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Only Fire and Blood?

Who will win the battle of Winterfell?

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Incidentally, I imagine that when the Manderly men return to Ramsay with Stannis' sword in hand, they'll also inform him that Theon Greyjoy and 'Arya Stark' have been sent to the Wall. And before even that, Ramsay will have tortured one of the spear wives, thereby extracting the other information he is shown to possess in his letter to Jon.

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Well I guess,but RB is currently fighting for his life and I don't see him winning immediate popularity among his northern lords for throwing away the Freys. Long term it makes sense, perhaps, but with Stannis only a few days away its the short term that counts.

Dude. EVERYONE hates the Freys — the Lannisters hate them, the Riverlords hate them and the Northerners ESPECIALLY hate them because they know exactly what they did. They're not fooling anybody. Tossing them under the bus will probably be the smartest thing Roose Bolton ever did.

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Bolton is ruthless. It's winter, the Freys are causing more trouble than they're worth, they don't do well in the climate and they're extra mouths to feed. It's not rocket science here. If two camps are making things difficult for everyone else, it's those camps you send out first to take the brunt of it.

What, the prophecy? Is it really that difficult to come to that conclusion that it is, in fact, Stannis? The only blue-eyed king that we have still living, to my knowledge, who famously spawned a shadow baby? I'm sorry, who do you think it is?

Yeah I always thought it was Stannis too. Needless confusion, I just wasn't ruling out the possibility of a twist on that one. It was a question of disagreeing on how certain it was, not what happened to be the best candidate at the moment. Forget it.

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Dude. EVERYONE hates the Freys — the Lannisters hate them, the Riverlords hate them and the Northerners ESPECIALLY hate them because they know exactly what they did. They're not fooling anybody. Tossing them under the bus will probably be the smartest thing Roose Bolton ever did.

This doesn't address the point that possessing a good sized force of knights and foot not likely to desert you is more important, in the short term, given the circumstances, than currying favour with your bannermen when you suspect them all of disloyalty anyway and probably doubt they will change their minds over night because you've shown yourself willing to throw some of your new found allies under the bus.

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What, the prophecy? Is it really that difficult to come to that conclusion that it is, in fact, Stannis? The only blue-eyed king that we have still living, to my knowledge, who famously spawned a shadow baby? I'm sorry, who do you think it is?

So? The prophecy has been already fulfilled, then. Stannis declared himself king, raised his glowing red sword, check. The visions show her glimpses of reality here and there, both past and future, but not necessarily of Dany's own history. She's seen both Rhaegar's death at the Trident and the Red Wedding, among other things.

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This doesn't address the point that possessing a good sized force of knights and foot not likely to desert you is more important, in the short term, given the circumstances, than currying favour with your bannermen when you suspect them all of disloyalty anyway and probably doubt they will change their minds over night because you've shown yourself willing to throw some of your new found allies under the bus.

With Stannis dead, the Freys and Manderly's men depleted, who exactly is going to oppose the Boltons?

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So? The prophecy has been already fulfilled, then. Stannis declared himself king, raised his glowing red sword, check. The visions show her glimpses of reality here and there, both past and future, but not necessarily of Dany's own history. She's seen both Rhaegar's death at the Trident and the Red Wedding, among other things.

Good point.

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This doesn't address the point that possessing a good sized force of knights and foot not likely to desert you is more important, in the short term, given the circumstances, than currying favour with your bannermen when you suspect them all of disloyalty anyway and probably doubt they will change their minds over night because you've shown yourself willing to throw some of your new found allies under the bus.

That good sized force of knights and foot doesn't matter much when you already are holding a castle and hold the upper hand, so they only serve to reduce your food stores while he only needs three hundred men of his own to hold the walls against an enemy who is exhausted and starving.

He doesn't need to fight Stannis, he only needs to outlast him.

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So? The prophecy has been already fulfilled, then. Stannis declared himself king, raised his glowing red sword, check. The visions show her glimpses of reality here and there, both past and future, but not necessarily of Dany's own history. She's seen both Rhaegar's death at the Trident and the Red Wedding, among other things.

The prophecy is complete when Daenerys slays the lie that Stannis represents. Which, as is quite obvious, has not happened yet. Daenerys still doesn't even know who the blue-eyed king is.

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With Stannis dead, the Freys and Manderly's men depleted, who exactly is going to oppose the Boltons?

I don't understand your point.

Look, if Roose intends to bleed Stannis but doesn't care what happens to the Freys and the Manderlys it doesn't seem to me like he is counting on victory in one shot, as Apple was saying, he might be preparing to send on his men in waves (which sounds stupid to me). In which case he isn't going to assume Stannis is dead after encountering the rather dubious force he dispatches from WF. If he wanted him dead he might as well attack with the whole army.

