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Syrio Forel - the neverending fight


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#1 AvengingAryaFan

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:24 AM

Well dang, they locked the last topic just when it seemed we'd gotten past some red herrings and were moving into really interesting considerations.

May as well take this opportunity to try a new summary of my theory of "the neverending fight" (the Trant/Forel fight was never ended by GRRM. The fight about what probably happened may last until Martin reveals how the Trant/Forel fight ends).

I'll start with my conclusion, and then indicate the textual support for each premise leading to that conclusion. To save time and space I won't cite actual text unless the support is challenged; much of it has been set forth several times. REMEMBER, please, we're talking about what MIGHT have happened after that last instant, when Arya saw Syrio's stick sheared and ran out the door, terminating our view of the fight. I'll say it here, and I don't want to have to say it again: everything I suggest or conclude about what transpired after Arya left is CONJECTURE. I will state it, however, without constantly repeating that it's conjecture, unless somebody forgets and complains that I'm trying to fool them. Please read the end of the fight scene (p.534 AGOT Bantam PB) if you're not sure what's conjecture and what's canon. Moving on.

Arya fled (canon). My theory for the end of the neverending fight: Syrio convinced Trant that he couldn't be easily killed. Trant, realizing that he had lost Arya and five guardsmen, concluded that fighting further with Forel was a bad idea, especially because every instant he wasted with Forel, Arya was getting farther away. He therefore promptly left to get reinforcements to help him search for Arya before she could get completely away.

Trant is well protected by his armor, so Syrio can't do any significant harm with his stick sword (he's shown hitting Trant with it to no effect). Consequently, Trant is unharmed.

But Trant does what he's told. He doesn't care about honor (for example, he hits Sansa without qualm). He's been told to capture Arya, and Arya is getting away. He might want to kill Syrio out of cruelty, but even if he was capable of doing so (which I doubt), spending time trying to kill Forel would interfere with what he was ordered to do, which was to secure Arya. To comply with his orders he must either run through the kitchen after her, or he must get others looking for her as soon as possible. The fully armored man isn't likely to be successful chasing Arya through the kitchens, especially if Forel is correct that he's "slow, for a knight".

But why didn't Trant kill Forel seconds after Arya left, right after he had sheared Forel's stick? He might have. But the text suggests it's unlikely: Martin has demonstrated Syrio as having a terrific ability to avoid Westerosi swords swung at him. He avoided being hit by every sword swing by all five guardsmen, who attacked him from three directions (canon), and he avoided being hit by the five sword swings we see by Trant (assuming Arya wouldn't fail to think about Forel getting sliced by a sword if that happened). Forel, Barristan Selmy and Jaime have all expressed contempt for Trant, while we have every reason to think that Forel is a superb survivor. Yes, he has only half a sword to parry with now, but the sword wasn't that useful anyway, and other weapons are readily available.

So that's essentially it, I think. Trant left at least because he had no reason to fight, Syrio walked away because he had no reason to pursue Trant. Syrio was not known to Trant (the implication of the ways Trant+5 addressed him), so there is no reason to think he'd be recognized by others; and given his demonstrated skill against the five guardsmen, it's entirely likely that he could leave the Red Keep without being injured.

I happen to think that, far from losing, Forel became a serious threat to Trant, and that Trant probably ran pretty fast to avoid that threat; but that would be icing on the "Syrio probably lives" cake.

Given that Forel, during his fight with the guardsmen, demonstrated a proclivity for knocking opposing fighters off balance and down, and given that Forel chose to engage Trant with only his stick rather than follow the standard wisdom of staying out of reach of Trant's sword, even after finding the stick offensively useless, and finally given that there was little else Forel could do against a fully armored man, I believe he was aiming to knock Trant down. Indeed, he might have been angling to give Trant an opportunity to swipe at the stick, precisely so that Trant would be off balanced when the stick suddenly gave. The stick shearing, then, might have been a sacrifice to get Trant off balance, in which case Trant may have fallen very shortly after Arya left.

Or not; knocking Trant down is just one way Forel could have convinced Trant that continuing the fight was a bad plan. Another way would have been to dance away, after that last cut that sheared his stick, pick up one of the five swords lying around the hall, and use that sword to parry as necessary. Martin shows that Forel is willing to pick up the guardsmens' equipment to protect himself - he did so with one's helmet.

