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Stannis wrote the Pink Letter. Clydas changed it

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1 hour ago, Cynon said:

Stannis wouldn't write this letter. It's completely out of character. He can do some duplicity where it is required, but to allies?

You can make points like this against Stannis as the author, and many do, but the books say otherwise. Stannis switched Mance with Rattleshirt to keep him alive and he did not tell Jon about it. So duplicity to allies, yes. If you want to ignore that, fine, but ignoring the story makes for a weak argument.

1 hour ago, Cynon said:

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.

No. GRRM has said some of the chapters from TWoW take place before the end of ADwD, as they were originally part of that novel. We can be fairly sure that Theon I TWoW took place before the letter was written as the letter contains a quote from Theon in that chapter.

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2 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

You can make points like this against Stannis as the author, and many do, but the books say otherwise. Stannis switched Mance with Rattleshirt to keep him alive and he did not tell Jon about it. So duplicity to allies, yes. If you want to ignore that, fine, but ignoring the story makes for a weak argument.

Do they really say so? So far we only know for sure that Mel did the switch. Do Stannis know? I would not be surprised, but it's not confirmed. If we are going to speculate on that I will also speculate that this was Mel's idea, based on what she saw in the flames (or just normal foresight). Jon Snow was also told after a while, and it didn't end up being dangerous keeping the information from him. If Stannis knew I would speculate that he was not happy with it, and did not know about the mission to save Arya/Jeyne.

Most importantly, duplicity in the form a letter like that, which would sow chaos in Castle Black, that haven't been his style so far.

2 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

No. GRRM has said some of the chapters from TWoW take place before the end of ADwD, as they were originally part of that novel. We can be fairly sure that Theon I TWoW took place before the letter was written as the letter contains a quote from Theon in that chapter.

That fits with what I said: "The letter could be after some of the first chapters of WoW." (I omitted the T in front, but still). That doesn't give us enough information about the timeline. We know Theon meets with Stannis and they are preparing for battle, and we have a letter that tells about the outcome of that battle, but we don't know when the letter was sent.

As I said I think it was written after the actual battle, and by Ramsay. Some parts of the letter I think are true regardless of author. Several of the spearwives are dead. Probably all. It is likely that they managed to capture and interrogate some, but we don't know. Mance is more tricky, but it would be difficult to escape after the Theon left. That he is captured is likely, but not certain. He could be lying about that.

The part I am most hesitant about is Stannis. From a storytelling point of view, this is a big cliffhanger, but the kind you don't want to be true for a significant character like that. You wouldn't want to get spoiled like that. I expect Stannis to fall at some point, but not before his role to the Lord of the Light has been played out, and I don't think it will be against Boltons.

Secondly, Stannis, despite being stubborn, is also very competent. He does not tend to overplay his hand. He saw the situation in King's Landing after Robert died for what it was and left. Ned was not so clever. Stannis knows who is coming for him, and how many. The Karstarks are revealed. The Manderly we know are not faithful to Bolton. The Freys haven't been very competent so far. Ramsay is the real danger (though in the books he is more cunning than a good fighter and commander).

I'm hoping the part about Stannis is a lie, it's certainly the least credible part to me of the letter, but I still think Ramsay wrote it.

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On 5/8/2019 at 9:47 PM, Cynon said:

Do they really say so? So far we only know for sure that Mel did the switch. Do Stannis know? I would not be surprised, but it's not confirmed. If we are going to speculate on that I will also speculate that this was Mel's idea, based on what she saw in the flames (or just normal foresight). Jon Snow was also told after a while, and it didn't end up being dangerous keeping the information from him. If Stannis knew I would speculate that he was not happy with it, and did not know about the mission to save Arya/Jeyne.

It's explained quite clearly by Mel and Mance. Stannis saw the value of Mance, but his life was forfeit by all the laws of the seven kingdoms. Then Jon told Stannis the law ends at the Wall.

"The only man who can bind them to your cause is Mance Rayder."
 
"I know that," Stannis said, unhappily. "I have spent hours speaking with the man. He knows much and more of our true enemy, and there is cunning in him, I'll grant you. Even if he were to renounce his kingship, though, the man remains an oathbreaker. Suffer one deserter to live, and you encourage others to desert. No. Laws should be made of iron, not of pudding. Mance Rayder's life is forfeit by every law of the Seven Kingdoms."
 
"The law ends at the Wall, Your Grace. You could make good use of Mance."

Mel told Jon that Stannis, who is not one to go against the law, took Jon's sage advice and that Mance owes Jon his life because of it.

"Our false king has a prickly manner," Melisandre told Jon Snow, "but he will not betray you. We hold his son, remember. And he owes you his very life."

"Me?" Snow sounded startled.

"Who else, my lord? Only his life's blood could pay for his crimes, your laws said, and Stannis Baratheon is not a man to go against the law … but as you said so sagely, the laws of men end at the Wall."

