After Lord Eddard Stark gets arrested, Syrio Forel protects Arya from getting captured and holds off the soldiers sent to take her long enough to escape. After King Robert Baratheon dies, Cersei Lannister orders Eddard and his children, Sansa Stark and Arya, to get arrested. Sansa gets detained, and when the guards reach Arya, Syrio Forel stands in the way and tells her to run. He gets killed but not before bringing down five guardsmen.
Syrio Forel Personal Details
- Name: Syrio Forel.
- Culture: Braavosi.
- Year of Death: 298 AC in King’s Landing.
- Titles: First Sword of the Sealord of Braavos, Water Dancer.
- Allegiance: House Stark.
Appearance and Personality
Syrio Forel is a slim bald man with a beak nose. He is a strict man who trains his students in the harshest way imaginable. Though he appears cruel, his training yields excellent results as they bring out the best in his students. Due to the intensity of his training, Lord Eddard suggests that Jory Cassel take over training Arya to use Needle.
Though there is little information on his childhood, Syrio Forel was born in Braavos. When the old First Sword of the Sealord of Braavos died, Syrio got brought into the Sealord’s chambers. He was asked a trick question involving a cat seated on the Sealord’s lap. The cat was said to be from a far land, but Syrio stated it was just like any tomcat he had seen in the alleys of Braavos. Upon answering the trick question sincerely and wisely, Syrio became the First Sword of the Sealord.
When Ned Stark reached King’s Landing, he saw young Arya Stark with Needle. Instead of seizing the sword, he hired Syrio Forel to teach her how to use her sword, as he believed Needle was suited for the Braavosi Water Dance.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire Novels
After Lord Eddard Stark employs Syrio, a master sword-fighter, to train his daughter Arya Stark to fight, he tasks Arya with chasing and catching cats in the Red Keep. As her training intensifies, Syrio teaches Arya to think like a warrior. He trains her using a wooden practice sword laced with lead and shows her how to be quick in thinking. To make her learn to be better at perceiving her environment, Syrio covers Arya’s eyes with a black cloth and tells her to do backflips.
During the Hand’s Tourney, hosted by Robert Baratheon, Arya meets her sister Sansa, who asks her about the development of her dance training. She then shows Sansa her bruised leg and gets mocked for being a bad dancer. Later, Eddard inspects his daughter’s legs and asks if Syrio is too harsh on her.
Arya replies that Syrio stated every pain is a lesson that makes one stronger; this makes Eddard reconsider changing Syrio from being his daughter’s teacher. He asks her if Jory should take over as her instructor, but Arya refuses and decides to continue training under the former First Sword of Braavos.
Eddard realizes King’s Landing is not safe for his daughters. He tries sending them back to Winterfell. He decides to send Syrio with his daughters back. After Robert Baratheon gets killed in an accident, Eddard tries to become the acting King, but Cersei quickly makes her son, Joffrey King, and orders that Eddard get arrested for treason. She orders that every Stark in the Red Keep get captured or killed.
Sansa gets arrested, and Arya gets confronted while training with Syrio. He tells her to run away and faces off against the Lannister guards, killing five. He then attacks Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard, but after several ineffective blows to the knight’s armor, he gets killed.
Appearance in Adaptations
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Syrio Forel got portrayed by actor Miltos Yerolemou. He appeared in season 1 and starred in 3 episodes. In the tv series, the producers, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss added an extra layer of characterization to Syrio’s character by linking him to the Faceless Men. After getting trained by Syrio, a master of the Water Dance, Arya, played by Maisie Williams, escapes from King’s Landing.
Arya later meets Sandor Clegane, the Hound, and tells him she believes Syrio got killed by Ser Meryn Trant. Sandor mocks Syrio, stating Meryn is a poor fighter. Arya travels to Braavos and becomes one of the Faceless Men. She decides to exact revenge and kills Meryn in a brothel. She later meets Melisandre, played by Carice Van Houten, who tells her to repeat the words she will say to the Night King during the Battle of Winterfell. Arya replies with the phrase ‘Not Today.’
Syrio Forel: The Master Fighter
Syrio Forel was one of the best fighters in A Song of Ice and Fire. Though he had a minor role in the novels, he was essential to Arya’s story, as she would have never escaped her captors without him. He was so good at fighting that he killed five guards with a wooden stick.
Though George R. R. Martin did not add a twist to his character, in the tv series, Game of Thrones, Syrio was linked to the Faceless Men, igniting many theories from fans about the yet-to-be-released novels in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Are Jaqen H’ghar and Syrio Forel the same person?
No. Jaqen H’ghar and Syrio Forel are two different people. Syrio was an expert swordsman who was the former First Sword for the Sealord of Braavos. Jaqen, on the other hand, was an assassin of the Faceless Men.
Could Syrio Forel beat the Mountain?
Though Syrio is a skilled fighter, few people in Westeros could beat Gregor Clegane in combat. The Mountain was brutal. However, his size was also his weakness, and Syrio, a skilled fighter of the Water Dance style, could use his flexibility to gain the upper hand over Gregor.
Would Syrio Forel beat Ser Arthur Dayne in combat?
Absolutely no. Syrio was a great fighter, but he would never win Ser Arthur Dayne in a fight. Ser Dayne was the best knight to have lived, and Syrio fighting him would mean certain death.
Was Syrio Forel a good fighter?
Yes. Syrio Forel was a remarkable fighter. When Cersei ordered that Arya get arrested, Syrio brought down more than five guards with a wooden sword.