Category Archives: Characters

The Pink Letter: Finally Solved?

“You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece.”


The end of Jon’s final chapter in A Dance with Dragons leaves readers mystified on several fronts. Obviously the mystery behind Jon’s death is foremost among them. However, let’s analyze one of the other conundrums introduced by this chapter:

  • ?
  • Why are the wildlings so eager to go to war for Jon Snow?

Some readers may have concluded that this topic was unimportant, unanswerable or some combination thereof. Others might have concluded that explanation is already known, and provided by the text, explicitly or otherwise.

I obviously wouldn’t be wasting your time with this inquiry if I thought the real answer was any of those things. This short essay is an effort to convince you of the following:

The wildlings rally to Jon’s cause because of readily recognizable wildling folklore found in both the Pink Letter and Jon’s statements at the Shieldhall; folklore that is only understood by wildlings.

Not only does Jon know this, but he himself knows who wrote the Pink Letter.

With that in mind, I want to start by proving as best as possible that the explanation behind why the wildlings rallied to Jon’s cause is of huge consequence. Continue reading

The Lost Mission of Mance Rayder

NOTE: This will probably be incorporated into the Mannifesto at some point but for now I’m posting as a mostly self-contained piece.

This essay serves one purpose and one only:

To reveal the secret mission that was Mance Rayder’s true goal in the north during the events of A Dance with Dragons.

Explain the relevance of that mission on other aspects of the plot.

Explore significant implications of its discovery.

Let’s get straight to business then.

Continue reading

Let’s Have Some Fun: Another Approach to Stannis

NOTE: I had wanted to finish work on my other non-Stannis essays, but just when I thought I was out, you guys pull me back in.

Today somebody remarked that they didn’t believe that Stannis could ever do something like the Night Lamp. As a rigorous man of science and obviously smart person, my reaction was predictable.
Specifically, I was told:

That is not how Martin writes or thinks. There is no character driven reason why this should happen, or any relevance to his story arc. Stannis solves his problems with intelligence and steadiness. But he is not someone who uses deception, thinks outside the box or “plays the player”. That is rather something I expect from someone like Tyrion.

I don’t take it personal. First of all, I can forgive people not knowing the greatness that is Stannis. I too resisted …until the evidence was insurmountable. Like, to the point where you have to go out of your way to be obstinate if you want to believe that Stannis isn’t a motherflippin’ genius. Seriously folks. Stannis is so smart he probably has two pairs of underwear on at all times.

But I’ve already written the Mannifesto, which worked for some people but obviously not for everyone. I need a new format that will connect with this younger harder-to-reach crowd of avocado-toast eating Millenials. I’d make a Youtube video but that only means I’d be tempted to start scraping other people’s ideas off of Reddit and hoping to become some sort of devil-worshipping ‘influencer’. Plus I’m not ready to have my face on video, I don’t need that kind of fan mail.

The obvious truth is that I can’t beat some of you over the head with Stannis’s brilliance: some readers want foreplay—a little tickling behind the knee, Wallflowers playing the background and a bottle of the cheap wine with the fancy label. Some people don’t care for the plain old-fashioned truth—they want to be seduced. Nobody wants Atticus Finch when Michael Clayton is available. Poor old man never had the courage to tell Scout that’s why he was a single father.

*   *   *

Sometimes greatness lives in dark, overlooked places—like an alleyway in Chinatown or the back seat of a Volkswagen. Or the mind of a king. Its a fungus that grows between your toes and one day takes over your brain, striking out of nowhere like the tequila in a line of Jell-O shots: a hazy dream of peaks and valleys that leaves you wondering what really happened when it departs. That means sometimes you have to approach greatness the way you approach a spider on the toilet seat: sneakily, in a bomb suit.

In light of this noble truth, let us try something different. I will toss out a couple of potent questions to direct today’s flirtation with the one true king, and then we’ll walk through a few chapters in the so-called life of Stannis Baratheon and see what shakes out. In particular, I want to focus on the first four Jon chapters from A Dance with Dragons:

  • ?
  • What is the earliest point in time that Stannis could have known about a plot to marry Arya Stark?
  • ?
  • What is the earliest point in time that Stannis could have known about the plot for the Karstarks to betray him?

