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three-eyed monkey

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About three-eyed monkey

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    Spanker of one-eyed monkey.

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  1. I'm just agreeing with what Theon said on this subject, which is based on Ramsay's character. I think it's a valid reason. The best way to get her back is by pursuing her immediately. Captives can still be questioned by Roose, no need for Ramsay. You misread my argument. I'm saying that I find it a more compelling case that Ramsay rode out rather than stayed. If he did ride out then he cannot be in a position to receive a raven with false information from Tybald without first returning to Winterfell, and having been present at the battle would know the true outcome of the battle anyway. I'm not sure what passage you are referring to about Stannis scouts? That is a very loose interpretation of seven days of battle. You even point to the flaw in your own reasoning so no need to add anything else. Plus why would Stannis just send his sword and some bald guys head into Winterfell. His best, and perhaps only, chance to get inside the gates is to enter with the returning army after Tybald's message of victory. I find it far more likely that the lines, I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore, was written to alert Mel to the fact that the letter is a lie, as it conflicts with her own visions, as she has sworn to Stannis that she has seen him standing against the dark with Lightbringer raised, which obviously would not transpire if Stannis was dead and Ramsay had his sword. Not fully it seems because you're talking about sending his sword and a bald guys head into Winterfell, and I'm talking about getting Stannis and his army inside the walls. Jon leaving the Wall would cause some confusion, but not necessarily chaos. The Wall is still there. The Watch is still there. There is a command structure, including an experienced Lord Steward, to maintain order. The Watch have survived the departure and death of Lord Commanders before. Stannis would have weighed that risk of course, but the potential reward was worth the risk in his eyes.
  2. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Then it is Stannis who is overstating Jon's importance because the quotes on the matter come from him. Stannis sees political value in Jon, that much is clear from the text. Stannis does not conclude at all, because after he says that he asks Jon to swear his sword to him and rise as lord of Winterfell once again. This is true, he is currently proceeding without Jon, what else should we expect him to do? But that does not change the fact that having Jon by his side would add greatly to his cause. So he still has a motive surrounding Jon. And it must be noted that Stannis would have known that he needed to defeat the Boltons before he even landed at Eastwatch. He would also have known that once he defeats the Boltons he has to replace them with someone loyal to him and yet appealing to the northern lords at the same time. This is where Jon has greatest value to Stannis, especially as there is no other candidate apparent to Stannis, especially since Arnulf Karstark proved treacherous. No it is not being ignored. I agree wholeheartedly that Stannis adjusted, I say so in the OP. You believe he has adjusted by giving up on getting Jon and moving ahead without him, which Stannis has no choice but do at this stage anyway. I'm saying I think Stannis is too stubborn to give up and instead adjusted his method of getting Jon. While all that is advantageous to Stannis, having Jon would still be a significant boost to his chances of binding the north to his cause, and to say otherwise is to ignore everything in ADwD.
  3. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Stannis sent his Hand to treat with Manderly and thinks Wyman had him beheaded. so surely it would seem from Stannis point of view that they will not naturally join him. The Umbers have men with Roose, as do most of the other northern houses. Proving himself in battle against the Boltons does not mean the north will accept him. From the moment Stannis decided to go north he knew he would have to defeat the Boltons and their allies. There is no indication in the text that Stannis believes beating the Boltons will be enough to win their allies over. Stannis has said several times that he needs Jon for that. This is my point. Stannis has a clear motive for wanting Jon by his side. You began by saying he had no motive to want Jon as the north would fall into his lap if he won Winterfell. It seems you have begun to accept that Stannis has a motive to get Jon to his side.
  4. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore. I have his magic sword. Tell Melisandre. I believe this is a hint from Stannis to Mel that the letter is a lie because it clearly contradicts what she has seen in her flames. "Melisandre swears that she has seen me in her flames, facing the dark with Lightbringer raised on high. Lightbringer!"
