Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Aegon VII

An argument supporting Mance wrote the Pink Letter

Recommended Posts

I believe the text supports Mance writing the pink letter.  Here I will discuss the evidence. I do not claim to know Mance’s motivations or all the details. I believe at this point GRRM has not given us enough info to know everything.

 

Let’s start by discussing why it is not Ramsay.

1)   No seal, only a smear of wax, no skin, no evidence it’s written in blood

2)   Threats in letter do not match his MO, e.g. heads on spikes

3)   Language used in the letter is not consistent to any one person, suggesting whomever wrote it was intentionally trying to sound like Ramsay

4)   Jon is now coming to WF with an army of wildlings to kill Ramsay, it’s hard to view this as a positive result for Ramsay if he was the author.

5)   The entire letter eloquently parallels Stannis’s burning of Mance at the wall. Ramsay has no reason to know all this or to write a letter that mirrors it.

 

Next is the letter, I color coded points I would like to reference (obviously):

 

Bastard,

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.
Your false king’s friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. 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.
I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.
I want my bride back. I want the false king’s queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess.
I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard’s heart and eat it.
Ramsay Bolton,
Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.

 

So, let’s dive into the text that I have color coded. I will go in order that the color appears. I’m still figuring out the best way to format, so this might be a mistake but I’m going to put quotes from the other parts of the novels in blue and quotes from the PL in red. Please do not confuse this with the Red and Blue I used in the analysis. I ran out of colors. Much of this analysis is showing that the language used in the letter is very similar to the language Mance uses throughout the series. Language that is not used in many other places in the books.

False King

When you do a search for “False king” you find that it really is not used often at all (similar to most of mance’s language I will be pointing out). Every time it is either spoken by stannis/ mel, or spoken about Stannis. It is the term Mel uses when burning “Mance” at the wall and again when she is speaking with JS and “RS” before he leaves for the fArya rescue mission. The entire PL mirrors Stannis burning “mance” at the wall. I highly recommend reading “The epistolary Epilogue”  section 7 by Bran Vras for a more in depth comparison of Mance’s burning at the wall and the PL.  Mance is now turning the story around while keeping all the same elements (minus the horn, which may be significant). Stannis told everyone at the wall Mance was dead. Now Mance is telling everyone at the wall that Stannis is dead, using the same “false king’ nomenclature. Both cases are a lie, and instead are acts of manipulation. This is pretty poetic of the author (grrm and PL author). I think Mance would be the only one who would be poetic enough to do this and also have motive to. It’s kind of like, you called me a false king and told everyone I was dead, now I’m going to do the same in a way that also advances my schemes.

 

Author’s use of the word Bastard.

When Mance accepts Jon as a NW deserter, the reason Jon gives for deserting is his Bastard status. Mance knows this a sore spot for Jon and is reminding him of it in the hopes it will encourage him to desert and travel to WF.

“And you, Jon Snow?”

“You say you were at Winterfell, the night my father feasted King Robert.”…”Then you saw us all.”…”And did you see where I was seated, Mance?” He leaned forwards. “Did you see where they put the bastard?”

We also have some dialogue of Mance speaking to JS when glamored as Rattleshirt that is very similar to the PL. Notice the statements of fact or a demand followed by the word bastard.

“I’ll range for you, bastard,” Rattleshirt declared. “I’ll give you sage counsel or sing you pretty songs, as you prefer. I’ll even fight for you. Just don’t ask me to wear your cloak.”

And

“Not me. I'm done with those bloody fools.” Rattleshirt tapped the ruby on his wrist. Ask your red witch, bastard.

To compare

Mance’s words:

“I’ll range for you, bastard.”

Ask your red witch, bastard.”

Pink Letter words:

 Your false king is dead, bastard”  

Come see them, bastard.” 

“Send them to me, bastard,”

 

Red and Black

Only two colors are mentioned in the letter Red and Black. These are Targ colors yes, but also Mance’s colors. His cloak is black with red from the silk from asshai. The red mentioned in the letter is Mel’s red, which also is a red from asshai. The black is from NW’s black cloaks, the same black that Mance’s cloak is. These colors support Mance as the author.

 

Use of the word whore.

Other’s have put a lot of analysis into this, I wish I could find some of the posts I’m thinking of. Ramsay never uses the word “whore” throughout the books, in fact it seems he employs quite the opposite tactic. He refers to horrible gruesome things he does while using language that dances around it’s vulgarity. Instead, Theon seems to be the character that uses the term whore a lot. I have to wonder if the washerwomen/mance got information about Ramsay from Theon. By getting it from a secondary source, the info was biased by theon and the words he uses. This would explain why we see hints of Theon’s language in the text, when the author is trying to sound like Ramsay.

 

The only name used.

