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three-eyed monkey

Stannis knew about the Mance/Rattleshirt switch.

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But as you yourself admit, 'they' in that utterance does not necessarily imply Stannis was involved. And even if the timing isn't a coincidence, Godry Farring is a Queen's Man, devoted to R'hllor: there's no more reason to assume he was acting on Stannis' orders than there is to assume that he was acting on Mel's. This piece of evidence only suggests Stannis' involvement if you first assume Stannis' involvement.

Likewise, there is no more reason to assume Mel acted alone than there is to assume she was acting on Stannis' orders. Queen's man or not, Ser Godry is sworn to Stannis. Stannis is his king. We have seen in ADwD that Stannis trusts Ser Godry enough to include him in his war council and to allow him lead his van. Personally, I don't see why Mel would save Mance instead of sacrificing him to R'hllor, but if she did make such a plan, then she's asking quite a lot of Ser Godry to join her in deceiving his king.

While Stannis would be forsaking a lot in revealing that he did not burn Mance, it is not a choice he would necessarily ever need to make. It might remain a last and even desperate option, Sophie's choice perhaps, but at least it would remain an option.

And yes, outwardly Stannis rejected Jon's argument for keeping Mance alive, but without his pov, we don't know what his inner thoughts were on the subject. Outwardly, the honourable Ned gave the impression that Jon was his son, but through his pov we get a different message about Jon's parents.

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I doubt Stannis saved him for the purpose of saving Arya, or at that stage either Stannis or Mel knew the situation would arise in Winterfell where Mance could be put to use. And I don't think Stannis would have approved of the near suicide mission, he saved Mance for his usefulness against the true enemy, he meant for him to be kept at the Wall and for Jon to use him in preparations against the Others. It's Mance's usefulness against the Others that makes him lament Mance's refusal to denounce his kingship in the first place as it would give him no choice but to have him burned.

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Also, the alternative is Melisandre sticking her neck way, way, way out to defy and deceive Stannis, and that makes even less sense than Stannis going along with this plan. Not only is out even more out of character for Mel to do that, she stands to lose more (all of her standing and influence with Stannis, if not her life), with probably even less to gain than Stannis. Maybe one day down the road she will betray Stannis - but over this? I don't see it.

This is the importance of the Mance substitution, though: it's part of the arc in ADWD where Mel abandons Stannis in favour of Jon.

Likewise, there is no more reason to assume Mel acted alone than there is to assume she was acting on Stannis' orders. Queen's man or not, Ser Godry is sworn to Stannis. Stannis is his king. We have seen in ADwD that Stannis trusts Ser Godry enough to include him in his war council and to allow him lead his van. Personally, I don't see why Mel would save Mance instead of sacrificing him to R'hllor, but if she did make such a plan, then she's asking quite a lot of Ser Godry to join her in deceiving his king.

Well, of course we know that Mel did do this. That's the difference. Whether we think she would have done it without Stannis' agreement or not is another issue.

While Stannis would be forsaking a lot in revealing that he did not burn Mance, it is not a choice he would necessarily ever need to make. It might remain a last and even desperate option, Sophie's choice perhaps, but at least it would remain an option.

And yes, outwardly Stannis rejected Jon's argument for keeping Mance alive, but without his pov, we don't know what his inner thoughts were on the subject. Outwardly, the honourable Ned gave the impression that Jon was his son, but through his pov we get a different message about Jon's parents.

The difference is that we have evidence about Ned and Jon, and we know what Ned's purpose was: one that fits his character. All we have in this case is some extremely vague speculation about how Stannis might have possibly changed his mind for some ill-defined reason.

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I already said this on the Stannis wrote the pink letter thread: I didn't consider the idea of Stannis not knowing. I don't picture Mel hiding something from the one she (still at least) considers the chosen one. Besides, it wouldn't make sense for Stannis to be insisting on burning Mance and Mel disagreeing. You may even imagine that with TV Stannis, but book Stan? Nope. As it's been said, Mance was the perfect way to sneak into Winterfell, I don't imagine Stannis missing that chance for some demands of the god he doesn't really believe in (demands that, in turn, couldn't really exist, given that Mel, the one who transmits these demands to the rest, is burning a fake Mance, just for show)

PS: I don't see Mel abandoning Stannis at that point. I may have forgotten details, and I only read the books once but she's quite miopic reading the signs. When Stannis is gone she's still trying to figure out why she sees Jon in the flames...