It was Jon's advice that provided Stannis, not Mel, with a loophole in the law.  So "Mance" was burned north of the Wall, and beyond the law.

Mance later confirmed to Jon that it was Stannis, not Mel, who burned the man he had to burn.

"Stannis burned the wrong man."

"No." The wildling grinned at him through a mouth of brown and broken teeth. "He burned the man he had to burn, for all the world to see. We all do what we have to do, Snow. Even kings."

And finally, if we look at the scene where Rattleshirt is being led to the fire glamoured as Mance, we see Ser Godry, one of Stannis' knights, give a well-timed yank on the rope to prevent the truth escaping Rattleshirt's mouth.

The wildling king recoiled from the sight. "No," he cried, "mercy. This is not right, I'm not the king, they—"

Ser Godry gave a pull on the rope. The King-Beyond-the-Wall had no choice but to stumble after him, the rope choking off his words.

I think it is clear that Stannis is the one who wanted to keep Mance alive. If anything Mel would have wanted to burn Mance for his king's blood. She still considered Stannis to be Azor Ahai at that stage and Mance nothing more than the leader of a lost and heretical people. I don't see why she would go behind Stannis' back on this and risk the king's trust just to save Mance. And I fail to see why Ser Godry, who was clearly informed, would commit treason to save Mance.

I think Stannis is very capable of duplicity.

On 5/8/2019 at 9:47 PM, Cynon said:

I expect Stannis to fall at some point, but not before his role to the Lord of the Light has been played out, and I don't think it will be against Boltons.

Secondly, Stannis, despite being stubborn, is also very competent. He does not tend to overplay his hand. He saw the situation in King's Landing after Robert died for what it was and left. Ned was not so clever. Stannis knows who is coming for him, and how many. The Karstarks are revealed.

We agree on this. Stannis will fall but it won't be against the Boltons, his arc still has a bit to go yet. But let's expand on your point.

If Stannis does defeat the Boltons and take Winterfell, then he will need a loyal Lord of Winterfell, just as any king taking the Reach would want a loyal lord of Highgarden, etc. Stannis has made it clear from his first meeting with Jon in ASoS that a legitimized bastard of Eddard Stark would be his preference, given there are no known male Stark heirs left. But Jon repeatedly refuses the offer because of his vows to the Watch. This "conflict" continues between Stannis and Jon all through the first half of ADwD. Eventually Stannis has to settle for Arnolf Karstark. He knows it must be a northman and the Karstarks are connected to the Starks. It's not ideal compared to Jon but Stannis has few options. Then the Karstarks prove treacherous, so who does Stannis turn to next? I say he turns back to his first choice, Jon.

The situation is actually a lot different than King's Landing. Stannis was already on Dragonstone when Robert died. He had an army, a navy, potential allies, and he knew the truth about Robert's heirs. He had options then, not so much now. If Stannis takes Winterfell he will be an unloved southron king with a queer god and an army that is mainly made up of northmen who share a common cause against the Boltons but who's allegiance is uncertain beyond that. If Jon forswore his vows and swore his sword to Stannis, then Stannis would be in a far better position to win the north to his cause because he believes the north would rally to the son of Eddard Stark.

And finally, you said that Stannis knows who is coming for him, thanks to Theon. The Freys and Manderlys will come seperately, and Ramsay will not be far behind. He wants his bride. He wants his Reek. Like Theon, I also expect Ramsay to be at the battle. If Theon is right then I find it highly unlikely that Ramsay would be in a position to be misled about the result of the battle.

 

Edited by three-eyed monkey

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Posted (edited)

Mance wrote it. 

Why would Stannis need Jon when he has Rickon Stark, and can pick a trustworthy regent to rule North. 

Edited by Tygett Lannister

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12 hours ago, Tygett Lannister said:

Mance wrote it. 

Why would Stannis need Jon when he has Rickon Stark, and can pick a trustworthy regent to rule North. 

If he knew about Rickon, you have a good point. There is nothing in the text though that indicates Manderley or Davos have been in touch with Stannis yet. As far as Stannis knows, Davos was executed by Manderley. The mission to Skagos to get Rickon is secret, in fact they cannot be certain Wex was telling the truth. The North still thinks Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon.

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On 5/8/2019 at 9:47 PM, Cynon said:

As I said I think it was written after the actual battle, and by Ramsay. 

@three-eyed monkey worked out that the time taken to travel from WF or the Crofter's Village to Castle Black in those weather conditions could be upto 2-3 months.

If Ramsay had won the battle and realizes that Jeyne is not at the camp, would he chase after her with plenty of time to catch up to a poor rider, or would he write a letter to Jon to tell her he doesn't have her anymore? I'm not saying he wouldn't write to Jon with the rest of the rant, but why tell him he doesn't have fArya?

