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The King Beyond The Wall

[ADWD Spoilers] Faceless Men - A NOT-SO-NEW Theory!

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Please refrain from reading this post unless you have completed reading A Dance With Dragons.

EDIT 1 - It has been noted in the comments that this theory isn't new... Thus I have renamed the title of the thread.

I've had some thoughts about the Faceless Men and who they get their orders from or who they really might be... I mean how we haven't realised the importance of banking in such a realistic fictional world is beyond me, why I haven't seen any theories that allude to this is also beyond me. Yes the title of this thread was misleading, but so has the identity of the Faceless Men.

I mean it only occurred to me now after Tywin admitted in the TV series that they've been funding the crown through the Iron Bank, and not Casterly Rock. Stannis was told in a Dance with Dragons... But it seems the importance of the Bank of Bravos was not something I considered before.

The world feels so real, it always has, it's interesting how GRRM only brought about the importance of the Bank of Bravos so late in the BOOKS. Just like real life we only realise the importance of banks as we grow up.

Obviously this is their apparent importance, we don't know yet how deep their control has been over Westeros or what events they were involved in...

My theory is that THE Faceless MEN ARE the BANK OF BRAVOS Themselves! Which is why they (Bank of Bravos) only have representatives and you don't meet the owners.

I don't know how I didn't notice this before! But it just came to me NOW.

This could even shed light as to why Jagen Haga'r was at King's Landing in AGOT...

MY Theory is that he came to talk to Littlefinger and conspired with Littlefinger for all his plans to come to work (Or The Other way around) we hear so much about the Faceless Men from Littlefinger, he seems to know too much about them, I guess he was the "master" of "coin".

Just like real life, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) always comes to countries (Houses/Leaders) and assists them in their debts! Only to put them in an even bigger debt to THE IMF. What's interesting here is that CHAOS is always necessary for such big investors... And we KNOW how fond Littlefinger is of chaos!

So now this sheds light even further on the Varys vs Littlefinger relationship, their similarities and differences (one fights for the poor and the betterment of the realm for the poor, through chaos if necessary! While the other fights for the RICH)...

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I don't think they are one and the same thing, but I have played with the thought that they are working together.



Hiring a FM is costly, who better could do it than the largest bank in the world?



You don't hear about them collecting their debts by ringing people's doorbells and greeting them with a baseball bat. It's more mysterious. Seems like those who fail to pay them meet an unfortunate end one way or the other, and that does remind me of the work of the FM.


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Exactly! Whether they are one or two I am now confident the connection between them is very strong. In fact GO READ the Wiki for Faceless Men (except now think of them as the owners of The Iron Bank)... Or the Iron Bank owns them....

Here's a crazy thought... If Jon Snow does survive later, and fails to pay the iron bank, would they send Arya to kill him (her final test)... And that's how they'll cross paths.

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Exactly! Whether they are one or two I am now confident the connection between them is very strong. In fact GO READ the Wiki for Faceless Men (except now think of them as the owners of The Iron Bank)... Or the Iron Bank owns them....

Here's a crazy thought... If Jon Snow does survive later, and fails to pay the iron bank, would they send Arya to kill him (her final test)... And that's how they'll cross paths.

That's how I imagined they might cross paths again. The big problem is, that Arya knows Jon Snow. Only possibility I can imagine is, that Jon will somehow acquire a different identity after he comes back. Perhaps it's not the same body, perhaps he's called "Jon Targaryen" and Arya thinks "I don't know any Jon Targaryen," I don't know. Something like that.

But I do believe that they'll meet again and that it won't be a happy reunion. Arya being hired to kill him seems like the perfect setting and the Iron Bank seems like the perfect context. I like the idea. We'll see.

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Exactly! Whether they are one or two I am now confident the connection between them is very strong. In fact GO READ the Wiki for Faceless Men (except now think of them as the owners of The Iron Bank)... Or the Iron Bank owns them....

Here's a crazy thought... If Jon Snow does survive later, and fails to pay the iron bank, would they send Arya to kill him (her final test)... And that's how they'll cross paths.

I dont think the Iron Bank owns the FM.A dead man pays no debts and we have seen that its much more profitable for the Iron Bank to simply fund someone else.They dont need to hire assassins or anything to ensure someone is killed they simply hedge their bets and sit back while other people play the game of thrones and they profit from it.Also there is 0 chance Arya will kill Jon because she is told too.Not to mention Jon is a very very very good investment as he can end up King of The North King of The Riverlands and by his Targaryen blood King of Westeros.The Iron Bank is more then willing to sit back and see how things turn out.