The longer the fight went on, the worse for Trant's goal of capturing Arya, and the greater the danger that Forel might actually hurt him.

In view of the thrashing Forel gave the five guardsmen, it is my expectation that Forel humiliated Trant, causing him to retreat not only to pursue Arya, but also in fear for his life. But though I figure the odds of his having humiliated Trant (for example, putting him on the floor like a turtle) are pretty good, say 50%, the odds of his surviving the fight are much higher. It requires only that he want to live, so if he is unable to knock Trant down or harm him through his armor he will do something else, such as keep his distance and use his speed and much better mobility to stay alive. Dancing, but not running, is necessary only in the worst case.

Here's why I think Trant couldn't hurt Syrio, assuming only that Syrio wanted to stay alive: Syrio had survived fights for many years, and knew exactly the risks involved. He had other options than engaging Trant to accomplish his goal of letting Arya get away, such as some sort of dancing about the cluttered room to use his mobility advantage over Trant. He didn't choose the safer, more conservative alternative of keeping his distance; so if he loved life, it's reasonable to expect he thought the risk of engaging Trant was pretty low, especially in view of his stated contempt for him. Given his ability to avoid the blades of all five guardsmen, I'd say he knew very well what he was doing. (paragraph edited for clarity)


Thus, I think it is extremely likely that Syrio Forel survived his (brief) fight with Meryn Trant. I also think it is somewhat more likely than not that he will be reintroduced, perhaps reuniting with Arya - the Braavos nexus is pretty clear. I admit that the likelihood of his being reintroduced has dwindled with the expansion of the series, which has caused there to be at least three complete books between the book in which he disappeared and the book he would be likely to return in; it may begin to seem cheesy to Martin to bring him back after such a long hiatus, so even though (IMO) he probably originally intended such a reconnection, he may now have written him out of the story.

Here are two reasons I think Martin originally planned to bring Syrio back: first, the fight scene is loaded with "cliffhangeriness", features that make a popular character seem in jeopardy of death. Such scenes often result in the character surviving, and that is an especially likely case here, because those textual clues that are less showy than the sheared stick strongly suggest (to me, I know some disagree) that Forel should easily have survived. Thus, though I put the probability of his surviving the fight with Trant at 90% (yup, I've raised it), I can only put the probability of his return at about 51%.

Edited by AvengingAryaFan, 17 December 2010 - 09:37 AM.


#2 Silverx2

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:44 AM

Hes dead unless you have visual proof that he is alive, You don't.

Hes alive unless you have visual proof that he is dead, You don't.

Syrio is in literary purgatory at the moment, and this argument is pointless.

#3 Headless Ned

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:53 PM

or he could be UnSyrio chill'n with UnCat and shooting the breeze, playing spades and giving Thoros lesson on how to use flaming sticks. AA fan, I really do appreciate the thoughtfullness of the theory and I appreciate your love for the books. I just think he's gone. Hopefully this Jan. 9th thing GRRM has up is sleeve is the release date for ADWD and we can find out for sure. If he is alive, sure hey great and I'm willing to eart crow for my sarcasm but until then, I'm pretty sure he is dead.

Edited by Headless Ned, 17 December 2010 - 12:54 PM.


#4 Herta

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:54 PM

Hes dead unless you have visual proof that he is alive, You don't.

Hes alive unless you have visual proof that he is dead, You don't.

Syrio is in literary purgatory at the moment, and this argument is pointless.


You're absolutely right, however, AvengingArya has dangled the possibility of Syrio's resurrection tantalizingly before my nose....and he makes a lot of sense! None of us can actually KNOW what happened, but the very possibility that he survived and MAY turn up again.....perhaps in Bravos, perhaps to help Arya, gave me serious food for thought. Although I, too, can't know the ultimate outcome, I am now secretly rooting for the reappearance of Syrio! If he ends up dead...and stays dead, so be it!

#5 cybroleach

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 07:07 PM

Thus, I think it is extremely likely that Syrio Forel survived his (brief) fight with Meryn Trant. I also think it is somewhat more likely than not that he will be reintroduced, perhaps reuniting with Arya - the Braavos nexus is pretty clear. I admit that the likelihood of his being reintroduced has dwindled with the expansion of the series, which has caused there to be at least three complete books between the book in which he disappeared and the book he would be likely to return in; it may begin to seem cheesy to Martin to bring him back after such a long hiatus, so even though (IMO) he probably originally intended such a reconnection, he may now have written him out of the story.

