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In the episode 'The Pointy End' (Season 1 Episode 8) when Arya runs from the Lannister guards you hear the sound of a sword being dropped:

Scene (around 4:56)

After that neither Syrio or Ser Meryn Trant is never mentioned or seen in the show again, except when Arya mentions to the hound that Ser Meryn Trant killed Syrio.

Is there any mention in the books that Syrio actually dies?

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I asked this question on Movies -… – Liath Jun 29 '14 at 16:50
Ser Meryn appears in the second season. He beats up Sansa several times. In the second season he also does the "No one threatens the king in front of the Kingsguard" and then Tyrion says "Bron, if ser Meryn speaks again, kill him." thing (which was totally awesome.) – user24620 Jun 30 '14 at 0:57

12 Answers 12

Like in the show, in the books Ser Meryn breaks Syrio's wooden sword, and Arya flees the scene before they resume fighting, so we don't know for sure what happens. Syrio isn't seen again, and Ser Meryn makes no reference to the incident throughout the rest of the series. The general consensus seems that he is dead, seeing as, like the Hound so eloquently puts it, "Your friend's dead and Meryn Trant's not 'cause Trant had armor and a big fucking sword.".

But of course, it is possible that he escaped, as he displayed a supremely good prowess in combat, even when unarmed, versus the Lannister soldiers.

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From what I understand, it isn't said in the books whether or not he's dead, and I've adopted a theory that I'm sure will never pan out. Like you said, nothing confirms nor denies the idea that Sryio is dead. However, he's a Bravosi. Jaqen H'gar is a Bravosi. Arya first meets Jaqen in a prisoner car on his way to the wall and he immediately liked her. Maybe Syrio was actually a member of the faceless men, was captured during the confrontation with Trant and sold off to the watch. Maybe at some point, he'll reveal himself as having been there the whole time. – Sinaesthetic Jun 29 '14 at 21:13
I'd also add that while it's probably just part of the way the Bravosi speak, both Jaqen and Syrio refer to Arya as "The Girl" – Sinaesthetic Jun 29 '14 at 21:15
@Sinaesthetic, Jaqen H'gar is actualy Lysene, not Braavosi. – prototypetolyfe Jul 1 '14 at 22:22
@prototypetolyfe From what I understood, he claimed to be lorath (where Shae is from) but turned out to actually be from Braavos. Could you reference where it is said he is from Lys? As far as I knew, the city of Lys is a Valyrian city (Where Varys is from), where everyone has pale skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. The closest thing I could find said that he was a faceless man pretending to be from Lys. – Sinaesthetic Jul 2 '14 at 2:37
@Sinaesthetic I suppose I meant Lorath, not Lys. I don't recall him being revealed to have been from Braavos, although that may just be me misremembering. – prototypetolyfe Jul 2 '14 at 16:03

It has not been confirmed one way or the other in the books or show.

However, Race for the Iron Throne has an excellent post arguing Syrio's survival would be totally against the underlying themes of the story:

Syrio Forel is dead, and has to be dead, and would probably be offended if someone tried to bring him back to life. In a dramatic sense, Syrio has to die because he’s The Mentor – and the Mentor always dies in the hero’s journey to raise the stakes (since the hero is now alone and unprotected) but also to allow the hero to begin their process of maturity and becoming independent (since the hero now has to stand on their own two feet without hints).

It goes on to say:

[What] matters is that Syrio stands up for the right and defies evil, even when that means facing a knight of the Kingsguard with a broken practice sword, not that Syrio succeeds.

The whole piece is well worth reading. This is circumstantial, and as far as I know George RR Martin has neither confirmed nor denied it, but it makes a strong case that Syrio Forel is in fact dead.

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I have a circumstantial arguement that Syrio is alive: if someone is implied to be dead, or we are told that someone is dead secondhand, but we don't see the actual event, they are almost certainly not. See: Bran's fall, Bran and Rickon's reported death, Theon with the Boltons, Arya outside the Red Wedding, Sandor Clegane after Arya leaves, and probably many more that I can't remember. – KSmarts Jan 7 '15 at 17:23
That particular article certainly does not "make a strong case" that Syrio is truly dead. Several examples of dead mentors the author lists, such as Gandalf or Jaqen H’gar, only undergo symbolic deaths. Gandalf, of course, was resurrected, while Jagen merely shapeshifts. The former goes on to play a prominent role in the rest of his story, while the latter has theoretically returned later in the series. Besides, how utterly boring would stories be if they all followed the exact same mold? – b1nary.atr0phy Mar 11 '15 at 10:34
@b1nary.atr0phy Also consider the best-known example of the Mentor who dies to advance the Hero's Journey: Obi-Wan Kenobi. He dies in the first movie of the original trilogy </spoiler> but manages to stick around as a mentor through the next two movies anyway. – KSmarts Mar 11 '15 at 15:11
Plot type 2: The mentor faked his death and is revealed to be the Big Bad. Sorry, couldn't help it. – Gorchestopher H Mar 13 '15 at 11:27

One thing that I always thought suggested he was still alive was his total confidence. He showed little regard for the Lannister guards he beat with his wooden sword, but after beating them and squaring up to fight a Kingsguard, he doesn't even bother picking up a steel sword of any of the guards he just knocked out.

