Jump to content

Archived

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

Dharma

Syrio Forel

Recommended Posts

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.

That's actually where the message board is intendend for, I believe, thus no worries. I will ask some questions back as well (not to confront, but to clarify ofcourse :-)).

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.

I can see that, when it has a function, for example if baby Aegon is really dead, or is Sandor still alive, and on many other occasions as well. But if Syrio is actually death and that scene was ment to make that obvious (see with your eyes), than what's the point about encouraging us to speculate about it, it's pointless? If he really meant to make it obvious, as many people have suggested, he obviously failed because of all the questions about it. Wouldn't you think he would clarify that? Or do you think he deliberately wrote the scene in such a way that the outcome is speculatable? Even though he himself already knows Syrio died.

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.
This is correct.

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.
Logical as it may look like, it isn't stated anywhere. Maybe they have tiny black cells for noble-born prisoners and a large black cell for lower-born prisoners. They would still be black cells.

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.
For these cells, you are absolutely right ;-). But mayhaps the black cell of Rorge, Biter and Jaqen was a bigger one, it's not ruled out. Do you agree that both Tyrion, Ned and even grand maester Pycelle are of a different level than Rorge, Biter, Jaqen and Syrio?

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?

I said I have weak arguments, but arguments nonetheless. Furthermore, I 'demanded' evidence, not a logical conclusion based on related issues. Because, even with the strong arguments you pint forward, it's still an assumption.

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.

Forever? What's the point of debating than?

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).
Thank you. Do you agree that the only reason for Rorge and Biter being afraid is to get them to help with the soupcoupe? He completely changes the logical conclusion that Rorge and Biter are not afraid of Jaqen, simply to get them to help Jaqen free the prisoners. I can't accept that.

Oh, and good luck with writing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

I appreciate your support for the idea of wrestling - something I've wondered, and it recognizes that there may have been a reason for Syrio to get in close.

But George provides a lot of textual evidence on how various fights might go, and I try to stay with his guidance because he's the last word on the event.

And one thing George has demonstrated and described repeatedly is that a more lightly armored man can overcome a more heavily armored man by dancing around and wearing him down - Bronn's words to Tyrion, his actions vs. Vardis Egen, and Oberyn vs. Gregor.

The scene is set for us with five dead/dying guardsmen and their arms littering the hall. Trant is less mobile because he's fully armored, and his visor is down so he has less visibility, plus Syrio has been demonstrated to be extremely fast. Therefore, it should be a slam dunk for Syrio to dance around Trant, forcing him to negotiate the dead guardsmen, staying out of sword range, while providing ample opportunity for Arya to escape. No need to run, no need to die.

But we know that Syrio did NOT follow that strategy! Instead he went in close. That is a surprise that requires careful consideration. Given Syrio's undoubted knowledge of his exceptional abilities, I can only conclude that he believed he would be even more successful by going in close than by dancing around.

In wondering exactly what he had in mind, we look to the techniques we saw Syrio display with the guardsmen. Some of them involved reaching throat, knee, bare skin, so aren't applicable to Trant. But one of his main techniques was to off-balance and knock down his opponents. And lo and behold, that is a technique that works even better with a fully armored man than with the less armored guardsmen. So while he might have been moving in to wrestle, we have textual evidence that Syrio tends to successfully use balance to knock over the heavy-sworded Westerosi fighters.

Added to the reasonable conclusion that he thought going in close was a better alternative than dancing around a cluttered room, I think it's very likely that Syrio was at least trying to knock Trant over.

So now we need to explain Trant surviving: Syrio was probably about to knock Trant over - I'd have to guess that he sacrificed his stick for a reason, and I can certainly see how going through the stick would throw Trant's balance. But even knocked down, Trant was safe - unless Syrio got a real sword. Once Trant realized that the guardsmen were killed NOT because they were incompetent, but because Syrio is terrific - which he would realize when Syrio promptly knocked him over - the somewhat cowardly Trant was unlikely to stick around to find out if Syrio could kill him, but instead would go for reinforcements.

