Difference between revisions of "Varys"

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{{Infobox character
 
{{Infobox character
| Character_name = '''Varys'''
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| Character_name = Varys
| image          = [[File:Varys_by_Amoka.jpg|250px]]
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| image          = [[File:Varys_by_Amoka.jpg|300px]]
| image_caption  = Varys Portrait by Amoka©
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| image_caption  = Varys by Amok©
| Alias          = The Spider<br>The Eunuch<br>Rugen
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| Alias          = Lord Varys<br>The King's Spider{{Ref|AGOT|18}}<br>The eunuch{{Ref|AGOT|20}}<br>The Spider{{Ref|AGOT|25}}<br>[[Rugen]]<br>Lord Eunuch{{Ref|ACOK|25}}
| Title          = [[Master of Whisperers]]
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| Title          = [[Master of whisperers]]<br>[[Lord]]<br>[[Undergaoler]] (as [[Rugen]])
 
| Allegiance    =
 
| Allegiance    =
 
| Race          =
 
| Race          =
 
| Culture        =
 
| Culture        =
 
| Spouse        =
 
| Spouse        =
| Place_of_Birth =
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| Place_of_Birth = [[Lys]]{{Ref|AWOIAF| Varys}}
 
| Date_of_Birth  =
 
| Date_of_Birth  =
 
| Place_of_Death =
 
| Place_of_Death =
 
| Date_of_Death  =
 
| Date_of_Death  =
| Books          = [[A Game of Thrones]] (Appears)<br>[[A Clash of Kings]] (Appears)<br>[[A Storm of Swords]] (Appears)<br>[[A Feast for Crows]] (Mentioned)<br>[[A Dance with Dragons]] (Appears)
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| Books          = ''[[The World of Ice & Fire]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Game of Thrones]]'' (appears)<br>''[[A Clash of Kings]]'' (appears)<br>''[[A Storm of Swords]]'' (appears)<br>''[[A Feast for Crows]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Dance with Dragons]]'' (appears)
| coat-of-arms  =
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| Coat-of-arms  =
| Played_by      = Conleth Hill
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| Played_by      = [[w:Conleth Hill|Conleth Hill]]
| TV_series      = [[Game of Thrones - Season 1|Season 1]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 2|Season 2]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 3|Season 3]]
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| TV_series      = [[Game of Thrones - Season 1|Season 1]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 2|Season 2]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 3|Season 3]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 4|Season 4]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 5|Season 5]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 6|Season 6]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 7|Season 7]] {{!}} [[Game of Thrones - Season 8|Season 8]]
 
}}
 
}}
  
Lord '''Varys''', called '''"the Spider"''', is the enigmatic member of the [[small council]] and [[Master of Whisperers]], or spymaster, for the [[Iron Throne]] of the [[Seven Kingdoms]]. In the [[Game of Thrones|TV series]] he is played by Conleth Hill.<ref>[http://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/index.html#/game-of-thrones/cast-and-crew.html/eNrjcmbOYC5kzlfPz0lxzEvMqSzJTA5ITE-1S8xN1SzLTEnNh4k65+eVpFaUsEknlpbkF+QkVtqWFJWmcjIysgEhAGCyFzg= HBO: Game of Thrones: cast and crew]</ref>
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Lord '''Varys''', also known as '''"the Spider"''', is the [[master of whisperers]] on the [[small council]] of King [[Robert I Baratheon]],{{ref|agot|appendix}} a position he previously held for King [[Aerys II Targaryen]].{{Ref|agot|12}} In the television adaptation ''[[Game of Thrones]]'' he is played by [[w:Conleth Hill|Conleth Hill]].<ref>[http://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/index.html#/game-of-thrones/cast-and-crew.html/eNrjcmbOYC5kzlfPz0lxzEvMqSzJTA5ITE-1S8xN1SzLTEnNh4k65+eVpFaUsEknlpbkF+QkVtqWFJWmcjIysgEhAGCyFzg= HBO: Game of Thrones: cast and crew]</ref>
  
==Character & Appearance==
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==Appearance and Character==
Varys is a [[eunuch]]; he is plump, completely bald and effeminate.  He has soft white hands.  He powders his face. {{Ref|aCoK|3}}
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:''See also: [[:Category:Images of Varys|Images of Varys]]''
  
He prefers comfortable clothing, fine silks (often in outrageous colors), and soft slippers that allow him to walk without making any sound. His outward manner is obsequious, mysterious, and squeamish.  He is a master of disguise and can easily change his appearance, gait, smell, and costume to become unrecognizable.
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Varys is a plump, bald, and effeminate [[eunuch]]. He has soft white hands. He powders his face and smells of lavender, lilacs, and rosewater.{{Ref|aCoK|3}}{{Ref|aGoT|30}}{{ref|ACOK|8}}{{ref|ASOS|66}}
  
Secrets are Varys’s trade, and his skill at acquiring them has earned him a reputation for being seemingly omniscient. Crucial to his trade is a spy network of children that he refers to as his ''"little birds"''.
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When at court, Varys wears rich silks, velvets, and damasks and soft slippers.{{ref|AGOT|30}}{{ref|AGOT|65}} His outward manner is obsequious, mysterious, and squeamish. However, he is a master of disguise and can change his appearance, gait, smell, and costume to become unrecognizable.{{Ref|aGoT|30}}{{Ref|aCoK|44}}{{Ref|aSoS|12}}
  
His history of providing information to all sides, of aiding enemies, of pitting rivals against one another, and of manipulation to achieve his ends has earned him a reputation of being distasteful and untrustworthy amongst the nobles at court. In private, however, he claims to value order, stability, and peace above all, and professes loyalty to those who work for those goals as well.
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Secrets are Varys's trade, and his skill at acquiring them has earned him a reputation for being seemingly omniscient. Crucial to his trade is a spy network of children that he refers to as his little mice (in [[Pentos]]){{ref|ADWD|5}} or [[little birds]] (in [[Westeros]]).{{ref|AGOT|18}}
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Varys's history of providing information to all sides, of aiding enemies, of pitting rivals against one another, and of manipulation to achieve his ends has earned him a reputation of being distasteful and untrustworthy among the nobles at court.{{ref|AGOT|25}}{{ref|ACOK|8}} In private, however, he claims to value order, stability, and peace above all, and professes loyalty to those who work for those goals as well.{{ref|AGOT|58}}{{ref|ADWD|Epilogue}}
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Lord Varys is not a true [[lord]], having received the title as a courtesy for being a member of the [[small council]].{{ref|AGOT|18}}{{ref|ACOK|65}} As the [[master of whisperers]], he has the task of fostering division amongst the enemies of the [[Iron Throne]],{{Ref|adwd|70}} and gathering information on all that happens in the realm.  
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
 
[[File:Pojypojy_young_Illyrio_&_Varys.jpg‎‎|In [[Pentos]], young Varys befriended a poor sellsword named [[Illyrio Mopatis]] - by Pojypojy ©|thumb|300px|right]]
 
