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three-eyed monkey

The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter 2.0

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8 hours ago, Yaya said:

hi, i'm reading through the thread catching up ... and i just thought of this (not sidelining the topic, but this could be supporting 'evidence') and did anyone put any thought cycles into:

how would Roose or Ramsay even know who Mance was? 

why would anyone really even think that the Mance would be at Winterfell?
who in the castle could even know who Mance is? 

it is my conjecture that no one knew Mance's face ... it's not like 'wanted' posters were strung up along the forests for all to see. 
true it could be that Squirrel and the rest of the women were 'sharply' questioned or skinned for the truth, but i think not - it is my opinion they all would die first before admitting any truths of who they really were or their 'mission'.

to me this totally adds more 'proof' to the letter being of Stannis's plan.

btw 3EM - great analysis of the letter - occam's razor like logic going on.

I think the idea is that Mance or one of the spearwives told him who he is. 

I wouldn't think Ramsay would know him other than knowing of him. Most of the realm would know there is a "King beyond the wall" 

I'm in agreement with the theory but torture will make almost anyone say almost anything. 

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2 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Haha maybe? 

I know it's not a phrase particular to Mel or Stan but I'm gonna do a search in a bit & see how widely used it is. 

Wyman uses it once also. 

Other than that just Stan & Mel. So could definitely be nothing but is interesting 

Yes, false kings is a theme that runs through the series. I'm sure a lot of people use it.

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17 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Yes, false kings is a theme that runs through the series. I'm sure a lot of people use it.

Not as many as you would think actually. Cersei uses it once & Wyman uses it once (while speaking to Davos of Stannis) Every other time it's used is by Stannis or Mel & there are a few. 

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@Yaya asked an important question about Mance so I''l give my own position on the matter.

Let's start with Ramsay. The Pink Letter claims that Mance is caught and in a cage for all the world to see, cloaked in the skins of the six whores that came with him to Winterfell. On the surface it seems plausible as we know Mance and his women were in a difficult situation. It makes Jon think that there is truth in the letter, and the readers too on a meta level. The explanation seems simple. Ramsay caught at least one spearwife and interrogated her, and she told all.

I believe Mance escaped, along with between one and three of the spearwives, (Rowan, Myrtle, Willow) to hide in the crypts, the location of which they had gained from Theon. Holly was killed on the outer wall but Frenya, who was holding the drawbridge at the battlement gate, and Squirrel, who was due to climb out of Jeyne's room, were definitely vulnerable to being taken alive. So Ramsay has a very plausible means of getting the information, but we can't be certain. All we can say is that IF he caught any of the party alive THEN he would be in a position to know. I don't really argue this point... not much anyway.

Stannis, on the other hand, knows what Mance looks like and he knows that Mance is alive. We know that Stannis has Theon in his possession. We know that Theon knows the washerwomen are wildlings, because Squirrel told him as much when she said she had climbed the Wall on several occasions. And we know that Theon spilled his story to Asha when he arrived at Stannis' camp.

"What is this?" Ser Clayton Suggs demanded. "You're one of hers? How did you get loose of Deepwood's dungeons?"

Tris rose and brushed the snow from his knees. "Sybelle Glover was offered a handsome ransom for our freedom and chose to accept it in the name of the king."

"What ransom? Who would pay good coin for sea scum?"

"I did, ser." The speaker came forward on his garron. He was very tall, very thin, so long-legged that it was a wonder his feet did not drag along the ground. "I had need of a strong escort to see me safely to the king, and Lady Sybelle had need of fewer mouths to feed." A scarf concealed the tall man's features, but atop his head was perched the queerest hat Asha had seen since the last time she had sailed to Tyrosh, a brimless tower of some soft fabric, like three cylinders stacked one atop the other. "I was given to understand that I might find King Stannis here. It is most urgent that I speak with him at once."

"And who in seven stinking hells are you?"

The tall man slid gracefully from his garron, removed his peculiar hat, and bowed. "I have the honor to be Tycho Nestoris, a humble servant of the Iron Bank of Braavos."

