Difference between revisions of "Little birds"

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[[File:Melissa Findley Little Bird.JPG|A little bird. © FFG|thumb|350px|right]]
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{{hatnote|"Little bird" is also Sandor Clegane's nickname for [[Sansa Stark]].}}
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[[File:Little birds by Donato.jpg|thumb|350px|right|Little birds © Donato Giancola]]
 
'''Little birds''' are what [[Varys]] calls his network of spies all over the [[Seven Kingdoms]] and perhaps beyond. The little birds supply Varys with much of his intelligence.  
 
'''Little birds''' are what [[Varys]] calls his network of spies all over the [[Seven Kingdoms]] and perhaps beyond. The little birds supply Varys with much of his intelligence.  
  
==Mice in [[Pentos]]==
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==History==
[[Varys]] originally started out as a thief in [[Myr]], but after a rival thief informed on him, he fled to [[Pentos]]. There, Varys met [[Illyrio Mopatis]], and together they formed a team. Varys would spy on lesser thieves and steal from them, whilst Illyrio offered help to the victems of those thieves, for a reward.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}
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==Mice in Pentos==
 +
[[Varys]] started out as a thief in [[Myr]], but after a rival thief informed on him, he fled to [[Pentos]]. There, Varys met [[Illyrio Mopatis]], and together they formed a team. Varys spied on lesser thieves and stole from them, whilst Illyrio offered help to the victims of those thieves for a reward.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}
  
After a while, Varys stopped spying and stealing himself, but started to train his "mice". Varys preferred the orphan boys and young girls, the smallest, those who were quickest and quiet. He taught them to climb walls and slip down chimneys. Very important, he taught them how to read.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}
+
After a while, Varys stopped spying and stealing himself and instead started to train his "mice". Varys preferred small orphan boys and young girls who were quick and quiet. He taught them to climb walls, to slip down chimneys, and to read.{{Ref|aDwD|5}} When Varys explained to Illyrio how secrets were worth more than silver or sapphires, the mice started stealing letters, ledgers and charts. The mice were eventually taught to read the letters and leave them where they were.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}
  
When Varys explained to Illyrio how secrets were worth more than silver or sapphires, the mice started stealing letters, ledgers and charts. Even later, the mice were taught to read the letters and leave them where they were.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}
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==Birds in King's Landing==
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[[File:Melissa Findley Little Bird.JPG|thumb|350px|right|A little bird by Melissa Findley © Fantasy Flight Games]]
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King [[Aerys II Targaryen]] grew mistrustful of his heir, Prince [[Rhaegar Targaryen]], his wife, Queen [[Rhaella Targaryen]], and his [[Hand of the King]], Lord [[Tywin Lannister]]. When word of Varys's talents reached the [[Red Keep]], he was called from [[Pentos]] across the [[narrow sea]] to King's Landing to serve Aerys as the [[master of whisperers]] and spymaster.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}{{ref|TWOIAF|The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II}}
  
==Birds in [[King's Landing]]==
+
Although no longer living in the same city, Varys and [[Illyrio Mopatis]] continued to work together. The Pentoshi magister provides Varys with his new spies, called little birds in King's Landing. It is hinted that the children who become little birds have had their tongues cut out to prevent them from telling their secrets to others.{{Ref|aGoT|32}} The birds are provided to Varys in those conditions.<ref>[http://towerofthehand.com/blog/2013/05/27-conquest-44-report-grrm/ Q&A Before/After reading ConQuest 44 (May 25, 2013)]</ref> Varys's spies are able to navigate secret passages in the Red Keep.{{ref|ASOS|77}}{{ref|AWOIAF|Varys}}
Word of Varys' talents reached the [[Red Keep]] in [[King's Landing]], where King [[Aerys II Targaryen]] had grown mistrustful of his [[Rhaegar Targaryen|heir]], [[Rhaella Targaryen|wife]] and [[Tywin Lannister|Hand]]. Varys thus came to King's Landing to serve Aerys, as the Master of Whispers.{{Ref|aDwD|5}} Whilst no longer living in the same city, Varys and Illyrio kept working together. It is Illyrio who provides Varys with his new spies, called '''little birds''' in King's Landing. It is hinted that the children who become little birds have their tongues cut out, as to prevent secrets from getting out.{{Ref|aGoT|32}} The birds are provided to Varys in those conditions.<ref>Q&A Before/After reading ConQuest 44, May 25, 2013 [http://towerofthehand.com/blog/2013/05/27-conquest-44-report-grrm/]</ref>
 
