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Dharma

Syrio Forel

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That was Lady Smallwood iirc. Oakheart is the name of that kingsguard, whose house is apparently on the south-western side of the Reach, seeing how they have been feuding with Daynes for a long time.

Ah, you're right, I confused the names. :)

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Oakheart is the name of that kingsguard, whose house is apparently on the south-western side of the Reach, seeing how they have been feuding with Daynes for a long time.

Sorry to nitpick, but the Oakhearts come from Oald Oak, which is in fact in the north-western border of the Reach (just above the Shield Islands). Why they would have a long story feuding with the Daynes, I wouldn't know.

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Or if he became Mance Rayder, or Lady Oakheart, or if he was Varys all along. Which, as you and I have firmly established in previous discussions, is just about as likely and just about as possible (i.e., not at all).

Not that I want to restart the same discussions, but never have I firmly established such a thing.

The conclusion that I made after all discussions is that it's a possibility that Syrio became Jaqen, just like it is also a possibility that Syrio is killed. Both have pre's and con's. (And for the record, imo that's the only way Syrio could have escaped, I don't believe in any other theories as that he is still alive or changed into another unknown identity.)

However, GRRM's vague responses to multiple questions about this issue, made it, to me, even more likely that Syrio is Jaqen. Because, if it was as obvious as he claims it is, why is he fooling around giving evasive answers?

And I have seen a couple of his casting clues at the WIC page, he sure likes to juggle with words.

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Not that I want to restart the same discussions, but never have I firmly established such a thing.

I appreciate you don't agree with the conclusion, but nonetheless the previous lengthy discussion of this topic very definitely firmly established that the timeline of events makes it impossible and (much worse in fiction) absolutely and literally incredible that Syrio could be Jaqen. I wasn't joking when I said the possibility is about equal to Syrio having been one of Varys' disguises all along. The latter is actually probably more likely.

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For Rickon and Bran, the readers knew all along that they never died to begin with,

Well, that's not how the story reads. GRRM definitely tries to make the reader think the boys are dead. I distincly remember saying to myself "no way are they really dead." In fact I committed the sin of skipping ahead and making sure there were more Bran chapters to confirm my disbelief.

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Because, if it was as obvious as he claims it is, why is he fooling around giving evasive answers?

Because that is what he always do.

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Considering Marwyn and co admit him in their presence, that he actually was the only one in the glass candle room with Marwyn before Sam entered, and that, most of all, they let him stay when Sam told his story, I submit that they know. Because there is no way they would associate with the failure that was Pate before in this way, and because it makes so much more sense for "Pate" to be talking to Marwyn if he's the one giving him pointers on, or at least discussing, magic and plans about the magical stuff happening now. And so his slip "like the pig boy" could be interpreted as just him taking the piss out of Pate in earshot of people who can get the joke.

Though in the prologue, Alleras came across as a nice guy, and defended Pate when Leo Tyrell tried to needle him about Rosey. I find it a little difficult to imagine Alleras being happy about Pate being murdered and impersonated.

But this difficulty could doubtless be explained away.

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Also, hard for many people to be in on something like that without talking, especially the likes of Lazy Leo.

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...But we are not doing what Syrio has just taught Arya, we are seeing with our hearts instead of our eyes. What did we see just before this? With a wooden training sword Syrio takes out five Lannister guardsmen. Arya "had never seen a man move as fast"; ... Syrio: ... "You are slow for a knight" he says to Trant. ... Now, I find it impossible to believe that a man like Syrio, who has just avoided being hit even once by five guards, could not avoid Trant, weaponless or no ... And once he has a sword I find it likewise impossible to believe, after the description of his dealing with the guards, that Trant could ever land a blow on his body. With a proper sword Syrio would deflect all attacks, and in no time make mince meat out of the weak spots in the knights armour. Any other scenario is just deeply improbable. With the exception of an off screen deus ex machina in favour of Ser Meryn, such as the arrival of more Lannister men, there is simply no way he could win that battle.

But, we know that Meryn survives. So what happend? ...

