Illyrio Mopatis

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Pentos.svg Magister
Illyrio Mopatis
Illyrio Mopatis by Amoka.jpg
Illyrio Mopatis by Amok ©

Title Magister of the Free City of Pentos[3]
Allegiance House Targaryen
Culture Pentoshi
Born Pentos[4]

Played by Roger Allam
TV series Game of Thrones: Season 1

Illyrio Mopatis is a wealthy magister from the Free City of Pentos who deals in spices,[3] gemstones,[3] dragonbone,[3] cheese,[1] and slaves,[5] among other things. He has a variety of plans. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Roger Allam.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Illyrio Mopatis
Young Illyrio and Varys in Pentos, by Pojypojy ©

Illyrio was once a muscular and handsome sellsword, slender and tall.[4] A statue of his youthful self carved by Pytho Malanon graces the court in his manse in Pentos. It depicts a naked boy, no older than sixteen, standing in the water of a marble pool, poised to duel with a bravo's blade shimmering like steel. The statue is lithe and handsome with straight blond hair brushing its shoulders.[1]

After having gained significant wealth and power, however, Illyrio has grown morbidly obese.[3] 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. When he laughs his flesh bounces vigorously.[1] Illyrio's forked yellow beard,[3] which he tends to stroke,[6][1] is oiled so it gleams like gold.[3][1] Although he uses heavy perfumes, Illyrio's flesh can still be smelled by bystanders.[3] He has crooked yellow teeth.[3] Despite his bulk, the magister can walk lightly,[7] a remnant of having been a bravo as a youth. Illyrio often eats and drinks,[1][5] and he takes frequent breaks to empty his bladder.[5]

An amiable man who speaks with a honeyed voice,[3] Illyrio has friends throughout the known world, including the Free Cities, Vaes Dothrak, and the Jade Sea.[3] He is close to Lord Varys,[1] the master of whisperers to King Robert I Baratheon,[7][1] and is fond of Young Griff.[8] Daenerys Targaryen, however, distrusts the magister.[3] Illyrio speaks the Common Tongue with an accent of the Free Cities.[7] He can speak the Dothraki language as well,[3] and is familiar with Dothraki customs.[6]

Although slavery is outlawed in Pentos according to its treaty with Braavos, Illyrio's servants are slaves in all but name. His favorite is a fair-haired, blue-eyed sixteen-year-old woman.[3]

Illyrio owns some of the orchards, farms, and mines in the Flatlands, although he rarely visits them.[5] Gemstone rings owned by Illyrio include amethyst, black diamond, emerald, green pearl, jade, jet, onyx, opal, ruby, sapphire, slitted yellow tiger's eye, and tourmaline.[7][1] His bedrobe is large enough to serve as a tourney pavilion.[1] Illyrio's palanquin is elaborately carved and is carried by a dozen strong men.[3] The magister keeps a panther in his menagerie.[3]


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 rich. Illyrio grew respectable and married the maiden daughter of a cousin of the Prince of Pentos;[5] only with the help of Varys did he reach a position where the daughter of a magister was willing to marry him.[9]

After his first wife died, Illyrio remarried at least once, wedding Serra, a Lysene pillow house worker. This infuriated the Prince of Pentos, who barred the palace to Illyrio forever after. Illyrio was happy with Serra until the Treasure, a Braavosi trading galley carrying the grey death, 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 in his bedchamber as a reminder of his lost love.[5]

Illyrio has kept in close contact with Varys in the decades since he left to serve in Westeros.[7][1][5] Illyrio was also acquainted with Jon Connington, Lord of Griffin's Roost, who was exiled by King Aerys II Targaryen during Robert's Rebellion and reportedly drank himself to death[10] in Lys.[2]

