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The Map Guy

Mel wrote the Pink Letter to stop Jon from going to Hardhome

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Posted (edited)

Crazy Map Guy here. I got all jelly that many candidates for the Pink Letter's author have had their arguments presented ... but my girl Mel never got any real shout outs.
I listed parts of my Mel theory IN one of the hundred pages IN one of the hundred threads in regards to the Pink Letter ... but Mel will get the front page here. 
So enjoy!

THE SHORT STORY:

Melisandre wrote the Pink Letter to stop Jon from going to Hardhome because she believed it was a lost cause & Jon will die there.
If Jon never returned from Hardhome, Mel would not know what to do about her R'hllor visions of Jon.
Even though Mel's prank succeeded in stopping Jon from going to Hardhome, she also expected Jon to come speak to her after he received the letter.
But then Jon does something stupid and gets himself killed.


First, Jon should have gone to Melisandre and talk to her about this letter.
The second important thing Jon should of done after receiving news that Arya is no longer with the Boltons is to FIND ARYA! ... NOT go pick a fight with the Boltons.
Jon Snow truly knew nothing.

Essentially Mel's Prank is one of those pranks you pull on a friend, but then they do something unexpectedly stupid & almost get themselves killed. I'm sure we have all been there before in our real lives. :P
Hopefully no one died like Jon did in the books.

So in summary, everything in the Pink Letter is FALSE. Mel being the author has a simple motive and we only need TWO assumptions:

  • Stannis at Crofter's Village sending a raven to update Melisandre at Castle Black about the arrival of Arya Stark (reasonable assumption)
  • Stannis, Mel and Jon have mistaken the name "Reek" as Arya's nickname (case explained further below)

In TWOW, I predict that we will get the only POV available at the Wall: Melisandre ... where she panics and we hear her confess to the prank in her thoughts. She'll probably sacrifice Monster (Craster/Gilly's son) to revive Jon Snow through R'hllor.
In ADOS, I believe Jon's baby swap, Mel's prank & Jon's first resurrection would accidentally prevent the world from annihilation. But that theory is for another time ... just note that Jon has love/hate relationships with redheaded women kissed by fire.

 

THE LONG STORY:

Jon talks to Selyse about going to Hardhome. Selyse approves the ranging thinking Jon will die and the Nights Watch will get another commander.

Jon: "I will not ask my men to do what I would not do myself. I mean to lead the ranging [to Hardhome]."
"How bold of you," said the queen. "We approve. Afterward some bard will make a stirring song about you, no doubt, and we shall have a more prudent lord commander."

{Jon XIII ADWD}

 

After Jon leaves the room, Mel tries to convince Jon to not go.

"Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let them die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—"
"Six remain. More than half the fleet."
"Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires."
"Your fires have been known to lie."
"I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—"
"A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?"
"All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope."
"A fool's hope." Jon turned and left her.

{Jon XIII ADWD}

So Mel writes a fake letter to Jon, answering Jon's questions of "Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?" and uses f-Ramsay to provoke Jon to face South, instead of facing North to Hardhome & his fruitless death.

 

Aside from trying to save Jon from Hardhome, Mel HATES the fact that she has to chase Jon ... like teenagers playing their foolish lovers' games and hoping their crush would text them first.

Mel's thoughts:
It was Jon Snow she needed, not fried bread and bacon, but it was no use sending Devan to the lord commander. He would not come to her summons. Snow still chose to dwell behind the armory, in a pair of modest rooms previously occupied by the Watch's late blacksmith. Perhaps he did not think himself worthy of the King's Tower, or perhaps he did not care. That was his mistake, the false humility of youth that is itself a sort of pride. It was never wise for a ruler to eschew the trappings of power, for power itself flows in no small measure from such trappings.
The boy was not entirely naive, however. He knew better than to come to Melisandre's chambers like a supplicant, insisting she come to him instead should she have need of words with him. And oft as not, when she did come, he would keep her waiting or refuse to see her. That much, at least, was shrewd. 

{Melisandre I ADWD}

 

Mel's second reason to write the Pink Letter is to make Jon come to her. Before the Pink Letter, she got excited when Jon engages the conversation first ... like your boy/girl crush texting you first.

Jon: Only then did [Jon] seem to notice Melisandre. "My lady. Walk with me, if you would."
Mel: AT LAST. "If it please the lord commander."

{Melisandre I ADWD}


Let's review the Pink Letter for the 9,999th time in {Jon XIII ADWD}:

Quote

Bastard, was the only word written outside the scroll. No Lord Snow or Jon Snow or Lord Commander. Simply Bastard. And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax. "You were right to come at once," Jon said. You were right to be afraid. He cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read.

Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore.

Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you.

You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.

I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.

I want my bride back. I want the false king's queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.

It was signed,

Ramsay Bolton,
Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.

"Snow?" said Tormund Giantsbane. "You look like your father's bloody head just rolled out o' that paper."

"Tell his red whore" is Mel trying to hide herself as the writer, but also trying to get Jon to come to see her again.

The Paper Curl Theory:
You guys ready for something ground-breaking that was never mentioned for 8 years since 2011 ADWD? 
One of our biggest clues of foreshadowing that GRRM wrote and that we over-looked are the paragraphs just before the letter, and just after the letter.
Just before:
Bastard, was the only word written outside the scroll. No Lord Snow or Jon Snow or Lord Commander. Simply Bastard. And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax. "You were right to come at once," Jon said. You were right to be afraid. He cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read.
Just after:
"SNOW?" said Tormund Giantsbane. "You look like your father's bloody head just rolled out o' that paper."

Unrolling a dry parchment, that was rolled recently can still remain flat
Unrolling a dried parchment ... after being exposed to moisture would keep curling

Jon flattens the Pink Letter, but the Pink Letter NEVER curled back. This parchment allegedly came from a raven in a SNOW storm. The parchment would be wet. Even if it dried up over time, it will maintain its curl.
This means the Pink Letter was written LOCALLY at Castle Black, away from moisture.

"When he was done, Tormund whistled. "Har. That's buggered, and no mistake. What was that about Mance? Has him in a cage, does he? How, when hundreds saw your red witch burn the man?"
That was Rattleshirt, Jon almost said. That was sorcery. A glamor, she called it. "Melisandre … look to the skies, she said." He set the letter down. "A raven in a storm. She saw this coming." When you have your answers, send to me."

"He sat the letter down" BUT Jon doesn't notice that the parchment does not curl up.

A few paragraphs before the Pink Letter, GRRM wrote this:

"He has a little red cock to go with all that red hair, that's what he has. Raymund Redbeard and his sons died at Long Lake, thanks to your bloody Starks and the Drunken Giant. Not the little brother. Ever wonder why they called him the Red Raven?" Tormund's mouth split in a gap-toothed grin. "First to fly the battle, he was. 'Twas a song about it, after. The singer had to find a rhyme for craven, so …" He wiped his nose. "If your queen's knights want those girls o' his, they're welcome to them."

"A raven in the storm. She saw this coming"
But GRRM gave us this formula raven<=>craven
"A [craven] in the storm. [Mel] saw this coming"  
Mel was too craven or too cowardly to come to Jon with her true intentions.

Also:
When you have your answers, send to me
Jon is thinking about Mel telling him to come to her when he gets his answer. Jon knows he should go Selyse first and then Mel ... but he made a public announcement & was assassinated before he had a chance to see Mel.

"I will send for ale," Jon said, distracted. Melisandre was gone, he realized, and so were the queen's knights. I should have gone to Selyse first. She has the right to know her lord is dead. "You must excuse me. I'll leave you to get them drunk."
[...]
Horse and Rory fell in beside Jon as he left the Shieldhall. I should talk with Melisandre after I see the queen, he thought. If she could see a raven in a storm, she can find Ramsay Snow for me. Then he heard the shouting … and a roar so loud it seemed to shake the Wall. "That come from Hardin's Tower, m'lord," Horse reported. He might have said more, but the scream cut him off. [... Jon's assassination]

 

Anyways back to the curious cases of curling parchments ... The Paper Curl Theory ... a list of examples of GRRM talking about flat paper and rolled paper:

{Jon I ADWD}

Within the solar the air was warm. Lady Melisandre was seated near the fire, her ruby glimmering against the pale skin of her throat. Ygritte had been kissed by fire; the red priestess was fire, and her hair was blood and flame. Stannis stood behind the rough-hewn table where the Old Bear had once been wont to sit and take his meals. Covering the table was a large map of the north, painted on a ragged piece of hide. A tallow candle weighed down one end of it, a steel gauntlet the other.

[...]

The king wore lambswool breeches and a quilted doublet, yet somehow he looked as stiff and uncomfortable as if he had been clad in plate and mail. His skin was pale leather, his beard cropped so short that it might have been painted on. A fringe about his temples was all that remained of his black hair. In his hand was a parchment with a broken seal of dark green wax.

Jon took a knee. The king frowned at him, and rattled the parchment angrily. "Rise. Tell me, who is Lyanna Mormont?"

[...]

"A thousand leagues away and deaf to our need," Jon replied. "I have not forgotten that, my lady. Nor will I. But my father's bannermen have wives and children to protect, and smallfolk who will die should they choose wrongly. His Grace asks much of them. Give them time, and you will have your answers."

"Answers such as this?" Stannis crushed Lyanna's letter in his fist.

Lyanna Mormont's parchment was already opened. Stannis had to rattle the parchment loose to re-read it. Good start for the Paper Curl Theory!

 

{Jon III ADWD}
Jon has Aemon's letter to King Tommen. Because it was freshly written for Jon to sign, this letter never curled up.

 

{Jon IV ADWD}

Where to begin? Jon moved to the map. Candles had been placed at its corners to keep the hide from rolling up.

 

{Jon VI ADWD}

Clydas thrust the parchment forward. It was tightly rolled and sealed, with a button of hard pink wax. Only the Dreadfort uses pink sealing wax. Jon ripped off his gauntlet, took the letter, cracked the seal. When he saw the signature, he forgot the battering Rattleshirt had given him.
Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, it read, in a huge, spiky hand. The brown ink came away in flakes when Jon brushed it with his thumb. Beneath Bolton's signature, Lord Dustin, Lady Cerwyn, and four Ryswells had appended their own marks and seals. A cruder hand had drawn the giant of House Umber. "Might we know what it says, my lord?" asked Iron Emmett.
Jon saw no reason not to tell him. "Moat Cailin is taken. The flayed corpses of the ironmen have been nailed to posts along the kingsroad. Roose Bolton summons all leal lords to Barrowton, to affirm their loyalty to the Iron Throne and celebrate his son's wedding to …" His heart seemed to stop for a moment. No, that is not possible. She died in King's Landing, with Father.

A lot of clues here suggest that Ramsay is not the author of the Pink Letter. But I won't discuss it here in the OP. All I want to know is if the letter about f-Arya curls up or not.

[...] That did not make them easier to say. His fingers closed around the parchment. Would that they could crush Ramsay Bolton's throat as easily

Damn you GRRM, I just can't say now.

 

{Jon VII ADWD}

Clydas had come and gone, Jon noted as he was hanging his cloak on the peg beside the door. A letter had been left on the table in his solar. Eastwatch or the Shadow Tower, he assumed at first glance. But the wax was gold, not black. The seal showed a stag's head within a flaming heart. Stannis. Jon cracked the hardened wax, flattened the roll of parchment, read. A maester's hand, but the king's words.

Ok GRRM, show us the paper roll clue ...

