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

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For an earlier letter, yes, you have a point, because Mance and Theon had a little talk whose full import has not been explained yet, if there was any more to it than the described rebellion. Mance at the moment I think is dead behind the scenes. But where would Mance have found the necessary documents in order to forge Ramsay's writing? The logical candidate for having one is Asha, because of the letter she received at Deepwood Motte.

Drugs are bad..........Shrooms, acid? You are trippin

Asha writting a letter because there was a little bit of pink wax on another letter. Enough for her to scratch off and then remelt and make another seal with? She was Naked having all kinds of sex........... When the attack came from Stannis. But she needs wax, because that will help her see in the dark to get home to their boats. Are you mad?

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I can't make head nor tail of the second half of your comments, but why did the letter have to be sent when Asha was in the middle of playtime, occurring well before the events of Mance's plot at Winterfell?

Something I'd like to add, though, is that the handwriting needn't really have had to be a forgery, since Jon had received no prior communication as far as anyone knew from Ramsay, but it would have been best to play it safe. If the composer of the letter was Theon, he wouldn't have known for sure that Jon had not been contacted by the Boltons whilst he was suffering by proxy for Ramsay's carnage, in the long time he spent as Reek.

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Your not thinking logically.

As read and related in this thread so many times. The attack at Deepwood Motte came when she was unexpecting it. She was Naked after having sex, she stepped outisde to have a breather. Attack happened, her first thoughts where to get home via there boats and escape. Not find a letter to create some make belief forgery later.

She is a prisoner with no access, any thought would be to get the F home depsite being some old mans trophy. She would want to remain alive. This is why she begged for her brothers life, saying they would pay a kings ransom for him. Stannis his justice prvented this. If any attack came at the camp she would therefore escape not be writing stupid letters.

Can somebody please use their brain here before making stuff up

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She was not naked when she was taken by Stannis, otherwise she wouldn't have even have had any weaponry, as well as being a sufferer of multiple frostbite. I'm sure it mentions that she gets dressed immediately prior to engaging in the fight.

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@ Boi. Nobody is saying Asha has the letter she recieved in Deepwood Motte. She let the maester at DM take the letter to Lady Glover. The only thing we know after that is that Stannis most likely saw the letter because he tells Jon of its contents, i.e. that the Boltons are moving to WF in force for Ramsay and Arya's wedding. And Asha was neither having sex nor naked when Stannis attacked. She was talking with Tris Botley when the horn sounded, iirc, but that is here nor there.

As for the wax seal. When you 'break' a wax seal on a letter or rolled parchment the wax seperates from the paper on one side of the joint but usually remains stuck to the other. The seal may crack on occasion and you might lose a chunk, it may even flake a bit, but it does not turn to flakes. The theory with the pink letter is that GRRM gives us a hint that something is amiss when he describes the letter as being sealed with a smear of wax rather than the usual button. We can only speculate as to the reason why this is, hence the speculation. It might be that Ramsay was in a rush, it might be that the letter was opened and resealed before Clydas brought it to Jon, it may be that sealing wax is harder to use in freezing temperatures, it may be that the sender did not have access to enough pink wax to make a full button, it may be that the smear has no significance at all. You're free to pick any of the above or provide an explanation of your own.

@ killer snark. Jon did receive a letter from Ramsay, more or less the same one Asha got about the fall of the Ironmen at Moat Cailin, etc. Ramsay signed it Lord of Hornwood, despite signing Asha's version Lord of Winterfell. When Jon recieved the first letter he took note of Ramsay's spiky hand and the brown ink (probably blood) flaked when brushed with his thumb. When Jon received the pink letter he made no remark about the writing, nor was there mention of flaking ink when he flattened the letter with his hand before reading it.

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She was not naked when she was taken by Stannis, otherwise she wouldn't have even have had any weaponry, as well as being a sufferer of multiple frostbite. I'm sure it mentions that she gets dressed immediately prior to engaging in the fight.

When Stannis had attacked Deepwood Motte. She had just finished having sex and stepped outside. She hastely threw her armour on, commanding her troops to get to the boats. When going through the forest on retreat most of her men where slain in the skirmishes and killed. At no point did she have any time to retrieve the former letter demanding the castle back. She was captured and in chains.latter released from her cage. Many taunts to burn, rape, and eat her. To which Justin her protector protected her from. He is tasked now to hire sellswords, so she is in danger again. Stannis wants to keep his men happy, so she will probably be married off to one of his knights or ransomed.

