Jump to content
three-eyed monkey

Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Nevets said:

Even if your suggested motive for the letter is legitimate, I don't see how the letter is designed to carry out that motive.  The only reasons given for a trip to Winterfell are taunts, which is hardly a compelling reason to go, especially without armed support.  The mention of his family as potential hostages also leads to potential action (e.g., evacuation) that appear counter to Stannis's interests.

I think this is the best counterargument to anyone but Ramsay being the author. At the end of the day, sending that letter in order to get Jon to bring an army south (or taking any other specific action) is a cartoonishly convoluted plan, and the fact that it ultimately fails doesn't make it look any better.

I asked the @three-eyed monkey this before and I didn't get an answer. If the author is not Ramsay, how does this affect the story? What happens next? What was the point of the twist?

Let's say Stannis wrote it. If so, his plan didn't work. Jon got assassinated and he still needs to win or lose the battle with the Boltons alone. The outcome isn't any different than if Ramsay had written it. So how does this twist pay off? Will Jon declare war on Stannis for tricking him and getting him killed? Is it just meant to make Stannis look desperate and stupid? Same for Mance. If Mance had some motive to falsify the letter, will this motive blossom into a major plot point in Winds? Because otherwise what's the point.

And in both cases, the resulted plot lines must be able to blend into the rest of the story without hijacking it. Is there time left for the Others, can it connect to Dany and/or the war in the south in a meaningful way? You gotta consider how the theory fits in the series as a whole. And when I apply this principle, any author other than Ramsay feels like it can only provide unnecessary complications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I think this is the best counterargument to anyone but Ramsay being the author. At the end of the day, sending that letter in order to get Jon to bring an army south (or taking any other specific action) is a cartoonishly convoluted plan, and the fact that it ultimately fails doesn't make it look any better.

While I can - maybe- accept that Stannis might send Jon a letter purporting to be from Ramsay to get him to come south, It wouldn't be this letter.  It would be a very different one - with a better reason to come - and no threats to make him stay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Nevets said:

Does the phrase "the fog of war" mean anything in this context?  Just because he is there doesn't mean he can't be fooled into thinking Stannis is dead and he has won.

While varying degrees of confusion are to be expected during battles, I don't think that confusion would stretch to the losers thinking they had won.

And I don't believe the Freys will win. The frozen lakes have been set up. Tybald's ravens have been set up. It seems likely to me that Stannis will win and then send a message to Roose in Winterfell saying he lost. I don't believe Ramsay will be in Winterfell at the time because I agree with Theon, Ramsay will come for him not far behind the Freys. You might not agree but at least the theory is based on the text and what we have been told about the holed lakes, ravens trained to fly to Winterfell, etc.

Your theory claims Ramsay is present at the battle but somehow Stannis fools him into thinking he has won. Is how you envisage that happening based on anything in the text?

5 hours ago, Nevets said:

I actually think Mance and the spearwives were captured (or at least some of them).  I don't know why they wouldn't.  I don't think the crypts are a viable idea.

They might have been captured, it is certainly possible. (Shameless plug: Mance and the spearwives is my next thread, almost finished.)

You might not think the crypts are a viable idea, and that is fair enough, but Mance might, given the tale of Bael the Bard and the spearwives interest in obtaining the location of the crypts from Theon.

5 hours ago, Nevets said:

Getting his bride back would be easier (from Ramsay's vantage point) if she is fake.  Jon isn't as likely to care.   No way is he going to return his real sister.

But this ignores the political implications of a fake Arya disclosure for the Boltons, which is well-founded in the text.

You claim the Boltons might consider Jon amoral and unconcerned about events in Winterfell, but again this requires them to be quite foolish. Jon was raised in Winterfell. Jon was raised by Ned Stark. Jon has made common cause with Stannis who is trying to take the castle from them. Jon sent someone to steal Ramsay's bride from them. Would they really think that just because Jon got the wrong girl he would send her back to a monster who flays women and just forget about Winterfell?

5 hours ago, Nevets said:

Even if your suggested motive for the letter is legitimate,

Stannis motive towards Jon is totally legitimate and has been hammered home in the text several times. Stannis wants Jon to set his vows aside and swear his sword to the King, become Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. Marry the Wildling princess. Seal a peace between the north and the wildlings. and bring both to his cause. That is a legitimate motive.

5 hours ago, Nevets said:

I don't see how the letter is designed to carry out that motive.  The only reasons given for a trip to Winterfell are taunts, which is hardly a compelling reason to go, especially without armed support.  The mention of his family as potential hostages also leads to potential action (e.g., evacuation) that appear counter to Stannis's interests.

Stannis has seen plenty of Jon in action and is well placed to make an accurate judgement of Jon's character.

Jon reminds Stannis of Ned, stubborn in his honor.

Jon does not shy from doing what is unpopular or difficult if he thinks it is right, as seen with the free folk.

Jon is not easily cowed or bullied, as seen with Slynt, which drew a nod of respect from Stannis.

Jon is not afraid to defy the King, as seen with the mercy killing of burning "Mance", which made Stannis bristle at the defiance.

Jon is humane, and shows his humanity openly when dealing with the wildlings.

Jon has a strong sense of justice as seen by him stating Sansa's case for Winterfell.

Jon is resourceful, as seen by his successful infiltration of Mance Rayder's camp.

Jon is concerned about his sister, which is why Stannis told Jon he would save her if he could and make a better match for her.

Jon is unhappy with Winterfell going to the Karstarks because they abandoned Robb, so it is not much of a stretch to think that he would be even more unhappy with it going to the Boltons given the Red Wedding.

Jon repeatedly says the Watch take no part, but his actions give lie to his words. He offers Stannis advice and help whenever he can, none more vital than his letter about the Karstarks. Jon clearly wants Stannis to remove the Boltons from Winterfell and deliver justice for the Red Wedding.