[letter content]
The moment Jon set the letter aside, the parchment curled up again, as if eager to protect its secrets. He was not at all sure how he felt about what he had just read. Battles had been fought at Winterfell before, but never one without a Stark on one side or the other. "The castle is a shell," he said, "not Winterfell, but the ghost of Winterfell." It was painful just to think of it, much less say the words aloud. And still …

AT LAST!!! Paper Curl Theory working as attended, AND protecting secrets! Let's keep rolling!
 

{Jon X ADWD}

Jon was washing the roast down with a sip of mulled wine when Clydas appeared at his elbow. "A bird," he announced, and slipped a parchment into Jon's hand. The note was sealed with a dot of hard black wax. Eastwatch, Jon knew, even before he broke the seal. The letter had been written by Maester Harmune; Cotter Pyke could neither read nor write. But the words were Pyke's, set down as he had spoken them, blunt and to the point.
Calm seas today. Eleven ships set sail for Hardhome on the morning tide. Three Braavosi, four Lyseni, four of ours. Two of the Lyseni barely seaworthy. We may drown more wildlings than we save. Your command. Twenty ravens aboard, and Maester Harmune. Will send reports. I command from Talon, Tattersalt second on Blackbird, Ser Glendon holds Eastwatch.

GRRM was trying to be tricky. He never explicit mentioned the ACTIONS of how Jon cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read ... Jon knew, even before he broke the seal.

[Jon] rolled the parchment up and slipped it into his belt.

GRRM being sneaky about the parchment and if it naturally curled or not. At least GRRM acknowledged the rolling, even though we are not given a conclusion.

 

{Jon XII ADWD}

Clydas entered pink and blinking, the parchment clutched in one soft hand. "Beg pardon, Lord Commander. I know you must be weary, but I thought you would want to see this at once."
"You did well." Jon read: [Contents of the letter from Cotter Pyke]

No mentions of the actions again. Jon just opened it without thinking.

"Is it grievous, my lord?" asked Clydas.
"Grievous enough." Dead things in the wood. Dead things in the water. Six ships left, of the eleven that set sail. Jon Snow rolled up the parchment, frowning. Night falls, he thought, and now my war begins.

Again, GRRM made Jon roll up the parchment. Can't tell if it was natural or not, but it does get a shout out again.


Other mentions of rolling paper:


{Jaime I ADWD}

"If I gave you sufficient men, they would be doing the subduing, not you. In which case I should reward myself." Jaime let the map roll up again. "I'll keep this if I might."

 

{Daenerys VII ADWD}

Stone-faced, the stocky lad bent, unlaced his boot, and drew a yellowed parchment from a hidden flap within.
"This is your gift? A scrap of writing?" Daario snatched the parchment out of the Dornishman's hands and unrolled it, squinting at the seals and signatures. "Very pretty, all the gold and ribbons, but I do not read your Westerosi scratchings."
"Bring it to the queen," Ser Barristan commanded. "Now."
Dany could feel the anger in the hall. "I am only a young girl, and young girls must have their gifts," she said lightly. "Daario, please, you must not tease me. Give it here."
The parchment was written in the Common Tongue. The queen unrolled it slowly, studying the seals and signatures. When she saw the name Ser Willem Darry, her heart beat a little faster. She read it over once, and then again.
[...]
"And bought you too, I do not doubt." He did not trouble to deny it. Dany unrolled the parchment and examined it again. Braavos. This was done in Braavos, while we were living in the house with the red door. Why did that make her feel so strange?

 

{Theon I ADWD}

"I see you all want blood," the Lord of the Dreadfort said. Maester Rhodry stood beside him, a raven on his arm. The bird's black plumage shone like coal oil in the torchlight. Wet, Theon realized. And in his lordship's hand, a parchment. That will be wet as well. Dark wings, dark words. "Rather than use our swords upon each other, you might try them on Lord Stannis." Lord Bolton unrolled the parchment.

Wet parchment, but it was already opened earlier by Roose, since he already knew what he wanted to say: "I see you all want blood [...] Rather than use our swords upon each other, you might try them on Lord Stannis.". To re-read it, Roose had to unroll it.


I don't know about you guys, but the many curious cases of curled parchments seems important to GRRM to overlook.

 


Now back the Pink Letter:

Quote

Bastard, was the only word written outside the scroll. No Lord Snow or Jon Snow or Lord Commander. Simply Bastard. And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax. "You were right to come at once," Jon said. You were right to be afraid. He cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read. 
 

Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore.

Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you.

You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.

I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.

I want my bride back. I want the false king's queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.

It was signed,

Ramsay Bolton,
Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.


Smoke screens:

While the boy was gone, Melisandre washed herself and changed her robes. Her sleeves were full of hidden pockets, and she checked them carefully as she did every morning to make certain all her powders were in place. Powders to turn fire green or blue or silver, powders to make a flame roar and hiss and leap up higher than a man is tall, powders to make smoke. A smoke for truth, a smoke for lust, a smoke for fear, and the thick black smoke that could kill a man outright. The red priestess armed herself with a pinch of each of them.
The carved chest that she had brought across the narrow sea was more than three-quarters empty now. And while Melisandre had the knowledge to make more powders, she lacked many rare ingredients. My spells should suffice. She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them. With such sorceries at her command, she should soon have no more need of the feeble tricks of alchemists and pyromancers.
 (Melisandre I ADWD}

Her every word and gesture was more potent
Mel's words are her tricks

A smoke for truth: Mel already knew about the secret mission of Mance & the six spear wife
Your false king lied, and so did you. You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.
The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.

A smoke for lust: Mel knows Jon has a thing for Val
I want his wildling princess.
Also, Mel's people refer Val as a wildling princess.

A smoke for fear: Mel knows Jon fears getting the NW openly involved with Westerosi affairs
Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows.

A thick black smoke that could kill a man outright: a death threat
Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.   

Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell  
Boltons flay and spike bodies. The author of the Pink Letter shouldn't be a Bolton.

Jon saw no reason not to tell him. "Moat Cailin is taken. The flayed corpses of the ironmen have been nailed to posts along the kingsroad. {Jon VI ADWD}

 

If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies.
Mance would rather die than be caught again. Even if Mance is caught, he would never give up that information because Jon holds his son hostage (technically)

"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." (Mance is also in the room) {Melisandre I ADWD}

 

The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.  
Where are the skins that would have been included with this letter? Where is the blood ink?
Like Tormund says:

"Might be all a skin o' lies." Tormund scratched under his beard. "If I had me a nice goose quill and a pot o' maester's ink, I could write down that me member was long and thick as me arm, wouldn't make it so." {Jon XIII ADWD}

 

And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax
Pink wax = wax with little drops of blood

[...] the Boltons of the Dreadfort went into battle beneath pink banners spattered with little drops of blood. It only stood to reason that they would use pink sealing wax as well. {Wayward Bride ADWD}

It was never truly dark in Melisandre's chambers.
Three tallow candles burned upon her windowsill to keep the terrors of the night at bay. Four more flickered beside her bed, two to either side. In the hearth a fire was kept burning day and night. The first lesson those who would serve her had to learn was that the fire must never, ever be allowed to go out.
{Melisandre I ADWD}

Mel has seven candles and a fireplace that burnt day & night.
Tallow candles wax mixed with drops of blood can make pink wax.
In the English dictionary, if we use the word "tallow" as a VERB, it means "to smear"


And I want my Reek.
My two assumptions on this Mel theory:

  1. Stannis sent a raven to Selyse/Mel updating them that they retrieved Arya Stark and she is on the way to Castle Black (reasonable assumption)
  2. Name confusion of Reek

At this point, I don't know if Stannis won the Battle of Winterfell or not ... but it doesn't matter for the Pink Letter. I personally think Stannis won or will win the Battle of Winterfell, and it won't take seven days.

How does Stannis know Reek = Theon? He doesn't.

TWOW Sample Spoilers:

 

Spoiler

"The north remembers. The Red Wedding, Lady Hornwood's fingers, the sack of Winterfell, Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square, they remember all of it." Bran and Rickon. They were only miller's boys. "Frey and Manderly will never combine their strengths. They will come for you, but separately. Lord Ramsay will not be far behind them. He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek." Theon's laugh was half a titter, half a whimper. "Lord Ramsay is the one Your Grace should fear."
{Theon TWOW}

Just like Jon reading the Pink Letter, Stannis NEVER asked who Reek is and assumed "Reek" = "bride" because of the way it was said. GRRM is tricking us. "Theon's laugh was half a titter, half a whimper." This is GRRM laughing at us with this trick.

 

A basic THEME for the sample chapter is name identification and confusion. If you don't believe me, re-read Theon TWOW.

TWOW Sample Spoilers, a list of examples:

Spoiler

The name of the game is "Names" ... identification or confusion of identity

"Pardon, but your ink has frozen." The Braavosi, Theon knew. What was his name? Tycho... Tycho something... "Perhaps a bit of heat... ?

------

And Lord Arnolf sends word that he would be most pleased to break his fast with you."
"The son as well?"
"And the grandsons. Lord Wull seeks audience as well. He wants — " 

------

Stannis looked up. "The turncloak stirs."
"Theon. My name is Theon." He had to remember his name.
"I know your name. I know what you did."  

------

The girl had taken the worst of it. Jeyne, her name is Jeyne, but she will never tell them. 
[...]
And Jeyne had nodded. "Arya. My name is Arya."  

------

Crowfood. Theon remembered. An old man, huge and powerful, with a ruddy face and a shaggy white beard. He had been seated on a garron, clad in the pelt of a gigantic snow bear, its head his hood. Under it he wore a stained white leather eye patch that reminded Theon of his uncle Euron. He'd wanted to rip it off Umber's face, to make certain that underneath was only an empty socket, not a black eye shining with malice.  

------

What was his name, that cook?"
"Gage," Jeyne said at once.

------

What was his name?"
Jeyne had hesitated. Mikken, Theon thought. His name was Mikken. The castle blacksmith had never made any lemoncakes for Sansa, which made him far less important than the castle cook in the sweet little world she had shared with her friend Jeyne Poole. Remember, damn you. Your father was the steward, he had charge of the whole household. The smith's name was Mikken, Mikken, Mikken. I had him put to death before me!
"Mikken," Jeyne said. 

-------

"Who is coming? Bolton?"
"Lord Ramsay," Theon hissed. "The son, not the father. You must not let him take him. Roose... Roose is safe within the walls of Winterfell with his fat new wife. Ramsay is coming."

-------

"Ramsay Snow, you mean. The Bastard."
"Never call him that!" Spittle sprayed from Theon's lips. "Ramsay Bolton, not Ramsay Snow, never Snow, never, you have to remember his name, or he will hurt you."  
"He is welcome to try. Whatever name he goes by."  

------

"The north remembers. The Red Wedding, Lady Hornwood's fingers, the sack of Winterfell, Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square, they remember all of it." Bran and Rickon. They were only miller's boys.  

------

Lord Arnolf's cloak was fine grey wool, bordered in black sable and clasped with a silver starburst. A rich garment, Theon thought, on a poor excuse for a man. He had seen that cloak before, he knew, just as he had seen the man who wore it. At the Dreadfort. I remember. He sat and supped with Lord Ramsay and Whoresbane Umber, the night they brought Reek up from his cell. 

------

"Your Grace." Arnolf Karstark bowed his head. "An honor." He looked for a seat. Instead his eyes found Theon. "And who is this?" Recognition came a heartbeat later. Lord Arnolf paled.
His stupid son remained oblivious. "There are no chairs," the oaf observed. One of the ravens screamed inside its cage. 

------ 

"That is how I deal with betrayal, turncloak," Stannis informed Theon.
"My name is Theon."
"As you will. Tell me, Theon
, how many men did Mors Umber have with him at Winterfell?"  