And why not? It wasn't TRANT who said he wouldn't run; and he'd already missed his chance to get Arya. Why would he continue to risk his life once he determined that Syrio's success with the guardsmen wasn't just a fluke?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Syrio sacrificed his sword to block a blow that would have killed him. Nothing to explain there.

Similarly, he closes because he no longer has a weapon he can use at range. Nothing to explain there.

As for the argument about 'textual evidence', the flaw with this is that the presumption that because Fight A went one way, this is a deliberate 'guidance' about Fight B. By this logic we should expect, for example, that Victarion - much more heavily armoured than his opponents - should lose his fights in AFFC. Of course, he doesn't, because each fight is different. None can sensibly be taken as 'guidance' about the outcome of another. Each fight comes out the way the author decides it should: and that's all anyone can say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...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.

Sorry, but you misunderstand. Part of it is technically my mistake.

As to OiL's theory which I abbreviate to "Syrio was suicidal" (and if you read the theory fairly, I fail to see how you can call it anything else despite her disclaimer), you imagine that I am objecting to her putting forth unsupported contentions as fact.

That is not what I am objecting to. We CAN'T know with certainty what happened after Arya left - we can ONLY conjecture. So in the first place, I have never objected to the fact that OiL is conjecturing.

Rather, I'm objecting that her conjecture doesn't follow from the facts that Martin has set forth. Martin's description of Syrio does not fit that of a man tired of living, any more than, say, Barristan Selmy is described as tired of living. Both are old, both could be suicidal, but there is no textual suggestion that they are. And I address a bunch of other premises of OiL's theory above. Conjecture is fine, but it should be based on evidence and hints from the book, not on people's personal feelings about how old bravos might feel about teaching fencing to a 9yo girl.

It's fair criticism of a theory - necessarily conjecture - to show that the premises and assumptions underlying the conjecture fail to comport with the text.

It is technically my mistake to state what happened in the fight after Arya left as if it had simply happened - in a manner that you took to mean I thought it was fact. I didn't state that it was conjecture because it's so blatantly obvious that it MUST be conjecture.

I thought that everybody knew, that it was abundantly obvious, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no canon for the Trant/Syrio fight after Arya leaves. I believed that my statement would be taken as conjecture because that context (lack of canon) simply did not permit it to be treated as fact. It appears that you believe I'm trying to fool somebody into thinking my conjecture is fact. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just because you see Syrio's actions as being strategic decisions intended to knock Trant off balance doesn't make it so.

No, but the text describing him as fighting that way against the guardsmen is textual support for the conjecture.

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.
BTW, Jaime, Loras and Sandor weren't there for the Barristan send-off - Selmy was trash-talking only Trant and a couple others.

Thank you for confirming that there is substantial textual support for Trant being a coward; that is textual support for the conjecture that he'd run off upon losing the advantage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

The entire stick indeed has more mass - but can make a straight-on hit, with all the mass focused on a point, only by jabbing. As for swinging the stick at speed and hitting with the tip, there is higher velocity but less mass in the moving tip; and the contribution of the rest of the stick is reduced by geometry and also by deflection. Half a lead-centered sword, however, can be swung not in an arc, but so the hilt impacts inline, like a rod, and could easily have substantially more momentum impact than the entire sword, swung in an arc as you describe.

But the point's rather moot. I entertained this idea as a mere possibility - not as an aspect having textual support. I believe I also mentioned the possibility of off-balancing Trant; but at the time I had no reason to prefer one or the other. Now, in view of the evidence that Syrio can and does overbalance fighters, and given that this is consistent with Syrio going inside so quickly and also neatly explains both Trant and Syrio surviving substantially unharmed - Trant through cowardice - the short-sword bludgeon theory is merely an inferior, unsupported possibility.

Quite right about the visor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Syrio sacrificed his sword to block a blow that would have killed him. Nothing to explain there.

Similarly, he closes because he no longer has a weapon he can use at range. Nothing to explain there.

