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Is Syrio dead?


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#1 Checkered Knight

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:38 PM

Wow, here i go with my third topic this week. Clearly i have nothing better to do.

But anyways, do we know for sure that Syrio is dead? I don't remember there being any concrete evidence of him being killed. Sure the Kingsguard that he took on is still alive, but would you, a knight of the KG admit to be being beaten by a bald guy with a stick?

Just me speculating again, if there is textual evidence of his death please let me know, it will be much appreciated. But he might be dead, or just not to appear again, or maybe even a faceless man that Arya meets overseas.

Thoughts?

#2 SFDanny

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:45 PM

Wow, here i go with my third topic this week. Clearly i have nothing better to do.

But anyways, do we know for sure that Syrio is dead? I don't remember there being any concrete evidence of him being killed. Sure the Kingsguard that he took on is still alive, but would you, a knight of the KG admit to be being beaten by a bald guy with a stick?

Just me speculating again, if there is textual evidence of his death please let me know, it will be much appreciated. But he might be dead, or just not to appear again, or maybe even a faceless man that Arya meets overseas.

Thoughts?


No textual evidence that he is actually dead, but you have hit on one of the most heated topics on this board. There are numerous old threads that I'm sure you can find that will give you more thoughts on this subject than you could ever want.

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:49 PM

He's dead. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a Heaven's Gate cultist.

Seriously, there's virtually no room for him to be alive; the Lannisters killed all Stark partisans out of hand, including the harmless Septa Mordane, and Syrio actually fought back, killing several red cloaks. Syrio had no viable chance of defeating the fully armoured Meryn Trant, and he himself declared that he wouldn't run clearly enough. Even if he had, the Red Keep was locked down; Arya only escaped because she had stumbled into the tunnel system already and was able to find her way back.

And before anyone even tries, it's conclusively proven that he can't have transformed into Jaqen H'ghar in the Black Cells, since Rennifer Longwaters expressly verified that Jaqen and his buddies were already imprisoned way before the Stark coup/Lannister counter-coup...Ned had given the orders for those three to be released to Yoren, which he could hardly do after he was a prisoner himself.

#4 wakiki

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:54 PM

We don't see him die like we do Ned or Robb, but really, the "Syrio is alive" theories are just wishful thinking. He's 99.9% dead, bro. :(

At least he got a heroic death, though. I've read plenty of fantasy novels with heroic deaths, but GRRM is the first I've encountered to have a horrible, bloody, purely evil massacre with no redeeming qualities like the Red Wedding. Ugh.

Edited by wakiki, 16 April 2009 - 07:55 PM.


#5 Checkered Knight

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:57 PM

I figured this one was hotly debated. And thanks for the Heaven's Gate side of things O-i-L. I fully understand that all the Stark loyalists were killed, and I honestly don't think he is Jaqen. Although, him being alive would be pretty awesome. Just wanted to make sure i didnt miss any obvious textual evidence.

#6 israfel070

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:05 PM

He absolutely destroyed four guards with no trouble at all. Sure, Arya ran away as he squared off against the armored, white-cloaked Ser Meryn, and she seemed to fear for his life... but since that time, several characters have mentioned how useless Meryn is at fighting. Cersei specifically arranged for him to be the KG to represent Margaery at trial, so that through his ineptitude, Margaery's guilt would be guaranteed in a trial by combat. Jaime and Loras show contempt for his skills as well. There's no way that the First Sword of Braavos lost to that.

Oh, and hey everyone, I'm back! :)

Edited by israfel070, 16 April 2009 - 11:06 PM.


#7 iheartseverus

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:07 PM

I agree with you. And welcome back, we've missed you!

#8 Lanciform

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:28 AM

...but since that time, several characters have mentioned how useless Meryn is at fighting. Cersei specifically arranged for him to be the KG to represent Margaery at trial, so that through his ineptitude, Margaery's guilt would be guaranteed in a trial by combat. Jaime and Loras show contempt for his skills as well. There's no way that the First Sword of Braavos lost to that.


This has, admittedly, been a little subject of interest for me since I read AGOT. I guess part of it is my nearly existential hate for Meryn Trant and my fervent, fanatical hope that he dies a horrible death over the course of the series.

...well, okay, all of it is that. :lol:

But I've still wondered after it, because a good number of characters really crap on the guy as both a knight and a swordsman. Margaery says Kettleblack would carve him up like a turkey in a straight fight, he loses his friggin' cloak in the riot at King's Landing, Barristan sure thinks he could slaughter the guy while taking a piss, and all this catches my eye because, clearly, nobody knighted him for his prowess in battle. He wins a tilt against Alyn at the Hand's tourney and...that's about it, as far as I can recall. I figure he's just there because he's one of Cersei's toadies, but I just wonder what he did to distinguish himself, if anything.