------

He never wanted to do any harm to Bran or Rickon. Reek made him kill those boys, not him Reek but the other one. 

-------

"The heart tree knew my name. The old gods. Theon, I heard them whisper. There was no wind but the leaves were moving. Theon, they said. My name is Theon." It was good to say the name. The more he said it, the less like he was to forget. "You have to know your name," he'd told his sister.  

------

"You... you told me you were Esgred, but that was a lie. Your name is Asha." 

------

And suddenly there came a wild thumping, as the maester's ravens hopped and flapped inside their cages, their black feathers flying as they beat against the bars with loud and raucous caws. "The tree," one squawked, "the tree, the tree," whilst the second screamed only, "Theon, Theon, Theon."
Theon Greyjoy smiled. They know my name, he thought.

 

Sorry that took so long, but I hope you got my point of the chapter's theme: name identification and name confusion.

The biggest foreshadowing of "name confusion" theme from the TWOW sample chapter are the messenger ravens (like the one Stannis sent to Castle Black to inform them of Arya Stark's arrival) repeating Theon's name three times. Theon smiled "They know my name". 

BUT there was NO name confusion in "He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek." OR was there?  

When Jon sees the Pink Letter, he sees:
[...]
I will have my bride back. [...] 
I want my bride back. [...]
And I want my Reek. [...]

Jon never asked who Reek was. Perhaps he fell for the name confusion like Stannis did? Like Mel did?
According to their subconscious ... did Stannis, Mel and Jon assumed "Reek" was the nickname Ramsay gave to aRya "jEynE" starK?
This was what Jon was thinking immediately after reading the Pink Letter:

Jon flexed the fingers of his sword hand. The Night's Watch takes no part. He closed his fist and opened it again. What you propose is nothing less than treason. He thought of Robb, with snowflakes melting in his hair. Kill the boy and let the man be born. He thought of Bran, clambering up a tower wall, agile as a monkey. Of Rickon's breathless laughter. Of Sansa, brushing out Lady's coat and singing to herself. You know nothing, Jon Snow. He thought of Arya, her hair as tangled as a bird's nest. I made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell … I want my bride back … I want my bride back … I want my bride back …

... repeated three times

Also:

"He's to marry Arya Stark. My little sister." Jon could almost see her in that moment, long-faced and gawky, all knobby knees and sharp elbows, with her dirty face and tangled hair. They would wash the one and comb the other, he did not doubt, but he could not imagine Arya in a wedding gown, nor Ramsay Bolton's bed. No matter how afraid she is, she will not show it. If he tries to lay a hand on her, she'll fight him.
{Jon VI ADWD}

Arya ... tangled hair like a bird's nest with her dirty face ... is this Jon thinking about Arya's bad hygiene? Is Jon thinking about how Arya may stink to other people? Is Jon thinking about how Arya reeks?

 

Off topic:
Ned Stark lifts the siege at Storm's End ... how poetic would it be for Stannis Baratheon to take back Winterfell for the North?  
I feel that Stannis will win or already won the Battle of Winterfell by the time of Mel's Pink Letter prank.
Even GRRM has given Stannis some hope: https://winteriscoming.net/2015/08/26/did-george-r-r-martin-just-let-a-spoiler-slip-about-the-pink-letter/

Bit by bit, Stannis has been gaining little advantages here and there that is useful for a Trojan Horse/Ocean's Eleven maneuver.

My biggest clue: something in HBO GoT. 
I won't go into details about the show, but in ~2010, GRRM was writing ADWD and a certain episode script for GoT Season One.
The Battle of Whispering Woods, a battle that happened off screen in AGOT (1996) AND GoT (2011), was written differently by GRRM for HBO.
The only reason why I think GRRM wrote the off-screen battle differently is to foreshadow Stannis' tactics for Winterfell in ADWD/TWOW.
No spoilers ... if you don't know the difference, just re-watch and re-read.

Besides, Stannis is destined to die fighting for R'hllor, and not some battle where he has no major personal connection to.
Stannis needs a gnarly magical death too like Renly's.
I believe after Stannis takes Winterfell from the Boltons ... the Others arrive and besiege Winterfell. It will be the Siege of Storm's End all over again for Stannis. Eventually, Stannis will have a magical death by the Others, just like Renly dying magically to R'hllor.  

 

Final thoughts:

[...] and Jon could not help but wonder whether the red woman had lied of a purpose. Is she playing her own game?
{Jon X ADWD}


Hey Jon, Mel just messed with you and this may sound crazy ... but even with her Prank Letter, you should still call her & maybe ... you won't get killed!

 

Update: MEL WROTE THE PINK LETTER TO STOP JON FROM GOING TO HARDHOME - EXTENDED VERSION can be found on Post # 16 of this thread

Edited by The Map Guy
Added more examples for the Paper Curl Theory

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Posted (edited)

Oh this just hit me.

No show spoilers ........

D&D have their own vision of Hardhome, and it was already immediately different than GRRM's vision.

The Hardhome episode was in Season 5, the season that GRRM decided to bail out on D&D.

 

I would imagine the meeting for writing Season 5 scripts went like this:

D&D: George, I know Hardhome is different in your books, but this is our vision for it - [show spoilers]
GRRM: No, I have a reason for my version of Hardhome. You guys should just follow my lead.
D&D: BUT I think the audience would really like our version.
GRRM: Trust me, just don't do it. If you do it, I won't help you anymore. Let's move on, so which episode is Lady Stoneheart appearing this season?
D&D: Well ..........
GRRM: Are you f-cking kidding me? F-ck this shit. I am bailing out. You guys are on your own from now on. Good luck with the series without me. And if becomes a train wreck, you should of listened to me about Lady Stoneheart and Hardhome!

Edited by The Map Guy

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I've heard of flat black paint, and flat red, but you've invented "Flat Pink" :D

 

Seriously, good catch!

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Posted (edited)

How about this option - Jon wrote the Pink Letter ^_^

Because - why not? He's the one, who needed the most, some sort of excuse, to go to Winterfell, so he wrote that letter, and asked one of his buddies to take a raven from Castle Black, and release him some distance away, and that raven flew back to The Wall, and delivered that letter to Jon (or Jon himself took that raven somewhere away from Castle Black, and then released him, for that raven to deliver that letter to Castle Black).

Edited by Megorova

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10 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

Crazy Map Guy here. I got all jelly that many candidates for the Pink Letter's author have had their arguments presented ... but my girl Mel never got any real shout outs.
I listed parts of my Mel theory IN one of the hundred pages IN one of the hundred threads in regards to the Pink Letter ... but Mel will get the front page here. 
So enjoy!

THE SHORT STORY:

Melisandre wrote the Pink Letter to stop Jon from going to Hardhome because she believed it was a lost cause & Jon will die there.
If Jon never returned from Hardhome, Mel would not know what to do about her R'hllor visions of Jon.
Even though Mel's prank succeeded in stopping Jon from going to Hardhome, she also expected Jon to come speak to her after he received the letter.
But then Jon does something stupid and gets himself killed.


First, Jon should have gone to Melisandre and talk to her about this letter.
The second important thing Jon should of done after receiving news that Arya is no longer with the Boltons is to FIND ARYA! ... NOT go pick a fight with the Boltons.
Jon Snow truly knew nothing.

Essentially Mel's Prank is one of those pranks you pull on a friend, but then they do something unexpectedly stupid & almost get themselves killed. I'm sure we have all been there before in our real lives. :P
Hopefully no one died like Jon did in the books.

So in summary, everything in the Pink Letter is FALSE. Mel being the author has a simple motive and we only need TWO assumptions:

  • Stannis at Crofter's Village sending a raven to update Melisandre at Castle Black about the arrival of Arya Stark (reasonable assumption)
  • Stannis, Mel and Jon have mistaken the name "Reek" as Arya's nickname (case explained further below)

In TWOW, I predict that we will get the only POV available at the Wall: Melisandre ... where she panics and we hear her confess to the prank in her thoughts. She'll probably sacrifice Monster (Craster/Gilly's son) to revive Jon Snow through R'hllor.
In ADOS, I believe Jon's baby swap, Mel's prank & Jon's first resurrection would accidentally prevent the world from annihilation. But that theory is for another time ... just note that Jon has love/hate relationships with redheaded women kissed by fire.

 

THE LONG STORY:

Jon talks to Selyse about going to Hardhome. Selyse approves the ranging thinking Jon will die and the Nights Watch will get another commander.

 Jon: "I will not ask my men to do what I would not do myself. I mean to lead the ranging [to Hardhome]."
"How bold of you," said the queen. "We approve. Afterward some bard will make a stirring song about you, no doubt, and we shall have a more prudent lord commander."

{Jon XIII ADWD}

 

After Jon leaves the room, Mel tries to convince Jon to not go.

 "Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let them die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—"
"Six remain. More than half the fleet."
"Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires."
"Your fires have been known to lie."
"I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—"
"A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?"
"All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope."
"A fool's hope." Jon turned and left her.

{Jon XIII ADWD}

So Mel writes a fake letter to Jon, answering Jon's questions of "Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?" and uses f-Ramsay to provoke Jon to face South, instead of facing North to Hardhome & his fruitless death.

 

Aside from trying to save Jon from Hardhome, Mel HATES the fact that she has to chase Jon ... like teenagers playing their foolish lovers' games and hoping their crush would text them first.

 Mel's thoughts:
It was Jon Snow she needed, not fried bread and bacon, but it was no use sending Devan to the lord commander. He would not come to her summons. Snow still chose to dwell behind the armory, in a pair of modest rooms previously occupied by the Watch's late blacksmith. Perhaps he did not think himself worthy of the King's Tower, or perhaps he did not care. That was his mistake, the false humility of youth that is itself a sort of pride. It was never wise for a ruler to eschew the trappings of power, for power itself flows in no small measure from such trappings.
The boy was not entirely naive, however. He knew better than to come to Melisandre's chambers like a supplicant, insisting she come to him instead should she have need of words with him. And oft as not, when she did come, he would keep her waiting or refuse to see her. That much, at least, was shrewd. 

{Melisandre I ADWD}

 

Mel's second reason to write the Pink Letter is to make Jon come to her. Before the Pink Letter, she got excited when Jon engages the conversation first ... like your boy/girl crush texting you first.

Jon: Only then did [Jon] seem to notice Melisandre. "My lady. Walk with me, if you would."
Mel: AT LAST. "If it please the lord commander."

{Melisandre I ADWD}


Let's review the Pink Letter for the 9,999th time in {Jon XIII ADWD}:

"Tell his red whore" is Mel trying to hide herself as the writer, but also trying to get Jon to come to see her again.

The Paper Curl Theory:
You guys ready for something ground-breaking that was never mentioned for 8 years since 2011 ADWD? 
One of our biggest clues of foreshadowing that GRRM wrote and that we over-looked are the paragraphs just before the letter, and just after the letter.
Just before:
Bastard, was the only word written outside the scroll. No Lord Snow or Jon Snow or Lord Commander. Simply Bastard. And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax. "You were right to come at once," Jon said. You were right to be afraid. He cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read.
Just after:
"SNOW?" said Tormund Giantsbane. "You look like your father's bloody head just rolled out o' that paper."

Unrolling a recently dry parchment ... can still remain flat
Unrolling an aged moist parchment ... would keep curling, after it dries up

Jon flattens the Pink Letter, but the Pink Letter NEVER curled back. This parchment allegedly came from a raven in a SNOW storm. The parchment would be wet. Even if it dried up over time, it will maintain its curl.
This means the Pink Letter was written LOCALLY at Castle Black, away from moisture.