If Stannis is dead and the battle did indeed weaken the Manderlys then chucking the Freys under the bus does sound like it would be a good idea.

Of course, Roose could just be taking a colossal gamble, so fine, just saying the plan isn't obvious to me and I don't know why everyone here thinks it makes so much sense.

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This doesn't address the point that possessing a good sized force of knights and foot not likely to desert you is more important, in the short term, given the circumstances, than currying favour with your bannermen when you suspect them all of disloyalty anyway and probably doubt they will change their minds over night because you've shown yourself willing to throw some of your new found allies under the bus.

As Faint has posted the Manderlys and the Freys are the two troublemakers in Winterfell and there is an advantage in throwing away men who are of no use to you or if anything a liability and may take some of Stannis's men with them.

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The prophecy is complete when Daenerys slays the lie that Stannis represents.

Just as she has slain Renly and Joffrey?

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No, the point is to defeat Stannis while also largely depleting both the Frey men and the Manderly men. At that point, the Boltons are the only contingent left with a sizable force. It's really that simple.

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Just as she has slain Renly and Joffrey?

Renly and Joffrey were never in the prophecy. Aegon, on the other hand, well, his time is coming too.

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Assuming Ramsey's missive to Jon is genuine (I'm not quite convinced it's genuine), I can only guess Stannis' sword has to be a key part of some subterfuge where Roose let's the "winners" of the Frey/Manderly/Stannis battle back into the castle. Otherwise, I could see Roose leaving the battle's survivors, whoever they are, to starve/freeze outside Winterfell.

Or someone knows a secret way into Winterfell.....

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Don't forget the Karstarks. RB and Freys expect them to turn on Stannis and join them. If Stannis posts them on his flank, the Freys will welcome them with open arms and by the time they realize it's a double cross they will be decimated. It would be a classic maneuver with the Karstarks shuttin the door and the Freys caught between forces.

The only problem would be if Ramseys force was sitting in reserve.

The pink letter says Stanniss friends heads are on the wall ofWF but fails to mention anything about Stannis head meaning Ramsey has no body and thus he likely lives.

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For everybody's reference, since it keeps being brought up:

Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow. A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd. From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire. . . . mother of dragons, slayer of lies . . .

Martin, George R.R. (2003-01-01). A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two (p. 637). Bantam. Kindle Edition.

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Both, the cloth dragon (i.e. Aegon), and the blue-eyed king without a shadow (i.e. Stannis) appear to Dany along with 'Mother of Dragons, Slayer of Lies'. This strongly indicates that Dany will have to reveal both Aegon and Stannis as false saviors/Azor Ahais. Despite the fact that as of yet no one in Westeros sees Azor Ahai/the promised prince in Aegon, this make change soon. There might still be people left who knew about Rhaegar's interpretation of the prophecy.

Anyway, if Stannis were to die right now, much potential for future tension would be destroyed. I want to read about Stannis's reaction when he learns about Dany and her dragons. I want to see his reaction when he learns about Aegon. I want to see how he intends to deal with them. Neither Aegon nor Daenerys will be usurpers in the sense Renly, Robb, Joffrey, Tommen, Balon were. They have a better claim than he, and he knows it.

The very fact that Dany was never once discussed during five volumes of ASoIaF in Stannis's presence, strongly hints that GRRM keeps something back here. The same is true about Stannis's past, and House Baratheon in general. We never got that much insight into both Stannis's personality/feelings/past. Was Stannis at the Tourney of Harrenhal, for instance? What does he know?

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No, the point is to defeat Stannis while also largely depleting both the Frey men and the Manderly men. At that point, the Boltons are the only contingent left with a sizable force. It's really that simple.

It's this idea that I think is silly, for reasons I outlined above.

Sending out the Manderlys and Freys with no real expectations that they will achieve much, other than deal with Bolton's supply situation sounds like a more reasonable strategy for Roose. Even so, I'm still not convinced chucking away your only real support, other than your own forces, at this juncture, is a good idea, but whatever.

Is it really the case though that Roose needs to lessen the number of mouths in WF because Stannis is surely going to start starving first. Also, is Roose aware that Manderly has not brought anything like his whole force. Wouldn't he at least have an inkling of how many men are sworn to White Harbour, in which case, saying he plans the battle to weaken the Manderlys to the point they will no longer be a long term threat lacks credibility.

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Sending out the Manderlys and Freys with no real expectations that they will achieve much . . .

I think you have this point mistaken. Roose very much expects the two to defeat Stannis, or, at the very least, weaken him so severely that the rest becomes mop up work for Ramsay.

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