Of all the strange things that might have come riding out of the night, the last one Asha Greyjoy would ever have expected was a Braavosi banker. It was too absurd. She had to laugh. "King Stannis has taken the watchtower for his seat. Ser Clayton will be pleased to show you to him, I'm sure."

It was then Asha noticed Theon, who had arrived with Tycho and the others. Theon recalls the rest while chained before Stannis in the watchtower.

My sister, Theon thought, my sweet sister. Though he had lost all feeling in his arms, he felt the twisting in his gut, the same as when that bloodless Braavosi banker presented him to Asha as a 'gift.' The memory still rankled. The burly, balding knight who'd been with her had wasted no time shouting for help, so they'd had no more than a few moments before Theon was dragged away to face the king. That was long enough. He had hated the look on Asha's face when she realized who he was; the shock in her eyes, the pity in her voice, the way her mouth twisted in disgust. Instead of rushing forward to embrace him, she had taken half a step backwards. "Did the Bastard do this to you?" she had asked.

"Don't you call him that."Then the words came spilling out of Theon in a rush. He tried to tell her all of it, about Reek and the Dreadfort and Kyra and the keys, how Lord Ramsay never took anything but skin unless you begged for it. He told her how he'd saved the girl, leaping from the castle wall into the snow. "We flew. Let Abel make a song of that, we flew." Then he had to say who Abel was, and talk about the washerwomen who weren't truly washerwomen. By then Theon knew how strange and incoherent all this sounded, yet somehow the words would not stop. He was cold and sick and tired... and weak, so weak, so very weak.

Theon talked about Abel and the washerwomen who weren't truly washerwomen in front of Ser Clayton in the moments before the guards Ser Clayton called came to drag him off to Stannis. Even if Ser Clayton could make little of the strange and incoherent tale, Stannis would want to know everything he could about the rescue, the mysterious rescuers, and the whole situation in Winterfell.

"Just now, the turncloak is more use to me alive. He has knowledge we may need."

Theon does not know who Abel really is, but Stannis, who knows Mance is alive, might have a much better chance of working it out. To begin with, Abel's description matches that of Mance. The spearwives are wildlings. After Stannis had talked to Mance for hours, he admitted to Jon than Mance has cunning in him. What do you think Mance said that gave Stannis that impression? I think it's likely it was his tale of sneaking into Winterfell disguised as a bard to have a look at Stannis' brother, the former King Robert. Stannis is smart, he could easily put it together.

Of course, all that may be moot if, as this theory suggests, Stannis sent the letter from Winterfell after taking the castle. I think Mance will reemerge from the crypts when that happens, so maybe Stannis had the story first-hand.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Not as many as you would think actually. Cersei uses it once & Wyman uses it once (while speaking to Davos of Stannis) Every other time it's used is by Stannis or Mel & there are a few. 

Another thing, we might call this the egocentric argument or something, is that "Your false king is dead," is the first line of the letter. To me this hints again at Stannis as the author. First thing - Stannis is dead. Why not Mance has been captured or my bride has been stolen? I would say because to Stannis, his death would clearly be the most important thing.

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4 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

I think the idea is that Mance or one of the spearwives told him who he is. 

I wouldn't think Ramsay would know him other than knowing of him. Most of the realm would know there is a "King beyond the wall" 

I'm in agreement with the theory but torture will make almost anyone say almost anything. 

It happens in the first chapter of the first book.

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1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Another thing, we might call this the egocentric argument or something, is that "Your false king is dead," is the first line of the letter. To me this hints again at Stannis as the author. First thing - Stannis is dead. Why not Mance has been captured or my bride has been stolen? I would say because to Stannis, his death would clearly be the most important thing.

I agree

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1 hour ago, James Fenimore Cooper XXII said:

Stannis is a prideful man.  Does he stoop to something this low?  No.  Mance would.  The author in order of most likely are:

  1. Ramsay
  2. Mance

I don't know why pride separates Stannis from the letter nor why this is stopping low. Stannis would write the letter because he is prideful & thus doesn't want to be defeated. 