It has been argued on the forum that since it's not the real Arya, Ramsay might think Jon might hand her back to Ramsay in return for an amnesty. However, Jon wouldn't realise the deception until he actually secures Jeyne/Arya. By telling him you don't have your bride anymore, you allow him to take actions that he wouldn't have if he thought Ramsay still had his sister.

This is why I think Ramsay is unlikely to be the author of the PL.

Also, to your original point, if Ramsay had won the battle, he wouldn't be asking for Theon. Theon was Stannis' captive in the tower. Perhaps he was sacrificed at the Weirwood. There is only a small chance he was burned, but even then a prisoner would have told Ramsay what happened. So, if Ramsay had won, then with 99% probability, he's not asking for Theon back.

We can be fairly sure that Ramsay has not won the battle of the ice.

Edited by Ser Hedge

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21 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

"Our false king has a prickly manner," Melisandre told Jon Snow, "but he will not betray you. We hold his son, remember. And he owes you his very life."

So sure he's under control, isn't she.  ^

It's Mance.

Because it's trouble.

Stan is order.   He doesn't stir up chaos.

Ramsay tricks trouble to stamp it out.  This writer spells things out for Jon in a way Rams never would.

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Stannis wrote the Pink Letter. Clydas changed it

Stannis did not.  It's out of his character.  Our George Martin is consistent.  People behave in keeping with their character and George went to great trouble to give his characters believable personalities.  Stannis is too arrogant to do this.  He might command Jon Snow to come but he won't send him this kind of letter.  

 

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On 5/11/2019 at 11:11 AM, Ser Hedge said:

 @three-eyed monkeyworked out that the time taken to travel from WF or the Crofter's Village to Castle Black in those weather conditions could be upto 2-3 months.

Well some people have suggested that, but personally I think it would be a lot less.

We know the Wall is 100 leagues or 300 miles long, approximately the same distance as Deepwood Motte to Winterfell. The distance from Winterfell to Castle Black is a little over twice that, so over 200 leagues or 600 miles but less than 700 miles by the kingsroad. Mounted troops could cover this in 10 to 12 days in good weather. The heavy snow would certainly hamper the journey, but I think slowing it to 2 or 3 months is way too much. It was Stannis' infantry and baggage train that slowed him to a halt. Tycho's party, Crowfood's boys, and the Karstarks all made it to Winterfell of the village without being snowed in. So, personally, I think Jon would have been looking at a 15 to 25 day journey.

And we should remember that GRRM admits he's a little, (or sometimes a lot), sketchy when it comes to distance and travel times.

Also, some Stannis theories have suggested that Stannis wants Jon to come and assist him take Winterfell, but I think the approximate travel time, even at the minimum end of the range, makes that implausible. And there is no evidence that Stannis has a raven trained for Castle Black at the crofters' village. I believe Stannis took Winterfell and then sent the letter as he wants Jon for long-term political reasons rather than short-term military reasons.

19 hours ago, Victor Newman said:

Stannis did not.  It's out of his character.  Our George Martin is consistent.  People behave in keeping with their character and George went to great trouble to give his characters believable personalities.  Stannis is too arrogant to do this.  He might command Jon Snow to come but he won't send him this kind of letter.  

A lot of readers take a surface view of Stannis, based on how Stannis portrays himself to Westeros. But Stannis character is a lot deeper than that and it's evolving as he progresses along his arc. We can see this in his actions. Stannis has even explained this to Davos. He learned the lesson of Proudwing. Rather than persist with something that is not working, it is better to change and try a different approach. Stannis did command Jon to take the title of Lord of Winterfell but Jon refused based on his oath. Stannis persisted for a while to no avail. Based on his character, and what he himself has told his most trusted advisor, we should expect him to try a different approach. And I believe he did when he wrote the pink letter.

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2 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

A lot of readers take a surface view of Stannis, based on how Stannis portrays himself to Westeros. But Stannis character is a lot deeper than that and it's evolving as he progresses along his arc. We can see this in his actions. Stannis has even explained this to Davos. He learned the lesson of Proudwing. Rather than persist with something that is not working, it is better to change and try a different approach. Stannis did command Jon to take the title of Lord of Winterfell but Jon refused based on his oath. Stannis persisted for a while to no avail. Based on his character, and what he himself has told his most trusted advisor, we should expect him to try a different approach. And I believe he did when he wrote the pink letter.

Stannis is a proud, arrogant, moralistic prig with a rigid and harsh sense of justice.  None of which suggests that he would even consider a convoluted plan to fool Jon into breaking his vows.  It's incredibly risky, as well, and we know that he doesn't do that.  "Not bold like his brother was" is a common refrain.  While Stannis is a player, he wins through meticulous preparation and planning and the application of overwhelming force.  The fact that he is a rigid moralist also helps, as it means he can be trusted to what he believes to be right, for good and ill.