This whole letter is a puzzle for the reader to figure out. The puzzle is “who wrote me” not “what parts of me are true”. The proof is in the fact that who wrote the pink letter is still one of the biggest mysteries discussed on the forums. No one is still having a, “what’s true in the PL” discussion. Sure they exist, but not nearly as many as the “who wrote the PL” threads. Knowing it’s a mystery to figure out who wrote it, it is significant the author only chose to use on real name in the letter. This name is “Mance Rayder”. He also happens to be one of the prime suspects for who wrote the PL. It makes no sense for GRRM to point out this name if he is not the author. Instead it makes perfect sense as a wink from GRRM. The answer to our riddle is staring us in the face.

 

Mance’s language

He burned the man he had to burn, for all the world to see.”-Mance as RS

“I have him in a cage for all the north to see.”- PL author

It’s not the first time Mance has changed a word to North, i.e. Dornishmans wife.

 

Ramsay’s language overheard by Mance

If Mance is posing as Ramsay, it only makes sense to repeat the threat he’s heard Ramsay make.

 "What man?" Ramsay demanded. "Give me his name. Point him

out to me, boy, and I will make you a cloak of his skin." –Ramsay says after LW murder, while Mance is in the hall.

“I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.”-PL author

 

Mance’s Language

“Red witch” is hardly ever used in the books. I think it’s significant Mance uses it in a statement so similar to these two statements in the PL.

Ask your red witch, bastard.”-Mance as RS

“I want his daughter and his red witch.”-PL author

“Tell his red whore.”-PL author

 

Mance’s language

As many have pointed out, Black Crows is used exclusively by the wildlings. The fact the Jon Snow find the term “crow” unusual enough to bring up to Master Aemon shows that even the more general term crow is not common in the north. Therefore a more specific term, black crow, is going to be even more exclusive. No one except Mance has any reason to use the word. Mance’s only “reason” is that he either did it unintentionally or that he did it to reveal his identity to one of the readers of the letter. The term “black crow” is used 12 times in the series so far including the letter. Here are some of them:

“He can call himself King-beyond-the-Wall all he likes, but he’s still just another old black crow who flew down from the Shadow Tower.”

-Osha

“Brave black crow,” she mocked. “Well, long before he was king over the free folk, Bael was a great raider.”

-Ygritte

“Lord Brandon had no other children. At his behest, the black crows flew forth from their castles in the hundreds, but nowhere could they find any sign o’ Bael or this maid.”

-Ygritte

“Let him die,” insisted the Lord of Bones. “The black crow is a tricksy bird. I trust him not.”

-Rattleshirt

“The black crow is a tricksy bird, that’s so... but I was a crow when you were no bigger than the babe in Dalla’s belly, Jon Snow. So take care not to play tricksy with me.”

-Mance

So we have Osha talking about Mance Ygritte talking about Bael the Bard twice (which Mance is inspired by and recreating with his infiltration of WF as a bard), and black crows being referred to as “tricksy birds” by both Mance, and RS whom Mance later assumes the identity of. Nearly half of the times we see the term it is directly related to Mance, Bael the Bard, and the trickery of NW brothers. I’ve found all arguments for why Ramsay or Stannis would use the term to be pretty thin so if you have a good one please let me know!

 

Mance’s language

“Styr scowled. “His heart may still be black.”

“Then cut it out.” Mance turned to Rattleshirt.”-Mance

Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard’s heart and eat it.” – PL author

The threat to cut out a heart is not used that often. The fact that Mance is one of the five or six people who says it further supports him being the author.

 

Opportunity:

I would like to state I do believe Mance’s ploy (at least part) was to bring Rowan with him to the Umbers to make an alliance. I believe Rowan is Mor’s daughter and that Mance and the umbers are now colluding.

For anyone who disagrees, I would suggest first revisiting the chapter in which Stannis gives Rattleshirt to Jon and then allows him to stay in the war council. Mance, as RS, hears everything he needs to to know that Mors is willing to negotiate and hates wildings because they stole his daughter.  

The Night’s Watch takes no part, Jon thought, but another voice within him said, Words are not swords. “The elder of the Greatjon’s uncles. Crowfood, they call him. A crow once took him for dead and pecked out his eye. He caught the bird in his fist and bit its head off. When Mors was young he was a fearsome fighter. His sons died on the Trident, his wife in childbed. His only daughter was carried off by wildlings thirty years ago.”

Later, Mance requests six spearwives from molestown for a certain ploy he has in mind.

The wildling turned to Melisandre. "I will need horses. Half a dozen good ones. And this is nothing I can do alone. Some of the spearwives penned up at Mole's Town should serve. Women would be best for this. The girl's more like to trust them, and they will help me carry off a certain ploy I have in mind."

"What is he talking about?" Lord Snow asked her. "Your sister."

Melisandre put her hand on his arm. "You cannot help her, but he can."