[[File:Pojypojy_young_Illyrio_&_Varys.jpg‎‎|In [[Pentos]], young Varys befriended a poor sellsword named [[Illyrio Mopatis]] - by Pojypojy ©|thumb|300px|right]]
Though nothing that Varys says can be completely trusted, he claims to have been born a slave in [[Lys]] that was sold and apprenticed to a traveling folly, a troupe of mummers who worked the [[Free Cities]], [[Oldtown]], and occasionally [[King's Landing]], by means of a fat little [[Ships|cog]] owned by the troupe's master. During their stay in [[Myr]], a man offered a large sum of money for Varys, an offer his master found too tempting to refuse. The man gave Varys a potion that made him powerless to move or speak, but did nothing to dull his senses as his manhood was cut off at the stem, then burnt in a brazier in a [[Blood Magic]] ritual. Varys claims to have held a hatred for all things magical ever since.{{Ref|aGoT|44}}
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===Free Cities===
 
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According to Grand Maester [[Pycelle]], Varys was born as a [[slave]] in [[Lys]].{{Ref|aGoT|25}} Varys says he was apprenticed as an orphan to a troupe of [[mummers]] who worked the [[Free Cities]], [[Oldtown]], and occasionally [[King's Landing]]. During their stay in [[Myr]], [[a certain man]] offered a large sum of money for Varys, an offer his master found too tempting to refuse. The man gave Varys a potion that made him powerless to move or speak, but did nothing to dull his senses as his manhood was cut off at the stem, then burnt in a brazier in a [[blood magic]] ritual. The man had no further use for Varys and tossed him out on the streets alone to die, Varys out of spite for the sorcerer vowed to live. Varys claims to have held a hatred for all things [[magic]]al ever since.{{Ref|aCoK|44}} He resorted to begging, [[prostitution]], and thievery, eventually becoming the best thief in Myr, until a rival forced him out and he fled to [[Pentos]].{{Ref|aCoK|44}}{{Ref|ADWD|5}}
With the ritual complete, the man had no further use for Varys and tossed him out on the streets. Varys asked the man what he should do, to which the sorcerer replied he supposed that he should die. Varys to spite him vowed to live.{{Ref|aGoT|44}}
 
 
 
By that time the mummers had sailed and Varys was left alone. He resorted to begging, prostitution and thievery and soon was as good a thief as any in Myr, eventually becoming recognized as the best thief in the city until a rival forced him out and he fled to [[Pentos]].{{Ref|aCoK|44}}  
 
 
 
In Pentos, Varys befriended a poor sellsword named [[Illyrio Mopatis]] and they started a business where Varys would steal objects from lesser thieves and Illyrio would get the objects back for their original owners for a small fee. Soon, every man and woman in Pentos who ever had valuables stolen from them all knew who to ask to get their valuables back. In addition, the thieves in Pentos soon began to seek Illyrio and Varys out, half to try (and failing) to kill them, the other half to sell them the objects they stole in order to prevent Varys from stealing them back.  Varys and Illyrio grew very rich.
 
 
 
Varys came to the realization that information was much more valuable than gold and gems and began training his spy network, then known as ''"little mice"'', to acquire the information, letters, ledgers and charts of the wealthy and powerful.  The "mice" were orphans purchased by Varys; he chose those that were small, quick, and quiet, and taught them to read and write, as well as the skills required for sneak thievery such as climbing walls and slipping down chimneys, so that they might copy the information Varys desired without disturbing or alarming their targets. 
 
 
 
These secrets increased Varys and Illyrio's wealth tenfold, and in time Varys became so infamous that word of his talents reached the ears of [[Aerys II Targaryen|King Aerys]] across the [[Narrow Sea]], who in his growing paranoia no longer trusted his [[Rhaegar Targaryen|son]], his [[Rhaella Targaryen|wife]], or his [[Tywin Lannister|Hand]]. {{Ref|aDwD|5}}
 
 
 
As spymaster in [[King's Landing]], Varys's influence grew with Aerys's paranoia, as he was quick to point out traitors and schemers to his liege.  Varys mastered the secret passages within the [[Red Keep]] and made good use of them with his spy network, who became known as his ''"little birds"''.  He had them memorize the passages and come to him whenever one discovered something of importance.  Notably, Varys alerted Aerys to the possibility that his son [[Rhaegar Targaryen|Rhaegar]] was using attendance at the [[Tourney at Harrenhal]] as a pretext to rally Lords to his cause in removing Aerys as king, causing Aerys to attend the tournament, the first time he had left the Red Keep in years since the [[Defiance of Duskendale]].
 
  
Following the [[Battle of the Trident]] during [[Robert's Rebellion]], Varys counseled Aerys to close his gates to [[Tywin Lannister]], as he could not be trusted. Aerys, however, listened to Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] and opened the gates to the Lannister forces, who proceeded to sack the city and kill the remaining Targaryens present.
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Impoverished and despised in Pentos, Varys made an agreement with a poor sellsword, [[Illyrio Mopatis]]. Varys would steal objects from lesser thieves and Illyrio would get the objects back for their original owners for a small fee. Soon, everyone in Pentos who ever had valuables stolen from them knew who to ask to get their belongings back. Varys and Illyrio quickly grew rich. Realizing the value of information, Varys began training his spy network to acquire the information, letters, ledgers and charts of the wealthy and powerful.  The [[little mice]] were agile orphans purchased by Varys.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}
  
Though he continued in his post for [[Robert Baratheon|King Robert]], Varys's loyalty seemingly remained with [[House Targaryen]]. He kept a secret arrangement with [[Illyrio Mopatis]], who seeks to put a Targaryen back on the [[Iron Throne]]. In fact, it was revealed that Varys switched the baby [[Aegon Targaryen|Aegon]] with that of a [[pisswater prince|peasant baby]]. With the realm and [[Robert Baratheon|Robert]] falsely believing him dead, Varys had Aegon smuggled across the Narrow Sea to be raised by [[Rhaegar Targaryen|Rhaegar's]] friend and exiled Hand of the King, [[Jon Connington]]. To conceal Connington's activities, Varys concocted the false story that Connington had drank himself to death after being caught stealing from the [[Golden Company]].
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===Westeros===
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[[File:Mike Capprotti Varys.JPG|300px|thumb|Varys and the [[Iron Throne]] - by Mike Capprotti ©]]
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These secrets increased Varys and Illyrio's wealth tenfold, and in time Varys became so infamous that word of his talents reached the ears of the [[Westeros]]i King [[Aerys II Targaryen]] across the [[narrow sea]]. In his growing paranoia, Aerys no longer trusted his son, Prince [[Rhaegar Targaryen]], his wife, Queen [[Rhaella Targaryen]], or his [[Hand of the King]], Lord [[Tywin Lannister]].{{Ref|aDwD|5}} Varys was brought to Aerys's court at some point after the death of Lord [[Steffon Baratheon]] in {{Date|278}}.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II}} As a spymaster in [[King's Landing]], Varys's influence grew with Aerys's increasing paranoia. According to Ser [[Barristan Selmy]], "the rot in King Aerys's reign began with Varys".{{Ref|asos|36}} Varys was always quick to point out any traitors Aerys might have missed.{{Ref|asos|37}} He used the crown's gold to create his spy network,{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II}} who he called his "[[little birds]]". Varys furthermore mastered the [[secret passages]] within the [[Red Keep]]. Varys alerted Aerys to the possibility that his son Rhaegar was using attendance at the [[tourney at Harrenhal]] as a pretext to rally lords to his cause in removing Aerys as king.{{Ref|adwd|67}} This caused Aerys to attend the tournament, the first time he had left the Red Keep since the [[Defiance of Duskendale]], four years prior.{{ref|adwd|67}}
  
