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three-eyed monkey

Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

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I noticed a few things about storm-related imagery in the chapters I examined.

1) There is a lot of detail framed in terms of a rising tide or rising flood waters.

She made her way down, the hem of her scarlet skirts swishing over the steps. It almost seemed as if she floated.

Coming home, they would be slowed by thousands of free folk, many sick and starved. A river of humanity moving slower than a river of ice. That would leave them vulnerable. Dead things in the wood. Dead things in the water. How many men are enough?

I'm not sure the flood metaphor is the same thing as the storm metaphor. Perhaps the point is to show that Jon is caught between two forces - one coming from above and one coming from below. Melisandre tells Jon to look to the skies. Yarwyck points out that the second or renewed storm is blowing in from the south.

In the AGoT Catelyn POV I see as a parallel for the pink letter chapter, the rising water is represented by the rivers surrounding Robb at Riverrun and is almost certainly a metaphor for the rising tide of war:

And the river lords were rising too, Blackwood and Bracken and Mallister, houses who had never been ruled from Winterfell, yet Catelyn watched them rise and draw their blades bending their knees and shouting the old words that had not been heard in the realm for more than three hundred years ...

If the rising waters represent war, the snow and storm probably represent the approach of the Others. If the author wants us to compare rising waters and deep snow, this could help to make sense of some of Patchface's cryptic remarks, such as, "Under the sea the crows are white as snow ... "

2) Tormund may command storms.

12 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

“The day grew darker, just as Tormund said. Clouds covered the sky from horizon to horizon, and warmth fled”

Tormund Giantsbane timed his arrival perfectly, thundering up with his warriors when all the shoveling was done. ... He had ice in his beard and more crusting in his mustache.

Someone had already told the Thunderfist about Gerrick Kingsblood and his new style. "King o' the Wildlings?" Tormund roared. "Har! King o' My Hairy Butt Crack, more like."

I know that a lot of the discussion of Tormund's love life, based on his tall tale about having sex with a bear, speculates that he is the father of the children of Maege Mormont. I can't argue with that, but I wonder whether the author's point is to portray Tormund as a bear character - like a skinchanger, in a way, or just a parallel to Jeor Mormont. We see other bear characters, such as Small Paul who is huge and hairy and can break a wildling's back with a hug. My guess is that Tormund is a variation on the theme of Jeor Mormont and he acts as a mentor and supporter for Jon Snow. Like Small Paul, Tormund indicates an interest in taking possession of Mormont's raven.

My point with the Mormont parallel is to show that Tormund is kind of a god of the Wall; part of a group of empowered bear characters who are ascendant in various ways at this location in Westeros. (Of course, there is also a giant motif around Tormund. He cuts open a giant and hibernates inside her, emerging as her baby some months later.)

I'm at the beginning of formulating this theory, but I wonder whether there is a Storm God archetype in ASOIAF, beginning with the House Durrandon legend, and people such as Jon Arryn and Jeor Mormont and Robert Baratheon have fulfilled this role in echoes of the original Storm God?

3) Alys Karstark may personify snow (or winter).

Or maybe the Karstark family in general represents winter.

There are Karstarks in the AGoT Catelyn POV I examined and in this pink letter chapter. Robb will eventually execute Lord Karstark; Jon helps Alys to be safe and to thrive. (Or so he intends.) He initially imprisons Cousin Cregan Karstark in the Wall but, in the pink letter chapter, he moves Cregan into the Lord Commander's tower that has sat unoccupied since the fire and Mormont's death. Is Cregan's time in the ice cell a sort of gestation period? Does he emerge as the baby of the Wall and take possession, in a sense, of the commander's seat? Jon directs that the giant Wun Wun should help to dig out the snow that will allow the opening of the door to the ice cell. Does that make the giant a sort of midwife for the rebirth of Cregan? (And provide a connection to the Tormund Giantsbane rebirth from a giantess?)

Melisandre tells Jon Snow that she sees his sister approaching on a dying horse. When the girl arrives, it is Alys Karstark, not Arya, as Jon had expected. Jon tells Melisandre that her vision was wrong; the girl is not his sister. But Jon Snow's name is Snow. If Alys personifies snow, then she actually might represent a sister for Jon; a metaphorical sister of which he has not been cognizant.

"You're not scared?"

The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. "Let him be scared of me." The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. Her cheeks were flushed and red, and her eyes sparkled.

"Winter's lady" Jon squeezed her hand.

Alys introduced a dancing metaphor as she sat with Jon Snow at her wedding celebration.

"Do you dance often, here at Castle Black?"

"Every time we have a wedding, my lady."

"You could dance with me, you know. It would be only courteous. You danced with me anon."

"Anon?" teased Jon.

"When we were children." She tore off a bit of bread and threw it at him. "As you know well."

"My lady should dance with her husband."

"My Magnar is not one for dancing, I fear. If you will not dance with me, at least pour me some of the mulled wine."

(ADwD, Chap. 49, Jon X)

A snowflake danced upon the air. Then another. Dance with me, Jon Snow, he thought. You'll dance with me anon.

(ADwD, Chap. 58, Jon XII)

Note: Jon always pictures Robb Stark with snow melting in his hair. Now we have snow dancing in the air. And it appears that Jon is about to take on vengeance in the manner of a Stark heir.

If you read the wedding scene with Alys and the Magnar of Thenn, the marriage is one of ice and fire, "Stark" and wildling, black and white, arranged by Jon. When he opens the Shieldhall, there are torches alternating with shields on the walls - further symbolism of the newly-introduced balance between ice (Wall = shield) and fire (torches).

Of course, he also persuades Tormund to bring the Free Folk south of the Wall, uniting crows and wildlings against a common foe. Another new balance or diplomatic armistice only Jon could achieve.

@Rose of Red Lake  I realize you were trying to use the descriptions of the snow storms to sort out the timeline for the roughly concurrent events in Theon and Jon's arcs. I know that timelines can be helpful and I have never been very good at working them out. My guess is that the author is using the arrival and cessation of snow in literary ways that may not match up precisely with literal events and timelines. Storms and flooding and thunder and snowfall are important clues, in my thinking, but more metaphorical than temporal.

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On 3/8/2019 at 5:46 PM, Alaynsa Starne said:

1. It doesn't matter what his reaction was because it's not relevant to whether or not he wrote the letter. He could have gone hunting them while his men tortured the spearwives and/or Mance, and gotten the information gained from said torture second-hand. He could have stayed home and done the torturing himself. Either way, the result is that he is not in possession of Theon or Jeyne at the time the letter was written.  

2. Again, not relevant to whether or not Ramsay wrote the letter. Ramsay could have lied in the letter. He could have exaggerated. He could have not been at the battle himself and just got misleading information in the aftermath. 

3. Either what Ramsay described in the letter happened, or it didn't. There's nothing any of us can offer on this point because we don't have the book. It would be purely conjecture. 