And

Young ones, and pretty,” Mance had said. The unburnt king supplied some names, and Dolorous Edd had done the rest, smuggling them from Mole’s Town.

Of the washerwomen, only Holly is described as attractive, which means Mance was lying about the criteria he used when hand picking these women. Mel assumes the ploy is rescuing arya. I argue that at least part of the ploy is going to umber lands with the Umber’s daughter, Rowan to form an alliance. 

She was one of the singer’s washerwomen, the tall skinny one, too lean and leathery to be called pretty …

Hers [hands] were bare, long-fingered, rough, with nails chewed to the quick. “You never asked my name. It’s Rowan.”

Umbers are described as leathery elsewhere.

Rowan gave him a hard look. “You have no right to mouth Lord Eddard’s words. Not you. Not ever. After what you did

Why would a normal wildling know the Stark words or care?

Rowan grabbed him by the throat and shoved him back against the barracks wall, her face an inch from his. “Say it again and I will rip your lying tongue out, kinslayer.”

Only Mors and the hooded man call Theon a kinslayer. Rowan calling Theon kinslayer supports her being an Umber, and having recently spoken with Mors.

“The snow will hide us. Are you deaf? Bolton is sending forth his swords. We have to reach King Stannis before they do.”

Again, makes no sense for a normal wildling to refer to stannis as “King Stannis”. Rowan spending a lot of her life in Westeros would explain this.

So, based on this evidence I do believe Rowan is an Umber. I believe this is part of Mance’s ploy and that he has made an alliance with the umbers. The coordinated horn blowing outside WF is further proof. As is Mor’s finding fArya and Theon immediately, and recognizing them both.

 I am still uncertain whether Stannis is aware of this collaboration. I’m leaning toward him not knowing. If Mance’s skull was the price of Mor’s allegiance, I don’t think he’d be too happy about Mance showing up at his doorstep. It shows Stannis can’t be trusted.

““Half of them, and only if I meet this Crowfood’s price,” said Stannis, in an irritated tone. “He wants Mance Rayder’s skull for a drinking cup”

So with Mance collaborating with the umbers, Whoresbane could be the person who sent the letter for Mance with knowledge he acquired at the citadel.

 

I also believe Mance could have easily communicated a plan with Val before leaving CB. Val seems to have info she could only acquire from Mance, “His milk name. I had to call him something. See that he stays safe and warm. For his mother’s sake, and mine. And keep him away from the red woman. She knows who he is. She sees things in her fires.”
Arya, he thought, hoping it was so. “Ashes and cinders.”
“Kings and dragons.”

If Val knows this, there is a very good chance it was Mance who told her it. Mance also brags about being able to climb into tower windows. “I could visit you as easily, my lord. Those guards at your door are a bad jape. A man who has climbed the Wall half a hundred times can climb in a window easy enough. But what good would come of killing you? The crows would only choose someone worse.”

Mance could easily have told Val he was alive, going to south of the wall, and had plans that involved bringing the wildlings south of the wall. Between his coordination with the umbers and plans he may have already hatched with Val, Mance knew there would be a good chance other wildlings had came to the wall and were waiting for him to give further instructions.

 

Motivation:

We can never truly know the author’s intent but the actual effect the letter had and who benefits from it is a good place to start. The letter antagonized JS to want to leave CB with a wildling army for WF. This stands to benefit Mance more than anyone. He’s stranded alone in a castle where his known associates just kidnapped the lords daughter. He’s either hiding, a prisoner, dead, or currently in power. No matter what, an army of his loyal supporters is going to help (except the death one). So this outcome is exactly what my theory claims Mance wanted. This outcome is also horrible for Ramsay. He has another enemy now, one with a stronger claim to his castle and one of the few people who can ID fArya. Doesn’t make sense for Ramsay to send this if everything went to plan. The outcome is good for Stannis, so it would support his as the author as well.

 

Another approach would be to take the letter literally and assume the author was being honest. So we will want to review the demands made,

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

Though each person holds value for all three potential authors, I believe Mance asking for these people makes the most sense. Ramsay would have little reason to know about val or the baby. I get Mance would be tortured if caught but as badass as he is, I doubt he’s going give up val and the baby. Ramsay doesn’t even know to ask about them. So whether we look at the effect the letter caused or the demands stated in the letter, both point to Mance being the author.

 

Conclusion:

A large amount of the language is specific to Mance. By only using Mance’s real name and only using the colors red and black, GRRM is giving us a clue who the author is. The fact that the entire letter is a reversal of the “Mance” execution at the wall is a further hint. Mance has the means to write the letter and stands to benefit the most from its outcome. The theory that Mance wrote the PL is far more supported by the text than any competing theory.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for writing up the whole pro-Mance argument in a single essay.

Quote

The letter antagonized JS to want to leave CB with a wildling army for WF. This stands to benefit Mance more than anyone.