==Known Disguises==
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Following Rhaegar's defeat during the [[Battle of the Trident]] at the end of [[Robert's Rebellion]], Varys counseled [[Aerys II Targaryen]] against opening the city gates{{Ref|asos|37}} when [[Tywin Lannister]] appeared at King's Landing with an army of twelve thousand men strong.{{Ref|agot|12}} Aerys, however, decided to listen to Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] and opened his gates to the Lannister forces, who sacked the city.{{ref|ASOS|37}} Varys was pardoned by the new king, [[Robert I Baratheon]], together with Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] and [[Kingsguard]] knight [[Jaime Lannister]].{{Ref|acok|55}} Varys was allowed to remain master of whisperers to Robert I.{{ref|ASOS|36}}
Varys employs the use of various disguises to go about unnoticed.  Upon seeing one of the disguises Tyrion remarks,
 
{{Quote|''"A different look, a different smell, a different way of walking ... most men would be deceived".'' {{Ref|aCoK|44}}}}
 
*As a [[Begging Brothers|begging brother]] {{Ref|aCoK|44}} – in filthy patched robes, bare feet crusty with dirt, a bowl hung about his neck on a leather thong were a [[septon]] would have worn a crystal.  The smell of him would have gagged a rat.  He has a mouth full of rotted teeth.  
 
*As a woman {{Ref|aSoS|12}} – plump, soft, matronly, with a round pin moon of a face and heavy dark curls.  For one horrid moment Tyrion thinks its [[Lollys]].
 
*As a dungeon turnkey named [[Rugen]]
 
  
 
==Recent Events==
 
==Recent Events==
[[File:Varys Eddard Stark Red Keep.jpg|300px|thumb|Varys attending a meeting with Lord [[Eddard Stark]] in the [[Red Keep]]. ([[Game of Thrones|TV series]])]]
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===''A Game of Thrones''===
===A Game of Thrones===
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[[File:Mike Capprotti Whisper Campaign.JPG|300px|thumb|Varys whispers to Lord [[Eddard Stark]] © Mike Capprotti]]
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One of Varys's spies, Ser [[Jorah Mormont]], sends word from [[Essos]] that the exiled Princess [[Daenerys Targaryen]] has wed Khal [[Drogo]]. Varys sends a rider to inform King [[Robert I Baratheon]], who is returning from [[Winterfell]] with his new [[Hand of the King]], Lord [[Eddard Stark]].{{ref|AGOT|12}} Varys does not recognize the [[Valyrian steel dagger]] used to attack [[Bran Stark]], but Lord [[Petyr Baelish]] claims to have once owned it.{{ref|AGOT|18}}
  
After the [[Hand's Tourney]], Varys disguises himself and comes to meet the [[Hand of the King]], Lord [[Eddard Stark]], at his chambers. He warns Eddard that Queen [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]] is trying to kill King [[Robert Baratheon|Robert]]. He states that his goal is peace and stability and professes to assist Lord Eddard in his investigations against [[House Lannister]]. Varys also reveals that the former hand, [[Jon Arryn]], was poisoned with the [[Tears of Lys]] for the crime of ''"asking questions"''.{{Ref|aGoT|30}}
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After the [[Hand's tourney]], Varys disguises himself and comes to meet Eddard at his chambers. He warns Eddard that Queen [[Cersei Lannister]] is trying to kill King Robert. He sttes that his goal is peace and stability and professes to assist Lord Eddard in his investigations against [[House Lannister]]. Varys also reveals that the former hand, Lord [[Jon Arryn]], was poisoned with the [[tears of Lys]].{{Ref|aGoT|30}}
  
Varys brings Ser [[Jorah Mormont|Jorah Mormont's]] report of [[Daenerys Targaryen]] being pregnant to the [[Small Council]], which results in King Robert's command to assassinate both her and her unborn child.  He meets Illyrio below the Red keep where they discuss how to delay a war between Stark and Lannister until the right time.{{Ref|aGoT|32}}  
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A disguised Varys meets [[Illyrio Mopatis]] to delay a war between Houses [[House Stark|Stark]] and [[House Lannister|Lannister]] until the right time.{{Ref|aGoT|32}} Varys brings Jorah's report of Daenerys being pregnant to the [[small council]], which results in Robert's command to assassinate both her and her unborn child.{{ref|AGOT|33}}  
  
When King Robert is slain, Varys remains master of whisperers for King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey]]. When Joffrey demands that someone take blame for his father's death, Varys suggests Ser [[Barristan Selmy]]. Joffrey and [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]] dismiss Selmy, a move many outside the council saw as a folly.{{Ref|aGoT|57}} Selmy later joined [[Daenerys Targaryen]] in the east as a result of his dismissal (this was most likely Varys plan the whole time). {{Ref|aCoK|63}}
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When King Robert is wounded while hunting in the [[kingswood]], Eddard orders Varys to halt the attempts on Daenerys's life.{{ref|AGOT|47}} Varys is in attendance when Cersei has Eddard arrested.{{ref|AGOT|49}}
  
After Eddard Stark is imprisoned, Varys visits him disguised as a jailor.  When tells Ned that his blood is that last thing he desires Ned points out that Varys stood by the queen, watched and said not a word as his personal guard was slaughtered.  Varys replies that he was unarmed, unarmored and surrounded by [[Lannister]] swords. He then looks a Ned curiously, tilts his head and tells him,
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[[File:Eeba-ism Varys&LF.jpg|310px|thumb|Varys and [[Petyr Baelish]] - by Eeba-ism ©]]
{{Quote|''"When I was a young boy, before I was cut, I traveled with a troupe of [[mummer]]s through the [[Free Cities]]. They taught me that each man has a role to play, in life as well was mummery.  So it is at court.  The [[King's Justice]] must be fearsome, the [[Master of Coin]] must be frugal, the Lord Commander of the [[Kingsguard]] must be valiant … and the [[Master of Whisperers]] must be sly and obsequious and without scruple.  A courageous informer would be as useless as a cowardly [[knight]]".''{{Ref|aGoT|58}}}}
 
Varys persuades Ned that for the sake of his daughter Sansa's life he must falsely confess to treason so Cersei will allow him to take the black, thus delaying a war between [[House Stark|Stark]] and [[House Lannister|Lannister]].  When Ned shows reluctance, Varys insinuates that the Lannisters will kill Sansa if Ned continues to defy them.  Ned asks who Varys truly serves, and Varys claims that the purpose of his machinations is not for personal power, honor, or loyalty, but simply the best intentions for the realm as a whole.{{Ref|aGoT|58}}
 
  
Despite Varys's intentions to spare Eddard Stark's life, Joffrey goes against the council's wishes and decides at the last minute to have Ned Stark executed instead of allowing him to take the [[Night's Watch|black]] much to the shock of Varys and the other onlookers.{{Ref|aGoT|65}}
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After Robert dies, Varys remains master of whisperers for the new king [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]]. When Joffrey demands that someone take the blame for his father's death, Varys suggests Ser [[Barristan Selmy]].{{ref|acok|3}} Joffrey and Cersei dismiss Barristan, a move many outside the council see as a folly.{{Ref|aGoT|57}}
  
