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[TWOW SPOILERS] Theon I, part vi

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I find it makes an interesting viewpoint to think the character from their ends: How are they going to die? - Because in fiction, the death of a character often gives its live ("life") significance, meaning or relevance.

How is Theon going to die?

Assuming that Jon Snow does not actually die:

I'd guess that Theon gets executed by Jon, as Jon finds out about Theon's former betrayal. There's hardly a way Jon could forgive Theon, even though he has already suffered that badly. - This way, the entire Theon-Storyline would be ultimately about Jon, as he is forced to make a morally complicated, if not impossible decision. And it fits well the overall idea in ASOIAF that redemption and punishment are fleeting, if not futile.

As Lord Commander of the Watch, Jon has no authority to execute Theon, unless Theon joins the Watch, and then, ala Slynt, refuses a direct order.

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This is very much my guess, though I can add a couple of thoughts.

Firstly, I think these numbers are a bit more precise:

Stannis: 1000+ (<1500 at the wall, some left at the wall, some died en route). A few dozen horses left.

Northern hill tribes: 3000ish assorted foot.

Karstark men: 400 spears, 40ish archers, a dozen horse.

Others: 500+ assorted Mormont, Hornwood, Cerwyn, Tallhart, random.

Total: Around 5000 (Stannis' letter to Jon)

Freys: At most 1500 foot, 500 cavalry

Manderly: 300 cavalry

With the expected Karstark betrayal, that makes by Roose's count 1940 foot and 812 horse against >4500 foot. Even with the advantage of the Karstark betrayal and the poor state of Stannis' army, Roose can't be expecting that to be an easy fight for the force he sent. Theon expects Ramsay to be following along behind, presumably to mop up after Stannis and the Freys & Manderlys have weakened each other considerably.

What's left at Winterfell? I don't think we can do better than 2500-4000 Bolton men and unknown others. Theon says there are more men at Winterfell than Stannis has, but that might include the Frey forces.

A third force? Manderly seems to be making a play, with very few men at hand. There may be another Manderly force in the area.

So if the Freys fall into the ice lake trap, and are charged from behind by the Manderly men (possibly including another hidden Manderly army), we could see the Frey forces slaughtered with little loss to Stannis, and Stannis could find himself with some new options.

Stannis gets the maester to send a raven to Winterfell, claiming that Stannis has been defeated and requesting more men to help mop up. This brings more men out of Winterfell, splitting the Bolton forces further. What's more, this might bring Roose out rather than Ramsey. With the belief that things are now pretty secure, Roose might want the glory. With the real battle believed over, some of the other Northern lords might start leaving, and there would be less tension at Winterfell, so Ramsay might be trusted to run things for a few days.

This would leave Ramsay in charge at Winterfell, less cautious than Roose. Under strict orders from dad to reign in his flaying instincts while there are other northern lords present, we've got the perfect situation for an angry Ramsay to write the Pink Letter in the form we see it. We also have the pieces in place for Stannis to make a plan for taking Winterfell that would set up the contents of the Pink Letter nicely.

Step 1. Surviving Frey, Karstark and Manderly forces return to Winterfell, bringing lightbringer as proof of the victory, and a bunch of heads. The Freys are in fact Stannis' men dressed up in Frey gear. We now have Winterfell held by perhaps 1000 Bolton men, 1000 northerners of dubious loyalty, and 1000 men secretly on the other side.

(Stir-crazy Ramsay, frustrated at not being allowed to flay Mance in front of the northern lords and wound up by Crowfood's men outside, learns from the returning fake Freys that Stannis sent "Arya" to the wall, blows a fuse and writes the Pink Letter while frothing at the mouth).

Step 2. Stannis' men on the inside plan to open the doors to Stannis' army. 4000ish on Stannis' side, 1000 Bolton men, and 1000 northerners who'll probably very quickly switch loyalties. There's probably no fight.

Step 3. Stannis has 5-6000 men inside Winterfell, Roose has a couple of thousand outside Winterfell. Roose isn't stupid. Game over.

Step 4. Optional sneakly Stannis-doesn't-know random just for fun speculation bit, if all the rest falls into place: Roose high-tails it to the Dreadfort and finds his small forces left there have fallen to a large Manderly force. Manderly claims Hornwood and Dreadfort lands.

If, as you suggest, Roose rides out leaving Ramsay "holding the fort", then Roose has the House Bolton seal with him, so Ramsay can't use it to put an impression in the pink wax, and for that matter, may have had to salvage/scavenge that smear of pink wax by melting it off of some other document he still had lying around, so the lack of the Bolton seal impressed into the wax isn't necessarily an indication that it wasn't Ramsay who wrote the Pink Letter.