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9 hours ago, James Fenimore Cooper XXII said:

Stannis is a prideful man.  Does he stoop to something this low?  No.  Mance would.  The author in order of most likely are:

  1. Ramsay
  2. Mance

He stooped to pretending to kill Mance only to use him to infiltrate Winterfell.  Stannis has no issue with deception.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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On 12/10/2019 at 7:08 PM, divica said:

Because in jon and tormund's conversation they are analising the veracity of the letter. If there was a big diference between how the letters were written it would make sense for jon to mention it. If when jon is thinking about the letter he doesn t mention anything strange about how it is written then it is much more likely that there isn t anything strange to mention about how the letter is written. This is how people think... 

 

On 12/10/2019 at 10:07 PM, kissdbyfire said:

That’s why in previous letters we get the “huge, spiky hand”. The letters Jon and Asha receive have quite a distinctive hand, and to bring it up again would be repetitive IMO. Jon sees exactly what he expects to see, there’s no reason for him to think, “oh same huge spiky hand”,

The huge, spiky hand. I say it is conspicuous in its absence. A classic literary clue.

Those who disagree claim that as it is what Jon expected to see then he would not mention it as it would only be repetitive. There is no reason for him to think, oh, same huge, spiky hand. I believe this is argument is baseless and I will demonstrate why using examples in the text that concern letters Jon received from Cotter Pyke.

In AFfC Samwell is told that Cotter Pyke is illiterate and that Maester Harmune writes for him. In Jon VI, ADwD, Jon receives a letter from Cotter and notes as much, demonstrating that he knows about Cotter’s illiteracy.

Cotter Pyke was blunter. "I could hang them from the Wall as a warning to other wildlings to stay away, but I don't see any other use for them," Maester Harmune wrote for him. "I wouldn't trust such to clean my chamber pot, and ten is not enough."

In Jon X, ADwD, Cotter Pyke sends another letter as he departs Eastwatch for Hardhome.

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.

Jon knew that the letter was written by Maester Harmune, as he writes all of Cotter Pyke’s letters given that Cotter is illiterate, and Jon already told us Harmune writes for him, yet still Jon mentions it again.

Later in Jon XII, ADwD, when Cotter Pyke sends a further report from Hardhome, as he said he would, we get the following.

At Hardhome, with six ships. Wild seas. Blackbird lost with all hands, two Lyseni ships driven aground on Skane, Talon taking water. Very bad here. Wildlings eating their own dead. Dead things in the woods. Braavosi captains will only take women, children on their ships. Witch women call us slavers. Attempt to take Storm Crow defeated, six crew dead, many wildlings. Eight ravens left. Dead things in the water. Send help by land, seas wracked by storms. From Talon, by hand of Maester Harmune.

Cotter Pyke had made his angry mark below.

Jon takes note of Cotter Pyke’s angry mark despite the fact that Jon had seen Cotter Pyke’s signature several times before.

I think this demonstrates that the argument - Jon did not mention Ramsay’s huge, spiky hand because the signature was what he expected to see and therefore was not unusual or noteworthy, or that mentioning the signature again would only be repetitive – is a very weak argument.

Trying to second guess what Jon might or might not think about is folly. The huge, spiky hand was set up twice by GRRM so that its absence would be conspicuous and clue readers into the fact that Ramsay did not write the letter.

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1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

 

The huge, spiky hand. I say it is conspicuous in its absence. A classic literary clue.

Those who disagree claim that as it is what Jon expected to see then he would not mention it as it would only be repetitive. There is no reason for him to think, oh, same huge, spiky hand. I believe this is argument is baseless and I will demonstrate why using examples in the text that concern letters Jon received from Cotter Pyke.

In AFfC Samwell is told that Cotter Pyke is illiterate and that Maester Harmune writes for him. In Jon VI, ADwD, Jon receives a letter from Cotter and notes as much, demonstrating that he knows about Cotter’s illiteracy.

Cotter Pyke was blunter. "I could hang them from the Wall as a warning to other wildlings to stay away, but I don't see any other use for them," Maester Harmune wrote for him. "I wouldn't trust such to clean my chamber pot, and ten is not enough."

 

In Jon X, ADwD, Cotter Pyke sends another letter as he departs Eastwatch for Hardhome.

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.

 

Jon knew that the letter was written by Maester Harmune, as he writes all of Cotter Pyke’s letters given that Cotter is illiterate, and Jon already told us Harmune writes for him, yet still Jon mentions it again.

