Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Floki of the Ironborn

Does Stannis know about Mance?

Recommended Posts

I always assumed that Mance being alive and hidden in plain sight by Melisandre was a secret that she wasn't sharing with anyone else. 

But the more I think about it, I can't help but wonder if Stannis might know about Mance still being alive. Melisandre is many things, but she's fanatically loyal to Stannis, so why would she undermine his pursuit of justice? And on the other hand, she also has influence over him. If anyone could persuade him to back down from his intent to execute Mance immediately, it is her. And maybe Stannis only agreed to postpone the execution? 

Another thing which makes me pause is the fact that so many people here think Stannis wrote the Pink Letter. I don't know if that's true, but if he did, then it means he is fully aware that Mance is still alive. Whether that validates the Pink Letter is another matter, of course, but there seems to be a surprising amount of leg room in the story where Stannis' knowledge is concerned. He could be oblivious to the plot, or maybe not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

I always assumed that Mance being alive and hidden in plain sight by Melisandre was a secret that she wasn't sharing with anyone else. 

But the more I think about it, I can't help but wonder if Stannis might know about Mance still being alive. Melisandre is many things, but she's fanatically loyal to Stannis, so why would she undermine his pursuit of justice? And on the other hand, she also has influence over him. If anyone could persuade him to back down from his intent to execute Mance immediately, it is her. And maybe Stannis only agreed to postpone the execution? 

Another thing which makes me pause is the fact that so many people here think Stannis wrote the Pink Letter. I don't know if that's true, but if he did, then it means he is fully aware that Mance is still alive. Whether that validates the Pink Letter is another matter, of course, but there seems to be a surprising amount of leg room in the story where Stannis' knowledge is concerned. He could be oblivious to the plot, or maybe not. 

If this theory depends on the notion that Stannis wrote the Pink Letter, then I don't believe it. Stannis wouldn't write the Pink Letter, so he has no reason to know about Melisandre's duplicitous scheme. And you're wrong about the level of influence that she has; her strength is gaining at the Wall but she's not his main advisor either. Davos was the one who reminded Stannis of his duties, and brought him north to the Wall. And now Jon Snow has given him a strategy to win the anti-Bolton Northmen to his side. Melisandre's inability to find Stannis is indicative of the fact that her power over him is waning. So I absolutely buy that she wouldn't expect Stannis to let her spare Mance in secret, not least because if the secret is revealed, who looks worse than Stannis in that situation? He would never risk being humiliated like that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

she's fanatically loyal to Stannis

Is she? I think she plays him / directs him whenever it's necessary and possible. Another thing he is hard to control. But she is not afraid of him too much.

She is the only one who knows what has to be done, king with his justice and all the rest are children in the fog. When it turns out he is not she'll drop him like a cigarette butt.

He does not know about Mance (yet) imo and he won't be happy when he finds out. The idea Stannis wrote the letter is crazy btw

Edited by broken one

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He doesn’t know about Mance. And he didn’t write the Pink Letter. He’s not a Littlefinger or Varys type with that kind of sneaky subterfuge. He’s the guy who would rather banish or execute those kinds of people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

I always assumed that Mance being alive and hidden in plain sight by Melisandre was a secret that she wasn't sharing with anyone else. 

But the more I think about it, I can't help but wonder if Stannis might know about Mance still being alive. Melisandre is many things, but she's fanatically loyal to Stannis, so why would she undermine his pursuit of justice? And on the other hand, she also has influence over him. If anyone could persuade him to back down from his intent to execute Mance immediately, it is her. And maybe Stannis only agreed to postpone the execution? 

Another thing which makes me pause is the fact that so many people here think Stannis wrote the Pink Letter. I don't know if that's true, but if he did, then it means he is fully aware that Mance is still alive. Whether that validates the Pink Letter is another matter, of course, but there seems to be a surprising amount of leg room in the story where Stannis' knowledge is concerned. He could be oblivious to the plot, or maybe not. 

I believe  he likely knows, due to what Rattleshirt/Mance says to Jon: 

Quote

"Stannis burned the wrong man."

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

 

Edited by Eltharion21

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an interesting question of whether Stannis knew it was Mance or not.  I don't think he did.   Melisandre knows Stannis well enough by now to know he had to burn him or lose credibility.  With that it's entirely possible she either didn't tell Stannis as she saw a greater purpose for Mance and set him to it or it's possible that she convinced Stannis of Mance's worth and he agreed to the subterfuge.  If she didn't tell him though and Mance and Stannis are both successful in what their tasks were, over time, it would seem likely that Stannis would find out and have to do something about the lie.  Mel is only fanatically loyal to the Lord of Light.  Stannis would not write the Pink Letter nor suffer it to be written.  He has shown no stylings of that sort of move.