The most duplicitous act we have seen him do is the Mance/Rattleshirt switch, and the proposed plan with Jon is way beyond that.  Also, I am of the firm belief that Mance was Melisandre's idea, which Stannis was persuaded to sign off on.  I don't see him coning up with it himself, or approving it without being talked into it.

As for Jon himself, he was essentially an unimportant Nights watch member when Stannis was trying to convince him to join his cause.  That is the case no more.  He is now the commander, and quite useful to Stannis in that capacity.  And the Northerners might not appreciate Jon abandoning his post as LC to join Stannis.  Previously, he could claim to be acting in a principled fashion as a counterweight to a politicized Nights Watch under an incompetent LC (Slynt), probably)  That won't work now.  

Proudwing is Jon himself.  Stannis is better off leaving Jon where he is.  He doesn't really need anybody to watch over Winterfell for him.  As long as it doesn't fall back into Lannister hands,, I don't think he really cares what happens up North in the long-term.  It is a means to an end (the Iron Throne)  And practically any Northerner not in bolton's camp can be trusted to keep the North out of Camp Lannister.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Nevets said:

Stannis is a proud, arrogant, moralistic prig with a rigid and harsh sense of justice.  None of which suggests that he would even consider a convoluted plan to fool Jon into breaking his vows.  It's incredibly risky, as well, and we know that he doesn't do that.  "Not bold like his brother was" is a common refrain.  While Stannis is a player, he wins through meticulous preparation and planning and the application of overwhelming force.  The fact that he is a rigid moralist also helps, as it means he can be trusted to what he believes to be right, for good and ill. 

No he's clearly not. If he was a rigid moralist then Mance would have burned as his life was forfeit by all the laws of the Seven Kingdoms.

19 hours ago, Nevets said:

The most duplicitous act we have seen him do is the Mance/Rattleshirt switch, and the proposed plan with Jon is way beyond that.  Also, I am of the firm belief that Mance was Melisandre's idea, which Stannis was persuaded to sign off on.  I don't see him coning up with it himself, or approving it without being talked into it.

Firstly, Stannis has motive to save Mance. This is in the text. Mel does not have motive to save Mance. Mel explains it was Jon's sage advice to Stannis that saved Mance. Mance tells Jon it was Stannis who burned the man he had to burn. So while you firmly believe it was Mel's idea, once again your argument ignores the text.

Stannis used a glamour to trick the realm into thinking he satisfied the law and burned Mance. I don't see how that is less duplicitous than the pink letter.

19 hours ago, Nevets said:

As for Jon himself, he was essentially an unimportant Nights watch member when Stannis was trying to convince him to join his cause.  That is the case no more.  He is now the commander, and quite useful to Stannis in that capacity.  And the Northerners might not appreciate Jon abandoning his post as LC to join Stannis.  Previously, he could claim to be acting in a principled fashion as a counterweight to a politicized Nights Watch under an incompetent LC (Slynt), probably)  That won't work now.  

Jon was not LC when Stannis first tried to convince Jon to join his cause, but Stannis did not stop trying to convince Jon after he became LC. He made the offer several times in ADwD. Again your argument is contradicted by the text.

20 hours ago, Nevets said:

Proudwing is Jon himself. 

No. Proudwing was useless, he would not soar. Jon is the outstanding candidate for Lord of Winterfell. Stannis has made several attempts to win Jon to his cause, but they failed because of Jon's vows. Stannis needs to change his approach and that's what he did when he wrote the pink letter.

20 hours ago, Nevets said:

Stannis is better off leaving Jon where he is.  He doesn't really need anybody to watch over Winterfell for him.  As long as it doesn't fall back into Lannister hands,, I don't think he really cares what happens up North in the long-term.  It is a means to an end (the Iron Throne)  And practically any Northerner not in bolton's camp can be trusted to keep the North out of Camp Lannister.

This ignores the whole political aspect of the story. It's not really about watching over Winterfell, it's about winning the north to his cause. Again, this is spelled out in the text several times.

And it also ignores the "conflict" between Stannis and Jon and Jon's vows, which runs right through ADwD. Stannis is not merely asking Jon to be the guy who watches over Winterfell for him. That would be extremely weak in terms of storytelling. Thankfully there is a lot more to it than that and Jon's inner-turmoil surrounding the matter is justified.

 

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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?

I don’t see Theon on this list?

He is the only one who knows all about both Ramsay and Stannis, e.g. Mance, the flaming sword, the stolen bride... 

If he wrote it, it would also explain why there was no skin attached to the letter. Also, some parts of the letter match Theon’s thoughts word for word- thoughts that he never said out loud. Then, he also hears Stannis saying to Justin that people may spread false information about his death. He could have come up with this idea after this conversation. And most importantly, he has to show Stannis his worth or he will be killed. 

I don’t think Stannis would be capable of coming up with such a twisted plan by himself. The author of the letter knows how to manipulate people, and Stannis is just not the type for that. 