  5. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Agreed. This is stated in the OP. Again, I refer you to the text. Stannis clearly states he wants Jon to be his Lord of Winterfell, several times, and never once mentions Arya as a possible alternative to Jon. He doesn't just feel the need for a Stark on hand, he needs a loyal Lord of Winterfell, a son of Eddard Stark. Even if he were to use Arya as a figurehead, he would still need to appoint someone to rule until she is of age, which means she would only provide a partial solution. You may think Arya is a reasonable alternative but Stannis clearly does not. Stannis has no reason to believe the north will fall into his lap if he takes Winterfell. The northern lords did not pay him homage, instead they paid homage to Roose at Barrowtown. Plus they chose independence under a King in the North not so long ago, a rival to Stannis in the War of 5 Kings. He knows they see him as a southron invader. Taking Winterfell has obvious advantages, but if he ever wants to be able to march south he needs some degree of political stability in the north, and that means a strong and loyal Lord of Winterfell and the northern lords bound to his cause. Stannis promised he would try to save Jon's sister. She is on her way to the Wall with an escort. The debt is paid. This is just wrong. Jon is elected Lord Commander in Jon XII ASoS. Most of the quotes cited in the OP are from ADwD. Does he? Can you cite text that demonstrates this? Stannis Baratheon with a grievance was like a mastiff with a bone; he gnawed it down to splinters. This quote you cite shows that Stannis will not let the grievance go, like a dog with a bone. There is no sense of resignation, quite the opposite in fact. Without a son of Winterfell to stand beside me, I can only hope to win the north by battle. He's not talking about the battle with the Boltons here. They are loyal to the Lannisters, so battle with the Boltons was always going to be inevitable for Stannis, and having a son of Winterfell to stand beside him would not change that. What he means here is without Jon then he can't win the northern lords to his cause, and if he can't win the northern lords to his cause then he will have to defeat them in battle, which given the size of his army would be near impossible. This again underlines the value Stannis puts in Jon, and the Stark name in general, as a means of winning the north. He has a common cause right now with the Mormonts, but he cant be confident they are on his side given that they did not pay him homage, in fact Lyanna Mormont told him the only king they recognize is the King in the North whose name is Stark. The same can be said for the mountain clans, Stannis knows they are there for their precious Ned's little girl. The Karstarks, the only house to pay him homage, (and Arnuf is not even Lord Karstark) were proven to be trecherous. The Glovers will be grateful I'm sure but they have been loyal to the Starks for generations. Mors Umber has a few green boys and greybeards. House Umber has not declared for Stannis. He thinks Wyman Manderly beheaded Davos. So, no, he's not in good shape at all. But he would be in a lot better shape if the son of Eddard Stark swore his sword to him and became his loyal Lord of Winterfell. It certainly couldn't hurt.
  6. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Except the northern lords want Jon to forswear his vows too as he is Robb's heir, according to all the clues, so I don't think abandoning his post on the Wall will be an issue. They might not appreciate Jon joining Stannis, for sure, not that Stannis is aware of their agenda regarding Jon. Stannis priority right now is defeating the Boltons, taking Winterfell, and winning the north to his cause. This is very clear. Stannis does regard the Others as the true enemy but that did not stop him asking Jon to forswear his vows, swear his sword to Stannis, and rise as Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell several times. If he therefore knows that removing Jon endangers that fight, as you claim, then why did he persist in courting Jon with a view to removing him from the wall. You might think Stannis wants Jon on the Wall, or Stannis doesn't need Jon to win the north, but Stannis has made it clear that he disagrees with you, so your argument ignores the text once again. I address this in the op. If Jon goes to Winterfell and finds Stannis holding the castle and the man who supposedly sent the letter [Ramsay] is already dead, then any call from the Watch for Jon's head will only play into Stannis' hands. Because if Jon swears fealty to Stannis then his king can pardon him with the stroke of a pen, just as he can legitimize him or raise him to Lord of Winterfell and his Warden of the North. Jon's main objection to Stannis was his vows but those vows have already been broken, and the alternative to Stannis offer will be execution, which makes a pretty compelling case for accepting the offer. This, essentially, is Stannis' plan in a nutshell.
