Jaqen H’ghar

Jaqen H’ghar is a Lorathi sellsword taken by Yoren to join the Night’s Watch. It gets revealed that he is a messenger of death, a Faceless Man.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Upon petitioning to get more men to join the Watch, Yoren is allowed to pick some men from prison, and he takes Jaqen H’ghar along with two other men, Rorge and Biter. Jaqen later meets Arya Stark after she escapes from King’s Landing and changes her appearance. After the death of Lord Eddard Stark, the Hand of the King, Jaqen, and Yoren travel from King’s Landing. With Arya Stark disguised as a boy, Jaqen acts kind to her. As one of the criminals taken by the Night’s Watch, he gets chained to the carriage of transport. However, after a commotion, Arya frees him and his companions. Later, he meets her and repays her kindness.

Jaqen H’ghar Personal Details

  • Name: Jaqen H’ghar.
  • Culture: Lorathi.
  • Allegiance: Brave Companions, House Lorch, The Faceless Men.
  • Hair Color: Red and white.
  • Alias: Lorath.
  • Religion: Many-Faced God.


Appearance and Personality

Jaqen is a handsome slim man with beautiful features. He has a calm smile and long red and white hair that flows to his shoulders. As a native of Lorath, a city in Essos, he speaks in a unique manner that omits the first and second grammatical persons; this means he always talks in a third-person perspective and avoids using any form of personalization like names.

Jaqen wears a tattered garb that smells and is filthy; this is because he got imprisoned in the black cells of the Red Keep. Though he has a bleak appearance, Jaqen wields a thin knife and is a skilled swordsman. Besides his fighting prowess and beautiful features, Jaqen has a calm demeanor and acts politely to everyone. His voice is lovely but can also be intimidating. He claims to be from the Free City of Lorath.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

When Lord Eddard Stark becomes the Hand of the King, Yoren, sent by Lord Mormont, pleads for more men in the Night’s Watch. Though his speech gets met with silence from the knights, Eddard allows him to pick men from the King’s dungeons.

Yoren heads to the Black Cells and chooses Biter, Rorge, and Jaqen. Later, Eddard gets arrested by Cersei Lannister for treason. She orders the Starks to get killed. Syrio Forel fends off the guards sent to get Arya long enough for her to escape. She later witnesses her father’s sentencing, but before she sees him get killed, Yoren takes her with him.

A Clash of Kings

Arya Stark gets disguised as a boy named Arry and leaves King’s Landing. Jaqen stays caged with Biter and Rorge, and he treats Arya kindly. During the journey, the group of recruits chosen by Yoren decides to spend the night in a deserted town. However, it gets burned down by Ser Amory Lorch. During the chaos, Jaqen begs her to free him and his companions from their cage, and before fleeing into the tunnels, she throws an axe at Rorge, making him free his companions. 

Yoren’s party gets killed, and Jaqen joins Ser Amory. Arya disguises herself as a servant called weasel and travels to Harrenhal, where she sees Jaqen arrive. He later meets her and reveals he knows she is a girl. Jaqen tells Arya to name three people so he can send them to the Red God as an atonement.

Arya continues working at Harrenhal and develops a hatred for some people. When she hears Chiswyck talking about how Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain’s men, raped a brewer’s daughter named Layna, she whispers his name to Jaqen.

Three days later, Chiswyck gets discovered dead with a broken neck after falling from a wall walk. His death begins igniting rumors about the ghost of Harren the Black haunting Harrenhal.

Later, Arya whispers Weese, the understeward of the Wailing Tower’s name to Jaqen as he insults and slaps her. However, she begins regretting her choice as she realizes she should have stated Tywin Lannister’s name before he departed from Harrenhal. Weese gets found dead.

Later, Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions bring some Rivermen and Northmen to Harrenhal. When Arya realizes who the men are, she meets Jaqen and whispers his name as the third name. To relieve him of the burden, she tells him to assist her in freeing the Northmen. After the guards get killed, Rorge and Biter head off to free the Northmen, and Arya remains with Jaqen. 