I guess all arguments for or against it work. Which isn't surprising with this stories. I'll stick to the Stannis knew camp for now :uhoh:

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Well, of course we know that Mel did do this. That's the difference. Whether we think she would have done it without Stannis' agreement or not is another issue.

Sorry, that was what I meant to say; I can't see why Mel would save Mance unless she was acting under Stannis' orders. Otherwise, what does she gain at the risk of deceiving Stannis?

And what's in it for Ser Godry, if indeed he was in on it? IMO his timely pull on the rope is good reason to suspect he was in on it. If you think that is just a coincidence then we'll just have to agree to differ until TWoW comes out because I think it is a clue from the author.

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It's straight up said by Mel that the argument Jon made that the laws end at the wall is what saved Mance's life.

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

"Me?" Snow sounded startled.

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

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For me the Mance-as-Rattleshirt quote was convincing. I'd picked it up on re-read. I think Stannis may not feel that he needs Mance as King any longer, since Jon's starting to function as the local leader.

I remain unconvinced that Stannis wrote the Pink letter, though. A bit too subtle for my interpretation of Stannis. My money's on Mance there.

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It's an interesting theory. Almost had me going for a minute, but I'm still kind of skeptical. Stannis has never struck me as the kind of guy who would deceive everyone around him just to go forward with a high-risk plan that might blow up in his face. Also, he can't really use Mance after he burned Rattleshirt. To do so would be political suicide - he'd show the world that he's willing to produce lies to further his plans, which would seriously tarnish his reputation, and that's one of the core elements of his character. He'd never do something like that.

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Godry doesn't have to be in on anything. Stannis or Mel could've simply ordered him to keep the prisoner quiet during the execution.

Stannis is absolutely willing to bend the law, he's done it many times. He didnt punish Davos for sending away Edric OR for plotting to kill Mel. He pardoned lords who rose for Renly because he needed them. Technically he also chose blood over the law during Robert's Rebellion.

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Doesn't seem probable or necessary.

i believe it. does it matter though? i suppose it does if you're a "Stannis sent the pink letter" believer

People actually believe this? Sounds dramatically out of character to me.

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I wouldn't like it any other way too. I am tough cookie :). And it;s better toi have debate with someone who'll question you on every step, then just agreeing with you. That is how you know someone is paying attention to your posts.

Like mormont said, he can't use MAnce if he had 'killed' him in front of wildings, and more than that. You can argue that Stannis' wanted him to help him with Others, but then you can't have him in Winterfell, and Stannis knowing it. You argued that Melisandre saved him when Stannis went south, but then you have that peculiar line about saving the life. What does Jon have to do with anything? Unless of course, Melisandre acted upon Jon's pleas, and send Mance to Winterfell.

Speaking of paying attention to posts, I somehow missed your reply. :blushing: Apologies.

I do not argue that Mel saved Mance when Stannis went south. As Stannis watched Rattleshirt burn, Mance was saved before Stannis went south. The line I think you're referring to comes from Mel's pov, when she reveals Mance to Jon.

Quote:

"... And he [Mance] owes you his very life."

"Me?" Snow sounded startled.

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

What this passage suggests, imo, is that Jon gave Stannis an out as far as the law goes when they had this conversation about Mance earlier in the book.

Quote:

"...Even if he were to renounce his kingship, though, the man remains an oathbreaker. Suffer one deserter to live, and you encourage others to desert. No. Laws should be made of iron, not of pudding. Mance Rayder's life is forfeit by every law in the Seven Kingdoms."

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

So if Jon's sagely advice saved Mance's life, then it was clearly Stannis who decided not to kill him as it is Stannis, not Mel, who is concerned about the law.

Let we go it other way around then. We know Melisandre had visions and dreams about Jon. Who can tell what she really saw there, and if those dreams haven't made her act? That way Jon's presence in her visions would certainly save Mance's life.

Mel does see Jon in her visions, but I fail to see why that would give her motive to save Mance. I don't believe she had any thoughts about Jon as AAR back when the switch was made. She still thinks of Stannis as AAR, long after Rattleshirt was burned instead of Mance. This is evident in the following passages from her own pov.