How would he benefit? (counterindications)

1) Winterfell is not empty, even if all the people at or around CB march on Winterfell in unison they would likely fail. There is an army encamped in Winterfell after all. (Stannis has a larger army and can't hope to take on Winterfell without trickery.)

2) Yet, the letter seems designed to drive wedges between the different groups at the wall regardless of the decision taken in response. If the NW attempts to submit it means handing over guests / allies and it won't happen without bloodshed. If the NW rejects the "offer", and it has to since it doesn't have all the people wanted in the letter, it means it has to prepare open interference in worldly matters, this has to alarm traditionalists, Iron Throne loyalists at CB.

3) Destabilising the situation at CB can't be in the interest of Mance Rayder. What is the interest of Mance? He unified the free folk for a purpose (get them south to survive), this purpose is taken up by Jon Snow and he is about the only ally the free folk have south of the wall so far. Any instability and you won't have leaders south the wall that you can play cricket with (let alone who send rescue missions to Hardhome or broker deals to feed your people through the winter). Any instability at CB endangers the people there, when you value the life of Val or your infant son (does Mance know about the swap already?), would you do that? Mance is a man, who left the NW because he could not keep his cloak, stubborn and on principle, yet in your whole argument he seems to willingly endanger family, friends, his people for slightly improved odds at survival.

4) Distance. The wall is quite some time away. If you are holed up in the rookery or crypts can you reasonably expect to hold out until help arrives?

5) Weather. Add the weather to the distance.

6) Jon Snow could ID Jeyne safely in CB as soon as she arrives there, marching out (and getting yourself killed) are about the only reasons why he would not be able to do so later. If anything this is an argument for Ramsay as the author.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Aegon VII  You did a good right up for Mance. As did @aryagonnakill#2 for Ramsey and @three-eyed monkey did for Stannis. For some reason that last @ didn't take hold.

If I may interject a few random thoughts that apply to all three scenarios.

There is a snow storm happening at all three places. At the Wall, at WF and at the crofter’s village.

Martin moved some chapters around.

Theon’s last chapter in DwD is when Theon & Jeyne escape. That chapter happens before Jon receives the letter.

The Theon chapter that was moved happens sometime between Theon & Jeyne escaping WF and Jon receiving his bastard letter.

The Sacrifice chapter where Asha met the Banker happens before Jon’s final chapter and before the Theon chapter that was moved.

The Banker and his Nights Watch escort had expected to find Stannis outside WF. Instead he found Mors who was in possession of Theon & Jeyne.  One of the many things that trip me up is why the banker thought to find Stannis outside of WF. Probably has something to do with the letter Stannis sent Jon from Deepwood.

As of the Theon chapter that was moved, Stannis has possession of Theon & Jeyne. No Stannis battle with Frey, White Harbor or Bolton troops has happened. Yet.

Martin set this letter up as a catalyst to make Jon leave the Wall? I'm asking.

Jon makes his decision. Ends up getting stabbed. Cliffhanger.

T

here I am at the end of DwD trying to figure out who sent Jon this letter that makes no sense and whether Jon is dead or alive.

Martin put out the Theon chapter which may or may not need to be fine tuned that reveals Stannis is still sucking air, that no battle has taken place, that Stannis has possession of fArya and will be sending her to the Wall with the Banker & his Nights Watch escort, Massey, and the Mormont woman.

Jon's letter insinuates Stannis is dead. In the Theon chapter that was moved Stannis is alive. Either there is a bunch of missing info or I have a major comprehension problem.

I enjoy reading pink/bastard letter threads. I just don’t have the faintest idea who wrote it, when or why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, starting at the hall where Abel was last seen, what is your proposed sequence of events that lead to Mance writing and sending the letter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice analysis. Mance has always been the strongest contender for PL author to my mind. 

Has anyone done an argument supporting Theon as the writer, or as having dictated it to someone who still has all their fingers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or you know, Ramsay could have written the letter. Sometimes, good people, you get what you see. There doesn't need to be some plot twist at every single turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mance only knows of there being 300 wildling warriors at the Wall, but assuming he guesses there are now 1000, that's still not going to help him. The Boltons have several thousand men inside Winterfell in addition to their northern subjects and Frey allies. A wildling army can't take on a southern army of equal size, let alone a southern army at least five times the size behind Winterfell's walls. Getting them to march south isn't a positive result for Mance as they'd just die, but it is a positive result for the Boltons for the same reason.

