And another one bites the dust. Or does he? While we may still question Syrio’s ultimate fate, there is no question that the man who brought the character to life on the small screen did so with grace and aplomb. Miltos Yerolemou took an already fan favorite character and made him even better.
“My name is Syrio Forel. And you will be speaking to me with more respect.”
Miltos Yerolemou was announced as Braavosi water dancer Syrio Forel back on July 6th of last year. The first thing that jumped out about him was that he had hair! And lots of it. Despite Miltos’ offer to shave his head for the role, producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss decided to keep his trademark Greek curls. His willingness to go bald though is indicative of his dedication to playing the role of Syrio.
“Nine years Syrio Forel was First Sword to the Sealord of Braavos. He knows these things. You must listen to me, boy.”
That dedication extended to the physicality required for the character of Syrio as well. Miltos trained with famed fencing instructor and stage fighter Bill Hobbs to prepare himself to play the Braavosi swordsman. In addition, he took up yoga and tai chi. He practiced extensively with Buster Reeves and the fight team to perfect Syrio’s moves. And, of course, he put young Maisie Williams through her paces.
“Remember child, this is not the dance of the Westeros that we will be learning. The knight’s dance, hacking and hammering! This is the Braavos dance, the water dance. It is swift. And sudden!”
Of course, the result of all the blood, sweat and tears was a performance that was a complete joy to watch. Miltos infused Syrio with the right mixture of sternness and playfulness; you couldn’t help but love him. He brought an energy to the screen that was palpable. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face watching his first scene with Arya. “This is Syrio Forel! Come alive before my very eyes!” I thought to myself. And his other scenes were just as good.
“Watching is not seeing, dead girl. The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of swordplay.”
This past week we were treated to Syrio’s last stand. A moment of heroism and sacrifice but also pure badassery as Syrio single-handedly took down half a dozen Lannister guards. A scene that I’m sure Miltos and the crew worked long and hard on. Their hard work produced an amazing action sequence, as we saw the full measure of Syrio’s proficiency with a blade (a wooden one, no less!) on display.
“There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death. Not today.”
But even outside of his amazing performance as Syrio, Miltos holds a special place in the heart of Winter-Is-Coming.net readers because, although many actors have admitted to reading WiC.net, few have added their two cents to the on-going conversations. Miltos did just that, and more than once. He was also one of a handful of actors that met with fans in Belfast last fall. And who can forget his memorable appearance in Get Joe on the Show? Yes, from the beginning, his connection to the fans was very real and very heartfelt. His passion for George R. R. Martin’s story and his desire to do the fans proud won me over before he even walked onto my TV screen. I mean, how can you not love a guy that peppers his tweets and comments with Syrio quotes?
“You’re not here. You are with your trouble. If you are with your trouble when fighting happens… More trouble for you.”
So, take a bow Miltos, this curtain call is for you. A digital one, to go along with some of those stage ones. You were a perfect Syrio and whenever I read the book, your voice and face will echo in my brain as the true Syrio Forel. You did right by David & Dan, you did right by George and, most importantly, you did right by us, the fans.