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Davjos

Stannis wrote the Pink Letter. Clydas changed it

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11 hours ago, The Fresh PtwP said:

 I agree, info, tone, and handwriting won me over to Team Ramsay-wrote-it.

Well, to be a credible forgery, it would have to sound like Ramsay, right?

Stannis or Asha, working with Theon could strike the right tone. Mance, with the time he spent at WF and overhearing gossip might have been able to do it as well. Lady Dustin might have heard enough of Ramsay to do the same. Finally, Roose, to name another theory out there, would have been able to do the same.

Any NW conspirators, OTOH, would not be in a position to re-write a completely harmless note to make it sound like Ramsay.

However, there have been very good arguments made that the letter actually sounds more like Thorne or Mance than Ramsay, so this point will likely remain inconclusive.

Tone and language aside, I am not in the Ramsay camp mainly because it does not completely make sense to me why he would advertise that fArya has escaped, though @Nevets made a reasonably plausible case for it on @three-eyed monkey's 19 page thread (somewhere towards the end of the thread), that we seem set to continue over here now :cheers:

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5 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Ramsay has no realistic motive to ask Jon for fake Arya back, given that Jon has made common cause with the Bolton's enemies, Jon was the one who sent Mance to rescue her, and certainly not when her fake identity, which Jon would obviously see through, is crucial to the Bolton's tenuous hold on the north. Ramsay asking Jon for fArya back makes about as much sense as Robert writing to Willem Darry to ask for Viserys and Dany back.

Jon is supporting Stannis because Stannis helped him at the Wall, and he feels that, given Stannis's military strength, he has no choice.  But by no means is he dedicated to Stannis's cause.  It is essentially a partnership of convenience.

From Ramsay's point of view, if Stannis has been defeated, then Jon has no choice but to accede to his demands.  His support has been pulled out from under him, and he is hanging out in the wind.  Jon may be Ramsay's enemy, but if he doesn't do as he is told, he is going to be Ramsay's dead enemy.  Or so Ramsay believes.

Ramsay has no real reason to think that Jon will actually care about FArya.  She is nothing to Jon, so why should he care?  Jon could even be potentially angered by the fact that she is a fake,, masquerading as his sister.  We know that he will indeed care, and won't be angry, but Ramsay has no reason to know that.

Another problem I see with the belief that the letter is a forgery, is that, while I can see motives for pretending to write as Ramsay, I fail to see how those objectives lead to this particular letter.  In other words, any letter coming from Mance, Stannis, etc. would have different content.  For example, if you need Jon to come to Winterfell, make him come.  Don't shilly-shilly about with taunts, and then put stuff in about Stannis's family that might well induce him to remain in or near Castle Black.  And by the way, just because Jon actually decided to ride for Winterfell does not mean that the letter was intended to have that effect, or even that it was a logical response to it.  

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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 3:25 AM, Davjos said:

My problem with the Pink Letter has always been  that I don’t think the content is true.

Agree. Well, sorta. I think some things might be/will turn out to be true. Other things are false, and the falsehoods come in two categories: deliberate lies, and things Ramsay believes are true but aren't. 

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I don’t think Stannis lost

I don't either.

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and Ramsey has Mance.

Here I'm very much on the fence. I think there are a few scenarios that fit (Mance taken or one or more spearwives taken or no one taken). And not one of these scenarios rules out Ramsay as the letter's author. 

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The arguments supporting this have been discussed before. There is a 19 page thread discussing it below. 

However, I don’t think Stannis or Mel has written this letter either. While they have all the information required, they do not have a proper, not convoluted motivation to manipulate Jon. 

Agree. But it's a matter of opinion, right? There are excellent arguments made by posters supporting Stannis as the author, w/ or w/o some tampering occuring at CB. I don't think these arguments are very strong. But my opinion relies in part in how I read Stannis, and how others read him. And Martin... we have some info and lots of open ends (nothing can be irrefutably confirmed or dismissed). 

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Therefore, I want to suggest my current idea and see if anybody agrees. I wish any more knowledgeable contributors to scrutinise this as much as possible. 

I remember reading similar ideas a very long time ago. Maybe we can page @sweetsunray and @bemused for starters. If I'm remembering my PL theories correctly, both proposed different but similar-ish ideas? Or I'm making all this up, but their threads are always great to read.

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Stannis wrote an informative letter to Jon. An update. Clydas read the update and wrote another letter with the information. This is the manipulative Pink Letter.

Here I disagree... I do think it's possible for the original PL to have been replaced at CB, but not by Clydas IMO. He may have played a part, but he didn't write it. But I think the letter Jon receives is exactly the letter Ramsay sent. :dunno:

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Goal: Get Jon to break his vows so he can be removed for the watch.

Possible.

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Clearly Clydas wants this. 

Why "clearly"?

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I imagine Stannis wrote Jon an update letter, something along the line is of:

I hold Winterfell after a week and two battles, one at the crofters village, one at WF. I sent your sister north with the creature named Reek. The King Beyond the Wall freed her from the bastard Ramsey. He performed his duties.  Send Selyse and Shireen to the South. Let Val and some Wildlings accompany her (she seems trustworthy and skilled enough in the snow to make the journey on their behalf- my reasoning for mentioning Val). The KBtW wants his babe. Send it with them. Come south to see your home, Jon.

 

Clydas (and Bowen, maybe Alliser etc) took this information, reversed everything, worded  it as a taunt and gave themselves an excuse to depose Jon. 

Possible, yeah. But I stick by Ramsay wrote it. :)

 

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This addresses: the required information, the motivation, the lack of a seal, the weird wax,

It does. But there are other options/explanations, so it's not really proof of anything. It simply provides an alternative that can't be ruled out. As is the case w/ most proposed authors! :D

 

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the writing not being mentioned as Ramsey’s,

I read that so completely different than most readers... I think there's no reason for Jon to think/remark on the handwriting. None whatsoever. He had received another letter from Ramsay, and what he saw in the PL was exactly what he expected to see. 

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the all out outrageous demands, the knowledge Jon has an army of Wildings so he has the chance to move south. 

The outrqgeous out of control tone is exactly what I'd expect from Ramsay. Also, if Thorne/Marsh/NW in general, the taunts would be different, IMO. Sure, lots of "bastard" thrown in but I think we'd seen other types of taunts too. Stuff about Ned dying a traitor's death, Robb, RW, etc. 