===A Clash of Kings===
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After Eddard is imprisoned, Varys visits him disguised as a gaoler. Varys persuades Ned that for the sake of his daughter, [[Sansa Stark]], he must falsely confess to treason so Cersei will allow him to [[take the black]], thus delaying a war between Stark and Lannister.{{Ref|aGoT|58}} Despite Varys's intentions to spare Lord Stark's life, however, King Joffrey goes against the council's wishes and decides at the last minute to have Ned executed, much to the shock of Varys and the other onlookers at the [[Great Sept of Baelor]].{{Ref|aGoT|65}}
[[File:Varys TheMico.jpg|Varys - by TheMico ©|thumb|200px|right]]
 
  
[[Tyrion Lannister|Tyrion]] returns to the [[Broken Anvil]] after breaking the news to [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]] that he is acting [[Hand of the King]] to find [[Varys]] there with [[Shae]], much to his dismay. After some veiled threats between them, Varys asks if Tyrion has seen the Red Comet, and Tyrion replies he is not blind; on the Kingsroad it had seemed to cover half the sky. Varys tells Tyrion that on the streets it is called the Red Messenger. “They say it comes as a herald before a king, to warn of fire and blood to follow.” Before Varys leaves he poses a riddle to Tyrion:{{Ref|aCoK|3}}
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===''A Clash of Kings''===
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[[File:Ryan Barger city of spidersI.jpg|350px|thumb|Varys gathering intelligence. © FFG]]
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[[Tyrion Lannister]] acts as [[Hand of the King]] while his father, Lord [[Tywin Lannister]], is on campaign during the [[War of the Five Kings]]. Varys helps Tyrion hide his lover, [[Shae]], in [[King's Landing]].{{ref|ACOK|3}}
  
{{Quote|''"In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. ‘Do it’ says the king, ‘for I am your lawful ruler.’ ‘Do it’ says the priest, ‘for I command you in the names of the gods.’ ‘Do it’ says the rich man, ‘and all this gold shall be yours.’ So tell me-who lives and who dies?”''}}{{Ref|aCoK|3}}
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An uneasy alliance forms between Varys and Tyrion, with the master of whisperers providing the Hand with information. Varys assists Tyrion in gaining control of the [[City Watch of King's Landing]] and informs him that Ser [[Lancel Lannister]] was sleeping with his cousin, Queen [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]].{{Ref|aCoK|8}}{{Ref|aCoK|29}}  
  
An uneasy alliance formed between Varys and Tyrion, with Varys providing Tyrion with information as to the goings-on in the city and the capital. Varys assists Tyrion in gaining control of the [[City Watch of King's Landing|city watch]] and informs him that Ser [[Lancel Lannister]] was sleeping with queen [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]].{{Ref|aCoK|8}}{{Ref|aCoK|29}}  
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Varys assists Tyrion in protecting Shae, setting a up a secret route through which he can visit her and keep her true identity secret from Tyrion's sister,  Cersei.{{Ref|aCoK|8}} During their work together, Varys reveals to Tyrion the origins of how he became castrated.{{Ref|aCoK|29}} It is also revealed that Varys was the one who sent [[Gendry]] with [[Yoren]] to join the [[Night's Watch]], so the boy would not be killed by Cersei's agents simply for the crime of being the late King Robert's bastard.{{ref|ACOK|8}}
  
Varys assists Tyrion in protecting [[Shae]], setting a up a secret route through which he can visit her and keep her true identity secret from Cersei.{{Ref|aCoK|8}} During their work togther, Varys reveals to Tyrion the origins of how he became castrated.{{Ref|aCoK|29}} It is also revealed that Varys was the one who sent [[Gendry]] with [[Yoren]] to join the [[Night's Watch]], so the boy would not be killed by Cersei's agents simply for the crime of being [[Robert I|Robert]]'s bastard.
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===''A Storm of Swords''===
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[[File:MarcSimonetti Varys the spider.jpg|300px|thumb|Varys ushering someone into one of his clandestine entrances. © MarcSimonetti]]
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After [[Tyrion Lannister]]'s recovers from the [[Battle of the Blackwater]], he resumes his alliance with Varys, which includes assistance in continuing Tyrion's trysts with [[Shae]].{{ref|ASOS|12}} Tywin resumes the position of [[Hand of the King]] and Tyrion instead becomes [[master of coin]].{{ref|AGOT|19}}
  
===A Storm of Swords===
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Tyrion is put on trial for the murder of King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]] at his [[Purple Wedding|royal wedding]]. Varys testifies against Tyrion, providing notes on conversations between the two and a great deal of seemingly-damning evidence.{{ref|ASOS|66}}
After [[Tyrion Lannister]]'s recovery following the [[Battle of the Blackwater]], he seeks out Varys and seeks to resume their alliance, which includes his assistance in continuing to facilitate his trysts with [[Shae]].  Varys obliges him, though when Tyrion is put on trial for the murder of [[Joffrey Baratheon|King Joffrey]], Varys testifies against Tyrion, providing notes on conversations between the two and a great deal of seemingly damning evidence.
 
  
After Tyrion is condemned to die, however, Varys is forced by [[Jaime Lannister]], at swordpoint, to release Tyrion. He does so, and on the trip through the secret tunnels beneath the Red Keep leads Tyrion past a ladder that the dwarf recognizes as leading to the chamber of the Hand of the King, leading him to inquire how to access his old quarters to seek out his father. Varys makes a curiously weak & obligatory protest against this course of action, advising him to make haste & flee..while also giving precise directions on how to reach Tywin. Tyrion then ascends the ladder to kill his father [[Tywin Lannister|Tywin]]. With this outcome & his subsequent arrangement for Tyrion to fit in to his master plan, its very likely it was more than the threat of violence from a crippled Jaime that caused him to release the dwarf. As a loyalist, & knowing Tywin's threat to a Targaryan restoration, plus the fact he attempted to prevent rectification of Cersei's grievous errors, its most likely he purposefully arranged Tywin's murder, but which strings he pulled and how are currently left unclear as Varys is a master of obfuscation.
+
After Tyrion is condemned to die, Varys is forced at swordpoint by Ser [[Jaime Lannister]] to release his brother, Tyrion. During the trip through the secret tunnels beneath the Red Keep, Varys leads Tyrion past a ladder that the dwarf recognizes as leading to the chamber of the Hand of the King. Tyrion ascends the ladder to kill his father, Tywin.{{ref|ASOS|77}}
  
===A Feast for Crows===
+
During the [[siege of Meereen]], Ser [[Barristan Selmy]] reveals to Queen [[Daenerys Targaryen]]'s horror that Ser [[Jorah Mormont]] has been spying on her on behalf of Varys and the [[small council]] for gold and in hopes of gaining a royal pardon. Barristan tells her that she is watched and since the day of her wedding to Khal [[Drogo]] there has been an informer at her side.{{Ref|asos|57}} After [[Meereen]] is taken, Jorah confesses he took the eunuch's gold and learned some ciphers and wrote some letters. He admits to Daenerys he had suspected that the wine intended for her in [[Vaes Dothrak]] had been poisoned after reading a letter from Varys brought there by caravanHe tells her that Varys wanted her watched, but not harmed. Daenerys banishes Jorah for his betrayal.{{Ref|asos|71}}
[[File:Varys HBO.jpg|250px||thumb|right|Conleth Hill as Varys ([[Game of Thrones|TV series]])]]
 
After Varys's part in Tyrion's escape and Tywin's murder, he vanishes without a trace. A dungeon turnkey named [[Rugen]] disappears as well. In Rugen's living space a Tyrell coin is discovered and shown to Cersei, increasing Cersei's already-abundant mistrust of [[House Tyrell]].  It is believed by many readers that Rugen is an alias of Varys's, due to the identical description of the turnkey with Varys when he visited Ned Stark in the Black Cells.
 