Then again, this is the same Kingsguard that let in Boros Blount, who seems a skilled enough swordsman to leave a nick in a banana (and he strikes me as the kind to botch peeling it), so Meryn's the least of its troubles. But his overall sucktitude continues to pique my curiosity.

As for Syrio, beats me. Meryn had superior tools, and Syrio's immediate goal was to buy Arya time, not win the fight - but even if he did survive, what would he do? Where would he go? Would he ever show up in another POV? To what effect? :dunno:

Personally, I like that his survival remains unlikely but unknown. He was an awesome, endearing character who didn't overstay his welcome, and his lasting presence in Arya's memory is one of the (preciously) few warm currents of thought in her POV. Whether he's dead or not, I'm satisfied with the lessons he left her with.

#9 Edward the Great

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:42 AM

And before anyone even tries, it's conclusively proven that he can't have transformed into Jaqen H'ghar in the Black Cells,


But the faceless men appear to be body snatchers. In fact, I'd even speculate that they do not take a form until after they kill the original. So the Syrio Forell that we know might not be the real Syrio Forell.

If the person we think is Syrio is the same person we think is Jaquen, think what a dark twist that puts on the expected storyline. If this were conventional fantasy, you would expect Arya to go to Braavos to be trained by the people who taught Syrio. Well, that is what happened...

#10 Errant Bard

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:47 AM

Checkered knight, there are dozen of pages of thoughts in these threads (and I'm too lazy at the moment to dredge up the energy to write the exact same arguments):
Syrio is neither dead nor Jaqen
Syrio Forel

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:48 AM

If the person we think is Syrio is the same person we think is Jaquen, think what a dark twist that puts on the expected storyline.

If the person we think is Syrio was the same person we think Jaqen, he would have needed a time machine so that he could go back in time to get out of the Black Cells under Ned's orders before Ned himself was placed in the Black Cells. Let's break this down into it's components:

1. Rennifer Longwaters releases three prisoners from the Black Cells under Ned's orders. 'the papers were in order'.

2. Ned is deposed as regent and Hand and imprisoned in the Black Cells himself.

3. Syrio gets in the way off Meryn Trant and crew, sent to capture Arya.

Now, 2 and 3 may happen more or less simultaneously, but they both have to have happened well before 1 for Syrio to be Jaqen. But by the very nature of 1, they have to have happened after.

Sorry, but it simply does not work. Only if we base everything off wishful thinking and toss causality, physics, and the story as given to us out the window.

As for Syrio surviving at all, it requires him to either:

A. Somehow incapacitate Trant, though he shows no signs of injury later, and decline to kill him when he's at a Syrio's mercy. That would be strange, given his complete willingness to kill 4 or 5 red cloaks...why show mercy to the one giving orders to kidnap a child when you don't show it to the underlings?

Which would only even come up if he was able to triumph over a fully armoured knight when he was dressed in nothing but cloth; which strains credulity to the breaking point. Meryn Trant may not have been the dragonknight reborn, but he was good enough to disarm Syrio in a matter of seconds. Sure Syrio could have killed him several times over in those seconds if he wasn't encased head to toe in steel plate...but he was. Virtually the only point vulnerable to Syrio's wooden sword would have been the vision slit in the visor of his helm (a hand held wooden stick isn't going to pierce plate or mail). That's the one way Syrio could get past the armour. But lo, the next time we see Meryn, Sansa notices how he still has both of his eyes.

Another possibility that has been advanced to try to salvage Syrio's survival is that he managed to topple trestle table or benches onto Meryn during the fight, immobilising him. But that goes back to the original point, why then let him live? If Trant is temporarily incapacitated, Syrio could yank open his visor and kill him at his leisure. Doing so would buy Arya more time, since it would deny Trant the ability to summon more pursuers for both of them.

B. Run away. This would be remarkably out of character, indeed it would be shitting all over Syrio's character to have him flee after he had just boasted that the First Sword of Braavos never does. Sometimes defenders will argue "But he's not the First Sword anymore!" This would load him with weasel-worded lawyeriness in addition to cowardice. Is that doing him any favours, rather than letting him fearlessly go out in a blaze of glory?

And even if he did, then what? Does he go and hide in an attic somewhere? He's in the middle of a castle that's been sealed off from the outside world, with a manhunt and battle going on inside. And he's just killed several Lannister guardsmen, and Meryn Trant is alive to tell the tale. The only way out is through the tunnels, and we have zero evidence he knows about them, or how to get into them.