As for the argument about 'textual evidence', the flaw with this is that the presumption that because Fight A went one way, this is a deliberate 'guidance' about Fight B. By this logic we should expect, for example, that Victarion - much more heavily armoured than his opponents - should lose his fights in AFFC. Of course, he doesn't, because each fight is different. None can sensibly be taken as 'guidance' about the outcome of another. Each fight comes out the way the author decides it should: and that's all anyone can say.

We have seen the last sword blow going through the stick, but we fail to see the sword striking Syrio, which it would have done (in that instant) were it a blow that, but for the stick, would have killed him. Or so it seems to me; it would make no difference to my theory if it "would have been" a killing blow, but I just don't see it.

He moves in because he no longer has a weapon he can use at range? You're not suggesting he can use the stick better at closer range, are you? If not that ... are you suggesting he went for wrestling? Possible; but there's no specific support for it, unlike with the off-balancing.

If you deny the value of textual support for conjecture then you have denied any basis but personal opinion for a theory. I doubt you believe George is so capricious.

I don't challenging for a moment that armor can be very helpful in many circumstances; but Martin's examples show it's not always an insuperable advantage, and Syrio is an extraordinary fighter whose techniques do not rely on much armor. Your comments about Victarion seem to imply that I - or some example - suggests that heavier armor is disadvantageous; and this is not correct. While armor has disadvantages in mobility, net strength, and visibility, it has corresponding huge advantages in protection. After all, unlike the less-armored guardsmen, Trant survived essentially unharmed!

ET rewrite last paragraph without much success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jjames36,

Another question for you.

How do you feel about the situation that the formerly first sword of Braavos, a magnificent water dancer, is apparently satisfied with training a little girl how to dance? He is about to leave to the North with her. He is training her with about 5% of his capabilities. What is his motivation to train this girl?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I apologise for my bad memory and lack of rereading earlier, I assumed that it WAS seen that Syrio tried to go in and win the fight and not just keep pestering Trant to give Arya time to escape. I argued for the benefit of going in close because I assumed that was what he did do, because that's the only way it's even remotely possible to win with a lighter, shorter weapon against an armoured opponent. Arya escapes before we see what it was that Syrio did after his stick was shortened. Bleh. Teaches me to read up before making arguments.

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.--

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.

Just so. Which is why I don't think Syrio will show up again.

As for the deliberate sacrifice of his weapon - before the fourth blow he'd parried and deflected several blows, so the stick was already weakened. Even a partial parry is enough to save your life if you sidestep though, and it would have been silly to intentionally lose reach if the goal in the fight was to survive for as long as possible, so I don't think Syrio's breaking weapon was intentional. It's a pity we don't see further in the fight as Arya turns to flee, it'd give a little more information whether Syrio tried to go for a win and close in (a bad idea, since Trant is probably better at wrestling, and isn't seen to be wounded afterwards) or keep his distance and keep Trant occupied with the makeshift buckler. If it was me I'd go for the latter option and not put everything on a single card if my intention was to buy someone time to escape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
“The first sword of Braavos does not run,” he sang as Ser Meryn slashed at him. Syrio danced away from his cut, his stick a blur. In a heartbeat, he had bounced blows off the knight’s temple, elbow, and throat, the wood ringing against the metal of helm, gauntlet, and gorget. Arya stood frozen. Ser Meryn advanced; Syrio backed away. He checked the next blow, spun away from the second, deflected the third.

The fourth sliced his stick in two, splintering the wood and shearing through the lead core.

Sobbing, Arya spun and ran.

There was no "stepping closer".

Second day of the coup, seen by Sansa:

The second day was even worse. The room where Sansa had been confined was at the top of the highest tower of Maegor’s Holdfast. From its window, she could see that the heavy iron portcullis in the gatehouse was down, and the drawbridge drawn up over the deep dry moat that separated the keep-within-a-keep from the larger castle that surrounded it. Lannister guardsmen prowled the walls with spears and crossbows to hand. The fighting was over, and the silence of the grave had settled over the Red Keep.

btw, i reread parts where Trant beats Sansa, so i respectfully rescind my theory of him being Syrio/faceless man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, but you misunderstand. Part of it is technically my mistake.