Stannis plays on all this in the letter. It makes demands that Stannis knows Jon would never meet. He knows Jon would never send the women and children requested to a monster like Ramsay who makes cloaks from the skins of women. Nor could he send Reek, who Stannis holds. Nor indeed Arya, who would not have reached Castle Black yet.

But if Jon doesn't meet those demands then Ramsay will come for him, with good justification considering the Mance situation. Given that Stannis knows Jon would never meet the demands, the letter is telling Jon that conflict with Ramsay is inevitable.

Stannis winning is one way that conflict could be avoided but the letter informs Jon that Stannis is dead.

Stannis also expects that Jon will not back down or be cowed easily. That the last son of Eddard Stark will take action and do whatever he can do with the resources he has available, (his identity being the main one), to set the north right, restore Winterfell to Ned's line, bring justice to the Boltons, and everything else Jon was hoping and helping Stannis to achieve for him.

Stannis knows Jon would be concerned about his sister being a Bolton hostage, but the letter conveniently informs him that she is no longer in Winterfell but presumably somewhere between there and Castle Black.

And while there is a risk that Mel, Selyse, Shireen and company might withdraw to Braavos, that is neither a vital or irretrievable situation from Stannis point of view. More of an inconvenience. Better avoided though, which is why Stannis put in, I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore. As he knows such a picture would conflict with what Mel has seen in the flames and would make her privately question the validity of that claim, and hence the letter.

The reward would be worth the risk. If Jon forswore his vows and came to Winterfell he would find Stannis had taken the castle. Stannis would offer him his life in the form of a pardon, as well as Winterfell, Val, etc. Jon could either accept the offer or face execution. His vows would no longer be a valid excuse as they would already have been broken.

This is a simple problem-reaction-solution strategy or Hegelian dialectic if you prefer. Of course, from Stannis point of view it is vital Jon never discovers the truth about the letter.

4 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

A very good point and it's not often proponents of one theory are this fair to other theories.

Thank you. I'm only defending the Stannis Theory because I believe it is what the story is telling us. And the truth should fear no investigation.

Mance has a strong motive as I outlined, and, as I believe the letter is written after Stannis takes Winterfell, there is room for Mance to be involved. I wrote that up in the Mance Plan so I won't go into it here in detail. Mance could have been involved, although if he was then his aim was to hijack the pink letter plan and side with the Snowmen agenda for an independent north rather than Stannis once Jon arrived at Winterfell. Some of the language is certainly suggestive of Mance as @redriver pointed out, but I really believe the letter was conceived by Stannis for reasons I just posted above.

6 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

I guess  the above needed a spoiler box since the prediction draws on the TWOW chapter.

Just one more point: I said the Bolton seal was unavailable for the above, but actually that's not necessary, the PL might have been opened by Clydas.

Anything that has been published for a while (six months?) is fair game here I think. Theon I was published shortly after ADwD so I believe it's fine. And let's face it, it happened around the time of Alys Karstarks wedding and should have been in ADwD somewhere around that time chronologically. I suspect that the Battle of Ice, probably Asha I TWoW, should have been in ADwD too but...

Agreed. The smear of wax suggests to me that the letter may well have had the usual button of hard wax originally until it was opened, read, and resealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I think this is the best counterargument to anyone but Ramsay being the author. At the end of the day, sending that letter in order to get Jon to bring an army south (or taking any other specific action) is a cartoonishly convoluted plan, and the fact that it ultimately fails doesn't make it look any better.

The plan almost worked but it clashed with another arc and Jon's death was an unintended consequence. The series is littered with failed plans and deceptions so I think the pink letter is very much in keeping with that. That Ramsay wrote a rant to Jon and then struck gold by getting Jon killed is just a poor storytelling device, especially when there is no set-up, foreshadowing, etc.

6 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I asked the @three-eyed monkey this before and I didn't get an answer. If the author is not Ramsay, how does this affect the story? What happens next? What was the point of the twist?

The letter has affected the story, regardless of authorship. The question is was it just dropped out of the blue or was it the result of the story we have been told in ADwD? Stannis wanting Jon for Winterfell is a strong strand of the novel, Ramsay and Jon not so much, in fact nothing at all from Ramsay's point of view.

What happens next? Well, it is a lot easier to see what Stannis wanted to happen, which was gain the north through Jon, because he tells us several times in the text. Not so easy to look into the future too far with GRRM.

Jon's death will not please Stannis, the northern lords, or Mance. It will probably increase Rickon's political value from Stannis and the northern lords point of view, which might put Davos in the position of kingmaker. Rickon is not much use to Mance though as he is not "the man" the free folk would choose to follow. I suspect Jon will be done with the game of thrones when he returns, which I believe is the main point of his death.

What is the point of the twist? In the case of Ramsay writing the letter there is nothing else to be done but hype the battle of bastards as long as Ramsay does escape the battle of ice. This would remain true if Stannis wrote the letter but there would be an extra element, something for Jon to discover that will affect his bromance with Stannis and change the course of events later.

6 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Let's say Stannis wrote it. If so, his plan didn't work. Jon got assassinated and he still needs to win or lose the battle with the Boltons alone. The outcome isn't any different than if Ramsay had written it. So how does this twist pay off? Will Jon declare war on Stannis for tricking him and getting him killed? Is it just meant to make Stannis look desperate and stupid? Same for Mance. If Mance had some motive to falsify the letter, will this motive blossom into a major plot point in Winds? Because otherwise what's the point.

He did write it. So say all the clues. We can trace how the letter grows out of Stannis' character and circumstance, as actions should. We cannot do the same for Ramsay as the letter is not only illogical from his point of view but it is contrary to his character.

Cue debate on Stannis character and baseless claims that despite him switching Mance and Rattleshirt, Stannis would never lie!