 

Later in Jon XII, ADwD, when Cotter Pyke sends a further report from Hardhome, as he said he would, we get the following.

 

At Hardhome, with six ships. Wild seas. Blackbird lost with all hands, two Lyseni ships driven aground on Skane, Talon taking water. Very bad here. Wildlings eating their own dead. Dead things in the woods. Braavosi captains will only take women, children on their ships. Witch women call us slavers. Attempt to take Storm Crow defeated, six crew dead, many wildlings. Eight ravens left. Dead things in the water. Send help by land, seas wracked by storms. From Talon, by hand of Maester Harmune.

 

Cotter Pyke had made his angry mark below.

 

Jon takes note of Cotter Pyke’s angry mark despite the fact that Jon had seen Cotter Pyke’s signature several times before.

 

I think this demonstrates that the argument - Jon did not mention Ramsay’s huge, spiky hand because the signature was what he expected to see and therefore was not unusual or noteworthy, or that mentioning the signature again would only be repetitive – is a very weak argument.

 

Trying to second guess what Jon might or might not think about is folly. The huge, spiky hand was set up twice by GRRM so that its absence would be conspicuous and clue readers into the fact that Ramsay did not write the letter.

 

Nice. I've already told ya, you've convinced me but this definitely adds to it & makes the absence of Jon noting the huge spiky hand a much weaker argument. Bravo.

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Ramsay Bolton wrote the letter in response to Jon's illegal meddling in his affairs.  Stannis doesn't have a good reason to write that letter.  And if he did, that would prove him an extremely selfish man. 

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13 hours ago, Finley McLeod said:

And if he did, that would prove him an extremely selfish man.

Yes, I would agree he is selfish, I think most of the players in the game of thrones are ultimately selfish. Stannis is extremely driven, single-minded, desperate to emerge from Robert's shadow, desperate to win the throne and set the realm right as he sees it, and he's like a dog with a bone who will fight to the bitter end and then some. He is a complicated character and he's the one who wrote the letter as explained in the OP.

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Posted (edited)

I've been off in limbo. This thread makes me feel like I've hardly been away ..;)

@Three Eyed Crow For some reason, what I would guess to be the final third or so of your OP came appeared as a blank on my screen. However, we've bandied this topic about so often I think I know where you're coming from - and I too agree in very large part. All that I was able to read I thought was very well reasoned and clearly laid out. 

I've only skimmed through the whole seven pages but there are a few random points I'd like to make. Re: Mance and the spearwives, I'm doubtful Theon ever did reveal the location of the crypts to them.

 From A Ghost in Winterfell, ADWD :

Quote

What could Abel want of him? The man was just a singer, a pander with a lute and a false smile. He wants to know how I took the castle, but not to make a song of it. The answer came to him. He wants to know how we got in so he can get out. Lord Bolton had Winterfell sewn up tight as a babe's swaddling clothes. No one could come or go without his leave. He wants to flee,

As far as Theon knows, the lower levels of the crypts have collapsed, and I think he's correct - Mance thinks the crypts may provide a way out. He would think that because Bael must have had a way out. (For all we know, versions of the tale among the wildlings may specifically say so.) In any case, that was very long ago. A collapse might well have occurred in the intervening years (centuries?).

I doubt he'd be hiding in the crypts if he didn't think he'd have a way out and he's sure to still have Mel's ruby cuff about him somewhere (he'd have needed it to exit Castle Black). He'd only need put it on to become a shorter, plainer man that no-one would look twice at. Though he'd still be in danger, he'd have much more agency than if he was stuck in the crypts, wondering what was going on above.

From what we have been told about the bravery of spearwives, I'd be surprised if Frenya wouldn't fall on her spear before she could be taken (if one of her attackers didn't kill her first).

Rowan is very likely an Umber ; either the stolen Umber daughter or her daughter, or one of the Greatjon's daughters that Jon mentions to Stannis. In "The Turncloak", Rowan is described as...

Quote

one of the singer's washerwomen, the tall skinny one, too lean and leathery to be called pretty

She'd probably be relatively easy to disguise as a man, and the Umbers would definitely shield her. Especially if she's one of the Greatjon's daughters, they would all know who she is.