C. Be captured by Meryn Trant. Incredibly improbable; why would they take him alive, who was guilty of several killings but not Septa Mordane? If they're willing to kill a holy septa, they wouldn't bat an eyelid at killing an enemy fighter from the Free Cities. And Trant had ordered his men to kill Syrio, expressing his inetentions clearly enough to rule out this option.

Edited by Other-in-law, 17 April 2009 - 01:59 AM.


#12 Aplomb

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:53 AM

One thing that bothers me about that timeline, Other, is the timing of the release of the three prisoners. If they were released soon after Ned gave Yoren permission to take them, where did Yoren keep them for days on end? He doesn't have his own jail, and it doesn't make sense to have such dangerous prisoners anywhere other than a black cell until the day comes to remove them from the city. It makes more sense to me that Yoren chose them, then made arrangements with Longwaters to pick them up on his day of departure.

That Ned was by the departure date deposed and accused of treason probably wouldn't have changed things. It was a pretty routine order no one would have reason to change, and Longwaters might have considered them the property of the NW and a done deal when he got the papers from Yoren, even after the downfall of Ned. If he brought the issue up and asked if he should still follow this order, the answer was probably a shrug and a "whatever."

So one way to allow Syrio = Jaqen is:

Yoren picks Biter, Rorge and a third prisoner, a non faceless man from Braavos named Jaqen, for the NW with plans to take custody of them later.

Sometime before the day of departure, Varys as jailkeeper slips Syrio into the third person's cell and Syrio kills and becomes Jaqen while Varys disposes of the body.

On the day of departure, Yoren collects his three prisoners from Longwaters.

I don't believe that happened, but it could have happened.

Edited to add: If Syrio is a FM, remember they have weird rules about taking lives. It's OK to kill the redcloaks in a fair fight defending himself and to protect Arya. But if Syrio managed to get the upper hand on Trant by incapacitating him somehow, he might decide not to kill Trant needlessly because under whatever rules there are for such things it wasn't a death owed to the Many Faced God.

There are several ways Syrio could have won, basically dodging the sword until he saw Trant was unbalanced, pushing him over and kicking away the sword, and either bashing his head against the floor until he concussed or lifting his visor and smothering him until he passed out while Trant was trapped by the weight of his armor and Syrio's leveraged weight. Once he got control of Trant, his never running away creed is satisfied, even as some FM rule keeps him from killing a helpless man whose life is not owed to the Many Faced God.

Again, I don't believe that happened, but it could have happened.

Edited by Aplomb, 17 April 2009 - 02:16 AM.


#13 Aumerle

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:10 AM

While the thought of him fighting off several guards and a member of the Kingsguard with a stick was cool and definitely added to the Syrio awesomeness factor, I was surprised he didn't *disarm* the first guard and take his sword. I mean Bronn took out someone that sounded like a pretty fair fighter in a similar setting, so why couldn't Syrio do the same? It seemed odd, almost like he wanted to die there. Perhaps he figured that he couldn't escape King's Landing so there was no better place to make his stand, but even so why not take a sword from one of the guards right away to make his ability to fend them off that much better? I never understood that aspect to that fight. Wouldn't he be better able to help Arya escape the city if he survived? I, for one, would love to find out more about Syrio and perhaps some reason why he couldn't or wouldn't use a blade.

As to the original post, I think he is sadly, dead. If nothing else I think if he *survived* that encounter that some of the Lannisters would have had more to say about him later on and I think the only comment that I can recall was something about how Arya's dancing master put up too much of a fight for them to be able to capture her (not that he killed X guardsmen and ran off, etc...).