As to the threats not matching Ramsay's MO, in addition to flaying he had Lady Hornwood starved, he's had women hunted down with his feral dogs and then slit their throats, he had Domeric poisoned, he assassinated several ironborn, he helps Theon kill the miller's sons and place their heads on spikes, he kills three northern noblemen when taking Winterfell and doesn't defile their corpses, he cut down and beheaded a peasant for calling him Lord Snow, he promised to feed Lady Dustin her own tits, he had a dude stripped, whipped and thrown off Winterfell's walls, and he promises to gut the Manderly and Frey men if they keep fighting. He's a multi-talented murderer, s it's not unbelievable at all that he'd behead his enemies that were defeated in battle, skin the captive spearwives and promise to carve out Jon's heart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

A large amount of the language is specific to Mance. By only using Mance’s real name and only using the colors red and black, GRRM is giving us a clue who the author is. The fact that the entire letter is a reversal of the “Mance” execution at the wall is a further hint. Mance has the means to write the letter and stands to benefit the most from its outcome. The theory that Mance wrote the PL is far more supported by the text than any competing theory.

I mostly agree with your analysis of the language of the Pink Letter matching Mance's. However it is very difficult to imagine a situation where Mance would have been in position to write such a letter. For all we know, he is a cold cage covered by the skins of the spearwives, because it's the most likely outcome. It is also difficult to imagine why he would send it. If it's somehow a coded message to Melissandre as many have argued he failed miserably.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, black_hart said:

Any instability at CB endangers the people there, when you value the life of Val or your infant son (does Mance know about the swap already?),

I always wondered about it, because it can be a motive to hate Jon. Val knows about the swap and Val knows that Mance is alive. Did she tell him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

So, starting at the hall where Abel was last seen, what is your proposed sequence of events that lead to Mance writing and sending the letter?

 

@sweetsunray wrote an very good summary about the time spanned between Mance was last seen and Jeyne and Theon escaped, and what would have happened immediately after. There is enough time for Mance to escape to the crypts if it was indeed his plan. Which doesn't mean he suddenly found himself in the position of writing such a letter. Unless Mance glamoured into Ramsay and it is Ramsay who is actually caged, I don't see any other possibility. I like this theory only for that, but I don't find it likely.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

 

@sweetsunray wrote an very good summary about the time spanned between Mance was last seen and Jeyne and Theon escaped, and what would have happened immediately after. There is enough time for Mance to escape to the crypts if it was indeed his plan. Which doesn't mean he suddenly found himself in the position of writing such a letter. Unless Mance glamoured into Ramsay and it is Ramsay who is actually caged, I don't see any other possibility. I like this theory only for that, but I don't find it likely.

I know, I recognise some of Sweetsunray's analysis in the OP, as well as Redriver's language breakdown, and stuff from Bran Vras and others.

However, very little of the language is actually specific to Mance. For example Sandor, Davos, Tyrion, Blackfish and Jon all think or speak about cutting someone's heart out, or Yoren is described as a crow and a black bird in the Riverlands by people who were not Wildlings. So it doesn't hold up in my view.

Mance might have been caught, or he might have escaped and be hiding out, it's hard to tell. But I think the scenarios where he accesses ravens, knows which raven is trained for Castle Black, writes the letter, seals it with pink wax, etc. are all a bit of a stretch. But even if he did achieve these things, why would he pose to be Ramsay instead of just telling it true, he has rescued Arya but he is trapped and needs help?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I know, I recognise some of Sweetsunray's analysis in the OP

I'm in the Stannis-Tybald-Theon camp for the wiriting of the PL.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

 

@sweetsunray wrote an very good summary about the time spanned between Mance was last seen and Jeyne and Theon escaped, and what would have happened immediately after. There is enough time for Mance to escape to the crypts if it was indeed his plan.

 

Doing that situational summary to portray how likely it is for Mance and the others to either escape from WF or to hide to the crypts or lure someone to the crypts, makes me

1) not rule out that Mance and 4 spearwives showed up at Stannis's camp after all. That they escaped. The godswood has trees you can climb. and use to get across the wall (remember Summer trying in Bran's dream)

2) if Mance did not directly escape but involved the crypts, I'm inclined to believe he managed to trap Ramsay and dogs inside. Not convinced that Mance has someone with him who can perform a glamor spell for him so he looks like Ramsay, but I did notice that Squirrel put on Ramsay's doublet and pants. What if Myrtle is a woods witch? As a singer, the man has a trained memory. I'm pretty sure he can memorize incantations in a foreign language if that is involved in it. Did Mel instruct him enough to switch to another glamor, and can that be done when Mel has the controlling ruby? No idea. Or is it just a generic doublet that happens to be Ramsay's, and will Mance wear it with Rattleshirt's face?

Anyhow I don't believe that Mance is naked in a cage with a cloak of the skins of 6 whores. George had Holly and Freya killed to confirm Theon's bias against the workability of Mance's plans. Ramsay's the boogeyman in Theon's mind (for understandable reasons), and has become so in the reader's mind as well, but Ramsay's not SuperVillain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

 

@sweetsunray wrote an very good summary about the time spanned between Mance was last seen and Jeyne and Theon escaped, and what would have happened immediately after. There is enough time for Mance to escape to the crypts if it was indeed his plan. Which doesn't mean he suddenly found himself in the position of writing such a letter. Unless Mance glamoured into Ramsay and it is Ramsay who is actually caged, I don't see any other possibility. I like this theory only for that, but I don't find it likely.

