Illyrio Mopatis

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Illyrio Mopatis
Illyrio Mopatis by Amoka.jpg
Illyrio Mopatis by Amok©

Alias The Cheesemonger
The Fat Man
The Lord of Cheese
Title Magister of Pentos
Allegiance House Targaryen
Culture Pentoshi
Spouse Princess of Pentos 1st
Serra 2nd
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Appears)
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Appears)

Played by Roger Allem
TV series Season 1

Illyrio Mopatis is a wealthy and powerful Magister in the Free City of Pentos. He is a dealer in spices, gemstones, dragonbone, and other things.[1] He is morbidly obese, with yellow hair and a forked beard. For a time he served as custodian of the exiled Targaryens and now seeks to return them to the Iron Throne. In the TV series he is played by Roger Allem.


Illyrio is tall and morbidly obese, with an oiled forked yellow beard and crooked yellow teeth.[1] He has pig's eyes and fat cheeks. He has a huge white belly and a pair of heavy breasts that sag like sacks of suet covered with coarse yellow hair. His bedrobe is large enough to serve as a tourney pavilion.

He reminds Tyrion of a dead sea cow that once washed up in the caverns under Casterly Rock. When he laughs his flesh bounces vigorously. He tends to stroke one of the prongs of his oiled yellow beard, a gesture which Tyrion finds remarkably obscene.

While in the litter with Viserys and Illyrio on the way to Khal Drogo's manse, Daenerys can smell the stench of Illyrio's flesh through his heavy perfumes.

The gemstone rings on his hands are onyx and opal, tiger’s eye and tourmaline, ruby, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, jet and jade, a black diamond, and a green pearl. Tyrion thinks to himself that he could live for years on those rings, though he'd need a cleaver to claim them.

Earlier on, when Arya sees Illyrio with Varys by the well, it appears to her that he seems to walk lightly, carrying his weight as a water dancer might. His rings glimmer in the torchlight, red-gold and pale silver, crusted with rubies, sapphires, and slitted yellow tiger eyes; every finger bears a ring, some two.

In Pentos, young Varys befriended a poor sellsword named Illyrio Mopatis - by Pojypojy ©

In his youth, however, Illyrio was a sellsword and was muscular and exceptionally handsome.

A statue of his youthful self carved by Pytho Malanon graces the court in his manse. It is of a naked boy standing in the water of a marble pool, poised to duel with a bravo’s blade in hand. He is lithe and handsome, no older than sixteen, with straight blond hair that brushes his shoulders. So lifelike does the statue seem that it takes Tyrion a moment to realise he is made of painted marble, though his sword simmers like true steel.

Illyrio says he once wept looking at the statue of himself then and looking at himself now.[2]


As a young man, Illyrio was a poor bravo, living by his blade. After the young Varys arrived in Pentos they formed an unlikely friendship and worked together and became very rich. Illyrio grew very respectable and married the maiden daughter of a cousin of the Prince of Pentos. After she died, he remarried at least once, to a Lysene pillowhouse worker, Serra. This infuriated the Prince, who barred the palace to him forever after. Illyrio was very happy with Serra until a Braavosi trading galley - carrying the plague - anchored in Pentos. Through the rats the plague left the ship and killed two thousand in the city, among them Serra. Illyrio keeps a locket with Serra's picture and her hands as a reminder of his lost love.[3]

Even decades after Varys left to serve in Westeros the two still keep in close contact.

Illyrio has watched over the remaining Targaryens, having them stay at his manse under his protection. Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen stayed half a year before Dany's marriage to Khal Drogo. He was smitten at first by the beauty of Daenerys Targaryen and thought of eliminating Viserys and claiming her as a wife, but dismissed this idea soon as he believed the girl too timid and frightened and that coupling with her would give him no pleasure. He claims he protected Viserys and Daenerys on the grounds that Viserys promised to make him the Master of Coin upon his ascension to the Iron Throne.[3]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Illyrio with dragon eggs - by Amok ©

Apparently, Illyrio's interest in the Targaryens is purely financial, expecting to receive great riches in gratitude once a Targaryen regains power. He also inflames Viserys' ambitions by telling him of Westerosi people awaiting the return of their rightful king, of men drinking toasts to his health and women sewing dragon banners in secret.

