Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Dharma

Syrio Forel

Recommended Posts

About the only way to get an armored knight with a light weapon is to stab in the gaps between the plate. In that closer reach and short weapon are pretty good - there's a reason why they made crossguards stabby for a time, and why half of the manuals are about wrestling. It's a desperate attempt, since Trant would have trained for that eventuality while Syrio likely hasn't, but it's a better game than staying at the longer distance which would keep him in the effective range of Trant's sword. That would effectively force him to try to parry a heavy weapon with light and more breakable one, since he can't rely on the passive defence of the armor like Trant. It's a gamble and like I said I don't think Syrio lived, but it's the best chance he's got if he intends to fight.

I haven't personally done a lot of medieval swordfighting since our group mainly does Iron age and the only big medieval event that has fighting is Grunwald in Poland (and the polish are queer about women fighting... we're trying to break them of the habit slowly LoL) but I've had enough practice of fighting with disparate weapons and the "get inside of the effective range" is universal. Parrying a heavy blade with light one is a pain in the ass, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, Syrio never got around to taking a sword from the ground. He sacrificed his stick to overbalance Trant and put him on the floor; and Trant, coward that he is, promptly beat feet for reinforcements, his ignominious retreat protected by his armor, realizing that if Syrio got a real sword he was dead meat.

Having read through this entire thread, and much of the threads Mormont provided links to, I have a couple thoughts. But first, I'd like to call attention to this post. Avenging, in your post immediately previous to this one, you bemoaned the fact that someone was making conclusions that were not supported by textual facts. And then you proceeded with a long drawn out theory that did the same thing. The first time at least you called attention to the fact you were making assumptions, but in this one you state those assumptions as facts. They're not. They're conjecture just like much of this thread. Just because you see Syrio's actions as being strategic decisions intended to knock Trant off balance doesn't make it so. Just because you've decided Trant is a coward who would run the moment he lost the advantage doesn't make it so. Was he cowardly against Barristan? Sure. But Barristan was a legend and his immediate supervisor. Did Jaime say he was a coward? Sure. But then Jaime says similar things about almost everyone--in his fight with Brienne we get detailed descriptions about how flawed a fighter both Cleganes are. That Jaime said Trant was a coward doesn't make it so. That Barristan ridiculed Trant and the rest of the white cloaks means they weren't his equals, but then who is? Maybe the Kingsguard isn't what it once was, but those who are accepted into it still demonstrate some capacity in combat--Sandor, Loris, Barristan, Jaime are all amazing fighters, even if none equal the legends of yore. It's reasonable, then, to assume that Trant probably has some skill, despite being worse than either Jaime or Barristan. But this is an assumption I'm making, not a stated fact.

Moving on. Many here have argued that Biter and Rorge's fear of Jaqen means these two must have seen Jaqen assume a new identity. Others have pointed out that the description of Biter and Rorge's fear came the second time we meet the characters, after Arya has freed them from certain doom by fire. These two facts lead us to another: story time and pages pass between when we first meet Jaqen, Rorge and Biter and when we see that the latter two are afraid of the former. Is it possible that this fear stems from knowing he's a well trained assassin? Sure. But it is by no means evidence of this possibility. Why? It is equally possible that Rorge and Biter's fear stems from something that happened in the time that passes between the events we see with these characters in them. As one such possibility, perhaps the three were hungry one night and Biter decided to attack Jaqen, either to eat him or for some other equally insane reason. Perhaps when Biter made this attack, while Jaqen was sleeping or had his back turned, or was doing something that kept him otherwise distracted, Jaqen still managed to brutally beat back his psychopathic temporary traveling companion. Maybe as he was beating Biter back, both Biter and Rorge realized Jaqen wasn't to be messed with and grew to be very scared of ever crossing him again. Now. Do I know that this happened? Of course not. There's no hint in the text that it might have, but the event itself isn't my point. My point is this: there is no textual reason to conclude that Biter and Rorge's fear stems from seeing Syrio either killing or assuming Jaqen's identity. That's an assumption many posters here have made because they want Syrio and Jaqen to be the same person.

Speaking of which . . . those who posit that Syrio=Jaqen (in all three threads I've read through) start by referencing that Syrio is the better fighter than Trant and that Jaqen and Syrio speak in similar styles. (These were the same reasons I initially drew the same conclusion, both after my first read and my reread of the series.) Then, invariably, someone illustrates the timeline impossibility of Syrio being Jaqen. Namely, Ned authorized Yoren to take three black cell prisoners long before the Lannister coup. Without hesitation, the folks who believe Syrio=Jaqen respond that Syrio became Jaqen in the black cells. Syrio wasn't killed by Trant, no. He was imprisoned. And while imprisoned he killed the real Jaqen and took the now dead prisoner's face while Rorge and Biter watched, thereby scaring the crap out of the other two prisoners. Those that think Syrio isn't Jaqen then respond by pointing out that there's little strategic advantage in becoming someone sentenced to die in the black cells, to which the counterargument is, "Well he was buying himself time until he could think of a better escape." But no one goes deeper and actually references the text for a description of the black cells. So I have.