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing that. So what's the conclusion, then? The Mance glamored himself to look like Ramsay and vice versa, then put Ramsay in the crow cage and drafted the letter sent to the Bastard on the Wall? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Thanks for sharing that. So what's the conclusion, then? The Mance glamored himself to look like Ramsay and vice versa, then put Ramsay in the crow cage and drafted the letter sent to the Bastard on the Wall? 

The only possibility of Mance writing the PL, is that he's using glamor, but in that case I hope GRRM makes it in a natural way as too much magic tends to spoil the stories. Tolkien was always very careful with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, rotting sea cow said:

The only possibility of Mance writing the PL, is that he's using glamor, but in that case I hope GRRM makes it in a natural way as too much magic tends to spoil the stories. Tolkien was always very careful with that.

But how would the Mance be able to effect the glamor without Melisandre? Perhaps Melisandre saw that he had escaped into the crypts in her fires? Perhaps they had this worked out in advance? Perhaps she was able to effect the glamoring despite the distance? Is that even possible? Seems to far fetched to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Mance might have been caught, or he might have escaped and be hiding out, it's hard to tell. But I think the scenarios where he accesses ravens, knows which raven is trained for Castle Black, writes the letter, seals it with pink wax, etc. are all a bit of a stretch. But even if he did achieve these things,

Mance doesn’t have access to the ravens. He may have access to someone who has access to the ravens.

There are three maesters at WF.

Rhodry, House Cerwyn

Medrick, House Hornwood

Henly, House Slate, which has not been discussed in any of the ASOIAF, yet.

There is also Whoresbane, who signed multiple letters with the crude mark of a giant. Whoresbane was trained at the Citadel. That is an ankle biter for me. He knows how to read & write. He signed Bolton letters with a crude mark of a giant.

When Stannis questions the Dreadfort maester about ravens he replies:

Quote

"A maester's raven flies to one place, and one place only. Is that correct?"
The maester mopped sweat from his brow with his sleeve. "N-not entirely, Your Grace. Most, yes. Some few can be taught to fly between two castles. Such birds are greatly prized. And once in a very great while, we find a raven who can learn the names of three or four or five castles, and fly to each upon command. Birds as clever as that come along only once in a hundred years."
Stannis gestured at the black birds in the cages. "These two are not so clever, I presume."
"No, Your Grace. Would that it were so."
"Tell me, then. Where are these two trained to fly?"

The take away is that while training the ravens they learn names. How the raven learns the name of where it is supposed to go I don’t have the foggiest.

Roose had the 3 maesters brought to WF to tend Luwyn’s WF ravens. If any of those birds are special, and if any of the maesters are anti Bolton then Mance or Whoresbane might have access to someone who has access to the WF ravens.

I enjoy pink/bastard letter threads. They bring out interesting ideas. And I am glad that Ramsey, Stannis, Mance letter writer topics were brought up when they were because I am still snowbound.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After Theon and fArya's escape, a few spearwives were killed, Mance and the rest retreated to crypts

Freys, Manderlys, and Ramsay rode out to battle Stannis. Stannis dig traps in the ice lake and killed most of the Freys. Manderly turned cloak and killed the rest of the Freys, captured Ramsay.

Stannis sent a package to Roose of his sword and a fake head. Roose opened Winterfell doors to Stannis/Manderly army in Frey/Bolton's uniform and banners.

Stannis, Manderly, Mance, Lady Dustin, Mors Umber, and other northern lords butchered Roose and Bolton's men in a red wedding style. 

Victorious Manderly and other northern lords refuse to declare for Stannis.

Robb's will was shown to everyone and all northern lords want Jon Snow to break his vows and come to Winterfell, Rickon will be the backup. They know Jon won't come so they forced Ramsay to write a fake letter to Jon in Mance's words.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2017 at 2:16 PM, black_hart said:

Thanks for writing up the whole pro-Mance argument in a single essay.

How would he benefit? (counterindications)

1) Winterfell is not empty, even if all the people at or around CB march on Winterfell in unison they would likely fail. There is an army encamped in Winterfell after all. (Stannis has a larger army and can't hope to take on Winterfell without trickery.)

I think the keyword there was without trickery. The black crow is a tricksy bird. Mance could already be working with any combination of Stannis/ the umbers/ other mountain clans/ other houses loyal to Bolton in WF. The letter's immediate result was motivating JS to bring an army of Wildlings to WF where Mance is. A leader without an army has a lot less power than one with an army. His army does him no good hundreds of miles away and with little means of communication.