Just so. With Vardis Egen v. Bronn and Gregor v. Oberyn, Martin has twice shown lightly armored fighters overcome more heavily armored fighters by outmaneuvering them and wearing them down - the way Bronn tells Tyrion it should be done. No matter what some "experts" on medieval warfare may "know", the person who controls the outcome, Martin, unquestionably believes that speed can win over armor.

The guardsmen and their arms scattered around the room further favors the light, mobile, fast Forel over Trant. Forel sacrifices his stick, useless against Trant's full armor, to gain position and momentum - inside, with Trant's sword still going away behind him.

Forel is in a hurry, and while Trant's armor slows him down, it also makes him more difficult to kill. Why would Forel bother to kill him? All he needs do is cause Trant to trip, such as over the scattered guardsmen he can't see very well. Once he's down and Forel has a sword, disarming Trant is easy. Knocking him out with a solid whack to the helmet is easier, faster and kills one less person than going to the trouble of exploiting a chink in his armor.

... 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.

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.

Mormont asserts that Syrio cannot be alive unless GRRM has hidden the story behind his back. But many of us see that GRRM has left numerous hints that Syrio probably survived Trant. It isn't GRRM hiding the story behind his back, but some readers failing to see the many contrary hints he has provided. A few of us have drawn attention, above, to some of those contrary hints, but none are so blind as those who refuse to see. When so many posters over the years have seen the contrary hints the author has provided, it really will not do for some to blame the author for their failure to understand those hints. A refusal or inability to see or understand does not equate to Martin hiding the hints.

The things George has said, such as "Syrio isn't immortal", and "Gandalf should have been left dead", etc., tell absolutely nothing about the outcome of the Forel/Trant fight. While they may SEEM to imply Martin had Forel die, they actually evade the point entirely. It's great misdirection: it encourages people to draw unwarranted conclusions without actually providing facts supporting such conclusions. His very evasiveness suggests he may consider Forel to be alive, but wish readers to assume him dead.

Some readers choose to believe the hints that Martin makes most visible - they draw unwarranted conclusions based on misdirection and then are loathe to admit they've missed important contrary clues. Others of us, however, enjoy distinguishing the "wheat" of subtle but persuasive contrary hints from the "chaff" of prominent but unpersuasive misdirection - hints that invite readers to leap to conclusions, without actually providing a firm basis for such conclusion. Martin seems to play fair; if he provided no contrary hints, then the first conclusion would probably be warranted; but if he's provided substantial contrary hints, the conclusion becomes unwarranted. OTOH, if Martin made the contrary hints unquestionable then they wouldn't be hints, but canon.

Of course, Martin could have decided Forel is dead; or he could simply choose not to have him reappear in the story. Indeed, even if Martin originally intended to use Forel to reconnect with Arya in Braavos, he won't get around to publishing it in my lifetime at the rate he's going.

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It's often said that there are none so blind as those who will not see, of course. But in fact, there are people just as blind as them, blinder perhaps. We've all encountered them: in fact we all do so daily, and I'm sure AAF runs into them all the time. I'm talking about people who look at a blurry photograph and see aliens, or UFOs, or an angel on someone's shoulder: people who have reams of evidence that shows the Illuminati are pulling the strings of the world economy, or that the US President is a secret Muslim born in the wrong country: the people who insist James Randi has psychic powers, even after he explains how the trick was done. What all these people have in common, of course, is that they impose patterns where there are none, by using only the bits of evidence that fit their interpretation, and finding reasons to discount anything that doesn't fit: that, and also that they're really fond of that one saying, insisting that everyone else is 'blind' and just refuses to see their pattern. But the real meaning of the saying is not to do with the ability to see patterns, but to see pieces of evidence. What you make of the evidence, once it's assembled, is a different question. It's not necessarily 'blindness' to say that the evidence doesn't stack up, doesn't have any significance, or doesn't fit the pattern. It's a holistic view, more often than not. As here, for example.