However, assuming that Stannis still wants Jon for the position of Lord of Winterfell, Theon might have offered to write a letter to Jon that would make him leave the Wall. Theon knows him (or thinks he knows him): In his eyes, Jon is proud and (same as Ramsay) dislikes being called a bastard. He knows what he has to say to provoke him. Stannis most likely wouldn’t have been fond of such tricks, but still might have agreed to Theon’s plan (while grinding his teeth), hoping that Jon would bring his wildlings, and afterwards hold Winterfell for him (at least temporarily, and who knows what he will do once he is at home again).

As for the part about Val and the prince, he may have learned about these two from his sister or Stannis’ soldiers, or maybe Stannis himself. He could have mentioned his plans for Jon and Val while Theon was listening. It wouldn’t have been difficult for Theon to figure out that Val is important to Jon as well. Then, Theon might have interrupted him, saying that he could convince him to come to Winterfell.

Wouldn’t this solve the whole contradiction regarding Stannis’ personality?

Moreover I think it would fit to GM’s writing style: One character does something to save his own skin / or to do a good deed, and thereby unintentionally harms another main character. Just like when Arya freed Rorge and Biter, who would later on join the Bloody Mummers.

 

 

Edited by OneFretfulTrout

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On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

I don’t see Theon on this list?

Because I believe Stannis did use Theon in the construction of the letter. When I say Stannis wrote the pink letter, I guess I mean Stannis and the resources at his disposal including Theon and Maester Tybald. The letter contains a quote from Theon to Stannis, change of person aside, which strongly indicates to me that Theon was involved, wittingly or otherwise. I believe this quote, "He wants his Bride. He wants his Reek." and the mention of a cloak of skins can both be attributed to Theon.

That quote also indicates to me that if the letter was altered, as the OP suggests, then the alterations were very minor. Personally I think the letter was read but not altered before it was delivered to Jon. Opening the letter, reading it, and then resealing it would account for the smear of pink wax instead of the usual button of wax as well as Clydas' demeanor when delivering the letter.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

If he wrote it, it would also explain why there was no skin attached to the letter. Also, some parts of the letter match Theon’s thoughts word for word- thoughts that he never said out loud. Then, he also hears Stannis saying to Justin that people may spread false information about his death. He could have come up with this idea after this conversation. And most importantly, he has to show Stannis his worth or he will be killed. 

We agree that Theon was involved. Stannis did say that Theon had information he might need that no doubt concerns Winterfell, the Boltons, Abel and the spearwives, and Ramsay, all of which is valuable to Stannis.

Theon does not have to show his worth to Stannis. Theon is heir to the Iron Isles, Stannis will need a loyal lord of Pyke, just as he needs a loyal lord of Winterfell. And even if he holds Asha too, he has made it clear he favors males in such matters. Alternatively, Stannis could kill Theon to appease the northerners. So dead or alive Theon already has political value to Stannis, which far outweighs any potential worth he could muster by his actions.

Plus, Theon knows Jon would take his head off in a heartbeat. Bringing Jon to Winterfell is not a good idea if Theon wants to avoid being killed as you suggest.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

I don’t think Stannis would be capable of coming up with such a twisted plan by himself. The author of the letter knows how to manipulate people, and Stannis is just not the type for that. 

Stannis is a player in the game of thrones, and players manipulate pieces. That's how the game is played. If Stannis couldn't do that then he wouldn't still be in the game.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

However, assuming that Stannis still wants Jon for the position of Lord of Winterfell, Theon might have offered to write a letter to Jon that would make him leave the Wall. Theon knows him (or thinks he knows him): In his eyes, Jon is proud and (same as Ramsay) dislikes being called a bastard. He knows what he has to say to provoke him. Stannis most likely wouldn’t have been fond of such tricks, but still might have agreed to Theon’s plan (while grinding his teeth), hoping that Jon would bring his wildlings, and afterwards hold Winterfell for him (at least temporarily, and who knows what he will do once he is at home again).

I think it is pretty clear that Jon is Stannis' first choice when it comes to Lord of Winterfell. He has said as much several times and there is no better alternative candidate. The Karsarks were a distant second but that obviously changed when Jon disclosed their plot. So why would Stannis no longer want Jon?

I don't understand why people keep saying Stannis is not capable of subterfuge. He burned Rattleshirt instead of Mance. Stannis portrays a certain image, unbending, just, lawful, etc, but his actions often contradict that image. And that is hardly a surprise given that propaganda and public relations are part and parcel of political rule. As Mance said, "We all do what we have to do, Snow. Even kings." That should be especially kings if you ask me but...

On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

As for the part about Val and the prince, he may have learned about these two from his sister or Stannis’ soldiers, or maybe Stannis himself. He could have mentioned his plans for Jon and Val while Theon was listening. It wouldn’t have been difficult for Theon to figure out that Val is important to Jon as well. Then, Theon might have interrupted him, saying that he could convince him to come to Winterfell.