"When he was done, Tormund whistled. "Har. That's buggered, and no mistake. What was that about Mance? Has him in a cage, does he? How, when hundreds saw your red witch burn the man?"
That was Rattleshirt, Jon almost said. That was sorcery. A glamor, she called it. "Melisandre … look to the skies, she said." He set the letter down. "A raven in a storm. She saw this coming." When you have your answers, send to me."

"He sat the letter down" BUT Jon doesn't notice that the parchment does not curl up.

A few paragraphs before the Pink Letter, GRRM wrote this:

"He has a little red cock to go with all that red hair, that's what he has. Raymund Redbeard and his sons died at Long Lake, thanks to your bloody Starks and the Drunken Giant. Not the little brother. Ever wonder why they called him the Red Raven?" Tormund's mouth split in a gap-toothed grin. "First to fly the battle, he was. 'Twas a song about it, after. The singer had to find a rhyme for craven, so …" He wiped his nose. "If your queen's knights want those girls o' his, they're welcome to them."

"A raven in the storm. She saw this coming"
But GRRM gave us this formula raven<=>craven
"A [craven] in the storm. [Mel] saw this coming"  
Mel was too craven or too cowardly to come to Jon with her true intentions.

Also:
When you have your answers, send to me
Jon is thinking about Mel telling him to come to her when he gets his answer. Jon knows he should go Selyse first and then Mel ... but he made a public announcement & was assassinated before he had a chance to see Mel.

"I will send for ale," Jon said, distracted. Melisandre was gone, he realized, and so were the queen's knights. I should have gone to Selyse first. She has the right to know her lord is dead. "You must excuse me. I'll leave you to get them drunk."
[...]
Horse and Rory fell in beside Jon as he left the Shieldhall. I should talk with Melisandre after I see the queen, he thought. If she could see a raven in a storm, she can find Ramsay Snow for me. Then he heard the shouting … and a roar so loud it seemed to shake the Wall. "That come from Hardin's Tower, m'lord," Horse reported. He might have said more, but the scream cut him off. [... Jon's assassination]

 

Anyways back to the curious cases of curling parchments ... a list of examples of GRRM talking about flat paper and rolled paper:

{Jon III ADWD}
Jon has Aemon's letter to King Tommen. Because it was freshly written for Jon to sign, this letter never curled up.

 

{Jon IV ADWD}

Where to begin? Jon moved to the map. Candles had been placed at its corners to keep the hide from rolling up.

 

{Jon VI ADWD}

Clydas thrust the parchment forward. It was tightly rolled and sealed, with a button of hard pink wax. Only the Dreadfort uses pink sealing wax. Jon ripped off his gauntlet, took the letter, cracked the seal. When he saw the signature, he forgot the battering Rattleshirt had given him.
Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, it read, in a huge, spiky hand. The brown ink came away in flakes when Jon brushed it with his thumb. Beneath Bolton's signature, Lord Dustin, Lady Cerwyn, and four Ryswells had appended their own marks and seals. A cruder hand had drawn the giant of House Umber. "Might we know what it says, my lord?" asked Iron Emmett.
Jon saw no reason not to tell him. "Moat Cailin is taken. The flayed corpses of the ironmen have been nailed to posts along the kingsroad. Roose Bolton summons all leal lords to Barrowton, to affirm their loyalty to the Iron Throne and celebrate his son's wedding to …" His heart seemed to stop for a moment. No, that is not possible. She died in King's Landing, with Father.

A lot of clues here suggest that Ramsay is not the author of the Pink Letter. But I won't discuss it here in the OP. All I want to know is if the letter about f-Arya curls up or not.

[...] That did not make them easier to say. His fingers closed around the parchment. Would that they could crush Ramsay Bolton's throat as easily

Damn you GRRM, I just can't say now.

 

{Jon VII ADWD}

Clydas had come and gone, Jon noted as he was hanging his cloak on the peg beside the door. A letter had been left on the table in his solar. Eastwatch or the Shadow Tower, he assumed at first glance. But the wax was gold, not black. The seal showed a stag's head within a flaming heart. Stannis. Jon cracked the hardened wax, flattened the roll of parchment, read. A maester's hand, but the king's words.

Ok GRRM, show us the paper roll clue ...

[letter content]
The moment Jon set the letter aside, the parchment curled up again, as if eager to protect its secrets. He was not at all sure how he felt about what he had just read. Battles had been fought at Winterfell before, but never one without a Stark on one side or the other. "The castle is a shell," he said, "not Winterfell, but the ghost of Winterfell." It was painful just to think of it, much less say the words aloud. And still …

AT LAST!!! Paper Curl Theory working as attended, AND protecting secrets! Let's keep rolling!
 

{Jon X ADWD}

Jon was washing the roast down with a sip of mulled wine when Clydas appeared at his elbow. "A bird," he announced, and slipped a parchment into Jon's hand. The note was sealed with a dot of hard black wax. Eastwatch, Jon knew, even before he broke the seal. The letter had been written by Maester Harmune; Cotter Pyke could neither read nor write. But the words were Pyke's, set down as he had spoken them, blunt and to the point.
Calm seas today. Eleven ships set sail for Hardhome on the morning tide. Three Braavosi, four Lyseni, four of ours. Two of the Lyseni barely seaworthy. We may drown more wildlings than we save. Your command. Twenty ravens aboard, and Maester Harmune. Will send reports. I command from Talon, Tattersalt second on Blackbird, Ser Glendon holds Eastwatch.

GRRM was trying to be tricky. He never explicit mentioned the ACTIONS of how Jon cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read ... Jon knew, even before he broke the seal.

[Jon] rolled the parchment up and slipped it into his belt.

GRRM being sneaky about the parchment and if it naturally curled or not. At least GRRM acknowledged the rolling, even though we are not given a conclusion.

 

{Jon XII ADWD}

Clydas entered pink and blinking, the parchment clutched in one soft hand. "Beg pardon, Lord Commander. I know you must be weary, but I thought you would want to see this at once."
"You did well." Jon read: [Contents of the letter from Cotter Pyke]

No mentions of the actions again. Jon just opened it without thinking.

"Is it grievous, my lord?" asked Clydas.
"Grievous enough." Dead things in the wood. Dead things in the water. Six ships left, of the eleven that set sail. Jon Snow rolled up the parchment, frowning. Night falls, he thought, and now my war begins.

Again, GRRM made Jon roll up the parchment. Can't tell if it was natural or not, but it does get a shout out again.


Other mentions of rolling paper:


{Jaime I ADWD}

"If I gave you sufficient men, they would be doing the subduing, not you. In which case I should reward myself." Jaime let the map roll up again. "I'll keep this if I might."

 

{Daenerys VII ADWD}

Stone-faced, the stocky lad bent, unlaced his boot, and drew a yellowed parchment from a hidden flap within.
"This is your gift? A scrap of writing?" Daario snatched the parchment out of the Dornishman's hands and unrolled it, squinting at the seals and signatures. "Very pretty, all the gold and ribbons, but I do not read your Westerosi scratchings."
"Bring it to the queen," Ser Barristan commanded. "Now."
Dany could feel the anger in the hall. "I am only a young girl, and young girls must have their gifts," she said lightly. "Daario, please, you must not tease me. Give it here."
The parchment was written in the Common Tongue. The queen unrolled it slowly, studying the seals and signatures. When she saw the name Ser Willem Darry, her heart beat a little faster. She read it over once, and then again.
[...]
"And bought you too, I do not doubt." He did not trouble to deny it. Dany unrolled the parchment and examined it again. Braavos. This was done in Braavos, while we were living in the house with the red door. Why did that make her feel so strange?

 

{Theon I ADWD}

"I see you all want blood," the Lord of the Dreadfort said. Maester Rhodry stood beside him, a raven on his arm. The bird's black plumage shone like coal oil in the torchlight. Wet, Theon realized. And in his lordship's hand, a parchment. That will be wet as well. Dark wings, dark words. "Rather than use our swords upon each other, you might try them on Lord Stannis." Lord Bolton unrolled the parchment.

Wet parchment, but it was already opened earlier by Roose, since he already knew what he wanted to say: "I see you all want blood [...] Rather than use our swords upon each other, you might try them on Lord Stannis.". To re-read it, Roose had to unroll it.


I don't know about you guys, but the many curious cases of curled parchments seems important to GRRM to overlook.

 


Now back the Pink Letter:


Smoke screens:

While the boy was gone, Melisandre washed herself and changed her robes. Her sleeves were full of hidden pockets, and she checked them carefully as she did every morning to make certain all her powders were in place. Powders to turn fire green or blue or silver, powders to make a flame roar and hiss and leap up higher than a man is tall, powders to make smoke. A smoke for truth, a smoke for lust, a smoke for fear, and the thick black smoke that could kill a man outright. The red priestess armed herself with a pinch of each of them.
The carved chest that she had brought across the narrow sea was more than three-quarters empty now. And while Melisandre had the knowledge to make more powders, she lacked many rare ingredients. My spells should suffice. She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them. With such sorceries at her command, she should soon have no more need of the feeble tricks of alchemists and pyromancers.
 (Melisandre I ADWD}

Her every word and gesture was more potent
Mel's words are her tricks

A smoke for truth: Mel already knew about the secret mission of Mance & the six spear wife
Your false king lied, and so did you. You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.
The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.

A smoke for lust: Mel knows Jon has a thing for Val
I want his wildling princess.
Also, Mel's people refer Val as a wildling princess.

A smoke for fear: Mel knows Jon fears getting the NW openly involved with Westerosi affairs
Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows.

A thick black smoke that could kill a man outright: a death threat
Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.   

Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell  
Boltons flay and spike bodies. The author of the Pink Letter shouldn't be a Bolton.

Jon saw no reason not to tell him. "Moat Cailin is taken. The flayed corpses of the ironmen have been nailed to posts along the kingsroad. {Jon VI ADWD}

 

If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies.
Mance would rather die than be caught again. Even if Mance is caught, he would never give up that information because Jon holds his son hostage (technically)

"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." (Mance is also in the room) {Melisandre I ADWD}

 

The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.  
Where are the skins that would have been included with this letter? Where is the blood ink?
Like Tormund says:

"Might be all a skin o' lies." Tormund scratched under his beard. "If I had me a nice goose quill and a pot o' maester's ink, I could write down that me member was long and thick as me arm, wouldn't make it so." {Jon XIII ADWD}

 

And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax
Pink wax = wax with little drops of blood

[...] the Boltons of the Dreadfort went into battle beneath pink banners spattered with little drops of blood. It only stood to reason that they would use pink sealing wax as well. {Wayward Bride ADWD}

It was never truly dark in Melisandre's chambers.
Three tallow candles burned upon her windowsill to keep the terrors of the night at bay. Four more flickered beside her bed, two to either side. In the hearth a fire was kept burning day and night. The first lesson those who would serve her had to learn was that the fire must never, ever be allowed to go out.
{Melisandre I ADWD}

Mel has seven candles and a fireplace that burnt day & night.
Tallow candles wax mixed with drops of blood can make pink wax.
In the English dictionary, if we use the word "tallow" as a VERB, it means "to smear"


And I want my Reek.
My two assumptions on this Mel theory:

  1. Stannis sent a raven to Selyse/Mel updating them that they retrieved Arya Stark and she is on the way to Castle Black (reasonable assumption)
  2. Name confusion of Reek

At this point, I don't know if Stannis won the Battle of Winterfell or not ... but it doesn't matter for the Pink Letter. I personally think Stannis won or will win the Battle of Winterfell, and it won't take seven days.

How does Stannis know Reek = Theon? He doesn't.

