SisterWithoutBanners

Why did the faceless men train Arya?

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There is just one thing that never really made sense to me: Why would the faceless men decide to train Arya? Yes, she is fierce, but why did they choose her specificly? There is plenty of people they could have taken in. I don't know whether they only train children, or if they could take up adults as well, but there is probably many fierce children both in Braavos and Westeros. Anyone who has a theory on why they picked Arya?

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I'm not sure if 'they' picked Arya.
I think that Jacquen saw potential in Arya (she easily changed names, adapted to living as a servant while being a lady of a noble house, tricked him to kill more then 3 men, etc), thus giving her the coin. I believe the coin serves as proof to the residents at THOBAW that someone has potential and training should be started.

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There may be many fierce children, but how many ask the Faceless Men to train them?

Arya asked to be trained.

Quote

"He grinned, revealing a shiny gold tooth. "No harder than taking a new name, if you know the way."

"Show me," she blurted. "I want to do it too."

"If you would learn, you must come with me."

Arya grew hesitant. "Where?"

"Far and away, across the narrow sea."

"I can't. I have to go home. To Winterfell."

"Then we must part," he said, "for I have duties too." He lifted her hand and pressed a small coin into her palm.

Arya learned what a Faceless Man can do, and her reaction is that she wants to learn their art. Without giving any thoughts to possible benefits. 

I think that is the main reason Jaqen gave her the coin - her ticket to the Faceless Men. A coin that later told the Braavosi sailors that she was a Faceless Man, and made them help her reach Braavos.  A coin that, still later, told the Faceless Men that she was either stupid or an asset.

Jaqen already knew what Arya could do. And, after the above exchange, he knew that she was dutiful, too - and Faceless Men training emphasizes duty. Arya wanted to learn but had to go home. He didn't argue that. He just offered her the opportunity to learn after she had fulfilled her duty. If she still wanted to - and if she managed to find her way to the Temple (which I consider a test of Arya's abilities).

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On 11/23/2016 at 6:53 AM, SisterWithoutBanners said:

There is just one thing that never really made sense to me: Why would the faceless men decide to train Arya? Yes, she is fierce, but why did they choose her specificly? There is plenty of people they could have taken in. I don't know whether they only train children, or if they could take up adults as well, but there is probably many fierce children both in Braavos and Westeros. Anyone who has a theory on why they picked Arya?

She showed up and had the coin so she knew what they were. Then she started training. She handles dead bodies, poisons and faces, she learning to be a mummer. Simple as that. 

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We don't really know much about the FM recruitment strategies, do we? They don't advertise them. They just offer death. But that offer must be balanced - balanced by something their customer holds dear.

We know how one other person joined the FM: The Waif joined them after she got poisoned by her stepmother. She was part of the price the FM extracted when her father asked them to kill his wife for the attempted murder. 

While it is possible that the FM just happened to need a recruit, and realized the Waif was dear to her father, there might be a different reason for asking for her: She had been marked by their God. She survived a deadly poison when she should've died. Taking her in (and killing her stepmother) restored the balance.

Jaqen stayed with Arya because Arya saved his life as well as those of two others - lives which belonged to the god of death. In exchange for their lives, he offered to kill 3 people of Arya's choosing - as 3 deaths were owed for the deaths she stole from his god. Three deaths, to restore balance. Arya had him kill 2 (and not even from her personal kill list), then blackmailed him into helping him free the Northmen at Harrenhal by threatening to name Jaqen as her third choice. Four guards died as a result of her blackmail, and the weasel soup.

Their deaths freed Jaqen of his service - but the balance was off again. Something Arya was not concerned with - but a FM would be. Offering Arya a place among the FM could be considered their way of restoring balance.

P.S.  Arya hired a Faceless Men for killing 3 people for the price of  saving him and 3 others from death. She got quite a bargain. Cersei and other potential customers would've been impressed. (Less impressed with her choice of targets, though.)