She pleads for her bother's life saying the Ironborn will pay a kings ransom for them. To which Stannis replies he is a traitor and he will be executed to keep the Northerners in line, she asks him for Northern justice Neds, rather then the flames. Her brother is taken to the weirwood tree hanging, then the ravens taunt, ending his chapter excerpt.

So how in the 7 hells, has anybody with even the smallest of IQ come to a conclusion Asha wrote the Bastards letter? She was trying to escape home before her capture. Later she pleads for her bothers life in doing so tries to bribe Stannis. At what point, would she not try to escape being her original thought process. I see, she makes a huge ruse to get another capitor involved who will also likely kill Theon?

Please stop using monkey magic or whichever snark you have gotten to write up these conclusions

Or people will come up with Asha gots the stockholm syndrome, Pledging all of her alligance to Stannis by offering to writes real good, no reek doesn't need to be a wicker man. Please Stannis we can just say we put your head on a spike then you can have your Northern justice, look I writes so well even the bastard think so.

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Theon is still a more likely candidate for composing the letter, whether or not it was literally written by Mance or Asha, at whatever period, before the rebellion at Winterfell or in the transferral of the Greyjoy captives, because he's had to put up with Ramsay for so long and would have more capacity to pastiche Ramsay's style in writing. It probably more or less corresponds with speeches he's had to put up with regularly while at The Dreadfort. Whoever wrote this thing is either, as I've demonstrated earlier, either intending to show off or to produce a gallows' humour parody. I still think it happens to be the latter. I still think it could have been dictated somehow to Asha, but am now inclined to admit it could have just as easily been dictated to Mance at an earlier period, but the theory of him being its composer either way makes solid sense. Note that in his preview chapter Theon appears indeed to be holding back a special secret, which even offers him some amusement. Whether or not he'll still get beheaded is academic to the current argument, because for all we know the prologue of TWoW might a POV of Mance Rayder, in which case we still have confirmation of the ruse, or it could come up in a future Asha chapter. But why is Mance more likely to be the letter's composer if it's not Ramsay, when he hardly knows the guy?

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But why is Mance more likely to be the letter's composer if it's not Ramsay, when he hardly knows the guy?

Please note, there is no MANCE COMPOSED THE LETTER ON HIS OWN theories.

The theories are that Mance composed it with Theon behind closed doors, or that Mance Rayder aligned himself with Roose Bolton. (Roose would clearly know plenty about his son, his son's mannerisms and his son's writing style)

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No No Melisandre composed the letter. She couldn't hold audience with Jon Snow he was shunning her and there where no flights of ravens in the snow storm. When she was seeing everything through the flames and use of her firestone choker. She diabolically concocted the entire ruse, all so she would sentence Jon because he should have had his direwolf with him to his fate.

Please people will you get a hold of yourselves. The letter is either accurate. Or not. Because some facts have been misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Mance writing the letter seriously how would he? Even though Mance, is about the only person suggested capable because he has an intelligence that the others don't. After using and speaking to Theon who had small access. Even with all of his Ninja skills it is hugely doubtful and improbable he could have got to zee ravens and then sung himself into a cage.

It is to hard to accept that there are plenty of facts to the letter. If it may not all be entirely accurate. Ramsay has had an episode. Father Roose lead the calvary out. Mance has been captured, reek and his wife are missing. So he needs somebody else to torture, and well his logic got left behind as he was spasming. The sudden epiphany of his shaken geunis knows how to threaten Jon, because he has people for him to flay..... Sounds like the bastard to me

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Letter Consensus:

Perhaps it might be a good to reach a consensus on a few things about the Letter, regardless of the author. For example, that:

  • The Letter differs from Ramsay’s previous letters (content aside) by way of the seal being a smear instead of a button, having writing on the outside, the absence of skin, and being signed with differing titles
  • Writing “my Reek” is an odd choice for any author, because Jon doesn’t know who that is
  • Whenever the Letter was actually sent, “Jeyne,” Tycho and company have not yet made it to Castle Black
  • The Letter author’s intent in sending the Letter was to get Jon to march (I don’t think this is a stretch, but feel free to argue your case if you do)
  • Regardless of the Letter author’s intent, GRRM’s intent was specifically not to have Jon march (at least right away)
  • When (or, less likely, if) the Letter’s authorship is revealed, it will be revealed through a POV
  • Mance Rayder is specifically required to provide select verbiage in the Letter

To that possibly “controversial sounding” final point, unless you believe that Jon Snow or Melisandre are behind the Letter (which I don’t), the question of “who knows Mance is still alive?” must be answered, and there is no text support for any of the characters outside of Jon and Mel that I have found. So, is Mance the only one besides Mel and Jon that knows about “Rattleshirt’s” burning? It seems that way to me until proven otherwise by the text.