  7. That's pretty more or less what I said. So we agree on that much. If Ramsay rides out with the Freys and Manderlys, then I imagine they will not be far behind Jeyne and Theon as Crowfood's boys are unlikely to delay them long. Jeyne had not yet left Stannis' camp in Theon I and they were expecting the enemy to be on them at any time. So there is nothing to suggest that Jeyne will have a lead of several days. Her lead will be determined by how long ahead of the battle she leaves, plus how long the battle lasts. As I said, I find seven days of battle to be highly unlikely given the condition of Stannis' army, who are freezing and starving to death at an ever increasing rate. 80 a day when last we heard. And, if Ramsay rides out he will also know the outcome of the battle, as he will be present. I can't see how he would lose but think he has won if he is there to witness the battle himself. This all assumes that Ramsay does win the Battle of Ice, of course, and that GRRM spoiled the battle in the Pink Letter before we get to witness it through Asha or Theon's pov. Again, this doesn't make sense. I think getting the result of the battle before we see it means, like Davos' head and hands on the walls of White Harbor, it is almost certainly misdirection. Firstly, Stannis is not in a position to besiege Winterfell. As he said, the Boltons only had to sit inside their walls and wait for him to starve but instead they blundered and sent out a portion of their strength against him. Stannis needs to defeat the Freys and then use a trick to get inside the castle quickly. Tybald's ravens are the obvious means of deception, as they fly to Winterfell and Roose has no reason to think Tybald has been rumbled. Plus Stannis has the Karstarks, who the Bolton's believe belong to them. He may well have the Manderlys too, that remains to be seen. This all points to him sending news of victory to Roose at Winterfell and gain entrance to the castle under the cover of returning Manderly and Karstark troops, with Stannis' own men possibly disguised as Freys. As you accept, a lot easier when your opponent thinks you won.
  8. It is not confirmed if Ramsay stayed at Winterfell or joined the hunt, simply because we lost our pov in Winterfell when Theon jumped from the walls. Roose had received the raven from Tybald reporting Stannis position, and the Freys and Manderlys were ordered out. Roose believes the Karstarks are his. There is no need for Ramsay to go at this stage, it is smarter to stay. Before Theon and the women go to get fArya, Myrtle warns them that the yard is full of northmen and they mean to ride out. Ramsay is still in the castle so Theon's fear that he might walk in on them is well grounded. The rescue is carried out and Theon jumps from the walls. Crowfood's men find them. Theon later recalls the Freys riding out, which makes perfect sense as they were already preparing to ride out and would naturally be ready to go first, and falling into Crowfood's pits. After that Theon and Jeyne are brought to Stannis camp, 3 days from Winterfell. How far behind their pursuers are is hard to tell, but Theon suggests, based on what he has seen, that Crowfood's boys won't hold them long. Theon tells Stannis that the Freys and Manderlys will be behind them, because that's what he heard in hall at Winterfell. He also believes that Ramsay is coming too, because he knows Ramsay and he points out Ramsay's motive to come. "He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek." The Boltons believed the horns outside the walls belonged to Stannis, and they also know where Stannis camp is thanks to Tybald's map, so it is the obvious place to go to get Theon and Jeyne back. Their first foray out, presumably when Theon was still within sight of the gates of Winterfell, was curtailed but the next will be more cautious and I think Theon's belief that Crowfood won't hold them long has merit. So the Freys, Manderlys, or whoever is coming with the intention of finishing Stannis and retrieving Ramsay's bride and Reek in the one fell swoop, will not be far behind. So the key question is this, after Theon and Jeyne jumped, what did Ramsay do? Did he stay in Winterfell and leave their retrieval to the Freys and Manderlys? Or did he ride out with them, as Theon thinks? As I said, there is no confirmation either way as we no longer have a pov in Winterfell, but we know it has to be one or the other. He stays or he goes. And the only grounds on which we can safely speculate is Ramsay's character, and Ramsay's situation, both of which in my opinion, point towards him riding out. Ramsay has clearly been characterized as someone who likes to hunt people through the woods. You might say he is also characterized as someone who writes letters but I think most readers would agree on which he prefers. Ramsay's situation is that he just lost his bride and his Reek, and he has a pretty good idea where he will find them. We know Ramsay is invested in Reek for rather sick reasons. He broke Reek down to less than a man, and now it seems he has just been outsmarted by him. What does that say about Ramsay to be bettered by less than a man. He can't even stand being called a bastard because he can't own it like Tyrion advises Jon. This will not sit well with him. His motive to get Reek back would be stronger than his motive to retrieve his bride, which obviously has it's own added political significance. So I think the chance of Ramsay riding out is quite high, and as a result the chance of him sending the letter is low unless he defeats Stannis and returns to Winterfell first.