#14 LordNedsHead

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:12 AM

Old topic here, but my absolute fave topic ever so I have to throw my two cents in. Syrio's my favorite character in the series bar none so I'm of course gonna take his side and do my best to prove he is alive.
Here is the scenario as I have always seen it. Syrio is clearly the superior swordsman in the room when Meryn Trant and his goons arrive. He dispatches the underlings without breaking a sweat. Then we get to the bit about Arya seeing with her eyes and viewing Syrio with a wooden sword against a fully armed knight of the King's Guard. This is the point where I hope I can read into Martin's writing style enough to see through the smokescreen.
George is fond of stating that certain PoVs are flawed povs meaning that he often intentionally misleads the reader by using the flawed perceptions of the pov character to throw us off from what really occured. In a car accident there are at least three points of view. What I saw happen. What the person who hit me saw happen. And what really happened. Its much the same with the citizens of Westeros. I've seen GRRM warn us not to take what a certain character saw as unrefutable proof of what really occured numerous times.
So, knowing this, when I read that chapter I see it through my own eyes instead of Arya's. Yes she is trying to view the scene as Syrio has instructed her, but she is still very much a student. There are other places in the books where she attempts to take in everything happening around her and falls short. She sees the wooden sword, and Ser Meryn's armor, but she fails to notice the weapons of the fallen Lannister guardsmen. We learn in following books that Trant is revealed to be quite a bit overrated for a member of the King's Guard. Cersei even mentions that he had trouble with Arya's "dancing instructor" in ACoK. With steel from a fallen foe in his hands I estimate that Syro would be at least an even match against Trant. Armor helps protect against blows for certain, but by no means is it a complete fail safe. I cite Bronn/Vardis and Gregor/Red Viper as examples. Add to this that as a waterdancer, Syrio's piercing style gives him and additional advantage over an armored foe as he's more capable of scoring hits in the seams of the plate.
Syrio says that he won't run, but he never specifically says that he has to kill Trant. He could have easily incapacitated him. As quick as he was, all Syrio would have to do would be to trip Trant up and have him fall. From there its as simple as pointing the sword over Trant until he yielded. By the time Trant picked himself up off the floor Syrio would be long gone.
Another thing in favor of Syrio being alive is simply that GRRM hasn't said he is dead. This coupled with the fact that he leaves the scene well open to interpretation suggests to me that Forell still lives. What's the point of leaving his status up in the air if he's already dead?
The one thing that worries me about Syrio actually being dead is that I would have thought to have seen him sometime during the course of AFFC in the Bravos scenes. Three full books swithout him makes me a little nervous. Well, there will be Arya chapters in Dance. I can keep hoping ;)

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:17 AM

If they were released soon after Ned gave Yoren permission to take them, where did Yoren keep them for days on end? He doesn't have his own jail, and it doesn't make sense to have such dangerous prisoners anywhere other than a black cell until the day comes to remove them from the city.

What was it that kept the three of them from just walking out of the burning barn in aCoK, again? ;)

That Ned was by the departure date deposed and accused of treason probably wouldn't have changed things. It was a pretty routine order no one would have reason to change, and Longwaters might have considered them the property of the NW and a done deal when he got the papers from Yoren, even after the downfall of Ned. If he brought the issue up and asked if he should still follow this order, the answer was probably a shrug and a "whatever."

Longwaters tells us that he was sending everyone memos questioning the release orders. "Whatever" in response to "should I continue to carry out the orders of the traitor in the Black Cells?" is laughable, they would have asked if he had taken leave of his senses.

"Before your lordship's little brother was sent down, we had Grand Maester Pycelle for a time, and before him Lord Stark, the traitor. There were three others, common men, but Lord Stark gave them to the Night's Watch. I did not think it good to free those men, but the papers were in proper order. I made note of that in a report as well, you may be certain of it."

Merely being given by a deposed Hand imprisoned for treason pretty much rules out those papers being in "proper order".

#16 LordNedsHead

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:24 AM

Here is a question I've had that falls well into the realm of crackpot theories. It holds very little water but I've always wondered about it. Has anyone else noticed that Syrio has a particular affinity for cats? He gets his first sword of Braavos title for seeing a cat for what it was. He makes Arya chase cats around the Red Keep. He's lithe and agile like a cat. I'm not going to go so far as to suggest that he's a warg, but we do see a few references to Arya's nemesis the big one-eared tom cat (pretty sure it was the Targaryen kid's kitten Balerion btw) later in the books. Again, this is borderline absurd, but there have been times I've scratched my head wondering if there is some sort of connection. (Yeah I know. "Syrio's dead LNH. Get over it ":lol: )

#17 Aplomb

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:37 AM

What was it that kept the three of them from just walking out of the burning barn in aCoK, again? ;)


They were chained to a cart with Yoren and dozens of NW recruits to keep an eye on them, out on the road. That's not really a viable strategy when Yoren is running around making last minute preparations, to have three dangerous criminals chained to a cart on the street or in some stable in the middle of King's Landing. How would either Yoren or Longwaters think that's a better idea than keeping them in their cells until the day of departure?

Longwaters tells us that he was sending everyone memos questioning the release orders. "Whatever" in response to "should I continue to carry out the orders of the traitor in the Black Cells?" is laughable, they would have asked if he had taken leave of his senses.

"Before your lordship's little brother was sent down, we had Grand Maester Pycelle for a time, and before him Lord Stark, the traitor. There were three others, common men, but Lord Stark gave them to the Night's Watch. I did not think it good to free those men, but the papers were in proper order. I made note of that in a report as well, you may be certain of it."

