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What were the objectives of the pink letter?


divica
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3 hours ago, LynnS said:

It seems to me that it isn't just Jon who is inflamed by the letter, but the Wildlings as well.

Yes, Jon has 300 wildlings who Stannis was going to put in his van when he planned to move against the Dreadfort, but Stannis doesn't know that Tormund has returned yet.

3 hours ago, LynnS said:

Mance seems to have his own plan aside from Mel's plot or whatever it was they were scheming together.

Yes, Mance has his own plan and it too involves Jon as the only potential leader of the North who the free folk could integrate under. Of course, Mance is in Winterfell too and will probably emerge from hiding once Stannis has the castle. So he may have been involved in the letter, there are some parts that are reminiscent of Mance. But "I want my bride back. I want my Reek," definitely comes from Stannis and Theon, and "I have his magic sword. Tell his Red Witch," makes most sense from Stannis as it can be connected back to an earlier passage of text.

If Mance is aware about the letter then he wants Jon to come too, not to bend the knee to Stannis but to be declared King-in-the-North by the Snowmen in Winterfell. So if Mance is plotting with Stannis then it is secretly to hasten the king's end.

3 hours ago, LynnS said:

The smear of pink wax implies that the letter has been read and resealed before it got to Jon.

Do crows typically carry messages sealed with wax?

Yes, ravens do carry letters sealed with wax. And yes, the smear of pink wax shows that the letter had been read and resealed by Marsh and company before being delivered to Jon.

18 minutes ago, Nevets said:

The only reason Jon is going to Winterfell is because he has an army; an army Stannis knows nothing about.  As far as Stannis knows, Jon could probably rustle up a couple dozen men for an escort; enough to defend themselves, but not much else.  So, no reason to go, since he can't accomplish much, and if he did go, it would be an official visit. 

Stannis knows Jon has 300 fighting wildlings, because he gave them to Jon in exchange for the Northern Clans. Jon is also the son of Eddard Stark with potential to rally northern support, even amongst Roose's own allies. Stan has seen how much the Starks mean to the North on the march from Deepwood. And Jon also has command of the Night's Watch, who Stannis probably hoped he would bring, but Jon decided against that. And Jon did say in the shield hall that he would go alone if he had to, and while you might say that's because he was confident of getting the swords, he could not have been certain of it and I don't think Jon was lying. So you might say Jon wouldn't go but Jon says otherwise.

"The Night's Watch will make for Hardhome. I ride to Winterfell alone, unless …" Jon paused. "… is there any man here who will come stand with me?"

And Jon is not going on an official visit. The letter is not designed to spark his curiosity about events at Winterfell, it's designed to push him past the proxy-war he has been waging through Stannis and get involved himself, for the sake of the North and his father's seat. Stannis wants Jon to start playing the game of thrones basically, because the Watch are sworn to take no part.

Stannis saw Jon's disgusted reaction to Winterfell going to a Karstark, who abandoned his brother amongst his enemies, which is bad but not as bad as what the Bolton's did to Robb. Jon is the one who sent Stannis the letter uncovering the Karstark's treachery. Stannis knows Jon wants the Boltons dead too, but he's leaving their defeat to Stannis. So Stannis is saying, I'm dead, if you want Winterfell back then it is now up to you.

53 minutes ago, Nevets said:

My reason for not knowing if the letter is true is because I don't know if Ramsay is lying or has been tricked nor what has actually transpired at Winterfell. I still don't believe Stannis wrote it.  Ramsay did.

At least I'm presenting a text based case for Stannis. There is no case for Ramsay. It just doesn't make sense on any level. Why would he do that? First you have to ask will he even be in Winterfell. His character has been painted as one who likes to hunt women through the woods. Arya just escaped, weak and frail, and is 600+ miles from Castle Black. It is important to the Bolton claim that her identity remains a secret. Jon would know the real Arya. Asking for her back from Jon is just stupid, even for Ramsay.

At the crofter's village, as Stannis prepares for the arrival of the Freys, Theon tells him Ramsay is coming too, and I agree. Which means he isn't in Winterfell unless he wins the Battle of Ice and returns, in which case we might expect him to have recaptured Reek. But that's a moot point because we all know Stannis isn't losing that battle.

The only thing that suggests the letter is from Ramsay is the signature, which is not even written in his huge spiky hand as was previously set-up, twice, but is conspicuously absent this time.

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On 4/24/2021 at 3:18 PM, divica said:

And I like that you quit trying to find northmen blaming the boltons about the RW!

