News: Progress and Updates to the Mannifesto


I am still working on several essays for the Mannifesto:

Worthy of a King – intended to marry the essays about Val to those concerning the capture of the Dreadfort, this is meant as a “rubber-meeting-the-road” essay that ties the whole room together.

Variations and Other Cruft – Throughout writing the Mannifesto I found many alternatives and variations that I vetted and ultimately set aside. This is a compilation of those other ideas, as well as some responses to especially pointed or critical questions from the community.

The first essay might break into two if it gets too long. Both are still in rough draft format with ongoing “fact-checking” and the required period of self-doubt. Dates of release TBD.


Since the original release of the Mannifesto, I have found (or been introduced) to various details that support or help articulate points in the series. I will be incorporating them into the original essays as time permits.

I will share most of them here as well. This allows people already familiar with the series to immediately see the new details without rereading the original essays.

The Night Lamp & The King with Two Faces

There is an apt passage from A Storm of Swords:

“And when you’ve joined his men to yours and seen my brother married, what then?” Catelyn asked him.

“North.” Robb scratched Grey Wind behind an ear.

“By the causeway? Against Moat Cailin?”

He gave her an enigmatic smile. “That’s one way to go,” he said, and she knew from his tone that he would say no more. A wise king keeps his own counsel, she reminded herself.

This parallels everything I’ve said about Stannis and how he must keep his secrets to himself. We see this echoed when the first clues about Tywin’s plans for the Red Wedding emerge:

“Could the Westerlings and Spicers be such great fools as to believe the wolf can defeat the lion?”

Every once in a very long while, Lord Tywin Lannister would actually threaten to smile; he never did, but the threat alone was terrible to behold. “The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them,” he said, and then, “You will marry Sansa Stark, Tyrion. And soon.”

Later, Tyrion reveals his distress about being left out of the conspiracy:

“I mislike that word,” Lord Tywin said stiffly.

“And I mislike being left in the dark.”

“There was no reason to tell you. You had no part in this.”

“Was Cersei told?” Tyrion demanded to know.

“No one was told, save those who had a part to play. And they were only told as much as they needed to know. You ought to know that there is no other way to keep a secret—here, especially. My object was to rid us of a dangerous enemy as cheaply as I could, not to indulge your curiosity or make your sister feel important.” He closed the shutters, frowning. “You have a certain cunning, Tyrion, but the plain truth is you talk too much. That loose tongue of yours will be your undoing.”

So we see that Robb and Tywin both kept secrets quite close, but often betrayed their cunning through a subtle smile.

Compare to what I pointed out in The Night Lamp essay, that Stannis “smiled strangely” upon hearing that the Freys were stymied by Crowfood’s deadfalls and Aenys’s death. I also highlighted the fact that Stannis articulates why secrets must be kept from those close to him, which is quite close to what Tywin says here.

Here are the relevant passages:

Karstark could never have hoped to keep his treachery a secret if he shared his plans with every baseborn manjack in his service. Some drunken spearman would have let it slip one night whilst laying with a whore. They did not need to know. They are Karhold men. When the moment came they would have obeyed their lords, as they had done all their lives.”

Ser Justin bowed his head. “I understand.”

That only seemed to irritate the king. “Your understanding is not required. Only your obedience. Be on your way, ser.”

“So Crowfood set his boys to digging pits outside the castle gates, then blew his horn to lure Lord Bolton out. Instead he got the Freys. The snow had covered up the pits, so they rode right into them. Aenys broke his neck, I heard, but Ser Hosteen only lost a horse, more’s the pity. He will be angry now.”

Strangely, Stannis smiled. “Angry foes do not concern me. Anger makes men stupid, and Hosteen Frey was stupid to begin with, if half of what I have heard of him is true. Let him come.”

Not only do these similarities support the proposed notion that Stannis keeps secrets from even his closest companions and advisers, but it is also strikingly congruent with the prevailing motif of kingly plots cloaked behind puzzling smiles.

