ASOIAF Mystery: The Pink Letter
*SPOILERS for A Dance With Dragons and some of Winds of Winter*
One of biggest mysteries that George RR Martin has left us with at the end of A Dance with Dragons is the authorship of what is know as the “pink letter” or the “bastard letter”.
What’s the Pink Letter?
The Pink Letter is the letter at the end of A Dance with Dragons that Jon receives at The Wall claiming that Stannis is dead and that Ramsay Bolton has Mance Rayder.
“Bastard Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore. Your false king’s friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you. You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me. I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell. I want my bride back. I want the false king’s queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard’s heart and eat it.
Ramsay Bolton, Trueborn Lord of Winterfell.”
The letter gets Jon riled up eventually causing him to break his vows to the Night’s Watch and head south with a Wildling host (only to be gutted like a fish in the “For the Watch” scene).
Who wrote the Pink Letter?
There are theories all over the internet as to who it possibly could’ve been but I’ll only cover the ones I consider the most plausible.
Obviously Ramsay Bolton is one of the first people to consider.
First the letter is sealed in pink wax which is the sealing wax of House Bolton. We would expect this from Ramsay Bolton (he loves to prove that he is no longer a bastard and has been legitimized). Since he loves putting the pink wax on letters this should be no surprise.
The fact that he uses “Bastard” to address Jon Snow could go either way. He could be lauding his legitimization over Jon, rubbing it in his face. We know Ramsay loves the fact that he’s no longer considered a bastard and hates it when people call him “bastard” or “snow”.
We don’t get much of a description of the handwriting like we do with previous Ramsay letter. There’s no way for us as the reader to know if it was Ramsay’s handwriting or not.
The letter’s wax isn’t sealed. THIS is a big deal. Ramsay’s letters have always been sealed. If it was truly Ramsay then he’s either writing this letter without the knowledge of his father Roose, or his father is dead/missing.
The author knows that Mance Rayder and the spearwives are there. The only way the Ramsay would certainly know this is if he had Mance or a spearwive captive and got the information from them which seems plausible but unlikely.
Nobody signed the letter other than Ramsay. If this is an official correspondence from Winterfell expect the other Lords present to sign, or at the very least for Roose to sign. This one is very very suspicious.
He makes absolutely no mention of Asha Greyjoy. This one is another big deal. If he captured all of Stannis’s forces as he says then he would very likely have Asha Greyjoy captive AS WELL AS Reek who he asks for in the letter. SUPER SUSPICIOUS.
There’s a point in the letter where the Night’s Watch are addressed as “Black Crows”. LITERALLY nobody in the series calls them that except for the Wildlings. This point is probably one of the biggest in the case against Ramsay’s authorship of the letter.
It’s probably Mance…