Roose marches south with Robb against Tywin. Robb dies in the Twins at the Red Wedding. Roose returns as Tywin's Warden of the North, northern independence is quashed, Ramsay is legitimized by the King and the new heir to Winterfell, and Roose has an army of Freys with him. What do you think the average northman thinks happened?

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6 hours ago, LynnS said:

The smear of pink wax implies that the letter has been read and resealed before it got to Jon.

That is a good point, but then one may wonder what's the narrative point of implying someone (probably in Castle Black) has already read the letter when Jon reveals its contents to everyone there anyway. Why is it necessary to have someone open it beforehand when everyone would find out what is in the letter soon enough?

On the one hand, it gave the conspirators a bit more time to arrange or rearrange their plan, but the assassination (attempt) still seems to have been done in a rush, so I don't see the point in giving the assassins a few more minutes to act. Also, though there may have been an earlier plan to kill Jon, what actually happened was probably a reaction to Jon's announced plan to ride to Castle Black without the Watch, which would have put Jon out of reach of the conspirators. 

On the other hand, anyone who had the opportunity to open, read and reseal the letter before Jon received it also had the opportunity to modify it - like adding a couple of lines that originally had not been there. 

Regarding the consequences of the letter, I think it is an important point that - apparently - Ramsay threatens to attack not only Jon but the whole Night's Watch unless he gets the listed hostages, at least that is what the mention of the "black crows" implies. 

Quote

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.

However, Jon does not even have all the hostages (does the author of the letter know this?), which means he should seriously consider an attack on Castle Black by Ramsay and the Bolton army (if Stannis is indeed dead). That's one piece of information Jon would very likely share with his men. The Watch may take no part, but when they are attacked, they may not just let themselves be butchered. They may choose to fight back, which may just prompt them to ride forth to meet the approaching army, as Castle Black is indefensible from the South. Of course, the Watch may also decide to side with Ramsay against Jon (which Marsh and Co did) - however, that still will not give Ramsay all the hostages he demands, so who knows if that will really make him any more lenient towards the Watch?

Jon decided to leave the black brothers out of the whole conflict, but could the author of the letter count on that? Also, Jon announced he would ride to Winterfell, but what if he had just decided to wait for Ramsay, say, just outside of Mole Town instead of going to Winterfell? After all, the letter clearly shows that "Arya" is not in Winterfell any longer, and the spearwives are probably dead. Mance may need to be rescued, but if Ramsay was apparently coming with an army to get the people listed in the letter (or to eat Jon's heart), then who could really count on Jon going to Winterfell before meeting Ramsay (or his army) in battle? And if Ramsay's army did not show up, Jon could just decide that the letter did not tell the truth and could send out some more wildlings towards Winterfell to investigate what was going on. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Roose marches south with Robb against Tywin. Robb dies in the Twins at the Red Wedding. Roose returns as Tywin's Warden of the North, northern independence is quashed, Ramsay is legitimized by the King and the new heir to Winterfell, and Roose has an army of Freys with him. What do you think the average northman thinks happened?

Yep, not counting that Roose married a Frey girl and doesn't mind her and her family after they betrayed and butchered his countrymen and king at the Red Wedding while the Frey squires who were at Winterfell and supposely killed or captured by the ironborn are now squires to his son. 

I very strongly doubt that there is a single intelligent person in the North who hasn't guessed that the Boltons are accomplices of the Red Wedding yet.

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2 hours ago, Julia H. said:

That is a good point, but then one may wonder what's the narrative point of implying someone (probably in Castle Black) has already read the letter when Jon reveals its contents to everyone there anyway. Why is it necessary to have someone open it beforehand when everyone would find out what is in the letter soon enough?

The narrative purpose has much to do with the arc of Bowen Marsh. Reading the letter just gives him more time to make his decision, which is a huge crisis for his character. Remember, GRRM likes to write every character as the hero of their own story, so that their motives and actions seem more real. I'll briefly paraphrase, but there are a number of quotes to qualify what really drove him to do it and I'll dig them out if you want.

Bowen and Jon had come to different points of view about the wildlings, sure, but not enough for Bowen to plot Jon's assassination. It was another factor that pushed him into a position where he felt he had no choice.

First, Bowen was concerned about supporting Stannis and how it might look to Tywin. Bowen advised Jon that the Watch should side with the winning side, which he saw as Tywin, given Stannis's lack of strength.