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On 11/23/2016 at 6:53 AM, SisterWithoutBanners said:

There is just one thing that never really made sense to me: Why would the faceless men decide to train Arya? Yes, she is fierce, but why did they choose her specificly? There is plenty of people they could have taken in. I don't know whether they only train children, or if they could take up adults as well, but there is probably many fierce children both in Braavos and Westeros. Anyone who has a theory on why they picked Arya?

She is a noble woman, who is not stuck on being a noble woman, she will scrub steps, fit right in with criminals, with slaves, with workers, slip into a role like it was all natural to her. That is a crazy rare skill, because unlike most of those people, she can also translate back to a noble woman role, yes, she was not a good noble woman the first time around, because she saw no point, if it was for a target, you could be she'd be right in there oooing and aawwwing every time a pretty knight rode by.

They may also know she is a skinchanger for example.

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On 30.11.2016 at 6:40 PM, Whitering said:

She is a noble woman, who is not stuck on being a noble woman, she will scrub steps, fit right in with criminals, with slaves, with workers, slip into a role like it was all natural to her. That is a crazy rare skill, because unlike most of those people, she can also translate back to a noble woman role, yes, she was not a good noble woman the first time around, because she saw no point, if it was for a target, you could be she'd be right in there oooing and aawwwing every time a pretty knight rode by.

They may also know she is a skinchanger for example.

I agree, I just wondered what their motivations for recruting her were. But if they know that she is a skinchanger, I bet that would be a good reason!

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On 30.11.2016 at 11:15 AM, Tini said:

We don't really know much about the FM recruitment strategies, do we? They don't advertise them. They just offer death. But that offer must be balanced - balanced by something their customer holds dear.

We know how one other person joined the FM: The Waif joined them after she got poisoned by her stepmother. She was part of the price the FM extracted when her father asked them to kill his wife for the attempted murder. 

While it is possible that the FM just happened to need a recruit, and realized the Waif was dear to her father, there might be a different reason for asking for her: She had been marked by their God. She survived a deadly poison when she should've died. Taking her in (and killing her stepmother) restored the balance.

Jaqen stayed with Arya because Arya saved his life as well as those of two others - lives which belonged to the god of death. In exchange for their lives, he offered to kill 3 people of Arya's choosing - as 3 deaths were owed for the deaths she stole from his god. Three deaths, to restore balance. Arya had him kill 2 (and not even from her personal kill list), then blackmailed him into helping him free the Northmen at Harrenhal by threatening to name Jaqen as her third choice. Four guards died as a result of her blackmail, and the weasel soup.

Their deaths freed Jaqen of his service - but the balance was off again. Something Arya was not concerned with - but a FM would be. Offering Arya a place among the FM could be considered their way of restoring balance.

P.S.  Arya hired a Faceless Men for killing 3 people for the price of  saving him and 3 others from death. She got quite a bargain. Cersei and other potential customers would've been impressed. (Less impressed with her choice of targets, though.)

No, exactly! That was why I wondered if anyone else had any good answers to their motivations, because i don't think it is enough that she is really brave, does not have a family and has proven herself to be a killer. I've always thought that there was something more behind it, you know?
But this is a good theory

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33 minutes ago, SisterWithoutBanners said:

I agree, I just wondered what their motivations for recruting her were. But if they know that she is a skinchanger, I bet that would be a good reason!

Well, if you don't find the theory that Jaqen was in KL to recruit her, then it fits better that he was just impressed with her. She was convincingly playing the role of a boy on the trip north, showed bravery and courage multiple times. Whether he sussed out that she was of noble birth I don't know, but he might have picked that up with her at Harrenhall. No matter who she was playing there, she just kind of fit into the castle life, which is no doubt very unusual for a commoner, even one from Kings Landing, but she probably sounded a bit Northern.

At Harrenhall he saw more of how she took on different roles and how hard she worked. That's pretty much all you need. They probably aren't overly thrilled with people who show up and want to be assassins given their view that you shouldn't kill for pleasure or what have you. So, this is likely what their recruiting process is like. If she manages to make it to Braavos, that's part of the test, just think of how hard that was even for a plot protected character.

