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three-eyed monkey

Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

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1 minute ago, divica said:

Well, I don t see great diference between giving enemy castles or allied castles as long as the allies that would have a claim to the castle are all dead.

You think giving away to southron lords castles that belong to defeated enemies is the same as giving them castles owned by allies who fought w/ him? It doesn’t matter that they’re dead, they have families. 

1 minute ago, divica said:

But my problem remains. Stannis has to reward his southerns with castles and lands in the north and even arrange marriages between them and northern noblewomen.

Again, marriages may be interesting for all concerned. It’s all in how this is done. 

1 minute ago, divica said:

And given northern mentality about disliking the south it has everything to go wrong. If we add that stannis is surrounded by Southern fanatics that follow r'hllor then it is even worse…

Fanatics to whom he has already said, “no more burnings”.

Stannis himself is not a follower of Red Rahloo. He’s a pragmatist who knows Mel has powers, and uses her (just as she uses him). 

1 minute ago, divica said:

 I doubt northern lords or peasents will accept this. 

We shall see.

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33 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

You think giving away to southron lords castles that belong to defeated enemies is the same as giving them castles owned by allies who fought w/ him? It doesn’t matter that they’re dead, they have families. 

Arghh. I am saying the entire family that has a claim is dead.

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On 2/13/2019 at 12:47 PM, Maia said:

There doesn't have to be an intricate plan behind the letter - all we need is motive, method and opportunity and Ramsey had all 3, while Stannis only had 2. Many plausible scenarios have already been suggested - and you really don't need much there for Ramsey, unless you purposefully hedge him around with artificial restrictions.

Ok. So let's break it down by motive, means, and opportunity. But I'll leave motive aside just for now.

The most logical solution is that everything in the letter is true, Stannis is dead, his army smashed, Ramsay has his sword, Mance is captured, the spearwives have been skinned, the rescue plot revealed. However, it seems that a lot of people, myself included, believe that Stannis is still alive and the letter therefore contains some elements that are not true, as signposted in the text by Tormund.

This means that Ramsay is simply lying, or that he has been deceived about the battle with Stannis. The former needs no explanation, but it's rather poor from a story-telling point of view. The latter is more interesting from a story-telling point of view, and there is text to support such a deception. Stannis has Tybald's ravens which are trained to fly to Winterfell and come from what Roose believes to be a reliable source, or if you prefer Stannis might have used his magic sword as part of the deception, or both. But if Ramsay was tricked into thinking Stannis is dead and his army smashed, by whatever means, then surely this suggests he stayed at Winterfell and did not go to the crofters village with the Freys.

Ramsay staying at Winterfell and leaving the retrieval of Reek and his bride to the Freys grinds with some of what we have been told of Ramsay. Ramsay has been characterized as someone who loves to hunt human prey. And given their relationship, I think Ramsay would be outraged that Reek even had the audacity to escape, and with his bride. How else should we expect Ramsay to react to the indignity of being out-witted by "less than a man"? Whatever about his bride, I think he would hunt Reek down himself rather that leave it to the Freys.

It has been suggested that Ramsay did try and hunt them down but returned unsuccessful, even though the Boltons know where Stannis is thanks to Tybald's map.  It was suggested that Ramsay tortured the spearwives and learned their escape plan, then concluded that Theon and Jeyne must have gone straight to Jon at the Wall, but according to Mance the escape plan was to get fArya to Stannis. It has been suggested that Theon and Jeyne would have too much of a lead on their more than 600 mile flight to Castle Black, even though that lead depends on how long Crowfood could delay the pursuit, and that is not likely to be long as Theon noted. None of these explanations are compelling.

Personally, I think if Ramsay rode out then he went all the way to Stannis camp and therefore the battle of ice. I think Theon is right that Ramsay will not be far behind the Freys. This is very plausible, given Ramsay's character and the fact that the battle seems quite favorable for the Freys, as Stannis army is freezing, starving, and afoot, with no apparent defenses, and the Karstarks are thought to be loyal to Roose.

But if Ramsay follows close behind the Freys then opportunity becomes an issue unless he has a raven for Castle Black for some unknown reason. His means to believe Stannis lost the battle also becomes questionable, given that he was present at the battle. Ramsay going to the battle does not allow a scenario where Ramsay can be misled into thinking Stannis won, be that by the delivery of his head, his sword, or by way of raven as seems to be set up.

The most logical explanation is that Ramsay did not ride out with the Freys, Theon was wrong, Ramsay or indeed Roose curbed his love for the hunt and his frustration at being out-witted by Reek. Instead, Ramsay stayed in Winterfell. That way he was in a position to be misled about the result of the battle by raven or sword or whatever means you choose. If Ramsay did stay and received news of the battle by raven, claiming Stannis was dead and his host smashed in battle, then he has the means to believe what he is saying in the letter is true and he has the opportunity to write the letter.

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If we follow on from above then Ramsay stayed in Winterfell after the escape, captured and interrogated the spearwives and/or Mance, learned of the rescue plot, and waited by choice or by order of Roose, while the Freys followed Tybald's map to the crofters village to finish Stannis' frozen army and recapture Reek and Ramsay's bride.