To that point, in order for Mance to not be captured and for a spearwife to provide the requisite contents of the Letter to Ramsay, one has to also assume that (1) the spearwives know Abel is Mance (which is not directly stated in the text, but also not that hard to accept) and (2) that Mance informed the captured spearwife(s) of his false burning (at minimum, and possibly more). Taking that notion one step further, if you are in the “spearwife” camp, it’s worth noting that this scenario means the Mance or the spearwives are equally as “eligible” for passing information along to Theon as they are to Ramsay.

Without text support that the spearwives know about the burning, however, this means that Mance and Ramsay would likely “require each other” in order to pen the Letter, whether through Ramsay’s capture of Mance, Mance’s capture of Ramsay, or their cooperation.

Similarly, as pointed out in previous posts, the hinge of the Asha theory is that Mance (or a spearwife) could also pass the required information along to Theon, and that we don’t yet have proof this didn’t occur in the closed-door meeting in between A Ghost in Winterfell and Theon I in ADWD.

In any case, feel free to comment on this section.

On Ramsay and Plot Movement:

If Ramsay wrote the Letter – in a book series in which he's already been established as a “bad guy” – I feel like this accomplishes virtually nothing for his character or the plot. We already accept that he’s a terrible person, and the “general reader” likely wants him dead, kicked out of Winterfell, or whatever other fitting ending for a bad guy. So how does Ramsay sending the Letter to Jon further the overall storyline if Jon does not actually march on Winterfell? Unbeknownst to Ramsay, the Letter sends the wildling army down on Ramsay, but it could be argued that this would happen regardless of who the author is. In fact, there is no scenario that I can think of that plays out any differently for Ramsay regardless of whether he’s the author or not…

…with the exception of the requirement of Mance’s captivity or cooperation. Where, if Mance wrote the Letter, he does not necessarily need to be in captivity or cooperation with Ramsay. But all other “major events” as a result of Jon receiving the Letter are ostensibly the same.

Additionally, if Ramsay’s intent is not for Jon to go to war, as some might suggest, why telegraph to him that “Arya” is on her way up the kingsroad? “I want my bride back” is the very line that incites Jon into action, yet writing to Jon “I want my bride back” objectively accomplishes a communication that she’s in fact on her way to him, and it’s possible that all Jon has to do is to wait. So with Ramsay as the author, it should be agreed that informing Jon that his “primary decision driver” being on her way to him is not the smartest move.

In any event, while it’s possible that Ramsay is the author, everything that happens as a result of Ramsay’s authorship would also happen in the event of alternate authorship (excepting Mance), which is just one more angle on why other suspects are interesting to consider. Furthermore, as pointed out above, the “word selection” of the Letter itself, access to info therein, as well as the physical differences between letters (sealing wax, etc.) all add up to are why the door to alternate authorship is open.

Of course, no one has to “like” that someone besides Ramsay may have authored the Letter; but it seems worth admitting that it’s possible. I’m certainly willing to admit that I think Ramsay is a plausible author. I just think it’s a “boring” choice compared against the standards set by GRRM’s other intentional mysteries, such as Joffrey’s murderer, the whereabouts of Tysha, the three heads of the dragon, and on and on.

The Parroting of Phrases:

Theon I furthered the suspicion – for a lot of readers – that there might be an alternate author, yet also muddied the waters as to who that might be with the echoing of several phrases from the Letter.

So let’s take a look at the two key phrases, and consider what the echoing of each phrase might mean. For example, I take Theon saying, “He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek,” to indicate one of a few possible scenarios:

  • Pure coincidence: Whoever the author, Theon he is purely “parroting” Ramsay-like phrases, being fully aware of his tone and likely word selection. Of course, “pure coincidence” happens rarely in ASOIAF, but it’s possible.
  • Foreshadowing: If the Letter has not been penned yet, Theon could be using phrasing which will ultimately be woven into the Letter.
  • Theon knows the contents of the Letter: I think the most likely scenario in which this could occur is if Theon was in the room when Mance wrote the Letter (during the “escape plan”), or else Theon possibly wrote the Letter himself under direction from Mance. If either scenario is true, this could also explain why Stannis appears to know about his upcoming “death,” and that would be because Theon told him “off-screen” about the Letter’s contents (yet to be revealed if true). Also, this timeline would meet with Jeyne not yet arriving to the Wall when Jon is stabbed where – the later the Letter is sent – the more likely it should be that Jeyne arrives to Castle Black.