Quote:

Show me Stannis, Lord, she prayed. Show me your king, your instrument.

and,

I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow. [Note: she asks for a glimpse of AA but R'hllor shows her only Snow, not she asks for a glimpse of AA and R'hllor shows her Snow, but only Snow, hence she does not equate Jon and AA yet.]

and,

The wooden man she had glimpsed, though, and the boy with the wolf's face...they were his servants, surely... his champions, as Stannis was hers.

So it's clear that long after the Mance/Rattleshirt switch was made, Mel still sees Stannis as her champion, Azor Ahai reborn. This should end the notion that Mel made the switch without Stannis' knowledge because she saw that Jon was really AAR and that his was the beginning of her arc away from Stannis towards Jon. Mel might well go that way, but she had not even begun to consider it by the time we got her pov, which was long after the switch was made. And as she still considered Stannis to be her champion, and the king and instrument of R'hllor, in her own inner-monologue, then I find it even less plausible that she would act against his command and save Mance, especially when she has no motive to do so.

Basically all of this. Stannis' highest ideal is justice. From Davos, to Renly, and clear intention what all those lords that supported Renly. And I can't see him sacrificing that for anything Mance can offer him. Especially if Mance ends up in Winterfell...

No evidence of not knowing simply isn't evidence of knowing, and there's huge gap this theory needs to jump to work.

I don't believe sending Mance to Winterfell was Stannis' idea. If Stannis saved Mance for use in the war against the true enemy then the Wall would be the best location for him.In fact even Mel does not send Mance to Winterfell, she sends him south looking for a grey girl on a dying horse who she believes is Arya, and tells Mance she saw the girl heading north past Long Lake.

And while many would agree with you that Stannis highest ideal is justice, I don't think he's as black and white as that. This is what Mel tellsus about the guards Stannis left her.

Quote:

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

Like all GRRM's best characters, Stannis is black nor white but some shade of grey, imho.

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snip

I am not arguing that Melisandre is changing her opinion about Jon and Stannis as AAR, but she does see him. She doesn't see much more, except what's strictly connected to him - Alys, stabbing, him and Ghost. She stayed at the Wall when Stannis went to see hilltribes. The thing is she saw Jon in her fires, and she might agreed to help him in saving 'his sister'.

Remember, 'the laws of men', but not God's law. Stannis is the man that utterly respect men's laws, but not God's (he is like Creont from Antigone). The quote, IMO, suggests that Melisandre had to save Mance because Stannis would never do that. She saw Mance in fire, but she knew Stannis will uphold to his words, and his justice. So, she followed the law of her God, and did what she presumed was told to her by R'hllor in those flames.

Another problematic thing is motivation. Why would Stannis save Mance's life? Because Jon asked him that? No. Because he could use him with wildings? No, if he burnt him in front of people, that would make Mance useless tool. Because mance knows something about Others? This could work, but we still then have problems why Mance is in Winterfell. And I doubt that any of the guards would disobbey Stannis. Also, this is, and I know it's not proper argument, so against who Stannis is. I mean, he punishes for bad, rewards for good. And Mance has done nothing so Stannis would save his life. And more pressing, why the need of hiding? It's not like he should be afraid of NW, because he obviously outnumbers them. And he should good deal of not caring for the laws of NW, when he asked Jon to become Lord of Winterfell. From all I have read about Stannis, he would either spare his life publically and use him openly, or he would kill him. There's no third option. And he thought he killed him.

And while many would agree with you that Stannis highest ideal is justice, I don't think he's as black and white as that. This is what Mel tellsus about the guards Stannis left her.

Like all GRRM's best characters, Stannis is black nor white but some shade of grey, imho.

Again, I have to say, people take these shades of grey too seriously. He is grey because he has his own moral code and he is bereft of feelings when it comes to justice. And justice should be tempered with mercy. He can be just but not good man. Justice and righteousness are two different terms, and we shouldn't equalize them. Stannis is the man of justice, and the way I see it, sometimes it's more character flaw than virtue.

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Remember, 'the laws of men', but not God's law. Stannis is the man that utterly respect men's laws, but not God's (he is like Creont from Antigone). The quote, IMO, suggests that Melisandre had to save Mance because Stannis would never do that. She saw Mance in fire, but she knew Stannis will uphold to his words, and his justice. So, she followed the law of her God, and did what she presumed was told to her by R'hllor in those flames.