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As Lord Commander of the Watch, Jon has no authority to execute Theon, unless Theon joins the Watch, and then, ala Slynt, refuses a direct order.

The LC has all the same rights of a feudal Lord (except participating in war). If the LC wants to execute Theon for a crime or because he endangered the Watch (excuses can always be found), than he is absolutely able to chop of Theon's head.

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The LC has all the same rights of a feudal Lord (except participating in war). If the LC wants to execute Theon for a crime or because he endangered the Watch (excuses can always be found), than he is absolutely able to chop of Theon's head.

There is no way for the Lord Commander of the Watch to execute someone for acts not committed on Watch land without it being "taking a part", which they don't do.*

Though they might hold them for extradition back to the area of the crime.

*(or at least aren't supposed to, although Jon Snow has kinda been forced into bending that rule a bunch by circumstances largely beyond his control).

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I guess the LC does not have to accept any person who comes to take the black. That is just a PR thing going on for millennia.


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I guess the LC does not have to accept any person who comes to take the black. That is just a PR thing going on for millennia.

I think they accept them after they and their alleged crimes have been dealt with by the proper authorities and they have been given the option of taking The Black instead of whatever punishment would have been dealt out to them otherwise.

And of course for noble houses looking to dispose of a third or fourth son they can't marry off advantageously, The Watch will gladly accept "volunteers".

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I think that Theon will be taken before the Heart Tree where Bran will talk to him through the tree. Bran will tell Theon how to find the secret passage that Bran described early in GoTs (the chapter where he fell). Reluctantly, Theon will lead a small band of Stannis' Forces into Winterfell to open the gates...



I also believe that the Frozen-Lake Trap will come into play...



I think that there will of course be some surprises as well:


  • Manderly has something up his sleeves...
  • Stannis has something up his sleeves...
  • Mance has something up his sleeves...
  • Roose (most of all) has something related to sorcery hidden up his sleeves...

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Not sure about anyone else, but in this chapter I found one of the most Earth-shattering events to take place so far in this series.........










.......Stannis smiled!


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Theon says in this chapter " "Frey and Manderly will never combine their strengths. They will come for you, but separately. Lord Ramsay will not be far behind them. He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek."

What oddly specific phrasing

"I want my bride back. I want the false king's queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want this wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek."

Could just be a coincidence, but could it be evidence in favour of Stannis writing the letter, or even Theon, if "Bael" revealed his identity during their chat?

dont forget, Theon has also been heavily brainwashed by Ramsay. He may imitate his speech. They say dogs imitate their owners.

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There is no way for the Lord Commander of the Watch to execute someone for acts not committed on Watch land without it being "taking a part", which they don't do.*

Though they might hold them for extradition back to the area of the crime.

*(or at least aren't supposed to, although Jon Snow has kinda been forced into bending that rule a bunch by circumstances largely beyond his control).

except for Jon totally takes a part, attempting to lead a foreign army to his home. That's like me leading an army of mexicans to take over Canada. from Mississippi.

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except for Jon totally takes a part, attempting to lead a foreign army to his home. That's like me leading an army of mexicans to take over Canada. from Mississippi.

The Watch takes no part, but the flip side of that deal is that while the noble houses and knights and lords and ladies may squabble amongst themselves, they're supposed to leave the Watch out of it, and further they're supposed to all be helping support the Watch.

Out of all of those squabbling contenders for the Iron Throne, the only one who could be bothered to do any more for the Watch than to tell them to eff themselves was Stannis.

So Jon bends the rules a little, lets Stannis take some old spears and junk armor which he could have taken by force if he'd been of a mind to, gives Stannis a little Northerly advice, because otherwise he's letting his only ally against the others ride out to be slaughtered by the Boltons.

And then comes the Pink Letter, which personally threatens Jon and more generally threatens the Watch as well.

So to protect the sworn brothers of the Watch Jon detaches himself to ride south without them to intercept the Boltons to keep them away from the Watch and The Wall.

It just so happens there're are a bunch of non-sworn wildlings who accept his invitation to ride along and keep him company.

Jon wasn't going to retake Winterfell, he was going to intercept the Boltons so as to keep all the rest of the Watch but himself out of the conflict. Winterfell is no longer his home.

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Is there anything left to discuss? I think this chapter was meant to make us realize that Stannis wrote the Pink Letter.

Agreed!! :)

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Agreed!! :)

Well, that's always been my take on it.

As for Jon Snow executing Theon, I don't think he can. It's not his job to enforce the laws outside the Wall, and if Theon wanted to flee and take the Black, then they would have to take him. Snow could manage to put Theon in a position to be killed. It wouldn't be hard--Theon is very frail now and might just expire if Snow ordered him to chop wood or carry water. Snow could hurry the process by sending Theon to do something insanely dangerous like fix a hole near the top of the wall or talk to some Thenns, or fight some wildlings or giants. No one would care. It's sort of what Thorne was trying to do to Snow.