Here are two reasons I think Martin originally planned to bring Syrio back: first, the fight scene is loaded with "cliffhangeriness", features that make a popular character seem in jeopardy of death. Such scenes often result in the character surviving, and that is an especially likely case here, because those textual clues that are less showy than the sheared stick strongly suggest (to me, I know some disagree) that Forel should easily have survived. Thus, though I put the probability of his surviving the fight with Trant at 90% (yup, I've raised it), I can only put the probability of his return at about 51%.


I must say I do like your idea of Meryn decieding to leave to track Arya better then most things I read about this. Since this is a time sensitive thing and Syrio still has the means to delay him alot.

I would argue these two points, one that while Syrio is an experenced swordsman his past that we know of does not indicated he'd have fought many if any fully armoured men. Thus I would suggest he overestimates what he and his stick can do, which is why he attacks with it.

I would amagine GRRM planed this type of ending for Syrio to be unconventional vs the normal fantasy sinario you depict where the popular character returns from almost certain death. Something I've come to see alot of after reading most of his work is a flair for setting up these tried and true scenes but the ending isn't the usual one. Syrio's just another example of why this isn't LOTR.




Continued from the other thread @ The Mance:

I've debated about Syrio for some time now and have come to find the people who want Syrio to be alive are the ppl who beleive him to be alive. They look for places where he could or should return. While showing up in Bravos at some point could a likely place for him to return, if he does not no one who thought he was going to show up there is going to now beleive he's dead. This is just the latest strongest opinion of him being alive before AFFC Syrio being Jaqen was much more popular now they've moved over to him just dissapearing till ADWD or later. There will always be some point ppl who want him to be alive can claim he'll come back and even at the end ppl are ready to beleive he survived but we just never find out. Where if his death is true it needs no more explaination and each addtional page enforces that.

#6 Wedonotsow

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:11 PM

I saw him at a Burger King in Kalamazoo. He was eating with Elvis, Tupac, and DB Cooper. Whopper, No cheese, medium fries if you're curious.

#7 cybroleach

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:42 PM

I saw him at a Burger King in Kalamazoo. He was eating with Elvis, Tupac, and DB Cooper. Whopper, No cheese, medium fries if you're curious.


OMG.

Did he have a drink?

#8 Wedonotsow

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:44 PM

Just so. I think it was a diet.

#9 The Mance

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:53 PM

I've debated about Syrio for some time now and have come to find the people who want Syrio to be alive are the ppl who beleive him to be alive. They look for places where he could or should return.

Well, I get what you are saying, but I think you're projecting a bit too much into other people's convictions. Certainly i liked Syrio, but I don't think that my wants affect my beliefs as much as you seem to be implying. If I didn't believe that he could be alive I would want him to stay dead.

As far as shifts in theories about his reintroduction, I think thats only natural, and says nothing about why people believe he will return. All it shows is that when people are expecting that something could happen they will be on the watch for hints and clues that address their expectations. I've believed we haven't heard the last of Benjen Stark for even longer, but if he doesn't turn out to be Coldhands I'll keep reading, and adopt or reject new theories as they present themselves. Just as Syrio not being Jaqen has no bearing on the likely hood or reasonableness of him popping up in Bravos.

#10 cybroleach

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:23 PM

Well, I get what you are saying, but I think you're projecting a bit too much into other people's convictions. Certainly i liked Syrio, but I don't think that my wants affect my beliefs as much as you seem to be implying. If I didn't believe that he could be alive I would want him to stay dead.

As far as shifts in theories about his reintroduction, I think thats only natural, and says nothing about why people believe he will return. All it shows is that when people are expecting that something could happen they will be on the watch for hints and clues that address their expectations. I've believed we haven't heard the last of Benjen Stark for even longer, but if he doesn't turn out to be Coldhands I'll keep reading, and adopt or reject new theories as they present themselves. Just as Syrio not being Jaqen has no bearing on the likely hood or reasonableness of him popping up in Bravos.


I'm not saying your wrong with that I'm just answering why Arya being in Bravos doesn't increas Syrio's odds of being alive IMO. Also to expand on the purpose of his reintroduction. The common answer is he'll be Arya's foil to push her back to westeros & out of the FM. Thinking about it though, why would he want her back there? He left there himself she has no pressing reason he should push her back he's not a good foil here at all. Maybe he can paint the FM as 'bad guys' to her but that just leaves her with nothing.