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I dont think the Iron Bank owns the FM.A dead man pays no debts and we have seen that its much more profitable for the Iron Bank to simply fund someone else.They dont need to hire assassins or anything to ensure someone is killed they simply hedge their bets and sit back while other people play the game of thrones and they profit from it.Also there is 0 chance Arya will kill Jon because she is told too.Not to mention Jon is a very very very good investment as he can end up King of The North King of The Riverlands and by his Targaryen blood King of Westeros.The Iron Bank is more then willing to sit back and see how things turn out.

Exactly, it sounds like a rather short sighted lending/collection strategy ;)

Obviously, it's plausible they could/would hire FM if/as needed.

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Exactly, it sounds like a rather short sighted lending/collection strategy ;)

Obviously, it's plausible they could/would hire FM if/as needed.

A dead man pays no debts...? You're mistaken, his family must pay his debts, if we go on your assumption then Joffrey didn't inherit Robert's debt... Nor did Tommen inherit Joffrey's... It's THE HOUSE who are in debt... Now Tywin Lannicter in the last episode mentioned the strength of the Bank of Bravos... I don't expect the Iron Bank didn't get any of the GOLD that was mined in Casterly Rock until it ran out... But once the Lannicters have run out of money... Here is where I will re-word your statement... "A man who doesn't pay his debt to the bank is a dead man"...

Chaos is of utmost importance, it keeps a different number of people invested in large sums of money... All you have to do is assess who is best and which to fund as a bank, and once that entity becomes useless, you find yourself a new investment.

I'll give you an example... In my Suburb we had a police station 10 years ago, crime rates were low and house prices jacked up to the roof... 10 years ago the police station was taken down, crime rates went up, many sold their houses back to Real Estate/Banks... Now rumour has it that a police station is being built and house prices will jack up again once it's build.... Sometimes in economics, chaos is necessary for the flow of money.

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I could have sworn it was explicitly stated in AFFC that the Iron Bank has been known to hire faceless men to assassinate sovereigns who do not pay their debts.


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The two are linked in that they both had a hand on keeping bravos free.

The iron bank is protected by the FM and the FM are protected by the iron bank.

The bank is a temple-the FM are the people who defend the temple.

It's pretty glaring.

They worship the "Many-Faced God"... Aka the COIN... They worship money! So I wouldn't be surprised if the leader of the iron bank is the leader of faceless men too...

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They worship the "Many-Faced God"... Aka the COIN... They worship money! So I wouldn't be surprised if the leader of the iron bank is the leader of faceless men too...

What I was going to say exactly. I'm not entirely sold, but the "many faces" are the many faces of coins that are being minted. Faces of Kings, Lords, etc. SOothe only god that unites them all is... money. Yeah.

And Arya does note that she takes the dead's coins pretty thoroughly... and sorts them.

Edit: Add to this equasion the fact that it's the Iron bank of Braavos, the fact that Jaqen gives Arya an iron coin, the fact that they are ridiculously expensive, and the fact that those who don't pay them die mysteriously, and you've got a case. Oh, and the waif's father gave them two thirds of his money (probably) and the lie was that he gave all...

ETA again: Arya's first target is an insurance guy whom she kills with a coin, Jaqen kills Pate because of his greed with a coin.

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What I was going to say exactly. I'm not entirely sold, but the "many faces" are the many faces of coins that are being minted. Faces of Kings, Lords, etc. SOothe only god that unites them all is... money. Yeah.

And Arya does note that she takes the dead's coins pretty thoroughly... and sorts them.

Edit: Add to this equasion the fact that it's the Iron bank of Braavos, the fact that Jaqen gives Arya an iron coin, the fact that they are ridiculously expensive, and the fact that those who don't pay them die mysteriously, and you've got a case. Oh, and the waif's father gave them two thirds of his money (probably) and the lie was that he gave all...

ETA again: Arya's first target is an insurance guy whom she kills with a coin, Jaqen kills Pate because of his greed with a coin.