From A Game of Thrones, Eddard's last point of view, page 628 in my US paperback edition:

The straw on the floor stank of urine. There was no window, no bed, not even a slop bucket. He remembered walls of pale red stone festooned with patches of nitre, a grey door of splintered wood, four inches thick and studded with iron. He had seen them, briefly, a quick glance as they shoved him inside. Once the door had slammed shut, he had seen no more. The dark was absolute. He had as well been blind . . .

The dungeon was under the Red Keep, deeper than he dared imagine . . .

And then from a Storm of Swords, Tyrion's last point of view, page 1062 in my US paperback edition:

When he heard noises through the thick wooden door of his cell . . .

The man moved forward, a torch in his left hand. "This is even more ghastly than my cell at Riverrun, though not quite so dank." . . .

Jaime slid the torch back into its sconce, in the space between the cells.

The corridor was so poorly lit that Tyrion almost stumbled on the turnkey . . .

Tyrion waddled away, almost stumbling over the turnkey again in his haste. Before he had gone a dozen yards, he bumped up against an old iron gate that closed the passage . . .

The eunuch was lurking in the dark of a twisting turnpike stair . . .

So what do these descriptions tell us? Many important things. First, the feel you get of the setting in both Ned and Tyrion's chapters is that the dungeon is claustrophobic. Tyrion makes it some thirty feet before he bumps into the iron gate. Second, the dungeons are exceptionally dark. Ned might as well have been blind. Even with a torch, Tyrion almost trips over a gaoler and bumps into an iron gate. Third, the cells are separated by space and have their own wooden door supported by iron. We don't get a distinct description of the cells' size, but we are told that Ned possesses nothing save a straw mat and we continue feeling that this setting is exceptionally small, including the cells.

Why do these facts matter? For several reasons, the first being the claim that Rorge and Biter are scared of Jaqen because they saw him do some Faceless Man thing in the dungeon. Two questions need be asked here. How did they see such a thing when their cell has no torch, no window and no other light of any kind, so much so that they might as well be blind? Furthermore, their cell is closed off by a wooden door with iron studs and is very small. So again, how did they see Syrio/Jaqen work his magic? Given the nature of the cells, it seems logical to submit that Rorge and Biter could not have seen anything Syrio/Jaqen did. They might have heard it, I suppose. Ned and Tyrion both hear footsteps and keys through the door, but sounds are deceptive. No way they know what Syrio/Jaqen was doing simply because of something they heard.

Now let's talk about Syrio/Jaqen directly. This is not some collective holding cell. This is a puny, frighteningly dark solitary confinement cell. At no point does Martin give the impression that prisoners room together; in fact, he does quite the opposite: both Ned and Tyrion are alone 100% of the time, save once per day when the gaoler brings water. Ned isn't even fed. Therefore, Syrio would not have been put in the same cell as the real Jaqen. In turn, that means in order to kill Jaqen and assume said identity, Syrio would have needed to escape from his own cell and then forcibly enter Jaqen's without being discovered or heard by the gaoler. While in Jaqen's cell, he would have had to commit murder and magically assume a new identity, again without being discovered. Maybe all of that's possible (though I doubt it), but there's still a big problem even if it is. Syrio/Jaqen would have already demonstrated an ability to break into or out of two of the cells, so why couldn't he have broken through the iron gate Tyrion bumps into? That is, why "buy time" in a different identity imprisoned in the black cells when he would have been able to leave altogether?

In conclusion, are Syrio and Jaqen the same person? Almost certainly not. Why do I say this so concretely? The timeline doesn't support the notion and either does the setting. Syrio was not Jaqen before the latter was imprisoned. And in order to become Jaqen afterwards Syrio would need to have been able to escape the black cells, meaning he wouldn't have stayed in them.

Is Syrio a different Faceless Man pretending to be Trant? God I hope not. Writers know that you don't tell the same story twice, especially not if it's about two characters in the very same series. That's what Martin would be doing if he told us the story of two different Faceless Men being deeply connected to Arya long before she has even heard about the organization in question.

Did Syrio survive his fight with Trant? Maybe. But if he did, he's probably no longer relevant to the story (unless Arya meets him in the east) and will likely not be seen again.

j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that one thing that's getting a bit lost is that IF Syrio=Jaqen then it means that the man who taught Arya was a shadowy assassin and was never the peerless fighter/swordsman we were led to believe. I don't think the pieces fit in certain arguments where the character who fights Ser Meryn to allow Arya to escape is probably alive because because he was the first sword of braavos, etc and then a few minutes later that character is a faceless man and therefore was never who he said he was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Syrio = Jaqen, how did he grew his hair long into two different colors?

By being a Faceless Man? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My point is this: there is no textual reason to conclude that Biter and Rorge's fear stems from seeing Syrio either killing or assuming Jaqen's identity. That's an assumption many posters here have made because they want Syrio and Jaqen to be the same person.

Credits for you for reading most of the threads (that's very much)!

And you are right, it is an assumption that they are scared by the identity switch. The point is, that's clearly a thing Jaqen is capable of and we have seen him doing in the books. It's a trick big enough to scare the shit out of Rorge and Biter (I hope you agree with that). The scenario you are making up comes from nowhere, it's a backstory needed to explain their scariness, which we have not seen any evidence about. And Rorge and Biter being scared by violence could be, but is imo not in line with their other behaviour. That's my bigest problem, a scenario like yours is coming totally out of nowhere, just for the soupcoupe, while a changing of face is somehting we have actually seen him doing.