Merely being given by a deposed Hand imprisoned for treason pretty much rules out those papers being in "proper order".


Not really. There's no reason to retroactively countermand every little routine decision and order Ned made that didn't relate to his treason, if they made sense. If Longwaters asked if these prisoners should still be released to the NW like these papers from Lord Stark ordered, the answer might be "sure, good riddance to the scum, let them be the NW's problem." It would be pretty dumb if the standing attitude to any of Stark's written orders were, "whatever they say, even if they make perfect sense and obviously have nothing to do with his treason, do the opposite!" It makes sense any Stark orders would have to be reconfirmed, but they wouldn't all be reversed, and there was no real reason to reverse these orders.

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 03:01 AM

They were chained to a cart with Yoren and dozens of NW recruits to keep an eye on them, out on the road. That's not really a viable strategy when Yoren is running around making last minute preparations, to have three dangerous criminals chained to a cart on the street or in some stable in the middle of King's Landing. How would either Yoren or Longwaters think that's a better idea than keeping them in their cells until the day of departure?

For one thing, his original planned departure was much earlier than it ended up. He was all ready to go, but Varys delayed him to wait for Ned to join them.

"It wasn't supposed to happen like it did. I was set to leave, wagons bought and loaded, and a man comes with a boy for me, and a purse of coin, and a message, never mind who it's from. Lord Eddard's to take the black, he says to me, wait he'll be going with you."

Not, "I went back to the cells to pick up those three and a man says, no rush, let 'em stay a while more.." The man came to him, not the other way around.

And why exactly is the risk of escape worse in the city than on the road? Those same dozens of NW recruits are still there to guard them, those same heavy manacles that would have been sufficient to see them all burned to death were still locked on them. Maybe some smith is going to fight his way past those dozen recruits so he can strike the irons off Biter....why?

Not really. There's no reason to retroactively countermand every little routine decision and order Ned made that didn't relate to his treason, if they made sense.


I'm not saying they would have gone out and tried to rearrest prisoners who had already been released, just not carried out orders from someone who's authority had been rescinded.

If Longwaters asked if these prisoners should still be released to the NW like these papers from Lord Stark ordered, the answer might be "sure, good riddance to the scum, let them be the NW's problem."


Or, "No, let Ser Ilyn strike their heads off, like we originally planned. What do we care about the NW?"

It would be pretty dumb if the standing attitude to any of Stark's written orders were, "whatever they say, even if they make perfect sense and obviously have nothing to do with his treason, do the opposite!"

Not "automatically do the opposite", just stop carrying out his orders. He's not the Hand anymore, he's a traitor.

It makes sense any Stark orders would have to be reconfirmed, but they wouldn't all be reversed, and there was no real reason to reverse these orders.

If the orders had to be re-authorised...essentially giving the same orders over again, on someone else's authority... wouldn't the bureaucratic Longwaters have mentioned all those additional complications in his long-winded explanation? He himself was lobbying against the release anyway, so why would paranoid Cersei (who was the one in power at that point) say, 'no, let the traitor go ahead and release his dangerous criminals, I can't possibly imagine any way that could ever pose any sort of threat to me. It's more important to honour the acts of disgraced traitor than to err on the side of suspicion'?

Edited by Other-in-law, 17 April 2009 - 03:12 AM.


#19 Roi Woodt

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 03:11 AM

Aplomb, Syrio was Jaqen, now they are both dead. However, that cool character is still alive!

Other-in-Law, didn't mention the D choice, someone interrupted, someone like Varys. I have no idea where the spider was during the Stark elimination, but he, like Baelish, should have done something. The finger went for Sansa and fished Jeyne out of the chaotic Pool, it wouldn't be a surprise to me if Varys went to Arya and fished out a Forel. Slippery like an eel.

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 03:21 AM

I have no idea where the spider was during the Stark elimination, but he, like Baelish, should have done something.

Well, we know he was in the throne room when the shit hit the fan, with the rest of the Small Council. And he doesn't like the sight of blood, especially his own.

So you're suggesting that he snuck out and slipped through the ongoing swordfights around the Tower of the Hand, and interrupted another fight between Meryn and Syrio, and said "Excuse me Ser, I know you're acting on direct royal orders, but would you mind if I took this man away for some mysterious purpose of mine own? Also, if you would be such a dear as to not mention anything about this to the Queen, whose loyal catspaw you are, it would be ever so sweet!" and "Just this way, Mr Forel, no need to look at me like that, watch your head. Oh, and if you wouldn't mind averting your gaze for a moment while I open up one of these top secret tunnel entrances, Meryn? Thank you." (grinding noises).