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Asha Wrote the Bastard Letter (Theon I, TWOW Spoilers)

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I thought the release of the gift Theon chapter kind of explained what happened with the pink letter though:

[snip snip]

I agree, except I can't see how Stannis could send Karstark forces back, not after he surprised them and "contained" them like that. Under pressure, one would squeal. Not sure who/what he'd send. But I'm certain Manderly has been involved.

But I always want to say as well: what a fantastic thread this has been. Really made me rethink everything carefully, especially regarding Asha and Mance's involvement. Bravo to the OP and contributors.

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I think there's a clue in there that discredits Ramsay or any member of Bolton clan from sending that letter; the seal. The letter that was sent to the wall isn't affixed with the seal of house Bolton but with some smeared pink wax.

Hmmm... I guess someone who was in Winterfell and who was bothering to send a letter in the name of a Bolton would have at least tried to get their hands on the seal. Either that, or they've been distracted during the making of the letter.

If the letter hasn't been by Bolton himself, it seems to me that the person who is in the best position to copy Ramsay's style and to dispose of all of the necessary informations contained in the letter is the duo Theon x Stannis. Theon notes "he wants his bride back. He wants his Reek", and the sentence is later featured in the letter.

The only person to have had contacts with both Stannis and Mance, who knows Ramsay's style is Theon. If the wax not being marked with a seal is peremptory, then I'd say it's more likely Theon wrote that letter as a request from Stannis. The purpose then might well be to stir Jon's feelings to have him come down to help them with the Winterfell situation and, mostly, to convince him once and for all that his place is in Winterfell and not at the Wall (what Stannis has been trying to do for a while)

But I don't think the fact the letter not bearing the Bolton seal is a 100% giveaway that it isn't Ramsay who wrote the letter.

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It doesn't matter who wrote the letter we end on so many cliffhangers that a few in any likehood will be the real deal. I could be massively wrong but come on now? Stannis had a few from the Northern Clans who were actually capable. The rest of his army was dying or eating each other, while barbarically sacrificing to R'hllor. The Fatman was hurt and he didn't bring enough army, the Karstarks where going to turn on Stannis. Stannis was walled up crying for Mel while oiling his sword. Mance was wreaking havoc but likely caught as they were discovered upon retreat unless he did a master assassination quite doubtful. I think there is some truth with in that letter. Who knows I would rather read it. Stannis surviving again the wheel turns but that story was told at Blackwater

Who wrote the letter possibly the Braavosi banker, or Theon, or Lady Cerwyn, or the signet was lost to frostbite, or forgotten in haste, or the bastard maniacally just didn't bother signing it as Lord of the North. Or the Watch opened the letter and resealed it, prompting their attack when Snow broke the rules. I don't think it matters terribly to the Stannis tale which is getting repetitive?

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I think Asha realizes Theon is mentally unstable and probably thinks half of what he's saying is crazy talk. She isn't going to know Ramsay refers to him as 'my Reek.' She wouldn't know half of what's in that letter without Theon explaining everything in detail. And he's not nearly lucid enough for all that.

Ramsay wrote the letter.

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WOW! BRavo sir! Well played! Only question: Where does she get the seal?

This point has come up on other threads too. There is no seal [n.]. The authentic Ramsay letters sent to Jon and Asha are sealed [tr.v.] with a button of hard pink wax. The bastard letter is sealed with a smear of pink wax. Nowhere in the text is a Bolton seal or stamp described or even mentioned, despite people thinking there is a flayed-man pressed into the wax or theorizing about Ramsay losing his signet ring (also never mentioned in the books).

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Theon’s Access to Information:

She isn't going to know Ramsay refers to him as 'my Reek.' She wouldn't know half of what's in that letter without Theon explaining everything in detail. And he's not nearly lucid enough for all that.

Even if true, I’m not sure how this naturally leads you to, “Ramsay wrote the Letter.”

Specifically to that point, the phrase “my Reek” occurs once in all the books, and only in the Letter, although the OP and several other posts outline exactly what Theon knows, and speculate on what he may also know. To that end, here’s this quote again:

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.

Elsewhere in this thread it is also outlined that Theon knows the washerwomen were wildings, and much more.

Facts About the Letter:

I believe most people know that the Bastard Letter was sealed with a “pink smear,” which is also mentioned in the OP in the “Opportunity” section.

Nevertheless, even though it appears elsewhere on the forums, why not put all the pertinent letter details on this thread as well, for those that want to skim them (using spoiler tags for those who don’t need to skim them). From The Wayward Bride, ADWD chapter 26:

And that seal … the Boltons of the Dreadfort went into battle beneath pink banners spattered with little drops of blood. It only stood to reason that they would use pink sealing wax as well.

No mention of an actual Bolton seal, just that the Boltons have pink banners, and use pink wax.

This is poison that I hold, she thought. I ought to burn it. Instead she cracked the seal. A scrap of leather fluttered down into her lap. When she read the dry brown words, her black mood grew blacker still. Dark wings, dark words. The ravens never brought glad tidings. The last message sent to Deepwood had been from Stannis Baratheon, demanding homage. This was worse. “The northmen have taken Moat Cailin.”

“The Bastard of Bolton?” asked Qarl, beside her.

Ramsay Bolton, Lord of Winterfell, he signs himself. But there are other names as well.” Lady Dustin, Lady Cerwyn, and four Rysells had appended their own signatures beneath his. Besdies them was drawn a crude giant, the mark of some Umber.

Those were done in maester’s ink, made of soot and coal tar, but the message above was scrawled in brown in a huge, spiky hand. It spoke of the fall of Moat Cailin, of the triumphant return of the Warden of the North to his domains, of a marriage soon to be made. The first words were, “I write this letter in the blood of ironmen,” the last,I send you each a piece of prince. Linger in my lands, and share his fate.”

Meanwhile, here’s the passage regarding Jon’s original Letter as well, from Jon VI, ADWD chapter 28:

“Lord Snow?” a soft voice said.

Clydas thrust the parchment forward. It was tightly rolled and sealed, with a button of hard pink wax. Only the Dreadfort uses pink sealing wax. Jon ripped off his gauntlet, took the letter, cracked the seal. When he saw the signature, he forgot the battering Rattleshirt had given him.

Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, it read, in a huge, spiky hand. The brown ink came away in flakes when Jon brushed it with his thumb. Beneath Bolton’s signature, Lord Dustin, Lardy Cerwyn, and four Ryswells had appended their own marks and seals. A cruder hand had drawn the giant of House Umber.

And, of course, the Bastard Letter and surrounding text from Jon XIII, ADWD chapter 70:

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

Bastard Letter Link

In essence, there are several commonalities and important aspects of the descriptions of the first two letters which – objectively – do not align with the Bastard Letter, no matter who the author:

  • Neither Asha’s nor Jon’s original letters are actually sealed with an official Bolton seal. Asha’s has pink wax, and Jon’s has a pink button, although all three are referred to as seals. I take from comparing the descriptions of the first two letters that it’s fairly safe to assume both are “sealed” with “a button of hard pink wax,” and that none of the letters are sealed with an official Bolton flayed man pressed into the wax.
  • In the case of both of the original Asha/Jon letters, the body copy of the original letters was written in dry brown “ink,” which I take to be blood. Meanwhile, the closest citation we have to confirmation of what the Bastard Letter is penned from is Tormund’s nearby comment: “If I had me a nice goose quill and a pot o’ maester’s ink,” which I do not necessarily take as conformation that the Letter is penned in maester’s ink, although it may be.
  • The signatures of the original letters are done in black maester’s ink, and appear to match, where no signatures are mentioned in regards to the Bastard Letter.
  • Nothing is written on the outside of the first two letters, where “Bastard” is written on the outside of the Bastard Letter
  • The first two letters both contain “a piece of prince,” though the Bastard Letter contains neither a piece of Mance nor the spearwives.
  • Asha’s letter is signed “Lord of Winterfell,” where Jon’s original is signed “Lord of the Hornwood.” The Bastard Letter is signed “Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.”

Regardless of the differences of physical descriptions, Jon has seen enough that he concludes, “It was sent by Ramsay Snow.” This at least may suggest that the Dustin/Cerwyn/Ryswell/Umber signatures may match (if they’re there at all), the handwriting is close enough to not cause doubt, and the ink used isn’t out of the ordinary (either brown or black, I would assume).

However, the differences that are inarguable (besides content) are the seal, the writing on the outside, the absence of skin, and Ramsay’s differing titles (noting that the title in Asha's Letter and the Bastard Letter are both effectively Lord of Winterfell).

As it happens, most Ramsay supporters appear to readily excuse these differences, whether through spelling out their rationale, or simply by posting “Ramsay wrote the letter,” which, of course, is not an argument. It also seems that, despite Ramsay’s apparent haste to quickly smear some pink wax on the Letter and get it to Castle Black ASAP, Ramsay supporters also have no problem believing that he procrastinated through “seven days of battle” before writing it, or that he's simply lying about that aspect, neither of which can be proven yet.

In that spirit, the debate rages on.

Ravens in Camp Stannis:

It’s frequently claimed that Stannis only has access to two ravens, which come from Maester Tybald. Furthermore, and probably because one of those ravens flew to Winterfell with a map of Stannis’ location, it is also often claimed that those two ravens “definitely” go to Winterfell, despite canon confirmation of this “fact.”

I would like to point out that when Jon receives the original letter from Ramsay, it goes down like this:

”Lord Snow?” a soft voice said.

He turned to find Clydas standing beneath the broken archway, a parchment in his hand. “From Stannis?” Jon had been hoping for some word from the king.

In short, ravens coming from Stannis’ camp to Castle Black is not an obstacle in Jon’s mind, and therefore not in mine either. In fact, Jon must believe that Stannis brought ravens with him that are trained to fly to Castle Black, or he would not have said this.

In any event, whether through Maester Tybald’s ravens, Stannis’ ravens that Jon is apparently aware of, or an intervention from Bran sometime after Theon goes to the godswood, the notion of a raven flying from Stannis’ camp to Castle Black is not an obstacle, where the notion of Mance sending a raven from Winterfell would require a bit more connivance.

Discord Vs. Galvanization:

It is frequently claimed that the intention of the Letter was to sew discord at the Wall.

The irony is just TOO perfect for Mance not to be behind the letter. And considering how much of a poet Mance Rayder is(and musician), I don't see why such a letter would be surprising for him to write considering it enrages EVERYONE at the wall. Mel and her men, the Queen and her men, the wildlings, the night's watch, Jon himself - this letter is very purposefully meant to divide EVERYWHERE at the wall and cause an all out mutiny,

Hypothetical reality check: If I wrote you a letter, and in it I insulted you, your friends, your family and your coworkers, do you believe the effect of such a letter would be that all of those people turn against each other, against you? I’m much more of the opinion that they’d collectively turn against the author.

Therefore, regarding the Bastard Letter – and provided an alternate author is in play – galvanizing the forces at the Wall against Ramsay is a much more likely desired outcome than sewing discord. Where if Ramsay wrote it, is employing tact and sewing discord really this thing to begin with?

Motives of Authorship:

With the above in mind, if Ramsay actually wrote the Letter, he simply poked the beehive, yet the Letter is hardly written in a way that would directly result in the bees stinging each other. Sure, Jon’s stabbing occurred, but zero discord was sewn that did not already exist. In fact, the direct result of Ramsay’s authorship is that a hoard of wildlings is on their way to flush him out, and zero of his demands are being met (though I doubt he expected any of them to be). The point, either way, is that he did not get his way, which I assume Ramsay supporters are just fine with.

Meanwhile, if Mance wrote the Letter, galvanizing the Wall against Ramsay goes against his originally stated mission. If he believed that he needed an army to capture Winterfell, then why did he originally suggest that he didn’t, and that six spearwives would be enough? Of course, this plays into his often discussed betrayal of Jon, and that the Letter is the beginning of this betrayal. To that end, while Mance likely does not know that Tormund and company are south of the Wall, perhaps he believes the Night’s Watchmen won’t march due to their vows, and that the wildlings that are south of the Wall are all he needs, and will march if properly inspired.

In this event, my favorite potential outcome continues to be Stannis – after aligning with Manderly and offing the Freys – taking over Winterfell and deposing Ramsay if not also Roose. However, the wildlings then show up and Mance uses them to overthrow Stannis and take Winterfell – a poetic and symmetrically appropriate betrayal of Jon, who betrayed Mance in ASOS.

But… Jon can’t really immeidately confront Mance until he “wakes up” from warging into Ghost, so you don't really get the confrontation you're looking for there... at least yet.

Conversely, Asha doesn’t present any of these problems, and if she wrote the Letter, helping Stannis win the upcoming battles (and living) would be amongst her primary goals:

Either way it seemed to Asha that the king was lost and crying out for help.

To this end, providing Stannis with a sympathetic force would be one way to help him. Certainly, Asha never even needs to claim authorship of the Letter, but rather she would employ smuggler-like tactics that out-stage even the Onion Knight – substituting in for a supporting role from which the Stannis often appears to benefit.

Closing Thoughts:

I think you have to believe that getting Jon to march was the primary motivation of any potential author, particularly Ramsay or Mance, yet Jon doesn’t march. And that’s because GRRM doesn’t want him to; he wants him at the Wall, and he appears to wants to start paying off some major foreshadowing:

Jon: “A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born of smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?”

Melisandre: “All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope.”


Jon: “Melisandre … look to the skies, she said.” He set the letter down. “A raven in a storm. She saw this coming.” When you have your answers, send to me.

It’s worth noting that Melisandre never says, “a raven in a storm.” Jon did. Also, “Look to the skies” could mean dragons, for example. There’s a lot going on up north right now, and “The White Wolf” and “Melisandre” are the only two POVs you’re likely to have in that vicinity for a while.

To that point, while Jon has warged into Ghost for the moment, what is Melisandre going to be doing with his body? Why does she think she’s his only hope? How many chapters will her "saving him" take? Is she also involved in Jon's eventual confrontation with Mance? Will Jon come back as AA? If so, will Mance join his cause instead of persist in his betrayal?

Also, where is “Ghost” going to wonder off to? North or south? And to what purpose? I doubt it would involve Mance or Ramsay, especially considering the way GRRM paints the perception of the direwolves, or of the Starks when they're warged.

Contrarily, if Ramsay or Mance are just going to “hang out” for two weeks at Winterfell waiting for Jon to show up, how does that move the story forward?

Really, for almost any potential storyline concerning Mance or Ramsay, I find the Letter to come off as a non sequitur, since it does not provide the most often discussed potential authors with the direct result of Jon marching on Winterfell.

Yet it does suggest that only Asha or Theon can provide a window into the Battle of Ice, the Battle(s) for Winterfell, and the authorship of the Letter, which is why out-of-the-box thinking on the Letter’s authorship may come into play.

For me, this particular topic is all about plausibility, since authorship or authenticity can’t be proven yet, and Asha makes for an interesting angle.

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The only other candidate apart from Theon dictating it to Asha is Mance, whose fate is still uncertain in the case the letter never came from Ramsay, but I can't see Mance finding the means to send it. There are crows at Stannis' camp and they appear to have the Bolton's maester in that case, in which case the handwriting would match up if Ramsay dictates his letters, or it was simply forged directly from the letter Asha receives at Deepwood Motte. Stannis having written it is ruled out by its style, which is very much that of someone with an interest in poetry (either a bard or aspiring poet, which Ramsay apparently is) or someone otherwise clever with language, which we also know Theon is from his interior monologues in his POVs. Observe:

YOUR/ false KING/ is DEAD, (bastard). HE/ and ALL/his HOST

This is near-perfect iambic pentameter with initial caesuras standing in for iambs, with the exception of the word 'bastard', which Theon would know would anger Jon far more than Ramsay would.

I HAVE/ his MA/gic SWORD. Tell HIS/ red WHORE.

(Acatalectic iambic pentameter, meaning perfectly regular. Not just that, but it is apparently so to the listener or reader on account of the naturality of the stresses and the division of the sentences, despite it being structured as prose.)

Your FALSE/ king’s FRIENDS/ are DEAD. /Their HEADS/ upON/ the WALLS

of WIN/terFELL/come SEE...

Iambic hexameter with a natural reader break where they'd read the rest of the passage quoted as iambic trimeter.

Your FALSE/ king LIED/, and SO/ did YOU.

(Iambic tetrameter)

And there are other poetic devices in terms of measurement, assonance and alliteration, along with rhetorical repetition, which show that this is someone with a level of either verbal cleverness or poetic ambition or prosodic competence sufficient to come up with it. Had Ramsay dictated the letter, the lapses in scansion can be ignored on account of the fact it was mostly improvised. The only words that throw off the scansion of the measured prose on a regular basis are 'bastard' and, to a lesser extent, 'Winterfell', suggesting someone at work here who is doing his best to bring down the anger of Jon, and is not simply writing to taunt him. But as well written as the letter is, the technique is not that good really; the scansion in the second half of what is apparently a poem gets bogged down in clanging measures the angrier its composer seems to get. In my mind, Mance would compose it not more fluidly, since he happens to be a bard, but in a straightforward prose style, because he doesn't know Ramsay well enough. The only possible candidates, to my mind, are either Ramsay, who is lying about taking Stannis' camp or he'd know what happened to Theon or Jeyne, or Theon pastiching Ramsay to Asha. I'm now wiping out the possibility a captured maester was dictated the letter. Ramsay, mad as he is, if Stannis is still afoot, is not completely suicidal. There's a fair degree of evidence the letter is taking liberties with actuality. Therefore, I deduce following the 'how did I or anyone miss this?' logic of the OP that Theon composed the letter to Asha, and it was smeared with stolen wax in the probable manner of the other letters Ramsay sent abroad.

PS - For all anyone knows, Ramsay has rewarded Theon as Reek for his good behaviour by 'treating' him to readings of his efforts at poetry, and I'm not being facetious either. It fits perfectly with his character, and will probably be mentioned in the next novel in the case of such a reveal.

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Slayer, with regard to the ink the bastard letter is written in, I think there is another clue. The letter written in dry brown ink, which I agree is blood, "came away in flakes when Jon brushed it with his thumb." Jon flattens the bastard letter, presumably with his hand, but there is no mention of flaking ink. To me, this is yet another clue that Ramsay did not write the letter. It's not written in blood, no piece of flayed skin from Mance or spearwives, sealed with a smear rather than a button, not appended with the other signatures...

We might not fully agree on who wrote the letter but fair is fair and I think you have presented an excellent and convincing case throughout this thread.

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And I do also; I completely dismissed the Stannis as author theory because it just grasped at too many straws, including rewriting Stannis' character in order to try and excuse the non-sequiturs.

Well thank you, Killer Snark. Please feel free to bring your objections to the Stannis thread for discussion. But there can't be too many straws being grasped at here because if you deduce that Theon dictated the letter to Asha then it must follow that Theon could also have dictated the letter to Stannis. Asha and Theon are both Stannis' prisoners and there is no indication that they were left alone together for long, if at all. So I deduce that your objections do not include Stannis character but are in fact solely based on Stannis character. Imho, Stannis keeps a lot to himself, so without a pov to get inside his head I'm not certain we can fully know his character. Just think about how Jaime's or Mel's pov might have changed your view of their character. We do know Stannis told Jon that he thought what Ned Stark called honour he considered stubborn folly. In fact it seems clear to me that Stannis is a bit of a hypocrite, talking about justice while almost burning the innocent Edric Storm for his gain. But as I said, perhaps the Stannis thread is the proper place to discuss this. Constructive criticism always welcome. :cheers:

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Any Stannis discussion is on-topic here because we're narrowing down alternative candidates. I'm running with SlayerofLies suggestion, which I think is perfectly reasonable, that Asha would have colluded with Theon in order to bring Jon's forces to the rescue in order to save her own neck and Theon's by helping Stannis to victory, who at that point in proceedings would have otherwise mistrusted both Greyjoys, though he seems to respect Asha. This of course would all have taken place most likely before her brother was chained to a wall.