TWOW Sample Spoilers:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

"The north remembers. The Red Wedding, Lady Hornwood's fingers, the sack of Winterfell, Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square, they remember all of it." Bran and Rickon. They were only miller's boys. "Frey and Manderly will never combine their strengths. They will come for you, but separately. Lord Ramsay will not be far behind them. He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek." Theon's laugh was half a titter, half a whimper. "Lord Ramsay is the one Your Grace should fear."
{Theon TWOW}

Just like Jon reading the Pink Letter, Stannis NEVER asked who Reek is and assumed "Reek" = "bride" because of the way it was said. GRRM is tricking us. "Theon's laugh was half a titter, half a whimper." This is GRRM laughing at us with this trick.

 

A basic THEME for the sample chapter is name identification and confusion. If you don't believe me, re-read Theon TWOW.

TWOW Sample Spoilers, a list of examples:

  Reveal hidden contents

The name of the game is "Names" ... identification or confusion of identity

"Pardon, but your ink has frozen." The Braavosi, Theon knew. What was his name? Tycho... Tycho something... "Perhaps a bit of heat... ?

------

And Lord Arnolf sends word that he would be most pleased to break his fast with you."
"The son as well?"
"And the grandsons. Lord Wull seeks audience as well. He wants — " 

------

Stannis looked up. "The turncloak stirs."
"Theon. My name is Theon." He had to remember his name.
"I know your name. I know what you did."  

------

The girl had taken the worst of it. Jeyne, her name is Jeyne, but she will never tell them. 
[...]
And Jeyne had nodded. "Arya. My name is Arya."  

------

Crowfood. Theon remembered. An old man, huge and powerful, with a ruddy face and a shaggy white beard. He had been seated on a garron, clad in the pelt of a gigantic snow bear, its head his hood. Under it he wore a stained white leather eye patch that reminded Theon of his uncle Euron. He'd wanted to rip it off Umber's face, to make certain that underneath was only an empty socket, not a black eye shining with malice.  

------

What was his name, that cook?"
"Gage," Jeyne said at once.

------

What was his name?"
Jeyne had hesitated. Mikken, Theon thought. His name was Mikken. The castle blacksmith had never made any lemoncakes for Sansa, which made him far less important than the castle cook in the sweet little world she had shared with her friend Jeyne Poole. Remember, damn you. Your father was the steward, he had charge of the whole household. The smith's name was Mikken, Mikken, Mikken. I had him put to death before me!
"Mikken," Jeyne said. 

-------

"Who is coming? Bolton?"
"Lord Ramsay," Theon hissed. "The son, not the father. You must not let him take him. Roose... Roose is safe within the walls of Winterfell with his fat new wife. Ramsay is coming."

-------

"Ramsay Snow, you mean. The Bastard."
"Never call him that!" Spittle sprayed from Theon's lips. "Ramsay Bolton, not Ramsay Snow, never Snow, never, you have to remember his name, or he will hurt you."  
"He is welcome to try. Whatever name he goes by."  

------

"The north remembers. The Red Wedding, Lady Hornwood's fingers, the sack of Winterfell, Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square, they remember all of it." Bran and Rickon. They were only miller's boys.  

------

Lord Arnolf's cloak was fine grey wool, bordered in black sable and clasped with a silver starburst. A rich garment, Theon thought, on a poor excuse for a man. He had seen that cloak before, he knew, just as he had seen the man who wore it. At the Dreadfort. I remember. He sat and supped with Lord Ramsay and Whoresbane Umber, the night they brought Reek up from his cell. 

------

"Your Grace." Arnolf Karstark bowed his head. "An honor." He looked for a seat. Instead his eyes found Theon. "And who is this?" Recognition came a heartbeat later. Lord Arnolf paled.
His stupid son remained oblivious. "There are no chairs," the oaf observed. One of the ravens screamed inside its cage. 

------ 

"That is how I deal with betrayal, turncloak," Stannis informed Theon.
"My name is Theon."
"As you will. Tell me, Theon
, how many men did Mors Umber have with him at Winterfell?"  

------

He never wanted to do any harm to Bran or Rickon. Reek made him kill those boys, not him Reek but the other one. 

-------

"The heart tree knew my name. The old gods. Theon, I heard them whisper. There was no wind but the leaves were moving. Theon, they said. My name is Theon." It was good to say the name. The more he said it, the less like he was to forget. "You have to know your name," he'd told his sister.  

------

"You... you told me you were Esgred, but that was a lie. Your name is Asha." 

------

And suddenly there came a wild thumping, as the maester's ravens hopped and flapped inside their cages, their black feathers flying as they beat against the bars with loud and raucous caws. "The tree," one squawked, "the tree, the tree," whilst the second screamed only, "Theon, Theon, Theon."
Theon Greyjoy smiled. They know my name, he thought.

 

Sorry that took so long, but I hope you got my point of the chapter's theme: name identification and name confusion.

The biggest foreshadowing of "name confusion" theme from the TWOW sample chapter are the messenger ravens (like the one Stannis sent to Castle Black to inform them of Arya Stark's arrival) repeating Theon's name three times. Theon smiled "They know my name". 

BUT there was NO name confusion in "He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek." OR was there?  

 When Jon sees the Pink Letter, he sees:
[...]
I will have my bride back. [...] 
I want my bride back. [...]
And I want my Reek. [...]

Jon never asked who Reek was. Perhaps he fell for the name confusion like Stannis did? Like Mel did?
According to their subconscious ... did Stannis, Mel and Jon assumed "Reek" was the nickname Ramsay gave to aRya "jEynE" starK?
This was what Jon was thinking immediately after reading the Pink Letter:

Jon flexed the fingers of his sword hand. The Night's Watch takes no part. He closed his fist and opened it again. What you propose is nothing less than treason. He thought of Robb, with snowflakes melting in his hair. Kill the boy and let the man be born. He thought of Bran, clambering up a tower wall, agile as a monkey. Of Rickon's breathless laughter. Of Sansa, brushing out Lady's coat and singing to herself. You know nothing, Jon Snow. He thought of Arya, her hair as tangled as a bird's nest. I made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell … I want my bride back … I want my bride back … I want my bride back …

... repeated three times

Also:

"He's to marry Arya Stark. My little sister." Jon could almost see her in that moment, long-faced and gawky, all knobby knees and sharp elbows, with her dirty face and tangled hair. They would wash the one and comb the other, he did not doubt, but he could not imagine Arya in a wedding gown, nor Ramsay Bolton's bed. No matter how afraid she is, she will not show it. If he tries to lay a hand on her, she'll fight him.
{Jon VI ADWD}

Arya ... tangled hair like a bird's nest with her dirty face ... is this Jon thinking about Arya's bad hygiene? Is Jon thinking about how Arya may stink to other people? Is Jon thinking about how Arya reeks?

 

Off topic:
Ned Stark lifts the siege at Storm's End ... how poetic would it be for Stannis Baratheon to take back Winterfell for the North?  
I feel that Stannis will win or already won the Battle of Winterfell by the time of Mel's Pink Letter prank.
 Even GRRM has given Stannis some hope: https://winteriscoming.net/2015/08/26/did-george-r-r-martin-just-let-a-spoiler-slip-about-the-pink-letter/

Bit by bit, Stannis has been gaining little advantages here and there that is useful for a Trojan Horse/Ocean's Eleven maneuver.

My biggest clue: something in HBO GoT. 
I won't go into details about the show, but in ~2010, GRRM was writing ADWD and a certain episode script for GoT Season One.
The Battle of Whispering Woods, a battle that happened off screen in AGOT (1996) AND GoT (2011), was written differently by GRRM for HBO.
The only reason why I think GRRM wrote the off-screen battle differently is to foreshadow Stannis' tactics for Winterfell in ADWD/TWOW.
No spoilers ... if you don't know the difference, just re-watch and re-read.

Besides, Stannis is destined to die fighting for R'hllor, and not some battle where he has no major personal connection to.
Stannis needs a gnarly magical death too like Renly's.
I believe after Stannis takes Winterfell from the Boltons ... the Others arrive and besiege Winterfell. It will be the Siege of Storm's End all over again for Stannis. Eventually, Stannis will have a magical death by the Others, just like Renly dying magically to R'hllor.  

 

Final thoughts:

[...] and Jon could not help but wonder whether the red woman had lied of a purpose. Is she playing her own game?
{Jon X ADWD}


Hey Jon, Mel just messed with you and this may sound crazy ... but even with her Prank Letter, you should still call her & maybe ... you won't get killed!

stannis had a vision of himself wearing a crown and burning with it ( maybe dany kills him)

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I really appreciate the effort that went into this theory and it is well written too. The use of textual clues, no matter whether I agree with the conclusion reached because of it, is also good.

I do have a question: If Mel does not want Jon to go to Hardhome, why does she not just manipulate him through fake visions, something she is used to doing. She could just say: I saw you and your Crows dying at Hardhome. I saw you marching on CB as a wight. That way she doesn’t have to fake the PL, the outcome is more certain and the goal is reached?

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Posted (edited)

This is really good stuff. I love the evidence you cite and some of your insights seem spot on.

16 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

I got all jelly that many candidates for the Pink Letter's author have had their arguments presented ... but my girl Mel never got any real shout outs.

Those other threads were pretty lengthy, so you may have forgotten that I was already on Team Mel when you joined the topic:

Some follow-up posts in the same thread here, here and here.

Instead of your Hardhome / flirtation theory, I was thinking Melisandre's authorship of the pink letter was motivated by her longstanding interest in king's blood:

On 3/11/2019 at 6:17 PM, Seams said:

tl;dr: There are key parallels between the Robb Stark "King in the North" scene at Riverrun, the crowning and death of King Renly, and the pink letter chapter featuring Jon Snow. Each of the young men is made "king", and each ends up being killed as a direct response to his crowning. Because Melisandre believes in the power of king's blood to spark magic, and because of her role in Renly's death, I believe she engineered a "crowning" for Jon Snow so she could shed his blood to strengthen the Wall as a shield against the coming invasion.

Of course, ASOIAF is engaging in so many ways, and the fact that two interpretations can be true at the same time is one way that GRRM keeps us fascinated and coming back for additional re-reads.

Things I love about your approach to the Melisandre theory:

16 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

Stannis, Mel and Jon have mistaken the name "Reek" as Arya's nickname

"Reek" as a (mistaken) nickname for Arya is brilliant. She takes on many nicknames in the series, most of which are references to other characters or legendary figures. As Jon's arc has been building up to the pink letter and his death, Arya has been using "no one" as her base identity (with other personalities temporarily overlaid onto no one). Each Reek we have seen is very much a "no one" -- that's how Ramsay is able to escape the wrath of Rodrik Cassel during Theon's occupation of Winterfell, and why Theon-as-Reek is allowed to walk free outside of the Dread Fort dungeons.

I believe that Theon is the personification of the sword Ice. Jeyne Poole may be the personification of the sacred pool in the gods wood at Winterfell. (Or, possibly, a "lady of the lake" character that inhabits that pool.) We know that these two people (Theon/Ice and Jeyne/Pool) belong together because there is an important early scene where Ned Stark cleans blood off the sword Ice in that pool. It's a purification ritual. Of course, real Arya is living in the House of Black and White with a pool people seek out when they want to die. So the confusion of the two (or three) characters by using one name helps to explain something in the letter but also makes literary sense, uniting related characters under one title.

Not to get too far off on a tangent, but this could also help to loop the Maidenpool / Ser Galladon of Morne / Florian & Jonquil stories into this important turning point in ASOIAF. If the Theon = Ice theory is correct, the escape of Theon and Jeyne means that Ramsay loses both the "sword" and the "maiden." Losing magic elements is not good if you're trying to be a big shot hero.