As to OiL's theory which I abbreviate to "Syrio was suicidal" (and if you read the theory fairly, I fail to see how you can call it anything else despite her disclaimer), you imagine that I am objecting to her putting forth unsupported contentions as fact.

There's a world of difference between being wiling to die and being suicidal.

We have seen the last sword blow going through the stick, but we fail to see the sword striking Syrio, which it would have done (in that instant) were it a blow that, but for the stick, would have killed him. Or so it seems to me; it would make no difference to my theory if it "would have been" a killing blow, but I just don't see it.

If the blow had been blocked, it would almost certainly have had the angle changed by an impact sufficient to break Syrio's stick.

He moves in because he no longer has a weapon he can use at range?

Of course. I I have a nine-foot spear I fight at a range of several feet: if I lose the spear and draw a foot-long dagger I close in.

If you deny the value of textual support for conjecture then you have denied any basis but personal opinion for a theory. I doubt you believe George is so capricious.

I believe GRRM is the author and therefore dictates what happens. I believe he is not such a bad writer that he makes every fight come out the same way according to some set of simplistic rules, like 'the fastest fighter wins': that would make a very dull story. I believe that it's silly to suggest that Fighter A winning Fight B by Method C is 'textual support' that Fight D will go the same way. 'Textual support' (let alone 'authorial hint') is a much higher bar than you think it is.

Without challenging for a moment the general utility of armor, if Syrio fought Victarion, Syrio would probably have tried to unbalance him and knock him over, and Victarion might have lost. But since very few fighters are water dancers on a par with Syrio Forel, that has little bearing on Victarion's success against ordinary, and particularly Westerosi, fighters.

And yet you constantly rely on the success of Westerosi fighters against heavily-armoured foes as 'textual support' for Syrio winning against Trant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jjames36,

Another question for you.

How do you feel about the situation that the formerly first sword of Braavos, a magnificent water dancer, is apparently satisfied with training a little girl how to dance? He is about to leave to the North with her. He is training her with about 5% of his capabilities. What is his motivation to train this girl?

This may seem a flippant response, but truthfully, I take no issue with it whatsoever. Syrio is an old man (at least in Westerosi and Braavosi culture--I'm not sure how old he really is), who is no longer likely to be given high office. His choices are simple. Live a dangerous lifestyle as a mercenary. Enter retirement with little to do. Or take cushy jobs that allow him to make some money and have some constructive fun. My grandfather, a former professional contractor who owned two different businesses for many years, did a similar thing after retirement when he took a position at a run-of-the-mill small town, local hardware store. It gave him something to do and a little extra cash in the process.

In light of the fact that Martin has never provided distinct evidence as to Syrio's motivations, we cannot know why the former First Sword of Braavos was training an 8-9 year old girl in Waterdancing, but the fact that he's doing so needn't mean he's been forced into an unpleasant life he despises. Nor does it need mean he's doing some important, highly classified Faceless Man mission. Like much of this conversation, it's open to interpretation, but one of those interpretations is that Syrio has taken a pleasant retirement gig. Given that, until Martin provides some evidence indicating what the real answer is, I accept Syrio's presence as a creative way to move the story forward. Honestly, were it not for this thread, it's a point I never would have considered.

That's actually where the message board is intendend for, I believe, thus no worries. I will ask some questions back as well (not to confront, but to clarify ofcourse :-)).

But of course.

Or do you think he deliberately wrote the scene in such a way that the outcome is speculatable? Even though he himself already knows Syrio died.

I think he likely wrote the scene without realizing the likely outcome--that people would debate Syrio's death. He wrote the scene in such a way as to show Arya's suffering, the difficult choices she had to make and the emotion she'd have felt as she did so. Syrio, a minor character, probably didn't enter his thoughts much. (Generally, character centric writers like Martin define their protagonists and antagonists in great detail. They craft the minor characters with just enough intent so as to make them seem real, but these minor characters are almost never as well fleshed out as the major ones.)