Theon may have, might have, could have maybe done a lot of things. We know it is Stannis who calls Val a wildling princess and we know that Stannis sees Val as the mortar that seals a peace between the north and the free folk and therefore she has political value to the king, as does the little prince who Stannis is holding hostage to keep Mance loyal.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

Wouldn’t this solve the whole contradiction regarding Stannis’ personality?

Only if you perceive there to be a contradiction.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:44 AM, OneFretfulTrout said:

Moreover I think it would fit to GM’s writing style: One character does something to save his own skin / or to do a good deed, and thereby unintentionally harms another main character. Just like when Arya freed Rorge and Biter, who would later on join the Bloody Mummers.

It does fit GRRM's style. He loves the law of unintended consequences. And I firmly believe Jon's death was an unintended consequence, which really rules out Ramsay as the author in my mind. Ramsay sending a mad rant and then striking gold by getting Jon killed does not fit GRRM's style in my opinion. Stannis wanted Jon to forswear his vows and become his lord of Winterfell, but the letter ended up getting Jon killed. That is an unintended consequence.

Bowen Marsh is also doing something to save his own skin, and save the Watch, but ends up killing the key guy in the fight against the Others.

So all these storytelling elements are still present with Stannis as the author. The difference is the narrative is tighter with Stannis as the author because throughout ADwD there is a conflict between Stannis and Jon over Winterfell and Jon's vows. This in turn creates a conflict within Jon which comes to a head with the pink letter and Jon deciding to forswear his vows. So I see the pink letter as a final attempt by Stannis to win the conflict with Jon, removing Jon's vows which are the main obstacle, and almost proving successful, until the intervention of another character doing what he thought was right caused it to fail spectacularly.

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Sting was both a musician and pro wrestler.  (God rest his soul).   -->  Stannis may be fire while also learning the ways of ice. 

A king of both regions, as he plans on being, must be capable of wearing many hats behaviorally.  He must do what's needed.   Including hot and cold machinations, the obvious quick firey justice and the glacial slow movements of gaining a people's respect and allegiance.   Honor for some and Subterfuge for others.  (Source: the Simpsons- - "abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.")   The real politic of the ice realm may not consist of a warm handshake.  You earn some northerners to your side by having a wolf bite off their fingers.   By being Cold.  

Jon may have gotten hit with some cold politicking.

It looks irresponsible of Stannis.  To first say the Others are the priority war, and then to draw troops away from the wall and degrade its defense by pulling the lord commander away and causing ructions within nightwatch ranks.  Well, it is irresponsible, when viewed in isolation.  That's why Stan spent all that time soul searching, ice fishing with the albatross round his neck.  But he and Mel figured that you have to get your house in order before you can take it to war.  So the wildlings are being drawn down from the wall to winterfell to get that done, and Jon is to rule over the north after it is put right.  By whatever means necessary.  And that will be what breaks the ice between Stan and the North.  The northerners go over to Stan once they see he's the king who managed to unfuck the fucking they received from the crown.  

And once winterfell is back to its proper state of affairs, the north's house is ready to face the real enemy.   So righting the human realm must be the first step in the battle against the inhuman threat.  Taken in that context, Stannis the letter writer looks more like a responsible chap who's doing what needs doing.

Now, as for the wildling army's travel arrangements to get them through the wintery conditions killing Stan's horses,

Spoiler

Nymeria (Arya) to the rescue.  The north sigil is a wolf.  Fittingly.   For reasons long forgotten that we should now be reminded of.  I wondered why George has no Ididerod sleds drawn by wolves in his big assed story.  Well, perhaps he was preserving them for a big surprise, like when Nymeria brings hundreds of wolves to where the wildling army is suffering in the snow, and Arya in dream state tells her wolf to model friendship with these humans, so they other wolves follow suit.  And then you've got sleds aplenty.  Rope is in good supply, I trust.  And wood.  Bits of metal.  They're in business.  Quicker than expected travel across the northern wastes.  Winterfell within reach.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Theon does not have to show his worth to Stannis. Theon is heir to the Iron Isles, Stannis will need a loyal lord of Pyke, just as he needs a loyal lord of Winterfell. And even if he holds Asha too, he has made it clear he favors males in such matters. Alternatively, Stannis could kill Theon to appease the northerners. So dead or alive Theon already has political value to Stannis, which far outweighs any potential worth he could muster by his actions.

Right now it seems as if Stannis wants to go with the second option. At least, if he wanted to install him as the new Lord of Pyke he wouldn’t have chained him to the wall like a criminal. Therefore I think Theon has to give him a good reason to spare his life. The main reason why I thought the letter was Theon’s own plan and that Stannis just sort of gave him permission to sent it is this quote from the sample chapter: “Unchain me, and I will serve you.” This just reminded me of the scene where Theon finds Reek. It would be funny if the whole story would repeat itself.