ETA: the letter doesn't say anything about Jon having an army of wildlings iirc?

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So what do you think? Does it hold up?

Nope! Ramsay wrote it! :P

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Sorry for the formatting. Wrote this on mobile during my commute. The idea sprung into my brain while reading the Ramsey wrote the PL thread. 

UGH, just replied on mob as well. I hate typing on phone! :ack:

Edited by kissdbyfire

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2 hours ago, Nevets said:

Jon is supporting Stannis because Stannis helped him at the Wall, and he feels that, given Stannis's military strength, he has no choice.  But by no means is he dedicated to Stannis's cause.  It is essentially a partnership of convenience.

It's more than a partnership of convenience. The most convenient thing about their partnership is that Stannis wants to take down the Boltons and Lannisters. Jon is invested in Winterfell and Arya, that's clear all through his arc. He's not happy about what happened Ned at the hands of the Lannisters. He's not happy about Robb being betrayed. His vows are the cause of most of his inner conflict.

Jon says the Watch have no sisters, but he thinks about Arya all the time and fears for her safety. Jon says the Watch take no part, but as even Cersei pointed out, his actions give lie to his words. Jon has aided Stannis every step of the way. He advises the king about the Dreadfort, how to win the northern clans, Deepwood Motte. He gives Tycho horses and guides to reach Stannis. He informs Stannis of the Karstark scheme. So Jon is clearly invested in Stannis' cause. As we should expect because he would hardly back the Boltons and Lannisters.

Better a Karstark than a Bolton or a Greyjoy, Jon told himself, but the thought gave him little solace. "The Karstarks abandoned my brother amongst his enemies."

If Jon was not invested then it would not matter who held Winterfell; Karstark, Bolton, Greyjoy, or Moonboy. But quite understandably it does matter to him. The Karstarks abandoned his brother so it gives him no solace, but it is better than the Boltons or Greyjoys whose betrayal of the Starks was much deeper.

It is known in Winterfell that Jon had made a common cause with Stannis, and it is known that Stannis wants to remove the Boltons and ultimately their Lannister overlords. It makes perfect sense that Jon and Stannis would make a common cause, given what happened to Jon's family at the hands of Stannis' enemies. It makes perfect sense that Jon was the one who sent Mance to rescue Arya. And because he has already acted against the Boltons, it makes perfect sense that Jon would act against them again and reveal the lie behind Ramsay's wedding, given it's importance to the Boltons' hold on the North.

3 hours ago, Nevets said:

From Ramsay's point of view, if Stannis has been defeated, then Jon has no choice but to accede to his demands.  His support has been pulled out from under him, and he is hanging out in the wind.  Jon may be Ramsay's enemy, but if he doesn't do as he is told, he is going to be Ramsay's dead enemy.  Or so Ramsay believes.

Of course Jon has a choice. Even Ramsay is smart enough to understand that. Willem Darry had no support and was hanging in the wind, but that does not mean he had no choice but to hand the Targ heirs over to Robert.

From a Bolton point of view, Jon just stole Arya. He obviously knew the Boltons would discover her missing sooner or later, they would want her back, and he would be a suspect given his relation to her. But he did it anyway. Why would they think a letter would be enough to make him give her back?

The Bolton's would know the Starks well enough to know that a son of Eddard Stark may not actually be willing to comply with a man who skins women. Certainly not when the demands involve sending several more women and children to Ramsay. While there are men who would comply with such demands, there are many who would not. And given that Jon and Jeyne might be able to pull the support from under the Boltons by exposing the fake wedding, then there is even less chance that he would comply because he has another option and the Boltons are not secure enough in their rule to risk Jon choosing that option, particularly when he is the son of a Stark.

3 hours ago, Nevets said:

Ramsay has no real reason to think that Jon will actually care about FArya.  She is nothing to Jon, so why should he care?  Jon could even be potentially angered by the fact that she is a fake,, masquerading as his sister.  We know that he will indeed care, and won't be angry, but Ramsay has no reason to know that.

Of course Ramsay has reason to think Jon will care about fake Arya, because her identity undermines the Bolton rule and Jon made a common cause with the Bolton's enemy, which means he is in favor of things that undermine Bolton rule.

3 hours ago, Nevets said:

Another problem I see with the belief that the letter is a forgery, is that, while I can see motives for pretending to write as Ramsay, I fail to see how those objectives lead to this particular letter.  In other words, any letter coming from Mance, Stannis, etc. would have different content.  For example, if you need Jon to come to Winterfell, make him come.  Don't shilly-shilly about with taunts, and then put stuff in about Stannis's family that might well induce him to remain in or near Castle Black.  And by the way, just because Jon actually decided to ride for Winterfell does not mean that the letter was intended to have that effect, or even that it was a logical response to it.  

If you mean make him come to Winterfell by some sort of summons, then that would not really constitute breaking his vows, which is essential to Stannis plan. We might as easily ask why the Boltons didn't summons Jon to Winterfell to pay for his crimes? Why did they shilly-shilly about with taunts and then put stuff in about fArya having escaped them?

It seems odd to claim Jon is not invested in his own family but might be invested in Stannis' family. This is typical of the Ramsay Theory. Argue one way to support one point and flip the table to support the next. As I have always said, it's not really a theory just a set of objections that can't be fitted together coherently without self-contradiction.

And finally, from the senders point of view, the letter only gives Jon three options, broadly speaking.

1. Comply with the letter. Try save his own skin by sending Ramsay the women and children he wanted, saying nothing about the fake wedding, and then hope the bastard of Bolton is a man of his word and will let the whole thing slide.

2. Do nothing. Which means Ramsay will come for him eventually.

3. Defy the letter. Which means waiting for Ramsay to come to him and then defending Castle Black from the south against a vastly superior force compared to the Thenn raiding party. Or taking the fight to Ramsay whatever way he can, which would obviously mean using his lineage or the fact that Ramsay's marriage is just another Bolton lie to try and raise the north against the Boltons.