#11 Salome Sand Witch

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:10 AM

Schrödinger's Forel.
Do you think this is why GRRM is so blatant with the cat symbolism throughout...?
/leaving.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':leaving:' />

#12 AvengingAryaFan

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:44 AM

I've debated about Syrio for some time now and have come to find the people who want Syrio to be alive are the ppl who beleive him to be alive. They look for places where he could or should return. While showing up in Bravos at some point could a likely place for him to return, if he does not no one who thought he was going to show up there is going to now beleive he's dead. This is just the latest strongest opinion of him being alive before AFFC Syrio being Jaqen was much more popular now they've moved over to him just dissapearing till ADWD or later. There will always be some point ppl who want him to be alive can claim he'll come back and even at the end ppl are ready to beleive he survived but we just never find out. Where if his death is true it needs no more explaination and each addtional page enforces that.

I realize it seems that way, but actually it's the other way around, at least for me. I heard all these people saying "Syrio is dead, almost certainly", and I thought "that looks like a cliffhanger to me - a hinted-at death that actually isn't". So then I investigated, and concluded for lots of reasons that Syrio should reasonably have survived.

THEN, people arguing with me said "Why would Syrio be alive? There's nothing more for him to do." And it was in trying to answer their questions that I realized that there was a nexus between Syrio being Braavosi and Arya being lost from Westeros, over in Braavos, and I thought to myself ... well, duh!

But as to WANTING Syrio to be alive, I really don't care. I'd have been happy to see his blood and guts all over the Red Keep. Not having seen them, though, I'm VERY distrustful of Martin's "cliffhangery" scenes. I think he really enjoys misleading the reader while providing hints at the real outcome. Looking at Bran/Rickon and Sandor, etc., he seems to delight in misleading.

It's a minor point, but it's wrong to assume I believe Syrio survived because I want him to survive. It's exactly the opposite: I want him to survive almost exclusively for one selfish reason - because that's the only way I'll ever know if my suspicious analysis was correct.

#13 AvengingAryaFan

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:02 AM

Well, I get what you are saying, but I think you're projecting a bit too much into other people's convictions. Certainly i liked Syrio, but I don't think that my wants affect my beliefs as much as you seem to be implying. If I didn't believe that he could be alive I would want him to stay dead.

As far as shifts in theories about his reintroduction, I think thats only natural, and says nothing about why people believe he will return. All it shows is that when people are expecting that something could happen they will be on the watch for hints and clues that address their expectations. I've believed we haven't heard the last of Benjen Stark for even longer, but if he doesn't turn out to be Coldhands I'll keep reading, and adopt or reject new theories as they present themselves. Just as Syrio not being Jaqen has no bearing on the likely hood or reasonableness of him popping up in Bravos.

Bravo!

That's precisely my attitude. I tried Syrio=Jaqen, but rejected it based on careful consideration of EB's objections. It seems entirely possible that Benjen is Coldhands, or otherwise being preserved somehow by the CotF, I haven't thought about that one for a while, but I'll adjust my expectations as evidence accumulates.

If Syrio is dead, fine, but ... why no gore, when Martin revels in it in other circumstances, and it would enhance the impact of the noble "death"? Too many circumstances are suspicious (Trant mediocre, Trant silent on the "death", Syrio so capable of dealing with +5 but promptly slaughtered by baggy-eyed Trant for whom he, Selmy and Jaime have contempt, too many safe options to accomplish his goals for Syrio to die if he didn't want to) for me to believe that Trant, of all the mediocre knights, killed him but didn't even mention it when he's excusing himself for failing to capture Arya.

#14 AvengingAryaFan

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:04 AM

Schrödinger's Forel.
Do you think this is why GRRM is so blatant with the cat symbolism throughout...?
/leaving.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':leaving:' />

I've wondered. Puns within mysteries within plots - hats off to GRRM!

#15 Herta

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:06 PM

I've wondered. Puns within mysteries within plots - hats off to GRRM!



Gee, I never thought about the references to cats. Will have to re-read AFFC and think about it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the many, many posters on this site. All of you have made reading (and re-reading) the series an absolute pleasure. There are some of you who are amazingly erudite, thoughtful, others have made me laugh! Thank you to all of you for your contributions.