6 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

And in both cases, the resulted plot lines must be able to blend into the rest of the story without hijacking it. Is there time left for the Others, can it connect to Dany and/or the war in the south in a meaningful way? You gotta consider how the theory fits in the series as a whole. And when I apply this principle, any author other than Ramsay feels like it can only provide unnecessary complications.

Of course there will be time for the Others and of course the story will converge over the course of the next two books. The authorship of the letter has nothing to do with that. The result of the letter is the important plot point. The authorship will become an issue at some stage, I'm certain. It was written that way for a reason and I'm happy to see how it unfolds. It's not an unnecessary complication, just a complication, and these are complicated books.

4 hours ago, Nevets said:

While I can - maybe- accept that Stannis might send Jon a letter purporting to be from Ramsay to get him to come south, It wouldn't be this letter.  It would be a very different one - with a better reason to come - and no threats to make him stay.

You're moving, Nevets. Only very slightly, but still. Put your Ramsay Theory vows aside and swear your bastard sword to Stannis.

As a matter of interest, what better reasons might Stannis have come up with if he was trying to get Jon to break his vows and come to Winterfell?

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I'm the resident devil's advocate here. I hope no one minds introduction of another devil. Or, actually, variation on a devil I mentioned earlier - that Melisandre used the pink letter to "crown" Jon Snow and then have him killed for his king's blood.

14 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

This would be especially true if Jon was king of an independent north. It's unclear how much Mance knows about the northern agenda to crown Jon, but Abel and his women are well placed to learn about it I would say. There is a three way tug-o-war going on for Jon between Stannis, Mance, and the northern lords. Stannis is the only one who is explicit in this regard. You have to read between the lines for the other two.

I agree about the tug-o-war, but it's at least a five-way war. (Hmm. Where have we heard about a five-way war before in ASOIAF?) I think you can read between the lines and find that the Night's Watch and Melisandre are also part of the tug-o-war over Jon Snow. The Night's Watch interest has been going on for a long time - at least back as far as Mormont telling Jon after his desertion that he wants Jon's blood and his wolf to go ranging beyond the Wall, and when Mormont is careful to arrange a little walkabout for Jon to find the obsidian cache with Ghost at the Fist on the night of a full moon during the time of the comet.

Jon has some unique quality that is needed by the Night's Watch. It's possible this quality is just Stark blood, which would explain why Mormont was so determined to find BenJen. (Although he may have just told Jon that he was looking for BenJen, to get him to give his all to the ranging.)

We know that Melisandre wants King's Blood for certain sacrifices to advance Stannis in his quest for the throne. But GRRM has said that Melisandre has an agenda apart from the interests of Stannis, and we readers don't yet know what that agenda might be. (Probably connected to R'hllor, but you never know.) If my earlier "Melisandre wrote the pink letter" theory has an iota of credibility, she might have written it to advance the interests of Stannis, or she might have written it to promote this hidden agenda of which we are not yet apprised.

9 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

If the author is not Ramsay, how does this affect the story? What happens next? What was the point of the twist?

... [the plot must] blend into the rest of the story without hijacking it. Is there time left for the Others, can it connect to Dany and/or the war in the south in a meaningful way? You gotta consider how the theory fits in the series as a whole.

This really resonates with me and led me to add this post here. I can be persuaded that any number of people wrote the letter, based on somewhat sound citation of evidence from the books, but a straight line between the letter-writer's motive, the contents of the letter and Jon's reaction is missing: how does anyone know that Jon will choose to travel toward Winterfell, based on the contents of the letter?

If the motive is not to get Jon to travel south, that lack of logic is no longer an issue. The letter was not intended to provoke Jon to a specific action - it was more like being served with papers in a lawsuit (in the U.S. legal system). If the person touches the paper on which the document is written, they have been served and the legal obligation begins. It's even better that Jon reads the letter,

I don't think the purpose of the letter was to get Jon to go south. I think it's a much more literary device. In the earlier post on this thread (see link, above or go to p. 5 of this thread) I shared some of the parallels to the crowning of Robb Stark, with the inference that the letter represents the crowning of Jon Snow and, like Robb and Renly, his subsequent kingslaying by stabbing.

There are other parallels that can help to bring meaning to the pink letter:

  • Night's King / Lord of Winterfell parallels between Jon and Ramsay (and vice versa);
  • The Mance-in-a-cage parallel to Aemon the Dragonknight in a cage over vypers in Dorne. (He was rescued by King Baelor the Blessed, which taps into the Bael / Abel / Baelor parallel as well.)
  • Prince Nymor Martell's mysterious letter to Aegon I. (Other comparable letters might include the letter Davos read that brought Stannis to the Wall, Cersei's "I love you thrice" letter to Jaime, and even the Hardhome messages from Cotter Pyke, written by Maester Harmune.)

I explained some of the Night's King thinking in the linked post. Jon is not necessarily the equivalent of the Night's King - there seem to be an amalgam of characters, each of which represent an aspect of the Night's King, his queen and/or the brother from Winterfell who takes him down. Similarly, the legend of Gendel and Gorne, describing another legendary conflict between the Starks and people from the far north, has some parallels in this last Jon chapter or two in ADwD.

The Bael / Baelor parallels are heating up all over the ASOIAF universe, imho. Petyr Baelish has some major developments in his mysterious long game. Cersei and Margaery were imprisoned in Baelor's Sept. This possible parallel between Mance and the Dragonknight is a new twist. I suppose it could support the arguments that the pink letter was intended to get Jon Snow to go south, just as Baelor went south to Dorne to make peace and to free the Dragonknight while he was out of the house. And we have the clear Bael the Bard parallel in Lyanna's story and in Mance's secret trips to Winterfell. As with a lot of GRRM's uses of legends to foreshadow current events, it's not clear whether Mance is Baelor or Aemon (the Dragonknight) in this echo. Maybe a little bit of each? If Jon was intended to rescue Mance, then Jon would be Baelor and Mance would be Aemon, perhaps underscoring this notion that Jon is being crowned and will soon die. (Baelor nearly died from snake bites incurred during the rescue of the Dragonknight.)

