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Jaqen H'ghar's Coin


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32 replies to this topic

#1 Davos Shuttlesworth

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:39 AM

I am tried finding this and really haven't had much luck. Why is the valar morghulis coin so important and rare that all Arya has to do is show the coin to a captain of a braavosi ship and he just takes her to Braavos immediately? I understand the meaning, but the saying is a popular saying in Essos. I thought maybe because of the faceless men but it seems unlikely that a sea captain would know what to do with a faceless man secret inquiry by Arya.

#2 eggs

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:41 AM

Apparently it marked Arya as a faceless man or a soon to be faceless man.

#3 Squarely Rooted

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:46 AM

Apparently it marked Arya as a faceless man or a soon to be faceless man.


Right. It's like the FM equivalent of a badge or passport. Everyone in Braavos would recognize their symbols and words, so when she drops the valar morghulis bomb he's like "oh snap better treat this one like a boss."

#4 eggs

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:50 AM

Yah. That's why everyone wanted her to learn their names but never bothered with even asking for hers.

#5 Kasey

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:09 AM

I always wonder what about Arya made her stand out to Jaqen to become a FM. She wasnt being incredibly heroic all the time,usually she was just surviving. Hard to be sure,but not unique. And she is female which seems to be a no no in the FM. Another thought-why was a FM imprisoned in the first place? He was taken from KL right? And from what I have seen from Aryas FM training,it seems Jaqen should be capable of escaping Yoren. Unless he wants to be at the Wall...

#6 conon394

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:11 AM

Right. It's like the FM equivalent of a badge or passport. Everyone in Braavos would recognize their symbols and words, so when she drops the valar morghulis bomb he's like "oh snap better treat this one like a boss."


I would agree we don't see anyone else actually using iron coins as far as I know. So either Arya is what she claims or not but it makes no diffrence the FM can sort that out. Prusembly those who ignore the request might encounter issues and those help might get some reward. Brusco perhapse did a favor the FM in the past and now gets free help when available...

Another thought-why was a FM imprisoned in the first place? He was taken from KL right? And from what I have seen from Aryas FM training,it seems Jaqen should be capable of escaping Yoren. Unless he wants to be at the Wall...


Well nobody is perfect, you can always be in the wrong place at the wrong and be caught by events you don't expect. He goal does seem to have been the wall since he seems to have ended up at old town. He actions are bit odd and don't always seem to match up with the brain washing Arya gets in her trainning. But its also true even on her little mission Arya is given wide lattidute to observe organize and exacute at her own discression. I don't get the ideal that you can dictate to the FM when a job is done only for the cost it will be. Perhapse Jaqen was just intrested by both a hidden Arya Stark and Bastard of Robert Barrathion in the same place and had the time to see what would happen with them.

FM trainning seems to involve a lot of information gathering - if not general sellers maybe at least to the Sea Lord and the Iron bank? As Jon noted the Iron bank would find a replacement for Princes who failed on loan repayment, so the whereabouts and destination of his company could be useful info or even the fact of the Night Watch complitcy in hidding both Arya and a boy Cersi wanted arrested (who looks a lot like Robert). Maybe learn three new things never stops as a thing you do every day.

Edited by conon394, 18 July 2013 - 09:25 AM.


#7 ~Red~Viper~

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:21 AM

It's the symbol of the House of Black and White, and I'm sure every Braavosi knows what that place is used for. I'd say the Faceless Men are pretty well known there. The producing of the coin, shows that she has come into contact with a FM, and the captain grants her passage, as she is willing to serve Him of Many Faces.

#8 Squarely Rooted

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:26 AM

I would agree we don't see anyone else actually using iron coins as far as I know.


Sure, but how many other Faceless Men do we see?

Actually, don't answer that, this could get crackpot real fast. /rofl2.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':rofl:' /> /shocked.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':shocked:' /> /leaving.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':leaving:' />

#9 Squire Dalbridge

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:30 AM

Another thought-why was a FM imprisoned in the first place? He was taken from KL right? And from what I have seen from Aryas FM training,it seems Jaqen should be capable of escaping Yoren. Unless he wants to be at the Wall...


I remember a theory (The Great Faceless Men -conspiracy or something) that stated that the plan was, that Jaqen actually was going to the Wall. Killing Ned Stark was one possible mission. That's because Varys thought Ned's going to take the black.

IIRC they feared Ned as potential LC who could beat the Others. In the theory Varys+FM+Others were on the same side...
That wouldn't never have occurred to me, that's for sure.

#10 conon394

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:33 AM

I don't see the basis for FM being on the same side as the others? Why?

#11 RedLantern

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:36 AM

There's the scene in an Arya chapter where a number of Faceless Men meet up and names are bandied around until someone does not "know this man" and can agree to kill him. I'd always assumed that's why the crew were so keen that Arya knew their names. That way she wouldn't be able to accept a FM contract on them, as that restriction seems to be well known, in Braavos at least.

As far as the coin goes, I always thought the iron coin was a particular sign of the Faceless Men. An Iron coin itself is quite a symbolic thing; being both intrinsically worthless but in the shape of something valuable. But I also read something on here about the Iron Bank using iron coinage domestically to allow them to lever their gold reserve in foreign loans - no idea if that was just a theory or has some semi-canon backing but it's also a nice idea.

Edited by RedLantern, 18 July 2013 - 09:38 AM.


#12 Arya_Ghostface

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:50 AM

I always wonder what about Arya made her stand out to Jaqen to become a FM. She wasnt being incredibly heroic all the time,usually she was just surviving. Hard to be sure,but not unique. And she is female which seems to be a no no in the FM. Another thought-why was a FM imprisoned in the first place? He was taken from KL right? And from what I have seen from Aryas FM training,it seems Jaqen should be capable of escaping Yoren. Unless he wants to be at the Wall...