The letter removes any chance of Stannis solving the problem for Jon. It also removes concerns about Arya being a hostage of the Boltons. It taunts Jon to come to Winterfell, quite directly on two occasions. It paints Ramsay as a monster and a cruel Lord of Winterfell. It says Mance is in a cage needing rescue. It accuses Jon of crimes he did commit and of crimes he did not. It insults Jon and puts his honor in question.

All in all, I think it is more likely that Jon would act against Ramsay than comply with his demands. And once Jon does act against the Lord of Winterfell he will have broken his vows.

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Posted (edited)

At the core of the arguments presented by @Nevets and @three-eyed monkey above is that, on the one hand, Ramsay does not know Jon and would have made certain assumptions that would lead him to believe this letter would result in fArya being returned (because she is actually not Arya), while OTOH Stannis (or Mance for that matter) truly understand Jon, and because of his honour, would reason that the only course left to him - if he believed the contents of the letter to be true - is to raise the North (neither of them know of the arrival of Tormund's army south of the wall) against the Boltons. Stannis/Mance believe that 'Arya' no longer being a hostage greatly facilitates this as 3EM pointed out.

Like @kissdbyfire said, it's hard to come to a conclusion based on reasoning alone as either side make very good arguments, and on top of that, the smear of pink wax creates a whole new set of issues (Stannis presumably had access to a button of pink wax once he took WF, and obviously so would Ramsay, so very likely the letter has been opened at CB - were the contents changed? Was Clydas shaking just because it said "Bastard" or because he had read it or because he was privy to the letter being changed?) that leave multiple theoretical authors still in play.

It really seems GRRM did not want this to be solveable like R+L=J. OTOH, did we readers just try too hard to read between the lines? I acknowledge @kissdbyfire's point that Jon may not have remarked on the hand because it is what he expected to see, but the author specifically mentioning the hand on the only two previous occasions we see a POV receive a letter from Ramsay and not say anything this time ... :dunno:

Edited by Ser Hedge

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I have no doubt that many on the wall wanted to remove Jon from office after how he handled the Slynt affair.  Clydas could be one but he's not brave enough to cross Jon.  The killing of Janos Slynt turned Jon into the equivalent of a feared dictator.  That's why Clydas was concerned.  He witnessed Jon's violent behavior towards his political rivals and he was justly concerned what his commander would do.  Move forward chronologically and Clydas was right to be concerned.  He didn't mess with that letter.  

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18 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

It's more than a partnership of convenience. The most convenient thing about their partnership is that Stannis wants to take down the Boltons and Lannisters. Jon is invested in Winterfell and Arya, that's clear all through his arc. He's not happy about what happened Ned at the hands of the Lannisters. He's not happy about Robb being betrayed. His vows are the cause of most of his inner conflict.

Jon says the Watch have no sisters, but he thinks about Arya all the time and fears for her safety. Jon says the Watch take no part, but as even Cersei pointed out, his actions give lie to his words. Jon has aided Stannis every step of the way. He advises the king about the Dreadfort, how to win the northern clans, Deepwood Motte. He gives Tycho horses and guides to reach Stannis. He informs Stannis of the Karstark scheme. So Jon is clearly invested in Stannis' cause. As we should expect because he would hardly back the Boltons and Lannisters.

As I said, it is a partnership of convenience.  Jon supports Stannis because he is the best hope of defeating the Lannisters and Boltons, not because he actually thinks Stannis is a great guy.  Contrast that with, say, Davos, who is invested in Stannis because he actually thinks Stannis is the best option, period.  Jon is in no way that dedicated.

 

18 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

From a Bolton point of view, Jon just stole Arya. He obviously knew the Boltons would discover her missing sooner or later, they would want her back, and he would be a suspect given his relation to her. But he did it anyway. Why would they think a letter would be enough to make him give her back?

Maybe because she isn't actually related to Jon?  Therefore Ramsay might think he doesn't actually care about her.  Jon's rescue was premised on her actually being Arya.  Her not being Arya changes the dynamic.

18 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Of course Ramsay has reason to think Jon will care about fake Arya, because her identity undermines the Bolton rule and Jon made a common cause with the Bolton's enemy, which means he is in favor of things that undermine Bolton rule.

That may well be, assuming Ramsay has managed to think that far ahead.  Given his previously shown deficiencies in political strategizing, and his frequent irrational behavior, this is by no means certain.  Also, if FArya has enough of a head start, Jon's discovery that she is fake is a foregone conclusion, so make the best of it, and try to keep Jon from getting the word out.

18 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

The letter removes any chance of Stannis solving the problem for Jon. It also removes concerns about Arya being a hostage of the Boltons. It taunts Jon to come to Winterfell, quite directly on two occasions. It paints Ramsay as a monster and a cruel Lord of Winterfell. It says Mance is in a cage needing rescue. It accuses Jon of crimes he did commit and of crimes he did not. It insults Jon and puts his honor in question.

All in all, I think it is more likely that Jon would act against Ramsay than comply with his demands. And once Jon does act against the Lord of Winterfell he will have broken his vows.

And what does Stannis expect Jon to plan to do once he arrives at Winterfell, anyway, with no army at his back?  Challenge Ramsay to a duel?  He'd be better off writing Ramsay a rude message, then trying to ambush and/or assassinate him when he rides for Castle Black to cut Jon's heart out.  Not saying it would work,, but it's better than a long ride to Winterfell. 

 

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Posted (edited)

To be fair I wasn’t totally convinced by the idea itself but I just wanted to form something more concrete with input. In my opinion that has happened. I had lurked my way throught the 19 paged, which caused me to start this anyway. 

 

Once again @Nevets and @three-eyed monkey both very convincingly poses their ideas, which just proves once again why I like the PL ‘mystery’ so much. Because I honestly have no theory that sways me. 

@kissdbyfire and some others I can’t remember the names of anymore:thanks for the very informative replies, especially on the Clydas aspect. He was just the first name that popped into my head because of his access and fear at the opening of the letter by Jon and I assumed a motive you have proven to me does not exist. Therefore if the letter was forged by a NW member, it wasn’t him. Thanks for the fixing of my error. 

 

I remain convinced that  if the group that Bowen Marsh is a part of, the conspirators wanted Jon dead, the declaration by the crown is insufficient. The Watch lives almost outside the realms, they should take no part in the conflicts of the realm. However, a clear desertation or breaking of the Wall is (in their assumed and probably wrong opinion) sufficient grounds for the execution of Jon without it negatively affecting the Watch. 