Also, we have Stannis saying, “In Braavos you may hear that I’m dead. It may even be true,” I take this to mean one of a few possible things as well:

  • Pure coincidence: Since it is possible that Stannis will die in the upcoming battle, he is simply admitting that possibility openly. Again, pure coincidence seems unlikely, but should be considered.
  • Foreshadowing: If the Letter hasn’t been penned yet, Stannis might “have a plan” which is later woven into the Letter, either by him or by someone in his camp capable of writing the Bastard Letter. I’m in the camp that finds Stannis’ potential authorship “character assassination,” but it’s possible until proven otherwise.
  • Stannis knows the contents of the Letter: As above in Theon knows the contents of the Letter, the Letter has been penned, and Theon has already told Stannis “off-screen” about his purported “death,” which may be a facet of Mance’s plan.

In any event, since the parroting of Letter phrases doesn’t feel like pure coincidence, this leads me to a couple possible scenarios in the event we are about to uncover an alternate author: (1) that the Letter has already been written with Mance’s involvement and Theon knows the contents or (2) that Mance has provided Theon with enough information to be able to write the Letter himself, or to help someone write such a Letter.

So Mance is definitely important (in every scenario) and Theon might be (in the event there is an author in “camp Stannis,” or in the event he is the keeper of yet-to-be-revealed information from Mance.

Alternatively, in Ramsay’s case, since he would have written the Letter after Theon’s escape, it is impossible in this scenario that Theon (or Stannis) would know the contents of the Letter. Furthermore, Ramsay’s authorship also removes the necessity for Mance to provide Theon with the information required to write (or help someone write) the Letter, which means – if Ramsay wrote the Letter –Theon’s and Stannis’ parroting of phrases is purely coincidental.


Let’s say it takes “about a week” to travel from Winterfell to Castle Black (for a small party on horseback). To that end, if there’s any truth to “seven days of battle” – after which Ramsay allegedly wrote the Letter – and then we add the time it takes for a raven to fly to Castle Black, isn’t it probable that Jeyne would have arrived to Castle Black before the Letter? Especially if “seven days of battle” is a ways off yet? (And how did Jeyne and company bypass “all the bad guys” on their way north?)

I’ve also seen it suggested on the forums that it’s about fourteen days in between Theon’s escape and the Letter’s arrival to Jon, which syncs up closely with the above timeline.

In any event, the Letter arrived before Jeyne, and I tend to believe that the “seven days of battle” statement is likely a lie by any author, possibly included to exacerbate the perceived scenario and/or infuse Jon’s haste in marching. That is, I believe this more than I believe that Jeyne was never sent to CB, or will die along the way. Her arrival to Jon seems like an important part of the “reveal” to me, though it may not be.

Anyway, all this goes to say that while “seven days of battle” may not be important, exactly when the Letter was sent is important. Of course Jeyne could show up in Mel’s first chapter, which corroborates that the Letter was sent about 10 days after Theon’s escape. Or she could show up even later, having been held up by the snows. Either way, this means that “camp Stannis” would have ample time to get the Letter off based on the current timestamp. Alternatively, are we really to believe that Ramsay waited 7-10 days or so before penning the Letter, then hastily sealed it with a pink smear?

Pink Wax:

You either have pink wax on hand or you don’t. If you do, great. If you don’t, you can steal it. Similarly, pink wax may be easily manufactured through combining red and white. If the Stark wax is white, for example, then adding blood or weirwood sap may work. In my view, having, stealing or making pink wax is not an insurmountable obstacle.

Considering the Above:

  • Without proof of authorship, only plausibility can be asserted. Therefore, if it is considered by some that Stannis parroting phrases from the Letter is a red herring, it is equally fair to consider that the Letter being signed by Ramsay is a red herring.
  • There are a great many clues to indicate that an alternate author is plausible, and that – in any case – knowledge/wording from Mance is required to pen the Letter. Therein, if it is fair to assert that these “clues” are red herrings in the absence of irrefutable evidence, it is equally fair to consider that they may actually be clues pointing to an alternate author.
  • If it is plausible for Mance to be the author of the Letter (or, minimally, is required to provide content for the Letter), it is plausible that he passed this information to Theon (who can in turn share this info with other characters in the books).
  • If it is possible to possess pink wax, it is possible to make it.
  • When (or, less likely, if) the Letter’s authorship is revealed, it will be revealed through a POV.