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Jon won't be the one to kill Theon, he's Stannis' prisoner. I believe that Stannis will either use him as a tribute to the red god OR use him against Ramsey in some way. I also am a big fan of the idea that Stannis wrote the letter. He's our savvy battle commander remember!!


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But why the tree? How does Asha even know about the tree? And why is her voice "strangely deep?" And how would she have any idea "what Ned Stark would have done?" She never met him. Who would have told her all about Ned Stark? She's Ironborn.

I do think Stannis wrote the letter, though, although I'm not at all sure what his plan could possibly be.

I think that spent a fair bit of time with Lady Glover while occupying Deepwood Motte. She seems to have been more than civil to her considering she was a captive. So, she may have heard of the ways of the North from Lady Glover.

Or she was more worldly because of her sailing. It's not as if the Greyjoys kept to themselves. I believe they did a fair bit of reaving and trading and must have known something of the cultures of the rest of Westeros. They looked down on the ways of mainland so they must have known how they were different from the mainlanders.

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I know this sounds kinda crackpot but lemme know. I just read it for the first time and this was my immediate thought.



So this was a fantastic chapter!! Theres a lot going on here but the first thing I want to discuss is the ravens. I've heard a theory about some form of "Raven Code" where they foreshadow important events to come. I am now pretty sure that this is a real thing. It is pretty obvious that Bran and BR are controlling the ravens and can communicate through them. I think this could be the way Bran communicates with the outside world and lets everyone know he is alive. Here's how I think it's gonna go down. Stannis, Theon, and company will make their way to the island for Theon's execution. They get there and the tree is covered with ravens. We've seen BR do this before and Raventree Hall seat of house Blackwood, of whom Bloodraven is a Great Bastard, is named for such a phenomenon so i believe it cannot be ruled out. Stannis will go through the execution stuff all the while everyone making comments on the number of ravens on the tree. As Stannis is speaking, the ravens begin to reply in complete sentences as Bran wargs into each bird says a word and wars out. Stannis sees this and sends Theon to the Wall with the rest of the party going in that direction.

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Theon would have met Stannis before this scene when he was brought before him. I don´t think that this scene is the first time when Theon is awake in Stannis camp. Crowfood Umber would have brought Theon and "Arya" before Stannis. Being chained up in Stannis´solar, Theon would´ve witnessed quite a lot of Stannis´actions so he would know Stannis voice when he hears it.

I think Tybald was indeed the maester of the Dreadfort. Roose wanted his maester as a spy inside Stannis´ army, so he sent him to Arnolf Karstark so that Tybald could take the alias of the Karhold´s maester.

Theon could recognize him from the Grayjoy-rebellion. Wasn't it Stannis who won that battle at the islands? Then Theon goes tho the Starks. He was a child, but tragic events like this is the strongest memory's. People remember the tragic experiences a lot of time more then happy ones.

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They way I saw it was rules were broken all over the place, so it is hard to say who is really wrong or right.



- Stannis does come to help the watch that is great, if he is indeed king then it is not just his duty but the duty of the other lords of the seven realms to help the watch with soldiers and supplies. But Stannis does not do all out of the goodness of his heart he tried to dissuade Jon LC and NW into interfering in the politics of the seven realms. Which is clearly breaking of the rules that the NW is a neutral organization and cannot take sides so Stannis has already endangered the NW.



- I am understanding that the Warden of the North and the Lord Commander have a certain understanding about how the NW is run. Warden of the North obviously being the closest to the wall and of course Starks long history of command over the NW have the authority to execute a NW deserter just like LC. But does this same power extend to all the other lords of the seven kingdoms.



- NW is a special organization, criminals can be sent there to spend rest of the lives in the promise that they never return and a brother of the Watch cannot be threatened by anyone because they have taken the black and the vows are for life. But it is not a refugee camp you can't run to the Watch for protection. So technically Sansa can't run to her brother Jon for protection, but Sansa is not a criminal. But I am guessing it also doesn't give Boltons any right, who are current Warden of the North to threaten war. Boltons are breaking thousands years of traditions upheld by the starks which is an outrage to NW.



I am thinking it was all confusing with the interference of Stannis and compromise with the Wildlings lots of traditional rules upheld by the Watch have been broken. So right now it is chaos what and who to follow. Jon is right but he is worth 100 men and he is surrounded by idiots and killers worst combination.


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I read the chapter years ago on Martin's website and thought that if Jon is actually dead, then Theon could be a King's blood sacrifice to bring Jon back without using Mel.



I'm surprised that I can't find anyone else on this thread who thought the same, but maybe I missed something in the earlier threads or in the text itself?


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