  9. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Stannis would know that Jon was aware of the law, and it should be safe to expect Jon, if he did intend on leaving the wall and breaking his vows, to take the necessary precautions. People have deserted in the past. Of course Stannis was wrong, mainly because Jon shared his plans openly and the conspirators were able to react, but Stannis would not have foreseen that.
  10. I agree it's obvious that the men outside the walls of Winterfell, who the Boltons assume belong to Stannis, would take fArya to Stannis camp, a location they have a map for courtesy of Tybald. Therefore the best option they have of retrieving her is at Stannis camp, which they were already preparing to march against before the rescue. So the equally obvious thing for the Bolton's to do is continue as planned, sack Stannis' starving camp, and find fArya and Theon there. Theon thinks Crowfood's boys won't hold them long and Stannis is expecting the enemy to be close behind fArya. We know there is going to be a Battle of Ice, so Crowfood delayed them at best, but we don't know for how long. Not long I imagine. Another thing we don't know is if Ramsay did ride out, as Theon thinks he will, or not? My opinion based on his character and considering how eager he would be to get both fArya and Reek back, but there is no conclusive proof as far as I'm aware. The cold count in Stannis' camp was 80. His army were starving and freezing to death. They would not last seven more days, never mind seven days of battle. This is a red flag against the content being true in my opinion because realistically the battle should be done in a day. So fArya's lead over the Bolton's from Stannis camp would come down to two factors, how long Crowfood held the Bolton forces plus how long the battle took, assuming the Boltons won it. That might be several days as you claim, but I think a couple of days is more plausible. Winterfell is 600 miles from Castle Black, and it took Tyrion and Jon 18 days to get there. A 2 or 3 day lead is not insurmountable over that distance. So it is very possible that Bolton forces, assuming they won, would be in a position to pursue her. So much comes down to one crucial question. Did Ramsay ride out with the Freys after Arya or did he stay in Winterfell? If he rode out and won there is no reason to think that he would be too far behind fArya over the distance to Castle Black. If he rode out and lost then even if he escaped he would know they lost. If he stayed at Winterfell, then he would be in a position to receive a raven from Tybald and send one of his own to Jon, but staying out of the hunt is so out of character for Ramsay. All other scenarios depend on the unlikely seven days of battle being true. Maybe he did, even if that's not Ramsay's style. I believe that it could be written by Tybald, as dictated by Stannis, which is Stannis preferred style. There's nothing to confirm either one is right. If he stayed in Winterfell and didn't join the hunt then he would be venting, but of course staying is out of character so that seems unlikely to me. Yes, someone might have opened Jon's mail, and perhaps Jon was not in a position to keep the letter's content secret, but general common sense says if you want to sew dissent of disgrace someone you don't write to them, you write to someone else about them. Why take the chance that it lands in the hands of some loyal squire or friend of Jon's who brings it to him unopened? Again, the theory depends on Ramsay making senseless decisions. If Stannis can't win the North then he's dead and the battles to come will be battles not to come. He believes he needs Jon to win the north. It is a simple matter of priorities. If Jon was Stannis' Warden of the North with the whole north united behind him then he would be in a far better position to fight the true enemy when that day comes. This is your opinion. Stannis opinion on the matter is available in the text and it is his opinion that counts here. Interestingly, I see you put a month down for the travel time between Winterfell and Castle Black, which should increase the chance that the Boltons would hunt fArya there instead of sending a letter. Again, your opinion. Stannis opinion is in the text. He never mentions Arya as a possible alternative to Jon and he dismisses Sansa as an alternative. He does have women issues so maybe it's probably down to that. who knows. Jon is a smarter choice regardless. The Wall could fall to the Others even if Jon is there. Stannis thinks he is the one the Lord of Light chose, and he is setting to his task as best he can. He decided to leave the Wall and move against the Boltons in a campaign to win the north. That is what he is striving for right now, and that's where he sees value in Jon.