Then the readers started debating Syrio's death. It's instructional to note that Martin has said he doesn't understand why he receives so many questions about Syrio. This is my evidence for the above paragraph--he didn't expect it to be a controversy, and when it became one he was surprised (as, again, he himself has stated). But now that it is one, he doesn't want to end it. Why would he? What benefit does he, the author, get from stopping conversation about his book? The more conversation, the more interest, the more likely people will start reading him, the more money he makes, the more personal gratification he gets and so forth. There's all the reason in the world to answer questions on Syrio evasively. I have a hard time developing reasons to end the conversation.

Logical as it may look like, it isn't stated anywhere. Maybe they have tiny black cells for noble-born prisoners and a large black cell for lower-born prisoners. They would still be black cells.

It's not stated anywhere, I agree.

If you need distinct statements to form conclusions, so be it. (Though you've also never received a distinct statement that Syrio and Jaqen are one person.) I don't. I need strong textual evidence, something we have in spades, what with the descriptions of the black cells in Tyrion and Ned's chapters, the comments made by the gaoler and so forth.

Martin has, in other words, defined the cells for us. Never has he given us the slightest hint that there is a second subsection of these cells, one that is more communal in nature. He has, in other words, given us evidence that these cells are solitary torture chambers. He's given us no evidence that they work differently for different people. With the evidence we have and without the evidence we don't have, I would not conclude that there are communal versions of the black cells. Doing so would mean I'd be seeking evidence to suit a theory rather than using evidence to develop one. That is, I have evidence to conclude prisoners are alone in these cells. I have no evidence to conclude that they're together. I'm going with the conclusion I can support evidentially.

Are you comfortable sticking with the one you cannot support? If so, how are you still selecting the most obvious conclusion based on the evidence at hand?

For these cells, you are absolutely right ;-). But mayhaps the black cell of Rorge, Biter and Jaqen was a bigger one, it's not ruled out. Do you agree that both Tyrion, Ned and even grand maester Pycelle are of a different level than Rorge, Biter, Jaqen and Syrio?

I do not agree, no. At least not anymore. Were in they still at a different level, they would have been put in a well adorned tower as Tyrion is when he's imprisoned before his trial. When they're put in the black cells, the message is 'you no longer count as noble born; you are now nothing but a fetid prisoner who might as well be dead.'

Incidentally, in medieval England (truthfully, throughout Europe) castle dungeons were much as Martin describes the black cells. They were tiny rooms with no adornments, even light. They included no slop bucket, no way of washing oneself and no method of entertainment. The prisoner was rarely, if ever, allowed visitors. They suffered in solitary confinement with nothing but their thoughts--many went insane courtesy of this fact. Nobles were, as I've said a few times, imprisoned in places like the Tower of London. Now these places weren't five star hotels, but Sir Walter Raleigh called them "comfortable circumstances" in the book he was allowed to write while imprisoned. Like I said a moment ago, if Ned, Tyrion and Pycelle were still considered higher than Rorge, Biter and Jaqen, they would have been given one of these tower rooms, not one of the black cells. It is therefore logical to conclude the black cells are as Martin describes them in Ned and Tyrion's chapters.

I said I have weak arguments, but arguments nonetheless. Furthermore, I 'demanded' evidence, not a logical conclusion based on related issues. Because, even with the strong arguments you pint forward, it's still an assumption.

It is an assumption, I agree whole heartedly.

But it's an assumption grounded in a great deal of evidence.

The assumption that Syrio equals Jaqen, as near as I can tell, is grounded on some unanswered riddles. Seems to me the theory develops as supporters attempt to solve these riddles, meaning the conclusion exists before the evidence. The better way to form a theory is to collect so much evidence that eventually you say, "Whoa. Looks like we're being led to this thing. Wow. Cool." Do you disagree?