As for the other letters, we don't know what was in the letter Nymor sent to Aegon I, but it ended Aegon's plans to attack Dorne. No one seems to know what was in that letter, unless someone in the Martell family has the inside scoop. But it's one of the most important letters in Westeros history.

The Davos and Cersei letters I listed were intended to get a key person to travel for the purpose of combat. Granted, this could lend some credibility to the idea that the pink letter was intended to get Jon into a fighting stance. But the letters didn't work as intended: Jaime apparently decided that Cersei's situation is not his priority right now and Stannis didn't read the letter from the Night's Watch or chose to ignore it. It was only when Davos read it and understood the strategic need and benefit to Stannis that Stannis brought his army north. (Sorry, I know this will rile the OP, but the fact that Stannis ignored or didn't read the letter from the Night's Watch is a sign that he probably did not write the pink letter: he is a man of action, not words.)

I mention the Cotter Pyke messages because they occur in this same arc and they are initially pulling Jon in the other direction. If there is a tug-o-war going on (and I think that's an excellent metaphor for what's happening here) there may be conflicting information in the missives from the east and the missive from (we are told) Winterfell. Jon is being pulled in at least two directions by these letters; pulled in another direction by Wun Wun; another direction by his vows; etc.

Long story short: if the goal of the letter is to "crown" Jon, precipitating his death, the steps are more logical than the complicated ideas about luring Jon to Winterfell. This would also be consistent with crowning of other monarchs in the books: Robb and Renly, as described earlier. The eating of a heart is mentioned in the pink letter and this is part of the "crowning" behavior because Dany eats a stallion's heart to pave the way for the Stallion that Mounts the World.

It turns out that Dany is probably that prophesied Dothraki ruler of legend, not her baby. In the letter to Jon, Ramsay (or another letter-writer  threatens to eat Jon's heart: Jon does not want Ramsay to become the "Prince" and he gets more angry about this threat to eat his heart than he does about the threats against fArya, Val or the family of Stannis. The letter motivates him to become king himself to prevent Ramsay from claiming the crown or from eating his heart. Consider also that Joffrey had a sword named Heart Eater. He used it only to threaten Micah, the butcher's boy, who was (for a few minutes) on the winning side with Arya and Nymeria. Arya threw Heart Eater into the river and it was never seen again.

(I'm leaving work in 15 minutes and don't have my books here. I want to make a point about possible wordplay in the letters that might support this King's Blood theory so I will do that later tonight when I get home and edit this post to reflect the additional info. I know many people don't like the wordplay clues, anyway, so it might be better to begin consideration of this post without them.)

 

 

 

Share this post


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

I agree about the tug-o-war, but it's at least a five-way war.

Sorry, I meant a three way tug-o-war in Winterfell. Stannis, Mance, pro-stark northern lords, as opposed to the other party in Winterfell, the Boltons, who haven't really mentioned Jon until Ramsay supposedly wrote the letter.

Yes, I agree Melisandre definitely has an agenda towards Jon and it's even likely that Mance is involved in her plans, although I'm sure Mance does have his own agenda and one that has been in place long before he ever met Mel. Mance is playing along with Stannis and Mel for now, waiting for his opportunity to get his own game back on track in my opinion.

I think it is clear that Mel wants to bring forth another shadow with Jon, and possibly to take out the Great Other's champions as she sees it, Bran and Bloodraven. There's plenty of evidence for that in the text. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I suppose her motive depends on who she really is and I don't really have a firm opinion on that beyond what we have been told of he child slave background. Maybe she thinks she is Nissa Nissa reborn.

But when it comes to the pink letter, I fail to see where she would have obtained all of the information possible without there first being an original letter from someone in Winterfell. The smear of wax suggests someone read or possibly even tampered with the letter. The conspirators reading the letter and re-sealing it seems most likely to me, but I wouldn't rule Mel out I guess. However, even in such a scenario I still think the original letter came from Stannis and any potentially re-drafted version is close to the original wording as it still contains the quotes from Theon's conversation with Stannis.

 

 

Share this post


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

It is known in Winterfell that Jon has made common cause with Stannis according to Theon.

Theon shivered. Baratheon or Bolton, it made no matter to him. Stannis had made common cause with Jon Snow at the Wall, and Jon would take his head off in a heartbeat. Plucked from the clutches of one bastard to die at the hands of another, what a jape.

Thanks.    Sometimes when talking about a topic this one forgets stuff. Quite a few people are aware of LC Snow and Stannis' interactions.

A Feast for Crows - Cersei IV    "If Lord Janos can be believed, he is trying to make common cause with the wildlings," warned Grand Maester Pycelle.    "Savages in skins," declared Lord Merryweather. "Lord Stannis must be desperate indeed, to seek such allies."/

A Feast for Crows - Cersei IV     "Until now," said Cersei. "The bastard boy has written us to avow that the Night's Watch takes no side, but his actions give the lie to his words. He has given Stannis food and shelter, yet has the insolence to plead with us for arms and men."    "An outrage," declared Lord Merryweather. "We cannot allow the Night's Watch to join its strength to that of Lord Stannis."    "We must declare this Snow a traitor and a rebel," agreed Ser Harys Swyft. "The black brothers must remove him."/

I mention the above because plays into the possibility of a tampered with letter.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

Just one more point: I said the Bolton seal was unavailable for the above, but actually that's not necessary, the PL might have been opened by Clydas.

This is another interesting tidbit. Thanks.

It brought to my mind that Roose is the bearer of seal of House Bolton. The stamp.

Merely an passing thought that probably has no bearing on the smear of pink wax.