 

When I find more time I’m going to investigate more suspects for the potential forging of the letter. 

Edited by Davjos

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9 hours ago, Great Oshiro said:

The killing of Janos Slynt turned Jon into the equivalent of a feared dictator.  

:lmao::lol::lmao:you trolls are really pathetic. How do you think Jeor Mormont (or any Lord Commander) would have reacted after being disobeyed and insulted? You obviously have no idea how a medieval military institution works…  pffff…

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1 hour ago, Nowy Tends said:

:lmao::lol::lmao:you trolls are really pathetic. How do you think Jeor Mormont (or any Lord Commander) would have reacted after being disobeyed and insulted? You obviously have no idea how a medieval military institution works…  pffff…

The execution of Janos Fucking Slynt again? :lol:

What do you know, this one too turned into a Jon Hate thread, how original! :rolleyes:

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad the op focuses on Clydas because I think he is a good source of clues about the pink letter. (I think the potential role of Stannis has been sufficiently covered in other recent discussions, so I won't address that.)

I went back and did a little Clydas-re-read, examining mentions or appearances in AGoT, ASoS and ADwD. Clydas does appear to be a very important character, in a symbolic sense. I keep meaning to get back to a Dunk & Egg Re-read that I started last year. In that close reading and literary analysis, I found that a number of seemingly minor characters were actually manifestations of Bloodraven. I find it possible that Clydas is another one of these characters. Upon Jon's escape from the wildlings, to warn the Night's Watch of the planned attack from the south, these key passages really piqued my interest about Clydas:

Maester Aemon was not long in coming. He moved slowly, one spotted hand on Clydas's arm as he shuffled forward with small careful steps. Around his thin neck his chain hung heavy, gold and silver links glinting amongst iron, lead, tin, and other base metals. "Jon Snow," he said, "you must tell me all you've seen and done when you are stronger. Donal, put a kettle of wine on the fire, and my irons as well. I will want them red-hot. Clydas, I shall need that good sharp knife of yours." The maester was more than a hundred years old; shrunken, frail, hairless, and quite blind. But if his milky eyes saw nothing, his wits were still as sharp as they had ever been.

"There are wildlings coming," Jon told him, as Clydas ran a blade up the leg of his breeches, slicing the heavy black cloth, crusty with old blood and sodden with new.

... Jon winced as the maester's finger explored his wound, poking and prodding. ... Aemon's words hurt a hundred times worse than his fingers.

... Maester Aemon sniffed Jon's wound again. Then he put the bloody cloth back in the basin and said, "Donal, the hot knife, if you please. I shall need you to hold him still."

I will not scream, Jon told himself when he saw the blade glowing red hot. But he broke that vow as well. Donal Noye held him down, while Clydas helped guide the maester's hand. Jon did not move, except to pound his fist against the table, again and again and again. The pain was so huge he felt small and weak and helpless inside it, a child whimpering in the dark. Ygritte, he thought, when the stench of burning flesh was in his nose and his own shriek echoing in her ears. Ygritte, I had to. For half a heartbeat the agony started to ebb. But then the iron touched him once again, and he fainted.

ASoS, Jon VI, Chapter 48

Some observations:

Clydas enables Maester Aemon to walk, "see" and he guides his hand. This may be part of the puppet symbolism (also found in that Dunk & Egg re-read thread and in interesting Pinocchio discussions led by The Fattest Leech in this forum).

I didn't quote the line, but Clydas also provides milk of the poppy for Jon in this scene. I think Jon's trip to the Milkwater (a river) and the "milk" he drinks here are symbolic of his rebirth: milk is a food provided to babies. But this milk doesn't come from a mother's breast, it comes from a poppy. Could be wordplay here on "papa" - this is father's milk nourishing Jon. I haven't done a systematic analysis of other characters who ingest milk of the poppy, so the meaning could be something else.

Clydas is bald, hunched and has rounded shoulders. In other words, egg-shaped. His close work with Maester Aemon, the description of Aemon's hand "on Clydas's arm" and this egg shape lead me to suspect that Clydas is a Targaryen symbol. Whether he is a Bloodraven manifestation, pulling Aemon's strings (guiding his hand), or a representative of Aemon who can represent him after the real Aemon leaves the Wall, I am not certain. GRRM tells us the Aemon's wits are sharp immediately after Aemon refers to needing Clydas's sharp knife. It could be that Clydas represents Aemon's wits.

Edit: Another hint about his possible Bloodraven symbolism or Targaryen role is the reference to Maester Aemon's chain in close proximity to Clydas. The chain metaphor or the idea of a series of linked people was used when Arya sees the chained north men shuffling into Harrenhal (led by a Glover with a hand sigil). I think there is a chain of Targaryens of which Aemon is a part - he is silver and gold, according to this description, while some of the others may be iron and lead and tin. Clydas is linked to Aemon as they enter the room, so this may imply that he is part of this chain. The maester's chain imagery, in conjunction with the Donal Noye / smith partnership and the red-hot blade also reminds me that the forging we see in this scene could be Aemon's way of joining Jon Snow to the Targareyn chain.

Edit: I think Ygritte, with her "kissed by fire" hair color, is also a symbolic Targaryen or "spirit of" Targaryens, helping to prepare Jon for his destiny.

Aemon, Donal Noye and Clydas work together here to "stab" Jon with a red-hot dagger prepared by the important smith in the group. And that sharp knife belongs to Clydas. Azor Ahai has three heads? Jon might think of Ygritte as his flesh is burned with the knife, but it appears that he may be Nissa Nissa in this scenario. Of course, the point of this stabbing is not to temper the blade (as far as we know), or to sacrifice Jon as Nissa Nissa was sacrificed to perfect Lightbringer, but to stop Jon from bleeding to death. As far as we know.

Aemon and Clydas also wash Jon in this scene. This reminds me of Egg drawing three baths for Ser Duncan the Tall in The Sworn Sword. The bathing may be connected to the Florian and Jonquil / Ser Galladon of Morne story, where the knight / fool sees the maiden bathing and she gives him a sword. Edit: I forgot to mention: the only wordplay guess that I have about the name Clydas is a possible meta-anagram of "scald". When Egg prepares bathwater for Dunk, Dunk tells the reader that the water is way too hot and that Egg likes it that way but it's too hot for Dunk. Because it takes so long to heat enough buckets for a bath, however, the earlier buckets cool off before the last bucket is ready, and Dunk can sink down to the cooler level. The possible "scald" (scaldy?) interpretation of Clydas was suggested to my by an aspect of his co-worker, Chett, who is described as having boils.

