Welcome back to Player of Thrones, or as Zack Luye kindly pointed out to me it spells PoT…Anyways we have taken a gander into a few players so far this season. One just got his head smashed in last week…so sad.. #RIPOberyn . I digress…In the PoT post we focus on one (or a few) player in the Game of Thrones TV show. We will provide you with a little back story as well as my POTLOPAI or Player of Thrones Level of Power and Influence Assessment. This is a post to help our friendly unsullied better understand a player and where they came from to be in the position they are today. Let us begin….
Do you want to know a secret? Maybe two or a few? In the Game of Thrones sometimes knowledge is mightier than a sword. You can avoid being betrayed, you can position yourself to look like the hero, you can manipulate a situation to play into your hands, or you can use damning details to knock the britches off of an enemy. Secrets don’t make friends in some cases but in our case of our next Player of Thrones post this man has many friends. Some may not like him and others are purely charmed by his ability to sidestep his way into their hearts. This is when there is no return. He’s got you caught in his web. The only way out…of the Spider’s Web is death. His name is Varys and he is The Master of Whisperers.
Lord Varys has quite an interesting past. In HBO’s biggest show we see Varys talking a lot about the the moments of his past. He shares stories with Littlefinger, Ned Stark, and Tyrion Lannister throughout the series so far that reveal little tidbits about himself. Whether these are to create a certain facade or inspire other players to trust in him we don’t know. What we do know is he hates a sorcerer that removed his pillar and stones. I too would be upset.
Based on a compilation of stories and information from the series Varys is from Lys. He was born a slave sold to a troupe of mummers as a child. Traveling between Essos and Westeros performing in the great cities of Kings Landing and Oldtown as well as the Free Cities.
While performing in Myr (a Free City in Essos) Varys’ master sells him to a mysterious man. The man posions Varys allowing him no movement or speech but keeping his senses in tact. While defenseless the man castrates Varys of his manhood and burns it as part of a blood magic ritual. Once the sorcerer was done he tossed Varys to the street to which Varys replied what should I do? To which the sorcerer replied, “I suppose you should die.” From that moment on two things happend. Varys hates all magic and made a vow to live to spite the sorcerer.
Varys was alone. The mummers had left and he had nothing. To stay alive Varys began to delve into prostitution, begging, and thievery. He became so good at at that eventually he became the best. His reputation became to big however and he was forced out of Myr and ran to Pentos.
This is where he met his first ally, Illyrio Mopatis, a poor sellsword. The master thief concerted a business with the sellsword that brought them a decent income. Varys would steal from lesser thieves and Illyrio would return those items to the original owners for a small price. This built up a hero’s reputation for Illyrio amongst the original owners and the thieves garnered respect and fear for Varys. They would even try to sell the items back to Varys fearing that he would steal those items from them. Through this public service Varys and Illyrio grew very rich but also built trust amongst one another.
However just stealing back items was not enough for Varys. He figured there was a bigger market. One that wielded bigger rewards than what a Myrish Carpet or a Tyroshi Helmet would return in gold and gems…Knowledge…
Varys began training his own little spy network that would gather information for him as well as important letters and financial information for the wealthy. They were orphans that Varys purchased and he named them his “Little Mice.” Varys chose the smallest, lightest, fastest and quietest of the boys and taught them how to climb walls and quietly enter buildings. Not only that the most important thing he taught them was how to read and write. This gave the little mice the ability to gather exactly the information that Varys needed.
Varys was right. After some time his little mice and the information he was able to gather provided him and Illyrio with a dramatic increase of income. In fact he grew to such a high reputation that he was known not only on Essos but also on Westeros. In Kings Landing, King Aerys had grown mad and feared that people were trying to kill him and over throw him. He needed, more than anything, a Master of Secrets, and who better than Varys.
Varys became Aerys’ spymaster in Kings Landing. His influence over Aerys grew the more and more distrusting in everyone else Aerys became. As Varys’ influence grew so did his power. He was able to sneak around, discover, and memorize the secret passages of the Red Keep. He installed his own network of spies in Kings Landing to which he named “Little Birds.” The little birds would sneak around and listen for important information to provide Varys who then could report to the King.
After the sacking of Kings Landing Varys remained the Master of Whisperers on the King Robert Baratheon’s small council. He provided vital information to Robert surrounding Danyerys Targaryen and her progress on Essos as she rose into power. However, he does still hold allegiance to Illyrio Mopatis his old friend who lives still in Pentos and helped arrange the wedding of Dothraki Khal Drogo and Danyerys Targaryen.
He still remains in Kings Landing and has been a voice of caution and tale. Not to mention in the show we were gifted with witnessing Varys receiving a very special prize. His sorcerer in a box, the same one who removed Varys twig and berries.
As the Master of Whisperers and knowledge, stretching his network between Essos and Westeros he happens to be the only person in my mind that has friends on both continents. I believe that he is very good at making smart calculated moves that support the preservation of the Realm. Does he want to be King? No. He’s vowed not to die remember?
Here is the PoTLoPaI:
Title: The Master of Whisperers; The Spider
Current Role to the Throne: Keeper of all the Secrets
Wealth: A bunch in his noggin and in his bank
Army: The Little Birds and the Little Mice and Jorah Mormont
Likelihood to become the next King of Westeros: None. He doesn’t desire it or play for it. He’s more in the business of putting people there that he believes will preserve the realm and attempts to keep them there
King Name: King of The First Men w/o a Pillar and Stones
Varys in my opinion is the most dangerous man in Westeros and even of who we know from Essos at this point in the show. He has ears, eyes, and noses everywhere. He is capable of starting a devastating rumor that could get a man or woman killed. He has secret passage ways and an army of little boys and girls running through those halls that could kill a man in his sleep at any moment. The man is a genius. And he knows how to play the game. He never makes a move too big that could compromise his position. He is a mastermind of the Game of Thrones and I am excited to see where they continue to take his character in the show.
Not to mention he is portrayed by one of my idols of acting Conleth Hill who has brought to life a very complex and secretive character. Varys speaks a lot in double meaning and being an actor myself, that’s not easy. I applaud the work that Conleth has done so far and if Varys can survive this Season 4 finale (cause after Pyp and Grenn I no longer know who’s living and dying any more) in the future as well.
I would love to hear what you all think about The Spider below. He is another one of my personal favorite characters in the books and the HBO show Game of Thrones. What do you like about him what do you not? Make sure those SPOILERS are concealed behind the shadow of secret.
Check out these other Player of Thrones posts:
Oberyn Martell, The Red Viper
Melisandre, The Red Priestess
Jojen and Meera Reed, The Crannogmen
Petyr Baelish, Littlefinger
Ser Davos Seaworth, The Onion Knight
Sandor and Gregor Clegane (The Hound and The Mountain)
Roose Bolton (Lord of the Dreadfort)
Mance Rayder (The King Beyond the Wall)
Done in the light of the Lord…