Crowfood's greenboys and greybeards would attempt to delay the Freys. They had the element of surprise the first time with Aenys Frey riding straight into the pit, but that trick won't work again so I don't think we can expect the small force to delay the Frey's for long.

Once Crowfood's head was mounted on a Frey spear, the journey to the crofters village would take approximately 3 days. I can't see the battle lasting more than a day, not when Stannis' army is fighting on empty stomachs and his men are dying in rising numbers by the day, even before any battle takes place. Sometime around 4 or 5 days after the Freys left Winterfell, Roose would have received a raven from Tybald reporting that Stannis was dead, his host had been smashed, and his magic sword captured, but Reek or Ramsay's bride had not been recaptured.

This news would have enraged Ramsay. Given what he has learned from the spearwives, and by a simple matter of deduction, Ramsay would have good reason to think they had gone to Jon at Castle Black. Although he could not be certain. It is quite a long journey in testing conditions and both Reek and Jeyne were frail. Nonetheless, we arrive at his motive to write the letter.

Ramsay's tone is threatening, naturally. He needles Jon about being a bastard and about him being the trueborn lord of Winterfell. But he stops short of writing the letter in blood, as he did with his threatening letter to Asha.

Ramsay informs Jon that Stannis is dead, his host was smashed, his sword captured and suggests Jon should tell Melisandre.

He informs Jon that Stannis friends are dead and their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. And he invites Jon to come see them.

He tells Jon that he knows Stannis and Jon lied about burning the King-beyond-the-Wall, and that they sent Mance to Winterfell to steal his bride instead.

He tells Jon that he will have his bride back and that if Jon wants Mance back, come and get him. Notably, this is the second time in the letter that Ramsay suggests that Jon should come to Winterfell.

He tells Jon that Mance is in a cage for all the north to see, proof of Jon's lies. And that the six women who came with Mance have been flayed. Ramsay does not include a piece of skin, as he had done before in letters to Roose and Asha. Roose explains to Catelyn that Ramsay does this sort of thing because he is cruel, but on this occasion he does not include a piece of Mance or indeed flayed spearwife. 

The rest is a list of demands.

Ramsay's bride, fArya. This is odd as the Boltons know it's not Arya, and Jon is one of the last living people who could confirm this to their detriment.

Selyse, Shireen and Mel seems very plausible as they are all aligned to Stannis and rebels to the throne, though it does seem odd that this is not the remit of the Warden of the North, Roose. In fact, nothing about the letter suggests Roose was involved and there are theories that Ramsay has disposed of Roose at this stage, so maybe they are correct.

The Wildling princess and little prince, Val and Monster. This too seems odd as even the wildlings do not consider Val a princess and I fail to see why Ramsay would. I also fail to see Ramsay's motive in asking for Val. Perhaps he plans to take a leaf out of Stannis book and seal a peace between the north and wildlings using Val? Seems unlikely, but Ramsay must have some reason for including her.

And finally there is Reek, who I imagine is the one Ramsay wants most of all.

Ramsay does not get the letter signed by the northern lords, as he did with previous letters to Jon and Asha. The signatures would certainly endorse Ramsay's authority, yet he decided against it. He claims to have Mance in a cage for all the north to see, which would suggest the northern lords are aware of the situation.

So is this just a rant, as many people propose, or is there a deeper motive? I certainly think, given GRRM's ability, that it is not simply a rant. But what motive could Ramsay have to write what he wrote?

Could he really expect Jon to acquiesce? Maybe, given that he does not know Jon. This is certainly a possibility even though it requires a high level of naivety.

It has been suggested that Ramsay wanted Jon to break his vows and get himself executed by the Watch, and if so then Ramsay is mightier with a pen than Arthur Dayne was with a sword. Or maybe he's just extremely lucky and the letter is a piss-poor literary device. And if killing Jon was his motive then he has smarter options like sending assassins or descending on Castle Black in force without warning. Either would be a better move.

I have seen it suggested that Ramsay needed Jon dead before fArya reached the Wall. But if Ramsay has strong evidence against Jon in the form of Mance, then surely a letter to someone other than Jon, such as Bowen Marsh who is Lord Steward and castellan at Castle Black, demanding Jon's execution for the crimes, or at least imprisonment in an ice cell until such time that Ramsay could come for his head himself, would have a better chance of success. Instead he chose to write to Jon in the hope that he might share it's contents with the Watch and they would respond with daggers.

An alternative version of this suggests that the purpose was to provoke Jon to ride to Winterfell before fArya arrived at Castle Black in an attempt to prevent Jon from discovering Arya is in fact Jeyne, but this is risky given that fArya is traveling in the opposite direction. But considering the letter twice suggests that Jon should come to Winterfell to see the heads on the walls and get Mance back, then this could be possible. But again, I think a letter to Bowen Marsh would surely have a better chance of achieving the goal of preventing Jon meeting fArya.

The letter does seem to be designed, with some thought, to provoke Jon into riding for Winterfell. I think this is the most logical motive, and a motive that does not require Ramsay ignoring obviously smarter options to achieve his goal. Ramsay is simply baiting a trap and hoping Jon reacts similarly to how his Uncle Brandon famously did when he rode to the Red Keep to call out Rhaegar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by three-eyed monkey

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