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Dharma

Syrio Forel

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Grabbed this from the Citadel FAQ:

More recent reports (but, it should be said, unconfirmed) indicate GRRM does not understand why he gets asked the question repeatedly, pointing out that Syrio is not immortal; if accurate, this seems to more heavily imply that Syrio Forel is dead.

I know it's unconfirmed, but I just thought I'd throw that out there :)

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I would like to point out, that in normal course of events Syrio would have very likely lost to Ser Meryn.

He was disarmed the last we’ve seen him, and while there were swords lying around, trying to get one of them would give Ser Meryn a perfect opportunity to cut him down. (And if Ser Meryn indeed cut Syrio down when he was trying to get a hold of a sword, this could be a good reason why his part is mentioned so off-handedly: he never actually gave Ser Meryn any trouble beside buying a little time for Arya to escape.)

And even if Syrio managed to get one of guards’ swords, there are numerous factors against him in his battle with Ser Meryn.

Being a Bravosi, Syrio probably never even trained with westrosi longsword, and despite his mastery with bravosi blades, he would find westrosi longsword difficult to handle, and he doesn’t have time to get used to different weight and balance. Moreover, these swords’ very fighting style is different: while bravosi blades sound to be primary thrusting weapons, a longsword is mainly a slashing weapon, and a thrust with a longsword would do particularly little against an armored opponent.

Moreover, despite his obvious skill and reflexes, Syrio is an older man, and probably wasn’t that strong and endurant in the prime of his years, and is less so now. And a longsword requires a certain degree of strength to wield, and in case of a lengthy combat, endurance as well (and an armored knight wouldn’t go down easily in any case, even against strong and skilled opponent, as Bronn’s fight with Ser Vardis should have proved). And those Syrio probably doesn’t have.

Of course, Syrio can be stronger then what he looks, or he could be a Faceless Man in disguise, as some seem to believe (and in that case, all bets are off).

But if he is what he appears to be: a skilled but aged weapon master, forced to fight unarmored with a weapon he isn’t used to against a fully armored and quite skilled knight, then he would stand quite little chance against Ser Meryn. In fact, he probably wouldn’t pose that much of a challenge to him, which could be why his involvement was off-handedly referred to as “but her wretched dancing master has interfered” – he was never taken for more then a small fry by Ser Meryn.

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I'm sure this has been mentioned before, but on Wikiquote for GRRM's page, I found:

"Tolkien made the wrong choice when he brought Gandalf back. Screw Gandalf. He had a great death and the characters should have had to go on without him."

Which made me laugh. But then re-reading AGOT, Arya's situation reminded me of that. Granted it's not exactly the same and the types of characters are completely different but personally I like to think Syrio's death will fuel Arya's character a lot more than if he just shows up later again. All that grief has to go somewhere and if it's just countered by him coming back, I dunno, wouldn't feel right to me.

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Grabbed this from the Citadel FAQ:

More recent reports (but, it should be said, unconfirmed) indicate GRRM does not understand why he gets asked the question repeatedly, pointing out that Syrio is not immortal; if accurate, this seems to more heavily imply that Syrio Forel is dead.

I know it's unconfirmed, but I just thought I'd throw that out there :)

On the contrary, to me it suggests that perhaps GRRM is using some misdirection. Why wouldn't we question his death? No one has ever claimed that he died in the story, no body was ever found, and Syrio was far and away a more capable fighter than Trant is. It seemed to me like his story was left open-ended for a reason, because when GRRM typically kills off a character, he leaves little doubt as to the outcome. He seems to revel in the gruesome details of the deaths.

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The real issue is the narrative style GRRM has chosen to employ for this series. While it is written in the third person, it's solely from the point of view of the character named in that chapter. Anyone familiar with the Potter novels knows what I'm talking about (with the exception of prologues and epilogues, every single chapter in all 7 books is told with Harry Potter as the lead narrative character from his point of view. If he leaves a scene, we leave with him).

When Syrio tells Arya to run, we only see events take place until Arya stops viewing them. Could he have written it so Arya stayed long enough to see how the fight turned out? Maybe. Would she have had time to escape if that was the case? Who knows? The point is, the person leading the narrative left the room before the result in question took place. This doesn't mean it was done on purpose to shroud his death in mystery. It means she left the room.