Final Thoughts (POVs Again!) and Questions:

Since Ramsay cannot recapture “Reek” or “Arya” prior to writing the Letter (or they would not be featured in the Letter), it is highly unlikely that Theon will witness Ramsay writing the Letter.

And since Jon is temporarily out of commission, it seems to me that Asha and Theon remain the most likely POVs through which we will learn the Letter’s authorship.

Therein, the “big reveal” questions remain: Will we learn of the Letter’s authorship in opening “third” of TWOW when Asha breaks into the tower house to give Stannis the help he desperately needs by writing a Letter she and Theon may very well be armed to write? Or will Theon flash back to helping Mance write the Letter before he escaped Winterfell? Or will there be a spearwife prologue in which in which the reader is exposed to the author prior to the spearwife’s death, yet none of the other characters will be exposed to this information? Or will GRRM hold onto this one through most or all of TWOW, and continue to taunt us all for the next several years?

As for the last, I certainly hope not.

As for the others, equally acceptable in my book.

At the end of the day, it's a work of fiction, and GRRM is going to tell what he feels is the highest impact story (and, most likely, one that's foreshadowed in his text). Precisely this goal, and the fact that Ramsay is "less interesting" than Mance, Asha or just about anyone else, is something to consider while we wait.

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You don't seem to address the theory that Stannis authored a letter (not the bastard letter) tricking Ramsay into thinking that he had been killed and his magic sword taken. Then Ramsay authors the bastard letter himself with help from a captured spearwife or Mance. After all Stannis has a motivation to trick Ramsay to gain advantage in attacking Winterfell. This seems to me to be a way to have Ramsay be the author and still move the plot forward since it helps resolve the battle of Winterfell.

Then Ramsay writes the bastard letter because Jon is the next logical target since Stannis is defeated as far as he knows. There may be nothing at all calculated or tactical about the bastard letter it is just Ramsay psychotically gloating because he believes he is in such a position of strength that Jon's fall is inevitable.

I agree that we must learn of the authorship of the bastard letter from a POV, but this could happen much later in the series. We didn't learn that Joffrey was behind the murder attempt on Bran until A Storm of Swords, for example.

edit: what I am suggesting is outlined in Veltigar's excellent post

I will quote it to make it easier to reference:

Stannis gestured at the black birds in the cages. "These two are not so clever, I presume." "No, Your Grace. Would that it were so." "Tell me, then. Where are these two trained to fly?"Maester Tybald did not answer. Theon Greyjoy kicked his feet feebly, and laughed under his breath. Caught!

"Answer me. If we were to loose these birds, would they return to the Dreadfort?" The king leaned forward. "Or might they fly for Winterfell instead?" Maester Tybald pissed his robes. Theon could not see the dark stain spreading from where he hung, but the smell of piss was sharp and strong.

I will ask you once again. What was in the message you sent to Winterfell? "The maester quivered. "A m-map, Your Grace. "The king leaned back in his chair. "Get him out of here," he commanded. "Leave the ravens." A vein was throbbing in his neck. "Confine this grey wretch to one of the huts until I decide what is to be done with him."

"It may be that we shall lose this battle," the king said grimly. "In Braavos you may hear that I am dead. It may even be true. You shall find my sellswords nonetheless. "The knight hesitated. "Your Grace, if you are dead — ""— you will avenge my death, and seat my daughter on the Iron Throne. Or die in the attempt."


He has two ravens that can fly to WF. He arrested the Karstarks and the Maester before any of them was able to send word to Roose that they were find out. So, he can claim that the Karstarks came in action and killed him.

He anticipates rumors of his demise (which means that he is planning something)

=> What does this tell us:

Stannis is preparing a ruse. He wants to take WF but, WF is a strong keep so the Boltons have a clear advantage. He will not be able to take WF through a siege and he doesn’t know that a lot of Northmen inside of WF would be more than happy to attack Roose from the inside. So, he needs a way in and what would be better than getting his troops in disguised as Victorious Karstark men. In order to achieve this he has to do two things:

1) Win the battle in the snow (which will be a lot easier than expected since Manderley wants to defect)

2) Inform Roose and Ramsay that of your “death”.