4. Ramsay either captured Mance and put him in a cage as described, or Mance evaded capture and the info Ramsay has on Mance is from the spearwives. Given that Ramsay claims Mance is in a cage for all the North to see, it seems likely that this is the case on the chance that Jon has spies in Winterfell. Though, Ramsay isn't exactly the smartest boy in school, so this, too, could be a lie. 

5. We don't actually know whether or not he has the sword. We just know that whoever wrote the letter -- who is most likely Ramsay -- claims to have it. He could have gotten it in the battle. Someone could have given it to him after getting it in the battle. Or he doesn't have it at all.

6. He wrote it sometime between the Theon sample chapter from Winds and Jon's last chapter. 

7. I think Ramsay expected to get Theon and Jeyne sent back to him. Jeyne isn't actually Jon's sister, and Theon's the traitor who sacked Jon's childhood home. Jon has no compelling interest in keeping them, beyond basic human compassion. But you sandwich that demand between more lurid ones like also sending down children, and that demand ends up seeming like the more reasonable one. Keep in mind, Ramsay is claiming to have Mance hostage -- "proof" that Jon betrayed his vows -- and that Stannis -- the only real force standing between Ramsay and Jon -- has been crushed. He's saying, look, send me my wife and the person who is witness to her "legitimacy" as a Stark, and I won't have to "do my duty" so to speak in killing you for being a shit LC. It's possible that Ramsay genuinely did want Mel, Selyse, Shireen, Val, and the baby. But Val and the baby have no value to Ramsay. Mel, Shireen, and Selyse could pose a threat, but not nearly as much as a male heir would. What could really fuck Ramsay over is not having Theon and Jeyne. Ramsay included lower and no stakes demands as bargaining tools. It's like setting the price too high and then haggling down to what seems like a better deal for the buyer, but was actually more than or exactly what the seller was trying to get at.

The letter is the best way to achieve this goal because Ramsay doesn't actually want to ride up to the gates of Castle Black with other northern lords. The second he does that is the moment he gives Jon -- who potentially has Jeyne -- a public platform to declare that Jeyne isn't Arya, therefore Ramsay is lord of exactly nothing. Ramsay needs to get Jeyne back, but he needs that done quietly and with as little fanfare as possible.

8. He doesn't write every letter in blood. Either he wasn't in the mood to go to the trouble, or he genuinely couldn't because he was in a location that was not Winterfell when he wrote it. Additionally, I don't think this letter was actually meant to threaten Jon in the sense that Ramsay was like "Ooooo I bet this'll scare him!" The letter was meant to be a power play. Every piece of information in the letter is to demonstrate that Ramsay is on equal or better footing than Jon. 

9. Because part of the point of the letter is to leverage the identity of Mance over Jon's head. Having northern lords sign it would be letting the cat out of the bag too early. Assuming Mance really is in a cage for all the North to see, there's no reason to believe that everyone knows that the man in the cage is Mance. Everyone in Winterfell knows him as Abel. All Ramsay would have to say is that Abel is an intruder who helped Jeyne escape, which would explain his imprisonment. 

10. I assume Ramsay thought that would better his chances of getting Jeyne back. Jon knows she's not Arya, so he has no obligation or motivation to threaten his command by keeping her from Ramsay. 

 

I think so many people assume that Jon's reaction to the letter was a given, and that whoever sent the letter was banking on Jon making the decision to march. I don't see that. Jon's decision is actually pretty unprecedented and would be very difficult to predict. Given that it contains incriminating information for Jon, it's a pretty far reach for the author of the letter to assume that Jon would read it publicly and then treat the letter as an actionable offense strong enough to invade south. The letter is extreme, but Jon's reaction is moreso. That's not a slam on Jon, and I'm not saying Jon is stupid. I'm just saying this was a fairly drastic move for an LC, especially when we consider how cautious Jon's predecessor was in maintaining neutrality. 

I actually think the author was banking on Jon keeping his mouth shut and conceding to whichever demands he could. Which is why it makes the most sense for the author to be Ramsay. It would also explain, perhaps, why the letter was not written in blood, why it didn't contain skin, and why it was sealed with pink wax but not the Bolton seal. Titling the letter "Bastard" almost ensures that Jon will read the letter personally and that it won't first be read to him by a maester. Leaving out blood, skin, and seal ensures that the letter is not visibly from Ramsay should others happen to be in the room when Jon receives it. The only way someone would know if it's from Ramsay is if they were reading over Jon's shoulder, which... I dunno, seems like something that just wouldn't be done to an LC. 

Ramsay is the one with the clearest motive. Ramsay is the one with access to all the information contained in the letter. Ramsay is the one with the means to send the letter. Ramsay is the one who would be expecting the most likely reaction from Jon -- concession. Any other theory has to jump through hoops to explain motive, means, and an uncanny ability to predict that Jon would upend centuries of NW tradition. They're fun to think about, but ultimately, Ramsay just makes the most sense. 

I find this series of ifs, buts, and maybes to be utterly unconvincing and very typical of the Ramsay Theory. He may have hunted them, he may not have hunted them, he may or may not have been at the battle, he might have Mance but might not, same with the sword, he wasn't in the mood to write in blood, he might have done anything really but we don't know because we don't have the next book yet. Still, Ramsay makes most sense.

Except when you examine it a bit more closely you'll see that he doesn't make sense at all. The Ramsay theory is the one that needs to jump through hoops, like ignoring clear clues that he didn't write the letter, like him acting out of character, like concocting some vague reason why he considers Val a princess, or explaining why there is nothing in the text besides his supposed signature on the letter to support the theory.

The other theories are more than just fun, most are based on text, explicitly stated character motives, foreshadowing, set-up, etc, and actually make a lot more sense than the theory you are proposing which is devoid of all of the above. Personally, I find theories that are supported by evidence to be far more compelling than those that need to be propped up by "maybe this or maybe that" at every point.

 

 

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On 3/13/2019 at 7:05 AM, three-eyed monkey said:

I find this series of ifs, buts, and maybes to be utterly unconvincing and very typical of the Ramsay Theory. He may have hunted them, he may not have hunted them, he may or may not have been at the battle, he might have Mance but might not, same with the sword, he wasn't in the mood to write in blood, he might have done anything really but we don't know because we don't have the next book yet. Still, Ramsay makes most sense.

Except when you examine it a bit more closely you'll see that he doesn't make sense at all. The Ramsay theory is the one that needs to jump through hoops, like ignoring clear clues that he didn't write the letter, like him acting out of character, like concocting some vague reason why he considers Val a princess, or explaining why there is nothing in the text besides his supposed signature on the letter to support the theory.

The other theories are more than just fun, most are based on text, explicitly stated character motives, foreshadowing, set-up, etc, and actually make a lot more sense than the theory you are proposing which is devoid of all of the above. Personally, I find theories that are supported by evidence to be far more compelling than those that need to be propped up by "maybe this or maybe that" at every point.

