Syrio Forel portrait by Amok ©
|In 298 AC, King's Landing
|Game of Thrones: Season 1
- See also: Images of Syrio Forel
Syrio is a slight, bald man with a beak of a nose.
The day the old First Sword died, the Sealord of Braavos sent for Syrio. Syrio, upon entering the Sealord's presence, was asked what was special about the cat, claimed to be from a far off land, seated on the Sealord's lap. Syrio answered him truthfully, telling him that he has seen tomcats like him a thousand times in the alleys of Braavos. Because he saw the reality of what the cat was, common not special and male not female, he was named First Sword.
A Game of Thrones
Lord Eddard Stark, the Hand of the King, hires Syrio to teach Arya how to use her sword, Needle, believing the slender blade would suit the Braavosi water dancer style. Syrio trains Arya using wooden swords filled with lead. He also mentors her on how to move and think like a warrior: to be perceptive, move with grace, and command her fear. Syrio teaches Arya to see with her ears, nose, and skin, and he covers her eyes with a black cloth and has her do spins and backflips.
After the Hand's tourney, Eddard and his household are at the feast. His daughters are finally being cordial to each other, and Sansa asks Arya how her dancing has gone. Arya happily tells her she is sore all over, and shows her a nasty bruise on her leg. Sansa states that she must be a terrible dancer. Later, while Sansa is busy, Eddard exams Arya's bruise himself while she is standing on one leg—she is getting better at that. He asks if Syrio Forel is being too hard on her, and she replies that Syrio says every hurt is a lesson and every lesson makes you better. Eddard is concerned even though Syrio had come with an excellent reputation, and the Braavosi style suits Arya's slim blade. Eddard offers to have Jory Cassel take over her lessons, or maybe find someone else, but Arya emphatically tells Eddard she does not want them, she wants Syrio. Eddard knows that any decent master at arms could give Arya the basics of sword fighting without the blindfolds, cartwheels and hopping around on one leg, but he knows there was no arguing with her. He tells her very well, and to try to be careful.
Eddard plans to send Syrio with his family back to Winterfell when leaving King's Landing. When Queen Cersei Lannister ordered all Starks in the Red Keep to be captured or killed, Syrio orders Arya to flee while he holds off the Lannister men. With only his wooden practice sword, he defeats or kills five guardsmen and then attacks Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard. Syrio rains down ineffective blows onto Meryn's plate armor until his sword is cut in half. Arya flees, obeying Syrio's orders.
A Feast for Crows
In subsequent years, Arya often remembers Syrio's words and lets them guide her actions through difficult situations.
Quotes by Syrio
Boy, girl, You are a sword, that is all.
My words lied. My eyes and my arm shouted out the truth, but you were not seeing.
Other men were stronger, faster, younger, why was Syrio Forel the best? I will tell you now. The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of it.
Quotes about Syrio
Syrio says that every hurt is a lesson, and every lesson makes you better.
You are quick, for a dancing master.—Meryn Trant to Syrio
Never do what they expect.—thoughts of Arya Stark
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Syrio Forel.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
- HBO: Game of Thrones: cast and crew
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 44, Sansa III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
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- Syrio Forel article on the Game of Thrones wiki.