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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Greatest Warriors of the Westeros- #6 Syrio Forel

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water... Sorry, but I've been busy resurfacing the floor in my living roof, the roofers have been putting a new roof on and on top of all this I've been sick. To paraphrase Austin Powers "I mean honestly, who gets a cold in June?!?"

Anyways, I'm back and its time for pick #6 of the Greatest Warriors of the Westeros countdown. This time we turn to a rather mysterious figure: "Syrio Forel". I put that in parenthesis because does anyone believe that is his real name? No figure in all of the Song and Ice and Fire thus far has inspired perhaps as much speculation as Syrio Forel. To say that the First Sword of Bravos is a widely loved character would be a gross understatement.

#6-Syrio Forel
Syrio is hired to be a tutor of sorts for Arya. The mysterious swordsman from across the Narrow Sea is an enigma right from the start. In a land full of warriors encased in plate armor and proficient in the lance and sword, Syrio uses a light-fencing blade. It's never really explained in full why she is not lumped with Sansa doing girly things. There is some discussion in A Game of Thrones and it is established that she is the opposite of her older sister, but Ned seems to give her a great deal of latitude once they reach King's Landing. Even with being a Tom Boy it seems unlikely that the 2nd daughter of a important noble would be allowed to be anything other then a future bride to seal an alliance with another noble house in the Seven Kingdoms.

The First Sword of Braavos takes the young Arya under his wing and begins to train her. Train her to be an assassin basically that is. There is commentary of his prowess but at no time does the reader get the sense that he is what he appears to be.

One point to the negative for Syrio is that presumably he is not a leader in battle. However if he is indeed associated with the Faceless Men of Bravos then leading might take on a whole new meaning.

Maybe it’s a Boba Fett thing, but the fans seem to earnest like the character, prompting Martin to reply (paraphrasing here: "Why can't people accept he's dead? He's not invincible". Now that Martin has gone on record with saying this, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. Oftentimes Martin will seemingly change is mind when he gets annoyed with his fans... time will tell. Of course like the a fore mentioned bounty hunter in Star Wars, perhaps it’s the obscure, quasi anti-hero thing rearing its head. Syrio was after all facing down a group of Lannister guard as well as Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard. Seems rather unnecessary to include him to a great degree, to instill initial training in Arya if he was going to be killed so “easily”. Ser Meryn Trant while a member of the Kingsguard is not mentioned as being a warrior par excellence so one wonders if more... 

Even if he was killed in the overthrow of Ned Stark in Kings Landing then that raises the question of just who is Arya's teacher in Braavos? I'm thinking and so are a lot of folks that it's Syrio. We all could be wrong as it would not be unlike Martin to change his mind but at same time he seems to be the most likely candidate, him or Jaqen H'ghar.

So there you go the "Dancing Master" *ahem*, *ahem* (cough*Ninja*cough) makes our list at #6. We really don’t get a sense of his fighting prowess per say but much like someone else who makes the list somewhere between 1-5 it’s the “off screen” implication of being a great fighter that makes all the difference.

(Also I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the awesome character portraits by Amok, this guy rocks and you can find his stuff here:

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