Sphinx: who is the Citadel’s secret student?
Articles Blog

Sphinx: who is the Citadel’s secret student?

August 11, 2019

In the Game of Thrones books, lots of characters
have secret identities. Like, Sansa pretends to be Alayne, Varys pretends
to be Rugen. Maynard Plumm is actually Bloodraven, who’s
also the three-eyed crow. Robert Strong is the Mountain, Griff is Jon
Con. Young Griff is Aegon Targaryen, who might
actually be a Blackfyre. The list goes on and on, and one of the coolest
of these secret identities is Alleras. Alleras is a student at the Citadel in Oldtown,
which is like the Westerosi university. He’s involved with Sam Tarly, Marwyn the
Mage, and Jaqen H’ghar, who seek secrets in the Citadel. Alleras is a minor character, but he’s got
a secret of his own. Cause he is actually a she – she’s Sarella
Sand, a bastard daughter of Oberyn Martell. The most obvious evidence that Alleras is
Sarella is that the name “Alleras” is “Sarella” backwards. But also, we know that Sarella’s father
is Oberyn Martell, of Dorne, and Sarella’s mother is “a trader” “from the Summer
Isles” . Alleras is the same – his mother is “a trader” from the Summer Isles, and
his father is “a Dornishman” . Alleras even looks like Oberyn – they both have
black eyes and black hair with a “widow’s peak” . At one point, Alleras says “I
am no lord’s son” – which is true, cause she’s actually a lord’s daughter. Alleras is “always smiling, as if he [knows]
some secret jape” . And the evidence shows that his “secret” is that she is actually
Sarella Sand. So who is Sarella? In the show, Oberyn Martell has three daughters,
but in the books, he has eight, called the Sand Snakes . Sarella is the fourth-born,
now nineteen years old . In Book 4, the three eldest Sand Snakes, Obara Nymeria and Tyene,
wanna start a war with the Lannisters , to avenge the deaths of Oberyn and aunt Elia. To prevent this war, their uncle Doran arrests
the Snakes – Obara, Nym, Tyene, and the young ones are captured , but Doran doesn’t
arrest Sarella. Because Sarella’s not in Dorne – she’s
in Oldtown as Alleras. Doran says “Unless she returns to Dorne,
there’s naught I can do about Sarella”. “Leave her to her … game” . So it doesn’t
sound like Sarella is working with Doran or with the other Sand Snakes. What is her “game”? What’s she doing in Oldtown? Sarella loves learning. On a visit to some ruins, Sarella “turned
over rocks, brushed sand off … mosaics, and wanted to know everything there was to
know about the people who had lived” there . So maybe Sarella came to the Citadel university
because she wants to learn stuff. Her father Oberyn did the same thing . But
the Citadel doesn’t accept women – which must be why Sarella disguises herself as a
guy – Alleras. And Alleras does well at the Citadel, earning
“three links of his maester’s chain” in one year, meaning she masters three subjects
really fast . And she seems to care about the values of the Citadel, telling Lazy Leo
that he “shame[s] the Citadel by being one of” them . Also, Nymeria mentions that Sarella
loves the city of Oldtown . So Sarella is smart, she wants to learn, she loves the Citadel
and Oldtown and that’s probably why she’s there. But Sarella slash Alleras slash Sarelleras
gets involved in much more than just study. At the start of Book 4, Alleras practices
archery. He uses a goldenheart bow, which connects
to his Summer Islander heritage . He talks with his student friends about the rumours
of the dragon queen Daenerys in the east . And this guy Leo reveals there’s a “glass
candle burning” in the chambers of Marwyn the Mage. A glass candle is a candle of obsidian, and
for centuries, these candles have been impossible to light. But now, they burn again , which shows that
magic and dragons have returned to the world. “Old powers waken” Leo says. “Shadows stir” . And Alleras is really
interested in this talk of magic and dragons . So by the end of the book, he becomes an
ally of the guy with the candle – Marwyn. Marwyn is a rebel professor. He travels to strange distant places, studies
with strange people like Qyburn and Mirri Maz Duur , and he writes books about prophecy
. He’s an expert on magic, but most maesters don’t trust magic , so they discredit Marwyn
. Marwyn claims there’s a conspiracy by the maesters to suppress magic and dragons
– watch this video for more. So Marwyn’s a little crazy, maybe, but he
totally knows things about magic and prophecy – partly because he has this glass candle. Cause glass candles let you see across distances