Then, when Cersei was in control of KL, she had a small council meeting where they discussed Stannis and Jon. Cersei decided Jon was a treacherous bastard. Harys Swift was her Hand at the time and he, along with Pycelle, suggested writing to Castle Black demanding that they remove Jon or else the Watch will be considered traitors to the crown. Qyburn suggested sending the Watch some of the swords they're always asking for with an assassin amongst them. Cersei preferred that idea to Swift and Pycelle's, and in what she considered a Tywin moment, privately devised a plan to kill two birds with one stone. She would get a Kettleblack to confess to the High Septon to sleeping with Margery, he would then take the black and kill Jon. However, the High Sparrow sniffed it out and Cersei was imprisoned.

Later, after some time, Uncle Kevan arrived from Lannisport and visited her in her cell and told her Swift and Pycelle had been running the realm since she was removed. The implication is they returned to the unresolved business of Jon Snow and sent the letter to Marsh, as they had advised Cersei to do.

When the Pink Letter arrived, marked Bastard, and Marsh read it's contents, then he must have been concerned, fearing how Jon might react. When Jon announced he was riding against the crown's Lord of Winterfell, Marsh knew he had no choice but to act and stop Jon or else the crown would consider the Watch to be traitors. That's why it was - for the Watch.

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49 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

The narrative purpose has much to do with the arc of Bowen Marsh. Reading the letter just gives him more time to make his decision, which is a huge crisis for his character. Remember, GRRM likes to write every character as the hero of their own story, so that their motives and actions seem more real. I'll briefly paraphrase, but there are a number of quotes to qualify what really drove him to do it and I'll dig them out if you want.

Bowen and Jon had come to different points of view about the wildlings, sure, but not enough for Bowen to plot Jon's assassination. It was another factor that pushed him into a position where he felt he had no choice.

First, Bowen was concerned about supporting Stannis and how it might look to Tywin. Bowen advised Jon that the Watch should side with the winning side, which he saw as Tywin, given Stannis's lack of strength.

Then, when Cersei was in control of KL, she had a small council meeting where they discussed Stannis and Jon. Cersei decided Jon was a treacherous bastard. Harys Swift was her Hand at the time and he, along with Pycelle, suggested writing to Castle Black demanding that they remove Jon or else the Watch will be considered traitors to the crown. Qyburn suggested sending the Watch some of the swords they're always asking for with an assassin amongst them. Cersei preferred that idea to Swift and Pycelle's, and in what she considered a Tywin moment, privately devised a plan to kill two birds with one stone. She would get a Kettleblack to confess to the High Septon to sleeping with Margery, he would then take the black and kill Jon. However, the High Sparrow sniffed it out and Cersei was imprisoned.

Later, after some time, Uncle Kevan arrived from Lannisport and visited her in her cell and told her Swift and Pycelle had been running the realm since she was removed. The implication is they returned to the unresolved business of Jon Snow and sent the letter to Marsh, as they had advised Cersei to do.

When the Pink Letter arrived, marked Bastard, and Marsh read it's contents, then he must have been concerned, fearing how Jon might react. When Jon announced he was riding against the crown's Lord of Winterfell, Marsh knew he had no choice but to act and stop Jon or else the crown would consider the Watch to be traitors. That's why it was - for the Watch.

I agree with most of the above, except perhaps that I find it quite possible that the assassination was being planned already when the Pink Letter arrived. After all, how would Bowen have known which of the watchmen would be willing to help him at such a short notice to kill the Lord Commander if they had not been planning something like that before? Perhaps Jon was to be killed during the Hardhome mission, beyond the Wall, as Mormont had been. However, as you say, Jon's announcement made action urgent. Sure, they wanted to show how loyal to the Crown they were, but it was also their last chance to act if Jon was about to ride out with an all-Wildling army. That means that the action was made urgent only after Jon had announced his intention to ride to Winterfell. Bowen's prior knowledge regarding the contents of the letter does not seem to have made much difference. The plan they came up with seems to be to kill Jon as soon as they managed to get close enough to him, and that plan does not seem to  have required much brainstorming.

Maybe the narrative purpose is to implicate Clydas as well, since he was in charge of the ravens and the letters. He must have at least known that Bowen had read the letter, or maybe he had reported to him before notifying Jon. 

Still, once we have reason to suspect that the letter had been opened before Jon saw it, the possibility that it had been modified is also there. 

Edited by Julia H.
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3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

I find it quite possible that the assassination was being planned already when the Pink Letter arrived.

His arrest/removal was probably being planned since the letter from KL. Mance sat near Marsh and company in the shield hall while eating and they accused him of listening in on their plans.