He did all that. Ramsay than used the information he extracted from Mance [who might be one of the cleverer characters, but that doesn’t make you immune from capture. In fact Mance has already been captured once and this time he’s in a castle where an experienced manhunter (Ramsay) would go after him.] to write the Pink Letter (in which he of course claimed to have defeated Stannis since he’s the sort of douche that takes credit for other men’s work

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Slayer of lies WTF was all that about? Please can I have some of whatever prescription you are on?

In particular the driving motive for Jon marching to war was Arya being on the way to him. No the driving motive was the fact the Red priestess, the Wildling princess, the baby and Stannis wife and kin where demanded from him if he didn't hand them over Castle Black would be attacked. So a simple counter measure from Jon was in order to prevent all of Ramsay army turning up first in doing so collecting Arya if she was on her way.

Also the spearwives knew who Abel was that is in the book when getting Theon onside to their plan.

Ultimately though it strikes me as peculiar Jon didn't seek any advice from Melisandre beforehand

I agree that a third party might possibly be involved. Or rather there are doubts to the facts which may not be fully accurate. The evidence has largely been left open so some would be CSI whacky's could make the Bastard look stupid

But suggesting Stannis, Theon, or Asha is pointless .Their motivations would not use such a ruse. Stannis would say other words, ones of which a king would use to command the realm or his subjects. Asha would be escaping home protecting her brother from every northerner who wants his head .Theon wants Jon forgiveness because he might give him the black instead of killing him when he is marching to war? So Brans ravens tell him write a letter in doing so gets his big brother yes ludicrous.

We have no idea what is stake we haven't had an ending. Instead we where left with a Theon chapters excerpt to throw in extra suspense. There is no way Theon could have been able to write that letter no chance at all. Ramsay saying my reek is obvious, because if you had been paying simple attention to Ramsay storyline and in particular the big desciption of who reek is you would comprehend this. He would not say Theon, because he has named him reek, his reek, reading my reek like a pet dog. Give my shadow back. Trueborn lord of Winterfell can be obvious because he is married and trying to ascert his claim from simply feeling threatened by the loss of his wife. Written in haste due to pressure from being under an episode gaining maniacal focus but losing much logic outside of rage.

Why would a spearwife or Abel have a letter from Stannis saying he is dead? Stannis had no idea Mance was alive in Winterfell or was he under the assumption of reek the third. Stannis would have no idea that Ramsay would forward on any angry words to Jon or even get the aid he required in the time needed. There is an army on approach to his position Stannis wouldn't play possum to escape that army. In the hoping that the Winterfell, would open up the gates. How does that tactic work. If the King is dead his army is in dissention, It might be enough to draw some army out but wouldn't they wait or scout. Your army doesn't return home, there is a problem that army is still there. Stannis engaged in a seige would lay terms hence knowing about the ravens uses. A possible ruse in getting them to open the gates, but you would have to be real dumb to fall for it. Ramsay would wait for his original army and bannermen to be seen with the sword and head of Stannis before opening the gates..Why would Roose who Stannis suspected as staying at Winterfell not prevent any of this, then imagining futher if had gone out and not returned why Ramsay wouldn't have waited or be communicating to another enemy Jon ? We understand that he is psychotic but come on. Visiblity has improved ths snow storm has stopped.

I think the wording was set to confuse the reader but not the commander or the actual story. While some details may have be left out for are guesswork damn we gots to wait some years before winter.....plenty to talk about.

Of course I might live to choke all of my words in the chewbacca defense where infact the chewbacca was a possum who buried his head in the snow and played dead. Although it would be such a cliche to think he could simply pretend to be dead when an arming coming from A will hit point, long before an army coming from B, will hit ever hit that point. If he needed seige equipment when his men were outside the walls.he wouldn't need to be a chewbacca would he?.Nor would anyone else be sending that letter on his behalf? Leaving Mance as the chewbacca, why would he go and get caged first?

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You don't seem to address the theory that Stannis authored a letter (not the bastard letter) tricking Ramsay into thinking that he had been killed and his magic sword taken. Then Ramsay authors the bastard letter himself with help from a captured spearwife or Mance. After all Stannis has a motivation to trick Ramsay to gain advantage in attacking Winterfell. This seems to me to be a way to have Ramsay be the author and still move the plot forward since it helps resolve the battle of Winterfell.

Then Ramsay writes the bastard letter because Jon is the next logical target since Stannis is defeated as far as he knows. There may be nothing at all calculated or tactical about the bastard letter it is just Ramsay psychotically gloating because he believes he is in such a position of strength that Jon's fall is inevitable.

I agree with this theory.

