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Lord Varys, also known as the Spider, is the master of whisperers on the small council of the monarch on the Iron Throne. Born a slave in Lys, Varys apprenticed as an orphan to a troupe of mummers who worked the Free Cities, Oldtown, and occasionally King's Landing. While at Myr, Varys was sold to a man who used him in a blood magic ritual, during which his manhood was cut off and burned. Varys was left to die, but vowed to live. He rose to becoming the best thief in Myr, until he was forced to flee to Pentos. There, he befriended a poor sellsword, Illyrio Mopatis, with whom he started a business: after Varys stole people's possessions, Illyrio would return the objects for a small fee. Their wealth grew, and meanwhile they came to realize that information was much more valuable. During those days, Varys began to train his spy network, called "little mice".

Varys was eventually brought to the Seven Kingdoms by the Westerosi King Aerys II Targaryen, who had become mistrustful of his family and Hand of the King. Varys served Aerys as master of whisperers, and saw his influence grow quickly. He created a new spy-network, called "little birds", and mastered the secret passages within the Red Keep. After Aerys was killed during the Sack of King's Landing and Lord Robert Baratheon emerged victorious from Robert's Rebellion, Varys was pardoned by the new monarch and allowed to continue his services.

Varys has earned himself a reputation of being seemingly omniscient, but also as untrustworthy, as he often aides enemies, providing both sides with information. According to Ser Barristan Selmy, who served at the royal court with Varys for decades, Varys is where "the rot in King Aerys's reign began". Read more...