"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."

Bowen was talking about the high ground, which connects back to a conversation he had with Jon.

"Take the high ground and win the battle, my uncle used to say. No ground is higher than the Wall, Lord Commander."

"Stannis promises land, food, and justice to any wildlings who bend the knee. He will never permit us to seal the gates."

Marsh hesitated. "Lord Snow, I am not one to bear tales, but there has been talk that you are becoming too … too friendly with Lord Stannis. Some even suggest that you are … a …"

So if we connect the dots we can see that Mance sat down next to Bowen when the Old Pomegranate was talking about Jon's relationship with Stannis, which is the crown's main grievance against the Watch. I think Bowen was plotting at this stage, sounding out who he might have with him etc. But I don't think killing Jon was the preferred option, Bowen's not really like that, even when the pink letter came I think they tried to drug Jon first but it didn't happen, although Jon did feel some of the effects. Stabbing was a last resort, which is why Bowen was upset in the scene.

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11 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

His arrest/removal was probably being planned since the letter from KL. Mance sat near Marsh and company in the shield hall while eating and they accused him of listening in on their plans.

"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."

Bowen was talking about the high ground, which connects back to a conversation he had with Jon.

"Take the high ground and win the battle, my uncle used to say. No ground is higher than the Wall, Lord Commander."

"Stannis promises land, food, and justice to any wildlings who bend the knee. He will never permit us to seal the gates."

Marsh hesitated. "Lord Snow, I am not one to bear tales, but there has been talk that you are becoming too … too friendly with Lord Stannis. Some even suggest that you are … a …"

So if we connect the dots we can see that Mance sat down next to Bowen when the Old Pomegranate was talking about Jon's relationship with Stannis, which is the crown's main grievance against the Watch. I think Bowen was plotting at this stage, sounding out who he might have with him etc. But I don't think killing Jon was the preferred option, Bowen's not really like that, even when the pink letter came I think they tried to drug Jon first but it didn't happen, although Jon did feel some of the effects. Stabbing was a last resort, which is why Bowen was upset in the scene.

Again, I mostly agree.

The arrest / removal option though... Lord Commanders are chosen for life and I can't recall any LC's being "removed" by their own men without being killed. If you know of any such precedent, I would be curious to know, too. 

I would also like to know more about the drugging attempt theory. I recall that Jon was unable to draw his sword, which is definitely something suspicious, but I don't recall the moment following the arrival of the letter when the drugging could have taken place. (An alternative option is that something was done to the sword.) But even if Jon was drugged, there is no proof that it was not done to make the assassination attempt easier rather than to replace it with an "arrest". 

It is true that Marsh does not seem to be a man who would make the decision to kill the LC very easily. However, if we look at the history between them, Marsh was certainly happy to plot with Slynt and Thorne, who clearly wanted to have Jon killed. At the time Jon was not the LC, so that was a different situation. Still, once you have participated in a plot to get a certain person killed, the fact that the person's status in the world has changed will not necessarily change your attitude towards the man - for Marsh, Jon has never been the proper kind of LC.

Yet, Marsh did not, in the past, act on his own to get Jon killed. In fact, he has always seemed to be the follower type rather than the leader type, but now he seems to be the leader of the conspiracy. There has been at least one theory on the presence of a real mastermind behind the plot - the mind of someone who was able to influence Marsh and would not shy away from getting Jon killed, LC or not.  

Edited by Julia H.
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On 12/5/2021 at 2:26 PM, three-eyed monkey said:

Roose marches south with Robb against Tywin. Robb dies in the Twins at the Red Wedding. Roose returns as Tywin's Warden of the North, northern independence is quashed, Ramsay is legitimized by the King and the new heir to Winterfell, and Roose has an army of Freys with him. What do you think the average northman thinks happened?

why wouldn't they think that after robb's death and the northern defeat roose surrendered and one of the terms of the surrender was to marry a frey? That the freys are going north as lannister's representatives to insure that the north behaves?

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On 12/5/2021 at 6:59 PM, three-eyed monkey said:

The narrative purpose has much to do with the arc of Bowen Marsh. Reading the letter just gives him more time to make his decision, which is a huge crisis for his character. Remember, GRRM likes to write every character as the hero of their own story, so that their motives and actions seem more real. I'll briefly paraphrase, but there are a number of quotes to qualify what really drove him to do it and I'll dig them out if you want.

Bowen and Jon had come to different points of view about the wildlings, sure, but not enough for Bowen to plot Jon's assassination. It was another factor that pushed him into a position where he felt he had no choice.