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I'm sorry if I sound ignorant here, but I see a lot of people mentioning that Syrio wouldn't know how to use a non-Braavosi sword. Wouldn't you think that the first blademaster (of any nation/culture) would possibly know and train with other types of blades.

Just a thought that I had

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I'm sorry if I sound ignorant here, but I see a lot of people mentioning that Syrio wouldn't know how to use a non-Braavosi sword. Wouldn't you think that the first blademaster (of any nation/culture) would possibly know and train with other types of blades.

Just a thought that I had

While I don't say it is impossible, I would say that it is highly unlikely that Syrio had any meaningful training with non-Bravosi weapons, particularly, a westrosi longsword. Think of it: why he would train with diffirent kinds of weapons when he could focus on training with bravosi sword that he uses instead? I very much doubt that he expected he would have to fight with a borrowed westrosi sword someday.

Moreover, the way Syrio appears and the way he describes himself in his prime make me believe that he was never as strong as westrosi/european swordsmen have to be. Swordfight require a certain degree of strength and endurance, which Syrio probably didn't have, so why train with a weapon he won't be able to use very well anyway? (Similarly to how Eddard invited Bravosi weapon master to train Arya: she could train to use light bravosi-style blade quite well, but she probably wouldn't have anywhere near as much success with a longsword.)

And Syrio beside, I very much doubt that Ser Arthur Dayne, the best knight of his time, had any practice with bravosi blade. Had he been forced to fight unarmored, without a shield with a bravosi blade, some moderately skilled bravo (say "Ser Meryn" of Bravos) would have likely done for him. Just because Syrio was the First Sword of Bravos doesn't mean that he is trained to use each and every weapon. (And on the side note, Syrio himself admits that others were faster and more skilled then he was, it was his ability to "see with his eyes" that won him the title over more skilled bravos.)

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In the contrary, to me it suggests that perhaps GRRM is using some misdirection.

There's misdirection, and then there's what Hal Duncan recently described as 'hiding the story behind your back to sucker-punch the reader with it later'. GRRM has been known to use misdirection, but not to hide the story behind his back: and for Syrio to be alive now would undoubtedly be the latter. That was true before he made that remark about Gandalf, it's true now.

Why wouldn't we question his death? No one has ever claimed that he died in the story, no body was ever found, and Syrio was far and away a more capable fighter than Trant is. It seemed to me like his story was left open-ended for a reason, because when GRRM typically kills off a character, he leaves little doubt as to the outcome. He seems to revel in the gruesome details of the deaths.

Actually, no, he doesn't. Some characters get deaths like that (for a narrative reason), some don't. They just die. Other characters don't make a point of specifically noting that they're dead, we aren't necessarily shown the body, they're just dead.

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I'm sure this has been mentioned before, but on Wikiquote for GRRM's page, I found:

"Tolkien made the wrong choice when he brought Gandalf back. Screw Gandalf. He had a great death and the characters should have had to go on without him."

Which made me laugh. But then re-reading AGOT, Arya's situation reminded me of that. Granted it's not exactly the same and the types of characters are completely different but personally I like to think Syrio's death will fuel Arya's character a lot more than if he just shows up later again. All that grief has to go somewhere and if it's just countered by him coming back, I dunno, wouldn't feel right to me.

That makes me laugh as well since we've had a number of characters return from the "dead" or at least what appeared to be their deaths a la Gandalf's death in LOTRO.... Bran 2x, Rickon, Catelyn, Beric. We are also likely to see Sandor, Brienne and yes Syrio before all is said and done.

In fact I would argue it is one of his most overused emotional ploys to the point where we cannot be sure anyone is dead unless their head is on a spike.

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Tolkien probably did Gandalf that way in order to later describe and illustrate the lower areas of Moria. There is a long scene in The Worm Ourobros where Goldy Bruzco or one of the other heros goes on an epic journey through the roots of a mountain, I think on the back of a pegasus.

The Tolkien scene was a great hit with other writers. Stephen Donalson recreates it in one of the Thomas Covenant books, Brooks recreates it in the first Sword of Shanarra book. and I think Eddings used it in the Belgriad series also. There is one of these too in the Dragonbone Chair, where the magician-sage immolates himself, there is a passive one in the Wheel of Time.

I call it a "leaving scene." They are great, becuase they either start a journey, or begin a chase. Passive leaving scenes are always with vague feeligns of foreboding, or that the enemy is coming, as in the two kids who get on the horse and flee to the capitial or Rohan in the Two Towers.

Actie ones are when the arrows are actually flying, or a Balrog is chasing you through a tunnel. Looking at it through this perspective, The Fellowship of The Ring is nothing more than a long chain of passive or active leaving scenes and their aftermath.

So when Syrio Forel fell, it was Arya's "leaving scene," and he started Aya Stark's twisted run away from King's Landing toward I guess, Harrenhall (an ugly place to run to.)

"Tolkien made the wrong choice when he brought Gandalf back. Screw Gandalf. He had a great death and the characters should have had to go on without him."

Tolkien wanted to inject a "mysterious power" scene later into Two Towers, akin to Lewis' Aslan resurrection scene in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And obviously, Gandalf had more to do and got some other great scenes in the rest of the books. I don't think Syrio has that kind of a powerful push behind him, so he is probably dead.

I don't know what he would say if he was brought back suddenly, "I have returned, on the tide of the storm, because Ser Meryn does not understand the Deep Magic. You may now call me Syrio the White."

I don't know about that. I have a feeling he missed his saving throw like so many other good characters.

IN AN EDIT: MAY CONTAIN SPOILER

Wait, there is one way this could work, but Martin is not that into the themes he writes about to see it.

Syrio the White appears to Arya Stark and says he is a faceless man. He then goes on to explain the mysterious Character X as the cult and power of the Stranger. Both the Songs of Ice and Fire disrupt the natural supremecy of The Death God, by creating life from death, and by preventing true death. Thus the Silent Master has now entered into battle with the other two factions to restore the balence of death and life.

Arya must become a faceless man and destroy the other two factions. Syrio hands her a red colored lightsaber and tells her to go forth and do his bidding. "Yes, my master," she replies.

DUH! DUT DUH DAA! DUT, DUT DAA DAAAHHH! DUT DAA DAAAHHH! DUT DUH DAA! DAAAHHH!

DUT DUT DUT DUH DAA, DUT DAA! DUT DUT DUT DUH DAA, DUT DAA!

DUH! DUT DUH DAA! DUT, DUT DAA DAAAHHH!

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That makes me laugh as well since we've had a number of characters return from the "dead" or at least what appeared to be their deaths a la Gandalf's death in LOTRO.... Bran 2x, Rickon, Catelyn, Beric. We are also likely to see Sandor, Brienne and yes Syrio before all is said and done.
You have a point, but I think we're talking of death in term of narrative continuity here, that is, a disappearance from the story making readers think the character is dead. Readers, not in-story characters. And GRRM's remark targets a character with a specific story role, the mentor. Both reasons he's not saying "Fingolfin should have stayed dead" (the guy did come back from the dead, but we knew he would) or "Frodo should have stayed dead" (in-story characters thought him dead)

For Rickon and Bran, the readers knew all along that they never died to begin with, Catelyn and Beric very much died and came back another character. Sandor fits the bill. With that cliffhanger, no way Brienne will ever be thought dead and surprise everyone by coming back except through personality/role change zombification.

... And then the major "but" is: none of them stayed "dead" more than a few chapters. it's been three books and a half for Syrio.

Also, I get the distinct impression that when people say "Syrio is not dead", they don't mean "Syrio is now a zombie"

IN AN EDIT: MAY CONTAIN SPOILER
Goodness, I know it's a joke and all, but if speculations are spoilers, we may as well spoiler-tag the whole book forums.

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Besides, I'm almost positive that none of that will ever be a spoiler for this series. Don't ask me how I know; just trust me on this one.

because Ser Meryn does not understand the Deep Magic.

"What the fuck," Ser Meryn will say. "This guy is the only person (who isn't a 12-year old girl) I've ever beaten a fight. This is so unfair!"

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I just hope my 'Allar Deem: Not Dead' thread gets this much discussion.

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"What the fuck," Ser Meryn will say. "This guy is the only person (who isn't a 12-year old girl) I've ever beaten a fight. This is so unfair!"
A voice rose behind him, clearly shocked: "You can beat twelve year old girls in a fight?" He swung around, and the stripped hair clued him that the black clad, crying, retreating figure was in fact the most dangerous man in Dorne, Darkstar.

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I just hope my 'Allar Deem: Not Dead' thread gets this much discussion.