Now let's talk about Syrio/Jaqen directly. This is not some collective holding cell. This is a puny, frighteningly dark solitary confinement cell. At no point does Martin give the impression that prisoners room together; in fact, he does quite the opposite: both Ned and Tyrion are alone 100% of the time, save once per day when the gaoler brings water.

Your examples are about noble prisoners, they are locked away in different cells, if I remember correctly. The whole theory is based upon the assumption that the black cell prisoners are confined togther. If there is any evidence that that is not the case, I will immediately admit that I am wrong. But until now, I haven't seen such evidence.

I think that even in the darkness Rorge and Biter would have known what has happened when Syrio facechanged into Jaqen.

That's an assumption many posters here have made because they want Syrio and Jaqen to be the same person.

The assumption that "we" want Syrio and Jaqen to be the same is heard the most among these discussions and it is absolutely ridiculous. It's an easy remark just to discredit everything "we" have said. There is no wanting in this. To me, it's the most logical scenario. It explains the scariness of Rorge and Biter, it explain the evasive answers about Syrio's fate, and it explains why/how a faceless man is in the black cells.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Credits for you for reading most of the threads (that's very much)!

And you are right, it is an assumption that they are scared by the identity switch. The point is, that's clearly a thing Jaqen is capable of and we have seen him doing in the books. It's a trick big enough to scare the shit out of Rorge and Biter (I hope you agree with that). The scenario you are making up comes from nowhere, it's a backstory needed to explain their scariness, which we have not seen any evidence about. And Rorge and Biter being scared by violence could be, but is imo not in line with their other behaviour. That's my bigest problem, a scenario like yours is coming totally out of nowhere, just for the soupcoupe, while a changing of face is somehting we have actually seen him doing.

You're right, of course. My scenario did come out of left field, so to speak, which is why I instantly acknowledged that fact when I threw it out there. The point was never to suggest such a scenario happened insofar as I can't know that it did. The point was simply to illustrate that there are any number of possible explanations as to why Rorge and Biter might be scared of Jaqen. They needn't have seen him do his Faceless Man magic. (Though, yes, if they had, I agree that it would have scared the devil out of them.) (As another aside, in practice their fear really served a literary purpose. Rorge and Biter were immensely minor characters, and so not nearly as well developed as more major characters. Arya was a protagonist. From a literary perspective, the minor character's fear was meant to help develop Arya, not so much to develop Rorge and Biter.)

Incidentally, I'm originally from Milwaukee. You may not recall, but my home city had a serial killer named Jeffrey Dahmer in it (I am sure you recall Dahmer--but it's possible you forgot where he was from). Dahmer, by all accounts, was intelligent, soft spoken, respectful and gentle. Yet, he was also masochistic and vile. Had any of us seen his masochism, I'm sure we'd have been deliriously scared of him, just as Rorge and Biter are scared of Jaqen, who possesses several of Dahmer's finer characteristics. Is it possible the masochism Rorge and Biter saw was Jaqen changing faces? Sure, I suppose. It's also possible they saw him do any number of other things that were equally scary. The fear, then, is evidence of nothing, given that there are literally infinite possibilities to explain it. Until the author gives us some way of narrowing the options, we can't know which one to accept.

Your examples are about noble prisoners, they are locked away in different cells, if I remember correctly. The whole theory is based upon the assumption that the black cell prisoners are confined togther. If there is any evidence that that is not the case, I will immediately admit that I am wrong. But until now, I haven't seen such evidence.

I think that even in the darkness Rorge and Biter would have known what has happened when Syrio facechanged into Jaqen.

Sorry. But no.

I can't remember if there was a reference to the black cells in Ned's chapters, but I did remember there being one in Tyrion's. So I went and found it. Here it is.

From Storm of Swords, Tyrion's point of view (the one in which Gregor kills Oberyn), at the very end of the chapter, Page 976 in my US paperback edition:

Ellaria Sand wailed in terror, and Tyrion's breakfast came boiling back up. He found himself on his knees retching bacon and sausage and applecakes, and that double helping of fried eggs cooked up with onions and fiery Dornish peppers.

He never heard his father speak the words that condemned him. Perhaps no words were necessary. I put my life in the Red Viper's hands and he dropped it. When he remembered, too late, that snakes have no hands, Tyrion began laughing hysterically.

He was halfway down the serpentine steps before he realized the gold cloaks were not taking him back to his tower room. "I've been consigned to the black cells," he said. They did not bother to answer. Why waste your breath on the dead?

Now, perhaps you'll argue that Tyrion might have been wrong. The gold cloaks didn't say he was going to the black cells, after all. If that's an argument you'd make, my only response is that I can't take it seriously. As Acting Hand, Tyrion had free access to all of King's Landing. He also sent Pycelle to the black cells at one point, meaning he probably had some idea as to their nature. If he said he was going to the black cells, then he was as far as I'm concerned--he, after all, knew the castle as well as almost anyone, save Varys and Petyr. Note also that when he said he was consigned to the black cells, he was making a statement, not asking a question.

Set aside the fact that the black cells are probably so named for a reason (as in it's pitch black down there), and deal only with this fact:

The quoted passage above confirms that Tyrion was in the black cells.