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Certainly there's no more than a few flimsy pieces of evidence to support the idea that Syrio is alive, either as himself or Jaqen H'gar. Nevertheless, it is a possibility that has not been totally written out. Arya currently needs someone or something to draw her back to Westeros, and meeting Syrio in Braavos is one of a number of possible devices for this. Similarly, the story of how Jaqen came to be arrested and put in the black cells is unclear. It doesn't have to be revisited at all, but if it is the Syrio=Jaqen supporters have made a fair case for their version of how it could have come about.

Overall, there is not enough support in the books for anyone to state categorically that theirs is the only possible view. If, at the end of the series no more has been said on the subject, then Syrio is certainly dead. In the absence of that defining proof, though, the admirers of Syrio can continue to nurse hopes of his return.

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It's often said that there are none so blind as those who will not see, of course. But in fact, there are people just as blind as them, blinder perhaps. We've all encountered them: in fact we all do so daily, and I'm sure AAF runs into them all the time. I'm talking about people who look at a blurry photograph and see aliens, or UFOs, or an angel on someone's shoulder: people who have reams of evidence that shows the Illuminati are pulling the strings of the world economy, or that the US President is a secret Muslim born in the wrong country: the people who insist James Randi has psychic powers, even after he explains how the trick was done. What all these people have in common, of course, is that they impose patterns where there are none, by using only the bits of evidence that fit their interpretation, and finding reasons to discount anything that doesn't fit: that, and also that they're really fond of that one saying, insisting that everyone else is 'blind' and just refuses to see their pattern. But the real meaning of the saying is not to do with the ability to see patterns, but to see pieces of evidence. What you make of the evidence, once it's assembled, is a different question. It's not necessarily 'blindness' to say that the evidence doesn't stack up, doesn't have any significance, or doesn't fit the pattern. It's a holistic view, more often than not. As here, for example.

That's somewhat of an unfair and unjustified comparison. We're (or I'm at least) suggesting that the fate of Syrio isn't accounted for one way or another. Could he be dead? Sure. Could he still be alive? Definitely. I'm saying there isn't enough evidence to say one way or another. Syrio's story has definitely been left open for interpretation, and he could definitely be brought back into Arya's story if GRRM chose to do so and no one would balk at it. Or he could not reappear in the story and no one will ever know for sure whether Syrio died or not.

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That's somewhat of an unfair and unjustified comparison.

Perhaps, but the 'none so blind' mantra is equally unfair and unjustified, in that both are characterisations designed to discredit the other side's thinking rather than critical assessments of the actual arguments put forward. On that latter point, there's no debate about which side has the stronger points.

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At another signing in NY someone asked him about Syrio and he said to draw your own conclusions but consider that Syrio had half a wooden sword, no armour and was facing an armoured and armed Meryn Trant. The poster stated that it seemed to mean that Syrio was dead.

I would just like to point out this bolded part in the quote since a lot of counter arguments contain the assertion that Syrio was unarmed which of course isnt true.

He had half of a sword and that half`s point was probably not completely straight.

I wont claim it was actually a sharp point made by Meryn when he sliced the top half off although thats probable, but as sure as hell it wasnt completely dull.

(yknow - because slicing a woden sword in just that precise way, angle and trajectory is less probable then slicing it at an angle that would leave the sliced end : Not completely straight and dull)

And even if it was its still a weapon in the hands of Syrio Forell. Little shorter yes, but - in the hands of Syrio Forel.

And we all know what happens in stories when the hero is left with half of a broken sword - just when the villain thinks hes won because of it.

Now, Syrio cannot be Jaqen since Jaqen was already transferred to his cage while Arya and Syrio wee still together.

Which is a shame because i liked that theory and i found evidence against it myself.

(unless he took Jaqens place after Arya and the Yoren left Kingslanding which... isnt very probable)

But he could be Meryn Trant.

Which would actually satisfy all corners and angles of the problem.

It would make Syrio "dead" and alive. It would make a very sensible explanation why there is no Syrios body anymore and Trant not mentioning him especially after to Cersei even if mere dancing teacher slayed/beaten/disabled a lot of guards.

And best and most important of all - It would make Martin true to his words - in both meanings of them.

Which would make him a genius - which he is.