Quote

2) Yet, the letter seems designed to drive wedges between the different groups at the wall regardless of the decision taken in response. If the NW attempts to submit it means handing over guests / allies and it won't happen without bloodshed. If the NW rejects the "offer", and it has to since it doesn't have all the people wanted in the letter, it means it has to prepare open interference in worldly matters, this has to alarm traditionalists, Iron Throne loyalists at CB.

I really don't think the letters intent was to drive wedges between the different groups. I think the author knew damn well JS would not give into a single one of the demands. Sure that could be Ramsay's plan so he can say JS didn't obey and then kill him, but even if it was him I don't think he expects JS to just hand over everyone he has. An equally strong argument could be made for the letter uniting the factions at the wall against the common enemy, Ramsay. I think it is unlikely the author thought the letter would result in a mutiny.

Quote

3) Destabilising the situation at CB can't be in the interest of Mance Rayder. What is the interest of Mance? He unified the free folk for a purpose (get them south to survive), this purpose is taken up by Jon Snow and he is about the only ally the free folk have south of the wall so far. Any instability and you won't have leaders south the wall that you can play cricket with (let alone who send rescue missions to Hardhome or broker deals to feed your people through the winter). Any instability at CB endangers the people there, when you value the life of Val or your infant son (does Mance know about the swap already?), would you do that? Mance is a man, who left the NW because he could not keep his cloak, stubborn and on principle, yet in your whole argument he seems to willingly endanger family, friends, his people for slightly improved odds at survival.

That's just it, I don't view the purpose of this letter as to destabilize the situation at CB. If it was, Ramsay would have been stupid to make such unreasonable demands. He would been better off had he made very reasonable demands that only Jon would not want to agree to, such as, "give my my bride back" only. If it was something like this, I would put more stock in the theory that the letters intent was to destabilize.

Quote

4) Distance. The wall is quite some time away. If you are holed up in the rookery or crypts can you reasonably expect to hold out until help arrives?

It taking a couple weeks to get to WF doesn't really change anything. If it was Mance he has some plan for the time in between. As I mentioned he's either dead, a prisoner, in power or hiding. All of these can be done for multiple weeks straight. The fact that the washerwomen says "don't worry about Abel" suggest he has something up his sleeve. Alternate theory, the letter could have been sent prior to the escape.

Quote

5) Weather. Add the weather to the distance.

compare the mountain clans movement times with stannis men. The wilding warriors are going to be even quicker. They are completely used to what the westerosi north would consider a huge blizzard. That's how life north of the wall always is, especially since they've been going to the harshest places recently digging up graves.

Quote

6) Jon Snow could ID Jeyne safely in CB as soon as she arrives there, marching out (and getting yourself killed) are about the only reasons why he would not be able to do so later. If anything this is an argument for Ramsay as the author.

If Jeyne ever got to CB which is by no means a guarantee. And if she had gone there, the wall was made to be easily attacked from the south. Ramsay would have an easier time going to CB to get his bride. Jon's refusal to give her up would be all the reason he needs to kill him. I get this would not look as good to the northern lords and Ramsay would want to avoid that. But that's a small price to pay compared to antagonizing Jon and having to fight him straight up with a wildling army. Up until the letter JS was completely staying out of the situation, this letter and this letter alone pulls him back in. He is a capable enemy with an army of wildlings behind him and a better claim to WF than Ramsay. Him deserting the NW and marching south to kill Ramsay is much more of a negative than a positive for Ramsay.

 

P.S. if it was Ramsay, to me the language suggest he wrote it while still angry and heated. Hence the use of whore and the threats and childish demands. This does not fit with the idea of it being a preplanned strategic move to me.

On 1/8/2017 at 4:59 PM, Clegane'sPup said:

Jon makes his decision. Ends up getting stabbed. Cliffhanger.

There I am at the end of DwD trying to figure out who sent Jon this letter that makes no sense and whether Jon is dead or alive.

I enjoy reading pink/bastard letter threads. I just don’t have the faintest idea who wrote it, when or why.

I never thought about it like this because for me it took a couple rereads before I really even considered Ramsay wasn't the author. I think you things brings up a good point though. Here we are wondering whether Jon is alive or dead thinking it is the big mystery at the end of the books. When you revisit it a few times though you realize more and more that there is no way JS is gone for good, and that the real mystery is who wrote the letter. By having him die so soon after, the letter almost gets swept under the rug.

On 1/8/2017 at 7:57 PM, three-eyed monkey said:

So, starting at the hall where Abel was last seen, what is your proposed sequence of events that lead to Mance writing and sending the letter?

This is embarrassing but I've never truly considered it. I guess first I would ask, is there any evidence the letter was written after theon's escape versus before?