(By the way, in medieval England and in this series, nobles were typically imprisoned in well adorned suites, not empty cells with no light, food, drink or latrine. It was the respect they were paid courtesy of their station. That's why Tyrion had the tower room to begin with. It's why Sansa, essentially a prisoner to Cersei, was never locked away. It's why Edmure isn't in a dungeon when Jaime visits Riverrun later in the series. And, of course, it's why it was so meaningful when Ned, Jaime and Tyrion (twice) were actually thrown in a dungeon.)

Now I didn't check Ned's chapters in GOT to see if there was also a reference to the black cells, mostly because I think it unnecessary. In Tyrion's chapter we learn the black cells are separated from each other, and that there are more than one of them. We also learn that Tyrion is alone until Jaime rescues him. My only conclusion, then, must be that prisoners do not share a space in the black cells, which brings me back to the statement I made before: Syrio is almost certainly not Jaqen. To be Jaqen, he'd have had to escape from his own cell, and then forcibly break into the real Jaqen's cell, commit murder, change faces, and then for some indescribably stupid reason elect to remain in the real Jaqen's cell rather than simply leaving via the skills he'd already employed to break out of his own and into Jaqen's cell.

The assumption that "we" want Syrio and Jaqen to be the same is heard the most among these discussions and it is absolutely ridiculous. It's an easy remark just to discredit everything "we" have said. There is no wanting in this. To me, it's the most logical scenario. It explains the scariness of Rorge and Biter, it explain the evasive answers about Syrio's fate, and it explains why/how a faceless man is in the black cells.

You're right. It was an unfair statement for me to make, and I can totally understand why it might have offended you. I should have been more careful in how I phrased my argument--I apologize for not doing so.

j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Other-in-Law

Excellent posts, jjames36. It's pretty clear that sensory deprivation (no sight or sound) is part of the punishment of the Black Cells, so putting prisoners in the same cell would make no sense at all. Nor is there any shortage of cells considering how empty the place is.

Now, it's perfectly possible that some sort of FM magic was the source of Rorge's fear, but absolutely nothing to indicate that it happened in the cells rather than on the wagon or after the three escaped the fire.

Now, perhaps you'll argue that Tyrion might have been wrong. The gold cloaks didn't say he was going to the black cells, after all. If that's an argument you'd make, my only response is that I can't take it seriously.

Set aside the fact that the black cells are probably so named for a reason (as in it's pitch black down there), and deal only with this fact:

The quoted passage above confirms that Tyrion was in the black cells.

More explicit yet is Rennifer Longwaters in aFfC:

"The black cells are little used. Before your lordship's little brother was sent down, we had Grand Maester Pycelle for a time. And Lord Stark, the traitor. There were three others, common men, but Lord Stark gave them to the Night's Watch. I did not think it good to free those three, but the papers were in proper order. I made not of that in a report as well."

The character description of Chief Undergaoler Rennifer Longwaters is of an anal retentive fussbudget who tries to turn in his subordinates to get them in trouble if their performance is questionable...specifically Rugen, who was the Undergaoler for the Black Cells. That makes the notion that there was some switch of bodies and dead prisoners never making it into the records perfectly ludicrous. Longwaters would have jumped all over that, and made ample note of it as evidence against the disliked Rugen. And most likely told Jaime about it, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Other-in-Law

Not to defend AAF's thesis, but a shorter weapon is advantageous if you can get inside the useful range of the opponent's weapon. Letting the stick be cut might have been a part of the tactic - lose reach, gain sharp stick - but I don't know if anyone could pull it off for real.

About the only way to get an armored knight with a light weapon is to stab in the gaps between the plate. In that closer reach and short weapon are pretty good - there's a reason why they made crossguards stabby for a time, and why half of the manuals are about wrestling. It's a desperate attempt, since Trant would have trained for that eventuality while Syrio likely hasn't, but it's a better game than staying at the longer distance which would keep him in the effective range of Trant's sword. That would effectively force him to try to parry a heavy weapon with light and more breakable one, since he can't rely on the passive defence of the armor like Trant. It's a gamble and like I said I don't think Syrio lived, but it's the best chance he's got if he intends to fight.

First, the past claim I was objecting to was very specifically not about stabbing in gaps between plate. The claim was that Syrio could have struck Trant on the helm and knocked him unconscious...which is patently absurd considering he had already struck him on the helm with a longer and heavier stick and it had no effect. For that purpose, shortening the weapon reduces the effectiveness, since the momentum is much less from both weight and velocity of the smaller arc.

But on the possibility of stabbing through the gaps in the plate the problem is that there's still going to be chainmail underneath the plate; if not a hauberk then at least voiders. Duncan the Tall manages to kill Lucas Inchfield in exactly this way in tSS, stabbing through the mail in the gap under his armpit when it opens for a moment when he raises his arms. But Dunk is an extremely strong youth of barely twenty, and he has a good steel dagger to cut through the steel or iron chainmail...probably not an easy thing to do. Syrio may be fast and skilled at the waterdancing style of fighting, but he's old and at best he's got a jagged wooden stick with a lead core. I highly doubt he has the strength to get through chainmail with that.