First, Bowen was concerned about supporting Stannis and how it might look to Tywin. Bowen advised Jon that the Watch should side with the winning side, which he saw as Tywin, given Stannis's lack of strength.

Then, when Cersei was in control of KL, she had a small council meeting where they discussed Stannis and Jon. Cersei decided Jon was a treacherous bastard. Harys Swift was her Hand at the time and he, along with Pycelle, suggested writing to Castle Black demanding that they remove Jon or else the Watch will be considered traitors to the crown. Qyburn suggested sending the Watch some of the swords they're always asking for with an assassin amongst them. Cersei preferred that idea to Swift and Pycelle's, and in what she considered a Tywin moment, privately devised a plan to kill two birds with one stone. She would get a Kettleblack to confess to the High Septon to sleeping with Margery, he would then take the black and kill Jon. However, the High Sparrow sniffed it out and Cersei was imprisoned.

Later, after some time, Uncle Kevan arrived from Lannisport and visited her in her cell and told her Swift and Pycelle had been running the realm since she was removed. The implication is they returned to the unresolved business of Jon Snow and sent the letter to Marsh, as they had advised Cersei to do.

When the Pink Letter arrived, marked Bastard, and Marsh read it's contents, then he must have been concerned, fearing how Jon might react. When Jon announced he was riding against the crown's Lord of Winterfell, Marsh knew he had no choice but to act and stop Jon or else the crown would consider the Watch to be traitors. That's why it was - for the Watch.

It is interesting to consider that bowen could be more worried about what the crown/lannisters think of the NW that what ramsey thinks. It could even make sense that he thinks the crown would intervene and stop ramsay from attacking them if the NW disposes of jon.

But I think this and any long term plan bowen had to get rid of jon are in the end sub plots to what really happened once the pink letter arrived. Besides serving as a warnig for the future if jon survives this I don't think they are that interesting...

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On 12/5/2021 at 7:41 PM, Julia H. said:

I agree with most of the above, except perhaps that I find it quite possible that the assassination was being planned already when the Pink Letter arrived. After all, how would Bowen have known which of the watchmen would be willing to help him at such a short notice to kill the Lord Commander if they had not been planning something like that before? Perhaps Jon was to be killed during the Hardhome mission, beyond the Wall, as Mormont had been. However, as you say, Jon's announcement made action urgent. Sure, they wanted to show how loyal to the Crown they were, but it was also their last chance to act if Jon was about to ride out with an all-Wildling army. That means that the action was made urgent only after Jon had announced his intention to ride to Winterfell. Bowen's prior knowledge regarding the contents of the letter does not seem to have made much difference. The plan they came up with seems to be to kill Jon as soon as they managed to get close enough to him, and that plan does not seem to  have required much brainstorming.

Maybe the narrative purpose is to implicate Clydas as well, since he was in charge of the ravens and the letters. He must have at least known that Bowen had read the letter, or maybe he had reported to him before notifying Jon. 

Still, once we have reason to suspect that the letter had been opened before Jon saw it, the possibility that it had been modified is also there. 

It is unlikely that the contents of the letter were changed because a lot of what was written there was nonsense for most people. Mance rayder being alive!? They saw him burning. And whoever knows jon knows he would use that letter to unite the NW and wildling against an attack from ramsay and further turning them against the crown. It doesn't really serve the marsh's faction purposes.

Even implicating clydas has its issues. Like who will serve as the NW maester in the near future?

It is also interesting to think if someone has sent a raven to the NW indirectly from stannis (him sending the raven into a castle and that castle to the NW) informing jon that farya escaped and is riding to the wall.

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1 hour ago, divica said:

why wouldn't they think that after robb's death and the northern defeat roose surrendered and one of the terms of the surrender was to marry a frey? That the freys are going north as lannister's representatives to insure that the north behaves?

That would be an extremely naive conclusion to reach. Northern defeat did not come on the battlefield, it came at Robb's wedding. All northern houses lost men that day, killed or taken hostage, with the exception of House Bolton who benefited, gaining Winterfell, rule over the North, and legitimacy for Ramsay.

Even if you give Roose the benefit of the doubt and say he surrendered, it is clear that he is now in partnership with the Freys and the crown. He is the Warden of the North. Such rewards are typically for granted for service.

In world, it seems to me that everyone in the North knows what happened as vengeance is well and truly in the works. Manderly, Umber, Glover, Lady Dustin, Northern Clans, Mormont, and more, all working to remove Roose and the Freys. Roose knows he's on thin ice. Tywin knew it too, that's why the whole Arya wedding was arranged, to bolster what is obviously a very tenuous hold on the North. Stannis knows it too.

Stannis studied him with those dark blue eyes. "Tywin Lannister has named Roose Bolton his Warden of the North, to reward him for betraying your brother. The ironmen are fighting amongst themselves since Balon Greyjoy's death, yet they still hold Moat Cailin, Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, and most of the Stony Shore. Your father's lands are bleeding, and I have neither the strength nor the time to stanch the wounds. What is needed is a Lord of Winterfell. A loyal Lord of Winterfell."

Jon was not surprised to hear Roose betrayed Robb. Jon Snow might know nothing, but he knows that much. It's the reason why he has been helping Stannis, because like everyone else in the North, with a few exceptions, he wants to see the Bolton's defeated.

And as we are on that particular quote, we can see the motive behind the pink letter spelled out by Stannis. He needs a Lord of Winterfell. A loyal Lord of Winterfell. Jon is an ideal candidate, the only candidate, but Jon keeps refusing Stannis, citing his oath as the reason. The objective of the pink letter was to drag Jon into the war, forswearing his oath in the process. Stannis would greatly benefit from such a turn of events.

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On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, divica said:

It is unlikely that the contents of the letter were changed because a lot of what was written there was nonsense for most people. Mance rayder being alive!? They saw him burning. And whoever knows jon knows he would use that letter to unite the NW and wildling against an attack from ramsay and further turning them against the crown. It doesn't really serve the marsh's faction purposes.

I never said that the news of Mance being alive was the changed contents of the letter. Of course, it could only be written by someone who knew that. Furthermore, I didn't say that the whole original letter was replaced, only that the person who opened it may have had the chance to modify it. It seems to be implied that the letter had been opened before it reached Jon, and I think it is a legitimate question what the author's underlying purpose was if everyone and their mother in Castle Black would soon learn the contents from Jon himself anyway. 

Jon definitely did not use the letter to unite the NW and the wildlings, and "whoever knows Jon" may or may not have guessed that. How do you know that a possible, calculated or miscalculated reaction of Jon to the letter would not serve the purposes of Marsh and Co? 

On 12/13/2021 at 9:15 PM, divica said:

Even implicating clydas has its issues. Like who will serve as the NW maester in the near future?

I don't think anyone in-world purposefully implicated Clydas. Still, if we suspect that the letter had been opened before it reached Jon, then Clydas is implicated by this suspicion, since he is in charge of ravens in CB. 

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The letter was written by a man who can barely contain his anger.  The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch stole his bride and his manservant from right underneath his nose.  Jon was helping Stannis.  The Wildlings are roaming the North.  The Boltons got caught in a lie.  Ramsay was out of his mind when he wrote that letter. 

The Boltons want to end the rebellion and secure their hold on the North.  Every demand in the letter seeks to accomplish this goal as well as to settle the matter of Arya and Reek. 

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On 12/18/2021 at 3:36 PM, Only 89 selfies today said:

The letter was written by a man who can barely contain his anger.  The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch stole his bride and his manservant from right underneath his nose.  Jon was helping Stannis.  The Wildlings are roaming the North.  The Boltons got caught in a lie.  Ramsay was out of his mind when he wrote that letter. 

The Boltons want to end the rebellion and secure their hold on the North.  Every demand in the letter seeks to accomplish this goal as well as to settle the matter of Arya and Reek. 

Yeah, I agree. It's the simplest answer.

Despite Jon's noble intentions, his behaviors were beyond the pale for the leader of the Watch. Ramsey would rightly be incensed by such actions upon learning of them, and an angry letter asserting his rights as a legitimate heir denied by this bastard Jon seems perfectly in character. Functionally, for the narrative, it reveals to the brothers at Castle Black some of the crazy things that Jon has been doing in the name of the Watch--thus pushing the plot for his assassination to warp speed. 

If it ends up being Stannis or Mance or anyone other than Ramsey, I admit I'll be disappointed, as it just seems convoluted for no greater purpose.

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It’s written by Mance, who wants Jon to take Winterfell over Stannis. Bael wants his winter rose, and his “son” to rule over the North, married in a blood alliance with the Free Folk; the only way to secure their future south of the wall.

Sansa’s letter is still in Winterfell. Robb’s will may be as well. And Jon going south to become King fulfills Robb’s will, who would have expected Jon to break his vow to the Watch to assume the kingship.

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