The Error of Her Ways

Melisandre has tremendous talent at seeing things in her fires, visions of events to come. She’s not perfect however—she predicted that Stannis could preemptively alter fate and avoid being crushed by Renly at that Blackwater, only to be instead crushed by Garlan Tyrell (in Renly’s armor) at the Blackwater.

At the Wall, Melisandre’s penchant for ‘misintepretation’ endures. She predicted Arya’s rescue, ‘a grey girl on a dying horse’, yet Alys Karstark appeared instead.

But there are underlying insights in her visions which cannot be ignored. Melisandre did predict Stannis’s defeat by a man in Renly’s armor, and that was correct. She also predicted the arrival of the grey girl, and that was correct.

By all appearances, Melisandre’s powerful visions are most vulnerable to error when she takes that extra step to apply proper names to the objects in her visions—to find their applicability. The ‘grey girl’ became Arya. The man in green armor became Renly. Towers by the sea became Eastwatch. In her obsessive quest to match vision to reality, she errs—a lot.

It seems obvious then that Melisandre’s visions do possess great value, but we must be wary of her attempts to apply them. We must look at all of the possible interpretations in the books.

When you do so however, an extremely bizarre pattern emerges: all of the visions that Melisandre has had since arriving at the Wall have more than one manifestation. In the case of Renly’s green armor, the resulting scenario where Garlan Tyrell wore the armor is the only observed manifestation of Melisandre’s visions. Compare that to her ‘grey girl’ vision, where there are perhaps a half-dozen candidates, all of extreme viability.

With that out of the way, here is what I want to do with this essay:

Reveal the errors in Melisandre’s recent predictions and identify other manifestations of the predicted outcomes.

Identify the failures of other seers and perhaps a root cause.

Analyze a vision Melisandre experiences but does not interpret.

Speculate on a major prediction from A Dance with Dragons.

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A Ghostwriter in Winterfell

THE MANNIFESTO: VOLUME V, CHAPTER II

I formerly argued that Mance Rayder was the author of the infamous Pink Letter. I no longer believe that to be true. I believe the author is someone that the ASOIAF fandom least suspects.

Theon Greyjoy is the author of the Pink Letter.

If we assume for the moment that this argument is correct, it raises several logistical questions, to which I also propose compelling answers:

Under what circumstances did Theon author the Pink Letter?

Theon authored the letter after arriving at the Dreadfort.

Theon arrived at the Dreadfort as part of Stannis’s high-level strategy… to capture the Dreadfort under a false flag and draw the Boltons from Winterfell.

Why would Theon send such a letter to Jon Snow?

The Pink Letter’s purpose: To provoke. To inform. To confuse.

In short, the letter contains secret intelligence and/or messages. Yet the letter is written in a confusing and cryptic fashion, in order to confuse any readers who are unaware of the presence of secret content.

NOTE: The nature of these cryptic messages is not currently the focus of this essay. This essay has a very specific scope: to argue that Theon is the author of the infamous Pink Letter.

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A Confederacy of Stewards

THE MANNIFESTO: VOLUME TBD

So I’m uh … I’m frankly terrified of publishing the following essay. In a series of essays making big claims, I am about to make some of the boldest and most contentious claims yet.

Where to begin the madness in this essay?

A fair criticism of the Mannifesto is that it paints Stannis and a few others as geniuses capable of little error and grand calculation. The Baratheon war machine as described in the various essays heretofore is well-oiled, precise in its engineering. However, such precision naturally leads to a weakness: throw a well placed wrench into the works and the entire machine can crash to a irreparable halt.

All it takes is a few unpredictable events to undermine the success of Stannis’s campaign.

Stepping further in this direction, most people believe that the unexpected sabotage will come in the form of something unpredictable from Ramsay Bolton. However, I disagree:

Stannis’s campaign may have been indirectly sabotaged by Cersei Lannister.

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A League of Their Own

THE MANNIFESTO: VOLUME I, CHAPTER VII

To be quite frank, this essay doesn’t need polished presentation, nor well-articulated reason, nor well-timed salvos of ‘mind-shattering new theory’. I simply plan to prove the following:

Stannis’s campaign in the north draws directly on elements of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most famous triumphs: at Ulm, Austerlitz, and Arcola.

Specific elements of Stannis’s northern campaign are derived from Hannibal’s famous victory at the Battle of Cannae.

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A Nefarious Investment

THE MANNIFESTO: APPENDIX I, CHAPTER IX

NOTE: If you are desperate to see the TL;DR, scroll down… it is near the table of contents.

In our final essay regarding Tycho Nestoris, I want to discuss the nature of his urgency.

Why was Tycho willing to take such great risks to reach Stannis as fast as humanly possible?

There are several obvious financial reasons, easily understood and reconciled with textual evidence or obvious reasoning.

Yet there is one other reason, both secret and massive, for the Iron Bank’s support, a self-serving power play that the bank can deliver to Stannis on a platter.

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The Mockingbird’s Sweet Poison

In this two-part essay series I would like to unveil two major secrets, one regarding Robert Arryn and the other Clydas, the meek ‘maester’ at Castle Black.

The revelations proposed in these essays have significant implications, suggesting sinister plots in the Vale and on the Wall. In fact, one could argue that these discoveries enable a process by which we can begin to unravel some of the central events from A Dance with Dragons.

Getting to the point, this two-part series provides evidence and reasoning to support the following arguments:

Part One:

Lysa Tully was drugging Robert Arryn for quite some time, perhaps even years.

Littlefinger abuses this knowledge to engineer Robert’s death.

Part Two (forthcoming):

Clydas is abusing the same drug.

Although seemingly of trivial importance, these observations will later be shown to have tremendous implications. Continue reading

Charity of the Iron Bank

THE MANNIFESTO: APPENDIX I, CHAPTER VII

Tycho Nestoris: Our intrepid banker from Braavos, the man who fearlessly seeks out Stannis, traversing miles of dangerous terrain in a historic blizzard.

And he does all of this in order provide loans and ensure Stannis claims the Iron Throne. The ultimate goal of Tycho’s mission? To negotiate repayment of debts owed to the Iron Bank:

Tycho Nestoris had impressed him as cultured and courteous, but the Iron Bank of Braavos had a fearsome reputation when collecting debts… …When princes failed to repay the Iron Bank, new princes sprang up from nowhere and took their thrones.
— JON IX, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Tycho sought out Stannis as such an alternative “prince”, one more amenable to repaying the Throne’s dues after Cersei abandoned those debts.

So why is it that when Tycho finally arrives at Stannis’s camp, one of the first things he does is give gifts? Continue reading