*   *   *

Suicidal Tendencies & Machiavellian Genius

It will be noted that Machiavelli is apocryphally famous for proposing the idea of faking one’s death for political purposes. An amazing coincidence since I already have a large essay that specifically discusses Stannis’s similarity to Machiavelli’s strategic thoughts.

*   *   *

Showdown in the Crypts

When Mance moves and sits on the high table atop the dais, he is once again following the blueprint set forth in the tales about Bael the Bard:

“North or south, singers always find a ready welcome, so Bael ate at Lord Stark’s own table, and played for the lord in his high seat until half the night was gone. The old songs he played, and new ones he’d made himself, and he played and sang so well that when he was done, the lord offered to let him name his own reward. ‘All I ask is a flower,’ Bael answered, ‘the fairest flower that blooms in the gardens o’ Winterfell.’”

Obviously Mance’s sitting atop the high table is reminiscent of Bael. Additionally, we know that Mance sings variations on existing songs (his “Northman’s Daughter” version of the Dornishman’s Wife) as well as the ‘sad, soft’ song that Theon could not recognize (perhaps something new?).

This is just more compelling evidence that Mance was following in the footsteps of Bael the Bard. It provides more data to conclude that Mance would continue Bael’s journey and eventually arrive at the crypts, and the remainder of my theory.

Glamors and Clothing

An interesting element is this excerpt:

It was never wise for a ruler to eschew the trappings of power, for power itself flows in no small measure from such trappings.

The context of this passage is with regard to Jon Snow’s reluctance to move into apartments more suited to the Lord Commander. Despite the context, its fairly obvious that Melisandre does in fact express this sentiment in the abstract, with applicability to any such ‘trapping’. One specific interpretation of the word “trapping” is clothing: garments and other worn items that signify status or power.

Consider the applicability of this idea to Mance, glamored as Ramsay. Wouldn’t the above notions thematically emphasize that Mance’s power as Lord of Winterfell flows from said garments?

There is a related hypothesis here, that in order to project such glamors without the ruby cuff, one would need the “trappings” associated with intended illusion. Specifically, it implies that in order to have disguised Rattleshirt as Mance, Melisandre must have had some of Mance’s “trappings”. Most likely, this would be Mance’s red-and-black cloak; which Jon noted was conspicuously absent from the execution.

This is relatively important for one of remaining essays in the Mannifesto.

*   *   *


I will add an additional note, showing just how similar Mance’s rescue is to the song of Six Maids. Refer to the one verse we know:

“Six maids there were in a spring-fed pool . . .”

Now ask yourself:

Where do you think the water for Jeyne Poole’s bath is coming from?

The springs beneath Winterfell!

Come to think of it… isn’t it creepy that we’re talking about a pool and a Poole?

*   *   *


There are some very interesting quotes from a variety of places. One in particular:

“Clever bird, clever man, clever clever fool,” said Patchface, jangling. “Oh, clever clever clever fool.”

Taking a step back, look at my proposed theory: Mance effectively leverages the tale of Florian and Jonquil in the rescue attempt.

Now consider this against some of the various roles in his life, and the sequence:

  • A Crow (when in the Watch)
  • A Man (as a free wildling)
  • A Fool (during the rescue)

Isn’t this sort of “progression” rather convenient against Patchface’s words?

Consider what is said about Mance:

The black crow is a tricksy bird, that’s so . . . but I was a crow when you were no bigger than the babe in Dalla’s belly, Jon Snow. So take care not to play tricksy with me.”

“I have spent hours speaking with the man. He knows much and more of our true enemy, and there is cunning in him, I’ll grant you. 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 of the Seven Kingdoms.”

It goes without saying that if Mance is playing at Florian the Fool, and all the schemes I articulated in this series, he is indeed one clever clever fool.

I also need to add/revise the essay to point out that Lonmouth is almost certainly one of the men who rode with Rhaegar and was with him when they encountered Lyanna near Harrenhal in 282 AC, per TWOIAF.

*   *   *

There are numerous typos and grammatical errors I am attempting to fix as well. I also have been reading through TWOIAF at the same time and will need to tweak/add elements to reflect the new data from the book. That said, there are no massive “deal-breakers” that invalidate the Mannifesto on the whole.

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