After the fall of Harrenhal, Arya withdraws Jaqen’s name, but he tells her it is his time to die. He then changes his appearance to a man with full cheeks and black, curly hair. Jaqen tells her she should follow him across the Narrow Sea, but she states she cannot go. He then gives her a small iron coin and tells her to show it to any man from Braavos and tell him ‘Valar Morghulis.’ Harrenhal falls into Roose Bolton’s hands, and Arya escapes from the castle by sliding a guard’s throat.

A Storm of Swords

After traveling with Sandor Clegane to the Twins, Arya watches as her brother’s men get killed. Sandor runs away with her, and she later escapes his captivity after he gets injured. To leave Westeros, Arya shows the iron coin to Ternesio Terys, a Braavosi sailor, and says: ‘Valar Morghulis.’ Terys responds: ‘Valar Dohaeris’ and Arya gets on the ship headed to Braavos.

A Feast for Crows

Upon getting to Braavos, Arya finds her way to the House of Black and White, where she meets a kindly man. She asks if he knows Jaqen, but the man says no. Arya begins working in the temple and keeps asking about Jaqen but gets the same negative response from the kindly man.

In Oldtown, Pate, a novice of the Citadel, agrees to make a trade with an alchemist having a similar appearance to Jaqen’s new face. To marry Rosy, the girl he loves, Pate steals Archmaester Walgrave’s key and gives it to the alchemist in exchange for a gold dragon.

However, after biting the gold, he slumps and dies. Later, Samwell Tarly meets a novice bearing Pate. Meanwhile, in Braavos, Arya begins learning the secrets of the Faceless Men of Braavos, a feared order of mysterious assassins.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Jaqen’s character got portrayed by Tom Wlaschiha. He appeared in seasons 1, 2, 5, and 6 and starred in 18 episodes. Jaqen’s role in the tv series slightly overlaps some characters in the novel. After Yoren’s group leaves King’s Landing, they decide to rest in a barn.

However, Ser Armory Lorch leads an attack against them and kills Yoren. Arya frees Jaqen, and he later meets her and thanks her for rescuing him. He tells her to give him three names and quotes: ‘The Red God has his due sweet girl.’ 

Arya states she wants Ser Amory, and he dies from a poisoned dart. Amory’s assassination raises Tywin Lannister’s suspicion leading to the death of many men. Jaqen later leaves Arya as she heads to meet her brother and sister. However, after the Red Wedding, Arya travels to Braavos. She meets Jaqen, who takes her to the Hall of Faces and asks her if she is ready to become no one. After getting met with silence, Jaqen tells Arya she is not prepared.

Jaqen H’ghar: The Man of Many Faces

In A Song of Ice and Fire, many break the law of fairness and among them is Jaqen, a man with no identity, a perfect weapon. As a master of the sword, Jaqen’s impact on Arya’s life is crucial. He was a pivotal character who changed the tides of fate on many occasions. Though some may even see him as overpowered, he is still a beautifully designed character that shows the character-creation prowess of George R. R. Martin.

FAQs

Can Jaqen H’ghar kill anyone?

Jaqen H’ghar can kill any human. In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are few individuals with almost unlimited power, and among them are the Faceless Men, an organization of assassins with a 100% success rate. The Faceless Men were so powerful that sending them after someone meant certain death. With Jaqen being one of the top priests of the assassins, he can kill anyone tasked unto him.

Did Jaqen H’ghar like Arya?

Jaqen liked Arya because he saw potential in her. When she escaped Winterfell and took on the alias of Arry, Jaqen already saw that Arya was a survivor who would adapt and blend with her environment. Though he could see through her falsehood, he played along and eventually introduced her to the Faceless Men.

Why did Jaqen not kill Tywin Lannister?

To put it simply, Tywin Lannister was never Jaqen’s target. The Faceless Men had magic that could completely evade even the wisest of men. If Jaqen had got assigned to kill Tywin, he would have done so.

What was Jaqen H’gar doing in Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire?

From the series, it is unclear what the Faceless Men’s intentions were. Jaqen was just in King’s Landing, and there is no background information on his mission in Westeros. 

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