I disagree with your conclusion here. Mance was saved because of Jon's sagely statement, the laws of men end at the Wall. There is no mention of the law of the gods, that is supposition on your behalf. If Mance was saved because the laws of men end at the Wall , then he was saved by the person to whom the laws of men matter. Stannis. If Mance was saved because R'hllor told Mel to do so, then Mance does not owe his life to Jon but to Mel and R'hllor. But Mel says Mance owes his life to Jon, because Jon gave Stannis an out regarding the laws of men.

Another problematic thing is motivation. Why would Stannis save Mance's life? Because Jon asked him that? No. Because he could use him with wildings? No, if he burnt him in front of people, that would make Mance useless tool. Because mance knows something about Others? This could work, but we still then have problems why Mance is in Winterfell. And I doubt that any of the guards would disobbey Stannis. Also, this is, and I know it's not proper argument, so against who Stannis is. I mean, he punishes for bad, rewards for good. And Mance has done nothing so Stannis would save his life. And more pressing, why the need of hiding? It's not like he should be afraid of NW, because he obviously outnumbers them. And he should good deal of not caring for the laws of NW, when he asked Jon to become Lord of Winterfell. From all I have read about Stannis, he would either spare his life publically and use him openly, or he would kill him. There's no third option. And he thought he killed him.

I've already explained that I don't believe Stannis sent Mance to Winterfell. And Mel didn't send Mance there either. She sent him south to find they girl on the dying horse that she thought was Arya, fleeing for the safety of the Wall and Jon's protection. She told Mance she saw the girl near a large stretch of water, which Mance reasoned was Long Lake. Winterfell was never mentioned in the plan and we can only assume that was Mance's improvisation. Stannis has motive to keep Mance alive, because he knows much and more of the true enemy, but Mance being in Winterfell has no bearing because Stannis did not send Mance to Winterfell.

In truth, motive only becomes problematic with regards to Mel. We know Stannis has reason to keep Mance alive, but we cannot say the same of Mel. You are suggesting that R'hllor told her to do so but I see absolutely no evidence of the red god's influence in saving Mance. In her pov, Mel never mentions or even alludes to it being the will of her god. What Mel does say in her pov is that Mance owes his life to Jon, for Jon was the one who told Stannis that the law, Stannis' main reason to burn Mance, ends at the Wall. If anything, you'd think she (and R'hllor for that matter) would want Mance burned, given their craving for king's blood. In fact, the only reason I can see that Mel would not want Mance burned is because Stannis said otherwise.

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And then Stannis would sent Mance to free 'Arya Stark'? He couldn't have find something more pressing, like battle with Others to use Mance, other than sending him to save a girl? I don't think so. The only scenario I see is that Melisandre becomes obsessed with Jon, she knows how much he cares for Arya, and helps him. She even stayed at Wall when Stannis marched to northern clans. I am sorry, but I haven't read a thing that would change my mind about this.

stannis is desperate for a stark in winterfell on his side

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In truth, motive only becomes problematic with regards to Mel. We know Stannis has reason to keep Mance alive, but we cannot say the same of Mel. You are suggesting that R'hllor told her to do so but I see absolutely no evidence of the red god's influence in saving Mance. In her pov, Mel never mentions or even alludes to it being the will of her god. What Mel does say in her pov is that Mance owes his life to Jon, for Jon was the one who told Stannis that the law, Stannis' main reason to burn Mance, ends at the Wall. If anything, you'd think she (and R'hllor for that matter) would want Mance burned, given their craving for king's blood. In fact, the only reason I can see that Mel would not want Mance burned is because Stannis said otherwise.

“Me?” Snow sounded startled. “Who else, my lord? Only his life’s blood could pay for his crimes,your laws said, and Stannis Baratheon is not a man to go against the law … but as you said so sagely, the laws of men end at the Wall. I told you that the Lord of Light would hear your prayers. You wanted a

way to save your little sister and still hold fast to the honor that means so much to you, to the vows you swore before your wooden god.” She pointed with a pale finger. “There he stands, Lord Snow. Arya’s deliverance. A gift from the Lord of Light … and me.”

ADWD, Melisandre's POV

And here Mel explicitly said it was Lord of Light. And considering she has seen Alys in her visions, and Jon, the only logical conclusion is that Melisandre acted for Jon, in order to save Arya and become closer to her.

ETA:

stannis is desperate for a stark in winterfell on his side

And like Stannis cares for Arya? Just like he cared for Sansa, the only thing he wanted is Jon, and since it became obvious he won't get him, he moved with Karstarks.