The better option for him is to stab through the vision slit of Trant's helm. Strength wouldn't be an issue for that (assuming the stick isn't too stout to fit through the slit), only speed and accuracy, which Syrio has in spades. But we know that he didn't defeat Trant that way, since we get a description of Trant's eyes later and he hasn't been blinded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, it's perfectly possible that some sort of FM magic was the source of Rorge's fear, but absolutely nothing to indicate that it happened in the cells rather than on the wagon or after the three escaped the fire.

It is first mentioned when Jaqen, Rorge and Biter come to Harenhall, having joined Bloody mummers after escaping the fire.

Jaqen is still the same then, so it doesnt seem to be the "face changing" bit that scared them.

However, knowing what we know of those two i dont think that any amount of violence would scare them so the bets bet is some sort of "magical" ability Jaqen displayed.

He may have taken on the face of someone else for a short time then returned to "Jaqen" later or he could have killed someone in a "mysterious unnatural" way, like he did fulfilling Aryas three wishes.

Or they simply figured out he is a Faceless man and that scares them.

More explicit yet is Rennifer Longwaters in aFfC:

"The black cells are little used. Before your lordship's little brother was sent down, we had Grand Maester Pycelle for a time. And Lord Stark, the traitor. There were three others, common men, but Lord Stark gave them to the Night's Watch. I did not think it good to free those three, but the papers were in proper order. I made not of that in a report as well."

Which is a very decent indication that Yoren would have not been allowed to pick prisoners after the coup, what with all the checking of the papers in order and noting that traitor Stark is right there.

The better option for him is to stab through the vision slit of Trant's helm. Strength wouldn't be an issue for that (assuming the stick isn't too stout to fit through the slit), only speed and accuracy, which Syrio has in spades. But we know that he didn't defeat Trant that way, since we get a description of Trant's eyes later and he hasn't been blinded.

Unless, of course the Faceless man carrying Syrios face took Trants after he stabbed him in the eye.

Ill have to do a little search on Trant after that event to see if anything strange can be noticed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People are over-thinking the whole Jaqen H'ghar bit. The Alchemist is a Faceless Man, meaning that he takes people's identities. So it's probable that he simply took the identity of somebody with a fearsome reputation named Jaqen H'ghar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, it's perfectly possible that some sort of FM magic was the source of Rorge's fear, but absolutely nothing to indicate that it happened in the cells rather than on the wagon or after the three escaped the fire.

True. If said magic occurred outside of the cells, however, it'd be pretty hard to argue that Syrio and Jaqen are the same person.

More explicit yet is Rennifer Longwaters in aFfC:

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

Interesting. Don't know how I forgot that statement when I remembered the relatively mundane, incidental comment Tyrion made at the end of Storm.

In lieu of this quote from Rennifer Longwaters, there is positively no doubt that Ned and Tyrion were in the black cells. And the descriptions of Ned and Tyrion's imprisonment (which I quoted in my initial post in this thread) leave positively no doubt that both Ned and Tyrion roomed alone in a claustrophobic cell shrouded in pitch blackness that made them as well as blind. The only logical conclusion is that Jaqen, Rorge and Biter were in similar, if not the very same, cells. Even if Syrio was thrown into the black cells, he wasn't in the same room as the other three.

So, again, there's next to zero chance that Syrio and Jaqen are the same person.

j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is first mentioned when Jaqen, Rorge and Biter come to Harenhall, having joined Bloody mummers after escaping the fire.

Jaqen is still the same then, so it doesnt seem to be the "face changing" bit that scared them.

I would assume Jaqen can change his face whenever he feels like it, he says to Arya it is simple, and "shows" her how to do it

Also and this isn't aimed at you TSM, but Jaqen could easily have done some faceless man stuff to scare them, but that would have f all to do with whether he is syrio or not

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would assume Jaqen can change his face whenever he feels like it, he says to Arya it is simple, and "shows" her how to do it

That's not necessarily the case. A lot of boarders (including myself) believe that Faceless Men operate under some religious (or perhaps magical) restrictions on _when_ they can change their face, even though the process itself may be simple. Check this thread for more on that subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not necessarily the case. A lot of boarders (including myself) believe that Faceless Men operate under some religious (or perhaps magical) restrictions on _when_ they can change their face, even though the process itself may be simple. Check this thread for more on that subject.

Thanks for the link, i'd no idea that was a theory, i've thrown my tuppence worth in that thread

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent posts, jjames36. It's pretty clear that sensory deprivation (no sight or sound) is part of the punishment of the Black Cells, so putting prisoners in the same cell would make no sense at all. Nor is there any shortage of cells considering how empty the place is.

Now, it's perfectly possible that some sort of FM magic was the source of Rorge's fear, but absolutely nothing to indicate that it happened in the cells rather than on the wagon or after the three escaped the fire.

More explicit yet is Rennifer Longwaters in aFfC:

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

The character description of Chief Undergaoler Rennifer Longwaters is of an anal retentive fussbudget who tries to turn in his subordinates to get them in trouble if their performance is questionable...specifically Rugen, who was the Undergaoler for the Black Cells. That makes the notion that there was some switch of bodies and dead prisoners never making it into the records perfectly ludicrous. Longwaters would have jumped all over that, and made ample note of it as evidence against the disliked Rugen. And most likely told Jaime about it, too.