  
[[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]], now ruling in King's Landing as Queen Regent to her son [[Tommen Baratheon|Tommen]], appoints [[Qyburn]] to fill the position of Master of WhisperersQyburn notes that many of Varys's spies came to him with secrets to sell, reinforcing Cersei's belief that Varys had always oversold his value to make people dependent on him and more vulnerable to his schemes.
+
===''A Feast for Crows''===
 +
[[File:Lord Varys.jpg|350px|thumb|The Spider - by Amok ©]]
 +
After Varys's part in Tyrion's escape and Tywin's murder, he vanishes without a trace. A dungeon turnkey named [[Rugen]] disappears as well.{{ref|AFFC|3}} In Rugen's living space a [[House Gardener|Gardener]] coin is discovered and shown to Cersei, increasing her mistrust of [[House Tyrell]].{{ref|AFFC|7}} Rugen is one of Varys's disguises.{{Ref|HboGoT|s01e08|DVD Commentary}}
  
[[Jaime Lannister]] also starts to suspect that maybe Varys had a hand in [[Tyrek Lannister]]'s disappearance during the [[Riot of King’s Landing]], his reasoning being that Tyrek as the late King [[Robert Baratheon|Robert's]] former squire would have had a deal of knowledge about the king's activities including his death and knowledge like that was always valuable, a fact which Varys knows better then anyone else. In addition, Varys did not go down to the docks with the rest of the court the day [[Myrcella Baratheon|Myrcella]] was sent to [[Dorne]], and it would have been a easy thing for Varys to spark a riot and have agents of his snatch Tyrek in the confusion. {{Ref|aFfC|27}}
+
Cersei, now ruling in King's Landing as Queen Regent to her son, King [[Tommen Baratheon|Tommen I Baratheon]], appoints [[Qyburn]] to fill the position of [[master of whisperers]]. Qyburn notes that many of Varys's spies came to him with secrets to sell, reinforcing Cersei's belief that Varys had always oversold his value.{{ref|AFFC|17}} Ser [[Jaime Lannister]] begins to suspect that Varys might have had a hand in the disappearance of [[Tyrek Lannister]], once one of King Robert's squires, during the [[riot of King’s Landing]].{{Ref|aFfC|27}}
  
Readers also speculate that Varys was behind a puppet show in [[King's Landing]] that had become quite popular among the population. The show was about the kingdom of the beasts was ruled by a pride of [[House Lannister|Lions]] that grew arrogant and began to devour their own subjects, when the noble [[House Baratheon|Stag]] makes objections they eat him too and state that it is there right as the strongest of beasts. At the end of the show a [[House Targaryen|Dragon]] hatches from an egg and devours all the lions. When [[Cersei Lannister]] learned about the show from [[Qyburn]] she ordered the puppeteers put to death and those who watched it were to lose half their wealth if they were rich and to lose an eye for watching treason if they were poor. {{Ref|aFfC|24}}
+
===''A Dance with Dragons''===
 +
Varys has [[Tyrion Lannister]] smuggled across the [[narrow sea]] to [[Pentos]], where Tyrion meets Varys's old friend, Magister [[Illyrio Mopatis]].{{ref|ADWD|1}} Tyrion learns that during [[Robert's Rebellion]], Varys, a [[House Targaryen|Targaryen]] loyalist, allegedly switched the baby [[Aegon Targaryen (son of Rhaegar)|Aegon]] with that of a [[pisswater prince|peasant baby]]. With the realm believing the prince had died during the [[Sack of King's Landing]], Varys had Aegon smuggled to [[Essos]] to be raised by Lord [[Jon Connington]], the exiled Hand of the King and the friend of Aegon's father, Prince [[Rhaegar Targaryen|Rhaegar]]. To conceal Jon's activities, Varys concocted the false story that Jon had drank himself to death in [[Lys]] after being caught stealing from the [[Golden Company]].{{ref|ADWD|22}}{{ref|ADWD|24}} Varys, Illyrio, and the Golden Company now plot to wed the teenaged Aegon to [[Daenerys Targaryen]], Queen of [[Mereen]], and place him on the [[Iron Throne]].{{ref|ADWD|1}}{{ref|ADWD|5}}{{ref|ADWD|24}} The [[landing of the Golden Company]] begins in the [[stormlands]].{{ref|ADWD|63}}
  
===A Dance with Dragons===
+
Varys employs the secret passages of the [[Red Keep]] to enter the chambers of Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] and kill him. He then dispatches one of his little birds to fetch Ser [[Kevan Lannister]], now Lord Regent after Cersei's disgrace, under the pretext that the Grand Maester has a message for him. Varys shoots Kevan with a crossbow, going on to apologize and note that his actions are not out of malice but rather because Kevan's competent leadership threatens to undo Cersei's follies and years of Varys's careful planning. Kevan's death will sow further dissent between the Lannisters and Tyrells, making the realm easy prey for Aegon to arrive and be proclaimed king, for the good of the realm. Varys then summons several of his little birds to end Kevan's suffering.{{ref|adwd|72}}
Varys employs the secret passages to enter the chambers of Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] and kill him. He then dispatches one of his "little birds" to fetch [[Kevan Lannister]], now Lord Regent after Cersei's disgrace, under the pretext that the Grand Maester has a message for him.
 
  
Upon his entering the rookery, Varys shoots Kevan with a crossbow, going on to apologize and note that his actions are not out of malice but rather because Kevan's competent leadership threatened to undo Cersei's follies and years of Varys's careful planningHe explains to Kevan that [[Aegon Targaryen]] is still alive, and notes the preparations being made to make him the true leader, noting that his death will sow further dissent between the Lannisters and Tyrells, making the realm easy prey for Aegon to arrive and be proclaimed King, for the good of the realm. Varys then summons several of his "little birds" to end Ser Kevan's suffering.
+
==Known Disguises==
 
+
Varys employs the use of various disguises to go about unnoticed. These include:
[[File:Varys.jpg|250px|thumb|Varys the Spider, by Sir-Heartsalot]]
+
*As a stout man in a heavy brown robe in roughspun, with cracked, mud-caked boots smelling of sweat. His face is hidden by a cowl, and his hands are drawn up into voluminous sleeves. At first he speaks in a strange low voice. [[Eddard Stark]] notices Varys's usual cloying tones are gone and his voice is a thin and sharp as a whip.{{Ref|aGoT|30}}
 +
   
 +
*As a [[begging brother]] in filthy patched robes, bare feet crusty with dirt, a bowl about his neck on a leather thong where a [[septon]] would have worn a crystal.  He stinks and his mouth is full of rotted teeth.{{Ref|aCoK|44}}
 +
 +
*As a plump, soft, matronly woman with a round pin moon of a face and heavy dark curls. [[Tyrion Lannister]] briefly thinks it is [[Lollys Stokeworth]].{{Ref|aSoS|12}}
 +
 +
*As [[Rugen]], a dungeon turnkey.{{Ref|HboGoT|s01e08|DVD Commentary}}
  
 
==Quotes by Varys==
 
==Quotes by Varys==
{{Quote|''"The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling"''. {{Ref|aCoK|8}}}} - Varys to [[Tyrion Lannister|Tyrion]]  
+
{{Quote|A eunuch has no honor, and a spider does not enjoy the luxury of scruples, my lord.{{ref|agot|58}}|Varys to [[Eddard Stark]]}}
  