Illyrio brokered the arranged marriage between Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo to use Drogo's powerful khalasar as an invasion force. He also worked with Varys, King Robert's spymaster, to engineer a strategic period of weakness for the Targaryens' invasion. He gifted Daenerys at her wedding with three petrified dragon eggs, not expecting that Daenerys would hatch them. Ironically, the dragons were worth more than anything Illyrio could hope to receive from Daenerys.[1][4]

Earlier on, when Ned Stark remarked to King Robert Baratheon that he cannot get his hands on Daenerys Targaryen Robert admits to Ned,

Some pox-ridden Pentosshi cheesemonger had her brother and her walled up on his estate with pointy-hatted eunuchs all around them, and now he’s handed them both over to the Dothraki. I should have had them both killed years ago, when it was easy to get to them. [5]

Robert was unaware that Illyrio was watching over the remaining Targaryens on behalf of his friend Varys - King Robert's own Master of Whisperers.

A Clash of Kings

Illyrio continued to look after Daenerys, sending her Strong Belwas and his squire, Arstan along with three ships to take her back to Pentos.[6]

A Storm of Swords

One of Illyrio's ships was seized by Salladhor Saan who had been named Lord of Blackwater Bay.

A Dance with Dragons

After Tyrion Lannister was convicted of treason in the poisoning of King Joffrey Baratheon, Varys arranged to smuggle him out of King's Landing and put him in Illyrio's care. When Tyrion arrives to Pentos Illyrio greets him, he hosts Tyrion and offers him a way to become Lord of Casterly Rock. He reveals the truth about Daenerys Targaryen to Tyrion. Tyrion though reluctant and wary saw it as his only chance to gain his birthright and agreed to travel to her. Illyrio also reveals that his interest in supporting the Targaryens is to become the Master of Coin of the Seven Kingdoms.

When a suspicious Tyrion further questions Illyrio as to his true motivations for helping Queen Daenerys Illyrio says,

Not all that a man does is done for gain. Believe as you wish, but even fat old fools like me have friends, and debts of affection to repay.[3]

Illyrio and Tyrion travel in a litter and eventually meet with some of Illyrio's other cohorts.[2] Illyrio greets Haldon and Rolly Duckfield and has Tyrion join them to continue the voyage to Volantis. Illyrio bids them a pleasant journey and returns to Pentos and his manse. Griff says that Illyrio has paid Triarch Nyessos Vhassar of the Elephant party enough to own him eight times over.[7]

Tristan Rivers reveals that Illyrio gave the Golden Company the erroneous impression that the Beggar King’s sister Daenerys was a pliable young child queen. [8]


The world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble.

"Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon". [3]

- Illyrio Mopatis, to Tyrion

"You Westerosi are all the same. You sew some beast upon a scrap of silk, and suddenly you are all lions or dragons or eagles".

- Illyrio Mopatis' opinion that people should not address themselves as the depicted sigils of their house.

Quotes about Illyrio

"Illyrio believes in no cause but Illyrio. Gluttons are greedy men as a rule, and magisters are devious. Illyrio Mopatis is both".[9]

- Ser Jorah

"Very little of what the fat man has anticipated has come to pass".

- Griff, to Septa Lemore

Illyrio: Any friend of my friend across the water is a friend to Illyrio Mopatis, yes. Tyrion: And any friend of Varys the Spider is someone I will trust just as far as I can throw him.[2]

Tyrion: Tell me, why should a magister of Pentos give three figs who wears the crown in Westeros? Where is the gain in this venture for you, my lord?

Illyrio: I am an old man, grown weary of this world and its treacheries. Is it so strange that I wish to do some good before my days are done, to help a sweet young girl regain her birthright?

Tyrion Next you will be offering me a suit of magic armour and a palace in Valyria.[3]

- Tyrion questioning Illyrio's reasons for helping the exiled Targaryens

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Characters_from_A_Song_of_Ice_and_Fire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Characters_from_A_Song_of_Ice_and_Fire. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.