It's interesting that the whole "throwing overboard" of Allar Deem occurs off camera and was orchestrated at Varys' behest. Most likely Deem is merely being concealed as yet another ace up Varys sleeve, waiting for the perfect moment to be deployed.

More sinister yet is the supposed "crushed under several tons of collapsing ice" of Styr, Magnar of Thenn. Our sole witness of the event was distracted by the arrows being shot at him, and it took place at night when visibility was poor. Most damning of all, they never found a body. Now when they don't find the body, that's a guarantee that the person isn't really dead at all.

Now some haters might point out the improbability of surviving an avalanche of several tons of ice smashing down on one's head. But what they fail to take into account is just how badass Styr was. When his ears froze of he just laughed. His own men worship him as a god, which isn't far off. And the land that he rules is a remote valley in the far north of the Frostfangs, the most brutal and inhospitable environment in which a person could survive. And he was the toughest Mofo on the place. Magnar not only thrived in that icy crucible designed to test the limits of human will and endurance, he ruled it. And he was even able to project his power beyond Thenn, being a serious contender for King Beyond the Wall.

It's simply inconceivable that a warrior and brilliant survivalist like that wouldn't know what to do in an avalanche. Escaping the wreckage of the switchback stair would be mere child's play for such an awe-inspiring mountaineer. Styr totally lives!!!11!li! No doubt he'll pop back into the story when it's least expected by the less perceptive of readers.

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What about Tyrek Lannister? It's interesting that the whole "mobbed by peasants" of his occurs off camera and was orchestrated at Varys' behest. Most likely Tyrek is merely being concealed as yet another ace up Varys sleeve, waiting for the perfect moment to be deployed.

Then there's Ashara Dayne. No on-screen death and involvement in that fishy tower of joy story, it's suspicious.

In the same line of thought, the three kingsguard and Ned's five companions are probably alive, too, in some mission somewhere, bidding their time until Arya tries to be independent Dany tries to get to Westeros.

Raynald Westerling is a strong swimmer, so a flood, wearing armour, and having a few quarrels in the guts are no problem for him.

Stonesnake. Even more of a survivalist than the Magnar of Thenn. The guy can climb walls of ice barehanded, and he can probably knock out direbears too. He's probably in some deep infiltration mission among the others, ready to backstab them when the time comes, but romancing the ice ladies in the meantime.

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Ser Vardis Egen is a master swordsman and champion of the Vale, there's no likelyhood of him losing a duel to a lowly sellsword. I therefore conclude that his supposed "death" was nothing but an extended wish-fufillment fantasy on the part of Tyrion; one which should finish up midway through ADWD at the latest.

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What about Dareon? It's interesting that the whole "killed by a little girl" occurs off camera and was orchestrated at Varys' behest. Most likely Dareon is merely being concealed as yet another ace up Varys sleeve, waiting for the perfect moment to be deployed.

What about Ser Talber Serry? It's interesting that the whole "drowned under the weight of his armor" occurs off camera and was orchestrated at Varys' behest. Most likely Serry is merely being concealed as yet another ace up Varys sleeve, waiting for the perfect moment to be deployed.

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And have we seen Rhaegars body/grave? Of course we know that Robert says he killed Prince, but really, do we believe that R, who was, as Jaime says, equal to Ser Arthur Dayne, would lose to Robert ( not to mention losing a battle in which he had an advantage, with him being a genius)? No way, it had to be an imposter - its usually hard to determine who is under the armor; obviously Varys switched Rhaegar and the prince is merely being concealed as yet another ace up his sleeve, waiting for the perfect moment to be deployed :)

As to Gandalf - well, his resurrection was logical consequence of his nature (maia) - he was, after all, simply immortal. Also it is implied several times that Eru himself is pushing some strings in the history (all the times when "The fate did sth...") - so he mererly pushed one, giving Olorin another body, also as a reward for his faithful service. If he have stayed dead, then from Eru's side it would be largly abandoning Middle-earth to fare on it's own - something absolutly contrary to one of the main thems of LotR

And Meryn - was he that incompetent? I thought that he was simply not great, but reasonably skilled, though i don't remember what happend to him.

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... And then the major "but" is: none of them stayed "dead" more than a few chapters. it's been three books and a half for Syrio.

Not if Syrio became Jaqen.

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