[b]Wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. [/b]

#16 cybroleach

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:20 PM

If Syrio is dead, fine, but ... why no gore, when Martin revels in it in other circumstances, and it would enhance the impact of the noble "death"? Too many circumstances are suspicious (Trant mediocre, Trant silent on the "death", Syrio so capable of dealing with +5 but promptly slaughtered by baggy-eyed Trant for whom he, Selmy and Jaime have contempt, too many safe options to accomplish his goals for Syrio to die if he didn't want to) for me to believe that Trant, of all the mediocre knights, killed him but didn't even mention it when he's excusing himself for failing to capture Arya.


For the record we don't know Meryn did not comment on it while giving his report. We read Cersei remember what she took away from their conversation. As examples: Meryn's exact words could easily be, "We were unprepared for her dance instructor to kill all my men, I had to step in and kill him myself, during which the girl eluded me." Cersei "Blah, all I'm hearing is your failure.". Then we read her look back on this as "Meryn saying there was some trouble with the dance instructure." Cersei "Where's the girl?" Meryn "we had some trouble with the dance instructor." Cersei "How is it a dance instructor stopped you?" Meryn "he beat up those clusmy oafs you gave me and while I killed him, the girl ran."

#17 Errant Bard

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:39 PM

so if he loved life, it's reasonable to expect he thought the risk of engaging Trant was pretty low, especially in view of his stated contempt for him. Given his ability to avoid the blades of all five guardsmen, I'd say he knew very well what he was doing. (paragraph edited for clarity)

No. Just no. Get that idea out of your head already. The first thing is that he did not engage Trant, Trant engaged him. The second thing is that loving life has nothing to do with taking risks, or being forced to take them. This goes back to your distasteful assertion that anyone engaging in an activity that could cost them their life, because of their conviction, duty, worldview, whatever, is suicidal, and that's simply insulting to any soldier, lifeguard, firefighter, or bodyguard. How many times do we see adults dying trying to save a child? Are those all estimating the risk as "pretty low" or they wouldn't do it?


why no gore, when Martin revels in it in other circumstances, and it would enhance the impact of the noble "death"?

For the very same reason there was absolutely no gore for ANY Stark retainer death during the coup: a PoV wasn't there, the focus of the narrative was the flight, and making it believable, thus not hanging around guards getting slaughtered before mysteriously vanishing when Lannisters have only to grab you. Ask yourself that, and answer: how would the author have shown it, while keeping in character?

There is no need to "enhance" the sacrifice, anyway, you seem to be mistaken on that point: Syrio was a disposable, minor support character; the show isn't about him or his nobility, just as it wasn't about Raynald Westerling or Grey Wind or the Magnar of Thenn or Fat Tom or Emmon Cuy or half the NW force at Craster's

Too many circumstances are suspicious (Trant mediocre, Syrio so capable of dealing with +5 but promptly slaughtered by baggy-eyed Trant for whom he, Selmy and Jaime have contempt

Happens Barristan has even more contempt towards Jorah, the guy who defended Dany's tent against multiple bloodriders while half-armoured and lived to tell the tale.

Happens Brienne is able to deal with multiple lightly armoured bloody mummers, but Biter threw her off and would have killed her, despite not having much blade skills, whereas Brienne is a genius and actually has a sword.

Trant silent on the "death"

It's Cersei who summarizes what happened to Tyrion, not Trant who writes a circumstanced report. She's not going to list by the detail what happened, she wasn't even there. And she dismisses the rest with "likely she died. A great many people died that day". And you expect more than disdainful, laconic words from her?

too many safe options to accomplish his goals for Syrio to die if he didn't want to

No, no options. Unless you make Syrio into superman, which he was not. Many people don't want to die in duels, yet still do. Like, I don't know, Oberyn Martell? (who actually had a spear to counter the superiority of his opponent's armour and reach)

But anyway, list those "safe options" please. There are none.

#18 SecretSquirrel

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 04:39 PM

"Schrödinger's Forel"

This was also my thought on the whole issue. Cliffhangers that are later solved have been a part of many stories, but in this case, I do think he is dead, dead, dead.

Maybe.

But why does it really matter if he is or not? I look at Arya as one of those fun or interesting little subplots that are indulged in for awhile and then later crushed when it comes time to finish the series, as in The Wheel of Time.