 +
{{quote|'''Eddard''': Tell me, Lord Varys, who do you truly serve?<br>
 +
'''Varys''': Why, [[Seven Kingdoms|the realm]], my good lord, how ever could you doubt that? I swear it by my lost manhood. I serve the realm, and the realm needs peace.{{ref|AGOT|58}}|[[Eddard Stark]] and Varys}}
  
{{Quote|''"Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?"'' {{Ref|aGoT|58}}}} – Varys, to [[Ned Stark]]  
+
{{Quote|Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?{{Ref|aGoT|58}}|Varys to [[Eddard Stark]]}}
  
 +
{{Quote|The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.{{Ref|aCoK|8}}|Varys to [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
  
{{Quote|''"Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less."'' {{Ref|aCoK|8}}}}
+
{{Quote|Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.{{Ref|aCoK|8}}|Varys to [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
- Varys to [[Tyrion Lannister|Tyrion]]  
 
  
 +
{{quote|'''Tyrion''': Lord Varys, sometimes I feel as though you are the best friend I have in [[King's Landing]], and sometimes I feel you are my worst enemy.<br>
 +
'''Varys''': How odd. I think quite the same of you.{{ref|ACOK|15}}|[[Tyrion Lannister]] and Varys}}
  
{{Quote|''"[[Barristan Selmy|Ser Barristan]] loves his honour, Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] loves his office, and [[Petyr Baelish|Littlefinger]] loves Littlefinger.''" {{Ref|aGoT|30}} }} - Varys, when commenting to [[Eddard Stark]] about the weaknesses of [[Robert Baratheon|King Robert's]] allies within his court
+
{{Quote|Secrets are worth more than silver or sapphires.{{Ref|aDwD|5}}|Varys to [[Illyrio Mopatis]]}}
  
 +
{{quote|Ser Kevan. Forgive me if you can. I bear you no ill will. This was not done from malice. It was for [[Seven Kingdoms|the realm]]. For the children ... There are many like you, good men in service to bad causes ...{{ref|ADWD|Epilogue}}|Varys to [[Kevan Lannister]]}}
  
{{Quote|''"Secrets are worth more than silver or sapphires".'' {{Ref|aDwD|5}}}}
+
==Quotes about Varys==
 +
{{Quote|He smelled as foul and sweet as flowers on a grave.{{Ref|aGoT|20}}|[[Eddard Stark]]'s thoughts}}
  
==Quotes about Varys==
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{{quote|Lord Varys knows all.{{ref|AGOT|18}}|[[Petyr Baelish]] to [[Catelyn Stark]]}}
{{Quote|''"There are things I might tell you of that eunuch that would chill your blood …"'' {{Ref|aCoK|25}}}}
 
- Grand Maester [[Pycelle]], to [[Tyrion]]
 
  
 +
{{quote|The title was but a courtesy due him as a [[small council|council member]]; Varys was lord of nothing but the spiderweb, the master of none but his whisperers.{{ref|AGOT|18}}|thoughts of [[Catelyn Stark]]}}
  
{{Quote|''"You think you’re the only one he whispers secrets to?  He gives each of us just enough to convince us that we’d be helpless without him. He played the same game with me, when I first wed Robert. For years, I was convinced I had no truer friend at court, but now …"''  {{Ref|aCoK|54}}}} - [[Cersei]], to [[Tyrion]]  
+
{{Quote|But Varys has ways of learning things that no man could know. He has some [[magic|dark art]], Ned, I swear it.{{Ref|aGoT|20}}|[[Catelyn Stark]] to [[Eddard Stark]]}}
  
 +
{{quote|The Lord Varys was born a [[slave]] in [[Lys]], did you know? Put not your trust in spiders, my lord.{{ref|AGOT|25}}|[[Pycelle]] to [[Eddard Stark]]}}
  
{{Quote|''"[[Barristan Selmy|Ser Barristan]] once told me the rot in King [[Aerys II Targaryen|Aerys]]'s reign began with Varys. The eunuch should never have been pardoned."'' {{Ref|aSoS|36}}}} - [[Stannis Baratheon]]
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{{Quote|Lord Varys, sometimes I feel as though you are the best friend I have in [[King's Landing]] and sometimes I feel you are my worst enemy.{{ref|ACOK|15}}|[[Tyrion Lannister]] to Varys}}
  
 +
{{Quote|Birds are lost, messages stolen or sold ... there are things I might tell you of that eunuch that would chill your blood ...{{Ref|aCoK|25}}|[[Pycelle]] to [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
  
{{Quote|''"He has some dark art, [[Ned]]. I swear it".''{{Ref|aGoT|20}}}} [[Catelyn Stark]]  
+
{{quote|'''Shae''': It's still him. Only dressed different.<br>
 +
'''Tyrion''': A different look, a different smell, a different way of walking. Most men would be deceived.<br>
 +
'''Shae''': And most women, maybe. But not whores.{{ref|ACOK|44}}|[[Shae]] and [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
  
 +
{{Quote|You think you're the only one he whispers secrets to? He gives each of us just enough to convince us that we'd be helpless without him.{{Ref|aCoK|54}}|[[Cersei Lannister]] to [[Tyrion Lannister]]}}
  
{{Quote|''"I hold the man’s balls in the palm of my hand … or would, if he were a man, or had any balls. You see, if the pie is opened, the birds begin to sing, and Varys would not like that".''{{Ref|aGoT|20}}}} - [[Littlefinger]], on Varys to [[Catelyn Stark]]
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{{Quote|Ser [[Barristan Selmy|Barristan]] once told me the rot in King [[Aerys II Targaryen|Aerys]]'s reign began with Varys. The eunuch should never have been pardoned.{{Ref|aSoS|36}}|[[Stannis Baratheon]] to [[Davos Seaworth]]}}
  
==References and Notes==
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==References==
{{references|3}}
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{{references|2}}
{{EnWP|Characters from A Song of Ice and Fire|small=yes}}
 
  
===See Also===
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==External Links==
 
* See also the [http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Varys article on Varys] on the Game of Thrones wiki.
 
* See also the [http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Varys article on Varys] on the Game of Thrones wiki.
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{{Small council}}
  
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[[Category:Characters from Lys]]
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[[Category:Eunuchs]]
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[[Category:Masters of whisperers]]
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[[Category:Lords without lands]]
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[[Category:Members of Aerys II Targaryen's court]]
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[[Category:Members of Robert I Baratheon's court]]
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[[Category:Members of Joffrey I Baratheon's court]]
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[[Category:Members of Tommen I Baratheon's court]]
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[[Category:Mummers]]
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[[Category:Prostitutes]]
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[[Category:Royalists of Robert's Rebellion]]
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[[Category:Slaves and freedmen]]
 
[[Category:Smallfolk]]
 
[[Category:Smallfolk]]
[[Category:Characters from Myr]]
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[[Category:Spymasters]]
[[Category:Members of the Small council]]
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[[Category:Supporters of Joffrey Baratheon in the War of the Five Kings]]
[[Category:Eunuchs]]
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[[Category:Thieves]]
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Latest revision as of 10:30, 23 August 2019

Varys
Varys by Amoka.jpg
Varys by Amok©

Alias Lord Varys
The King's Spider[1]
The eunuch[2]
The Spider[3]
Rugen
Lord Eunuch[4]
Title Master of whisperers
Lord
Undergaoler (as Rugen)
Born At Lys[5]
Book(s) The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)