Oh, and then there is also this scene in ASoS when Jon remembers during the fight at castle Black how Theon once told him that he preferred to kill with goose feathers. Though of course this does not necessarily mean that he has to be the author of the letter that kills him. 

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Plus, Theon knows Jon would take his head off in a heartbeat. Bringing Jon to Winterfell is not a good idea if Theon wants to avoid being killed as you suggest.

Yes, I agree that this is the main argument against Theon being the author. On the other hand, he still hasn’t revealed that Bran and Rickon are still alive... so maybe he will use that as his wildcard?

In the end I just hope that the letter will turn out to be a fake, one way or another...

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I don't understand why people keep saying Stannis is not capable of subterfuge.

If I had to assign one scene to each character in the books that reflects their personality, for Stannis I would choose the one in which Pylos reads out the first draft of the letter about Joffrey’s parentage and he just tells him to change  “my beloved brother Robert” to simply “my brother Robert” as there was no love between them. For me this scene just perfectly reflects his nature. Of course some of his decisions later on contradict with this, but I believe that he was only able to do all these things because of Melisandre’s influence. Like when his wife and the queen’s men all urge him to burn Edric, he initially dismisses the idea, telling them that they are idiots to believe in magic- then Melisandre only touches him and all of a sudden he starts talking about how marvellous it would be to ride a dragon. Here he appears a bit like the fire version of the Night’s king (“when he gave her his seed he gave his soul as well”). But I still think that, as long as Melisandre is not around to direct his actions, he  tends to fall back into his old behavioural patterns.

I don’t deny that he also used certain ruses in the past, I only meant that I can’t see him dictating phrases like “... I made him a cloak from the skins of the six wildling women...”. I also believe that he would need someone else to propose the basic plan because he seems to be incapable of talking about such things straightforward. Instead he avoids the names of his ‘victims’ and grinds his teeth. He is repelled by people like Theon who have betrayed and deceived others. Doing the same things as them makes him feel ashamed, it destroys him mentally. Thus, I assumed that if he had anything to do with the letter he would need someone else to act as his ‘devil on his shoulder’. 

 

PS: Does anybody know if the Citadel teaches dentistry as well? Because if he continues to grind his teeth all the time Stannis will surely need a dentist by the end of the series... 

Edited by OneFretfulTrout

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17 hours ago, The Mother of The Others said:

The northerners go over to Stan once they see he's the king who managed to unfuck the fucking they received from the crown.

This is essentially the plan. Stannis was willing to offer pardons to Robb and Balon if they swore fealty. Then Robb and Balon died. Stannis noted that the wolf left no heir and the kraken too many, the lions would eat them alive unless... He doesn't finish that sentence but I think the implication is clear. Unless he solves their succession problems for them by putting someone loyal to him in Winterfell and Pyke, and thus uniting them under his kingship.

Melisandre warned him that they would not, more false kings would rise to take their place. She told Stannis that he would need to show the realm a sign of his power if he wanted their fealty. What sort of sign? Well, Davos then showed him Aemon's plea for help at the Wall. Stannis decided he would answer the call and show Westeros that he was the true king who went to the defense of the realm in it's hour of need. He smashed the wildling host and demanded homage but received only silence and defiance. Stannis knows the north has no love for him. They would apparently rather pay hommage to Roose than him so he knows that defeating the Boltons will not be enough. He needs to earn it by unfucking the fucked, as you put it.

That is what Davos is selling at White Harbor, vengeance and justice for the Red Wedding, not just in the north but also in King's Landing. But back to putting things right in the north.

With no apparent heirs to Robb except for Lady Sansa Lannister, the bastard son of Eddard Stark is the best choice and Stannis would have known that before he even sailed from Dragonstone. That's why he wastes no time in offering Winterfell to Jon at their very first meeting. The Stark name is vital to the plan, just as it was for Tywin and Roose when they created fake Arya. The Starks are revered in the north. If you put any other northern house in charge it will not be long before another proud house like Umber or Ryswell or Manderly starts asking why it's not them in charge. A Stark in Winterfell is the very best chance of stability in the north, and Stannis naturally wants a stable north bound to his cause.

When Jon repeatedly refuses his offer and Stannis is forced to settle for a Karstark, he is quick to stress their family ties to the Starks. Stannis is still trying to trade off the Stark name, even if it is Stark-lite. But then the Karstarks prove treacherous, so who does Stannis turn to next?

I think Stannis certainly has motive to at least make some play for Jon again. But Stannis is at Winterfell, (the timeline confuses people because ADwD is missing a few chapters that were moved to TWoW so I believe Stannis took the castle before he sent the letter) and Jon is at the Wall. So a raven is really the only way Stannis can contact Jon in a quick and expedient manner. And a letter that provokes Jon into breaking his vows, the main obstacle to Jon accepting his offer as far as Stannis is concerned, would obviously be very beneficial to the king. And that is exactly what the pink letter was. If someone benefits from an action then we must accept that there is some level of probability they were behind the action.