If not, I ask again: what evidence am I missing that suggests Syrio equals Jaqen is the most logical conclusion? I have a great deal of evidence suggesting Syrio was not Jaqen prior to entering the black cells. And I have evidence that the black cells are not communal dwellings, meaning Syrio would not have had opportunity to kill the real Jaqen in said cells. I have no evidence that Syrio became Jaqen after the latter was freed by Yoren. I, in fact, have no evidence that Syrio even survived his fight with Trant. Given these evidential facts, isn't the logical conclusion that Syrio is not Jaqen? If not, what evidence am I missing?

Do you agree that the only reason for Rorge and Biter being afraid is to get them to help with the soupcoupe? He completely changes the logical conclusion that Rorge and Biter are not afraid of Jaqen, simply to get them to help Jaqen free the prisoners. I can't accept that.

I agree that from a plot perspective Rorge and Biter's fear accomplished the soup coup, yes. (Though there were ample personal benefits for them to support that coup as well.)

But Martin doesn't write from plot. He writes from character. So it's more prudent, I think, to look at the impact their fear had on characters, specifically on major characters. The only major character it impacted was Arya, and it made Arya respect Jaqen all the more. I would say that was the real objective in writing Rorge and Biter's fear.

j

P.S. Thanks for the well wishes on my writing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have we seen any reason to believe that a faceless man would be skilled at physical combat? I don't remember how well Jaqen performed during the weasel soup escapade, or what his fighting style was, but I never got the impression on first read through that it was "Uh, hey this guy fights like first sword of braavos!" or more correctly "This guy fights like the guy we thought was first sword of braavos, but really wasn't, I wonder where he learned to fight like that, etc"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have we seen any reason to believe that a faceless man would be skilled at physical combat? I don't remember how well Jaqen performed during the weasel soup escapade, or what his fighting style was, but I never got the impression on first read through that it was "Uh, hey this guy fights like first sword of braavos!" or more correctly "This guy fights like the guy we thought was first sword of braavos, but really wasn't, I wonder where he learned to fight like that, etc"

Well Acok says "Jaqen danced away from his slash, drew his own sword, drove the man back into a corner with a flurry of blows, and killed him with a thrust to the heart." Page 689.

Nothing that stands out from the ordinary imo, seems Jaqen was skilled but probably not extraordinary..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for confirming that there is substantial textual support for Trant being a coward; that is textual support for the conjecture that he'd run off upon losing the advantage.

Textual support for the conjecture? Perhaps (though I'm not yet ready to concede the point). But it is not evidence. There is no evidence that Trant ran from the fight. I also find it interesting that you glossed over my more meaty point: there is also some textual support for the conclusion that Trant probably has some skill with a blade, given that Kingsguard knights we've seen fight aren't weaklings. Is there direct evidence for that conclusion? Not as far as I can remember--I don't think we've ever seen Trant fight.

Either way, I actually contradicted your textual support, not agreed with it. I dismissed Jaime's comments, because--really--he criticizes exceptionally gifted warriors (the Cleganes) in much the same way. I agree that Trant was cowardly with Barristan, but I think there's more analysis to do before we conclude that Trant's refusal to fight Selmy means he's a coward that would avoid all fights at all times. Using these questionable pieces of evidence to say Trant ran from Syrio does not make me conclude that that's what happened. It makes me conclude you're guessing in much the way OiL guessed that Syrio was willing to die (which was also a guess, to be sure, and thereby not a conclusion I'm supporting).

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.

The first two points I agree with. The third I take some umbrage to, not because it's in itself wrong, but because you're overextending it. Syrio threw previous combatants off balance, yes. So what? That doesn't mean he's going to do it again. Just like the fact that I shoplifted a few times in my life is not evidence that I'm going to steal something the next time I walk into a store. Might I? I doubt it, but you never know. Similarly, might Syrio try to throw Trant off balance? Maybe, but you never know. Martin gave us no observation from Arya, no comment from Trant or Syrio, no description of any kind, in fact, to lead us to the conclusion that this was Syrio's intent. You've concluded, in four or five posts now, that it's logical to guess it was, to which Mormont, OiL and I are saying, essentially, "Why is that logical? I don't care that he did it before. Said fact has no bearing on whether or not he'll do it again."

In fact, I think we could make the argument that it actually means he won't. I've not done a ton of swordplay, but I have fenced with a rapier and an epee a few times. That limited experience has provided me this insight: if you're fighting someone that is moderately skilled, you'd better take different approaches over the course of your duels. In one five point duel, I got up four points to zero by using the same maneuver. Then my opponent figured it out and identified a counter. I was a better fencer and beat him every other time we dueled, but in this particular fight, I was too slow to adjust and wound up losing the match. Trant has seen Syrio's Knock Them off Balance Maneuvers. Syrio might guess that while Trant is slow, he's also skilled and so try something different.

Now. Do I know he tried something different? No. There's zero evidence to suggest he did. Just as there's zero evidence to suggest he did not. That is, using previous fights to guess how the next fight is going to go is not using evidence. It's just guessing.

I'm not willing to guess. I don't know what Syrio did when he closed in on Trant. I only know that Trant is still alive.

Let me repeat: that is the only thing I know.

As for the argument about 'textual evidence', the flaw with this is that the presumption that because Fight A went one way, this is a deliberate 'guidance' about Fight B. By this logic we should expect, for example, that Victarion - much more heavily armoured than his opponents - should lose his fights in AFFC. Of course, he doesn't, because each fight is different. None can sensibly be taken as 'guidance' about the outcome of another. Each fight comes out the way the author decides it should: and that's all anyone can say.

This is what I'm trying to say, more or less, so I thought I'd quote it as a way of re-emphasizing the point.

j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Acok says "Jaqen danced away from his slash, drew his own sword, drove the man back into a corner with a flurry of blows, and killed him with a thrust to the heart." Page 689.

Sounds suspiciously like waterdancing to me.

:leaving:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds suspiciously like waterdancing to me.

Really? Nothing in that description is particularly different from descriptions of Tyrion fighting the wildlings on the high road to the Vale, or of the account of Bronn fighting Ser Vardis, or any other sword-fighting account. GRRM often says that somebody "dances in" to take a blow (see the account of NW recruits fighting Sam).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds suspiciously like waterdancing to me.
Some sounding suspisciously like waterdancing:

  • Waymar Royce: Ser Waymar met him bravely. "Dance with me then." He lifted his sword high over his head, defiant. [...]Another flurry of blows, and he fell back again.
  • NW trainees: If the master-at-arms screamed for an attack, they would dance in and tap Sam lightly on breastplate or helm or leg. (what Syrio does to Arya, mind)
  • Bronn: [...]this was something different and deadlier: a dance where the smallest misstep meant death. [...]Bronn came out from behind the statue hard and fast[...]Bronn slammed it aside and danced away.[...] but Bronn slid around him, quick as a cat.
  • Dothrakis: Qotho danced backward, arakh whirling around his head in a shining blur, flickering out like lightning as the knight came on in a rush. Ser Jorah parried as best he could, but the slashes came so fast that it seemed to Dany that Qotho had four arakhs and as many arms.
  • Jaime: in his dreams the dead came burning, gowned in swirling green flames. Jaime danced around them with a golden sword, but for every one he struck down two more arose to take his place.[...]It did not matter. With speed and skill, Jaime could beat them all.[...]he twisted the mischance into a diving lunge. His point scraped past her parry
  • Brienne: The dance went on. He pinned her against an oak, cursed as she slipped away, followed her through a shallow brook half-choked with fallen leaves.
  • Roose Bolton: "Jaime Lannister sends his regards." He thrust his longsword through her son's heart, and twisted.
  • The Tickler: And then the Tickler leapt over the bench quick as a snake[...]Polliver hacking at his head and shoulders while the Tickler darted in to stab at back and belly.