Jon's old and new blood associated with Clydas. Interesting that Clydas cuts Jon's breeches. Torn fabric is an important symbol in ASOIAF and I have guessed that it represents the disintegration of the seven kingdoms. But it may represent the end of an old understanding about the world so that new clothes / fabric can replace the old. Think of Mance's cloak or the outfit that Septa Lemore and Tyrion sew onboard the Shy Maid. There is probably wordplay here on breech and breach - the latter is defined as a break or gap. But "breech" can also describe a baby that is born butt-first instead of head first. Soon, Clydas and Aemon will work with the midwife from Moles Town to treat the wounded during the wildling attack. In case the imagery of Jon's rebirth wasn't clear in this Noye / Aemon / Clydas scene, recall an earlier line from Toad, after Jon receives the sword, Long Claw:

No sooner did he emerge than Pyp called out, "Well, come about, let's have a look."

"At what?" Jon said.

Toad sidled close. "Your rosy butt cheeks, what else?"

"The sword," Grenn stated. "We want to see the sword."

AGoT, Jon VIII, Chapter 60

Serving someone mulled or heated wine is also a big deal in ASOIAF - I don't know if it's symbolic of life support or a blood transfusion or some kind of communion of the spirit. There is a later scene where Jon wishes he still had friends, wishes he could drop in on Aemon for a cup of wine, and ends up sitting with Clydas where they discuss - ta da! - the flaming sword Lightbringer (ADwD, Jon III, Chapter 10).

So rebirth but maybe Jon is also being "forged" as a sword and a link on the Targaryen chain by a Targaryen with king's blood, a mighty smith and - a random guy who feeds birds for a living? We have to assume Clydas has symbolic importance since his nominal role is too mundane for his key role in Jon's symbolic rebirth.

But what does all of this sword and blood and rebirth stuff have to do with the Pink Letter?

We know from the wise Tywin Lannister that, "Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens."

Jon is talented and trained with a sword, but he is still learning how to effectively communicate with letters. Immediately after their Lightbringer chat, Jon leaves Clydas and returns to his room behind the armory (Donal Noye's former quarters) and begins the work of forging words - writing letters to Denys Mallister and Cotter Pyke. "The ink would not flow properly, and all his words seemed curt and crude and clumsy, yet he persisted" (ADwD, Jon III, Chapter 10).

So the Pink Letter is not just a letter, it is a challenge to a duel. Jon has been practicing writing, but his skill with a quill is not as well-developed as his skill with a sword.

What about Ramsay's skill with a sword? "I have seen my bastard fight. He is not entirely to blame. Reek was his tutor, the first Reek, and Reek was never trained at arms. Ramsay is ferocious, I will grant you, but he swings that sword like a butcher hacking meat" (ADwD, Reek III, Chapter 32).

If you don't believe Ramsay wrote the pink letter, some people tentatively suggest that it may have come from Stannis. If so, the author might be trying to show us Jon Snow (probably the true Lightbringer) in a duel with Stannis, who may believe he has Lightbringer but, according to Maester Aemon, Stannis's Lightbringer is a fake.

There is a range of other possibilities for the author of the pink letter (I have suggested Melisandre or a Karstark conspiracy in another recent thread). Thinking about the two curt and crude and clumsy letters Jon sent to Cotter Pyke and Denys Mallister in ADwD Chap. 10, I have to wonder whether Mallister also should be considered as a potential writer of the pink letter: Jon receives two letters from Cotter Pyke just before receiving the pink letter; symmetry might suggest that he was owed a letter from Mallister at the opposite end of the Wall. Bowen Marsh was recently out that way (I think?) when he went to deal with the Weeper.

Given Jon's need to develop skill with the quill and raven, it's possible that Clydas is a sort of Master-at-Arms for writing. We know that Jon had already been trained in swordsmanship when he arrived at the Wall, so Thorne couldn't teach him much about how to use a blade. It was Donal Noye who took him aside and taught him to use his sword skills to make friends; to help other Night's Watch recruits to develop their skills instead of humiliating them with his superior training. Maybe Clydas is that Master-at-Arms for ravens or for pens, left with the mission of trying to teach Jon to read for understanding.

There's more about Clydas - I haven't explained yet about his usual pink coloring turning white when he delivers the pink letter, or Jon wanting to protect him from ice when he returns to his room. I think it's significant that Clydas and Chett worked together as assistants to Aemon. Chett is a weird echo of Ramsay Snow (except his goal in life is to take Craster's place, not to become Lord of Winterfell). Chett's father gathered and sold leeches to maesters, so the bleeding symbolism is strong there (and the parallel to Roose, with his leech obsession). Chett subsequently takes charge of the Night's Watch kennel, so the parallel to Ramsay as a hunter of women and keeper of hounds is also established.

I don't think Clydas changed the pink letter, but he may have read it before delivering it to Jon. The contrast between Chett and Clydas suggests to me that the pink letter did come from Ramsay (team Chett) and that Clydas is on Jon's team (perhaps explaining why Clydas turns snow white when the letter arrives).

The butcher motif also becomes part of the Clydas / Jon dynamic. In AGoT, after learning that Ned is accused of treason and that Robb has called the banners, Jon is sent to talk to Maester Aemon. Aemon and Clydas are feeding the ravens when Jon arrives, and Clydas hands Jon the bucket of meat cut into finger-sized pieces so Jon can take over the task of feeding the ravens. I think the feeding of finger-sized pieces of meat is another parallel to Ramsay, who cuts meat off of Theon's fingers and whose bride, Lady Hornwood, eats her own fingers after Ramsay imprisons her in a tower to starve to death.

P.S. I almost forgot. I think the "huge, spiky hand" that describes Ramsay's handwriting in earlier letters is intended as wordplay. What is another name for a spike that appears on a hand? Maybe a claw? If it's a huge spike, it might be called a long claw. I think Ramsay's spiky hand is another clue for us that the letters to Jon Snow are intended as a challenge to a sword/words duel. Spiky hand vs. Long Claw.