Share this post


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

Your theory claims Ramsay is present at the battle but somehow Stannis fools him into thinking he has won. Is how you envisage that happening based on anything in the text?

Actually, the "Ramsay Theory", as you call it, doesn't depend on Ramsay winning, or even a battle occurring.  It could be all lies designed to get Stannis's family out of Castle Black, among other things, like causing trouble.

13 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

As a matter of interest, what better reasons might Stannis have come up with if he was trying to get Jon to break his vows and come to Winterfell?

"If you want her that badly, come and get her.  I'm getting tired of the little wolf-bitch anyway  Maybe I'll give her to my men for their amusement."  He also might do something similar for Mance.  And stop with the threats to Stannis's family.  All that does is possibly induce Jon to stay.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Nevets said:

"If you want her that badly, come and get her.  I'm getting tired of the little wolf-bitch anyway  Maybe I'll give her to my men for their amusement."  

I know this is just meant as an example and is not a fundamental premise of your argument, but the above is only something that can happen on the show, not in a RL medieval setting that GRRM has worked very hard to model Westeros on. When your claim to WF rests on your marriage, you don't make those kind of threats where you are effectively setting your marriage aside.  (It's not so much about what you actually do vs putting it in a letter).  Granted there is one problem with the North, that there is no ecclesiastical authority to appeal to, but even then, a statement like that is the one thing that could rouse the North against the Boltons. Maintaining the pretence of a political marriage is very important to the control of the assets you have gained through that marriage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

I know this is just meant as an example and is not a fundamental premise of your argument, but the above is only something that can happen on the show, not in a RL medieval setting that GRRM has worked very hard to model Westeros on. When your claim to WF rests on your marriage, you don't make those kind of threats where you are effectively setting your marriage aside.  (It's not so much about what you actually do vs putting it in a letter).  Granted there is one problem with the North, that there is no ecclesiastical authority to appeal to, but even then, a statement like that is the one thing that could rouse the North against the Boltons. Maintaining the pretence of a political marriage is very important to the control of the assets you have gained through that marriage.

This is an important point.

It is obvious Roose betrayed Robb at the Twins. Everyone knows that because Roose became the Lannisters' Warden of the North.

Ramsay's sack of Winterfell was blamed on Theon, but the truth has been discovered through Wex. Every reader knows that is not a good situation for the Boltons.

Winterfell was awarded to the Boltons and Ramsay legitimized by the crown so that he could become the new Lord of Winterfell. But Tywin and Roose knew that the North would not be happy about that, so the marriage to Arya was conceived as part of that plan, in an attempt to keep the North passive on the issue. Arya was the only remaining heir to Winterfell as far as anyone knew. Bran and Rickon were dead. Sansa was married to Tyrion, but then she disappeared after the Purple Wedding and is suspected of regicide. Jon was bastard born and sworn to the Watch.

The fact that Arya was actually assumed to be dead, but was then resurrected in the form of Jeyne to serve this purpose shows just how important a marriage to a Stark was in Roose and Tywin's eyes. They could have said there are no Starks remaining except for the fugitive Sansa and bastard born Jon who was bound to the Watch and sworn to inherit no lands etc. Yet Tywin and Roose decided that a marriage to a Stark was important enough to create a fake Arya rather than proceed with simply awarding the castle to Ramsay.

Roose then used Theon, who had grown up in Winterfell and knew Arya, to do the Bolton's bidding and bring some credibility to their lie. Theon knows this. He also knows that some of the northern lords would have suspicions, something we see when Crowfood questions Jeyne about members of the Stark household after she and Theon jumped. But as none of the lords knew Arya as well as Theon did, they had to hold their suspicions because of Theon's authentication.

Theon asked Lady Dustin why not have Jon Snow give Arya away on her wedding day. Lady Dustin dismissed Jon as bastard born and sworn to the Watch, but the obvious truth is that Jon would see through the fraud as easily as Theon did, but unlike Theon, Jon is not someone the Boltons control. So Jon staying on the Wall and never learning the truth about Jeyne is clearly in the Bolton interest.

That is why Ramsay writing to Jon to ask for his fake bride back is something that just would not happen. It would really mean an end to the charade unless Jon was willing to co-operate with the Boltons, who betrayed Robb at the Red Wedding, and that is very unlikely. Any argument that depends on the Boltons thinking Jon would co-operate with them is very weak. If they really thought that then they would have brought him in to seal the wedding. The truth is, they want Jon to stay out of it and never find out about fake Arya, because if he did then their claim on Winterfell would be in danger and their lies would be exposed and their tenuous hold on the northern lords would be in jeopardy.

Furthermore, they know Jon has been co-operating with Stannis whose aim is to remove the Boltons. If they then learned that Jon was behind Arya's rescue, then they would have to be extremely stupid to write to him asking for Jeyne back.

Some people argue that the purpose of the letter was to get Jon killed but if that is the case then it is a shot in the dark as there is no guarantee that Jon would share the letters contents with anyone he did not trust, and even if he did then it does not naturally follow that the people Jon shared the contents of the letter with would respond by killing him. If killing Jon was their intention then there are several smarter option available to them than writing to Jon himself.

Even Cersei, who is not the smartest character and who did want Jon dead, knew that sending men to kill Jon or writing to Marsh to insist that Jon was removed is a far better plan than writing to Jon himself. If the Boltons really did write a letter to Castle Black in response to Jeyne's escape, then such a letter would have been sent to Marsh, much like the Lannisters did, insisting that Jon be executed for his crimes, preferably before Jeyne got there. I could believe that, but the Pink Letter? No.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Nevets said:

Actually, the "Ramsay Theory", as you call it,

It is a theory. Despite the fact that people assume it was Ramsay and insist there is no mystery here, no one can support the idea with text or logic. I remain confident that TWoW will prove it was not only a theory but a particularly weak theory.