I also love this:

16 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

Smoke screens:

While the boy was gone, Melisandre washed herself and changed her robes. Her sleeves were full of hidden pockets, and she checked them carefully as she did every morning to make certain all her powders were in place. Powders to turn fire green or blue or silver, powders to make a flame roar and hiss and leap up higher than a man is tall, powders to make smoke. A smoke for truth, a smoke for lust, a smoke for fear, and the thick black smoke that could kill a man outright. The red priestess armed herself with a pinch of each of them.
The carved chest that she had brought across the narrow sea was more than three-quarters empty now. And while Melisandre had the knowledge to make more powders, she lacked many rare ingredients. My spells should suffice. She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them. With such sorceries at her command, she should soon have no more need of the feeble tricks of alchemists and pyromancers.
 (Melisandre I ADWD}

Her every word and gesture was more potent
Mel's words are her tricks

These various "smokes" of Mel's are really significant, and I've never seen anyone introduce them into the forum. Very nice catch. (The four types of smoke could probably also be compared to the three fires, three mounts, three treasons in Dany's arc.)

It's interesting that she arms herself with "pinches." Another character known for pinching is the stinky Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield in The Sworn Sword. I suspect that the two targets of pinching by Ser Bennis are both princes (Dunk and Egg), so there may be prince / pincer wordplay at work there. Pinching is also probably linked to the crab claws Tyrion eats with the Night's Watch officers and with the lobstered gauntlet from which Pate the novice steals the key. We have notable bathing scenes with both Jeyne Poole and Melisandre, but Ser Bennis is almost certainly related to the Reek / odor motif. Maybe Melisandre's magic smoke pinches will somehow lead us to a better understanding of the Reek references in the pink letter and/or in the connection between Theon and Jeyne / Arya.

Melisandre makes shadows and, as you point out, uses smoke as a weapon to manipulate and kill people. She claims that dark and terror are the enemies to be defeated by R'hllor, but doesn't see a contradiction in her own use of smoke and shadows to advance her R'hllorist agenda.

Your very thorough examination of parchment is also new to me and very insightful, but I would interpret the details differently.

16 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

The Paper Curl Theory

The two things that are carried in belts in ASOIAF are daggers and letters. (Discovered when I was noodling around on the "A Search of Ice and Fire" website some time ago.) When a letter rolls into a scroll, I think it is a symbolic dagger that can be tucked into a belt. This goes back to the words / sword wordplay that has been explored in various ways in the forum.

In other words, I think the pink letter itself is a symbolic dagger and Jon Snow is handling a sharp blade when he reads it, foreshadowing the sacrifice of the king I mentioned in posts on the other thread. Melisandre wants king's blood, and she can get it with a word dagger more easily than Ramsay can get it with a flaying knife.

You cite this example from a Dany POV (Daenerys VII ADWD) :

16 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

Stone-faced, the stocky lad bent, unlaced his boot, and drew a yellowed parchment from a hidden flap within.
"This is your gift? A scrap of writing?" Daario snatched the parchment out of the Dornishman's hands and unrolled it, squinting at the seals and signatures. "Very pretty, all the gold and ribbons, but I do not read your Westerosi scratchings."
"Bring it to the queen," Ser Barristan commanded. "Now."
Dany could feel the anger in the hall. "I am only a young girl, and young girls must have their gifts," she said lightly. "Daario, please, you must not tease me. Give it here."
The parchment was written in the Common Tongue. The queen unrolled it slowly, studying the seals and signatures. When she saw the name Ser Willem Darry, her heart beat a little faster. She read it over once, and then again.
[...]
"And bought you too, I do not doubt." He did not trouble to deny it. Dany unrolled the parchment and examined it again. Braavos. This was done in Braavos, while we were living in the house with the red door. Why did that make her feel so strange?

In this case, the letter comes from Quentyn's boot, not his belt. We know that Tyrion keeps poison mushrooms hidden in his boot. Instead of a dagger, this letter may be poison. Dany's response may confirm this: "Gift" is the German word for poison. Dany feels strange after reading it, which is probably an allusion to The Stranger.

So letters can be daggers or poisons, it seems.

I also think the parchment that rolls itself up may be hiding a secret; there are layers of meaning that the reader has not recognized if he/she read only the surface message and then allows the parchment or map to roll up. In the case of the pink letter, I think there may be hidden messages that GRRM intended only for truly geeky literary analysts. For instance:

Tell his red whore = R'hllor white seed.

(Remember how the Night King gave his soul when he gave his seed to his icy queen? And remember how the seed is strong? This kind of thing further ties Jon's arc into the Westeros myths and legends and important symbols.)

Word clues are not limited to the pink letter. In this dream-like sequence where Jon is walking (Wall king) around Castle Black, he sees allegorical people and situations that mark this as an important turning point in the series. Another exchange with Melisandre:

Look to the skies, Lord Snow = Others woke (dots) kill soon

(If this is correct, I suspect the dots in the anagram represent an ellipsis. The more grammatically correct solution would be "Others woke ... kill soon." Could this mean that Jon must be killed soon - the sacrificial Winter King - because the Others have awoken? It also occurs to me that "Tod" is the German word for death. Or the words could be rearranged to make a prediction that Jon will be both killed and reawoken.)

Of course, there are many other potential solutions (Noose word? Thistle? Stokeworth?) and some key phrases reappear with minor variations in wording. You can take or leave these anagrams (and I know many readers prefer to leave them).

But your close examination of the parchment clues also brought up a thought I hadn't considered: parchment is made out of sheep skin. Jon Snow wore sheep skin when he was with the wildlings. I think sheep represent sacrificial animals in ASOIAF - the Dothraki victimize the lamb men, Drogon and other dragons eat sheep, Craster has a ram's skull as well as a bear skull on his gate. I think the ram and bear skulls foreshadow that Craster and Jeor Mormont will be killed together at Craster's compound. Jon notices that Craster has no sheep although he does have a sheep pen at his compound. Presumably, the sheep have been sacrificed to the wights just as his sons are sacrificed. Cotter Pyke's letter and Melisandre's confirmation based on things she sees in the fire indicate that the wildlings and Night's Watch ships at Hardhome will all be lost. Maybe these are sacrificed sheep, destined to become wights?

Given the recurring flaying, glamoring, skin-changing and warging plots, the sheep skin of the parchment probably has a deeper significance. We know that Melisandre has the powers to make a person appear to be someone he is not. I see different motives than your prank theory, but agree with you that she has glamored - or forged - this letter to make it appear to be written by Ramsay. The letter may be a wolf in sheep's skin clothing.

Edited by Seams

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Melisandre wants - indeed, needs - Jon to trust her.   Sending this letter, and then telling him it is a fake, is not the way to do that.   Better to simply tell him that he is going to get himself killed if he goes to Hardhome.   Presumably, that is what she would tell him once he shows up to tell her about the letter.  No need to go through all the rigamarole of a fake letter, with the attendant risk of a loss of trust.  Just go to him at tell him.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/20/2019 at 8:34 AM, Megorova said:

How about this option - Jon wrote the Pink Letter ^_^

Because - why not? He's the one, who needed the most, some sort of excuse, to go to Winterfell, so he wrote that letter, and asked one of his buddies to take a raven from Castle Black, and release him some distance away, and that raven flew back to The Wall, and delivered that letter to Jon (or Jon himself took that raven somewhere away from Castle Black, and then released him, for that raven to deliver that letter to Castle Black).

Oh I get it ... Jon never thought about it in his POV thoughts because Jon has a split personality disorder.

When he is awake, he is Jon Snow ... but when he sleeps, he doesn't actually sleep, but turns into his mirrored twin Jonny Blaze ... who sneaks out of Castle Black with other potential turncoats every night to start a fight club to relieve themselves of the everyday duties of the Night's Watch. 

Posing as Ramsay Bolton, Jonny Blaze writes the Pink Letter to Jon Snow to provoke himself to betray his NW vows publicly and reclaim Winterfell: his actual true subconscious desires.

Jonny Blaze/Jon Snow and his fight club would then wreak havoc on the Boltons in the North through anarchy and terrorism.
Ghost plays along with the split personality too and becomes Rider ... a demon direwolf from hell that can breathe fire.

... almost sounds like something GRRM would write.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 10:14 AM, silverwolf22 said:

stannis had a vision of himself wearing a crown and burning with it ( maybe dany kills him)

Well it could of been any king with their heads or skulls catching fire ... maybe Viserys from the past or Tommen in the future.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 1:01 PM, Davjos said:

I do have a question: If Mel does not want Jon to go to Hardhome, why does she not just manipulate him through fake visions, something she is used to doing. She could just say: I saw you and your Crows dying at Hardhome. I saw you marching on CB as a wight. That way she doesn’t have to fake the PL, the outcome is more certain and the goal is reached?

 

18 hours ago, Nevets said:

Better to simply tell him that he is going to get himself killed if he goes to Hardhome.

In case you guys missed it in the OP:

After Jon leaves [Selyse's] room, Mel tries to convince Jon to not go [to Hardhome].

Mel: "Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let [the NW/wildlings at Hardhome] die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—"
Jon: "Six remain. More than half the fleet."
Mel: "Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires."
Jon: "Your fires have been known to lie."
Mel: "I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—"
Jon: "A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?"
Mel: "All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope."
Jon: "A fool's hope." Jon turned and left her.
{Jon XIII ADWD}

"A fool's hope." Jon turned and LEFT HER. Mel gets burned by Jon.

 

21 hours ago, Seams said:

Those other threads were pretty lengthy, so you may have forgotten that I was already on Team Mel when you joined the topic:

I didn't forget ... the underdog Team Mel all the way!!!!

21 hours ago, Seams said:

Instead of your Hardhome / flirtation theory, I was thinking Melisandre's authorship of the pink letter was motivated by her longstanding interest in king's blood

Team Mel is still Team Mel. By the time TWOW comes around, we will find out if its Team Ramsay, Team Stannis, Team Mance, Team Mel or Team Someone Else. Only one team can be the winner and the rest are losers ... but me & you are on the same boat. :cheers:

21 hours ago, Seams said:

"Gift" is the German word for poison.

I didn't know that, that's cool. I should really be careful if someone gives me a BMW or a Porsche as a gift in the future.

21 hours ago, Seams said:

The two things that are carried in belts in ASOIAF are daggers and letters. (Discovered when I was noodling around on the "A Search of Ice and Fire" website some time ago.) When a letter rolls into a scroll, I think it is a symbolic dagger that can be tucked into a belt. This goes back to the words / sword wordplay that has been explored in various ways in the forum.

In other words, I think the pink letter itself is a symbolic dagger and Jon Snow is handling a sharp blade when he reads it, foreshadowing the sacrifice of the king I mentioned in posts on the other thread. Melisandre wants king's blood, and she can get it with a word dagger more easily than Ramsay can get it with a flaying knife.

Nice catch on the daggers. Paper shields, paper daggers!

And daggers are made for thrusting, not slashing:

He reached up one sleeve, brought out a parchment, and thrust it at Jaime's face. {Jaime V AFFC}
He thrust the parchment at her as if he could not wait to be rid of it. It was tightly rolled and sealed with a button of hard pink wax. {Wayward Bride ADWD}
Clydas thrust the parchment forward. It was tightly rolled and sealed, with a button of hard pink wax. {Jon VI ADWD}

Edited by The Map Guy

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Posted (edited)

What is Melisandre going to say to Jon when he shows up?  And why does the letter demand Stannis's family and the others as hostages.   That sounds superfluous and possibly counter-productive (Jon might make them leave).  And why is the letter in a flowery style reminiscent of Ramsay?  The previous letter was an ordinary statement of events.