 

 

The Ramsay "theory" -- which shouldn't even be considered a theory, but rather an acceptance that some things in the series really are what they seem and not everything is carefully crafted subterfuge -- can't answer the questions you posed because no theory can. You're asking us to answer questions that aren't based on text that has been released yet. The Pink Letter posed questions (i.e. how did all this happen) but we have to wait for subsequent books to fill in the blanks. You're expecting us to write the northern plot line of the next book, which shouldn't be necessary to answer the question of who makes the most sense to have written the letter. Furthermore, most of them aren't relevant to whether Ramsay actually wrote the letter. He could have written it if he had or hadn't hunted Jeyne and Theon. He could have written it if he had or hadn't defeated Stannis. He could have written if he had or hadn't captured Mance. He could have written it if he does or doesn't have the sword. Just because the letter is written without blood and skin doesn't mean it's "out of character," it just means he didn't go to the same trouble of theatrics with this letter as he did with two others. The tone of the letter in consistent with Ramsay's character, even if the lack of add-ons arguably is not. There's no "vague reason" necessary to explain why he considers Val a princess. He's in the vicinity of men who were at the Wall who also thought of Val as a princess. He or his men could have captured some of them. It's not exactly rocket science. If you consider that vague, then ok, but again, you're expecting us to answer unrelated questions that we fundamentally cannot with any reliability, which is rather bad faith on your part. 

Ramsay wrote the letter. No other character has motivations that make any sense at all. Theorists essentially have to write fanfiction to make sense of why Stannis or Mance or anyone else would write the letter in the first place, how in the world those characters thought that the letter could achieve the theorized motivations, and then have to jump through hoops to put the pieces together for how anyone else would have the means to send the letter to Castle Black. Which, again, is a lot of fun, especially when we have to wait so long for another book, but it ultimately doesn't make a ton of actual sense. 

The Ramsay theory is not at all devoid of textually-based evidence, explicitly stated character motives, foreshadowing, set-up, etc. The letter was sealed with pink wax, it was signed "Ramsay Bolton," it's full of insults, taunts, and violent language as we would expect of Ramsay, Ramsay has ravens that can go to Castle Black, Ramsay is literate, Ramsay grew up a bastard and knew personally how infuriating that word would be to Jon, etc. Ramsay's character motives are literally written in the letter and based on events that we have seen happen. He wants Jeyne and Theon back. And those, as motivations, are not only acceptable, but actionable. The spark of a conflict between Jon and Ramsay has been in the works for the entirety of the book, so there's your foreshadowing and set-up. If those aren't convincing to people who prefer other theories, that's fine, but please acknowledge that it's because of your own personal bias towards those other theories rather than what the books are explicitly telling us and thematically laying out. 

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Posted (edited)

Ramsay wrote the letter but there is a lot of fan fiction attempting to point the finger towards Stannis and Mance because that would create a more favorable outcome for Jon.  Which I don't like but that's the way it is.  More "story" has been written here than all of the books combined.  

Edited by Widowmaker 811

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12 hours ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

Ramsay wrote the letter but there is a lot of fan fiction attempting to point the finger towards Stannis and Mance because that would create a more favorable outcome for Jon.  Which I don't like but that's the way it is.  More "story" has been written here than all of the books combined.  

It also ignores how thematically it makes the most sense for Jon's arc for Ramsay to have been the one to write it. One of the main threads of Jon's story is how badly he's wanted to be Lord of Winterfell and how that's been denied to him again and again because of his birth and his own choices. The biggest character change in Jon's arc in ADWD isn't that Jon chose Arya over the Watch, it's that Jon begins to act as Lord of Winterfell in absentia with his political meddling. Jon has the mindset of a Lord of Winterfell, not of a Lord Commander. And that's essentially his downfall. When he gets a letter calling him bastard over and over again and signed "Trueborn Lord of Winterfell," he doesn't think "I'm coming to save you, Arya," he thinks "I'm coming for you, bastard." And that's because he's not prioritizing his family, he's prioritizing his political goals. Which is what he's been doing for the entire book. 

If the Pink Letter was written by Mance or Stannis, that functionally undermines the main thematic element that was building in Jon's arc since he was elected LC. It's the same as the theory that Tyrion is a secret Targ fundamentally destroys the tragedy of the Tyrion-Tywin dynamic. Jon's political choices need to have direct political consequences. If Ramsay didn't write the letter, then the lessons from Jon's arc are "Better not be fooled by an impostor, otherwise you'll be Caesar'd" instead of "The Watch takes no part." 

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Posted (edited)

I realize I'm mostly alone on my "Melisandre wrote the pink letter" ice floe, but I want to note that there are hints in the subtext that might reinforce this and/or might show a larger conspiracy leading up to the stabbing of Jon Snow. 

The Night's Watch brother who first attacks Jon is named Wick Whittlestick. This is a guy we have seen only once before, opening the door to the ice cell holding Cregan Karstark. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I think there is symbolism around the Karstarks and winter / snow, so it may be significant that Wick liberates one "Snow," opening the door that eventually allows Cregan to move to the Lord Commander's tower, and then kills the previous "Snow". 

(Aside from the name of Jon's assassin, there are a number of potential anagram wordplay clues that might hint at the word "whittle": 

With the little monster, like as not. 

First to fly the battle, he was.

Is that what my lord wishes to hear

he had won at the Bridge of Skulls

who will come stand with me

I realize the letters of "whittle" are pretty common and could be found in any number of phrases throughout the book. I notice them here because of the suddenly-but-only-momentarily important character with the Whittlestick name. What or who is being whittled? Jon? 

The whittle clue may hold one more layer of wordplay. We did see one person in Jon's arc make something important out of wood:

Jon slid his new dagger from its sheath and studied the flames as they played against the shiny black glass. He had fashioned the wooden hilt himself, and wound hempen twine around it to make a grip. Ugly, but it served. Dolorous Edd opined that glass knives were about as useful as nipples on a knight's breastplate, but Jon was not so certain. The dragonglass blade was sharper than steel, albeit far more brittle. (ACoK, Jon V)

Maybe it's not about whittling per se, but about something that can be made by whittling: a wooden hilt. In ASOIAF we have seen or heard about the making or destruction of a lot of swords. Some are lost but not forgotten. Only a few of the sword discussions also involved hilts. Most memorably, Jeor Mormont had the destroyed bear hilt of longclaw remade in the image of a wolf. Sam Tarly helped by obtaining the garnets for the eyes of the wolf hilt. 

Why would the stabbing of Jon be compared to the making of a hilt?

The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it.

Mance's wife, Dalla, tells this to Jon Snow before she dies. She is a symbolic mother for Jon Snow (along with Gilly and, I suspect, Mother Mole. Jon's obsession with rescuing Mother Mole and her followers is a symbolic way of searching for his mother.) 