Reading these three things together isn't very good for my belief in the Jaqen is Syrio theory.

My weak counter arguments are for the first, it's still an assumption, we do not know for sure. For the second, Eddard's sign can still be valid after he is confined for treason. The third, maybe Rugen has a motive for hiding the curious event.

But, as I said, they are weak.

Nonetheless, for me, they are enough, shallow as they are.

Since, due to the Jaqen=Syrio theory, I don't have to make up stories about how a faceless man came in the black cells, and how that faceless man was able to scare Jaqen and Rorge. Unexpected things, coming out of nowhere. Like you, I can make up stories about it, but normally, things like this, are explained in the books, or hidden for a reason, we don't have to fill in pieces ourself. And that's why I keep the feeling that there is something hidden in all this.

Add to that the evasive answers of GRRM and my alarm bells go off. Something is wrong here. It isn't what it looks like. And that's how Syrio became Jaqen.

James,

You're right. It was an unfair statement for me to make, and I can totally understand why it might have offended you. I should have been more careful in how I phrased my argument--I apologize for not doing so.

No problem, it's just that I have heard that quiet a lot.

Sure, I suppose. It's also possible they saw him do any number of other things that were equally scary. The fear, then, is evidence of nothing, given that there are literally infinite possibilities to explain it. Until the author gives us some way of narrowing the options, we can't know which one to accept.

But will he? If the fear came from somtehing different than facechanging, I can't see him giving the reason in the remaining books. And he doens't have to, but for things like this, he generally does (imo).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

One thing that's interesting about this statement, is that it says the black cells are seldom used. However it does not prove that prisoners are kept solitary, only that there's been so few people in the black cells that whoever is in there is going to be alone. Though I'm more inclined to think that if Syrio is Jaqen, he face changed while Jaqen, Rorge, and Biter were all with Yoren.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This post may seem a bit confrontational, Roi Woodt. I'm going to do my best to word it in such a way that that's not how it comes across, because I'm not trying to confront you, to back you into a corner or to do anything else followers of the Socratic method are sometimes accused of doing. I'm simply asking a question in an effort to get clarification on your position.

I thought I'd spell that out from the start, so that if I fail in my effort to not be confrontational, you know it was a slip in communication, not a slip in intent. Anyway, before I start, here are two quotes from your recent posts.

Your examples are about noble prisoners, they are locked away in different cells, if I remember correctly. The whole theory is based upon the assumption that the black cell prisoners are confined togther. If there is any evidence that that is not the case, I will immediately admit that I am wrong. But until now, I haven't seen such evidence.

Reading these three things together isn't very good for my belief in the Jaqen is Syrio theory.

My weak counter arguments are for the first, it's still an assumption, we do not know for sure. For the second, Eddard's sign can still be valid after he is confined for treason. The third, maybe Rugen has a motive for hiding the curious event.

But, as I said, they are weak.

Nonetheless, for me, they are enough, shallow as they are.

Since, due to the Jaqen=Syrio theory, I don't have to make up stories about how a faceless man came in the black cells, and how that faceless man was able to scare Jaqen and Rorge. Unexpected things, coming out of nowhere. Like you, I can make up stories about it, but normally, things like this, are explained in the books, or hidden for a reason, we don't have to fill in pieces ourself. And that's why I keep the feeling that there is something hidden in all this.

Add to that the evasive answers of GRRM and my alarm bells go off. Something is wrong here. It isn't what it looks like. And that's how Syrio became Jaqen.

First off, as an aside, I can see why Martin's evasiveness raises alarm bells. I also see this point, though: like many writers, he's evasive about everything, not just mysteries that are unsolved but also those that are solved. He claims even his wife doesn't know all of his secrets. It's possible he's being evasive simply because he likes encouraging, rather than stopping, discussion, not because he's trying to lay the groundwork for a surprise that's yet to come. Just a thought.

Without further adieu, let me set up the aforementioned question.

In the first quote above, you acknowledged the Syrio equals Jaqen theory hinges on whether the black cell prisoners are kept together, and that if you're provided evidence that they're not, then you'd admit you were wrong. The implication seemed to be that if they weren't together, the theory would no longer solve the anomalies you've identified. That is, why are Rorge and Biter so scared of Jaqen, and how did a Faceless Man come to be in the black cells? After all, if they weren't together, then Rorge and Biter wouldn't have seen what Syrio/Jaqen did, so would have no cause to be afraid of him. Similarly, the Faceless Man in question wouldn't have had cause to slay the real Jaqen unless he were capable of exiting and entering the cells at his own discretion, in which case he'd leave rather than remain a prisoner.

Then in the next quote, you gloss over the evidence that OiL and I found suggesting they weren't together. The description of Ned and Tyrion's cells makes it pretty clear they are not large areas--they're solitary torture chambers meant to deprive the prisoner of all sensory input and personal connection, even as said person starves to death. It is never spelled out that they're not shared, but given how rarely they're used, how many there appear to be, and their apparent purpose, it seems a logical conclusion that they're not. I repeat these salient facts: both Tyrion and Ned were alone 100% of the time except when the turnkey approached to give them water once a day. Even then, the turnkey gave them orders that they were not to talk and lingered no longer than thirty seconds. That's pretty stark evidence, I think, that these rooms are not shared by two individuals, much less four.