I get the impression death came calling for him and he said "Not today"

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His confidence and composure may also indicate that he was ready for Death that day. It could indicate a warrior's acceptance of an honorable death in battle -- see anecdotes about the real-world samurai, etc. – Andres F. Sep 27 '15 at 20:37
@AndresF. Confidence and composure is one thing, but dying with a wooden practise sword against someone in plate mail isn't an honourable death. In a second he could have had steel in his hand and died honourably... maybe he did, I'm eager to see how the next book goes – Mikey Mouse Sep 28 '15 at 12:33
I was under the impression that he held his ground with the wooden sword for a few moments before being killed. Quite a feat! Kind of like Musashi defeating katana-wielding oponents armed only with a wooden stick ;) Anyway, GRRM did tell us to "draw our own conclusions"... I think that's as definitive as we'll get. – Andres F. Sep 28 '15 at 13:34

In 2005, GRRM pointed out that Syrio seems to have been left in a hopeless situation when he was last seen, and suggested readers should "draw your own conclusions" based on this, which seems to imply that Syrio Forel was in fact killed. 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.


It's quite possible that he is neither alive nor dead, i.e. perhaps GRRM never concluded in his notes or otherwise the true fate of Syrio.

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But the fact that GRRM won't come out and say a definitive "Yes he's dead" or "No, he's not dead" is what is troubling me reading this answer. I understand that GRRM wants us to "draw our own conclusions", but surely, after being repeatedly asked this question, he could easily just say yes he's dead, not only to shut people up, but to allow us to focus on the remaining story. – chewie yesterday

We finally have conformation.

Syrio Forel is dead and is not Jaqen H'ghar

I was really diapointed to hear this, but we finally have confirmation that he is neither Jaqen H'ghar or still alive. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have confirmed this.

"I always was like, 'Oh, no, I feel like he's still alive,'" Williams told IGN. "I always had my own theory that he and Jaqen [the Faceless Man] were the same person." But when she finally ran the idea by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, they shot it down without hesitation: Forel is dead. "I was like, 'Oh, OK," Williams said, laughing. "So that put that to bed really quickly, but I guess we can all still dream."

enter image description here

Syrio Forel alive or dead? Game of Thrones showrunners finally give definitive answer

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We don't really have any evidence, but I believe that he has died.

The Lannisters killed all Stark partisans out of hand; they even killed Septa Mordane, who was completely harmless.

Syrio was a friend of the Starks and he even fought back, so it is not really hard to imagine that the guards killed him.

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I wondered the same myself when I read the scene of his alleged killing (I started reading after watching the show). In the show it is clearly hinted that he's dead because we can hear his (probably) scream when Arya is running away. But in the books there's no scream, his death is not shown in any way; in addition to that in the books he's shown to have killed and/or severely injured 5 of Lannister guards before he was attacked by Ser Meryn, in other words he's described to be much more dangerous and fast than in the show. So, after watching the show I actually didn't even stop to think that Syrio may be alive, but the book made me wonder.

Of course it's unlikely that he could've survived a fight against a fully-armored knight. On the other hand, judging from the movements and fighting stance, Bronn seems totally like a Water Dancer to me (he's decribed to be very fast and he uses a one-handed sword and doesn't use a shield, exactly like Syrio) and he defeated a fully-armored knight (of course, armored with a real sword; his style is also more passive and treacherous than that of Syrio's).

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In the scene where Arya runs away and looks back you can hear metal swords falling down which hints that syrio could have made it out.

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An interesting point. – Valorum Mar 13 '15 at 6:20

No he is still alive, and he is met again.

Because Syrio Forel is Jaqen H'ghar.

Let's look at the evidence:

Ser Meryn Trant has no real reason to kill Syrio Forel. Sure he helps Arya escape, but it's entirely feasible that Meryn bests him in combat (particularly since he has a wooden sword) and simply takes him prisoner. It's even possible that Syrio manages to knock Meryn unconscious or escape from him, and turn himself into the dungeons as a prisoner.

Jaqen H'ghar is from Braavos, as is Syrio Forel.

Jaqen H'ghar can also change his face, and therefore assume any identity he chooses. What's to say Syrio Forel didn't simply change his face and name in the dungeon? No one from the Night's Watch party knew who he was, and there was no explanation either. He was simply in the dungeons for some reason.

It would also explain why Jaqen H'ghar was confined to the cage with Rorge and Biter. He seems entirely sane and well balanced, yet he is locked up with two obvious psychopaths. It's because the jailers knew exactly how dangerous he was from when he was brought in, having killed 2 fully armed guards with a wooden sword, and assumingly having an epic battle against a man of the kingsguard and living to tell the tale. Even if he had changed his appearance whilst he was locked up, the jailers would likely only remember that he's an excellent swordsman, rather than remembering his face.

We also know Jaqen H'ghar is an excellent fighter, just like Syrio Forel is, because he assassinates 3 people in Harrenhal for Arya, and that requires all of the same skills that Syrio Forel teaches Arya (agility, speed etc.).

It would also explain how Jaqen H'ghar immediately knows who Arya is, because he's met her before and spent a significant amount of time training her, so he would immediately recognize her despite the fact she is dressed like a boy. And even if he didn't, he would have recognized Needle, it was a very distinctive sword she carried.

Also consider: until the wagon he is being kept in sets on fire, he shows absolutely zero interest in escaping. He can change his face anytime he wants, he only needed to convince one of the younger recruits of the night's watch to undo his shackles, and he could change his appearance and escape scot free. He stays because he wants to keep an eye on Arya and make sure she is safe.

This also makes sense as to why he doesn't just walk out of Harrenhal later on, he could just change his face and leave the employ of the Lannister army at any point. But he sticks around to make sure that Arya is kept safe. Having spent so much time training her, he has come to care for her and wants to look out for her, without making it too obvious that he is really Syrio Forel.

Of course, this is all speculation, but the evidence for this theory is quite compelling.

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Weird how the answer starts with a bolded fact stating Syrio is Jaqen and ends with "this is all speculation". One point against this theory is that Syrio is proud to let people know he is the "First Sword of Braavos" (probably a public figure) while Jaqen is almost certainly a faceless man, the polar opposite of a public figure. – Mikey Mouse Mar 12 '15 at 16:11
For Syrios background: nothing suggests a faceless man would take a public role like First Sword to the Sealord of Braavos – Mikey Mouse Mar 12 '15 at 16:16
Good theory Mike. tho this in itself means that Syrio is in fact dead. When Jaqen "faceshifts" he says to Aria that Jaqen is dead. He assumes the identity of somebody else and for all intents and purpouses the last person he was IS dead. @Mikey Mouse that is the beauty of the faceless men... They can shapeshift into whomever. Beeing the first sword of Braavos would put him close to many, many highly influential people that he could dispatch with ease. Hiding in plain sight is the best trick an assassin can pull of. – Cherubel Mar 13 '15 at 7:05
@Cherubel If I remember correctly, it's implied in both the books and the TV shows that Faceless Men "take" the faces of people who have died. So had Jaqen assumed Syrio's appearance, that would effectively mean the real Syrio was dead! – Andres F. May 28 '15 at 0:36
@Mikey: Not to mention that while Faceless Men can change faces, there's nothing that hints they can change stature. And Jaqen was (at least in the TV show) significantly taller than Syrio. – user46271 Jun 4 '15 at 9:42

I think Syrio may be alive. Ser Meryn Trant was in the King's Guard, while the defeated guards were Lannister guards. Trant's skills may have surpassed that Lannister guards, but once Arya fled, he'd understand the value of interrogating Syrio rather than killing him. After Arya's successful escape, Syrio would have little reason to continue fighting, unless his life was truly in danger. With swords laying around from the bested guards, it seems likely that Syrio could grab one. At the least, he could have escaped and outrun a larger man in heavy armor.

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Syrio Forel is not dead. It's always been the case that if a character that is very good at combat is facing overwhelming odds, and the reader is left hanging to what his fate is, and it's not shown that the character actually is dead, then that character is still presumed to be alive.

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Ser Vardis Egan? – Mooz Mar 22 '15 at 22:22

Yup, not dead. Syrio is still Alive. Everyone said that he couldn't kill a fully armoured Knight. Well he had no problem taking down 5 armoured soldiers before hand. Yeah his sword broke but he had all the confidence in the world. And there were plenty of others. He wouldn't have run either as he stated the first sword does not run. And what did he say to death, not today. You also hear steel swords falling in the cut away scene. Meryn Trant is garbage. Both the show and the books have had no problem showing every single death there is in the most gruesome of ways, but they just decided no need for this one. I very much feel that Syrio is alive. It wasn't his goal to kill Trant or the other men. Just to protect Arya. Once knocking them down he probably left.

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