So the mysterious Wick Whittlestick is introduced to call our attention to the making of a hilt. There was a blade without a hilt that couldn't be effectively used. Jon Snow is the hilt that was needed. I think a number of parties all want to "hold" that hilt but we don't know which of them are working together in the assassination of Jon Snow. Wildlings? Night's Watch? Melisandre? Ramsay? Northern lords? All of the above?

I had a thought a few years ago that Joffrey's death looked like a "Murder on the Orient Express" plot, with many people who wanted him dead all taking a turn with the stabbing, so to speak. Maybe this is what we are seeing with Jon's death as well. 

But we do know that Melisandre wants to be an effective sorcerer, and that she uses some tricks - powders hidden in secret pockets - to make her magic appear to be more powerful. Wouldn't she love to have a better "hilt" to wield that sorcery blade more effectively?

On the other hand, the men who stab and cut Jon explicitly say, "For the watch." Maybe they want to ensure that his blood magic is used for Night's Watch purposes, and not for Melisandre's agenda. Or maybe the goals of the Night's Watch and of Melisandre happen to coincide - the night is dark and full of terrors. 

(Sorry, I realize I am drifting from the Ramsay / pink letter focus of this thread. I didn't want to start a new thread when I had the not-entirely-new Melisandre / pink letter insight to share, and I thought this thread had petered out and could be used without detracting from an active discussion. I'll try to stop adding other stuff now that people are interested in the original topic again.)

Edited by Seams

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On 3/15/2019 at 4:23 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

t also ignores how thematically it makes the most sense for Jon's arc for Ramsay to have been the one to write it. One of the main threads of Jon's story is how badly he's wanted to be Lord of Winterfell and how that's been denied to him again and again because of his birth and his own choices. The biggest character change in Jon's arc in ADWD isn't that Jon chose Arya over the Watch, it's that Jon begins to act as Lord of Winterfell in absentia with his political meddling. 

I agree in principle that a letter from Ramsay makes the most sense thematically, but also think we can interpret Jon's motivations a little differently.

Jon rescued the FF 1) to prevent them from being turned into wights, 2) to man the Wall properly and 3) because it was the 'right' thing to do - guard the realms of men.

Now his project is in danger from a madman in the South. Should Ramsay ride North to look for and take back 'Arya', Reek, Stannis' family, Val and 'Mance jr', and finds the FF, including mostly helpless refugees in Mole's town, the odds of a happy ending are low and all that Jon worked for is endangered, the realm of men is endangered.

True, this is not Jon's only motivation, as he spends a lot of time thinking about his siblings before coming to a decision, so there is a personal element as well, but his official mission to guard the realms of men takes him south first. (And yes, Ramsay might not be coming for him if Mel had not sent Mance to WF and Jon provided horses and let Mance take the SWs etc etc etc, but that's all done and in the past, now to 'go' north, Jon has to go south). 

This big turning point doesn't work very well if the letter had been written by Stannis/Asha or an actor in WF. If it is Mance it opens up a whole lot of complications about Mance's motivations and we would need to books to just sort out all the threads in the North. If the conspirators at the watch faked the letter, it just looks like 'Ha, got ya, sucker', and not a profound decision meeting with a hard consequence.

Edited by Ser Hedge

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On 3/14/2019 at 7:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

The Ramsay "theory" -- which shouldn't even be considered a theory, but rather an acceptance that some things in the series really are what they seem and not everything is carefully crafted subterfuge -- can't answer the questions you posed because no theory can. You're asking us to answer questions that aren't based on text that has been released yet. The Pink Letter posed questions (i.e. how did all this happen) but we have to wait for subsequent books to fill in the blanks. You're expecting us to write the northern plot line of the next book, which shouldn't be necessary to answer the question of who makes the most sense to have written the letter. Furthermore, most of them aren't relevant to whether Ramsay actually wrote the letter. He could have written it if he had or hadn't hunted Jeyne and Theon. He could have written it if he had or hadn't defeated Stannis. He could have written if he had or hadn't captured Mance. He could have written it if he does or doesn't have the sword. Just because the letter is written without blood and skin doesn't mean it's "out of character," it just means he didn't go to the same trouble of theatrics with this letter as he did with two others. The tone of the letter in consistent with Ramsay's character, even if the lack of add-ons arguably is not. There's no "vague reason" necessary to explain why he considers Val a princess. He's in the vicinity of men who were at the Wall who also thought of Val as a princess. He or his men could have captured some of them. It's not exactly rocket science. If you consider that vague, then ok, but again, you're expecting us to answer unrelated questions that we fundamentally cannot with any reliability, which is rather bad faith on your part. 

Ramsay wrote the letter. No other character has motivations that make any sense at all. Theorists essentially have to write fanfiction to make sense of why Stannis or Mance or anyone else would write the letter in the first place, how in the world those characters thought that the letter could achieve the theorized motivations, and then have to jump through hoops to put the pieces together for how anyone else would have the means to send the letter to Castle Black. Which, again, is a lot of fun, especially when we have to wait so long for another book, but it ultimately doesn't make a ton of actual sense. 

The Ramsay theory is not at all devoid of textually-based evidence, explicitly stated character motives, foreshadowing, set-up, etc. The letter was sealed with pink wax, it was signed "Ramsay Bolton," it's full of insults, taunts, and violent language as we would expect of Ramsay, Ramsay has ravens that can go to Castle Black, Ramsay is literate, Ramsay grew up a bastard and knew personally how infuriating that word would be to Jon, etc. Ramsay's character motives are literally written in the letter and based on events that we have seen happen. He wants Jeyne and Theon back. And those, as motivations, are not only acceptable, but actionable. The spark of a conflict between Jon and Ramsay has been in the works for the entirety of the book, so there's your foreshadowing and set-up. If those aren't convincing to people who prefer other theories, that's fine, but please acknowledge that it's because of your own personal bias towards those other theories rather than what the books are explicitly telling us and thematically laying out. 

The only one who could have written the letter without having to do hoops is Mance.You are right in what you say about Ramsay's sources,but he has to have tortured the info out of someone.So that's either Mance,the spearwives or both.

And this brings us to the nature of knowledge extracted by torture.Does it not depend on the questions asked?

Did Ramsay ask Mance if he ever threatened to cut Jon Snows heart out?

Did he enquire whether Mance used the phrase "for all the north to see"?

Did he ask specifically whether Mance called Jon "bastard" in every interaction they had in text?

Did he ask whether Mance spoke of cloaks in most of those meetings?

Very little of that Intel could have been gained from the spearwives.

And really what does Ramsay want with Selyse,Val or the babe?No real traction there.

Crow or black crow is a pejorative term used exclusively by wildlings.

I'm also interested in how you view the word "thematic"?

 

 

Edited by redriver
Stupid phone

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33 minutes ago, redriver said:

The only one who could have written the letter without having to do hoops is Mance.You are right in what you say about Ramsay's sources,but he has to have tortured the info out of someone.So that's either Mance,the spearwives or both.