And yet, despite this evidence, and despite your previous post, you say you still believe the Syrio equals Jaqen theory solves the previously identified riddles. I'm missing something. So here's the question: how does the theory still solve said anomalies? If the prisoners weren't together, doesn't the theory, in fact, only further amplify the riddles in question?

But will he? If the fear came from somtehing different than facechanging, I can't see him giving the reason in the remaining books. And he doens't have to, but for things like this, he generally does (imo).

On this we agree. He probably won't.

I'm not sure he should. Like I hinted at before, the goal of every writer I've ever met, including myself, is to encourage readers to debate various parts of their story. The only way you accomplish that goal is if you leave some questions unanswered.

If you disagree and believe it's a big enough mystery that he really needs to answer it, so be it. I accept that without complaint (it is, after all, a personal opinion and thereby not wrong).

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

One thing that's interesting about this statement, is that it says the black cells are seldom used. However it does not prove that prisoners are kept solitary, only that there's been so few people in the black cells that whoever is in there is going to be alone.

Now that's true, Pallantides. But I encourage you to go back and read the chapters in which Tyrion and Ned are imprisoned in the black cells. Notice all of the times Martin references and builds off of their alone-ness. Both chapters paint the same very strong picture: these are not holding cells where people can find some solace in their fellow man, prisoners though they may be. These are, like I said before, solitary torture chambers where prisoners are left to languish before their execution. Once more, Ned isn't allowed to talk to the turnkey when he receives his one daily ration of water, he's not fed (though he's there for days) and he receives no visitors, until Varys comes via the hidden tunnels. It seems to me these facts, and the style with which Martin wrote the chapters all lead to the same logical conclusion that the rooms are not shared. Ever.

I did not, however, explicitly find any piece of text that declared that as fact, but--honestly--I see no other viable interpretation. If you (and others) see one, so be it. I'd love to hear it.

Though I'm more inclined to think that if Syrio is Jaqen, he face changed while Jaqen, Rorge, and Biter were all with Yoren.

If that's true, it really needs an explanation. And much sooner than book 5. Why would Syrio, Faceless Man-extraodinaire, who just escaped certain doom at the hand of a Kingsguard knight armored in full plate and wielding a sword, hunt down a small band of Wall-bound prisoners? After hunting down this Wall-bound group that just so happened to include the very girl our Faceless Man fought to protect, why would the Faceless Man kill a prisoner tied up at all times? Why wouldn't the Faceless Man have simply vanished? Or assumed a new identity in King's Landing so he could continue whatever mission he was originally there for? What could possibly be so attractive about Yoren's vagabonds that this Faceless Man would deliberately follow and kill one of them (assuming he was even capable of killing, hiding and replacing said prisoner (who was always tied up) without being spotted by virtually everyone in the camp)?

And perhaps the most pertinent question is what textual evidence is there that even vaguely hints at this theory? (Syrio equals Jaqen either before or during the black cells has some possible hints. Varys connection to the cells and to Syrio, etc, etc, etc. Does the theory that the identity change happened after the cells have any similar potential hints?)

j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How absolutely and disgustingly hypocritical. To claim that Bravos kill each other is supposedly "invention", despite textual evidence such as that "bravos slew each other in their (Courtezans) names" , and yet the one who claims this brazenly fabricates nonsense out of whole cloth and presents it it as the the truth. There is absolutely NO support for for this claim of Syrio deliberately causing Trant to overbalance or any of that. Pure bullshit, as usual.

:tantrum:

Really? All that fulminating and indignation over - a lame straw man?

Of course I accept that some bravos kill each other for silly reasons; that's supported, I've never denied it. Pretending I deny this obvious point is the best you can do?

Your theory has factual elements we can agree on, such as: Syrio is proud, Syrio is brave, Syrio is a bravo, and some bravos fight each other for silly reasons. But your theory also relies on a large number of premises that are unsupported or contra-supported by the text. I raised some of these specific objections earlier in the thread and you dodged them in favor of your ridiculous straw man. I suppose you would substantively address the problems with your theory - if you could.

In all that heat, I can only find one substantive criticism of my theory: you claim "There is absolutely NO support for this claim of Syrio deliberately causing Trant to overbalance..." That's just wrong. We have textual proof that Syrio does EXACTLY THAT when fighting with a wooden stick against men having Westerosi swords: he overbalances them and knocks them down. In fact, knocking Westerosi swordsmen down is one of the most prominent techniques Syrio has demonstrated for us, AND it is probably the only one of those techniques that actually works better the more armored your opponent is. So while we can't fully reconstruct the fight, we've been told enough about the course of this fight (Syrio/Trant) and the preceding fight (Syrio/guards) to make informed guesses about what Syrio might be up to. The conjecture I've laid out is well supported by explicit textual hints as to how the fight might have proceeded.

One hopes that no family members of military servicemen, police officers, or firefighters who died while performing their duties doesn't read this thread

and discover, by shocking dichotomy, that they must have been "suicidal". It's not inconceivable that the notion might prove offensive.

Erm, it's your theory that Syrio is tired of life, looking for any excuse to fight and kill each other, wantonly risking his life, has nothing to look forward to but watching his teeth fall out one by one - if you're describing a hero of public service, you've just offended those surviving family members!