18 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I mostly agree with your analysis of the language of the Pink Letter matching Mance's. However it is very difficult to imagine a situation where Mance would have been in position to write such a letter. For all we know, he is a cold cage covered by the skins of the spearwives, because it's the most likely outcome. It is also difficult to imagine why he would send it. If it's somehow a coded message to Melissandre as many have argued he failed miserably.

 

I sincerely believe people give the contents of the PL way too much credit. For me, I assume nothing in the PL is true. The PL says Stannis is dead. We know Stannis is not dead, therefor the PL is wrong. If it's wrong about one part, we have no reason to think any of the rest of it is valid. It could be, it could not be. I don't see evidence either way. It's GRRM painting a picture. He'll give us as much info as we need, as he sees fit. I think people put too much stock into "who had the most motive" and things like that. IRL that's exactly what you should be asking. In an epic fantasy, you should be looking at the way it was written and the clues the writer gives us. It's especially meaningful that if mance wrote the letter, he's doing exactly to Stannnis what Stannis did to him. Stannis claimed mance was a false king and proclaimed he was dead to the wall. Mance, as Ramsay, is proclaiming Stannis is a false king and is dead, also to the wall. The only character with a poetic nature like this just so happens to be Mance.

 

18 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I always wondered about it, because it can be a motive to hate Jon. Val knows about the swap and Val knows that Mance is alive. Did she tell him?

I don't see how it would be a motive to hate Jon. Jon is acting to save Mance's son by sending him away. Val knows about the switch. There's other signs val and mance have been talking. There is a very good chance mance knows about the baby switch. He would be grateful JS took steps to protect his child.

14 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I know, I recognise some of Sweetsunray's analysis in the OP, as well as Redriver's language breakdown, and stuff from Bran Vras and others.

However, very little of the language is actually specific to Mance. For example Sandor, Davos, Tyrion, Blackfish and Jon all think or speak about cutting someone's heart out, or Yoren is described as a crow and a black bird in the Riverlands by people who were not Wildlings. So it doesn't hold up in my view.

True, it's not like Mance is the only person to say these things. But when he is one of only a handful of people, multiple times, it starts to add up. He uses the bastard language as RS, he uses false king, which is used about ten times total, always by stannis/mel or about them, and specificallly twice by Mel when referring to mance in his presence, for red witch mance is one out of like six people to say it, same ratio for "cut out his heart". Black crows is used about 12 times, always by wildlings (except JS appealing to wildlings) and five of those times are related to/by Mance and/or Bael. About half the language in the letter is either previously spoken by Mance (pretty closely) or by people Mance had overheard and would be mimicking when impersonating Ramsay.

 

9 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

The only possibility of Mance writing the PL, is that he's using glamor

No... That seems a bit reductive. I've read cantuse's theories and while I think he get's a lot right, I am not sold on Mance glamoring Ramsay. Totally possible and somewhat supported in the text, but still a stretch.

We're not going to have all the info at this time and be able to figure out everything. I think the text supports Mance as the author, but I do not see any clues about what he does between LW's murder and Theon's escape. I can see clues that suggest that Mance will fight people in a stairwell (most likely of the crypts), hide out in the crypts, or both. He could very well have taken the castle over and be ruling it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

But how would the Mance be able to effect the glamor without Melisandre? Perhaps Melisandre saw that he had escaped into the crypts in her fires? Perhaps they had this worked out in advance? Perhaps she was able to effect the glamoring despite the distance? Is that even possible? Seems to far fetched to me. 

Indeed, that's why I'm not inclined to believe in Mance authorship of the PL.

 

3 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

No... That seems a bit reductive. I've read cantuse's theories and while I think he get's a lot right, I am not sold on Mance glamoring Ramsay. Totally possible and somewhat supported in the text, but still a stretch.

Cantuse?

Anyway, I agree that while Mance could have hidden in the crypts (quite likely) or even escaped the castle, finding himself in position to write the said letter, it's hard to believe.

3 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

We're not going to have all the info at this time and be able to figure out everything. I think the text supports Mance as the author, but I do not see any clues about what he does between LW's murder and Theon's escape. I can see clues that suggest that Mance will fight people in a stairwell (most likely of the crypts), hide out in the crypts, or both. He could very well have taken the castle over and be ruling it.

How?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/9/2017 at 1:17 AM, Dawn of Fyre said:

Or you know, Ramsay could have written the letter. Sometimes, good people, you get what you see. There doesn't need to be some plot twist at every single turn.

Yes that's possible. But other options are certainly worth considering when a letter supposedly written by a guy who hates the word "bastard" with a passion uses that very word repeatedly. The word seems to be a trigger for Ramsay so in theory he should be less likely to use it himself, even to insult and/or provoke Jon. 

The lack of skin with it is interesting. If he really skinned the spearwives, why didn't he send a token piece of their skin to prove it, like he did when he wrote to people about Theon? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×