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From what I recall Mel does not consider Mance to be a true King, he is false and his blood is of little value to her. Val also thinks she knew about the baby switch and did nothing about it. I also recall Mel expressing doubts about whether saving Mance had been the right thing to do. He had an attitude about wearing the bone armor and said he had all ready tasted the Dornishmans wife and he was ready to die and she seemed to lose confidence in him a little. She is not completely sure about him despite the facade she presents to Jon.

Off Topic but I am in the Ramsey wrote the pink letter camp.

I think the spearwives with Mance mentioned going to Stannis when they escaped with Arya and Theon. So I'm in the Stannis is aware that Mance is alive camp.

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And here Mel explicitly said it was Lord of Light. And considering she has seen Alys in her visions, and Jon, the only logical conclusion is that Melisandre acted for Jon, in order to save Arya and become closer to her.

Well, I see that as Mel crediting the lord of light, as she so often does, after the fact.

It is clear that there is a contradiction in what Mel is saying. She first tells Jon that his sagely advice saved Mance and then adds that the lord of light has heard Jon's prayers. So which is it? There is no indication that the lord of light told Mel to save Mance, and certainly not so that Mance could save Arya. We know that Jon does not pray to the red god, so it is very unlikely that his prayers were heard. We do know that Jon told Stannis that the laws of men end at the Wall before the Mance/Rattleshirt switch was made.

As for Mel's vision of the girl on the dying horse, (which might be Alys, or the pale mare of Mereen for all we know, but is certainly not Arya or even Jeyne)Mel first mentions it to Jon long after Rattleshirt was burned. More importantly, Mel only takes the hopeful leap that it is Arya after Jon receives the letter from Ramsay about the upcoming wedding in Winterfell. As Arya was presumed dead by Jon until Ramsay's letter arrived at the Wall with the news, I would think this is another case of Mel interpreting a vision after the fact. At the time of the Mance/Rattleshirt switch, Mel knew nothing of Arya. So even if she was having visions of the girl on the horse before the switch, she clearly had no idea who the girl was or how the girl connected to Jon. And if R'hllor could not even tell her the girls name, then I can't see how he would have told her that she would need Mance to save her.

Mel also thinks this of Mance, Does he dream of death? Could the enemy have touched him? Death is his domain, the dead his soldiers. Which makes me even less inclined to think that Mel saved Mance because R'hllor told her to. If Mel believed she had received such divine instruction then why would see then question her god or his instrument [Mance in this case]?

@ Jarl the climber.

The question of king's blood is a good one. While it is true that Mel considers Mance a false king, the same could be applied to every other king besides Stannis. Mel considers Stannis to be the only true king, but what is a true king? The wildlings chose Mance, the Ironborn chose the Greyjoys, the north chose the Starks until the dragons came, then all Seven Kingdoms chose the Targs until Robert's Rebellion, and then the Baratheons after that. If there is such thing as king's blood then it is the blood of whomever people agree is king, be it agreement by law or right of conquest.

And you're also correct in your recollection that Mel expressed doubts about saving Mance, "Was I wrong to spare this one?" And she did save Mance, as it was her glamour, but that does not mean that Stannis was not aware of the switch. It only means Stannis could not have done it without her.

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It's not contradictory when she assigns all happenings to the will of R'hllor. There's no evidence to suggest when Mel saved Mance she did so because she had a specific use for him in saving Arya or that Stannis knew or would have consented to such a plan. It's a plan of convenience after the fact when Stannis has left.

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It's not contradictory when she assigns all happenings to the will of R'hllor. There's no evidence to suggest when Mel saved Mance she did so because she had a specific use for him in saving Arya or that Stannis knew or would have consented to such a plan. It's a plan of convenience after the fact when Stannis has left.

Exactly, chrisdaw, you put it far better than I did.

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In my mind, the biggest argument against this is the net negative trade off for Stannis should the deception ever have to be revealed. For all his talk of ideals, Stannis is an extremely pragmatic man, & every move since losing at the Blackwater has been equal parts strategy AND public relations. His challenge @ the Wall is juggling all the ramifications of the wildlings admittance to the realm w his own goals. Can he achieve subjugation of the wildlings to his rule, retain the backing of the NW, & gain the fealty of the North w Mance alive? I'd say no. If the reception was revealed, the chance of achieving those goals goes from slim to none.

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