Illyrio has kept an eye on the remaining Targaryens, Viserys and Daenerys, for years whilst they lived in exile in the Free Cities.[4] Eventually, he took them into his manse, keeping them under his protection.[3] He was smitten at first by the beauty of Daenerys and thought of eliminating Viserys and claiming the girl as a wife, but he dismissed this idea soon as he believed Daenerys too timid and frightened and that coupling with her would give him no pleasure. Illyrio 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.[5] Illyrio found Doreah in a pleasure house in Lys,[11] and he has allowed Viserys to bed her.[12]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Illyrio has been hosting Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen at his manse in Pentos for almost half a year. He hopes to be rewarded if Viserys is able to reclaim the Iron Throne for House Targaryen, and he encourages Viserys's ambitions by telling him of Westerosi people awaiting the return of their rightful king.[3]

Illyrio brokers an arranged marriage between Daenerys and Khal Drogo, so that Viserys can use Drogo's powerful khalasar as an invasion force. Before introducing the girl to the khal, Illyrio attires Daenerys with a plum silken gown, a tiara, gilded sandals, golden bracelets encrust with amethysts, and a golden collar decorated with Valyrian glyphs.[3]

Illyrio with dragon eggs, by Amok ©

The magister provides fine wines for the wedding feast, and he gives Daenerys three petrified dragon eggs as wedding gifts.[6] Viserys gives his sister three servants—Doreah, Irri, and Jhiqui—although Daenerys realizes the women were actually provided by Illyrio.[6]

While exploring the lower levels of the Red Keep, Arya Stark overhears Illyrio and Lord Varys scheming on behalf of Daenerys against King Robert I Baratheon, although she does not recognize them. Arya tells her father, Lord Eddard Stark, but the Hand of the King thinks his daughter simply overheard a pair of mummers in King's Landing for the Hand's tourney.[7]

Magister Illyrio encourages Viserys to remain with him in Pentos, but the would-be king insists on accompanying Drogo and Daenerys when they depart the coastal city.[11] Viserys ends up killed in Vaes Dothrak, the holy city of the Dothraki.[13]

Illyrio sends a letter warning that King Robert is offering rewards for the deaths of the remaining Targaryens, as Daenerys is pregnant with Drogo's child.[14]

Daenerys hatches the eggs after the deaths of Drogo and Rhaego, with three dragons emerging from Drogo's funeral pyre.[15]

A Clash of Kings

Ser Jorah Mormont, Daenerys's Queensguard,[16] distrusts Illyrio.[17]

Illyrio continues to look after Daenerys from afar, sending her Strong Belwas and his squire, Arstan Whitebeard, along with three ships commanded by Groleo[18] to take her back to Pentos, along with her young dragons, Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion.[19]

A Storm of Swords

Aboard the Balerion, Jorah and Daenerys discuss Illyrio. The knight counsels that Daenerys return to Pentos and Illyrio in her own time, and not alone. He advises her to use the valuable cargo of the Balerion, Vhagar and Meraxes to help purchase slaves, but Daenerys tells him that the cargo belongs to Illyrio. Jorah argues that if Illyrio would deny her then he is only Xaro Xhoan Daxos with four chins. Daenerys heeds his counsel and sails to Slaver's Bay where she can buy Unsullied.[18] Arstan advises Daenerys to trust Illyrio.[20]

One of Illyrio's ships, the Bountiful Harvest, is seized by Salladhor Saan, who has been named Lord of Blackwater Bay.[21]

A Dance with Dragons

Illyrio's mushrooms, by Tiziano Baracchi © Fantasy Flight Games

After Tyrion Lannister is convicted of treason in the poisoning of King Joffrey I Baratheon, Varys arranges to smuggle him out of King's Landing and across the narrow sea into Illyrio's care in Pentos. The cheesemonger takes Tyrion into his manse, although the exile is wary of possibly being poisoned by mushrooms.[1] Illyrio offers Tyrion a way to become Lord of Casterly Rock. He reveals the truth about Daenerys to Tyrion, who reluctantly agrees to travel to her. Illyrio also reveals that his interest in supporting the Targaryens is to become master of coin for the Seven Kingdoms.[1][5]

Tyrion and the magister travel in a litter and eventually meet with some of Illyrio's other cohorts.[5] 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.[8]