and enter dreams – Marwyn uses his to watch and learn. He sees Sam arrive at the Citadel, so Marwyn
gets Alleras to bring Sam to him. And Sam tells them about his experiences at
the Wall with white walkers, and Melisandre, and how Maester Aemon thinks Daenerys is Azor
Ahai – the hero prophesied to save the world. So Marwyn leaves and heads east to meet Daenerys
. This leaves Sam at the Citadel with Alleras,
and with a guy called Pate – who is actually the Faceless assassin Jaqen H’ghar in disguise. Jaqen is there possibly to steal a book called
The Death of Dragons – go watch the Jaqen video. But also, Sam has an old horn, which is probably
the Horn of Winter which can destroy the Wall. Also also, there’re ironborn raiding around
Oldtown , and Euron Greyjoy’s making an eldritch mass blood sacrifice nearby . So
there’s a lot of intense magic shit converging on Oldtown. And Alleras seems connected. Alleras’ friends call him the Sphinx, because
a sphinx has the face of a human, body of a lion, and wings of a hawk – it’s made
up of different parts, just like Alleras is both Dornish and Summer Islander . But the
sphinx might also refer to Alleras’ secret identity. There are statues of sphinxes at the Citadel
– one male and one female, which might hint at Sareleras’ male and female identities. But the sphinx symbol goes even deeper. Cause on the way to Oldtown, Maester Aemon
tells Sam that “the sphinx [is] the riddle, not the riddler” . Sam wonders if Alleras
the Sphinx might be the sphinx Aemon meant . Maybe the idea is that Alleras is not a
“riddler” who’ll tell you a riddle , Alleras is “the riddle”, as in in his secret identity
as Sarella is “the riddle”. But why would Aemon talk about the secret
identity of some minor character he’s never met? Aemon mentions the sphinx alongside talk of
dreams, glass candles, eggs, and the three heads of the dragon – which seems to be
the idea that three dragonriders will ride Dany’s three dragons . Alleras also mentions
the three heads of the dragon , and he is involved with glass candles. So maybe Alleras is connected to this Targaryen
dragon stuff. In Book 5, Tyrion finds a Valyrian sphinx
– “A dragon queen” with the head of a woman and body of a dragon. She seems to be “missing” “Her king”,
a male half-human half-dragon . If the female dragon-sphinx is Daenerys, the male could
be Jon Snow. He’s part dragon cause’s he’s half Targaryen,
and he’s probably the rightful “king” of Westeros , and he could be Dany’s future
husband, and he could be one of the three heads who rides a dragon. Jon might be the sphinx Aemon meant, and this
could link back to Alleras if Alleras and Sam uncover Jon’s true parentage at the
Citadel, like Sam and Gilly do in the show. So the riddle of the sphinx is still confusing,
but it seems to connect Jon and Dany and the Targaryen dragons with Sarelleras. What does all this mean for her future? It looks like Alleras will be Sam’s study
buddy at the Citadel . They might learn important secrets about white walkers or Azor Ahai or
Jon’s parentage. But with Jaqen H’ghar around, they might
also get caught up in his plot to steal that dragon book. Marwyn and Alleras seem to wanna support Daenerys
– but Alleras could also become Dany’s enemy. Cause in Book 5, Dany rejects a marriage alliance
with Dorne , and one of Dany’s dragons kills Sarella’s cousin Quentyn . So maybe Sarelleras
will use her archery skills to slay a dragon. Jaqen’s book, the Death of Dragons, might
help. At the same time, Euron brings sorcery and
destruction on the city Sarella loves – will she fight to protect Oldtown? So, like a Sphinx, Sarellaras is made of different
parts. She’s a Sand Snake, daughter of Oberyn Martell
of Dorne, but she’s also a Summer Islander, with a goldenheart bow. She’s a student of the Citadel, with a love
for Oldtown and ties to Marwyn, and she also seems connected to the Targaryens, Jon and
Dany. This complex combination of conflicting loves
and loyalties define the Sphinx as one of the most interesting minor characters in the
series. Thank you to the artists who kindly made illustrations
for this video – check out drafturgy and Mandy Finke, among others linked below. Thanks for watching, and thanks to Patrons,
including Horia Bogdan, Maximilian Schüte, Jan, Samantha Morris and POOOP KING. Cheers.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. wouldn't it mean that there's another heir to the throne of dorne even if she is a bastard? if i remember correctly the dornish normally had a female ruler?