I would like to add, Ramsay has a motive for writing the letter to Jon:

1. Ramsay's title as Lord of WF depends on fake Arya.

2. Jon can expose fake Arya.

3. Fake Arya is on the way to the Wall.

Ramsay needs Jon:

1. To be rash- if Jon flies down off his Wall, Ramsay may think he can be crushed as he, the briliant commander, crushed Stannis. This is likely a lie, but its a lie which has built up Ramsay confidence concerning military operations (as will the sack of WF).

2. To be cowardly- If Jon is a coward, he may give in and hand over fake Arya (after all, she's not really his sister) which restores Ramsay's standing.

3. To be honorable- If Jon is a true son of Eddard Stark he may keep his oath and stay out of the politics of the realm. As a result, he'd do nothing. Which suits Ramsay fine as the Wall can't be defended from the South and all Ramsay need do (from his mistaken perspective) is take his army and collect fake Arya. He can then torture Jon at his leisure and the men of the NW will do nothing.

As a consolation prize, Ramsay may count on the Letter's content as paralyzing the NW. Even if the LC wants to fight, the felons of the NW may very well cut a deal with Ramsay to turn over fake Arya, etc. After all, they took an oath, giving them a cop-out. And Ramsay believes the NW weak (its numbers are way down) and Ramsay thinks he's relatively much stronger, he may be trying to stir up a mutiny against Jon, the only child of Eddard Stark still known to be alive.

Ramsay sending the letter to Jon makes sense, from Ramsay's twisted and mistaken viewpoint.

We might also consider that Jon poses a danger to Bolton/Lannister/Frey plans in the North. Roose has commented on it and Cersei has planned his death (thought it does not appear as if she acted on it). Dealing with Jon would be high up on the Bolton/Frey/Lannister list of "Things to Do".

In fact, I would not be in the slightest bit surprised that there was a Janos Slynt/Aliser Thorne/Bowen Marsh axis which was in communication with the Boltons/Freys/Lannisters.

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One suspension has been issued for inappropriate language in this thread. Let's not have more.

Please remember that attacking a theory is fine, but attacking the poster is not.


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You don't seem to address the theory that Stannis authored a letter (not the bastard letter) tricking Ramsay into thinking that he had been killed and his magic sword taken.

This theory definitely has merit as well, and you’re right – It hasn’t really been fully addressed on this thread.

In all objectivity, it’s possible that Stannis’ has a plan regarding sending misinformation to Winterfell (in addition to everything I said in my earlier post).

If so, however, this falls under what several readers have pointed out on other threads as Stannis’ “character assassination,” or at least character inconsistency (which is also why I don’t believe he wrote/will write the Bastard Letter, let alone will write something deceitful to the Boltons).

In Davos I, ACOK (the “classic” example) when Stannis, Pylos and company are penning the “Baratheon incest” letter regarding the parentage of Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella, Stannis makes a couple of critical “fact-checking” corrections to the letter that help set up his character very early on in the books:

“Make it Ser Jaime the Kingslayer henceforth,” Stannis said, rowing. “Whatever else the man may be, he remains a knight. I don’t know that we ought to call Robert my beloved brother either. He loved me no more than he had to, nor I him.”

“A harmless courtesy, Your Grace,” Pylos said.

“A lie. Take it out.”

As I said, this is during Stannis’ initial character setup, and he’s hardly wavered as a character through several books. He’ll bend before he breaks, etc., etc.

So while it’s entirely possible that Stannis is planning to send “lies” to Winterfell, I suppose I’m in the camp of folks who finds it hard to believe. Ramsay – not unlike the Lannisters in ACOK – is Stannis’ enemy. Yet even in dealing with his enemies, subterfuge and deceit are not in his “deck.”

Contrarily, Stannis has certainly leaned on Davos in the past to perform deeds he’s not up to himself. He also “[brought] a shadowbinder from Asshai” for whatever grand purpose. But he doesn’t seem to personally lie, cheat or steal. At least historically.

So for me, this is one of the aspects of the story and the characters in play that makes Asha so intriguing as a potential author. Because she’s easy to overlook, yet has a ton of potential foreshadowing if you look for it. So while Ramsay and Mance are certainly up there as primary suspects, it cannot be disproven that Asha’s access to info (through Theon) may yet prove out, which makes this argument interesting to consider while we wait.

Separately, as a pure math problem, the “echoing of phrases” is either that both phrases are coincidental, that neither of them is, or that one of them is.