Wex's story may foreshadow Squirrel's chances of survival...

Quote

 

"... He climbed the heart tree and hid himself amongst the leaves. Bolton's men searched the godswood twice and killed the men they found there, but none thought to clamber up into the trees. Is that how it happened, Wex?"

The boy flipped up Glover's dagger, caught it, nodded.

Glover said, "He stayed up in the tree a long time. He slept amongst the branches, not daring to descend. Finally he heard voices down beneath him."

 

...ADWD, Davos IV.

(Besides, squirrels live in trees.. :) ... and Bolton men will again be searching.)

@redriver convinced me long ago that Myrtle is actually The Liddle (playing the part of his old mother come back to us, as in the dream he told to Bran & co.)

Willow seems likely to be an actual spearwife like Holly, Frenya and Squirrel and she's the one whose chances I feel least confident of.

Still, since Mance was only sending Holly and Frenya with Theon and Jeyne, I don't think Willow would be the only one for whom there was no contingency plan. Though I haven't seen a hint of what it might be, I feel it's more likely that there is one.

Theon I, ADWD :

Quote

Abel bowed. "If it please your lordship." Lute in hand, he sauntered to the dais, hopping nimbly over a corpse or two, and seated himself cross-legged on the high table. As he began to play—a sad, soft song that Theon Greyjoy did not recognize—Ser Hosteen, Ser Aenys, and their fellow Freys turned away to lead their horses from the hall.

Rowan grasped Theon's arm. "The bath. It must be now."He wrenched free of her touch. "By day? We will be seen."

"The snow will hide us. Are you deaf? Bolton is sending forth his swords. We have to reach King Stannis before they do."

"But … Abel …"
"Abel can fend for himself," murmured Squirrel.

Later in the chapter :

Quote

 

... Beyond the castle walls, winter was waiting with its icy teeth. If we get that far. "This way," he said when they came to a junction where three trenches crossed.

"Frenya, Holly, go with them," Rowan said. "We will be along with Abel. Do not wait for us." And with that, she whirled and plunged into the snow, toward the Great Hall. Willow and Myrtle hurried after her, cloaks snapping in the wind.

 

Looking at these quotes, it seems to me that the plan never was for all of them to get out at once. They have to act on the spur of the moment. Squirrel knows that Abel can fend for himself. Rowan knows when to act - seemingly without direction. During the escape, as they hurry off on their own, Rowan, Willow and Myrtle seem very purposeful. They know what they're doing.

It only seems logical that anyone as canny as Mance would have discussed various alternatives with the women depending on what might mean a change in plan.. say, like needing to act sooner than expected and certainly what to do if someone should be killed or captured. It's the kind of thing he would have had to plan for all the time. For example, I can't help wondering if the particular song he plays is a signal to the women to act. Rowan doesn't say it must be now until after he starts playing and it's an unfamiliar song, not on the usual list of requests. It might be something no-one south of the wall would recognise.

I'll come back to get carried away some more tomorrow.

Edited by bemused

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14 hours ago, bemused said:

I've been off in limbo. This thread makes me feel like I've hardly been away ..;)

@Three Eyed Crow For some reason, what I would guess to be the final third or so of your OP came appeared as a blank on my screen. However, we've bandied this topic about so often I think I know where you're coming from - and I too agree in very large part. All that I was able to read I thought was very well reasoned and clearly laid out. 

I've only skimmed through the whole seven pages but there are a few random points I'd like to make. Re: Mance and the spearwives, I'm doubtful Theon ever did reveal the location of the crypts to them.

 From A Ghost in Winterfell, ADWD :

As far as Theon knows, the lower levels of the crypts have collapsed, and I think he's correct - Mance thinks the crypts may provide a way out. He would think that because Bael must have had a way out. (For all we know, versions of the tale among the wildlings may specifically say so.) In any case, that was very long ago. A collapse might well have occurred in the intervening years (centuries?).

I doubt he'd be hiding in the crypts if he didn't think he'd have a way out and he's sure to still have Mel's ruby cuff about him somewhere (he'd have needed it to exit Castle Black). He'd only need put it on to become a shorter, plainer man that no-one would look twice at. Though he'd still be in danger, he'd have much more agency than if he was stuck in the crypts, wondering what was going on above.