Share this post


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

The plan almost worked but it clashed with another arc and Jon's death was an unintended consequence. The series is littered with failed plans and deceptions so I think the pink letter is very much in keeping with that. That Ramsay wrote a rant to Jon and then struck gold by getting Jon killed is just a poor storytelling device, especially when there is no set-up, foreshadowing, etc.

Yes to the bold part, but the failures and deceptions are always important to the plot, or at the very least carry a thematic meaning. They're not just empty twists replacing more realistic scenarios.

Ramsay writing the letter simply makes the most sense, no matter how many far-fetched counterarguments you try to invent or how often and how brazenly you state the contrary. Refusing to acknowledge that is intellectually dishonest.

Ramsay lost his bride and his Reek because of Mance's rescue mission. If he captured Mance and/or any of his spearwives, which is very likely, he would have been able to find out that they were sent by Jon, which more than explains his motivation for sending the letter and the furious tone in it.  I'm sure he wasn't planning for Jon to get himself killed over it, his goal was to make him suffer, and maybe lure him to come down south as a long shot. So yes, he struck gold, but that's not "poor storytelling" at all, it is very human on both sides, it's psychologically deep and realistic.

With Stannis, on the other hand, it's a very far-fetched idea, you have to invent a lot of head-canon to prop it up, and it ultimately feels forced and cartoonish. Let's say Stannis had the means to send Jon a letter and a desire to make him come south. Ask yourself the following:

  1. Why not be blunt? "Lord Snow, I have your sister for now, and she suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of the Boltons. Yet my army is starving and I know I will lose this fight, unless you come to help me, or else command the wildlings to follow the commands of one of my trusted men and come to my aid as swiftly as possible." It's not that Stannis wouldn't use subterfuge on Jon; this is just a better way to get a reliable result. More in the following:
  2. If he was going to lie, why claim that he had already been defeated? Jon would be more likely to come if he knew he had a better chance of winning. Why not simply say that Stannis was starving and hopeless outside the walls? That would have been enough to tell Jon not to rely on him.
  3. Why tell him that Ramsay didn't have Arya? More importantly, why make it sound like Arya was heading his way? This way Jon has the option to wait for her at Castle Black, or spend his first few days sending out scouts to find her and nothing more.
  4. Speaking of precious time, Stannis's men actually are snowed in and starving. It would take Jon at least a week or two to reach him, and even when he does, since he believes Stannis is dead and they have no means of communication, he can just storm the castle from the other side without Stannis even knowing. How much help can that be?
18 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

What is the point of the twist? In the case of Ramsay writing the letter there is nothing else to be done but hype the battle of bastards as long as Ramsay does escape the battle of ice. This would remain true if Stannis wrote the letter but there would be an extra element, something for Jon to discover that will affect his bromance with Stannis and change the course of events later.

First of all, don't count on the BoB existing in the books (another spoiler slipping in the discussion... :P)

Other than that, you admit that you can't envision any meaningful plot development that derives from the reveal that Stannis, not Ramsay, wrote the Pink Letter. That makes it an empty twist in my book.

19 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

He did write it. So say all the clues. We can trace how the letter grows out of Stannis' character and circumstance, as actions should. We cannot do the same for Ramsay as the letter is not only illogical from his point of view but it is contrary to his character.

See my explanation above. :P This is either blatant intellectual dishonesty or a raging case of confirmation bias.

Look, I'm all for exploring unlikely theories. I can understand perfectly the frustration you feel when you put a lot of work in coming up with a totally novel idea and, instead of analyzing it on its own merits, people smack you down by using stale old theories discussed a thousand times as counterarguments. "The valonqar is Jaime", "The endgame needs to happen at Winterfell", "Dany must reach Westeros", etc, etc. Saying you want a space where you can explore the idea that Stannis is the author of the Pink Letter unimpeded is great as far as I'm concerned.

But actively attacking the more reliable theory and pretending you shut it down is just annoying. Your confidence won't convince anyone if you don't have solid facts. And we're all spinning scenarios here, you don't have a solid argument at all against Ramsay being the author.

15 hours ago, Seams said:

This really resonates with me and led me to add this post here. I can be persuaded that any number of people wrote the letter, based on somewhat sound citation of evidence from the books, but a straight line between the letter-writer's motive, the contents of the letter and Jon's reaction is missing: how does anyone know that Jon will choose to travel toward Winterfell, based on the contents of the letter?

I don't really agree that the letter is a symbolic crowning, but I can respect the work you put in supporting that idea.

I think the letter is simply a cry of frustration from a psychopath. Jon rook Ramsay's toys away from him, so he wants to hurt him both mentally and physically. He totally believes that he will be able to do that eventually, but for now he's forced to vent his anger through words. It's poetic that Ramsay will loose his freedom and his life very soon after this imaginary power trip, but it's also a fitting legacy for a monster like him that his words got Jon killed (and probably did a lot more harm than that, if Jon's death will have an impact on the first clash with the Others).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

I know this is just meant as an example and is not a fundamental premise of your argument, but the above is only something that can happen on the show, not in a RL medieval setting that GRRM has worked very hard to model Westeros on. When your claim to WF rests on your marriage, you don't make those kind of threats where you are effectively setting your marriage aside.  (It's not so much about what you actually do vs putting it in a letter).  Granted there is one problem with the North, that there is no ecclesiastical authority to appeal to, but even then, a statement like that is the one thing that could rouse the North against the Boltons. Maintaining the pretence of a political marriage is very important to the control of the assets you have gained through that marriage.

I was suggesting it as a message Stannis might send in Ramsay's name.  Sorry if it didn't come out that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Yes to the bold part, but the failures and deceptions are always important to the plot, or at the very least carry a thematic meaning. They're not just empty twists replacing more realistic scenarios.

Ramsay writing the letter simply makes the most sense, no matter how many far-fetched counterarguments you try to invent or how often and how brazenly you state the contrary. Refusing to acknowledge that is intellectually dishonest. 

Ramsay lost his bride and his Reek because of Mance's rescue mission. If he captured Mance and/or any of his spearwives, which is very likely, he would have been able to find out that they were sent by Jon, which more than explains his motivation for sending the letter and the furious tone in it.  I'm sure he wasn't planning for Jon to get himself killed over it, his goal was to make him suffer, and maybe lure him to come down south as a long shot. So yes, he struck gold, but that's not "poor storytelling" at all, it is very human on both sides, it's psychologically deep and realistic.

With Stannis, on the other hand, it's a very far-fetched idea, you have to invent a lot of head-canon to prop it up, and it ultimately feels forced and cartoonish.

I was always told that when someone starts attacking you rather than your position then they have lost the debate and that seems to be the case here. Instead of claiming that I am intellectually dishonest, why don't you give an example of my intellectual dishonesty?

While you're at it you could also give an example of the far-fetched counterarguments I am trying to invent. Or the head-canon I am trying to invent.

Ramsay writing the letter is based totally on head-cannon, unlike my arguments, which are based on text and are made in the context of the story we have been told. You may disagree with my argument but you cannot disagree that Stannis wants Jon to be his Lord of Winterfell. This is canon. It is repeated in the text several times, starting in ASoS and right through ADwD. Yet you don't seem to accept that as motive for Stannis because of your own head-canon and confirmation bias.

For example, I agree that some of the spearwives may have been captured and that Ramsay may have learned that Jon was behind the plot. In your head-canon, as quoted above, this is motive for Ramsay to write the pink letter to Jon and his purpose was to make Jon suffer. No textual support. No appreciation for fArya's role in the Bolton's political situation as established in the text. No attention to the fact that Ramsay has been characterized as someone who would hunt her down, and maybe even name one of his dogs after her if she gives him a good chase. It's just a baseless claim.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Let's say Stannis had the means to send Jon a letter and a desire to make him come south.

What do you mean let's say Stannis had a desire to make Jon come to Winterfell? Stannis does have that desire. It is stated in the text several times, there is no "let's say" about it. This is a good example of your intellectual dishonesty.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Ask yourself the following:

  1. Why not be blunt? "Lord Snow, I have your sister for now, and she suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of the Boltons. Yet my army is starving and I know I will lose this fight, unless you come to help me, or else command the wildlings to follow the commands of one of my trusted men and come to my aid as swiftly as possible." It's not that Stannis wouldn't use subterfuge on Jon; this is just a better way to get a reliable result.

Because Stannis has bluntly asked Jon several times and been rebuffed. He could try it one more time, sure, but the lesson of Proudwing, as stated in the text, is that Stannis has learned that rather than stubbornly persisting with something that doesn't work it is better to try something else. That is not my head-canon either, it is canon.

Plus, you are talking about sending wildlings to give Stannis aid. This is ridiculous. The battle was done by the time Jon received the letter. And even if it wasn't there is no way military assistance from Castle Black would ever reach Stannis in time for the battle. This is head-canon on your behalf.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

If he was going to lie, why claim that he had already been defeated? Jon would be more likely to come if he knew he had a better chance of winning. Why not simply say that Stannis was starving and hopeless outside the walls? That would have been enough to tell Jon not to rely on him.

Because Jon doesn't really need to act as long as Stannis is there to remove the Boltons for him. Defeated is more definite. Your suggestion is viable, perhaps, but it is a weaker alternative. Why take half-measures?

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Why tell him that Ramsay didn't have Arya? More importantly, why make it sound like Arya was heading his way? This way Jon has the option to wait for her at Castle Black, or spend his first few days sending out scouts to find her and nothing more.

Because Ramsay having Arya is a deterrent to Jon acting against Ramsay. That is how hostages work. There are plenty of examples of this in the series. To deny it or claim that Jon is more likely to act if Arya was still held by the Boltons is simply wrong because it would put Arya in danger.

Jon does have the option to wait for her, or send out scouts to look for her. He has the option to discard the rest of the letter and do nothing more if he chooses. Stannis can't control that. He can only try to get Jon to come to Winterfell. No plan is certain to succeed.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Speaking of precious time, Stannis's men actually are snowed in and starving. It would take Jon at least a week or two to reach him, and even when he does, since he believes Stannis is dead and they have no means of communication, he can just storm the castle from the other side without Stannis even knowing. How much help can that be?

If you read my argument properly, which you obviously have not, then you would know that the purpose of getting Jon to Winterfell is not to help take the castle, because Stannis has already done that, but to bind the north and the free folk to his cause before he continues his campaign south.

This far-fetched scenario you are inventing when you say that Jon might turn up and storm the castle without knowing it is held by Stannis really has no appreciation for how banners work. A flaming heart flying over the gate would be a strong indication that Stannis holds the castle.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

First of all, don't count on the BoB existing in the books (another spoiler slipping in the discussion... :P)

I don't. You misread me. Ramsay writing the letter would, in my opinion, set up such a confrontation, but I don't believe Ramsay wrote the letter. I think it's fine for t.v. but not these novels.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Other than that, you admit that you can't envision any meaningful plot development that derives from the reveal that Stannis, not Ramsay, wrote the Pink Letter. That makes it an empty twist in my book.

No, I said Stannis writing the letter leaves more room for further development than Ramsay writing the letter does.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

See my explanation above. :P This is either blatant intellectual dishonesty or a raging case of confirmation bias.

Really? Explain why.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Look, I'm all for exploring unlikely theories. 

Well, obviously if you think Ramsay wrote the letter.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I can understand perfectly the frustration you feel when you put a lot of work in coming up with a totally novel idea and, instead of analyzing it on its own merits, people smack you down by using stale old theories discussed a thousand times as counterarguments.

Having read your Exodus theory I can see why you understand that, perfectly.