And this brings us to the nature of knowledge extracted by torture.Does it not depend on the questions asked?

Did Ramsay ask Mance if he ever threatened to cut Jon Snows heart out?

Did he enquire whether Mance used the phrase "for all the north to see"?

Did he ask specifically whether Mance called Jon "bastard" in every interaction they had in text?

Did he ask whether Mance spoke of cloaks in most of those meetings?

Very little of that Intel could have been gained from the spearwives.

And really what does Ramsay want with Selyse,Val or the babe?No real traction there.

Crow or black crow is a pejorative term used exclusively by wildlings.

I'm also interested in how you view the word "thematic"?

 

 

THere are a lot of reasons Ramsay would want Selyse, Val and the babe. Stannis’ Queen, the “Wildling Princess” and the son of the King Beyond the Wall? He would be mad not to be demanding them

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13 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

THere are a lot of reasons Ramsay would want Selyse, Val and the babe. Stannis’ Queen, the “Wildling Princess” and the son of the King Beyond the Wall? He would be mad not to be demanding them

To what end.?Stannis is apparently dead according to the Pl.

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43 minutes ago, redriver said:

To what end.?Stannis is apparently dead according to the Pl.

They are rivals/the family of rivals. Doesnt matter if those particular rivals are now dead, their family could be rallying points for vengeance

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On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

The Ramsay "theory" -- which shouldn't even be considered a theory, but rather an acceptance that some things in the series really are what they seem and not everything is carefully crafted subterfuge -- can't answer the questions you posed because no theory can.

There is no Ramsay theory as such, just a series of objections to other authors. That is the point of this thread.

You say some things in the series really are what they seem, but the letter is not one of them. The letter claims that Stannis is dead and Mance is captured, but readers have legitimate reasons to believe otherwise. I don't think Stannis' death would be spoiled and I think there is plenty to foreshadow Mance hiding in the crypts. So I do not believe the letter is what it seems, especially when Tormund signposts that fact for inattentive readers.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

You're asking us to answer questions that aren't based on text that has been released yet. The Pink Letter posed questions (i.e. how did all this happen) but we have to wait for subsequent books to fill in the blanks.

I guess that's the point of theorizing. On a very basic level, novels are a series of set-up and pay-off, so if you identify the set-up then you can make a reasonable attempt to predict the pay-off. There's also a huge amount of foreshadowing in the series. Look at any confirmed theory in the series and you can trace the set-up in the text before the pay-off and in most cases you can also identify foreshadowing.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

You're expecting us to write the northern plot line of the next book, which shouldn't be necessary to answer the question of who makes the most sense to have written the letter.

No, I'm not.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

Furthermore, most of them aren't relevant to whether Ramsay actually wrote the letter. He could have written it if he had or hadn't hunted Jeyne and Theon. He could have written it if he had or hadn't defeated Stannis. He could have written if he had or hadn't captured Mance. He could have written it if he does or doesn't have the sword.

Yes, he could have. But did he, and if so, which of the above was it? Getting off the fence and piecing these things together would form a theory, and then that theory could be tested, as the theories of other proposed authors have been, and we could see if it stands up to scrutiny.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

Just because the letter is written without blood and skin doesn't mean it's "out of character," it just means he didn't go to the same trouble of theatrics with this letter as he did with two others.

Roose explained to Cat that Ramsay does this because he has a cruel nature. That is characterization of Ramsay. The question is why, in the case of the pink letter, did he act outside that characterization?

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

The tone of the letter in consistent with Ramsay's character, even if the lack of add-ons arguably is not.

As we should expect if the letter was written by someone attempting to imitate Ramsay. It is easy to imitate someone's tone. Not so easy to imitate seals of northern houses which by their nature are designed to be hard to imitate.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

There's no "vague reason" necessary to explain why he considers Val a princess. He's in the vicinity of men who were at the Wall who also thought of Val as a princess. He or his men could have captured some of them. It's not exactly rocket science. If you consider that vague, then ok, but again, you're expecting us to answer unrelated questions that we fundamentally cannot with any reliability, which is rather bad faith on your part. 

If he got it from some of Stannis' men then your theory should explain that, and not remain vague as it is. This is not unrelated by any means. The letter uses the term "wildling princess". You propose that Ramsay got this term from some of Stannis' men. Therefore, the Ramsay Theory should include a scenario where Ramsay captures some of Stannis men. I don't see how that's bad faith on my behalf. I don't believe Stannis lost the battle, so I don't believe Ramsay has captured any of Stannis men, just as I don't believe he has his sword.

Again. if you believe Stannis is dead and Mance is captured, then Ramsay does make sense. But if you think Stannis won the battle and has some arc to run yet, then the Ramsay theory falls apart rather quickly because of terms like "wilding princess." It is Stannis who repeatedly refers to Val as the wildling princess in set-up scenes that were paid-off in the letter, and done while remaining in character. No maybes needed for Stannis while once again it is Ramsay who needs to jump through some hoops.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

Ramsay wrote the letter. No other character has motivations that make any sense at all. Theorists essentially have to write fanfiction to make sense of why Stannis or Mance or anyone else would write the letter in the first place, how in the world those characters thought that the letter could achieve the theorized motivations, and then have to jump through hoops to put the pieces together for how anyone else would have the means to send the letter to Castle Black. Which, again, is a lot of fun, especially when we have to wait so long for another book, but it ultimately doesn't make a ton of actual sense. 

Stannis motive towards Jon, and the obstacle of Jon's vows are clear in the text. Every point of the Stannis theory is supported by text, as I pointed out regarding the wildling princess. The Ramsay theory has no textual support. The theory is created by fans, as opposed to the author who has planted clues to the contrary, and so it is the very definition of fanfic.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

The Ramsay theory is not at all devoid of textually-based evidence, explicitly stated character motives, foreshadowing, set-up, etc.

Feel free to support this with citation. Show me one quote that explicitly outlines Ramsay's motive toward Jon? I can show you several from Stannis and even a few from Mance.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

The letter was sealed with pink wax, it was signed "Ramsay Bolton,"

How would you expect a forger to sign and seal the letter? Just because the letter is signed Ramsay Bolton does not mean Ramsay Bolton signed the letter, especially when the other proposed authors of the letter intend for Jon to think the letter is from Ramsay. The letter being signed Ramsay Bolton does not support Ramsay writing the letter when we are debating who wrote the letter. This is a logical fallacy called begging the question.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

it's full of insults, taunts, and violent language as we would expect of Ramsay,

Or someone pretending to be Ramsay.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

Ramsay has ravens that can go to Castle Black, Ramsay is literate,

Agreed.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

Ramsay grew up a bastard and knew personally how infuriating that word would be to Jon, etc.