Also, if she has received a letter from Stannis about Arya, why not show it to Jon.  He would probably want to stay so as to arrange for Arya's future care and housing.

Edited by Nevets

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I was under the impression that dry parchment will always curl up naturally. Books made with parchment required clasps to keep the pages flat. If wet enough it may remain flat. This seems to be opposite of what you are arguing. 

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I'll tentatively dip a toe into "Team Mel".

It hadn't occurred to me that anyone other than Ramsay wrote the Pink Letter until I found the theories here. I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's take on it and the reasoning behind the different stances - but I'm not quite ready to jump ship yet.

For now, I'll stick with my initial reading of the text with Ramsay as the author, but the strong possibility that Mel interfered with the letter to make it more inflammatory and provoke the reaction she wanted from Jon. I'm open to changing my mind as I read more on the various threads, but if anyone other than Ramsay had a hand in this, Mel is still at the top of my list of potentials.

 

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13 hours ago, Nevets said:

What is Melisandre going to say to Jon when he shows up?  And why does the letter demand Stannis's family and the others as hostages.   That sounds superfluous and possibly counter-productive (Jon might make them leave).  And why is the letter in a flowery style reminiscent of Ramsay?  The previous letter was an ordinary statement of events.

Also, if she has received a letter from Stannis about Arya, why not show it to Jon.  He would probably want to stay so as to arrange for Arya's future care and housing.

Mel's plan was to have Jon come to her with the Pink Letter. Then Mel says its a fake since she received a letter from Stannis informing them that Winterfell was successfully taken and Arya Stark is on her way to Castle Black. Like my first assumption, Mel does have an authentic letter from Stannis. After Mel & Jon review the Pink Letter and all the discrepancies, they come to a conclusion that the Pink Letter is fake and written by one the Night's Watch brothers ... who dislike Jon and the Queen's people.

Now since Arya is on her way up, Jon stays at Castle Black to wait for her AND investigate into the NW traitors ... the "daggers in the dark."

Jon doesn't go to Hardhome anymore.

Jon: "You were right about your fire visions my lady ... my sister, the daggers in the dark ... I will come to you when I need help"
Mel: "I thought you knew nothing Lord Snow, but I was wrong."
Jon's thoughts: At last! I do know something!
Mel's thoughts: Haha sucker!

13 hours ago, Makk said:

I was under the impression that dry parchment will always curl up naturally. Books made with parchment required clasps to keep the pages flat. If wet enough it may remain flat. This seems to be opposite of what you are arguing. 

Alright everyone, its time for elementary science class ... everyone take out 3 pieces of paper, scotch tape, a water spray bottle, and your safety glasses. We are going to test the Paper Curl Theory.

For those who want to nerd out since it has been 8 years since 2011 ADWD and got nothing better to do ... write the contents of the Pink Letter onto the 3 pieces of paper and substitute the scotch tape for pink wax.

  1. Lay Paper#1 flat.
  2. Roll Paper#2 and apply scotch tape.
  3. Put on your safety glasses, roll Paper#3, apply scotch tape and spray water until it is fully wet. Let it dry. You can accelerate the drying by adding heat.

After a few minutes, Paper#1 remains flat.

Let's assume it took no more than a hour for the Pink Letter to transfer from Mel's hands to Jon's hand. After a hour in a dry environment, slice open the scotch tape, nonchalantly flatten the paper and pretend to read it. Then lay it on the table. Paper#2 will still maintain ~10% curl, but you can still read the contents off the table.

After wet Paper#3 fully dries, slice open the scotch tape, try to nonchalantly flatten the paper and pretend to read it. Then lay it on the table. The moment [we] set the letter aside, the parchment curled up again, as if eager to protect its secrets.

Everyone okay after the experiment? No one got any paper cuts?

8 hours ago, Shara said:

For now, I'll stick with my initial reading of the text with Ramsay as the author, but the strong possibility that Mel interfered with the letter to make it more inflammatory and provoke the reaction she wanted from Jon. I'm open to changing my mind as I read more on the various threads, but if anyone other than Ramsay had a hand in this, Mel is still at the top of my list of potentials.

That's cool, to each their own.

I also have one more part for Team Mel that I didn't include in the OP because it would have made it too long, and what I had was already long & convincing enough (at least to me). 

Assumption # 3 - Melisandre is a fire wight and doesn't eat, but she sends out Devan Seaworth to falsely fetch food ... but her main intentions for Devan is to stalk & spy on Jon Snow for information.

 

.....I was going type it now. But i realized it was really long and I gtg. I'll type it up later. But here are some samples for Devan, the spy:

 

By the time they returned to the surface, the shadows of the afternoon were growing long. Clouds streaked the sky like tattered banners, grey and white and torn. The yard outside the armory was empty, but inside Jon found the king's squire awaiting him. Devan was a skinny lad of some twelve years, brown of hair and eye. They found him frozen by the forge, hardly daring to move as Ghost sniffed him up and down. "He won't hurt you," Jon said, but the boy flinched at the sound of his voice, and that sudden motion made the direwolf bare his teeth. "No!" Jon said. "Ghost, leave him be. Away." The wolf slunk back to his ox bone, silence on four feet.
Devan looked as pale as Ghost, his face damp with perspiration. "M-my lord. His Grace c-commands your presence." The boy was clad in Baratheon gold and black, with the flaming heart of a queen's man sewn above his own.

{Jon IV ADWD}

 

"Does my lady wish to break her fast?" asked Devan.
Food. Yes, I should eat. Some days she forgot. R'hllor provided her with all the nourishment her body needed, but that was something best concealed from mortal men.

It was Jon Snow she needed, not fried bread and bacon, but it was no use sending Devan to the lord commander. He would not come to her summons. [...]

[...]

"The bones protect you," she reminded [Mance]. "The black brothers do not love you. Devan tells me that only yesterday you had words with some of them over supper."

{Melisandre I ADWD}

 

 

Edited by The Map Guy

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I'm not sure where this curled parchment idea goes.It doesn't particularly support team Mel nor discount other teams,Stannis,Mance,Ramsay.

The letter arrived by raven in a snowstorm.

And when the text says Jon flattened the parchment,it doesn't say how.We aren't told whether it was wet or dry,or slightly damp.Are we told whether it curls back up or if Jon rolled it back up?

Other parts of your theory are more convincing,if not entirely convincing to me.

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5 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

Alright everyone, its time for elementary science class ... everyone take out 3 pieces of paper, scotch tape, a water spray bottle, and your safety glasses. We are going to test the Paper Curl Theory.

For those who want to nerd out since it has been 8 years since 2011 ADWD and got nothing better to do ... write the contents of the Pink Letter onto the 3 pieces of paper and substitute the scotch tape for pink wax.

  1. Lay Paper#1 flat.
  2. Roll Paper#2 and apply scotch tape.
  3. Put on your safety glasses, roll Paper#3, apply scotch tape and spray water until it is fully wet. Let it dry. You can accelerate the drying by adding heat.

After a few minutes, Paper#1 remains flat.

Let's assume it took no more than a hour for the Pink Letter to transfer from Mel's hands to Jon's hand. After a hour in a dry environment, slice open the scotch tape, nonchalantly flatten the paper and pretend to read it. Then lay it on the table. Paper#2 will still maintain ~10% curl, but you can still read the contents off the table.

After wet Paper#3 fully dries, slice open the scotch tape, try to nonchalantly flatten the paper and pretend to read it. Then lay it on the table. The moment [we] set the letter aside, the parchment curled up again, as if eager to protect its secrets.

Everyone okay after the experiment? No one got any paper cuts?

The letter you are talking about is written on parchment, made from animal skin, rather than paper which is made from plant fiber. All of what you wrote here is completely irrelevant.

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Posted (edited)

Mel wrote the Pink Letter to stop Jon from going to Hardhome - Extended Version

I thought having the first two assumptions is enough to make my case for Team Mel. But I also have a third assumption which I can prove, and it would help Team Mel out even more. I just didn't want to write it in the OP because it was so long already. Anyways enjoy the extended version:

 

Assumption # 3 - Melisandre sends out Devan Seaworth to falsely fetch food ... but her main intentions for Devan is to stalk & spy on Jon Snow for information

 

Off topic theory: Melisandre is a fire wight just like Beric Dondarrion and Lady Stoneheart. She doesn't really eat, doesn't really sleep, doesn't feel cold, may be older than she appears and chugs poison like a champ. Mel was probably resurrected by R'hllor in the past, and that was why she became a devoted red priestess.

Back to topic: Mel doesn't need to eat, but she send Devan to fetch food to conceal this secret glamour.

"Does my lady wish to break her fast?" asked Devan.
Food. Yes, I should eat. Some days she forgot. R'hllor provided her with all the nourishment her body needed, but that was something best concealed from mortal men.

It was Jon Snow she needed, not fried bread and bacon, but it was no use sending Devan to the lord commander. He would not come to her summons. [...]
[...]
"I will have nettle tea, a boiled egg, and bread with butter. Fresh bread, if you please, not fried. You may find the wildling as well. Tell him that I must speak with him."
[Devan:] "Rattleshirt, my lady?"

"And quickly."

{Melisandre I ADWD}

When Mel send Devan to fetch food, she occasionally sends him to summon people, or to spy on them.

 

"The bones protect you," she reminded [f-Rattleshirt]. "The black brothers do not love you. Devan tells me that only yesterday you had words with some of them over supper."  
"A few. I was eating bean-and-bacon soup whilst Bowen Marsh was going on about the high ground. The Old Pomegranate thought that I was SPYING on him and announced that he would not suffer murderers listening to their councils. I told him that if that was true, maybe they shouldn't have them by the fire. Bowen turned red and made some choking sounds, but that was as far as it went." The wildling sat on the edge of the window, slid his dagger from its sheath. "If some crow wants to slip a knife between my ribs whilst I'm spooning up some supper, he's welcome to try. Hobb's gruel would taste better with a drop of blood to spice it." 

{Melisandre I ADWD}

I like how Mel admitted that Devan was observing f-Rattleshirt without being noticed. I also like how in the next paragraph, GRRM used the word "spying".


Why would Devan be a good spy for Mel? These are her thoughts about Devan:

"Yes, my lady." The boy poured her a cup of water from the stone jug by the window and brought it to her.
"Thank you." Melisandre took a sip, swallowed, and gave the boy a smile. That made him blush. The boy was half in love with her, she knew. He fears me, he wants me, and he worships me.
[...]
Devan was quick and smart and able too, which was more than could be said about most of her attendants. [...]

{Melisandre I ADWD}

 

As a spy for Mel, Ghost sniffed out something odd about Devan

By the time they returned to the surface, the shadows of the afternoon were growing long. Clouds streaked the sky like tattered banners, grey and white and torn. The yard outside the armory was empty, but inside Jon found the king's squire awaiting him. Devan was a skinny lad of some twelve years, brown of hair and eye. They found him frozen by the forge, hardly daring to move as Ghost sniffed him up and down. "He won't hurt you," Jon said, but the boy flinched at the sound of his voice, and that sudden motion made the direwolf bare his teeth. "No!" Jon said. "Ghost, leave him be. Away." The wolf slunk back to his ox bone, silence on four feet.
Devan looked as pale as Ghost, his face damp with perspiration. "M-my lord. His Grace c-commands your presence." The boy was clad in Baratheon gold and black, with the flaming heart of a queen's man sewn above his own.

{Jon IV ADWD}

 

But what does this all mean? Well let's review the contents of the Pink Letter again:

Quote

 

Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore.

Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you.

You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.

I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.

I want my bride back. I want the false king's queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.

It was signed,

Ramsay Bolton,
Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.

 

Theses are the things that Jon said aloud or someone talking to Jon aloud, surrounded by food or drinks ... with Devan hearing and observing:

 

The men will love that. "If we must. We'll cut each man's portion by a quarter." If my brothers are complaining of me now, what will they say when they're eating snow and acorn paste? 

{Jon IV ADWD, in the food storeroom, just before Ghost sniffs up Devan}  

Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it.  

---------------------

"He did. Lightbringer was brighter than I'd ever seen it. As bright as the sun." Jon raised his cup. "To Stannis Baratheon and his magic sword." The wine was bitter in his mouth. 

{Jon III ADWD, drinking wine with Clydas in the rookery}

I have his magic sword. 

---------------------

He broke his fast in the cellar with his officers. Fried bread, fried eggs, blood sausages, and barley porridge made up the meal, washed down with thin yellow beer. As they ate they went over the preparations yet again. "All is in readiness," Bowen Marsh assured him. "If the wildlings uphold the terms of the bargain, all will go as you've commanded."

And if not, it may turn to blood and carnage. "Remember," Jon said, "Tormund's people are hungry, cold, and fearful. Some of them hate us as much as some of you hate them. We are dancing on rotten ice here, them and us. One crack, and we all drown. If blood should be shed today, it had best not be one of us who strikes the first blow, or I swear by the old gods and the new that I will have the head of the man who strikes it."

{Jon XII ADWD, at the cellar}

Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. 

---------------------

Nearer the door, the Queen's Hand was attacking a brace of capons, sucking the meat off the bones and washing down each bite with ale. When he espied Jon Snow, Axell Florent tossed a bone aside, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and sauntered over. With his bowed legs, barrel chest, and prominent ears, he presented a comical appearance, but Jon knew better than to laugh at him. He was an uncle to Queen Selyse and had been among the first to follow her in accepting Melisandre's red god. If he is not a kinslayer, he is the next best thing. Axell Florent's brother had been burned by Melisandre, Maester Aemon had informed him, yet Ser Axell had done little and less to stop it. What sort of man can stand by idly and watch his own brother being burned alive?
"Nestoris," said Ser Axell, "and the lord commander. Might I join you?" He lowered himself to the bench before they could reply. "Lord Snow, if I may ask … this wildling princess His Grace King Stannis wrote of … where might she be, my lord?"
Long leagues from here, Jon thought. If the gods are good, by now she has found Tormund Giantsbane. "Val is the younger sister of Dalla, who was Mance Rayder's wife and mother to his son. King Stannis took Val and the child captive after Dalla died in childbed, but she is no princess, not as you mean it."

{Jon IX ADWD, at the feasthall}

I want his wildling princess.

---------------------

"Be wary o' that lot, Jon Snow," Tormund warned him. "A savage folk. The men are bad, the women worse." He took a SKIN off his saddle and offered it up to Jon. "Here. This will make them seem less fearsome, might be. And warm you for the night. No, go on, it's yours to keep. Drink deep." 

{Jon XII} 

The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.  

---------------------

When Mel & Jon are in the same room ... note what was said aloud & what can be observed:
 

"Not me. I'm done with those bloody fools." Rattleshirt tapped the ruby on his wrist. "Ask your red witch, bastard."
Melisandre spoke softly in a strange tongue. The ruby at her throat throbbed slowly, and Jon saw that the smaller stone on Rattleshirt's wrist was brightening and darkening as well. "So long as he wears the gem he is bound to me, blood and soul," the red priestess said. "This man will serve you faithfully. The flames do not lie, Lord Snow."

{Jon IV}

I want his daughter and his red witch. 

---------------------

"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." 

{Melisandre I ADWD, talking about Mance}

Your false king is dead, bastard. (Stannis)

---------------------

"Castle Black needs no useless mouths," Jon agreed. "I am sending Gilly south on the next ship out of Eastwatch."
Melisandre touched the ruby at her neck. "Gilly is giving suck to Dalla's son as well as her own. It seems cruel of you to part our little prince from his milk brother, my lord."

{Jon I ADWD}

I want his little prince.

---------------------

And finally the easy one:

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. When he lost his feet, Godry dragged him the rest of the way. Mance was bloody when the queen's men half-shoved, half-carried him to the CAGE. A dozen men-at-arms heaved together to hoist him into the air.
Lady Melisandre watched him rise. "FREE FOLK! Here stands your king of lies. And here is the horn he promised would bring down the Wall." Two queen's men brought forth the Horn of Joramun, black and banded with old gold, eight feet long from end to end. Runes were carved into the golden bands, the writing of the First Men. Joramun had died thousands of years ago, but Mance had found his grave beneath a glacier, high up in the Frostfangs. And Joramun blew the Horn of Winter, and woke giants from the earth. Ygritte had told Jon that Mance never found the horn. She lied, or else Mance kept it secret even from his own. 

{Jon III ADWD}

I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies.  

---------------------

Melisandre's thoughts:


Melisandre took that as a sign and dismissed her own guard as well. They crossed the yard together, just the two of them. The snow fell all around them. She walked as close to Jon Snow as she dared, close enough to feel the mistrust pouring off him like a black fog. He does not love me, will never love me, but he will make use of me. Well and good. Melisandre had danced the same dance with Stannis Baratheon, back in the beginning. In truth, the young lord commander and her king had more in common than either one would ever be willing to admit. Stannis had been a younger son living in the shadow of his elder brother, just as Jon Snow, bastard-born, had always been eclipsed by his TRUEBORN sibling, the fallen hero men had called the Young Wolf. Both men were unbelievers by nature, mistrustful, suspicious. The only gods they truly worshiped were honor and duty.  

{Melisandre I ADWD}

Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.  

---------------------

Sorry that took so long.

So in conclusion, the vocabulary of the Pink Letter can be found in Melisandre's thoughts, when Melisandre & Jon are in the same room, or when Devan is spying on Jon (surrounded by food or drinks) for Melisandre.

Team Mel!!

Off topic: I love the very last quote about the similarity between Jon and Stannis.

Edited by The Map Guy

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7 hours ago, redriver said:

I'm not sure where this curled parchment idea goes.It doesn't particularly support team Mel nor discount other teams,Stannis,Mance,Ramsay.

The Paper Curl Theory suggest the Pink Letter was written in Castle Black. The available candidates are Team Mel, Team Night's Watch and Team Re-Write.

Team Mel has a simple straight-forward motive and only two/three assumptions.

 

Someone like Team Ramsey would have multiple assumptions:

Default Argument:  Bolton Pink Seal
Assumption: Ramsey couldn't find his stamp

Default Argument:  Blood Ink
Assumption: Blood was not available, and he doesn't have to do it

Default Argument:  Sending parchment with skins from the six spear wives
Assumption: He doesn't have to do it

Default Argument:  Flays his enemies
Assumption: He just felt like cutting their heads this time and putting it on the wall

Default Argument:  Flays his enemies for a slow torturing death
Assumption: Threaten Jon for quick death by cutting his heart ... because ... why not?

Default Argument:  Shouldn't take seven days of battle
Assumption: Why not?

Default Argument: No spiky signature 
Assumption: It was re-written!

I don't know ... we can go on & on. But that would be any other Pink Letter thread.

 

8 hours ago, redriver said:

And when the text says Jon flattened the parchment,it doesn't say how.We aren't told whether it was wet or dry,or slightly damp.Are we told whether it curls back up or if Jon rolled it back up?

After Jon flattens and reads it, he passes it to Tormund. Tormund passes it back to Jon. Jon lays it on the table. Nothing was noted about curling up again. Even when Jon re-read it at Shieldhall, no mentions of curl. It has been inconsistent of other parchments that curled up in other chapters ... suggesting the Pink Letter stayed flat after Jon flatten it. This means it never got wet, it never had to travel through miles and miles of elements.

Plus, GRRM gives us this line IMMEDIATELY after the Pink Letter:

"Snow (as in snowstorm)?" said Tormund Giantsbane. "You look like your father's bloody head just rolled out o' that paper."

Whether you believe this is an intentional foreshadowing clue or not ... its up to you. Its funny because this statement is technically a lie & a trick since R+L=J makes it [Jon's uncle Ned's] bloody head rolling out o' that paper.

 

6 hours ago, Makk said:

The letter you are talking about is written on parchment, made from animal skin, rather than paper which is made from plant fiber. All of what you wrote here is completely irrelevant.

Well it was a "try this at home" type of experiment.
If you want to be precise, we would need access to sheep skin, pink wax, a raven and a snowstorm on hand.
It is not stuff we usually have at home, but if you do have all of these ... you are welcome to try it and let us know how it goes.

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For shits and giggles, since I don't believe this myself:

Jon was tired. I need sleep. He had been up half the night poring over maps, writing letters, and making plans with Maester Aemon. Even after stumbling into his narrow bed, rest (death) had not come easily. He knew what he would face today, and found himself tossing restlessly as he brooded on Maester Aemon's final words. "Allow me to give my lord one last piece of counsel," the old man had said, "the same counsel that I once gave my brother when we parted for the last time. He was three-and-thirty when the Great Council chose him to mount the Iron Throne. A man grown with sons of his own, yet in some ways still a boy. Egg had an innocence to him, a sweetness we all loved. Kill the boy within you, I told him the day I took ship for the Wall. It takes a man to rule. An Aegon, not an Egg. Kill the boy and let the man be born." The old man felt Jon's face. "You are half the age that Egg was, and your own burden is a crueler one, I fear. You will have little joy of your command, but I think you have the strength in you to do the things that must be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born." {Jon II ADWD}

 

While the boy was gone, Melisandre washed herself and changed her robes. Her sleeves were full of hidden pockets, and she checked them carefully as she did every morning to make certain all her powders were in place. Powders to turn fire green or blue or silver, powders to make a flame roar and hiss and leap up higher than a man is tall, powders to make smoke. A smoke for truth, a smoke for lust, a smoke for fear, and the thick black smoke that could kill a man outright. The red priestess armed herself with a pinch of each of them. {Melisande I ADWD}

 

I hope not. Jon was counting on that, trusting that Val could succeed where Black Jack Bulwer and his companions had failed. She need fear no harm from the free folk, he hoped … but both of them knew too well that wildlings were not the only ones waiting in the woods. "You have sufficient food?"
"Hard bread, hard cheese, oat cakes, salt cod, salt beef, salt mutton, and a skin of sweet wine to rinse all that salt out of my mouth. I will not die of hunger."
(Val:) "Then it's time you were away."
{Jon VIII ADWD}

 

[...] Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady {Melisandre). {Jon XIII}

Is Jon the Prince that Was Promised? Born amidst smoke and salt? Born amidst Melisandre's smoke screen that killed the boy? Born amidst the salty food of the frigid Castle Black? Will Jon Snow the Man, the Prince that was Promised, be born?

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As bad as the mission to Hardhome was, the planned attack on the Bolton’s is off the scale bad.  Even Mel would not condone such an act.  But maybe she didn’t count on Snow Flake being so reckless.

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Ignoring the Jon hating/Bolton loving sentiment that we see occasionally round here,a couple of questions for you Map.

How does Mel know about Reek?A Stannis letter?Saw him in her flames?

How do the raven logistics work out?Does she steal one herself?Does she have an accomplice in this?What if she chose the wrong raven and it flew to Dorne?Did she wander off down the Kings road herself and set it free?

Are you saying that dry parchment/paper that has been tightly rolled up immediately flattens and stays flattened after unrolling?

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