Played by Conleth Hill
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6 | Season 7 | Season 8

Lord Varys, also known as "the Spider", is the master of whisperers on the small council of King Robert I Baratheon,[6] a position he previously held for King Aerys II Targaryen.[7] In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is played by Conleth Hill.[8]

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Varys

Varys is a plump, bald, and effeminate eunuch. He has soft white hands. He powders his face and smells of lavender, lilacs, and rosewater.[9][10][11][12]

When at court, Varys wears rich silks, velvets, and damasks and soft slippers.[10][13] His outward manner is obsequious, mysterious, and squeamish. However, he is a master of disguise and can change his appearance, gait, smell, and costume to become unrecognizable.[10][14][15]

Secrets are Varys's trade, and his skill at acquiring them has earned him a reputation for being seemingly omniscient. Crucial to his trade is a spy network of children that he refers to as his little mice (in Pentos)[16] or little birds (in Westeros).[1]

Varys's history of providing information to all sides, of aiding enemies, of pitting rivals against one another, and of manipulation to achieve his ends has earned him a reputation of being distasteful and untrustworthy among the nobles at court.[3][11] In private, however, he claims to value order, stability, and peace above all, and professes loyalty to those who work for those goals as well.[17][18]

Lord Varys is not a true lord, having received the title as a courtesy for being a member of the small council.[1][19] As the master of whisperers, he has the task of fostering division amongst the enemies of the Iron Throne,[20] and gathering information on all that happens in the realm.

History

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

Free Cities

According to Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys was born as a slave in Lys.[3] Varys says he was apprenticed as an orphan to a troupe of mummers who worked the Free Cities, Oldtown, and occasionally King's Landing. During their stay in Myr, a certain man offered a large sum of money for Varys, an offer his master found too tempting to refuse. The man gave Varys a potion that made him powerless to move or speak, but did nothing to dull his senses as his manhood was cut off at the stem, then burnt in a brazier in a blood magic ritual. The man had no further use for Varys and tossed him out on the streets alone to die, Varys out of spite for the sorcerer vowed to live. Varys claims to have held a hatred for all things magical ever since.[14] He resorted to begging, prostitution, and thievery, eventually becoming the best thief in Myr, until a rival forced him out and he fled to Pentos.[14][16]

Impoverished and despised in Pentos, Varys made an agreement with a poor sellsword, Illyrio Mopatis. Varys would steal objects from lesser thieves and Illyrio would get the objects back for their original owners for a small fee. Soon, everyone in Pentos who ever had valuables stolen from them knew who to ask to get their belongings back. Varys and Illyrio quickly grew rich. Realizing the value of information, Varys began training his spy network to acquire the information, letters, ledgers and charts of the wealthy and powerful. The little mice were agile orphans purchased by Varys.[16]

Westeros

Varys and the Iron Throne - by Mike Capprotti ©

These secrets increased Varys and Illyrio's wealth tenfold, and in time Varys became so infamous that word of his talents reached the ears of the Westerosi King Aerys II Targaryen across the narrow sea. In his growing paranoia, Aerys no longer trusted his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, his wife, Queen Rhaella Targaryen, or his Hand of the King, Lord Tywin Lannister.[16] Varys was brought to Aerys's court at some point after the death of Lord Steffon Baratheon in 278 AC.[21] As a spymaster in King's Landing, Varys's influence grew with Aerys's increasing paranoia. According to Ser Barristan Selmy, "the rot in King Aerys's reign began with Varys".[22] Varys was always quick to point out any traitors Aerys might have missed.[23] He used the crown's gold to create his spy network,[21] who he called his "little birds". Varys furthermore mastered the secret passages within the Red Keep. Varys alerted Aerys to the possibility that his son Rhaegar was using attendance at the tourney at Harrenhal as a pretext to rally lords to his cause in removing Aerys as king.[24] This caused Aerys to attend the tournament, the first time he had left the Red Keep since the Defiance of Duskendale, four years prior.[24]

Following Rhaegar's defeat during the Battle of the Trident at the end of Robert's Rebellion, Varys counseled Aerys II Targaryen against opening the city gates[23] when Tywin Lannister appeared at King's Landing with an army of twelve thousand men strong.[7] Aerys, however, decided to listen to Grand Maester Pycelle and opened his gates to the Lannister forces, who sacked the city.[23] Varys was pardoned by the new king, Robert I Baratheon, together with Grand Maester Pycelle and Kingsguard knight Jaime Lannister.[25] Varys was allowed to remain master of whisperers to Robert I.[22]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Varys whispers to Lord Eddard Stark © Mike Capprotti

One of Varys's spies, Ser Jorah Mormont, sends word from Essos that the exiled Princess Daenerys Targaryen has wed Khal Drogo. Varys sends a rider to inform King Robert I Baratheon, who is returning from Winterfell with his new Hand of the King, Lord Eddard Stark.[7] Varys does not recognize the Valyrian steel dagger used to attack Bran Stark, but Lord Petyr Baelish claims to have once owned it.[1]

After the Hand's tourney, Varys disguises himself and comes to meet Eddard at his chambers. He warns Eddard that Queen Cersei Lannister is trying to kill King Robert. He sttes that his goal is peace and stability and professes to assist Lord Eddard in his investigations against House Lannister. Varys also reveals that the former hand, Lord Jon Arryn, was poisoned with the tears of Lys.[10]

A disguised Varys meets Illyrio Mopatis to delay a war between Houses Stark and Lannister until the right time.[26] Varys brings Jorah's report of Daenerys being pregnant to the small council, which results in Robert's command to assassinate both her and her unborn child.[27]

When King Robert is wounded while hunting in the kingswood, Eddard orders Varys to halt the attempts on Daenerys's life.[28] Varys is in attendance when Cersei has Eddard arrested.[29]

Varys and Petyr Baelish - by Eeba-ism ©

After Robert dies, Varys remains master of whisperers for the new king Joffrey I Baratheon. When Joffrey demands that someone take the blame for his father's death, Varys suggests Ser Barristan Selmy.[9] Joffrey and Cersei dismiss Barristan, a move many outside the council see as a folly.[30]

After Eddard is imprisoned, Varys visits him disguised as a gaoler. Varys persuades Ned that for the sake of his daughter, Sansa Stark, he must falsely confess to treason so Cersei will allow him to take the black, thus delaying a war between Stark and Lannister.[17] Despite Varys's intentions to spare Lord Stark's life, however, King Joffrey goes against the council's wishes and decides at the last minute to have Ned executed, much to the shock of Varys and the other onlookers at the Great Sept of Baelor.[13]

A Clash of Kings

Varys gathering intelligence. © FFG

Tyrion Lannister acts as Hand of the King while his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, is on campaign during the War of the Five Kings. Varys helps Tyrion hide his lover, Shae, in King's Landing.[9]

An uneasy alliance forms between Varys and Tyrion, with the master of whisperers providing the Hand with information. Varys assists Tyrion in gaining control of the City Watch of King's Landing and informs him that Ser Lancel Lannister was sleeping with his cousin, Queen Cersei.[11][31]

Varys assists Tyrion in protecting Shae, setting a up a secret route through which he can visit her and keep her true identity secret from Tyrion's sister, Cersei.[11] During their work together, Varys reveals to Tyrion the origins of how he became castrated.[31] It is also revealed that Varys was the one who sent Gendry with Yoren to join the Night's Watch, so the boy would not be killed by Cersei's agents simply for the crime of being the late King Robert's bastard.[11]