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Where would have the pink wax come from? Because Stannis or Asha is in the habit of carrying multicoloured wax into battle. Theon stealing the wax so he could carry it to Asha on his inpromptu escape so she could write the letter, as he obviously couldn't without many fingers to hold a quill? It doesn't add up. Stannis had no knowledge of Mance, but Theon told him, Stannis believed Mance was killed by Mel? The letter also having knowledege of the wildling princess and the wildling babe and Stannis kin at the wall. Ahsa did not have this knowledge nor Theon. Why would Mance, Stannis or his army tell them?.

Only from somebody in Winterfell with access to facts if not the Bastard himself.

There many illogical assumptions placing Asha as the source of this letter. Assuming she heard campefire tales from an army who wanted to eat and burn her, of Stannis own kin and the Wildling princess and Wildling baby. Coming from her kindly jailor? The she hulk was clueless. This would not have come from Stannis. He would only use angrier words at the Mance betrayal. Where does she get pink wax from being a specific dye only a maester can produce, which wouldn't be in logical use in the Stannis camp.

Tureborn Lord of Winterfell, that signature because he is married now.

Was there a pot of pink wax at Stannis camp, I missed when reading?

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Well, about the pink wax. Stannis has captured the maester from the Dreadfort, possibly one source. Secondly, Stannis took Deepwood Motte shrotly after Asha gave the letter she received from Ramsay to Lady Glover. Stannis mentions the contents of this letter in his own letter to Jon, so if Stannis kept the letter Lady Glover showed him then the broken seal is another source of pink wax, maybe not enough for a button but enough for a smear at least.

About the identity of Mance. We can not be certain that Stannis was not in on the Rattleshirt switch to begin with. Theon does not know who Mance is but if he tells Stannis the story about Abel and the washerwomen who were not washerwomen, who Theon must have realized were wildlings, then Stannis only needs to put two and two together. A singer and six wildlings on a mission to save 'Arya'? Add Theons discription of Abel, a brown beard and long greying hair. Stannis spoke to Mance for hours, Mance might have even told him about the time he sneaked into WF disguised as a singer, a tale he was fond of telling according to Jon. It is not impossible for Stannis to puzzle out Abel's identity. In fact it's a lot easier for Stannis to work it out than it would be for Asha or Theon imo.

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No No No, can I please have the madhatter tea your drinking?

Stannis takes the maester at Torhen Square he was put to the sword by the Ironborns was he not? if he wasn't he would have been in no conditon to travel with Stannis army. Asha was being f..ked 7 ways to sunday before Stannis had attacked the last thing she would think to carry is pink wax. Stannis for saw in the falmes oh but pink wax needs some. Theon stole it with his few fingers as they got Jeyne, No. He couldn't get near the Bastard or want to in his state of mind. Stannis captured Winterfell and wrote that letter, more Tea please.

We definitely know that Stannis had no knowlledge of Mance from the Mel - Jon conversation neither did anyone but Jon or Mel and his mission. Eventually some others Wildings etc. Asha finding about all kinds of information regarding the wall is highly improbable. They wanted to eat, f..k and burn her she was shunned. As an oucast except for her one kindly jailor and the she hulk. Who I do not recall of any such conversations or campfire tales.

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It is true that the demands in the letter seem a bit unrealistic: does "Ramsay" hope that Jon is going to deliver "Arya", "Reek" (he doesn't even know who he refers to), Melisandre, Selyse and all the others and that he is going to risk his skin to save Mance Rayder?