From what we have been told about the bravery of spearwives, I'd be surprised if Frenya wouldn't fall on her spear before she could be taken (if one of her attackers didn't kill her first).

Rowan is very likely an Umber ; either the stolen Umber daughter or her daughter, or one of the Greatjon's daughters that Jon mentions to Stannis. In "The Turncloak", Rowan is described as...

She'd probably be relatively easy to disguise as a man, and the Umbers would definitely shield her. Especially if she's one of the Greatjon's daughters, they would all know who she is.

Wex's story may foreshadow Squirrel's chances of survival...

...ADWD, Davos IV.

(Besides, squirrels live in trees.. :) ... and Bolton men will again be searching.)

@redriver convinced me long ago that Myrtle is actually The Liddle (playing the part of his old mother come back to us, as in the dream he told to Bran & co.)

Willow seems likely to be an actual spearwife like Holly, Frenya and Squirrel and she's the one whose chances I feel least confident of.

Still, since Mance was only sending Holly and Frenya with Theon and Jeyne, I don't think Willow would be the only one for whom there was no contingency plan. Though I haven't seen a hint of what it might be, I feel it's more likely that there is one.

Theon I, ADWD :

Later in the chapter :

Looking at these quotes, it seems to me that the plan never was for all of them to get out at once. They have to act on the spur of the moment. Squirrel knows that Abel can fend for himself. Rowan knows when to act - seemingly without direction. During the escape, as they hurry off on their own, Rowan, Willow and Myrtle seem very purposeful. They know what they're doing.

It only seems logical that anyone as canny as Mance would have discussed various alternatives with the women depending on what might mean a change in plan.. say, like needing to act sooner than expected and certainly what to do if someone should be killed or captured. It's the kind of thing he would have had to plan for all the time. For example, I can't help wondering if the particular song he plays is a signal to the women to act. Rowan doesn't say it must be now until after he starts playing and it's an unfamiliar song, not on the usual list of requests. It might be something no-one south of the wall would recognise.

I'll come back to get carried away some more tomorrow.

I think the best way of addressing this is as a meta analysis-"what the hell is Mance doing?"

He's non POV so we have to go by what he does and what he says.That and several carefully placed lacunas that the author has decided to omit from his narrative.

I think the PL and the HM both fall within his story and motivation.

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On 1/6/2020 at 8:41 AM, bemused said:

I've been off in limbo. This thread makes me feel like I've hardly been away ..;)

@Three Eyed Crow For some reason, what I would guess to be the final third or so of your OP came appeared as a blank on my screen. However, we've bandied this topic about so often I think I know where you're coming from - and I too agree in very large part. All that I was able to read I thought was very well reasoned and clearly laid out. 

I've only skimmed through the whole seven pages but there are a few random points I'd like to make. Re: Mance and the spearwives, I'm doubtful Theon ever did reveal the location of the crypts to them.

 From A Ghost in Winterfell, ADWD :

As far as Theon knows, the lower levels of the crypts have collapsed, and I think he's correct - Mance thinks the crypts may provide a way out. He would think that because Bael must have had a way out. (For all we know, versions of the tale among the wildlings may specifically say so.) In any case, that was very long ago. A collapse might well have occurred in the intervening years (centuries?).

I doubt he'd be hiding in the crypts if he didn't think he'd have a way out and he's sure to still have Mel's ruby cuff about him somewhere (he'd have needed it to exit Castle Black). He'd only need put it on to become a shorter, plainer man that no-one would look twice at. Though he'd still be in danger, he'd have much more agency than if he was stuck in the crypts, wondering what was going on above.

From what we have been told about the bravery of spearwives, I'd be surprised if Frenya wouldn't fall on her spear before she could be taken (if one of her attackers didn't kill her first).

Rowan is very likely an Umber ; either the stolen Umber daughter or her daughter, or one of the Greatjon's daughters that Jon mentions to Stannis. In "The Turncloak", Rowan is described as...

She'd probably be relatively easy to disguise as a man, and the Umbers would definitely shield her. Especially if she's one of the Greatjon's daughters, they would all know who she is.

Wex's story may foreshadow Squirrel's chances of survival...

...ADWD, Davos IV.

(Besides, squirrels live in trees.. :) ... and Bolton men will again be searching.)

@redriver convinced me long ago that Myrtle is actually The Liddle (playing the part of his old mother come back to us, as in the dream he told to Bran & co.)

Willow seems likely to be an actual spearwife like Holly, Frenya and Squirrel and she's the one whose chances I feel least confident of.

Still, since Mance was only sending Holly and Frenya with Theon and Jeyne, I don't think Willow would be the only one for whom there was no contingency plan. Though I haven't seen a hint of what it might be, I feel it's more likely that there is one.

Theon I, ADWD :

Later in the chapter :

Looking at these quotes, it seems to me that the plan never was for all of them to get out at once. They have to act on the spur of the moment. Squirrel knows that Abel can fend for himself. Rowan knows when to act - seemingly without direction. During the escape, as they hurry off on their own, Rowan, Willow and Myrtle seem very purposeful. They know what they're doing.

It only seems logical that anyone as canny as Mance would have discussed various alternatives with the women depending on what might mean a change in plan.. say, like needing to act sooner than expected and certainly what to do if someone should be killed or captured. It's the kind of thing he would have had to plan for all the time. For example, I can't help wondering if the particular song he plays is a signal to the women to act. Rowan doesn't say it must be now until after he starts playing and it's an unfamiliar song, not on the usual list of requests. It might be something no-one south of the wall would recognise.

I'll come back to get carried away some more tomorrow.

Nice!

I agree that Squirrel is hiding in the godswood in trees. We know that Wex managed to stay hidden there, and that Ramsay was never aware of him. Don't see how Ramsay will find her now. After all, wolves and dogs don't climb trees. Squirrels are safe in there. It's why George named her "squirrel".

Furhtermore, the fact that two big armies exited the castle during a blizzard would make it near impossible to track Rowan, Willow and Myrtle, whether by looking at footsteps OR having hounds sniffle around. Their smell is confused with thousands of men walking through the yards and all the heavy horse. Oh, and the food trains.

Just because Theon believes they will be easily caught, does not mean it's true. Theon's actual escape chapter includes many occurrences where he's sure any of the guards they encounter will divine their plans, will see them from afar, but he's wrong all the time.

Mance had an exit plan, and he can take care of himself, and he has a glamor/ruby at his disposal to slip away.

The sole spearwife at risk is the sole living one holding back guards as Theon jumps. But there's more reason to believe she was killed in the minutes after Theon jumped than that she was taken alive and brought before Ramsay or Roose for questioning afterwards. Nor is there any reason to believe any of the guards at the WF walls recognized or realized it was fArya who jumped the Wall (or Theon for that matter).

Theon's fears and anguish are built on what he knows what he's about to do and knowing all those involved in it. Some Bolton guards at the gate of the WF walls do not. All they saw were a few people trying to escape. And all they have once Frenya lies dead at their feet are two dead women. Some commander is called to take a look at them, before anyone would be sent to Roose or Ramsay, and people would need to be questioned to identify the two dead spearwives. Not until someone mentions they look like the washerwomen can anyone within the walls of WF start to put things together. As this is going on, Mance, Rowan, Willow and Myrtle have had ample time to put their escape/hiding plan into motion. And Squirrel had just as much time to crawl out of the window as the blizzard rages about her and hides her from being seen from the ground while doing this.

Even if Ramsay has the two dead spearwives, the other five have flown, and Ramsay has no way of knowing Abel was Mance.

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A small thing but adwd - The Sacrifice

 

"...Talking to the red god, some said. Calling out for Lady Melisandre, insisted others. Either way, it seemed to Asha Greyjoy, the king was lost and crying out for help."

Made me think of Stannis's motive in writing the PL. 

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4 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

A small thing but adwd - The Sacrifice

 

"...Talking to the red god, some said. Calling out for Lady Melisandre, insisted others. Either way, it seemed to Asha Greyjoy, the king was lost and crying out for help."

Made me think of Stannis's motive in writing the PL. 

Nice catch, my lady.

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