16

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 (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?

  • 1
    I asked this question on Movies - movies.stackexchange.com/questions/13141/… – Liath Jun 29 '14 at 16:50
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    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

11 Answers 11

27

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.

  • 7
    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
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    @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
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    @prototypetolyfe Jaqen is not Lysene or Lorathi. He is "nobody", and "Jaqen" is not his real name. Everything about him, including his funny speech patterns, is a decoy. We don't know where he is from, but we do know the Faceless Men have their temple in Braavos... – Andres F. May 28 '15 at 0:30
23

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.

  • 1
    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
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    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
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    @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
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    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
  • Ooooo, Syrio Forell is the Night King! and Arya has to kill him!! – m1gp0z Jan 23 at 20:57
5

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"

  • 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
3

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.

Source: http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/FAQ/Entry/Is_Syrio_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.

  • 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 Jul 27 '16 at 10:55
  • @chewie While I'd like an answer as much as you, I don't agree with your arguments. You or I don't have the right to compel GRRM (or any author for that matter) to alter the events of his story just to satisfy our curiosity. And from an author's perspective, leaving the fate of a character undetermined can be a handy plot device should the author want to use that character again in later books. Besides all that, it's brilliant storytelling. We're still arguing about Syrio's fate 2 decades after that book's release. – b1nary.atr0phy Jul 29 '16 at 7:58
  • @b1nary.atr0phy4 I completely agree that this is GRRM story and we are just going along for ride. The first paragraph of your answer points to Syrio being dead, but only because of implications. What I mean is if he was definitely dead, I don't see why GRRM would just imply it and not just say it outright. Of course this does mean he is alive either. Really I think we are both trying to say that we don't know and may never know Syrio's fate in different ways. – chewie Jul 29 '16 at 12:56
  • @chewie I understand what you're getting at now. Perhaps GRRM thinks an unknown fate was the most fitting end for that particular character. I personally don't agree, and I know you don't as well. But it certainly does add an additional layer of mystery to Syrio. – b1nary.atr0phy Jul 30 '16 at 0:22
  • Well, he's sort of Schroedinger's dancing master then? I know! That's why he talked about a cat!! Lol – Paul May 24 '18 at 21:59
2

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.

2

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.

  • An interesting point. – Valorum Mar 13 '15 at 6:20
2

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."

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

  • This answer only encompasses the onscreen version of the story (OP has tagged this question for both the onscreen and written version.) David Benioff and D.B. Weiss don't speak for GRRM and his original version, which the show has deviated from in the past. And based on GRRM's responses to this question, we will never be given a definitive answer. – b1nary.atr0phy Jul 29 '16 at 7:37
  • @b1nary.atr0phy, your point being? The question is clearly centered around the TV series, even if the OP has those tags, and this answers the question. – KyloRen Aug 3 '16 at 22:07
1

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).

0

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.

-1

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.

-1

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.

protected by Community Sep 27 '15 at 14:54

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