  11. There's been a lot of talk about Stannis, and it might be best to continue that debate on the Stannis thread. I want to get back to Ramsay, and expand on one point, which is actually one of the first clues we get that the letter is not from Ramsay. Jon's pov: Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, it read, in a huge, spiky hand. [previous letter from Ramsay] Asha's pov: Those were done in maester's ink, made of soot and coal tar, but the message above was scrawled in brown in a huge, spiky hand. [letter from Ramsay at Deepwood Motte] You might say that a huge spiky hand is a huge spiky hand, what other way would you describe it. But GRRM is very good and selecting his adjectives, depending on pov. For example, a northman might say as pale as ice, where an Ironborn might say as pale as sea foam. A Wildling might say as white as snow, but a farmer from the south might say as white as milk. Spiky hand is not the only way to describe Ramsay's writing. What looks like a huge spiky hand to one person might look like a large jagged scrawl to another, and GRRM is very good at this technical aspect of writing. But he decides to use this "tag" twice on purpose, each time from a different pov character, and this is a decision he made with purpose. This is a well-known and oft-used technique in writing mystery, as anyone who reads Agathe Christie or JKR will surely recognize. So why do you think GRRM decided to do this? And while you might also say that Jon would have spotted it if it was not written in a huge spiky hand, the question I'm asking is if GRRM wants you to clearly know this letter came from Ramsay then why did he decide to ignore the tag he had already set up twice?
  12. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Stannis could not be certain the ploy would work. The only certainties in life are death and taxes, someone once said. That said, I think Stannis would have expected there to be calls for Jon's head, as I said in the OP I think he was banking on that as leverage in getting Jon to accept his offer. I don't think he would have predicted an immediate assassination, which was due to a conspiracy against Jon that was brewing for some time unbeknownst to Stannis. I would imagine the vast majority of readers did not expect Jon to be assassinated as he left the shieldhall. The stabbing came as a surprise to most readers and I think it will come as a surprise to Stannis too when he hears it. Stannis did not know about Tormund's army, which had just arrived, but he did leave 300 fighting wildlings, the ones he was going to put in his van against the Dreadfort, with Jon in exchange for the mountain clans. I'm unsure what the strength the Night's Watch have at Castle Black at the time. I think someone said 400 men, but I'm not certain. [Edit: less than 400 men it seems. He had ordered out two hundred men, more than half the garrison of Castle Black.] I don't believe the sender of the letter, regardless of who it was, could have foreseen or even hoped for the assassination. Personally, I think that is far too weak for GRRM and it's much more likely that the letter ultimately had the opposite effect to the sender's intention.
  13. Yes the Boltons have reasons to consider Jon an enemy, especially if the contents of the letter is true from their point of view. And they would act accordingly, and that is the key word, accordingly. They have several better options than the pink letter, especially if they have Mance in a cage. Theories that Ramsay wrote the letter depend on those options being ignored. Both Ramsay and Stannis have implicit motive towards Jon so from a logical point of view they both have reason to take action. But my point is that Stannis, unlike Ramsay, has a motive that is explicit in the text that GRRM has drawn the reader's attention to several times, so from a purely story-telling point of view, Stannis has a far stronger motive. I don't think this should be ignored. Several of the quotes are from conversations when Jon is talking to Stannis as Lord Commander. Jon was sworn to the NW before he became LC, so his vows were still an issue then, as NW are sworn to take no lands, etc. Mance is a disgraced former NW but Stannis spares him, using subversive methods, because he sees the value in Mance. And we know Stannis sees the value in Jon. Stannis writing the letter is consistent with how he handled Mance. Jon's use to Stannis at the Wall is minor compared to his use to Stannis as his loyal lord of Winterfell. Even if you do not believe this, Stannis does and it is his opinion that counts. What Jon thinks is irrelevant, because Stannis does move against Winterfell as soon as he hears the Boltons are going there. Stannis is more measured than Robert, for sure, but Stannis does take risks, such as swapping Mance and Rattleshirt.
  14. three-eyed monkey

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter.

    Very nice post. I totally agree. And it should be remembered, Stannis would have known, before he even landed at Eastwatch, that he needed to defeat the Wildlings, and defeat the Boltons, and then replace them with a strong and loyal Lord of Winterfell. If he ever hopes to march south then this is a key position that must be held by a loyal and able person who can command the respect of the northern lords. Even Tywin knew that person had to be a Stark, although Tywin's only options were first Sansa and later fArya. How he would have loved a loyal and competent Stark male with whom he shared a common cause to secure the north for him. Then he meets Jon and Jon just fits the bill so well. The episode with Slynt, as you say. His sage counsel about Mance. His strategic advice regarding Deepwood Motte as opposed to the Dreadfort. Jon putting the burning Rattleshirt out of his misery, even if the defiance made Stannis bristle, Jon's sense of humanity is obvious. His letter about the Karstark treachery. His sense of honor. His Stark lineage. I think Stannis even admires his stubborn nature. Jon is the perfect candidate. The fact that Jon is helping Stannis so much, must suggest to Stannis that he almost has Jon, if it wasn't for those pesky vows.