Haldon and Rolly bring Tyrion and six chests from Illyrio to Ghoyan Drohe, where they meet "Griff" and the crew of the Shy Maid.[8] Griff, actually the exiled Jon Connington, says that Illyrio has paid Nyessos Vhassar, a triarch of Volantis from the elephants, enough to own him eight times over.[22]

It is revealed that Illyrio, Jon, and Myles Toyne of the Golden Company had agreed to support the claim of "Young Griff", actually Aegon Targaryen, to the Iron Throne,[2] and the surviving plotters now hope to marry Aegon to Daenerys.[23] Aegon wears three huge square-cut rubies on a chain of black iron, a gift from the magister.[2] Tristan Rivers reveals that Illyrio had told the Golden Company that Daenerys, described as a pliable young child queen, was on her way to Pentos with her newly-hatched dragons.[2] She has remained in Meereen,[24] however, so Aegon convinces his sellsword supporters to invade Westeros without her.[2]


Illyrio by Jake Murray © Fantasy Flight Games

Viserys: The realm will rise for its rightful king. Tyrell, Redwyne, Darry, Greyjoy, they have no more love for the Usurper than I do. The Dornishmen burn to avenge Elia and her children. And the smallfolk will be with us. They cry out for their king. They do, don't they?
Illyrio: They are your people, and they love you well. In holdfasts all across the realm, men lift secret toasts to your health while women sew dragon banners and hide them against the day of your return from across the water. Or so my agents tell me.[3]

Viserys Targaryen and Illyrio

If one Hand can die, why not a second? You have danced the dance before, my friend.[7]

—Illyrio to Varys

Tyrion: Slaver's Bay is a long way from Pentos.
Illyrio: This is so, but the world is one great web, and a man dare not touch a single strand lest all the others tremble.[1]

Tyrion Lannister and Illyrio

Tyrion: Are you quite certain that Daenerys will make good her brother's promises?
Illyrio: She will, or she will not. I told you, my little friend, 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.[5]

—Illyrio to Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion: I admire your powers of persuasion. How did you convince the Golden Company to take up the cause of our sweet queen when they have spent so much of their history fighting against the Targaryens?
Illyrio: Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon.[5]

Tyrion Lannister and Illyrio

Tell the boy I am sorry that I will not be with him for his wedding. I will rejoin you in Westeros. That I swear, by my sweet Serra's hands.[8]

Quotes about Illyrio

Illyrio is no fool. The magister knows that I will not forget my friends when I come into my throne.[3]

He had friends in all of the Nine Free Cities, it was said, and even beyond, in Vaes Dothrak and the fabled lands beside the Jade Sea. It was also said that he'd never had a friend he wouldn't cheerfully sell for the right price.[3]

—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

Some pox-ridden Pentoshi 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.[25]

Daenerys: Illyrio protected us from the Usurper's knives, and he believed in my brother's cause."
Jorah: Illyrio believes in no cause but Illyrio. Gluttons are greedy men as a rule, and magisters are devious. Illyrio Mopatis is both.[17]

Daenerys: Magister Illyrio has protected me in the past. Strong Belwas says that he wept when he heard my brother was dead.
Jorah: Yes, but did he weep for Viserys, or for the plans he had made with him?[18]

Illyrio Mopatis. A whale with whiskers, I am telling you truly. These chairs were built to his measure, though he is seldom bestirring himself from Pentos to sit in them. A fat man always sits comfortably, I am thinking, for he takes his pillow with him wherever he goes.[21]

Lemore: Illyrio could not have been expected to know that the girl would choose to remain at Slaver's Bay.
Jon: No more than he knew that the Beggar King would die young, or that Khal Drogo would follow him into the grave. Very little of what the fat man has anticipated has come to pass. I have danced to the fat man's pipes for years, Lemore.[2]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Illyrio Mopatis.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
  9. So Spake Martin: ConJose, August 29, 2002
  10. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  13. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys X.
  16. A Clash of Kings, Appendix.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  19. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  20. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
  22. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 18, Tyrion V.
  23. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  24. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.

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