So it was clearly meant for Jon to be angry about the "bastard - Trueborn Lord of Winterfell". I don't find unrealistic that Ramsay would write "trueborn lord of Winterfell" if the letter is meant to make Jon loose his wits.

But to people who say Ramsay didn't write the Bastard Letter, which was the purpose for the "true author" (if it's not Ramsay) to mimic (not sure about the orthograph) Ramsay's style? I don't really see the point... What is the point of writing to Jon "I want my Reek", Jon doesn't even know who "Reek" is. It probably means the author thinks Theon and "Arya" reached the Wall as planned and Reek told his little story to the LC.... But still, telling Jon "I want my Reek" makes no sense to me if Ramsay didn't write the letter himself. I guess Jon would maybe gladly pack Reek over for Ramsay to play with if he was holding him.

As to the arguments of the ink not being the same and so on, don't forget Jon has read Ramsay's writing before, which, apparently, is pretty distinctive (spiky letters) and Jon nevertheless believes the Bastard Letter to be from Ramsay. Maybe he didn't have enough time to analyse the letter or to think about it, but his initial reaction isn't to question the letter.

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The simplest explanation still seems to me that Stannis used the captured Karstark Maester to send a letter to Ramsay at Winterfell claiming that Stannis has been defeated and that the magic sword has been captured. Ramsay reads this, thinks it's true and writes the pink letter to Jon with information from a captured spearwife / Mance. This seems quite likely to me, but the Asha theory is definitely interesting & possible, too.

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No No No, can I please have the madhatter tea your drinking?

Stannis takes the maester at Torhen Square he was put to the sword by the Ironborns was he not? if he wasn't he would have been in no conditon to travel with Stannis army. Asha was being f..ked 7 ways to sunday before Stannis had attacked the last thing she would think to carry is pink wax. Stannis for saw in the falmes oh but pink wax needs some. Theon stole it with his few fingers as they got Jeyne, No. He couldn't get near the Bastard or want to in his state of mind. Stannis captured Winterfell and wrote that letter, more Tea please.

We definitely know that Stannis had no knowlledge of Mance from the Mel - Jon conversation neither did anyone but Jon or Mel and his mission. Eventually some others Wildings etc. Asha finding about all kinds of information regarding the wall is highly improbable. They wanted to eat, f..k and burn her she was shunned. As an oucast except for her one kindly jailor and the she hulk. Who I do not recall of any such conversations or campfire tales.

You seem to be all tea'd out yourself. Don't know where the maester at Torhen square comes into it maybe you could explain? Stannis has captured the maester from the Dreadfort who was travelling with the Karstarks and sent a raven back to WF with a map of Stannis position. If Stannis has the maester and the two remaining ravens, then it is plausible that he has pink sealing wax too.

I didn't say Asha had pink wax, I said that she recieved a letter from Ramsay at DM before Stannis took the castle. She let the maester at DM take the letter to Lady Glover. Later, because of what Stannis said to Jon in his letter, we know Stannis has seen the letter Asha recieved. So, if he still has the letter then he has a source of pink wax in the letter's broken seal, hence the smear not button sealing the bastard letter. And Asha did learn about Massey being refused the hand of the wildling princess during the march through the Wolfswood, it is in her pov.

And, while Mance tells Jon he was unsure about the Rattleshirt glamour he said he'd let Mel try, it was either that or let Stannis burn him, but that does not exclude Stannis from knowing. Stannis may have given him the deal, take the glamour or burn. Stannis spoke with Mance for hours and admitted that Mance knew much of their common enemy. Burning so valuable a resource would make Stannis stupid, and I don't believe he is.

@ mushroomshirt. I agree that this is a very plausible theory but wonder if Ramsay was in a position to receive a raven from Stannis. Did he stay at WF or is he out in the field behind the Freys and Manderlys? I suppose it hasn't been confirmed either way even if Theon certainly thinks he's coming. Can't remember if Roose was intent on sending Ramsay into the field before Theon and Jeyne escaped?

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