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Because it's cool haha

And will probably expose secrets about the world later I think.  I imagine only a faceless man can stop another faceless man and there's at least one  or two floating about the world that I think we'all see again.

 

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This may sound a bit crack-pot, but is it possible that she was destined to become a Faceless Man candidate since the Imprisonment of Ned Stark? I believe that Ned Stark may have made a deal with the Faceless Men to fulfill his oaths and that Arya may have been the price he had to pay. 

This theory makes the following assumptions: 

1. Jaqen was able to make contact with Ned Stark while in the Black Cells. 
2. R + L = J (or A + L = J) 
3. Ned was under the belief that he would be going with Nights Watch group to the Wall. 
 

Jaqen could have revealed himself to Vary's as a Faceless Man and thus gain access to Ned Stark. He could offer Ned the gift of peace. He could offer to help Ned fulfill his obligations. In this case, both he and Ned would travel to the Wall, Ned to give Jon the truth of his parentage, and Jaqen to help him claim the throne. Nothing is more important to Ned than his family, so a member of hs family would be demanded as payment. Arya would be required and she would be promised, so long as she had the free will to choose to accept or deny the calling to become a Faceless Man. They make plans for smuggling Arya out of Kings Landing with them. 

When Ned Stark Looses his head before he has a chance to explain his decision, the plan appears to be trashed until Arya spares the lives of Jaquen, Rorge and Biter. 

Jaqen gives Arya her "3 Kill Credits" in order to test her and tempt her with the power over the lives of others. This furthermost is a test of her capability to work within the rules of such an environment of bargaining. When Arya asks to be taught as a faceless Man, Ned Starks Agreement once more becomes valid and Jaqen moves to fulfill his part of the bargain. When he changes faces, he becomes the Alchemist who Appears to be after access to Restricted information or resources that are locked deep within the Citadel. There Jaqen could locate the proof of Jon Snow's Parentage before seeking him out to offer him his services in securing the throne. 

 

As warned, a bit crack potted. Let me know what you think. 

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On 13.12.2016 at 6:40 PM, Dragondengar said:

This may sound a bit crack-pot, but is it possible that she was destined to become a Faceless Man candidate since the Imprisonment of Ned Stark? I believe that Ned Stark may have made a deal with the Faceless Men to fulfill his oaths and that Arya may have been the price he had to pay. 

This theory makes the following assumptions: 

1. Jaqen was able to make contact with Ned Stark while in the Black Cells. 
2. R + L = J (or A + L = J) 
3. Ned was under the belief that he would be going with Nights Watch group to the Wall. 
 

Jaqen could have revealed himself to Vary's as a Faceless Man and thus gain access to Ned Stark. He could offer Ned the gift of peace. He could offer to help Ned fulfill his obligations. In this case, both he and Ned would travel to the Wall, Ned to give Jon the truth of his parentage, and Jaqen to help him claim the throne. Nothing is more important to Ned than his family, so a member of hs family would be demanded as payment. Arya would be required and she would be promised, so long as she had the free will to choose to accept or deny the calling to become a Faceless Man. They make plans for smuggling Arya out of Kings Landing with them. 

When Ned Stark Looses his head before he has a chance to explain his decision, the plan appears to be trashed until Arya spares the lives of Jaquen, Rorge and Biter. 

Jaqen gives Arya her "3 Kill Credits" in order to test her and tempt her with the power over the lives of others. This furthermost is a test of her capability to work within the rules of such an environment of bargaining. When Arya asks to be taught as a faceless Man, Ned Starks Agreement once more becomes valid and Jaqen moves to fulfill his part of the bargain. When he changes faces, he becomes the Alchemist who Appears to be after access to Restricted information or resources that are locked deep within the Citadel. There Jaqen could locate the proof of Jon Snow's Parentage before seeking him out to offer him his services in securing the throne. 

 

As warned, a bit crack potted. Let me know what you think. 