18 hours ago, The Mother of The Others said:

It looks irresponsible of Stannis.  To first say the Others are the priority war, and then to draw troops away from the wall and degrade its defense by pulling the lord commander away and causing ructions within nightwatch ranks.  Well, it is irresponsible, when viewed in isolation.  That's why Stan spent all that time soul searching, ice fishing with the albatross round his neck.  But he and Mel figured that you have to get your house in order before you can take it to war.  So the wildlings are being drawn down from the wall to winterfell to get that done, and Jon is to rule over the north after it is put right.  By whatever means necessary.  And that will be what breaks the ice between Stan and the North.  The northerners go over to Stan once they see he's the king who managed to unfuck the fucking they received from the crown.  

And once winterfell is back to its proper state of affairs, the north's house is ready to face the real enemy.   So righting the human realm must be the first step in the battle against the inhuman threat.  Taken in that context, Stannis the letter writer looks more like a responsible chap who's doing what needs doing.

I agree that the responsible thing to do is unite not only the north but the entire realm before the Other's arrive. Jon would be better placed for that war as Lord of Winterfell than Lord Commander of the Watch.

And as most of the north already want Jon to succeed Robb, unbeknownst to Stannis, and that Robb even considered ways of getting Jon out of his binding oath, then I don't accept the common objection that the north would not stand for it. Maybe not for Gared's defection or Mance Rayder's, but Jon is clearly a different case.

18 hours ago, OneFretfulTrout said:

If I had to assign one scene to each character in the books that reflects their personality, for Stannis I would choose the one in which Clydas reads out the first draft of the letter about Joffrey’s parentage and he just tells him to change  “my beloved brother Robert” to simply “my brother Robert” as there was no love between them. For me this scene just perfectly reflects his nature.

If you want to get a full picture of a character you need to consider every scene, and not just confine yourself to one.

But on the subject of the letter, who do you think dictated the first draft? Pylos or Stannis. I think there is a good chance it was Stannis. Then, after Pylos reads it to Davos, Stannis says "I don't know that we ought to call Robert my beloved brother either." He's clearly thinking about it. He doesn't immediately jump to, a lie, take it out. He says, I don't know that we ought... He thinks about it, but if he was as black and white as some readers think then there would be nothing to think about. He wouldn't have put it in the first draft to begin with but if it slipped in then he would certainly just take it out without question.

He adds Ser to Jaime and takes out beloved brother regarding Robert for a reason. He wants the letter to be respectful and truthful because he wants the lords of Westeros to take what he is saying about the Lannisters seriously. Everyone knows there was no love between Robert and Stannis, so why add a blatant lie when you are trying to make the letter credible?

As Cressen, who knew Stannis well told us, The youngest of Lord Steffon's three sons had grown into a man bold but heedless, who acted from impulse rather than calculation. In that, as in so much else, Renly was like his brother Robert, and utterly unlike Stannis. So Renly and Robert acted from impulse rather than calculation, which is utterly unlike Stannis. Therefore Stannis acts from calculation rather than impulse. That's why we see him think about it before he removes beloved from the letter.

18 hours ago, OneFretfulTrout said:

I don’t deny that he also used certain ruses in the past, I only meant that I can’t see him dictating phrases like “... I made him a cloak from the skins of the six wildling women...”.

That line must come from Theon, who heard Ramsay say it to Walder in Winterfell. Stannis doesn't know Ramsay well enough to even attempt to impersonate him without help from someone who does know him.

18 hours ago, OneFretfulTrout said:

I also believe that he would need someone else to propose the basic plan because he seems to be incapable of talking about such things straightforward. Instead he avoids the names of his ‘victims’ and grinds his teeth. He is repelled by people like Theon who have betrayed and deceived others. Doing the same things as them makes him feel ashamed, it destroys him mentally. Thus, I assumed that if he had anything to do with the letter he would need someone else to act as his ‘devil on his shoulder’. 

I think it is within Stannis' own character but I accept you feel otherwise. I'm not so sure Theon is that cunning, perhaps he is, but as I firmly believe the letter was sent from Winterfell after Stannis had taken the castle then perhaps Mance would better fit as the devil on his shoulder. I do expect them to be reunited in Winterfell.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

But to come back to the original topic of this thread:

Could the ‘pink-eyed mole’ indeed be what his description implies: A spy of the pink Lord? Why not? It is also interesting that he can read and write, suggesting that he is not a nobody, and yet we do not know his family name...?

BTW are there any other characters except for Clydas and the Freys who are described as “chinless“?

Edited by OneFretfulTrout

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Clydas doesn't have the stones to do this.  Stannis burned Mance.  Jon killed Janos.  Clydas is not going to try his luck against two very harsh men who have fickle ideas of what justice is.  Ramsay Bolton wrote that letter and just about all of it is true.  

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