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I never get why people can hold to this beleif that Syrio has somehow survived. And 3 different myths come around to prove it. Syrio is JH which is impossible given he was released by Ned before everything when down. Syrio vanished 'disabled but didn't hurt' Trant and vanished for 4 books. Syrio is another FM who becomes Trant for 3 books just to live as Trant normally would which while it can't be logically ruled out needs soo many logical jumps to make it implausable. Syrio is a FM, he magically didnt get killed, he has a mission needing him to teach Arya, then become a standing guard for 3 books.

I admit I held out for all of AGOT and into ACOK that he may be alive but the fact is no self respecting author would bring a dead character back after so many books and time.

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And i hate when people dont read what i just wrote.

Not to mention people holding to the belief he died based on equally flimsy evidence at best.

I agree that Syrio is possibly alive, but, if so his part of the tale is likely finished. I only say this because to me it would be extremely cheesy if he just "happened" to meet Arya in Bravos in her moment of need. If Jaqan=Syrio that might be more convincing, but Jaqan=Pate right now and it looks to remain that way until his job in the Citidel is done. There is no telling how long that might be and the Citidel is much too far from Bravos to allow Jaqan=Syrio=Pate time to reunite with Arya in any case.

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I admit I held out for all of AGOT and into ACOK that he may be alive but the fact is no self respecting author would bring a dead character back after so many books and time.

Thanks, Cybroleach, I didn't know about this fact...

The funny thing, however, he didn't wait that long. As a matter in fact, only a few chapters later he appears again (as Jaqen this time). The only thing the author refuses to do, is telling you that it's the same man. He didn't tell us Pate was Jaqen either.

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when Jaqen changes faces, he considers Jaqen dead, so if

Unkindly man -> Syrio -> Jaqen -> Pate is true, Syrio is still dead.

so: Syrio is dead, "dead", or chasing cats in kings landing.

If Arya and Unkindly man ever meet e.g. through an assassin apprenticeship or something,

it would seem to me this bringing up both her and his past seems quite counter to faceless man principles.

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Thanks, Cybroleach, I didn't know about this fact...

The funny thing, however, he didn't wait that long. As a matter in fact, only a few chapters later he appears again (as Jaqen this time). The only thing the author refuses to do, is telling you that it's the same man. He didn't tell us Pate was Jaqen either.

I agree with the OP that it is far more likely that Syrio was NOT killed by Trant. There are over a dozen hints to that conclusion, though none of them is dispositive (else it wouldn't be a hint, duh). The contrary conclusion is deduced exclusively from contrasting Trant's arms and armor to Syrio's arms and armor, and noting that Trant is alive. EVERYTHING else favors Syrio, and that's a lot of things. But the outcome is, of course, up to George.

So I'm pretty open to theories for how Martin has misled the readers. But I pursued the "Syrio=Jaqen" theory for quite a while, and convinced myself it was highly unlikely. IIRC, there were definitely 3 black cell prisoners that had been assigned to Yoren before the coup. I had no problem with the concept that Syrio could kill and replace one of the prisoners, given his abilities, and indeed that would explain the fear of the other two prisoners toward Jaqen. But how did he get locked up with the others, without the ability to unlock himself?

The reason he needs to have been truly locked up is that Syrio went to great lengths just to give Arya an opportunity to run; I conclude that he would therefore NOT let her be in serious jeopardy of losing her life without at least trying to help her. But when Yoren was attacked, Jaqen did not help, but instead asked to be released so that he could help; and he also was near death in the burning barn prior to Arya providing an axe - another thing that he would not have tolerated had he actually been free.

Besides, there are only a few hints that Jaqen was Syrio: Jaqen seemed to have an accent somewhat like Syrio's, but that merely suggests he is Braavosi: after all, Arya had him sounding similar but differenr. He helped Arya extensively at Harrenhal; but he had good reason, independent of being Syrio, to be grateful to her; and I don't know enough about the FM to discount his story that he was paying back for the lives Arya saved. Also, after he escaped the burning barn he stayed with Rorge and Biter and joined Gregor's men rather than following Arya.

So I would like to know how he managed to get himself actually locked up with the other prisoners of the black cells.

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