#19 AvengingAryaFan

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 07:00 PM

For the record we don't know Meryn did not comment on it while giving his report. We read Cersei remember what she took away from their conversation. As examples: Meryn's exact words could easily be, "We were unprepared for her dance instructor to kill all my men, I had to step in and kill him myself, during which the girl eluded me." Cersei "Blah, all I'm hearing is your failure.". Then we read her look back on this as "Meryn saying there was some trouble with the dance instructure." Cersei "Where's the girl?" Meryn "we had some trouble with the dance instructor." Cersei "How is it a dance instructor stopped you?" Meryn "he beat up those clusmy oafs you gave me and while I killed him, the girl ran."

Well, yes, that's possible. The tone of Cersei's comment didn't seem to hint at any awareness of five or six deaths associated with trying to capture Arya, but it's only the tone and the absence of mention. We have no POV proof that Trant failed to claim he had killed Syrio.

Still: If Trant told Cersei that six people died in an unsuccessful attempt to capture a 9 yo girl, that would be pretty astonishing, even in a day of massive bloodletting; it's hard to believe it wouldn't have caught her attention and registered. I think the textual evidence favors a conclusion that Trant probably did not say he slew Forel:

First, "omniscient" Varys should have known if Trant reported killing Forel to Cersei, but he fails to mention it to Ned: "The younger girl escaped Ser Meryn and fled. I have not been able to find her." (632 AGOT Bantam PB) It would be at least somewhat surprising that Varys did not mention the six associated deaths if he was aware of them. Second, it seems unlikely that the death of the interfering dancing master, or especially the death of Forel +5 Lannister guardsmen, would fail to register in Cersei's then-rational mind. Third, in the context it seems Cersei would have mentioned any such death in her report to Tyrion, because she was clearly not happy about Arya escaping her - so unhappy that she felt it necessary to lie publicly: "I've given it out that I have the younger brat as well, but it's a lie. I sent Meryn Trant to take her in hand when Robert died, but her wretched dancing master interfered and the girl fled. No one has seen her since. Likely she's dead. A great many people died that day." (58 ACOK Bantam PB) Moreover, her tone is wrong if she had such knowledge: merely saying "her wretched dancing master interfered" would be an extreme understatement if she knew six people died in the process, and it would be a highly flippant remark if she knew "the wretched dancing master" had been killed for his interference. Cersei seemed to be earnest in that discussion with Tyrion (58 ACOK).

Thus, even given that it is a mere omission of a mention of his death, the context and the tone of Cersei's report leads me to believe it is more likely than not that Trant did NOT report killing Forel - or Syrio killing the five Lannister guardsmen, for that matter. But while I believe a preponderance of the evidence says Trant did NOT tell Cersei he killed Forel, I wouldn't go so far as to say the evidence is "clear and convincing". I agree there's a significant possibility that Trant told her, but both Varys and Cersei neglected to mention this detail.

If, as I conclude, it is more likely than not that Trant did not tell Cersei he killed Forel, then we should consider this probability together with other textual facts and probabilities. That doesn't mean we forget that it is NOT a POV-proven fact. It is what it is: a bit of textual evidence that points somewhat in the direction of Trant not having killed Syrio.

From the standpoint of second-guessing the author, the fact that Martin chose not to show any gore, plus the total omission of any POV confirmation of even a report of the death, especially given that there were contexts in which such mention would naturally be expected, is at the very least highly suspicious. It makes all my GRRM-deception senses tingle.

#20 AvengingAryaFan

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 08:01 PM

No. Just no. Get that idea out of your head already. The first thing is that he did not engage Trant, Trant engaged him.

Never was it more true than here: it takes two to tango. Syrio could have declined to engage, and the littered floor plus his better mobility and vision would all have aided him in that endeavor. Dancing away is not running.

The second thing is that loving life has nothing to do with taking risks, or being forced to take them. This goes back to your distasteful assertion that anyone engaging in an activity that could cost them their life, because of their conviction, duty, worldview, whatever, is suicidal, and that's simply insulting to any soldier, lifeguard, firefighter, or bodyguard. How many times do we see adults dying trying to save a child? Are those all estimating the risk as "pretty low" or they wouldn't do it?

I absolutely believe Syrio is willing to take risks, just not stupidly unnecessary risks such as might be taken by a person with no love of life or any future to look forward to. Syrio was not merely experienced, he's the very archetype of an expert fighter with a keen eye for what he faces. If one course seriously risks his life, but another course will gain him the same benefit but at much lower risk, it is unfair to assume that he would take the truly dangerous course just for pride. Pride, yes, but not stupid pride. It's hard to imagine he survived to retire by being stupidly prideful.

