Here's What You Definitely Missed About Varys in 'Game of Thrones'

The Spider's webs are more complex than you think.

If you've been watching Game of Thrones correctly, you've realized by now that the two people who are really running shit are Varys and Littlefinger. While everyone else is off fighting their stupid wars, playing in trees, frolicking on dragons or with wolves and undead dudes, Varys and Littlefinger are working behind the scenes, pulling the strings on literally every major development in Westeros. They've toppled kings, launched wars, created heroes and destroyed them. Through cunning, manipulation, and diplomacy, they've become more powerful than any army or dragon or three.

Consider Varys's actions: Setting Daenerys up with Khal Drogo, worked as a double agent for the Baratheons, Lannisters, Targaryens, and Starks. Whom does he serve? As Varys himself once told Ned Stark: "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."

Because Varys works in the shadows, it's not always easy to see just how much he's influencing almost everything—directly and indirectly. While watching the series again, one Redditor noticed just how well Varys is playing the game:

I was rewatching the trial of Tyrion after Joffrey's assassination, and I recalled a confused feeling I had not remembered since seeing the episode. Before the trial, and after the battle of Blackwater, Varys visited Tyrion and congratulated him. They actually spend a good deal of time developing their friendship. But when Varys is called to the stand to testify, what happens? He testifies against Tyrion. He gives a damning analysis of Tyrion. And I wondered why he did that, since I heard it. I thought he was somehow doing this to protect himself, the way Bronn later refuses Tyrion's request to be his champion. I was somewhat content with that logic. But as I watched it last night I found new logic that served that scene greater purpose. He wanted Tyrion to be found guilty. And why? He wanted to give him to Daenerys. He conspired with Jaime to free him. He organized his passage to Daenerys. And he got abducted by whom? Jorah Mormont. A person who conspired with Varys from the very beginning. Deliberate or no? Definitely convenient. I don't think anything accidentally happens to Varys. It's all part of the Spider's web.

How smart would Varys have to be to think that far ahead? How would he know all of this would work out in his favor? What, exactly, does he want to happen? Does he just believe Daenerys would be a good leader? Does he just think she just rightfully deserves to be the queen, as it's her birthright? Does he feel like Daenerys and her dragons are the only way to beat the White Walkers? Has he really thought that far ahead? Or could it be something more sinister altogether?

Given what we know about Varys and how he operates, we might never know the answer to these questions. But, maybe if we watch his every movement on Game of Thrones a little bit closer, we can get an idea of what he's up to. What else are you going to do until Game of Thrones comes back next year?

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Matt Miller

Matt Miller is a Brooklyn-based culture/lifestyle writer and music critic whose work has appeared in Esquire, Forbes, The Denver Post, and documentaries.