You don't have to be a bastard to understand that bastard is an insult and insults infuriate people. But I think the bastard taunts and trueborn Lord of Winterfell taunt have a more directed purpose, beyond that of a relatively common insult. Jon was not happy with his father's seat going to a Karstark, never mind a Bolton bastard, and he told Stannis as much. So Stannis knows the taunts about Jon being a bastard while the unfit bastard of Bolton holds his father's seat will trigger Jon, unlike Ramsay who doesn't know Jon and would only be using the taunts in a more generic fashion, like Thorne or Mance did, which Jon is quite used to at this stage.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

Ramsay's character motives are literally written in the letter and based on events that we have seen happen. He wants Jeyne and Theon back. And those, as motivations, are not only acceptable, but actionable.

Of course he wants Reek and his bride back. But the pink letter is not an effective way of achieving that. If he has Mance and he thinks Stannis is dead, he has multiple options that are better than the pink letter. Especially when Ramsay knows that Jon would know that Arya is not Arya. That's another huge point against Ramsay writing the letter in my opinion, but...

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

The spark of a conflict between Jon and Ramsay has been in the works for the entirety of the book, so there's your foreshadowing and set-up.

Well, Jon clearly dislikes Ramsay but I don't see it from the Bolton side to be honest. But if you are right then supporting text should be easy to provide.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:11 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

If those aren't convincing to people who prefer other theories, that's fine, but please acknowledge that it's because of your own personal bias towards those other theories rather than what the books are explicitly telling us and thematically laying out. 

Then quote the books and support your theory. Support your thematic lay-out if you can.

I am bias towards the Stannis theory because almost all of it's facets are supported by text and I tend to lean towards theories supported by text. The only part of the theory that is not supported by text is the raven for Castle Black, which is an essential point, I agree. This is the only assumption the theory makes, Stannis must take Winterfell before he sends the raven. Stannis using the Karstarks as a trojan horse of sorts is foreshadowed in my opinion so I expect Stannis will take the castle, and the timeline allows plenty of time for him to do it before sending the raven to reach Castle Black by Jon XIII. I'm happy to make this assumption given the weight of textual evidence that supports Stannis writing the letter.

But you are bias too. Your belief that Ramsay wrote the letter is dogmatic. It doesn't matter that it wasn't written in blood, no flayed skin, no northern lords, no spiky hand mentioned, use of wildling princess, quoting words that Theon said to Stannis verbatim (with allowable change of person, obviously), that Ramsay would hunt Reek instead of writing a letter to Jon, etc. All objections can be explained by a plethora of ifs buts and maybes, yet you accuse the Stannis theory of having to "jump through hoops" to make sense.

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On 3/15/2019 at 3:31 PM, Seams said:

I realize I'm mostly alone on my "Melisandre wrote the pink letter" ice floe,

I believe the guys at The Order of the Green Hand started a youtube series on that recently but I haven't caught up with it yet. But even if I do watch it I'm far too bias to buy it.

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On 3/15/2019 at 4:23 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

It also ignores how thematically it makes the most sense for Jon's arc for Ramsay to have been the one to write it. One of the main threads of Jon's story is how badly he's wanted to be Lord of Winterfell and how that's been denied to him again and again because of his birth and his own choices. The biggest character change in Jon's arc in ADWD isn't that Jon chose Arya over the Watch, it's that Jon begins to act as Lord of Winterfell in absentia with his political meddling. Jon has the mindset of a Lord of Winterfell, not of a Lord Commander. And that's essentially his downfall. When he gets a letter calling him bastard over and over again and signed "Trueborn Lord of Winterfell," he doesn't think "I'm coming to save you, Arya," he thinks "I'm coming for you, bastard." And that's because he's not prioritizing his family, he's prioritizing his political goals. Which is what he's been doing for the entire book. 

Your talking about narrative and character arcs rather than theme but I agree with much of what you say here. "I'm coming for you, bastard." That is the reaction that the letter was designed to achieve. The subsequent daggers were an unintended consequence.

From a narrative point of view, it only matters that Jon reacts to a letter he thinks is from Ramsay. But have you considered the other character arcs involved?

Stannis wants Jon as Lord of Winterfell. He asks him and is refused several times, with Jon citing his vows. Stannis is forced to settle for a Karstark. But then the Karstarks prove treacherous so Stannis needs to find someone else who can win the north to his cause, and there is no real alternative, or else find a way to get Jon into the position he wants him in. But the plan backfires due to the law unintended consequences. Plans going awry is a strong theme in the books.

Ramsay wants Reek and his bride back. He thinks a letter is the best way to achieve this and ends up hitting the jackpot thus proving that the pen truly is mightier than the sword.

On 3/15/2019 at 4:23 AM, Alaynsa Starne said:

If the Pink Letter was written by Mance or Stannis, that functionally undermines the main thematic element that was building in Jon's arc since he was elected LC. It's the same as the theory that Tyrion is a secret Targ fundamentally destroys the tragedy of the Tyrion-Tywin dynamic. Jon's political choices need to have direct political consequences. If Ramsay didn't write the letter, then the lessons from Jon's arc are "Better not be fooled by an impostor, otherwise you'll be Caesar'd" instead of "The Watch takes no part." 

No. None of Jon's arc is dependent on Ramsay writing the letter. And Jon being betrayed by someone he trusted only deepens the tragedy.

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1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

There is no Ramsay theory as such, just a series of objections to other authors. That is the point of this thread.

You say some things in the series really are what they seem, but the letter is not one of them. The letter claims that Stannis is dead and Mance is captured, but readers have legitimate reasons to believe otherwise. I don't think Stannis' death would be spoiled and I think there is plenty to foreshadow Mance hiding in the crypts. So I do not believe the letter is what it seems, especially when Tormund signposts that fact for inattentive readers.

I think pretty much every Ramsay advocate is skeptical of the information contained in the letter.  It doesn't mean Ramsay didn't write it.  Merely that he is misinformed or is lying.  Or both.

I for one don't believe Stannis is dead or defeated.  I do believe that Mance was captured.  Once the spearwives are discovered to be behind the escape, Mance is the logical target, and I doubt he is hiding in the crypts.  How would he find them?  Lady Dustin needed Theon's help.  Mance won't have that.

1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Yes, he could have. But did he, and if so, which of the above was it? Getting off the fence and piecing these things together would form a theory, and then that theory could be tested, as the theories of other proposed authors have been, and we could see if it stands up to scrutiny.

Any theory is going ot have blank spaces and gaps.  The important think is: Do they matter?  I don't think any of the uncertainties mentioned by @Alaynsa Starne affects the authorship of the letter.

1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Stannis motive towards Jon, and the obstacle of Jon's vows are clear in the text. Every point of the Stannis theory is supported by text, as I pointed out regarding the wildling princess. The Ramsay theory has no textual support. The theory is created by fans, as opposed to the author who has planted clues to the contrary, and so it is the very definition of fanfic.