  
==Revent Events==
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Little birds informed Varys about the murder of Princess [[Elia Martell]] by Ser [[Gregor Clegane]].{{ref|ACOK|17}}
===A Game of Thrones===
 
The birds warn Varys about the sudden arrival of [[Catelyn Tully]] in [[King's Landing]].{{Ref|aGoT|18}}
 
[[Petyr Baelish]] warns [[Eddard Stark]] that Varys' birds are watching him.{{Ref|aGoT|25}} This particular bird is a young boy, who was squatting by the steps of the armory door, honing a sword with an oilstone.{{Ref|aGoT|25}} He had a view on the Tower of the Hand from this position.
 
  
[[Arya Stark]] overhears Varys telling [[Illyrio Mopatis]] in the dungeons of the Red Keep that he needs new birds.{{Ref|aGoT|32}}
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==Recent Events==
 +
===''A Game of Thrones''===
 +
The birds warn Lord [[Varys]] about the sudden arrival of [[Catelyn Stark]] in [[King's Landing]].{{Ref|aGoT|18}}
  
===A Clash of Kings===
+
Lord [[Petyr Baelish]] warns Lord [[Eddard Stark]] that Varys's birds are watching him. One is a young boy squatting by the steps of the armory door, honing a sword with an oilstone.{{Ref|aGoT|25}}
Varys is warned by his birds about [[Shae]], the whore [[Tyrion Lannister]] had tried to sneak into [[King's Landing]], since [[Tywin Lannister|his father]] had forbidden him to take the girl to court with him.  
 
  
===A Storm of Swords===
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[[Arya Stark]] overhears Varys telling [[Illyrio Mopatis]] in the dungeons of the [[Red Keep]] that he needs new birds, though she does not know who is speaking or understand their conversation.{{Ref|aGoT|32}}
While questioning [[Sansa Stark]] about [[Joffrey Baratheon]], Lady [[Olenna Tyrell]] demands her fool to sing as loud as he possibly can, to prevent others, including Varys' birds, from hearing anything that is being said.
 
  
===A Feast for Crows===
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===''A Clash of Kings''===
[[Cersei Lannister]], fearing that her brother Tyrion is hiding inside the hidden passages of the [[Red Keep]], doesn't realise the people she hears are actually Varys' birds, who are still operating from behind the walls.{{Ref|aFfC|32}}
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Varys is warned by his birds about [[Shae]], the whore [[Tyrion Lannister]] had tried to sneak into [[King's Landing]], since his father, Lord [[Tywin Lannister]], had forbidden Tyrion to take the girl to court with him.{{ref|acok|3}}  
  
===A Dance with Dragons===
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===''A Storm of Swords''===
Varys sends one of his bird to fetch [[Kevan Lannister]] and bring him to the chambers of Grandmaester [[Pycelle]]. Once there, Varys mortally wounds Kevan, and has several of his little birds finish the job.{{Ref|aDwD|Epilogue}}
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After Varys speaks about the [[Conclave]], Tyrion concludes that the spymaster has little birds at the [[Citadel]] in [[Oldtown]].{{ref|ASOS|12}}
  
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While questioning [[Sansa Stark]] about King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]], Lady [[Olenna Tyrell]] demands her [[fool]], [[Butterbumps]], to sing as loud as he possibly can, to prevent others, including Varys's birds, from hearing anything that is being said.{{ref|asos|6}} This is successful, as the one to tell Tywin about the secret plan to marry Sansa to [[Willas Tyrell]] is Petyr (informed by his spy [[Dontos Hollard]]),{{ref|asos|16}} not Varys.{{ref|asos|19}}
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Petyr reveals to Sansa that he had Dontos meet her in the Red Keep's [[godswood]] because it is the only place in the castle that cannot be spied upon by Varys's little birds.{{ref|asos|61}}
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===''A Feast for Crows''===
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Queen Regent [[Cersei Lannister]], fearing that her brother Tyrion is hiding inside the hidden passages of the Red Keep after his murder of Tywin, does not realize the people she hears are actually Varys's birds behind the walls.{{Ref|aFfC|32}}
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===''A Dance with Dragons''===
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Varys sends one of his birds to fetch the new regent, Ser [[Kevan Lannister]], and bring him to the chambers of Grand Maester [[Pycelle]], whom he has already murdered. Varys mortally wounds Kevan, tells him of [[Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar)|Aegon Targaryen]], and has several of his little birds end Kevan's suffering with their daggers.{{Ref|aDwD|Epilogue}}
  