Edit: As I was editing this, I just got an alert that three-eyed monkey replied. I tried to indicate where I have added new material to this passage (there are a few minor changes I didn't flag). Sorry if this creates a continuity problem with your reply. I'll read now what you wrote.

Edited by Seams

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47 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

The execution of Janos Fucking Slynt again? :lol:

What do you know, this one too turned into a Jon Hate thread, how original! :rolleyes:

We must never forget the fact that Jon Snow is evil incarnate, doing such horrible things as executing someone who's actively defying and undermining him, giving shelter to refugees that or being hunted down by a race of Omnicidal Ice Elves that can raise armies of corpses, protecting a woman who would have been raped by her uncle, and attempting to get his sister away from a psychopathic nutcase who was threatening to kill everyone on the Wall.

We all must fear and hate Dark Lord Jon Snow

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15 hours ago, Nevets said:

And what does Stannis expect Jon to plan to do once he arrives at Winterfell, anyway, with no army at his back?

I would say it does not matter much if Jon has 300 wildings or 3000 wildlings. Stannis has 5000 and Mance still thinks he would need ten times that number to take the castle. Jon will need more than wildlings to take Winterfell. He will need to use who he is, the son of Eddard Stark, to try and win the north from the Boltons. It's a well-known fact that the Boltons betrayed the north and were given their power by the Lannisters, whom the north were at war with. Jon's best move, as a son of Eddard Stark, would be to rally every honorable northman against the cruel and treacherous Boltons. Justice and vengeance are strong selling points.

But Nevets, you and I bashed this forward and back on several threads. I doubt either of us will convince the other without the next book.:cheers:

11 hours ago, Seams said:

If you don't believe Ramsay wrote the pink letter, some people tentatively suggest that it may have come from Stannis.

Let me just clarify my position. I'm not tentatively suggesting the letter came from Stannis. The conflict between Stannis and Jon regarding Winterfell and Jon's vows began at the end of ASoS and ran all the way to the end of ADwD. The pink letter is part of that conflict.

But I'm not getting into the Stannis theory here again, when I've already detailed it in several threads already.

There is also a 20 page thread about the Ramsay theory which, despite people taking it as a given and suggesting the alternative theories are crackpot, has been unable to provide any foreshadowing or any form of textual support for the theory, beyond trying to convince people that the signature is "hard proof" it came from Ramsay, which is clearly a logical fallacy. Still, that's the best they have done. Should something so "obviously true" be that hard to prove or even support? I don't think so. If GRRM intended the letter to be from Ramsay, then we must agree that he failed to make it clear. And I for one certainly don't think GRRM would make such an amateur mistake around clarity.

14 hours ago, Davjos said:

When I find more time I’m going to investigate more suspects for the potential forging of the letter.

I've seen Mance (considered by some to be the definitive theory on the matter), Lady Dustin (that one even won an award on reddit), Mel, Thorne, Clydas, Davos, Varys, Blackfish, Asha, Littlefinger, some dead septon from Winterfell, and even Jon himself. I'm not sure who's left?

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21 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I'm not tentatively suggesting the letter came from Stannis.

...

But I'm not getting into the Stannis theory here again, when I've already detailed it in several threads already.

There is also a 20 page thread about the Ramsay theory which, despite people taking it as a given and suggesting the alternative theories are crackpot, has been unable to provide any foreshadowing or any form of textual support for the theory, beyond trying to convince people that the signature is "hard proof" it came from Ramsay, which is clearly a logical fallacy. Still, that's the best they have done. Should something so "obviously true" be that hard to prove or even support? I don't think so. If GRRM intended the letter to be from Ramsay, then we must agree that he failed to make it clear. And I for one certainly don't think GRRM would make such an amateur mistake around clarity.

Ah. Ok, I may have asked for that.

I was using irony when I said that some had tentatively suggested Stannis as the author of the letter - I know that you have been steadfast in presenting your theory and I even acknowledged that it is the best defense of that theory I have seen. I didn't mean to make fun of you personally, but I was having a little fun with the twenty pages of unwavering advocacy. My own approach to this forum is to present my case, maybe come back a couple times to address points or present new possibilities, and then to let the discussion go where it may. (Unless it's my own thread and I want people to stay on topic.) I realize that some people will never see things my way. But I fully understand that some people enjoy chasing down every minute question or detail and even enjoy arguing with those who disagree. Apologies if I offended you.

I don't remember reading the 20-page thread about Ramsay - it may have come at a time when I was focused on a different aspect of the books so I didn't engage with it. I do see foreshadowing and textual support for Ramsay as the author, as well as the fact that the surface plot tells us that Ramsay sent the letter. In my previous post, I've just shared a couple of Ramsay-related things (eating fingers, the Chett / Ramsay parallels, the leech motif). In another recent thread, I shared my strong impression that we are seeing a Jon / Ramsay dynamic intended to parallel Old Nan's story of the Lord of Winterfell in conflict with the Night's King, Gendel and Gorne in conflict with the Lord of Winterfell and (as of that last post of mine) the Lightbringer legend. I didn't mention it earlier, but I think Jon is upset that Ramsay threatens to eat his heart because the heart is central to the Lightbringer legend. Letting Ramsay threaten his heart would be like conceding that Ramsay can have Lightbringer.

Luckily for this conversation, I don't believe that GRRM requires that the plot have only one Lord of Winterfell or one Night's King in the contemporary story: Stannis embodies a number of aspects of the Night's King, with Selyse as the icy queen. He has also marched on Winterfell, like Gendel and Gorne. There is flaming heart symbolism unique to Stannis. So I can keep one candle burning for your "Stannis wrote the letter" theory at the same time I consider Melisandre, the Karstarks, Lady Dustin and Ramsay as the authors. (I also have a lot of rising suspicion about Val's sinister intentions toward the Seven Kingdoms.)

Again, I realize that you find your points to be "hard proof" while the points made by others fall short, in your opinion. I don't want to argue with you because I know you are all in for your Stannis theory. I feel there is ample reason to keep Ramsay on the list of authors for the pink letter but you are not going to agree so we don't need to belabor our points.