  15. Of course there is a risk of failure, so it is with every plan. "Risk is part of war," declared Ser Richard Horpe, a lean knight with a ravaged face whose quilted doublet showed three death's-head moths on a field of ash and bone. "Every battle is a gamble, Snow. The man who does nothing also takes a risk." If the detail Stannis left at the Wall fled to Essos it would hardly be a disaster. As for putting his family at risk, as I have already explained, that risk is present already. Stannis told Massey that he may hear Stannis is dead, and it may even be true. Stannis is aware that if he dies, or even if there are rumors of his death, which he seems to hint are a distinct possibility, then his family will be at risk, and he is also aware that he could die at any time. The best way to ensure his family are safe is to win the north, and the best way to win the north, according to Stannis, is with Jon by his side. If you want to continue raising this objection then do, but at least point out the flaw in what I have said and we can discuss it further. I ride to Winterfell alone, unless …" Jon paused. "… is there any man here who will come stand with me?" Of course Jon wanted to raise swords, it would be dumb if he did not. But what is not clear is whether he was being honest or not when he said he rides to Winterfell alone, unless... I believe he was telling the truth, given his character. If Jon had to go alone, then I don't think he would attack Winterfell, that would obviously be a stupid move, but he could have attempted to find allies, find Arya, rescue Mance, who knows. But I find it very unlikely that he would have stayed at the Wall. Of course his uncle Brandon made a rather foolish move one time, riding to the Red Keep to call out Rhaegar with a small band of companions. But I don't see that as Jon's style. And yes, Jon stayed at the Wall when Arya was Ramsay's hostage. This is the general idea of hostages. Of course this is no longer an issue thanks to the letter. Castle Black has no walls to the south so it is not easier to defend than attack. If he keeps his vows Ramsay will not be the one in the wrong, because the letter says Ramsay has caught Mance who Jon sent to Winterfell to rescue Arya. He has nothing to gain by staying in Castle Black, because Ramsay gave him an ultimatum and said he would come for Jon. Jon has demonstrated that he is a proactive character all through the series. No, I do not think Jon would go to winterfell for no logical reason, I think he would leave Castle Black for for logical reasons, such as finding Arya, Is there any text in the books that show that Ramsay or Roose are plotting against Jon? No. Once Jon tells his brothers, you say, but how would the sender know Jon would tell his brothers? It's addressed to Jon. You don't sow dissent against someone by writing to that person, you write to someone else about that person. That's your theory shot through already, but let's continue. Why would the wildlings turn on Jon? The letter claims he didn't burn Mance. That has to be a plus. Again? Just scroll back up a little. Better method to sow dissent against Jon? Write to someone else. Better method to put his life in danger? Demand the Watch arrest him for his crimes and put him in a cell until a headsman can be arranged. You say it isn't easy for the Boltons to talk to people at the Wall, yet we are discussing a letter sent from Winterfell. These are just repeats of the same objections. As to the bolded part, for reasons you don't understand. If you think the letter is true, and Stannis is dead after seven days of battle, then why would they wait to send the raven? If they are going to wait a month then they may as well send an assassin. You said why you think it's a very smart move, you did not show why it is a smart move, because it is not. Stannis was the one who kept Mance alive and swapped in Rattleshirt. So Stannis knows Mance was alive when he left the Wall. Theon spilled the beans about Abel, the washerwoman who were not washerwoman, and the rescue of fArya. Abel's description matches that of Mance. Stannis spoke with Mance for hours and observed that there was some cunning in him, and Mance likes to tell the tales of the times he infiltrated winterfell as a bard, which may well be the cunning he was refering too. So there is enough there for it to be very possible Stannis would be able to put it together. Not proof but clues. Do you have proof of any of your theory? Any Bolton motive surrounding Jon set up explicitly in the text, like there is for Stannis? Or any shred of text to support any of you claims, such as Stannis would not risk sending the letter, or Jon was lying when he said he would go alone, unless..., or that Jon would stay and fortify Castle Black. Any clues even pointing to these claims even? No you don't.