A Feast for Crows-Chapter 22
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Cat of the Canals
Every day, the kindly man asks Arya who she is. When she replies "no one", he tells her that she lies, trying to get her to forget her true self and give up her past, but Arya resists. She works hard in the temple, cleaning and doing other chores. She witnesses many people entering the temple, some to light candles, others to curl up near a statue to die, and others to speak in private to the kindly man. When asked whose names she whispers at night, she finally admits that they are people she wants to kill, but the priest tells her that it is the Many-Faced God who determines who shall die, not her. He also finally convinces her to dispose of her possessions, and she does so with all but Needle, which she hides outside the temple under a stone. Once she has done this, the kindly man comes to her and tells her some of their history.
The Faceless Men are older than Braavos, having started amongst the slaves working the mines beneath the volcanoes of the Valyrian Freehold. The slaves worked under the harshest of conditions, and since they came from many different nations, they all prayed to different gods. But one amongst them (although he may have actually been a noble's son or an overseer, no one knows) realized that they were actually all praying to one god- one who could set them free from their torture.
The kindly man does not finish the story, but now Arya is a novice at the temple, and she and the waif begin to teach each other their respective languages. As Arya learns Braavosi, the waif also teaches her how to read a lie on someone's face, and Arya discovers that the girl is actually well over thirty years old, having taken "poisons" as part of her sacrifice to become Faceless. One day, when other priests of the Many-Faced God visit the temple, Arya asks the kindly man how to change her face, as Jaqen H'ghar did. While the priest knows not the name, he tells her it takes years of prayer, sacrifice and study to accomplish what he could do. Still, Arya wishes to learn, so he tells her to begin training the muscles of her face in front of a mirror every day. The next day, the kindly man tells Arya that she must leave the temple for a while, so as to learn the Braavosi tongue by being amongst them all the time. He instructs her to find a fishmonger named Brusco, but to not reveal who she really is. Arya decides to use the name "Cat", pretending to be an orphan girl from King's Landing.
References and Notes
- The synopsis was copied from AoL member vbkorik27 previously at .
- A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 16. Analyses and summary of the chapter by Leigh Butler.