 
==Quotes==
 
==Quotes==
{{Quote|“Nothing happens in [[King's Landing|this city]] without Varys knowing. Oftimes he knows about it before it happens. He has informants everywhere. His little birds, he calls them.{{ref|agot|18}}}} – [[Littlefinger]], to [[Catelyn Stark]]
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{{Quote|Nothing happens in [[King's Landing|this city]] without Varys knowing. Oftimes he knows about it before it happens. He has informants everywhere. His little birds, he calls them.{{ref|agot|18}}|[[Petyr Baelish]] to [[Catelyn Stark]]}}
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{{Quote|'''Varys''': I must have gold, and another fifty birds.<br>'''Illyrio''': So many? The ones you need are hard to find... so young, to know their letters... perhaps older... not die so easy...<br>'''Varys''': No. The younger are safer... treat them gently...<br>'''Illyrio''': ...if they kept their tongues...<br>'''Varys''': ...the risk...{{Ref|aGoT|32}}|[[Varys]] and [[Illyrio Mopatis]]}}
  
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{{Quote|It is one thing to deceive a king, and quite another to hide from the cricket in the rushes and the little bird in the chimney.{{ref|acok|15}}|Varys to [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
  
{{Quote|Mice in the walls, she would tell herself, no more than that.{{Ref|aFfC|32}}}} - [[Cersei Lannister]]
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{{quote|In the [[Red Keep]] a man did best to hold his tongue. There were rats in the walls, and little birds who talked too much, and spiders.{{ref|ASOS|1}}|thoughts of [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
  
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{{Quote|It had to be the [[godswood]]. No other place in the [[Red Keep]] is safe from [[Varys|the eunuch's]] little birds... or little rats, as I call them. There are trees in the godswood instead of walls. Sky above instead of ceiling. Roots and dirt and rock in place of floor. The rats have no place to scurry. Rats need to hide, lest men skewer them with swords.{{ref|asos|61}}|[[Petyr Baelish]] to [[Sansa Stark]]}}
  
{{Quote|I must have gold, and another fifty birds.<br>So many? The ones you need are hard to find... so young, to know their letters... perhaps older... not die so easy...
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{{Quote|At night Cersei sometimes heard soft sounds, even in her own apartments. Mice in the walls, she would tell herself, no more than that.{{Ref|aFfC|32}}|thoughts of [[Cersei Lannister]]}}
No. The younger are safer... treat them gently...
 
...if they kept their tongues...
 
...the risk...{{Ref|aGoT|32}}}} - [[Varys]] and [[Illyrio Mopatis]] discussing new birds, a conversation partly overheard by [[Arya Stark]]
 
  
==References and Notes==
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{{quote|They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together. And in their hands, the daggers.{{ref|ADWD|Epilogue}}|thoughts of [[Kevan Lannister]]}}
{{References}}
 
  
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==References==
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{{references}}
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[[Category:Spies]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
 
[[Category:Terms]]
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[[Category:Tongueless]]
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[[fr:Petits oiseaux]]
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[[ru:Пташки Вариса]]

Latest revision as of 16:23, 14 May 2019

Little birds © Donato Giancola

Little birds are what Varys calls his network of spies all over the Seven Kingdoms and perhaps beyond. The little birds supply Varys with much of his intelligence.

