talking to Stannis. ... Stannis has had hours of conversation with Mance. Mance didn't hesitate to tell Jon about his singer disguise. Why would he not mention it to Stannis.? Stannis can add two and two and come up with four.. ... Prisoners in cages are commonplace in Westeros. Stannis had Rattleshirt/Mance in a cage"for all the world to see" at WF. ...(Mance gives this quote to Jon ... but was he just repeating what Stannis said to him ?) ok..'snuff.
  10. Attaboy! You know I'm on the same bandwagon.. And I completely agree with this: Absolutely... Ramsay would never give warning if he was actually on his way, and I think he will be - straight from the battlefield. Looking forward to your new thread. Lost quite a long post last night.(I'll save it up, now.)
  11. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    This is quite OK, but the thing is , many of us accept certain things in the text as clues or hints (the same kinds of clues and hints that GRRM is well known to use) that apparently you do not accept. We also rely on outside-the-books information given in his many interviews and Q&As - such as what real world religions and historical events he's been inspired to use as a foundation. As a result, we find Val interesting while you do not. No one expects you to go on faith, we're not going on faith either. We're speculating, certainly - but it's informed speculation, not simply inventing possibilities out of whole cloth. No one knows to what degree our suspicions will pan out or whether you'll eventually become interested. GRRM crumbles the cookies as he will. We can only wait. In the meantime, I doubt I can convince you that GRRM has given Val a lot of thought, and I remain unconvinced that he hasn't. ----------- I think it helps if you go a bit farther back in Jon and Val's conversation, re: pity . Is she lying? I don't think so. She pities Shireen's condition, but she's angry that Monster and the milkmaids are being kept in such close proximity to what, to her knowledge, is a fatal communicable disease. The anger and the pity aren't mutually exclusive. ---------- I do have an idea of what Val might mean by "Let me help ... I can do more". The "lads" Ulmer speaks for seem willing enough to live with Jon's agreement, but Jon knows gaining overall acceptance won't be easy. I don't think Val would be much use as a PR rep for Jon. I can't see her winning over Bowen & co. and I can't see her thinking she could. Would she be as safe among the NW brothers as she was among the wildlings? Because (for many reasons)I think she fits somewhere in the range of wise woman / witch /prophetess class of characters we've already met or heard about, I think she's referring to much the same service that Mel offers when she asks Jon if she should tell him the names of his enemies, or something along those lines. That's without going into too much depth, and I suspect it might reinforce our differing perspectives ... but that's OK.
  12. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    No need to clarify. I understand your points, but I simply disagree. I think it's very premature to judge that the author has not given the character much thought. The very fact that we haven't been given more (in spite of the prominent position of the character) tells me that GRRM is holding something back. Even so, we've been given clues as to what at least some of that might be. Just knowing how GRRM feels about the standard fantasy characters and tropes (for me) set off alarm bells when Jon thinks of Val as a "warrior princess". Especially when we know she's not a princess and doesn't appear to be a spearwife. I think that's a blatant hint to us that Jon is wrong.. So we can deduce that she isn't so confident about going north of the wall because she's just a fightin' machine ... But if she's GRRM's version of a Norse spaekona, her person would be pretty much inviolate to most other wildlings, and this would explain her confidence. (I won't go off into the weeds and enumerate all the clues all over again) I do feel that the characters you compare her to are not really equivalent, because we get to know them /observe them through multiple POVs and/or through anecdotes from non-POV characters. We know Val almost exclusively through Jon's POV , except for a teeny bit through Sam (but he's so shy he can barely look at her or speak to her) On the contrary, Val pities both mother and child, but is horror-struck because according to her knowledge (flawed or not) Shireen will suffer greatly and then inevitably die ... and likely spread the disease to others. But I don't find this to be the most interesting scene, necessarily, although it's dramatic. In the same chapter (Jon XI) just preceding the offending "warrior princess" quote, we have... Jon is worried about selling his agreement to the NW and perhaps the northmen. What makes her so sure she can help with that? She can do more. In what way? Jon is busy admiring her - how she looks, how she rides - not really twigging to what she's saying enough to ask how. This scene and others also raise questions that build a speculative picture of Val and I'm sure that GRRM thought to build the clues and questions in which says that he has /is building Val very carefully and deliberately. But it's OK to agree to disagree ... We'll be able to judge better when TWOW comes out.