Oh look guys what a surprise... I open a money related topic and little finger is here lol

Haha yeah in all seriousness I didn't look to put any or much evidence in the thread, because when the idea came to my head having read the books, it all just added up nicely. So anyone who has read the books should be able to recover the evidence. Maybe though it's a good idea to start looking for evidence to add up to the main thread. I might do it later after the semester finishes and I've read through the books again.

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I do not think we can dismiss a Faceless Men and Iron Bank connection completely, and it seems important that the television show is dipping into the bank even before Arya gets to Braavos. The series is touching upon something that must affect the advancement of plotline.


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A dead man pays no debts...? You're mistaken, his family must pay his debts, if we go on your assumption then Joffrey didn't inherit Robert's debt... Nor did Tommen inherit Joffrey's... It's THE HOUSE who are in debt... Now Tywin Lannicter in the last episode mentioned the strength of the Bank of Bravos... I don't expect the Iron Bank didn't get any of the GOLD that was mined in Casterly Rock until it ran out... But once the Lannicters have run out of money... Here is where I will re-word your statement... "A man who doesn't pay his debt to the bank is a dead man"...

Chaos is of utmost importance, it keeps a different number of people invested in large sums of money... All you have to do is assess who is best and which to fund as a bank, and once that entity becomes useless, you find yourself a new investment.

s?

I'll give you an example... In my Suburb we had a police station 10 years ago, crime rates were low and house prices jacked up to the roof... 10 years ago the police station was taken down, crime rates went up, many sold their houses back to Real Estate/Banks... Now rumour has it that a police station is being built and house prices will jack up again once it's build.... Sometimes in economics, chaos is necessary for the flow of money.

His family does not have to pay his debts.The IronBank didnt go to Stannis or Renly and tell them to fork over the money owed them they went to KL after Cersei stopped paying them.Once she refused to pay them what did they do?Nothing...they sat around for what 3 books waiting for an opportunity to make a profit.Then once the herd is thinned a bit they decide Stannis is worth an investment.They could have shown up right away and offered Stannis money if he took on Roberts debt instead they waited till Stannis's odds improved.

The IronBank is more then happy to sit back and see how things turn out.Also if the FM and the IB had the same leadership there is no way in hell they would want Arya to stop being Arya Stark as she represents a massive opportunity for a future investment.They would want her to just sit back and relax and once Stannis wins the battle of WF to ship her back home with as much gold as she wants in order to rebuild WF.

A few million coins doesnt mean anything to the bank as they think of the long term so they are willing to take a small hit in the short term in order to have a long term profit.

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Its been a while but there have been a few to suggest this theory, and a few going the other way w/ the faceless men are behind the Bank of Bravos to fund their fight against slavery.


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IIRC, that the price the FM ask for a kill in not only proportional to the target but also to the one who orders the kill, so if you were to kill a King that would be expensive, more so if you were very rich (as the Iron Bank is).


I believe LF said it would be much cheaper for the crown to hire an army of sellswords than to hire the FM to kill a merchant, so imagine the price the FM would charge an entity like the Iron Bank for killing a King.


Plus, as we see in Aryas chapters, the FM appear to be a religion of death and not money, the FM most likely have an ulterior goal other than serving HOMF, but I don't believe it relates to money.


The MO of the IB appears to be backing someone who they believe might succeed in overthrowing or destroying the previous debt owner and having them assume the debt, these new debtors knowing by experience that if they do not pay the IB will simply back the next person who will fight against them. This is probably more efficient than killing people until someone in their family decides to pay and would also benefit the security of the bank, what's to stop a Great Lord or a King from amassing an army to seek revenge for their murdered family, Bravos is strong but likely not invincible.


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That's how I imagined they might cross paths again. The big problem is, that Arya knows Jon Snow. Only possibility I can imagine is, that Jon will somehow acquire a different identity after he comes back. Perhaps it's not the same body, perhaps he's called "Jon Targaryen" and Arya thinks "I don't know any Jon Targaryen," I don't know. Something like that.

But I do believe that they'll meet again and that it won't be a happy reunion. Arya being hired to kill him seems like the perfect setting and the Iron Bank seems like the perfect context. I like the idea. We'll see.

Actually, Arya's arc has about her losing her identity

What if, by the time she sees Jon, she totally forgets about him and possibly kills him (or one of her other Starks)?

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Also this theory isn't new ;)

He is right; don't know why you haven't been able to find this before. I've been on the forums since spring of 2012 and can always remember this theory being talked about pretty much since then

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