In any event, this has no bearing on my theory of how the Syrio/Trant fight went, and no bearing on any aspect of my critique of your "Syrio is suicidal" theory (repeated here with emphasis and numerals added for reference in the point-by-point criticism that follows):

One of the funny things about the claim that Syrio would run way, despite his specific words to the contrary, is how it completely ignores the culture of his background. Syrio was a water dancer, the highest status of the bravos, 1.Braavosi swordsmen who strut and swagger through the alleys at night 2.looking for any excuse to fight and kill each other.

Why? Are they suicidal? No, 3.they have merely developed attitudes that are so prideful of their own abilities that they wantonly risk their lives to prove them. Syrio was one of the very best of these, good enough to be a water dancer and survive his tenure as First Sword (perhaps a new Sealord took office, and each one appoints his own First Sword) and go into retirement. So now he's an old man, very skilled, but 4.with what to look forward to exactly? Family? 5.If so, what is he doing in exile in Westeros? He gets a job teaching fencing to the hand's daughter, when events provide him with one last opportunity to really exercise his skill and his fearlessness, defending his client's daughter. He actually starts talking like a bravo, mocking his opponents and declaring that he does not run away from a fight.

Why on earth would he 6.go back on his declaration and 7.the bravo culture that he has lived his life by, just to 8.survive and grow older, watching his teeth fall out one by one? 9.Why wouldn't he embrace the chance to go out in a blaze of glory, like any bravo would dream of? Fighting to the death would hardly be 'stupid' 10.from his perspective, it would simply be 11.continuing to abide by the ethos he's lived his life by.

My criticism of the support for these items 1-11:

1. The syllogism "some bravos do, Syrio is a bravo, therefore Syrio does" is clearly false; not only is it not suggested, I for one don't imagine the First Sword of Braavos strutted and swaggered through the alleys - it would be beneath his dignity. No support to say this about Syrio.

2. Even less plausible is the First Sword of Braavos "looking for any excuse to fight and kill [other bravos]". Some bravos do, but we expect the First Sword to differ from other bravos; and we do not expect a man to survive to be bald if he compulsively fights at any excuse. Again, no support as to Syrio.

3. Perhaps some bravos "wantonly risk their lives to prove ...", but you've provided no text suggesting that Syrio did, particularly as First Sword; and there is logical reason to believe he did not: he has survived to be bald. No support as to Syrio.

4. Zero textual support that Syrio has nothing to look forward to, that his life is over. Projection of your own despair?

5. I haven't seen text saying Syrio is in exile. If he were, how would that prove he had no family or anything else to look forward to?

6. False choice: Syrio ran, or committed suicide. I didn't say Syrio would go back on his declaration, but he didn't declare he would commit suicide.

7. By "culture he has lived his life by" you presumably refer to your items 1-3, unsupported or contrary as to the First Sword of Braavos - which is how SYRIO lived his life.

8. "Why would he want to survive and grow older, watching his teeth fall out"? The clearest statement yet of your belief, completely unsupported by the text, that Syrio is tired of life and ready to die. Selmy isn't suicidal, and he's had more taken from him than Syrio.

9. Why wouldn't he embrace the chance to go out in a blaze of glory? Well, because he isn't suicidal in the first place, but to the contrary seems chipper, sharp, alert, cheerful. Were he looking for a chance to go out in a blaze of glory, he would not have taken an apparently safe, unglorious job as fencing instructor to Arya. While we aren't privy to his reasons (likes kids? vacation in KL?), we can deduce that he was NOT particularly seeking glory and danger, because that job apparently offered neither.

10. By "his perspective" you must mean "the perspective I've described for Syrio", which I've demonstrated to be based on numerous unsupported and contra-supported premises.

11. We agree! Syrio would continue to live his life by the same ethos. Unfortunately, your conjectured ethos is just about wholly unsupported for the First Sword, and in many instances contrary to reason. What we KNOW is that Syrio was both successful and long-lived. He invariably won his fights to the death, right? So he would keep on winning.

This topic has been debated so many times that it's pointless to continue with it, imo. The past links show that it's all been covered, however much some people pretend that it hasn't and resurrect for their usual trolling purposes.

If anybody is trolling here it would be you; just step back and look at what you wrote. It's a theory about a fantasy book; can you deal with criticism like an adult?

"It's all been covered"? It may be true that the "Syrio must be dead" crowd has had no new perspective in the last two years. However, I don't believe anybody previously pointed out this very apparent fact: that George expressly demonstrated Syrio using the technique of off-balancing and knocking down Westerosi swordsmen - with a stick, no less. Your own response to it shows that you haven't considered it before, else you'd have something more insightful to say than an empty denial that there's any support for it.

I've provided three newish ideas: first, that what Syrio did was unexpected - because it was contrary to the common wisdom for dealing with dangerous, fully armored knights; second, that because Martin writes these cliffhangers carefully, an unexpected action should be explained; and third, that an explanation for Syrio choosing close-in fighting may be deduced from considering how he fought the guardsmen: he actively over-balanced and knocked them down; as a technique Syrio does use and could use on a fully armored knight, and which is consistent with close fighting, it becomes a very good guess that Syrio was angling to make Trant lose his balance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×