Personally, I don't feel frustrated at all. I didn't set out to come up with a novel idea or anything of the sort. I simply read the books multiple times and am expressing my opinion about a certain plot point and how we got there. I have no interest in being intellectually dishonest, and I would hope that my fellow members here know that. It may turn out that I am intellectually incapable, we shall see, and if it does then I will be the first to acknowledge it; but not dishonest.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

But actively attacking the more reliable theory and pretending you shut it down is just annoying. Your confidence won't convince anyone if you don't have solid facts. And we're all spinning scenarios here, you don't have a solid argument at all against Ramsay being the author.

Define "the more reliable theory". In my eyes it is a theory supported by text.

Define "a solid argument." In my eyes it is an argument supported by text.

You are free to disagree but please support your argument with text.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I think the letter is simply a cry of frustration from a psychopath.

If you don't see how a simple device like that leading to Jon's death is poor storytelling then we have vastly different opinions on storytelling. But that's ok. I don't have interest in the show because the storytelling is poor in my opinion, comically poor on some occasions, but millions disagree.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

It's poetic that Ramsay will loose his freedom and his life very soon after this imaginary power trip,

And we have vastly different opinions on poetry.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

but it's also a fitting legacy for a monster like him that his words got Jon killed

If you say so. I strongly disagree as they were not Ramsay's words. I want my bride and I want my Reek are really Theon's words. Wildling princess is repeatedly used by Stannis and never by Ramsay. And so on. All my head-canon or a far-fetched invention of mine, according to you. But anyone who has read the books carefully can tell you that these are all in the canon.

Edited by three-eyed monkey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Nevets said:

"If you want her that badly, come and get her.  I'm getting tired of the little wolf-bitch anyway  Maybe I'll give her to my men for their amusement." 

Everyone in the north knows Arya is of political importance to the Boltons. If Stannis wrote such a thing then he would be writing something that the Boltons never would and that is not a good way to imitate them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're twelve pages into this discussion now (several years in all) and nobody has been able to support this so-called more reliable theory with text. No one has laid it out precisely in a way that makes sense without running into a an objection that is supported by text. If Ramsay really wrote the letter, and the authorship is not in question, and that was GRRM's intention, do people really think it would be this hard to find some text that supports it?

Share this post


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

We're twelve pages into this discussion now (several years in all) and nobody has been able to support this so-called more reliable theory with text. No one has laid it out precisely in a way that makes sense without running into a an objection that is supported by text. If Ramsay really wrote the letter, and the authorship is not in question, and that was GRRM's intention, do people really think it would be this hard to find some text that supports it?

I think this is a worthwhile discussion, and there is certainly reason to question the authorship of the PL, but I'm having trouble understanding what you're asking for with "supporting text."  People I think have laid out pretty well why the text supports Ramsay writing this letter.  Just a simple chronology- Jon sends Mance to rescue Arya from Longlake, Mance shows up at Winterfell, frees Ramsay's claim to Winterfell and his favorite toy (Reek) and you have a recipe for Ramsay being really pissed assuming he is able to capture and torture a spearwive and/or Mance and figure out the connection to Jon (who Ramsay already is primed to dislike as a natural rival for ruling the North).  Knowing Ramsay as we do, is it out of the question that he would write this letter to provoke and/or hurt Jon?

I think people have also tried to point out specific turns of phrase in the PL like asking for "Reek" back, and despite potential arguments to the contrary, they point directly to Ramsay.  This is something Ramsay would say above all, and Theon who knows Ramsay best saying these words reflects that it is something Ramsay would ask for.  I think it is fair for people to question the inclusion of this phrase if Stannis is the author, since I don't think there would be a good reason for Stannis to include this if all he's trying to do is imitate Ramsay (as has been pointed out, Jon has no conception of Reek or what that would mean so there would be no reason for Stannis to include this to trick Jon).

I also don't think wildling princess necessarily points to Theon or Stannis.  It may, but it is also something that Ramsay might mistakenly believe as it seems people unaware of wildling culture and politics seem to believe this.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Nevets said:

I was suggesting it as a message Stannis might send in Ramsay's name.  Sorry if it didn't come out that way.

Lol, I did get that, but I did an even worse job phrasing my reply in the correct context.:rofl:

4 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

If Stannis wrote such a thing then he would be writing something that the Boltons never would and that is not a good way to imitate them.

:thumbsup: Good ol' three-eye got there first

Edited by Ser Hedge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

I think this is a worthwhile discussion, and there is certainly reason to question the authorship of the PL,

Thank you. I appreciate all fair-minded discussion on the topic.

4 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

People I think have laid out pretty well why the text supports Ramsay writing this letter.  Just a simple chronology- Jon sends Mance to rescue Arya from Longlake, Mance shows up at Winterfell, frees Ramsay's claim to Winterfell and his favorite toy (Reek) and you have a recipe for Ramsay being really pissed assuming he is able to capture and torture a spearwive and/or Mance and figure out the connection to Jon (who Ramsay already is primed to dislike as a natural rival for ruling the North).  Knowing Ramsay as we do, is it out of the question that he would write this letter to provoke and/or hurt Jon?

I'll answer the circumstantial argument first, and I'll get back about supporting text and the rest of your post soon.

If we assume, just by the odds alone, that at least one spearwife was taken alive then the circumstances do support Ramsay having motive to act against Jon. It's an assumption but a safe one, I think, so I agree with that much. The rescue of Arya gives Ramsay a motive to act against Jon.

But we must take all circumstances into account. There are other circumstances, such as the political importance of the fake wedding from a Bolton point of view, that should not be ignored if we truly are to be intellectually honest. So while Ramsay does have motive to act against Jon, he does not have motive for that action to take the form of a letter asking for his bride back when he knows Jon would see through the fake wedding charade, which would not be in the Boltons' interest.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×