This is a cool theory! a bit crackpot, yes - but the main reason I started this topic was to hear what people thought, and maybe find some alternative explanations, not just that she has proven herself as a killer or that they "just met and he wanted to help her" :)

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On 11/23/2016 at 7:53 AM, SisterWithoutBanners said:

There is just one thing that never really made sense to me: Why would the faceless men decide to train Arya? Yes, she is fierce, but why did they choose her specificly? There is plenty of people they could have taken in. I don't know whether they only train children, or if they could take up adults as well, but there is probably many fierce children both in Braavos and Westeros. Anyone who has a theory on why they picked Arya?

I think he chose Arya Stark because she is ... Arya Stark.  Scion of one of most prominent and respected Houses in Westeros.  A potential friend of the FM who can move about in the highest circles of Westeros society simply by virtue of who she is.  She has an interest in what the FM have to offer (killing, face-changing) which gives them a means of getting their claws into her.  Then they can manipulate her into working on their behalf, potentially giving them intel, sanctuary, or even potentially intervening if something goes wrong.

When Jaqen gave her the coin, he had no reason to think it would ever get used.  At the time, there was every indication she would be reunited with her family at Riverrun.  If the coin did get used, ti would be because she had run out of options, inwhich case she would be naturally grateful for any help the FM could provide.  

Her interactions seem to indicate that the FM is intent on getting her tied into the FM without expending much effort on her.  Their training is, frankly pretty desultory.  She has learned little about killing people.  Most of it appears to be "learning by experience."  I certainly don't see any indication that she is being trained to be an assassin, or any other significant role.

I think it is pretty clear that they know she is unsuitable to be an assassin, and will use that as an excuse to push her out,, but with a price to be able to leave without consequence.  That price will be giving them help if they come to her in need.  I think they have a network of former associates and washouts that do this.

They will then send her to a courtesan to learn some useful political stuff, and set her loose.  In other words, they are manipulating her into becoming a sort of affiliated agent for them, promising her all sorts of cool stuff without necessarily delivering on it.  While I have to admit that her story is the hardest to figure out, I am quite convinced that she will never become an assassin.  Or that they ever had any intention of making her one.

 

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Not sure if anyone has already mentioned this, but I read a lot of good material and background stuff concerning Faceless Men in the following  by sweetsunray. 

The Valkyrie of the FM - theory about the First and the First Reborn

It answered a lot of questions for me. Hope it helps.

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Maybe there is no big secret behind the FMs' decision to take Arya in for training. It may simply be that Jaqen knows she is good.

Reason:

In Arya's first chapter of Clash when she starts out on the road with Joren Jaqen (who still is prisoner at this point) witnesses Arya being disguised as a boy and Hotpie and Lommy trying to bully her and rob her of her sword. Arya deals with them brilliantly. They are completely outclassed.

She manages to fight them off without ever having to kill one of them, using her waterdancer skills and wooden training sword. (even though Hotpie is much bigger than her). At last Yoren has to come save Hotpie.

I am sure George put this scene there to make Jaqen's decision to approach her more understandable.

Edited by Amris
spelling

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On 11/30/2016 at 11:40 AM, Whitering said:

She is a noble woman, who is not stuck on being a noble woman, she will scrub steps, fit right in with criminals, with slaves, with workers, slip into a role like it was all natural to her. That is a crazy rare skill, because unlike most of those people, she can also translate back to a noble woman role, yes, she was not a good noble woman the first time around, because she saw no point, if it was for a target, you could be she'd be right in there oooing and aawwwing every time a pretty knight rode by.

They may also know she is a skinchanger for example.

Do they? I could have missed something. As far as I know the kindly man scolded Arya for lying when she said she saw him through the cat's eyes. Which makes me believe that the FM don't know of this magic. 

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Just now, The Great and Mighty Poo said:

Do they? I could have missed something. As far as I know the kindly man scolded Arya for lying when she said she saw him through the cat's eyes. Which makes me believe that the FM don't know of this magic. 

