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Syrio Forel

Last edited on April 23, 2014
by Mrhalohunter24
Syrio Forel
Syrio Forel
Syrio Forel
First seen
Last seen
Appeared in
3 episodes (see below)
Mentioned in
The First Sword of Braavos
Also known as
Uncertain. Last seen fighting Ser Meryn Trant
Date of birth
Portrayed by


"The First Sword of Braavos does not run."
Syrio Forel[src]

Syrio Forel is a recurring character in the first season. He is played by guest star Miltos Yerolemou and debuts in "Lord Snow." Syrio Forel is a master sword-fighter and instructor hired by Eddard Stark to train Arya Stark.



Syrio Forel is a bravo and master sword-fighter, originally from the Free City of Braavos where he spent nine years as the First Sword of the city, before relocating to King's Landing.

Season 1

Syrio Forel
Syrio is hired to teach Arya Stark the ways of a water dancer.

After arriving in King's Landing, Lord Eddard Stark discovers that his daughter Arya owns a sword (Needle, a gift from her half-brother Jon Snow), but has not been properly trained to use it. He hires Syrio Forel to train Arya in its use. Forel accepts the commission and begins to train Arya in how to use the sword in the Braavosi style, known as the Water Dance. Arya's lessons are kept a secret; her sister Sansa believes that Arya is getting "dancing lessons".[1]

Eddard finds Arya balancing on the top of some stairs. She tells him that Syrio set her the task to improve her balance.[2] Arya chases cats to improve her dexterity and speed on Syrio's suggestion.[3]

Syrio Forel 1x08
Syrio duels Ser Meryn Trant.

Syrio and Arya have another lesson, but Arya is distracted. Syrio tells her that she is more vulnerable when she is "with her trouble" rather than concentrating on the here and now. He teaches her how to forget her troubles so she can concentrate on fighting.[4] After Eddard's arrest for treason, Lannister guards led by Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard arrive to take Arya into custody. Syrio informs them that he will protect her. When they try to barge past him, he disarms one guard with a training sword. He fights off a mass attack by the guardsmen and then engages Ser Meryn, telling Arya to run. When she asks him to come with her, he tells her, "The First Sword of Braavos does not run." Arya flees as Syrio's battle cry and the sounds of fighting erupt behind her. The result of the fight is not revealed, leaving Syrio's fate uncertain.[5]

In Season 4, Ser Davos mentions that he was almost killed by a First Sword of Braavos but it's unclear as to whether this First Sword was Syrio or not.


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
1 of 3


"- Do you pray to the gods?
- The Old and the New.
- There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: "not today".
Syrio Forel and Arya Stark[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Syrio Forel was once the First Sword of Braavos, the most skilled bravo or sword-fighter of the city, in the service of the Sealord himself. He specialized in a style of combat known as 'water dancing', favoring a light sword and expert balance over the Westerosi style of hacking at one another with massive swords in heavy armor. It is unclear why he departed Braavos to relocate to King's Landing.

Syrio tells Arya how he became the first sword of Braavos. He was chosen over stronger, faster, and younger men because he was perceptive - he saw while others were blind. He was invited to an audience with the ruler of Braavos, who had a cat on his lap. The ruler said to Syrio, as he had said to all the others that had failed this test, to look at the fantastic animal that has been brought to him from far away, was she not astonishing. Syrio replied "I see many like him every night in the streets of Braavos, it is a tomcat." The ruler pressed him with questions on the ears and the belly but Syrio maintained his answer. Others answered with flattery and unfounded claims about the virtues of the animal. Syrio was chosen over all of them. The lesson to look carefully and see what is truly there is taken to heart by Arya.

His appearance differs from his TV series's counterpart, described in the book as a slight, bald man with a beaked nose. In the DVD commentary, author George R.R. Martin himself said that he didn't care about such minor differences, being more concerned with the satisfying performance of the actor.

Braavos is the most diverse of the Free Cities , being founded by escaped slaves of the Valyrian Freehold who originally came from all the far corners of that empire. As a result, there is no set Braavosi "ethnicity" or set of typical physical features, in contrast to how people from the Free City of Lys tend to be blonde and fair-skinned and the people of Myr tend to have dark hair and olive-colored skin. As the most powerful of the Free Cities and a major economic hub, it is also much more diverse and "cosmopolitan" even compared to the other Free Cities. The Common Tongue of Westeros is not Syrio's first language, and Arya describes him as having an accent, a "lilt", but the books don't describe it in detail. Braavos and the Free Cities are loosely similar to the medieval Italian city-states, vaguely "Mediterranean", so actor Miltos Yerolemou portrayed Syrio with his native Greek accent. Given the diverse polyglot nature of Braavos, there is no way of taking Syrio's on-screen accent as "typical" of all Braavosi (the way that Cersei could recognize Shae's Lorath accent). The Spanish dub of the TV series produced in Spain renders Syrio's speech as an Arabic accent, to try to maintain the impression that he is a foreigner to Westeros.

Syrio's battle with Ser Meryn Trant in the TV series is portrayed much as it was in the books: except that Syrio does far greater injury to his opponents with his wooden sword, like killing with a blow through the eye. He continues to fight the Kingsguard even after his wooden sword is broken, and as Arya runs away she hears his battle cry. In both the series and the book, his fate is left uncertain.

When Arya first sees Jaqen H'ghar, he somewhat reminds her of Syrio. This led to fan speculation that Jaqen and Syrio are the same person, but so far it has not been verified.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Syrio Forel" is pronounced "SEER-ee-o For-EL".

See also