We are in agreement that GRRM does not make amateur mistakes. He is an experienced author and these books demonstrate years of honing his craft and of meticulous plotting and attention to detail. What is "clarity" to you, however, is not always seen the same way by other readers. I've made no secret of my love for the hidden clues in these books, discoverable through literary analysis. The author has said that he wrote the books in such a way that people would discover new things when they re-read them. The clues I find tantalizing are often nestled under layers of symbolism that are rich and complex. If I'm uncertain about an interpretation of a clue, I will usually indicate that. In other cases, I'm sure the evidence is there but it was not intended to be "clear" on a first reading.

But again, no point in arguing.

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3 hours ago, Seams said:

Ah. Ok, I may have asked for that.

I was using irony when I said that some had tentatively suggested Stannis as the author of the letter - I know that you have been steadfast in presenting your theory and I even acknowledged that it is the best defense of that theory I have seen. I didn't mean to make fun of you personally, but I was having a little fun with the twenty pages of unwavering advocacy. My own approach to this forum is to present my case, maybe come back a couple times to address points or present new possibilities, and then to let the discussion go where it may. (Unless it's my own thread and I want people to stay on topic.) I realize that some people will never see things my way. But I fully understand that some people enjoy chasing down every minute question or detail and even enjoy arguing with those who disagree. Apologies if I offended you.

I don't remember reading the 20-page thread about Ramsay - it may have come at a time when I was focused on a different aspect of the books so I didn't engage with it. I do see foreshadowing and textual support for Ramsay as the author, as well as the fact that the surface plot tells us that Ramsay sent the letter. In my previous post, I've just shared a couple of Ramsay-related things (eating fingers, the Chett / Ramsay parallels, the leech motif). In another recent thread, I shared my strong impression that we are seeing a Jon / Ramsay dynamic intended to parallel Old Nan's story of the Lord of Winterfell in conflict with the Night's King, Gendel and Gorne in conflict with the Lord of Winterfell and (as of that last post of mine) the Lightbringer legend. I didn't mention it earlier, but I think Jon is upset that Ramsay threatens to eat his heart because the heart is central to the Lightbringer legend. Letting Ramsay threaten his heart would be like conceding that Ramsay can have Lightbringer.

Luckily for this conversation, I don't believe that GRRM requires that the plot have only one Lord of Winterfell or one Night's King in the contemporary story: Stannis embodies a number of aspects of the Night's King, with Selyse as the icy queen. He has also marched on Winterfell, like Gendel and Gorne. There is flaming heart symbolism unique to Stannis. So I can keep one candle burning for your "Stannis wrote the letter" theory at the same time I consider Melisandre, the Karstarks, Lady Dustin and Ramsay as the authors. (I also have a lot of rising suspicion about Val's sinister intentions toward the Seven Kingdoms.)

Again, I realize that you find your points to be "hard proof" while the points made by others fall short, in your opinion. I don't want to argue with you because I know you are all in for your Stannis theory. I feel there is ample reason to keep Ramsay on the list of authors for the pink letter but you are not going to agree so we don't need to belabor our points.

We are in agreement that GRRM does not make amateur mistakes. He is an experienced author and these books demonstrate years of honing his craft and of meticulous plotting and attention to detail. What is "clarity" to you, however, is not always seen the same way by other readers. I've made no secret of my love for the hidden clues in these books, discoverable through literary analysis. The author has said that he wrote the books in such a way that people would discover new things when they re-read them. The clues I find tantalizing are often nestled under layers of symbolism that are rich and complex. If I'm uncertain about an interpretation of a clue, I will usually indicate that. In other cases, I'm sure the evidence is there but it was not intended to be "clear" on a first reading.

But again, no point in arguing.

No offense taken my man. I enjoy a good debate. I don't claim the Stannis theory contains any hard proof, but I don't accept when people make the case for there being hard proof that Ramsay wrote the letter because there is none. I am all in on the Stannis theory, and I present the case as best I can and answer the objections to the best of my ability. But unlike Stannis, I don't expect anyone to bend the knee. I'm free folk at heart, and free folk can follow whatever theory they choose.

On the subject of clarity, I mean from the writer (GRRM's) point of view. If Ramsay wrote the letter GRRM would have made it clear, and if he missed that mark then his editor would have picked it up. But again, that's just my opinion.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/19/2019 at 10:51 PM, Nevets said:

Also, if FArya has enough of a head start, Jon's discovery that she is fake is a foregone conclusion, so make the best of it, and try to keep Jon from getting the word out.

I know we went through this on 3EM ( @three-eyed monkey) 's 19 pager once, but I if I can just run through the reasoning again and maybe develop it more: You and 3EM worked out that 600 miles through deep snow meant a journey of anywhere between 30 days to even 2-3 months. Ramsay knows that Jeyne is in poor condition and was likely not a good rider even when she was fully fit and would slow down her party. So, if it's a chase from Stannis's camp, you don't see Ramsay not attempting it and settling for a Pink Letter rant when he can attempt to run her down, or intercept her near the castles on the wall.

So, if Ramsay was the author and he decided on this letter because he couldn't give chase as you argue, then what might have happened? 

1. Ramsay and Roose have figured out that Jeyne got as far as Stannis' camp. (How? Maybe one of the spear wives was tortured, maybe one of Crowfood's green boys was tortured or maybe Ramsay or a Bolton tracker  followed the trail, overtaking the Frey column, found it went towards the crofters village and rode back to report. Or they scouted in other directions around WF, found no other tracks and concluded the party could only have proceeded to Stannis' camp.)

2. They certainly did not win the battle of the ice. If they had, they would have found Theon and they would be sending riders after Jeyne. They might threaten Jon and and ask for the other hostages, but they wouldn't ask for Reek and they wouldn't let Jon know fArya was riding towards him.

Scenario A: Ok, so now either the battle of the ice has been lost by the Freys, and any other Boltons or allies that may have reinforced them after the escape was discovered thus raising the stakes, and the survivors have made their way back to WF, but the misleading Raven from Stannis has not been received. Ramsay thinks Jeyne is with Stannis' victorious army that is about to besiege WF, is angry and sends the PL to Jon asking for Jeyne back. Makes sense? No. Team Bolton can still defeat Stannis or just wait him out as he freezes and starves outside the walls. They can rant at Jon, but why tell him Jeyne isn't at WF?