Now, seriously, for one thing yes it does make sense to have a pseudo-Lorathi fight in a waterdancing style, just like it makes sense for a Westerosi to fight in westerosi style, but that doesn't mean that Jaime is Brienne because they share the same style, or that Jaime is a water dancer because he can dance away from blows, is fast and skilled, and can thrust. What is shown in your quote Jaqen's level of competency AND Arya's take on the fighting. Syrio dispatched five people in the blink of an eye with a wooden stick, getting one's flurry of blows parried first is amateurish. Also Arya never mentions anything waterdancer-y about Jaqen's stance, and she would have, had she seen it, she sees the iron dance: hack and slash (the flurry), ended with an heart thrust something commonly done against unarmoured guys (see Robb/Roose)

Drawing a parallel between the two fights doesn't make more sense than the usual Syrio=Jaqen reasons, which are:

  • Syrio and Jaqen have the same accent (oh my god, two foreigners from the same part of the world have the same accent)
  • Both play mentor to Arya (in different ways - Jaqen doesn't fucking care if people would come claim Arya)
  • Both can fight (at different ability level, and like two whole continent worth of fighters -dancing away from blows, flurrying, thrusting one's sword at the enemy-)

I reckon Sandor is Syrio too, think about it, using the usual logic:

1) Timeline allows for it. We never see Sandor and Jaqen together, coincidence? I think not.

2) You say Sandor was in Sansa's chapters while Syrio was in the Riverlands? No, you don't understand: Jaqen killed Sandor and took his place, so he could be near Arya or something. When his job was done (bringing Arya to Saltpans) he "died" and went on to Oldtown.

3) He can fight and well, dodge blows, evade them, or thrust with his sword. Obviously this is the skill of a waterdancer.

4) He has the same accent as the alchemist and Pate!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me the characters don't fit. For one thing, as I've mentioned, you would have to accept that all of Syrio's talk about his skills and accomplishments and training was all a lie, unless you also believe that a faceless man and the first sword of braavos could coexist as the same person belonging to both factions (while, of course, ignoring the fact that the faceless men are supposed to be "No One" and probably not have lives as flamboyant, bragging waterdancers on the side).

Then we have each characters actions in seemingly life threatening situations. The waterdancer tells his pupil to run from danger, while the faceless man asks for her to risk her own life in order to free him. None of it fits.

I can see Syrio being alive, and we aren't expressly told what happened in the fight after Arya's flight, but Syrio being a faceless man would be kinda disappointing to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He didnt close in on Trant.

He was backing away.

The first time you made this statement, I dismissed it, given that it was unsupported by any evidence. The second time I decided to check the text with the thought I was going to prove you wrong. I took it for granted that Avenging Arya had the facts straight.

From a Game of Thrones, Arya's point of view, the one in which Syrio fights the guardsmen and Trant, near the middle of the chapter, page 534 in my US paperback edition:

Look with your eyes, he had said. She saw: the knight in his pale armor head to foot, legs, throat, and hands sheathed in metal, eyes hidden behind his high white helm and in his hand crude steel. Against that: Syrio, in a leather vest, with a wooden sword in his hand. "Syrio, run," she screamed.

"The first sword of Braavos does not run," he sang as Ser Meryn slashed at him. Syrio danced away from his cut, his stick a blur. In a heartbeat, he had bounced blows off the knight's temple, elbow, and throat, the wood riding against the metal of the helm, gauntlet and gorget. Arya stood frozen. Ser Meryn advanced; Syrio backed away. He checked the next blow, spun away from the second, deflected the third.

The fourth sliced his stick in two, splintering the wood and shearing through the lead core.

Sobbing, Arya spun and ran.

She plunged through the kitchens . . .

We never see Syrio Forel again.

And so, SmilingKnight, it turns out I cannot prove you wrong. Avenging Arya didn't have the facts straight. As you said, we see Syrio backing away, playing defense mixed with counter offensives. We see his sword splinter in two. And we never see what happens next. Whether Syrio continues backing away or advances, we have no idea. It seems to me these textual facts only further solidify the absolute speculativeness of Avenging Arya's theory.

j

Share this post


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

×