You would think that Stannis only learned about the wedding from the letter he read while at Deepwood Motte, and that he only learned about the Karstark betrayal from Jon’s letter that arrived with Tycho Nestoris. After all that’s how it looks in the book.

ಠ_ಠ

But the book is straight-up lying to you. But in order to convince the more ambivalent reader, I feel the need to tackle this in a sort of chronological format—building naturally on smaller, earlier elements until they can be woven into the real answers to these questions. Continue reading

Mance and Son: The Former King Knows

A few weeks back, there was a thread on /r/asoiaf regarding Mance and his fate. In the thread, /u/BryndenBFish made the claim that Mance does not know about his son, and I countered that he most certainly did. He expressed an interest in hearing my arguments.

This quick essay is my answer. First I want to determine the scope of my argument; what is the question I am answering?

Did Mance Rayder know about his true son’s fate before he left Castle Black?

How did he learn this and from whom?

This essay provides answers to both, which I can in superficial terms as follows:

Yes, Mance Rayder knew about his son’s fate.

There are several people who may have told him.

The most prominent of which are Stannis, Melisandre and Val.

Means, motive and opportunity conspire to provide Mance Rayder with an undeniable opportunity to discover his son’s fate. Continue reading

Lyanna the Grey

Several times have I argued that there are often multiple candidates that fulfill the visions and prophecies we encounter throughout A Song of Ice and Fire.

This phenomenon is particularly prominent with regards to Melisandre and her visions in A Dance with Dragons. From the eyeless faces to the arrival of the Pink Letter, from the visions of “Snow” to her vision of the ‘grey girl’, we can identify at least two candidates for each prediction. Let’s call this phenomenon ‘multiple candidacy’.

NOTE: This claim of ‘multiple candidacy’ was originally articulated in another essay of mine, “Prophecy: A Cipher for Readers”. You can read that essay if you wish to explore this idea in detail before continuing. That said, I provide a simplified analysis of the same concepts in the footnotes below.

NOTE: Footnotes pending.

A few months ago I proposed a hypothesis concerning the grey girl in Melisandre’s vision:

Lyanna Stark is the grey girl.*

This statement is not entirely correct, but I express it this way in order to earn your attention. Continue reading

The Red Sun Rises, The Glass Candle Burns: The Lost Targaryen Prince

Mance Rayder is the son of Duncan “the Small” Targaryen and Jenny of Oldstones.

Depending upon your beliefs regarding the legitimacy of Jon and/or Aegon, this may render Mance to have a more legitimate claim.

Mance may have been fathered (directly or –more likely– otherwise) by Bloodraven.

The ‘evidence’ for these arguments is largely unconventional and will be disagreeable to many readers. I don’t deny this.

This is because a large portion of based on analysis of motifs, prose, patterns. It’s not the kind of hard “in-world” facts that most of us know and love. It draws from an understanding of Martin’s other works and the prominent, pervasive themes throughout his career. It has elements of SWAG (scientific wild-ass guesses) based on existing precedents. It invokes some analysis of the text that may be symbolic (thus scientifically untestable) allusions. The idea culminates with an examination of elements that tie things together like a rug in The Big Lebowski. Continue reading

Abomination in Training: The Indoctrination of a Greenseer

Have you ever felt like the popular ‘Jojen Paste‘ theories were in some way correct, but incompletely articulated… they’re missing something?

Well I hope to allay those thoughts and put forth a compelling viewpoint, that goes a step further. Specifically, this is what this essay argues:

Bran was purposefully introduced to cannibalism during his trek to the Cave of the Three-Eyed Crow, culminating with the consumption of Jojen’s blood during the ‘weirwood paste’ ceremony.

This central idea is underpinned by the following observations:

The consumption of certain human flesh is a route to greater power as a skinchanger.

The ability to warg more difficult subjects, such as humans, is evidence of such power.

A skinchanger must have demonstrated such significant power in order to be joined to the weirwoods.

Thus Coldhands, Bloodraven and Leaf have been taking actions to make this transformation as smooth and expedient as possible.

This essay explores these ideas and uses them to articulate the larger point. Additionally, I take some time at the end to address specific logistical questions that I anticipate will come up. Continue reading