A Storm of Swords

Varys ushering someone into one of his clandestine entrances. © MarcSimonetti

After Tyrion Lannister's recovers from the Battle of the Blackwater, he resumes his alliance with Varys, which includes assistance in continuing Tyrion's trysts with Shae.[15] Tywin resumes the position of Hand of the King and Tyrion instead becomes master of coin.[32]

Tyrion is put on trial for the murder of King Joffrey I Baratheon at his royal wedding. Varys testifies against Tyrion, providing notes on conversations between the two and a great deal of seemingly-damning evidence.[12]

After Tyrion is condemned to die, Varys is forced at swordpoint by Ser Jaime Lannister to release his brother, Tyrion. During the trip through the secret tunnels beneath the Red Keep, Varys leads Tyrion past a ladder that the dwarf recognizes as leading to the chamber of the Hand of the King. Tyrion ascends the ladder to kill his father, Tywin.[33]

During the siege of Meereen, Ser Barristan Selmy reveals to Queen Daenerys Targaryen's horror that Ser Jorah Mormont has been spying on her on behalf of Varys and the small council for gold and in hopes of gaining a royal pardon. Barristan tells her that she is watched and since the day of her wedding to Khal Drogo there has been an informer at her side.[34] After Meereen is taken, Jorah confesses he took the eunuch's gold and learned some ciphers and wrote some letters. He admits to Daenerys he had suspected that the wine intended for her in Vaes Dothrak had been poisoned after reading a letter from Varys brought there by caravan. He tells her that Varys wanted her watched, but not harmed. Daenerys banishes Jorah for his betrayal.[35]

A Feast for Crows

The Spider - by Amok ©

After Varys's part in Tyrion's escape and Tywin's murder, he vanishes without a trace. A dungeon turnkey named Rugen disappears as well.[36] In Rugen's living space a Gardener coin is discovered and shown to Cersei, increasing her mistrust of House Tyrell.[37] Rugen is one of Varys's disguises.[38]

Cersei, now ruling in King's Landing as Queen Regent to her son, King Tommen I Baratheon, appoints Qyburn to fill the position of master of whisperers. Qyburn notes that many of Varys's spies came to him with secrets to sell, reinforcing Cersei's belief that Varys had always oversold his value.[39] Ser Jaime Lannister begins to suspect that Varys might have had a hand in the disappearance of Tyrek Lannister, once one of King Robert's squires, during the riot of King’s Landing.[40]

A Dance with Dragons

Varys has Tyrion Lannister smuggled across the narrow sea to Pentos, where Tyrion meets Varys's old friend, Magister Illyrio Mopatis.[41] Tyrion learns that during Robert's Rebellion, Varys, a Targaryen loyalist, allegedly switched the baby Aegon with that of a peasant baby. With the realm believing the prince had died during the Sack of King's Landing, Varys had Aegon smuggled to Essos to be raised by Lord Jon Connington, the exiled Hand of the King and the friend of Aegon's father, Prince Rhaegar. To conceal Jon's activities, Varys concocted the false story that Jon had drank himself to death in Lys after being caught stealing from the Golden Company.[42][43] Varys, Illyrio, and the Golden Company now plot to wed the teenaged Aegon to Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of Mereen, and place him on the Iron Throne.[41][16][43] The landing of the Golden Company begins in the stormlands.[44]

Varys employs the secret passages of the Red Keep to enter the chambers of Grand Maester Pycelle and kill him. He then dispatches one of his little birds to fetch Ser Kevan Lannister, now Lord Regent after Cersei's disgrace, under the pretext that the Grand Maester has a message for him. Varys shoots Kevan with a crossbow, going on to apologize and note that his actions are not out of malice but rather because Kevan's competent leadership threatens to undo Cersei's follies and years of Varys's careful planning. Kevan's death will sow further dissent between the Lannisters and Tyrells, making the realm easy prey for Aegon to arrive and be proclaimed king, for the good of the realm. Varys then summons several of his little birds to end Kevan's suffering.[45]

Known Disguises

Varys employs the use of various disguises to go about unnoticed. These include:

  • As a stout man in a heavy brown robe in roughspun, with cracked, mud-caked boots smelling of sweat. His face is hidden by a cowl, and his hands are drawn up into voluminous sleeves. At first he speaks in a strange low voice. Eddard Stark notices Varys's usual cloying tones are gone and his voice is a thin and sharp as a whip.[10]
  • As a begging brother in filthy patched robes, bare feet crusty with dirt, a bowl about his neck on a leather thong where a septon would have worn a crystal. He stinks and his mouth is full of rotted teeth.[14]

Quotes by Varys

A eunuch has no honor, and a spider does not enjoy the luxury of scruples, my lord.[17]

—Varys to Eddard Stark

Eddard: Tell me, Lord Varys, who do you truly serve?
Varys: Why, the realm, my good lord, how ever could you doubt that? I swear it by my lost manhood. I serve the realm, and the realm needs peace.[17]

Eddard Stark and Varys

Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?[17]

—Varys to Eddard Stark

The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.[11]

—Varys to Tyrion Lannister

Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.[11]

—Varys to Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion: Lord Varys, sometimes I feel as though you are the best friend I have in King's Landing, and sometimes I feel you are my worst enemy.
Varys: How odd. I think quite the same of you.[46]

Tyrion Lannister and Varys

Secrets are worth more than silver or sapphires.[16]

—Varys to Illyrio Mopatis

Ser Kevan. Forgive me if you can. I bear you no ill will. This was not done from malice. It was for the realm. For the children ... There are many like you, good men in service to bad causes ...[18]

—Varys to Kevan Lannister

Quotes about Varys

He smelled as foul and sweet as flowers on a grave.[2]

Eddard Stark's thoughts

Lord Varys knows all.[1]

The title was but a courtesy due him as a council member; Varys was lord of nothing but the spiderweb, the master of none but his whisperers.[1]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

But Varys has ways of learning things that no man could know. He has some dark art, Ned, I swear it.[2]

The Lord Varys was born a slave in Lys, did you know? Put not your trust in spiders, my lord.[3]

Lord Varys, sometimes I feel as though you are the best friend I have in King's Landing and sometimes I feel you are my worst enemy.[46]

Tyrion Lannister to Varys

Birds are lost, messages stolen or sold ... there are things I might tell you of that eunuch that would chill your blood ...[4]

Shae: It's still him. Only dressed different.

Tyrion: A different look, a different smell, a different way of walking. Most men would be deceived.

Shae: And most women, maybe. But not whores.[14]

You think you're the only one he whispers secrets to? He gives each of us just enough to convince us that we'd be helpless without him.[47]

Ser Barristan once told me the rot in King Aerys's reign began with Varys. The eunuch should never have been pardoned.[22]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  5. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Varys.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  8. HBO: Game of Thrones: cast and crew
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 8, Tyrion II.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  19. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
  20. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  21. 21.0 21.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  25. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  30. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 29, Tyrion VII.
  32. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  36. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  37. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Game of Thrones, Season 1, "The Pointy End", DVD Commentary.
  39. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  40. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  41. 41.0 41.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  42. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  43. 43.0 43.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  44. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 63, Victarion I.
  45. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  46. 46.0 46.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
  47. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 54, Tyrion XII.

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