To that end, if only Stannis’ “death” phrase is foreshadowing for the proposed upcoming subterfuge, and Theon’s “bride and Reek” phrase is purely coincidental, I find the choice to put both phrases into Theon’s chapter a little odd. But as I said, the echoing of phrases is both intriguing and muddies the waters at the same time.

On the flipside, the most interesting angle (IMO) is that neither one of the echoed phrases is coincidental, suggesting several possibilites, amongst which are that the Letter has already been written and Theon knows its contents, or that both phrases are foreshadowing for a Letter that is about to be written with Theon’s involvement, and Asha’s “template.”

I would like to add, Ramsay has a motive for writing the letter to Jon (snip snip)

Great post!

Virtually everything you said is true – if Ramsay wrote the Letter. And even if not, great insight nonetheless.

Where I was heading with what I think Ramsay’s authorship does for the overall story, though, is that a Letter from Ramsay is in itself is a non sequitur or a red herring, and that’s because Jon has been stabbed at the Wall, the ultimate result of which is likely the beginning of his transformation to AA, Destroyer of Others, meaning he is unlikely to be the one to resolve the conflict with Ramsay.

So, if you’re the author, why set something up you have to plan of knocking down? Or perhaps you believe that Jon will resolve “the Ramsay conflict,” also close some loops with Mance later, and then turn around to defeat the Others.

I guess I’m just figuring it will be a little bit “cleaner” than that, and Jon may ultimately never even “meet” Ramsay.

As a side note, one thing your Slynt/Thorne/Marsh alliance comment made me think of is the potential for Roose’s involvement as someone who might use subterfuge to try to take Jon out, but without dirtying his own hands. To that end, if he cued up the “northern contingent” for action against Jon, I could see a decent tie-in Ramsay’s authorship that pays off down the road.

However, I continually come back to the facts that the Letter itself is not proof of its authorship (no POV corroboration), that there are a ton of clues/differences between the letters indicating that Ramsay may not be the author, that Mance’s direct involvement is critical (either as a captive or a conspirator), but that we also have equally absent POV corroboration of Mance’s captivity…

So, it’s the fact that both the letter’s authorship and authenticity are in question that make for so many interesting potential plays, and the most interesting ones – in my opinion – do not involve Ramsay.

This belief, for me, is tied to the fact that I don’t necessarily believe Ramsay is “Jon’s target” to deal with, which in turn stems from believing Ramsay is much more important to Theon’s arc than Jon’s, where Mance has some issues he’d like to resolve with Jon at some point. However, Jon’s “death” complicates matters in every case, and makes it so there’s no immediate conflict resolution opportunity for Jon with Ramsay or Mance in the near future.

So who writes the Letter, why and when?

All of the suspects are still plausible, and for all the reasons stated in the OP and beyond, I still find Asha an intriguing choice.

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I'm completely with where SlayerofLies appears to be on this. Either Theon composed the letter in collaboration with Mance, or dicated it to Asha. The question of where to get pink wax is unnecessarily pedantic. The suspects could have even made some up at Stannis' camp by mixing white wax with blood; it's not as if they'd be short on corpses. I consider Stannis as a suspect to be highly unlikely, both on account of his character and on account of conflicting timeline, because it would have been sent off far too late if he was waiting for infomation from Theon, in which case the latter would have still been influential in dictating it, but Stannis wants his head. Ramsay as the writer is completely plausible, but as well as the non sequiturs left behind by his motivation for doing so, it is, as the OP states, the least interesting way of doing things, and makes a complete shaggy dog story of Theon's torture and redemption arc throughout the whole of ADwD.

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I've been following this topic for a while now, and truly, the evidence for Asha (in reliance on Theon's information) authorship is compelling. Still, if the siblings did conceive and write the letter, I don't really see how the actions anticipated by its effect (Jon marching up the Kingsroad) tie into Asha's insistence to sacrifice Theon to the Old Gods at a particular location. Admittedly, her post-letter actions would follow certain line of thought that initially motivated her to write it in the first place.

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Asha was simply uncertain of when Stannis would decide on the highly probable course of executing Theon. That's why they would have had to send the letter straight away. Theon must have told her about the voices he'd heard at Winterfell's weirwood and about the beliefs in the Old Gods. Stannis' expedition in having him face execution, and Asha talking him into beheading him at the nearest heart tree, is simply something that she logically, or intuitively, comes up with, in addition to being the most humane way out if she does have to lose her brother, on the fly. It was either that or allow him to be sacrificed by fire.

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