Refresh my memory.  Why, exactly, does Stannis think that Jon will leave the NW to join him in Winterfell.  Jon has no forces that he knows of, so no reason to leave Castle Black, except maybe to defend it from Ramsay's attack, which he is entitled to do in any case.

1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

You don't have to be a bastard to understand that bastard is an insult and insults infuriate people. But I think the bastard taunts and trueborn Lord of Winterfell taunt have a more directed purpose, beyond that of a relatively common insult. Jon was not happy with his father's seat going to a Karstark, never mind a Bolton bastard, and he told Stannis as much. So Stannis knows the taunts about Jon being a bastard while the unfit bastard of Bolton holds his father's seat will trigger Jon, unlike Ramsay who doesn't know Jon and would only be using the taunts in a more generic fashion, like Thorne or Mance did, which Jon is quite used to at this stage.

Jon may be used to being called Bastard, but Ramsay doesn't know that.  He knows that he himself hates being called that, so probably assumes Jon would as well.

1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Well, Jon clearly dislikes Ramsay but I don't see it from the Bolton side to be honest. But if you are right then supporting text should be easy to provide.

Given that Ramsay has reason to believe that Jon sent a party to infiltrate his wedding and steal his bride (who is also supposedly Jon's sister), Ramsay's dislike of Jon would be quite reasonable and even expected.

 

By the way, you repeatedly claim that the letter is not in Ramsay's character.  But, how is it in Stannis's character?  Stannis has been called many things, but "duplicitous" and "sneaky" aren't among them.  You are suggesting he is essentially deceiving and betraying a close ally, tricking him to break his vows and the law.  This is the sort of thing Littlefinger would do, but would be quite out of character for Stannis.  

Feel free to show Stannis being duplicitous (preferably without the involvement of Melisandre, who I think was the main motivator behind the Mance switch, as well as the death of Renly).  

 

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2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

I think pretty much every Ramsay advocate is skeptical of the information contained in the letter.  It doesn't mean Ramsay didn't write it.  Merely that he is misinformed or is lying.  Or both.

Wholeheartedly agree. And as a Ramsay advocate, I’m firmly on the “both” camp. The PL has truths, lies, and things Ramsay believes are true but aren’t. Separating the wheat from the chaff is the real challenge. 

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

I for one don't believe Stannis is dead or defeated. 

I don’t either. But I do think it’s possible and even likely that Ramsay believes it.

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

I do believe that Mance was captured.  Once the spearwives are discovered to be behind the escape, Mance is the logical target, and I doubt he is hiding in the crypts.  How would he find them?  Lady Dustin needed Theon's help.  Mance won't have that.

Yes, again, agree. Mance being in Ramsay’s hands explains a good chunk of the letter’s claims IMO. 

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Any theory is going ot have blank spaces and gaps.  The important think is: Do they matter?  I don't think any of the uncertainties mentioned by @Alaynsa Starne affects the authorship of the letter.

:agree:

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Refresh my memory.  Why, exactly, does Stannis think that Jon will leave the NW to join him in Winterfell.  Jon has no forces that he knows of, so no reason to leave Castle Black, except maybe to defend it from Ramsay's attack, which he is entitled to do in any case.

The idea that Stannis or Mance or anyone other than Ramsay is behind the PL makes no sense whatsoever IMO. 

On the one hand we have Ramsay as the author, and even though there are gaps and things we can’t be certain of, it makes sense, so to speak. The taunts, the demands, and so on. 

On the other hand, anyone else as the author brings so much contrivance into the mix that makes it wildly unlikely. In my opinion. Stannis/Mance/whoever writes the letter hoping Jon would do X, but he does Y and gets shanked, which is what the plot required... :dunno:

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Jon may be used to being called Bastard, but Ramsay doesn't know that.  He knows that he himself hates being called that, so probably assumes Jon would as well.

This. If I’m gonna throw an insult at someone, I wanna get it right and say something that will actually make them feel insulted. And we always tend to think others will react as we would... There’s nothing Ramsay finds more outrageously insulting than being reminded of his bastardy, so that’s the insult he throws in Jon’s face. 

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Given that Ramsay has reason to believe that Jon sent a party to infiltrate his wedding and steal his bride (who is also supposedly Jon's sister), Ramsay's dislike of Jon would be quite reasonable and even expected.

Exactly.

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

By the way, you repeatedly claim that the letter is not in Ramsay's character.  But, how is it in Stannis's character?  Stannis has been called many things, but "duplicitous" and "sneaky" aren't among them.  You are suggesting he is essentially deceiving and betraying a close ally, tricking him to break his vows and the law.  This is the sort of thing Littlefinger would do, but would be quite out of character for Stannis.  

Word.

2 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Feel free to show Stannis being duplicitous (preferably without the involvement of Melisandre, who I think was the main motivator behind the Mance switch, as well as the death of Renly).  

 

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. 

And the bold? Stannis tells Davos he had nothing to do w/ Renly’s death. And even thought he totes did b/c he helped Mel birth the shadowbaby, I completely believe him when he says he had no [willing] part in it.

ASoS, Davos IV

“Maester Cressen was your faithful servant. She slew him, as she killed Ser Cortnay Penrose and your brother Renly.”
Now you sound a fool,” the king complained. “She saw Renly’s end in the flames, yes, but she had no more part in it than I did. The priestess was with me. Your Devan would tell you so. Ask him, if you doubt me. She would have spared Renly if she could. It was Melisandre who urged me to meet with him, and give him one last chance to amend his treason. And it was Melisandre who told me to send for you when Ser Axell wished to give you to R’hllor.” He smiled thinly. “Does that surprise you?”

 

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14 hours ago, Nevets said:

I think pretty much every Ramsay advocate is skeptical of the information contained in the letter.  It doesn't mean Ramsay didn't write it.  Merely that he is misinformed or is lying.  Or both.

 

14 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Wholeheartedly agree. And as a Ramsay advocate, I’m firmly on the “both” camp. The PL has truths, lies, and things Ramsay believes are true but aren’t. Separating the wheat from the chaff is the real challenge. 

Let's boil it down to two main points. 1/ Stannis is dead and 2/ Mance is caught.

1/ The letter says that Stannis is dead. The main argument against this is that people believe Stannis' arc is not yet complete, his death would not have been spoiled, he has a plan to defeat the Boltons using the lakes and ravens, etc. And I think we agree on this.

That means that Ramsay is either lying, or he has been deceived. Baseless lying is very possible but I feel it is a bit weak compared to deceived in the context of this series. And we must remember that, with the capture of Tybald, Stannis has an obvious means to deceive the Boltons about the result of the battle so the deception has relevant set-up.

My main objection to this is that I firmly believe that Ramsay would hunt Reek all the way to the crofters village, and beyond if necessary. This objection is based on what we have been told in the text about Ramsay's character and what Theon, who has become adept at predicting what Ramsay will do for reasons of self-preservation, believes Ramsay will do. If Ramsay is true to character and Theon is right, then Ramsay will come for Reek not far behind the Freys, and it's difficult to see how he would be deceived about the result of the battle in that scenario, without jumping through hoops.