  2. one of the reason WOW is taking so long (i think) is because Geroge has created so many characters that could do so many things that he can't decide what to do with them.

  3. Just now realised, you said that Jon might be the "rightful ruler of Westeros", but Rhaegar, I think, died before the Mad King so was never crowned king, so it should pass to his next kid, not Rhaegar's kid. Danny should be the next in line, no? Or cuz she's a lady does she get skipped for her nephew?

  4. Damn I never even put that together after reading the books slowly over 4 times savoring the details. It’s so obvious now

  5. The creator doesnt watch the series carefully, perhaps out of this arrogance of having read the book but I doubt he was attentive there either. In the series it clearly says that Oberyn Martell has 8 daughters (episode where he walks with Cercei), and yes he speaks of Elia too (watch the episode he arrives at king's landing and chats with Tyrion). I have noticed this pattern of showing that you know it all without actually knowing it – in many of your videos, I guess I just kept watching for a while hoping to come across some detail that was actually correct and I may have missed it, but no, its really all born out of self-deceptive curiosity out of your lack of knowledge of the series itself.

  6. Oberyn actually mentions in the series that he has 8 daughters, not just three, although only three are shown in the TV series.

  7. With Winds of Winter hopefully coming soon, I'd love to see a refresher video , a synopsis of the previous book(s) and what to expect in the continuing storyline, I personally need a refresher, it's been so long since I read ADWD. THANKS

  8. in the tv series he has 8 daughters as well though we only see 3. he tells this to cersei when she ask him to take the ship to dorn. and he says that one of them is named after his sister.

  9. First impressions, less than a minute in, you show Alleryas, and I'm like… That's not a guy, did he say guy? That is definitely a girl… Then you explain it could actually be a girl. Welp, looks like I'm on board for this theory. Choo choo!

    Edit after finishing… CHOO CHOO.

  10. What if night king is one of those spinkx "don't know if spelled right". Then Dany,John and the night king have a dragon each

  11. "I'm no lord's son." Not only that she is a daughter and not a son, but also, Oberyn is a prince (or at least that's the title he uses) and not a lord. So, the statement is true, twice.

  12. What if Tyrion is the sphinx? He's a halfman, half Lion (Joanna Lannister) and half dragon (Aerys bastard secret Targaryen)

  13. can I please do free character sketches for whoever you need? Would be a lot of fun. Huge fan! Here's a link to my work: https://www.instagram.com/andrewdoma/

  14. "Dragon must have three heads." Almost everyone is speaking about three riders but what if there must be three living dragons?

  15. Didn't Sam give the horn away to pay the summer islanders for bringing them to Oldtown on their ship?
    Edit: Nope, I reread that part and he still has it.

  16. "Ποιο ον το πρωί στέκεται στα τέσσερα, το μεσημέρι στα δύο και το βράδυ στα τρία?"

  17. Mastered 3 subjects in a year? Must not be much to learn. Or really it's a fiction "superhero" character. Thing I like about Martin is he doesn't do that often, his characters are more grounded, but sometimes…

  18. You are looking at the widow's peak in the negative, they're actually the best nature could do to give man horns, flesh horns embedded in the hair line.

  19. I sure wish Oberyn Martell lasted longer in the TV series. I so dig that actor in everything I've seen him in.

  20. Could be rhaenys Targaryen. Who changed her name to sarella then changed it to Alleras to study. Rhaenys looked like her dornish mother Elia martell and not like her father rhaegar Targaryen. And wouldn’t make her a lords son but a princes daughter. Would make her the third dragon. But most likely not. Because then dorne wouldn’t care for Danny at all. I’m just diving down the rabbit hole of what if.

  21. Did Aemon not fall in love with the wrong woman, took the black to avoid twyin. Also twyin hints he's not his child. His half lion.., is actually a dragon, because he's not a Lannister. Tyrion and aemon . Both get in trouble for woman. Both genius. Tyrion also shown he can be around dragons and Jona 3rd head. Benji never told anyone

  22. Kings Landing is a Croatian city Dubrovnik, and the city Oldtown is also a town in Croatia near Dubrovnik literally named Oldtown (Starigrad)

  23. That glass candle thing is so cool. When it lit due to the dragons I would have thought that would have been the sort of cool iconic spectacle that would have been perfect for the TV show. Shame they didn't add it in, they could of arranged the story any which way to add it in they didn't have to use Alleras.

    The best ending for me would be the White Watchers winning and then it was shown that the Night King was Azor Ahai. Which makes zero sense, but i'd love it!

  24. The sphinx represents the evolution of man: from animalistic to a higher spiritual form, or so some say, and is also the spiritual guardian of the mysteries of nature.

  25. "The sphynx is the riddle, not the riddler"
    Jon is the sword, not the hero (Rhaegar)
    Jon=Lightbringer confirmed.
    I know I'm delusional.

    btw, Tyrion, too, is a sphynx (half-lion, half-dragon)

  26. Give me one good reason why Doran cannot kidnap a person from the Citadel? Citadel is close to Dorne and anyone can enter
    And even if Sorela was using a glamour, you think no one at the citadel is capable of seeing through glamours
    And without glamour, people are not stupid ar oldtown, someone would notice a difference between a man and a woman
    Unless she also has a functional penis?

  27. Now the prologue and epilogue of A Feast for Crows finally makes sense to me. When I read it, it sounded like a chapter from another book.

  28. Dammit it. Now that I've started reading again, there's so many books I want to read… I don't know which I should start with after I finish the few I already have

  29. In the show, Oberyn has 8 too. Or atleast he used to before D&D forgot. He told Cersei that he had 8 daughters back in S04. But I guess D&D forgot, so now he only has 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *