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Mance + Stannis working together (Theory)

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Recently I've been browsing through theories on this forum and some videos on youtube. I saw a video by Teflon TV about Mance and Stannis actually working together (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx6XPQXZmyE). I found this theory plausible and that is why I looked into it.

The quotes are from ADWD.

Jon I:

""I would hope the truth would please you, Sire. Your men call Val a princess, but to the free folk she is only the sister of their king's dead wife. If you force her to marry a man she does not want, she is like to slit his throat on their wedding night. Even if she accepts her husband, that does not mean the wildlings will follow him, or you. The only man who can bind them to your cause is Mance Rayder."

"I know that," Stannis said, unhappily.""

From this passage it's obvious that Stannis knows that Mance is the key to the wildlings. They will only listen to what Mance says. But on the other side he is a just man, as we have seen in the previous books. He has an iron will:

" "I have spent hours speaking with the man. He knows much and more of our true enemy, and there is cunning in him, I'll grant you. Even if he were to renounce his kingship, though, the man remains an oathbreaker. Suffer one deserter to live, and you encourage others to desert. No. Laws should be made of iron, not of pudding. Mance Rayder's life is forfeit by every law of the Seven Kingdoms." "

So it's clear that he means to set an example, since he doesn't want any other people deserting, hoping for leniency.

""The law ends at the Wall, Your Grace. You could make good use of Mance."

"I mean to. I'll burn him, and the north will see how I deal with turncloaks and traitors. I have other men to lead the wildlings. And I have Rayder's son, do not forget. Once the father dies, his whelp will be King-Beyond-The-Wall."

From this passage he says that he does have a use for him. This could be the obvious, meaning he will truly burn Mance Rayder. But it could also mean, that he has other 'uses' for him. (I'll return to that in a moment.)

Now let's look at the facts again. Melisandre is 100% loyal to Stannis. She has been with him since his claim and supports him fully. The one battle where Stannis left her behind, was also the one he lost. Since I take Stannis for an intelligent man, he has learned his lesson as well. He will not mistrust Melisandre again. And Melisandre genuinely believes that Stannis is Azor Ahai and supports him fully and shares her knowledge with Stannis. How likely is it that she will do something without Stannis' knowledge and consent? In the case that this comes to light, she will be executed (or maybe imprisoned). Besides, Melisandre has been wanting to burn someone with king's blood for a while now. Almost to the point of desperation. Why would she save Mance on her own initiative? Doing so would only have its downsides.

Stannis also knows what the implications are for burning Mance. He will be of use to him in the fight against the Others and he can counsel him in managing the wildlings. But he is facing a dilemma here. Burn Mance Rayder and lose his expertise. Do not burn Mance and lose face (considering his iron law statement). So if Melisandre is able to make it look like it's Mance that is burning with her magic, that solves the dilemma. The people believe Mance is dead, so Stannis does not lose face. In reality Mance is alive, under disguise and is still of use to Stannis. (Burning Rattleshirt would not be unjustice, since he took part in the attack on the wall and other crimes).

So Stannis and Melisandre coming up with this plan together is perfectly possible and it would make sense as well.


Jon III:

"Val stood beside him, tall and fair. They had crowned her with a simple circlet of dark bronze, yet she looked more regal in bronze than Stannis did in gold. Her eyes were grey and fearless, unflinching. Beneath an ermine cloak she wore white and gold. Her honey-blond hair had been done up in a thick braid that hung over her right shoulder to her waist. (...) Val Stood on the platform as still as if she had been carved of salt. She will not weep nor look away."

Considering she pleaded for Mance's life, wouldn't you expect her to be at least a little upset? Show at least a little bit of emotion? If she would know about the swap this would make sense, since she would know it is not the real Mance.

Throughout the Jon chapters it's also seems that whoever will marry Val will be the lord of Winterfell. (I don't know the exact chapters, see the video for quotations) So it could be the case that Val has agreed to marry someone who will become the lord of Winterfell, in exchange for Mance's life.

TLDR: Stannis, Melisandre and Val know about the Mance swap and made a deal. Val's marriage in exchange for Mance's life.

In addition, when extended to the Pink Letter, I came up with another possibility. Since Mance and Stannis are 'working together', they could have planned the Pink Letter together. Stannis wants a son of Eddard Stark as the lord of Winterfell, but he got denied since Jon became Lord Commander. They eventually write this letter to provoke Jon to an extent that he will come down to Winterfell. Regardless of what his motivations are, he could try to manipulate him in Winterfell. If not, the lords in the North still have the will that Robb Stark has written, presenting Jon Snow as the rightful heir to the North. These factors might be tempting enough to persuade Jon.

But, something else has happened now: Jon got stabbed. It is a possibility that Melisandre gives him the kiss, as was done with Beric Dondarrion, by a much lesser priest of the R'hllor. Melisandre is much more skilled and should be able to do the same. When the kiss is given, it is possible that some memories of the past are gone. If this happens with Jon, it is possible that he forgets that he is member of the Night's Watch. He could go down to Winterfell with Melisandre, without knowing he was member of the Night's Watch and be presented as heir. In this case it is much more likely that he would accept the offer and become Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell and marry to Val.

In any case, these are still theories, but oh what satisfaction it would give me if this would be true :D

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Stannis only works with Mance because he doesn't know he is alive and/or Melisandre. But if he had his way, Stannis would decapitate himself Mance the turncloak who betrayed his vows.

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