2/ The letter says that Mance is in a cage. This seems plausible because once the alarm is raised in Winterfell, Mance is definitely in a bad position. But from a narrative point of view, we know Mance is cunning, we know his sojourn to Winterfell is inspired by Bael the Bard, so Mance hiding in the crypts (clearly the best hiding place in Westeros) is a strong possibility.

@Nevets asked how Mance would know about the crypts. Holly was probing Theon about the location of the crypts, this was most likely at Mance's behest, so the location of the crypts was a matter of interest to Mance. Later, Mance had a conversation with Theon in the ruins of the burned tower, where they discussed the rescue plan. So it is very likely Mance simply asked him. The rubble had been cleared from the entrance at that stage, thanks to Lady Dustin. And given that the burned tower is next to the First Keep, outside which the entrance to the crypt is located, it would not be hard for Theon to show him. Finally, during the rescue Theon asked one of the women about Mance and she said not to worry about him, he can fend for himself, which could indicate that Mance staying behind and not coming with them was always part of the plan, though a part Theon was not privy to.

We are forced to make a lot of assumptions about Mance and the washerwomen because we lose our pov in Winterfell when Theon jumps. The fact is that we can only account for one of them at that stage.

Mance was last seen singing in the hall when the plan went into action.

Squirrel stayed behind in place of Jeyne. She was a good climber, having climbed the Wall several times, and the plan was she would leave the tower through the window but we don't know what became of her. She would have had time to climb out of the tower before the alarm was raised but we don't know if she was caught or not.

Rowan, who many believe to be a north woman, took Willow and Myrtle with her and went to Mance, telling the others not to wait for them. It was the last we saw of them and it is important to note that the alarm had still not yet been raised.

Frenya and Holly took Theon and Jeyne to the wall. At the gate to the outer ward they killed two guards and Jeyne's screams raised the alarm. Frenya stayed to hold the drawbridge with a spear in hand and Holly went to the wall where she took a crossbow to the stomach and chest before falling from the battlement. That's when Theon and Jeyne jumped.

Holly is most likely dead in my opinion, judging by her injuries and a considerable fall.

Frenya may have been taken alive, but the crossbow men were shooting to kill as we saw with Holly. It's a toss of a coin as to whether she was taken alive or not but she certainly intended to go out fighting.

Rowan, Willow, and Myrtle went to rejoin Mance in the hall before the alarm was raised. From there they would have had at least a little time to act while the castle was in confusion. Once Holly and Frenya were identified the finger would be firmly pointed at Abel and the other women, for sure, but there was a lot going on in the castle at the time. The Freys and Manderlys had been preparing to ride out, the alarm was raised, guards were rushing around, Holly was killed, Freyna tried to hold the drawbridge, Theon jumped, the Freys rode out after Theon and into Crowfood's trap, Aenys Frey was killed, and all this would have only added to the confusion at the time.

And all this action is centered around the western side of the castle, while both the Great Hall where Mance was last seen and the First Keep where the entrance to the crypts is located are on the eastern side. It is plausible that Mance, and possibly Rowan and some of the others, made it to the crypts. Given the tale of Bael, I certainly wouldn't discount it.

I don't believe what the letter says is true about Mance. One or more of the washerwomen may have been take alive and if that is the case then Ramsay would no doubt extract the required information, I don't have a problem with that. But if it is the case then I would expect a piece of skin in the letter, given the nature and tone of the letter. Because as Roose told Cat, Ramsay is cruel and he does that. We have seen further evidence in his letter to Deepwood Motte. We did not see any skin in his wedding invitation letter, but I think that's understandable. Not so understandable is its omission from the pink letter.

In my opinion, 1/ Stannis is dead, and 2/ Mance is caught, are both false. Their purpose in the letter is to force Jon to act. If Ramsay has caught Mance then Jon is clearly implicated in a serious crime against the Lord of Winterfell, as well as lying about the execution of an oathbreaker. He has to act, especially since Stannis has been defeated and thus cannot remove Ramsay as Jon had once hoped. Because I believe the letter is less about what might or might not be true and more about weaving plausible lies, like Stannis being dead or Mance being captured or Arya no longer being in Ramsay's possesion, into a narrative that is designed to persuade Jon to act against Ramsay. The letter did what it was designed to do. Jon was going to forswear his vows make Ramsay answer for his words, and according to Jon he was going to go alone if needs be.

And if the letter is designed to get Jon to ride to Winterfell we should ask who benefits? I'll get to that next post as it ties into what both @kissdbyfireand @Nevetsreplied above.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

My main objection to this is that I firmly believe that Ramsay would hunt Reek all the way to the crofters village, and beyond if necessary. This objection is based on what we have been told in the text about Ramsay's character and what Theon, who has become adept at predicting what Ramsay will do for reasons of self-preservation, believes Ramsay will do. If Ramsay is true to character and Theon is right, then Ramsay will come for Reek not far behind the Freys, and it's difficult to see how he would be deceived about the result of the battle in that scenario, without jumping through hoops.

I agree it’s very likely Ramsay would ride out hunting fArya and Theon. But imo he’d head towards CB, and not in the opposite direction. 

38 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

2/ The letter says that Mance is in a cage. This seems plausible because once the alarm is raised in Winterfell, Mance is definitely in a bad position. But from a narrative point of view, we know Mance is cunning, we know his sojourn to Winterfell is inspired by Bael the Bard, so Mance hiding in the crypts (clearly the best hiding place in Westeros) is a strong possibility.

I think it’s very possible that Mance has been captured, but the whole thing works just as well w/ one or more of the women having been taken. IMO.

Edited by kissdbyfire

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Who gets the most out of PL?

To me, obvious answer is Stannis. PL and the story it tells forces Jon to act, something Stannis wished ever since he arrived at the wall. Jon acting and therefore breaking his oaths gives Stannis the chance to forgive him, that is in return for Jon being an obedient little pup as Stannis’ lord of WF, wedding and bedding Val and overseeing his relations with the Northmen.

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4 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Who gets the most out of PL?

To me, obvious answer is Stannis. PL and the story it tells forces Jon to act, something Stannis wished ever since he arrived at the wall. Jon acting and therefore breaking his oaths gives Stannis the chance to forgive him, that is in return for Jon being an obedient little pup as Stannis’ lord of WF, wedding and bedding Val and overseeing his relations with the Northmen.

The way I see it is, Stannis maybe could have benefited from Jon marching to Winterfell. But not one of the proposed authors could have counted on Jon reacting in any specific way, b/c people are unpredictable. And to make such a huge bet on something that is ultimatelly so unpredictable is very irresponsible, to say the least. That alone speaks against the author being Stannis, and more so than anyone else. On the other hand, the letter fits perfectly w/ the ravings of mad dog Ramsay. IMO. 

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