Scenario B: The outcome of the battle of ice is not known in WF, or the misleading Raven is received and they think they won. Do they tell Jon they don't have Jeyne or do they ride out to search Stannis' camp for survivors, and subsequently riders looking for escapees heading for the wall? The latter.

Scenario C:  News of Jeyne's escape is surpressed, so the scope for sending large numbers of riding parties is reduced. Only a few extremely trusted Dreadfort men can be told. I still don't see Ramsay not attempting a hunt with a few men, unless he decides to not even tell Roose. However, if he has tortured at least one SW (to find out about Mance he would have had to), I doubt Roose has not figured out what's going on. It's also very unlike Roose to have left WF, leading a third column to fight the battle of ice. He knows Stannis has 5000 men and had time to choose his ground.

Let's combine scenarios A and C and see what we can get. Ramsay doesn't want anyone outside a close circle to find out he lost his bride. Maybe Roose was told and it was his idea to keep it quiet. Roose might remember that Abel was sitting next to Theon when he looked for Abel to sing a song as the Freys and Manderleys mustered to leave to fight Stannis. (I don't have a copy-able ebook, sorry, but the text clearly says he sees Abel next to Theon after looking around the great hall) So, it's likely that Abel and associates are targeted quickly. Even otherwise, Holly or Freya can be IDed. Maybe one of the other SWs is nabbed, maybe Abel himself as well before he can get to the crypts. Or one of Holly or Freya is still alive. Perhaps a search around the castle is attempted. Perhaps some of Crowfood's boys are also captured. It's hard to say exactly what the Boltons are able to achieve, but it looks like there is a feasible scenario here, where it takes a day or two to piece the evidence together that Theon and Jeyne had outside help and headed to Stannis' camp.

Now what?

Still too early to tell Jon Jeyne got away and is headed to CB when Jon is 600 miles away in a winter wonderland. What can make Ramsay completely give up on a) Stannis being defeated or starved out in a matter of days (bear in mind Tybald has likely told them how low supplies are), 

b) being able to catch up Jeyne in a chase

:dunno:

I have so far not been able to construct such a scenario and that is why I'm a someone-other-than-Ramsay-wrote-the-PL'er.

Edited by Ser Hedge

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On 4/17/2019 at 5:26 PM, three-eyed monkey said:

It seems to be, but that doesn't make it right.

No it's not 100% that he wrote it but he is far away the best choice.  He had motive, opportunity, and the means to do it.  He's the only one who has all three.  I think you know why a lot of people want the writer to be someone other than Ramsay.  I think you also know why a lot of people do not want the writer to be anybody else except Ramsay.  We should leave it at that for now.

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On 5/5/2019 at 12:32 AM, The Lord of the Crossing said:

No it's not 100% that he wrote it but he is far away the best choice.  He had motive, opportunity, and the means to do it.  He's the only one who has all three.  I think you know why a lot of people want the writer to be someone other than Ramsay.  I think you also know why a lot of people do not want the writer to be anybody else except Ramsay.  We should leave it at that for now.

I disagree that Ramsay is the best choice. In fact, from a storytelling point of view I believe he is the worst choice. And I don't think he has motive to mention fake Arya's escape in the letter. I think this is one of the biggest reasons to scratch Ramsay from the list of potential authors. I don't want the author of the letter to be anyone in particular. I'm just articulating what the story is saying to me as a reader; Stannis is the architect of the pink letter.

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On ‎5‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 1:32 AM, The Lord of the Crossing said:

No it's not 100% that he wrote it but he is far away the best choice.  He had motive, opportunity, and the means to do it.  He's the only one who has all three.  I think you know why a lot of people want the writer to be someone other than Ramsay.  I think you also know why a lot of people do not want the writer to be anybody else except Ramsay.  We should leave it at that for now.

This.

It was a chilling letter to read. One of the highlights of the book. People are complaining about the language, but there are no reasons Ramsay wouldn't use those terms for effect. Unless we go into complete tin-foil land and propose that Stannis wrote the letter to intend the reader to think it was Mance masquerading as Ramsay.

Stannis wouldn't write this letter. It's completely out of character. He can do some duplicity where it is required, but to allies? And the style used here is beyond him. Also, he would not reveal this much information.

Clydas wouldn't write this (based on information from Stannis). That's also out of character of the half-blind, old assistant.

Neither are any other in the NW behind this. If they wanted to hurt Jon Snow they could, they didn't need to write a letter. If his enemies in NW received information about Mance that would be valuable, but they still wouldn't need to write such a letter.

The information within the letter really limits the number of people who could write it.

Mance could have written the letter, based on the information. But Mance was in a difficult spot when we last heard about him. Mance is sneaky and smart. Would this letter really be the best way to promote his self-interest? I think not.

Roose could also have written this letter. But it would not be like him to reveal information in such a way. Gambling for a reaction? Sure, but Roose doesn't gamble much.

Ramsay fits the bill on all accounts. But that doesn't mean the content is true. He could have captured the spearwives without getting Abel. He could have been tricked into believing Stannis was killed. Or the content is true and everyone is dogfood. The big issue is that we don't know the timeline between when Stannis find Theon and Tycho, and the letter. The letter could be after some of the first chapters of WoW.

It's fun to speculate, but any reasons given so far would disappoint me if I they were true. We just have to wait for the Winds of Winter to see.

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This theory never sticks when I say it, so good luck.   

 

On 4/16/2019 at 2:06 PM, Nevets said:

It appears that the conspirators were a little surprised as well.  Their attack of Jon had all the appearances of improvisation, necessitated by his effective declaration of war on the Boltons and the fact that he was leaving Castle Black and would be inaccessible.

And his "plan" with the wildlings was to create this sense of urgency by having wildlings respond with a hell yes let's go now.  So he knew he was putting himself at risk.  But was the trap intended for Cercei's assassin crew, and Jon was surprised to see the old guard faces when the stabbing began, which is why he didn't draw against them and kind of assented to his death.  Also, because his body was a shadow magic illusion and the stabbers were really ganking someone else as Jon and Melisandre looked on through that person's eyes, with her hand periodically finding its way onto Jon's thigh and him patiently removing it as they waited in safety to see who would fall into the trap.

 

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