And remember, Arya wasn't in any immediate danger of death; it was a question of capture vs. being on the lam with no clear prospect of remaining free.

For the very same reason there was absolutely no gore for ANY Stark retainer death during the coup: a PoV wasn't there, the focus of the narrative was the flight, and making it believable, thus not hanging around guards getting slaughtered before mysteriously vanishing when Lannisters have only to grab you. Ask yourself that, and answer: how would the author have shown it, while keeping in character?

But that's not correct, is it? The dead Stark guardsmen were described in fairly gory detail, I thought ... just not Syrio Forel, whom we were watching the most closely.

How could Martin have shown it? Arya could easily have waited until Syrio was actually harmed, disabled; she could still have escaped by simple virtue of mobility compared to the encumbered knight, who would need to first extract his sword from the quivering body of Syrio Forel before he could even begin to pursue Arya.

BTW, a reason for Syrio to tell Arya to leave is that the purpose of Trant fighting Syrio ended with her exit. The fight was totally gratuitous once Arya was gone.

There is no need to "enhance" the sacrifice, anyway, you seem to be mistaken on that point: Syrio was a disposable, minor support character; the show isn't about him or his nobility, just as it wasn't about Raynald Westerling or Grey Wind or the Magnar of Thenn or Fat Tom or Emmon Cuy or half the NW force at Craster's

I'm glad you mentioned Raynald Westerling. He fell into the river with two quarrels in him, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him again someday. Well, any more than I'd be surprised to see any more ASOIAF books, that is.

But Syrio has been set up as a Yoda, a much more significant character than the unmentioned half of the NW at Crasters. Moreover, even most of the minor characters you mention were reported dead; wasn't it Fat Tom Arya was angry at for being dead? It was part of the "gore" description for the Stark guardsmen I was pointing out (though I may have the name wrong).

Too many circumstances are suspicious (Trant mediocre, Syrio so capable of dealing with +5 but promptly slaughtered by baggy-eyed Trant for whom he, Selmy and Jaime have contempt

Happens Barristan has even more contempt towards Jorah, the guy who defended Dany's tent against multiple bloodriders while half-armoured and lived to tell the tale.
Happens Brienne is able to deal with multiple lightly armoured bloody mummers, but Biter threw her off and would have killed her, despite not having much blade skills, whereas Brienne is a genius and actually has a sword.

I haven't denied that armor has value; I have only argued that textually, it is not an insurmountable advantage, and indeed carries some drawbacks as well. Had the fool bloodriders chosen to keep their distance until they wore down Jorah, he'd have cooked. I don't remember the details of the Brienne scene you mention, but it seems consistent with my position that armor is an advantage but not insurmountable, and not without drawbacks.

It's Cersei who summarizes what happened to Tyrion, not Trant who writes a circumstanced report. She's not going to list by the detail what happened, she wasn't even there. And she dismisses the rest with "likely she died. A great many people died that day". And you expect more than disdainful, laconic words from her?

Just so, see my analysis one or two posts previously.

No, no options. Unless you make Syrio into superman, which he was not. Many people don't want to die in duels, yet still do. Like, I don't know, Oberyn Martell? (who actually had a spear to counter the superiority of his opponent's armour and reach)

But anyway, list those "safe options" please. There are none.

As I mention a post or two up, one much safer option (if Forel believes Trant is a serious danger to him) is for Syrio to dance away from Trant, forcing the encumbered Trant to maneuver in the room cluttered with blood, dead guardsmen, and weapons, wearing him down, taking advantage of his greater mobility, speed and visibility. Every moment he delays Trant improves the outcome for Arya: time to escape.

Dancing around is what Bronn expressly recommends to Tyrion for fighting Gregor, what he largely does with Egen, and what Oberyn does with Gregor. It is a well-known technique for dealing with heavily armored fighters. Syrio may not fight Westerosi knights every day, but as a master fighter across only a narrow sea from them, and indeed now present in KL, it doesn't seem reasonable to suppose he's unaware of the tactic, or indeed couldn't at least think of it himself.

And delaying Trant is the best Syrio can do; he can't really stop Trant from leaving and seeking Arya by other means. Given that Trant was NOT killed, dancing around accomplishes as much as Syrio ever did accomplish.