I think what 'made' Arya in Jaqen's mind was when she turned on him as the third name she wanted dead in order to achieve her escape. I think it takes guts to do that, and also quick thinking, and a certain disregard towards human life, and Arya has shown a great passion to achieve her goals in general. And she's freaking 10 years old. So yeah, I can see why Jaqen chose her. Also, don't underestimate the power of a FM to discern skill in others, Arya has been doing pretty well at the HoBaW so far, so Jaqen has been proven right /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

#13 Maester Ciarán

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:41 AM

I always thought that the iron coin was just a standard Braavosi coin and valar morghulis was the key. So the saying of the words and presenting a Braavosi coin identifies someone as a faceless man. One of the reasons for thinking that the coin is standard is the bank of Braavos is the Iron Bank, implying that iron is/was used as currency.

#14 Le Cygne

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:44 AM

Interesting topic. Maybe it is a special coin, so that with the words...

Arya talking about the coin:

“It’s not silver.” Her fingers closed on it. “It’s iron. Here.” She pressed it into his hand, the small black iron coin that Jaqen H’ghar had given her, so worn the man whose head it bore had no features. It’s probably worthless, but...


and later, KM:

“The iron coin—”

“— has paid your passage here. From this point you must pay your own way, and the cost is dear.”


Someone took a picture of the coin (prop) from the exhibit:

Jaqen's coin

#15 Khal Shaggydog

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:52 AM

Its a symbol that she is with the FM, as mentioned above. One of the coolest things I missed on my first read through was all of the sailors going out of their way to introduce themselves to Arya.

An interesting pairing from the TV show: (and this is almost entirely irrelevant because of the massive departures in plot), Daario presents three coins to the other sellsword captains to determine who would assassinate Dany. One of the coins is an iron coin from Braavos. Interesting on how he got that, if indeed they are so intimately connected to the FM, and House of Black and White. It was enough to buy a 10 year old girl passage, so they cant just be floating around.

Yes - its the TV show. But we do have to remember GRRM produces and is very involved in the scripts. They could have just put the mention in since the audience knows of Braavos, but its an interesting choice nonetheless.

#16 Le Cygne

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 12:30 PM

That's why I'm thinking the coin is something special.

It seems like the words alone aren't enough, and maybe the coin alone isn't either (not sure about that, although Jaqen did make a point for her to say Valar Morghulis).

Just adding this here so we can look at it:

"If the day comes when you would find me again, give that coin to any man from Braavos, and say these words to him— valar morghulis."


Edited by Le Cygne, 18 July 2013 - 12:34 PM.


#17 Squire Dalbridge

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 12:44 PM

I don't see the basis for FM being on the same side as the others? Why?

Because their god is the Death.

Try search the theory from the Forum if You're interested, propably 'The Great Faceless Men conspiracy' or something. Or maybe some older poster can point it You.
It was a bit far-fetched, I admit.

#18 The Mother of The Others

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:22 PM

Well, we've learned more in the last two books about the significance of that coin. Remember, the FM kill people they don't like with that same coin. So when Braavosi people see Arya waving that coin around AND she's still alive, they take it as proof positive that a Faceless Man likes her and wants her to live. That's why they all bow to the holder of the coin, because Jaquen's will is apparent just by the fact that Arya holds it.

#19 Whitering

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:39 PM

Arya and Jaquen have both killed using a standard gold coin, not the iron coin.

Here's the deal. The Faceless Men are an integral and spooky part of Braavosi society. Hell, they have a clubhouse (Temple), that people roll up to to die, that they can come to for retribution.

The coin is their symbol, the reason the Ship Captain was like what? Where did you get this from is because it's a 10 or 11 year old Westerosi girl presenting it to him, so she says the words.

The reason why he's like, hell yes you can have a cabin is because the Faceless Men have a presence in Braavosi society that can only be gleaned from Arya's chapters and the offers the Kindly Old Man makes to her.

Assuming he's genuine in his offers, and we have no reason to believe otherwise, he offers Arya travel on any Braavosi ship, he offers to find her a husband in ANY level of society, he offers to apprentice her to a Courtesan and you just have to read her chapters to know that they are like Firefly level companions X 20 level of importance in Braavosi society.

It's quite clear that Brusco knows where she comes from, especially when she goes back there.

The Faceless Men get what they want, and I doubt anyone balks. If some merchant lord is approached, and they say, here this is a noble young lady who is going to marry your heir, it sounds like they just say, umm okay, yes thanks.

The faceless coin is like a membership card. It's not a standard Braavosi coin elsewise the Captain would not have been so stunned when Arya presented it to him, it's a symbol of the Faceless Men, who are apparently an integral part of Braavosi society.

I kind of wonder how the insurance guy thought he could get away with not paying someone. I mean, he probably wouldn't screw someone that had the wealth to make him miserable, I guess he supposed the the widow or children of the Captain whose binder he wasn't honouring wouldn't hate him enough to give up their lives to have him killed?

You have to assume the Faceless Men are used to scare children and lords and merchants into good behaviour in Braavos. It kind of makes me wonder about all these duelers wandering around. So you kill some guy who has say a kid who is left bereft? In ordinary society that would be too bad for the kid who would probably die in a gutter somewhere hungry and helpless, but in Braavos, he just has to pull the trigger on the Faceless Men.

I would assume that you have to be very subtle in bad behaviour in Braavos.

#20 Squarely Rooted

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:43 PM

So you kill some guy who has say a kid who is left bereft? In ordinary society that would be too bad for the kid who would probably die in a gutter somewhere hungry and helpless, but in Braavos, he just has to pull the trigger on the Faceless Men.


The Faceless Men are expensive. Like, really, really expensive.