  13. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    Oh no, I wasn't taking it in a personal way, at all. It just strikes me funny/ surprising/ entertaining/interesting sometimes - the differing perceptions that people have. So I wasn't being upset, just playful ... you know - Yum! Loves me some Norse flavoured cheese... and so forth. My take away was quite different.. since Martin was putting Val in a prominent position, I always trusted that he had a reason for not fleshing her out more fully. At the same time, George had said that he based the religion of the old gods on the Norse religion as he based the faith of the Seven on Catholicism. In it's practice, the Faith has a rough approximation of the hierarchy of the Church - septons, septas, on up to the high septon/pope. The wildlings form of worship is probably closest to the form of the old gods'religion practiced by the first men. We can see a nod to the Norse idea of a sacred grove when Jon takes his recruits out to swear their oaths. ... Tormund, speaker-to-gods seems tailor made for the role of the Norse chieftain/priest. ... Then the whole Spaekona/volva= Vala = Val and Dalla thing occurred to me and I was off re-reading for clues.. Assume for a minute that I (and others) might be onto something, and you might feel less critical of George. At first, while (know-nothing) Jon is with Ygritte and in a relatively low position, it wouldn't have mattered much to the story if he knew more about Val ... that is, as long as things were going to stay that way. But GRRM destined Ygritte to die, Jon to save CB from Styr, Stannis to come to the Wall, Jon to become LC, but with the impediment of the presence of Stannis and Mel... This makes it fortunate that he had no real previous interaction with Val and his ignorance is a very good thing. Mance and Val had good reason not to reveal her true status, otherwise, she may have been burned by Mel. Val has to decide how far she can trust Jon as he gradually comes into his power and authority, while she gradually tries to encourage him to trust her. If GRRM had given a lot more detail about Val earlier, we'd be reading a different story.
  14. @lalt - I agree with @kissdbyfire in the above post. Jon has become de facto king of the FF by proving that he has their interests at heart and by being a strong leader. They follow strength ,as Mance told Jon. Furthermore, I think that Mance understands this and approves of it. If he survives, I think he will be quite OK with taking on a secondary role to Jon, like Tormund , first in support of Mance and now of Jon. In regard to motives, I agree with you that GRRM intends ultimately to move Jon away from the wall, but I don't think this is the juncture. I suspect there will be a confrontation with Ramsay, not at WF or at the wall but some point in between.
  15. I guess I'll weigh in yet again There's no proof that Ramsay had Mance in a cage, at all. There's only a claim. Looking at Mance and the remaining spearwives, while pretty well all of them have a chance of escape (some better than others) , Mance has the best chance of any of them. All he would have to do is change clothes (we know Myrtle collected changes of clothes for at least some of the spearwives), and then put Mel's ruby back on. Instantly, he'd appear to be a smaller and much homelier man. However, while I think a very logical case can be made that Mance wrote the letter, I don't think he did. Even if he privately suggested to Jon that Val could bring in Tormund's people, he'd have no way of knowing if Jon would send her or what had been accomplished. So he could'nt think that Jon would have enough men at his disposal to challenge the Boltons. And he would know that the length of time it would take for Jon to reach him wouldn't favour any rescue plans. Just a tiny note on the language used, though I could say more - Mance-as-Rattleshirt uses "red witch" and so Does the author of the letter.. but so does Tormund and Lady Leona in White Harbour. .... so I think that "red witch" is probably fairly common - and Mance is not the only character to use "bastard" to Jon repeatedly. (See Thorne) I agree with this, but reach different conclusions. I think Theon is right when he says in the TWoW chapter that Ramsay is coming... I think Roose's plan will change once he knows of the escape. He'll let Ramsay ride out in mop up position, letting the Frey and Manderly forces deplete each other and help Arnolf deal with Stannis' starving forces. Ramsay's main goal / motivation will be to recapture fArya and Reek/Theon. (The Boltons have no claim to WF without fArya). Ramsay will follow after them. Roose won't be there to restrain him. So I think Stannis will have believably faked his death, and will write to Jon using Tybald's WF ravens (I bet something will happen at the tree to convince Stannis they have a chance of reaching CB.) In case they do fly to WF, he writes as Ramsay to keep Roose believing he (Stannis) is dead. His motive is to give Jon warning that fArya is coming with Roose after her (knowing CB has no defenses to the south).... It's a Hail Mary pass. At the wall, I believe that Thorne has been back secretly for some time and has been directing Bolton and the conspirators. They intercept the letter an recopy and edit it- making it more insulting adding "bastard, bastard..etc." , taunting Jon come to WF , adding the requests for Selyse, Mel etc.,etc. Their motive is to get Jon to march south (thinking he will take the NW)..They hope he might comply with the requests for Stannis' people (They want rid of them) There's a fair amount of foreshadowing that their plan at first was to make sure Jon was killed on the ranging to Hardhome. But if he goes south to WF, they can still kill him without the risk of going north of the wall. Bowen personally is motivated by a desire to stay in KL's good books. Thorne is personally motivated by a hatred of Starks and Jon in particular He's been trying to bring about Jon's death and disgrace, one way or another for the whole series. So as I see it, there's not one person's motives behind the letter, but many. The conspirators could equally have tampered with a letter from Mance or Ramsay, but Stannis is my choice ... and yes, I think GRRM has purposely made it possible for a decent case to be made for a number of different characters.