History

Mice in Pentos

Varys started out as a thief in Myr, but after a rival thief informed on him, he fled to Pentos. There, Varys met Illyrio Mopatis, and together they formed a team. Varys spied on lesser thieves and stole from them, whilst Illyrio offered help to the victims of those thieves for a reward.[1]

After a while, Varys stopped spying and stealing himself and instead started to train his "mice". Varys preferred small orphan boys and young girls who were quick and quiet. He taught them to climb walls, to slip down chimneys, and to read.[1] When Varys explained to Illyrio how secrets were worth more than silver or sapphires, the mice started stealing letters, ledgers and charts. The mice were eventually taught to read the letters and leave them where they were.[1]

Birds in King's Landing

A little bird by Melissa Findley © Fantasy Flight Games

King Aerys II Targaryen grew mistrustful of his heir, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, his wife, Queen Rhaella Targaryen, and his Hand of the King, Lord Tywin Lannister. When word of Varys's talents reached the Red Keep, he was called from Pentos across the narrow sea to King's Landing to serve Aerys as the master of whisperers and spymaster.[1][2]

Although no longer living in the same city, Varys and Illyrio Mopatis continued to work together. The Pentoshi magister provides Varys with his new spies, called little birds in King's Landing. It is hinted that the children who become little birds have had their tongues cut out to prevent them from telling their secrets to others.[3] The birds are provided to Varys in those conditions.[4] Varys's spies are able to navigate secret passages in the Red Keep.[5][6]

Little birds informed Varys about the murder of Princess Elia Martell by Ser Gregor Clegane.[7]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

The birds warn Lord Varys about the sudden arrival of Catelyn Stark in King's Landing.[8]

Lord Petyr Baelish warns Lord Eddard Stark that Varys's birds are watching him. One is a young boy squatting by the steps of the armory door, honing a sword with an oilstone.[9]

Arya Stark overhears Varys telling Illyrio Mopatis in the dungeons of the Red Keep that he needs new birds, though she does not know who is speaking or understand their conversation.[3]

A Clash of Kings

Varys is warned by his birds about Shae, the whore Tyrion Lannister had tried to sneak into King's Landing, since his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, had forbidden Tyrion to take the girl to court with him.[10]

A Storm of Swords

After Varys speaks about the Conclave, Tyrion concludes that the spymaster has little birds at the Citadel in Oldtown.[11]

While questioning Sansa Stark about King Joffrey I Baratheon, Lady Olenna Tyrell demands her fool, Butterbumps, to sing as loud as he possibly can, to prevent others, including Varys's birds, from hearing anything that is being said.[12] This is successful, as the one to tell Tywin about the secret plan to marry Sansa to Willas Tyrell is Petyr (informed by his spy Dontos Hollard),[13] not Varys.[14]

Petyr reveals to Sansa that he had Dontos meet her in the Red Keep's godswood because it is the only place in the castle that cannot be spied upon by Varys's little birds.[15]

A Feast for Crows

Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, fearing that her brother Tyrion is hiding inside the hidden passages of the Red Keep after his murder of Tywin, does not realize the people she hears are actually Varys's birds behind the walls.[16]

A Dance with Dragons

Varys sends one of his birds to fetch the new regent, Ser Kevan Lannister, and bring him to the chambers of Grand Maester Pycelle, whom he has already murdered. Varys mortally wounds Kevan, tells him of Aegon Targaryen, and has several of his little birds end Kevan's suffering with their daggers.[17]

Quotes

Nothing happens in this city without Varys knowing. Oftimes he knows about it before it happens. He has informants everywhere. His little birds, he calls them.[8]

Varys: I must have gold, and another fifty birds.
Illyrio: So many? The ones you need are hard to find... so young, to know their letters... perhaps older... not die so easy...
Varys: No. The younger are safer... treat them gently...
Illyrio: ...if they kept their tongues...
Varys: ...the risk...[3]

It is one thing to deceive a king, and quite another to hide from the cricket in the rushes and the little bird in the chimney.[18]

—Varys to Tyrion Lannister

In the Red Keep a man did best to hold his tongue. There were rats in the walls, and little birds who talked too much, and spiders.[19]

—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

It had to be the godswood. No other place in the Red Keep is safe from the eunuch's little birds... or little rats, as I call them. There are trees in the godswood instead of walls. Sky above instead of ceiling. Roots and dirt and rock in place of floor. The rats have no place to scurry. Rats need to hide, lest men skewer them with swords.[15]

At night Cersei sometimes heard soft sounds, even in her own apartments. Mice in the walls, she would tell herself, no more than that.[16]

—thoughts of Cersei Lannister

They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together. And in their hands, the daggers.[17]

—thoughts of Kevan Lannister

References