My feeling reading AFFC was that Stannis did not know.  We'll see when I get to a second reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stannis most likely knows
 

Quote

 

The only man who can bind them to your cause is Mance Rayder."

"I know that," Stannis said, unhappily. "I have spent hours speaking with the man.

-Jon I, ADWD

 

Quote

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

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

..

Val stood on the platform as still as if she had been carved of salt. She will not weep nor look away.

...

Up on the platform, Stannis was scowling. Jon refused to meet his eyes.

-Jon III, ADWD

Quote

 

"Stannis burned the wrong man."

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

-Jon VI ADWD

 

 

Quote

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

"Me?" Snow sounded startled.

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

-Melisandre ADWD

So, Mance, Melissandre and Stannis reached an agreement. Ser Godry is also in the known and probably Val.

It might be that it's even known among the wildings as Tormund doesn't seem too surprised when the Pink Letter arrives.

Quote

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?"

-Jon XIII, ADWD

There are too many things that Jon doesn't know.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The above mentioned pieces of text may be interpreted in two ways. Mace may be just ironic. Mellisandre may have not even tried to convince Stannis, she decided to switch the men herself etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, broken one said:

The above mentioned pieces of text may be interpreted in two ways. Mace may be just ironic. Mellisandre may have not even tried to convince Stannis, she decided to switch the men herself etc.

Kind of ironic how both Jon and Mel fooled each other by switching people around, come to think of it, and they both involved members of the Rayder family. 
But then that does make me wonder how Mel planned to keep Mance compliant after she successfully burned his son alive for the power of a king’s son.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

But then that does make me wonder how Mel planned to keep Mance compliant after she successfully burned his son alive for the power of a king’s son.

She gave up burning the father, so maybe there is no point in burning the baby. The king was false as she said, the child's blood has no power either.  If so - it seems Jon's action was unnecessary... as for the baby. But the old Targ would have been nice fuel.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us first look at the burning of “Mance”.

Quote

 

Mance Rayder’s thick grey-brown hair blew about his face as he walked. He pushed it from his eyes with bound hands, smiling. But when he saw the cage, his courage failed him. The queen’s men had made it from the trees of the haunted forest, from saplings and supple branches, pine boughs sticky with sap, and the bone-white fingers of the weirwoods. They’d bent them and twisted them around and through each other to weave a wooden lattice, then hung it high above a deep pit filled with logs, leaves, and kindling.

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

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

Inside his cage, Mance Rayder clawed at the noose about his neck with bound hands and screamed incoherently of treachery and witchery, denying his kingship, denying his people, denying his name, denying all that he had ever been. He shrieked for mercy and cursed the red woman and began to laugh hysterically.

 

It is obvious that Rattleshirt was duped and it involved many people, not just Mel. Rattleshirt was told that he was going to be executed for his crimes unless he obeyed Stannis and played his part. They were going make him look like Mance by Mel’s witchery and take him before Stannis while all the wildlings were present. Then, “Mance” was supposed to

  • renounce his kingship,
  • swear his fealty to Stannis,
  • pledge to keep the king’s peace and the king’s laws,
  • take the Lord of Light as his god.

Once Rattleshirt made this public show, Stannis would grant mercy to Mance and spare him. Likewise, Rattleshirt would get amnesty and the position of a wildling leader as well as lands to rule. This scenario is not something I make up out of thin air. All the necessary quotes will follow. Before we proceed, note that this scenario explains why Rattleshirt was very comfortable and smiling at the beginning until he saw the cage and realized that he was really going to be burned alive. Before he could confess anything and say “they tricked me”, Godry and the queen’s men assured that he could not talk. That explains “they” because they were all complicit in this scheme.

Quote

 

“You rode with these wildlings. Is there any honor in them, do you think?”

“Yes,” Jon said, “but their own sort of honor, sire.”

“In Mance Rayder?”

“Yes. I think so.”

“In the Lord of Bones?”

Jon hesitated. “Rattleshirt, we called him. Treacherous and blood-thirsty. If there’s honor in him, he hides it down beneath his suit of bones.”

“Whilst your brothers have been struggling to decide who shall lead them, I have been speaking with this Mance Rayder.” He ground his teeth. “A stubborn man, that one, and prideful. He will leave me no choice but to give him to the flames. But we took other captives as well, other leaders. The one who calls himself the Lord of Bones, some of their clan chiefs, the new Magnar of Thenn. Your brothers will not like it, no more than your father’s lords, but I mean to allow the wildlings through the Wall . . . those who will swear me their fealty, pledge to keep the king’s peace and the king’s laws, and take the Lord of Light as their god.”

 

Here we see the terms I previously mentioned but there is more than that in this exchange. Stannis wanted obedient wildling chiefs to lead them for him. Despite Stannis would later tell Jon that Mance Rayder's life was forfeit by every law of the Seven Kingdoms, here we see that Stannis was ready to spare him if Mance bent the knee and met his terms. That is one of those details that shows why the popular image of Stannis as an unbending person of law is so wrong. Stannis would have publicly forgiven Mance if he did what he asked of him. Similarly, he could have legitimized Jon as a Stark and removed him from the Night’s Watch if he did what he asked of him.

Quote

 

Three of her guard were geldings that Stannis had castrated for raping wildling women. She had two drunkards and a craven too. The last should have been hanged, as the king himself admitted, but he came from a noble family, and his father and brothers had been stalwart from the first.

With Stannis gone, her bed saw little use.

“My sword is sworn to the Night’s Watch.”

Stannis looked disgusted. “Your father was a stubborn man as well. Honor, he called it. Well, honor has its costs, as Lord Eddard learned to his sorrow.”

 

Only from a single Mel chapter, we learned that Stannis spared a craven who should have been hanged and he also had sex with Mel regularly. In his world view, sparing those who break the laws encourages others to break the laws without fear of punishment. That is why he wants to be seen as unbending in the matters of law. Stannis openly bashes Ned for acting too honorably and paying it with his head. He is scornful to Jon for acting too honorable like his father. Do people think that Stannis does not practice what he preaches? As long as it is not done in an encouraging way for the public, Stannis can play with the boundaries of the law and honor as it pleases him. Whether you like it or hate it, this is how Stannis rolls.

Quote

 

"I would hope the truth would please you, Sire. Your men call Val a princess, but to the free folk she is only the sister of their king's dead wife. If you force her to marry a man she does not want, she is like to slit his throat on their wedding night. Even if she accepts her husband, that does not mean the wildlings will follow him, or you. The only man who can bind them to your cause is Mance Rayder."

"I know that," Stannis said, unhappily. "I have spent hours speaking with the man. He knows much and more of our true enemy, and there is cunning in him, I'll grant you. Even if he were to renounce his kingship, though, the man remains an oathbreaker. Suffer one deserter to live, and you encourage others to desert. No. Laws should be made of iron, not of pudding. Mance Rayder's life is forfeit by every law of the Seven Kingdoms."

"The law ends at the Wall, Your Grace. You could make good use of Mance."

"I mean to. I'll burn him, and the north will see how I deal with turncloaks and traitors. I have other men to lead the wildlings. And I have Rayder's son, do not forget. Once the father dies, his whelp will be the King-Beyond-the-Wall."

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

"Me?" Snow sounded startled.

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

 

Despite Mel’s claim, Jon pointing that the law ended at the Wall was irrelevant. Stannis already knew about that and he was already ready to spare Mance if he met his terms long before that exchange. At that time, Stannis was very frustrated because he recently got that letter of defiance from Lyanna Mormont. He complained that despite his ravens, all he got was silence and defiance from the Northern Lords except Arnolf Karstark. Therefore, he had to burn “Mance” to send a message to the world. (Again) whether you like it or hate it, this is how Stannis rolls.

Quote

 

“Is it Mance? Val begged the king to spare him. She said she’d let some kneeler marry her and never slit his throat if only Mance could live. That Lord o’Bones, he’s to be spared. Craster always swore he’d kill him if he ever showed his face about the keep. Mance never did half the things he done.”

“Mance knows the haunted forest better than any ranger,” Jon had told King Stannis, in his final effort to convince His Grace that the King-Beyond-the-Wall would be of more use to them alive than dead. “He knows Tormund Giantsbane. He has fought the Others. And he had the Horn of Joramun and did not blow it. He did not bring down the Wall when he could have.”

 

Here we see further uses of keeping Mance alive from the perspective of Stannis. Previously Jon told him that Val would slit the throat of any husband Stannis forcefully makes her wed. But then she begged Stannis to spare Mance and promised to be an obedient bride. Stannis talked with not only Mance but all the other wildling leaders including Rattleshirt. He learned all he can about them from other people. We have seen him questioning Jon about Mance and Rattleshirt. Therefore, Stannis knows that Rattleshirt is a treacherous and bloodthirsty bastard who is bound to create problems. His crimes were much more unforgivable than Mance.

Quote

“Sire, some claim that you mean to grant lands and castles to Rattleshirt and the Magnar of Thenn.”

Yet Stannis meant to grant lands and a castle to “Rattleshirt”. It does not make sense.

Quote

 

"The wildling men will form my van. The Magnar will command them, with their own chiefs as serjeants."

“As you wish. I have a gift for you, Lord Snow.” The king waved a hand at Rattleshirt. “Him.”

Lady Melisandre smiled. “You did say you wanted men, Lord Snow. I believe our Lord of Bones still qualifies.”

Jon was aghast. “Your Grace, this man cannot be trusted. If I keep him here, someone will slit his throat for him. If I send him ranging, he’ll just go back over to the wildlings.”

“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.”

Perhaps not, Jon thought, but you do.

“I’ll range for you, bastard,” Rattleshirt declared. “I’ll give you sage counsel or sing you pretty songs, as you prefer. I’ll even fight for you. Just don’t ask me to wear your cloak.”

 

It makes even less sense to give Rattleshirt to Jon as a gift, especially since Stannis planned to have the wildlings in his van, led by their own chiefs. Rattleshirt was a notorious raider. Stannis is a commander in need of soldiers and serjeants. He would never leave Rattleshirt behind, unless he knew that it was not actually Rattleshirt.

Quote

 

“Stannis burned the wrong man.”

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

 

Again we come to the same point that the burning of Mance was not a matter of law but a political message to the Northern Lords and wildlings, showing how Stannis deals with turncloaks and traitors.

Finally, think from Mel’s POV. If she knew that she could cast the Mance/Rattleshirt glamor, would she not tell Stannis about it? Stannis needed to burn Mance but he also wanted to make use of him. Even if Mance refused his terms about binding the wildlings to his cause, Stannis would still want to use him for his knowledge about the Others if not for anything else. If Mel knew that she could provide that to Stannis with her powers, why would she keep it as a secret? It does not make any sense. If Mel finds a way to help Stannis, she makes sure that Stannis knows about it (especially her sorcery skills). That is her only way to convince Stannis of her power and in return gain his confidence. Mel needs to act this way in order to keep Stannis dependent on her. If she kept all her sorcery a secret, how could she hope to convince Stannis to burn Edric?

Moreover, Mel working behind the back of Stannis in such a critical matter does not seem compatible with how their relationship is framed. Mel knows that Stannis will use her as long as she displays power, yet at the same time, Stannis doesn't forget any betrayal. If Mel was capable of doing such acts behind the back of Stannis for the greater good, she would have burned Edric by herself and only after the fact tried to convince Stannis with the dragon she expected to awaken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Stannis most likely knows
 

 

 

So, Mance, Melissandre and Stannis reached an agreement. Ser Godry is also in the known and probably Val.

It might be that it's even known among the wildings as Tormund doesn't seem too surprised when the Pink Letter arrives.

There are too many things that Jon doesn't know.

 

I mean yeah, Val said she'll marry whoever Stannis chooses for her if he sparred Mance, and after burning 'Mance' they both continue with the marriage plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, CamiloRP said:

I mean yeah, Val said she'll marry whoever Stannis chooses for her if he sparred Mance, and after burning 'Mance' they both continue with the marriage plan.

Yeah. That's another big hint that something happened below the tables. Val was difficult to control before, attempting to escape and stabbing her guards. She acts very meekly afterwards and goes along Stannis plans.

EDIT: Another important clue is "Ratttleshirt" presence in Stannis war council. If Stannis didn't know the switch he would have never approved such a low guy there.

Edited by rotting sea cow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, broken one said:

She gave up burning the father, so maybe there is no point in burning the baby. The king was false as she said, the child's blood has no power either.  If so - it seems Jon's action was unnecessary... as for the baby. But the old Targ would have been nice fuel.

People mistake Melisandre and her burnings. Yes, they are horrible but she doesn't do it when unnecessary. Jon and Aemon mistook her. And the baby switch will bring consequences too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rotting sea cow said:

Another important clue is "Ratttleshirt" presence in Stannis war council. If Stannis didn't know the switch he would have never approved such a low guy there.

He might just have accepted him as the representative of loyal wildings, big figure, a warlord. Stannis has strange idea of "who is who" among them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, he probably knows. All the evidence seems to point in that direction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Another important clue is "Ratttleshirt" presence in Stannis war council. If Stannis didn't know the switch he would have never approved such a low guy there.

That's a really good point! I didn't even think of that!

17 hours ago, broken one said:

He might just have accepted him as the representative of loyal wildings, big figure, a warlord. Stannis has strange idea of "who is who" among them.

That sounds more like something Selyse was doing rather than Stannis. She's the one treating Gerrick Kingsblood like the king of the wildlings. Stannis never bought into that.

Edited by Floki of the Ironborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the author of the Pink Letter believes that Stannis knows and states as much in the letter.I personally like Mance for PL's author (actually just happened to read Tormund's not too excited or surprised reaction to hearing Mance is alive, and have to wonder how clued in to Mance's plans he may be), but there are definitely other candidates. Stannis is one of the people who would know some of the details in there, or have access to that knowledge anyway, but I'm hung up on the repeated reference to 'your false king'. I can't see Stannis ever calling himself that. That's not to say he couldn't though, Stannis is a strategic genius and we've seen how he's happy to look like a Stark and act like a Lannister when it suits him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...