She did not tell him she saw through a cat's eyes, unless that happened on the show, in the books she chose not too.

However, we know from her time out in the city that she growls while she sleeps, like a wolf.

We know the Kindly Man has closely observed her as he noted her list, and it's not like she was shouting it. He would have noticed that she growled like a wolf while she slept. I also said may, meaning I don't know, they just may understand what that means.

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1 minute ago, Whitering said:

She did not tell him she saw through a cat's eyes, unless that happened on the show, in the books she chose not too.

However, we know from her time out in the city that she growls while she sleeps, like a wolf.

We know the Kindly Man has closely observed her as he noted her list, and it's not like she was shouting it. He would have noticed that she growled like a wolf while she slept. I also said may, meaning I don't know, they just may understand what that means.

Hmm you jogged my memory. She thinks if she tells him he will think she's lying and she also doesn't understand it enough to explain it. Not in the show

Spoiler

In the show the waif just arbitrarily beat Arya until Arya got good enough to somewhat defend herself. 

I hope I didn't offend you. I too didn't know off the top of my head. And I'm most likely wrong about the FM not knowing warging. 

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On 3/10/2017 at 5:06 PM, The Great and Mighty Poo said:

Hmm you jogged my memory. She thinks if she tells him he will think she's lying and she also doesn't understand it enough to explain it. Not in the show

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In the show the waif just arbitrarily beat Arya until Arya got good enough to somewhat defend herself. 

I hope I didn't offend you. I too didn't know off the top of my head. And I'm most likely wrong about the FM not knowing warging. 

Well, there is a common theory that the Dragon Lords may have controlled their dragons via at least a bond like the Starks had with their direwolves, like Rickon and Bran were able to control their wolves before developing warg abilities, but probably because they are both wargs, or skinchangers. If the Dragon Lords rose to power because they could control dragons the FM would probably know about it. Whether they would have any reason to link that to the Starks I don't know. Do they know she had a pet dire wolf? I don't remember if she ever told them that, or if the news of it crossed to Essos.

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On 22.12.2016 at 1:55 AM, Nevets said:

I think he chose Arya Stark because she is ... Arya Stark.  Scion of one of most prominent and respected Houses in Westeros.  A potential friend of the FM who can move about in the highest circles of Westeros society simply by virtue of who she is.  She has an interest in what the FM have to offer (killing, face-changing) which gives them a means of getting their claws into her.  Then they can manipulate her into working on their behalf, potentially giving them intel, sanctuary, or even potentially intervening if something goes wrong.

When Jaqen gave her the coin, he had no reason to think it would ever get used.  At the time, there was every indication she would be reunited with her family at Riverrun.  If the coin did get used, ti would be because she had run out of options, inwhich case she would be naturally grateful for any help the FM could provide.  

Her interactions seem to indicate that the FM is intent on getting her tied into the FM without expending much effort on her.  Their training is, frankly pretty desultory.  She has learned little about killing people.  Most of it appears to be "learning by experience."  I certainly don't see any indication that she is being trained to be an assassin, or any other significant role.

I think it is pretty clear that they know she is unsuitable to be an assassin, and will use that as an excuse to push her out,, but with a price to be able to leave without consequence.  That price will be giving them help if they come to her in need.  I think they have a network of former associates and washouts that do this.

They will then send her to a courtesan to learn some useful political stuff, and set her loose.  In other words, they are manipulating her into becoming a sort of affiliated agent for them, promising her all sorts of cool stuff without necessarily delivering on it.  While I have to admit that her story is the hardest to figure out, I am quite convinced that she will never become an assassin.  Or that they ever had any intention of making her one.

 

To me, this seems like a likely explanation! :)
I never got the impression that her training was that effective either, and that she would have to stay with the faceless men for many years if she was to become one of them. If they aren't really training her, the whole "training"-bit seems more understandable, and it is also a good reason for them to choose her over all the other kids with an interest for weapons and fighting in Westeros (I bet there are a lot of other kids who dream of becoming fighters and are naturally "good" at it)

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