Everything You Need To Know About Varys's Backstory
What’s in the crate? SPOILERS and whispers!
The Varys backstory may hold many clues as to who will actually sit upon the Iron Throne and more importantly, why anyone plays the game in the first place. There’s a lot of evidence pointing at Varys seeking to put Aegon in power, using a complicated long game to clear the path for a Blackfyre, the most suited to rule. If you don’t know who the Blackfyres are, that’s okay. You’ve haven’t seen them or Aegon on the TV series yet, but book readers know that the whole Blackfyre thing could be Varys’s real driving force because his actions seem quite contradictory otherwise. (To fill you in, Blackfyres are the legitimized bastards of Aegon IV Targaryen. There were a lot of them. And the crazy, terrible ruler wrecked things on his way out by legitimizing all of his bastards from his deathbed.)
So why does Varys think the Blackfyres, especially Aegon, are suitable to rule when they stem from one of the worst rulers in Westeros? Maybe because he and Illyrio have been grooming him. Until the book and TV series are concluded or reveal this particular plot line, we can only guess - and isn’t that part of the fun?
The Varys Game of Thrones theories that don’t land on House Blackyre point to the Master of Whisperers seeking a union between Daenerys, Tyrion, and Jon because he knows the realm needs this balance. He’s counseling Tyrion, helping Daenerys find her ruling feet, and waiting on the arisen Jon to roll up with Ghost. Dragons for everyone!
But nothing in this world happens quickly. And the Varys Game of Thrones eunuch plays this to his favor. The prominent Varys Game of Thrones maneuver is to plot and plan from the shadows, wait and see what happens, step over or around the wreckage, and move on to the next level. And if things get ugly, Varys certainly has skills at dodging and evading. Cersei doesn’t trust him because, “He doesn’t have a c*ck.” But not so fast, lady. The Spider may just be lying about that, too. No one’s ever seen him naked. So the eunuch story could be a Lord Varys Game of Thrones decoy so he’ll appear unimportant, pitiable, and non-threatening. Or Varys is a merman.
Our Little Birds will share some of Varys's past and see if we can find some answers in the sorcerer’s blue flame.
Varys Is Doing All Of This For Love And FamilyVideo: YouTubeAlt Shift X does an excellent job of tracking through this popular Varys theory. He accounts for all of the times he and Illyrio plotted to ruin the peace and destabilize the realm.
Ultimately, they want Aegon on the Iron Throne. Why? “Debts of affection” as Varys says... to House Blackfyre, a line of Targaryen bastards legitimized by Aegon IV.
Although the Blackfyres are extinct on the male side, Aegon can be traced back through the female line. He’s Targ-adjacent but he’s not a full-blown Targaryen. Varys and Illyrio might see that as a good thing. Dany’s vision warns of a “mummer’s dragon” which could be Varys (a former mummer) and his false Targaryen (Aegon).
Maybe Illyrio’s wife, Serra, is Varys’s sister and they are Blackfyres. Maybe she pulled a “promise me, Ned” on her deathbed as she turned to stone from greyscale. This explains Varys’s actions much more than pledging for peace and then sabotaging it from every angle. Behind the cold rational face of the Spider is a man with a mission to place a Blackfyre, a member of his family, on the throne and honor Serra’s wish. Plus, he believes, Aegon is truly suited for the job as he’s been shaped by Illyrio and Varys.
The video puts all of the elements in place and makes a very strong argument for Varys’s and Illyrios’s true motivation, and something in keeping with a GRRM twist.
What’s Varys Going To Do With That Sorcerer In The Crate?Photo: HBOThis didn’t happen in the books, but on the show, Tyrion comes to Varys to learn about Cersei’s plans after her assassination attempt fails at the Battle of Blackwater. What he gets instead is the story of how Varys was castrated.
While Varys pries open a large crate, he tells Tyrion the story of traveling with a mummers troupe as a boy and being sold to a sorcerer. At first, he fears the sorcerer wanted to use him like he had heard men used young boys, but he soon discovers that the sorcerer wanted something much more sinister from him. He gives Varys a potion that paralyzes him in body and speech but that allows him to feel everything. The sorcerer cuts off Varys’s manhood “root and stem” with a hooked blade, “chanting all the while.” He throws Varys’s parts into a brazier and the flame turns blue. Varys hears a voice answer the sorcerer’s call and he still has nightmares about that voice. Was it a “god, a demon, a conjurer’s trick?” Ever since then, Varys has hated magic.
Tyrion doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about hearing the story at first and Varys volunteers the story without prompting. Why? Varys demonstrates to Tyrion how patience will bring the revenge he desires. As he says this, he lifts off the top of the crate to reveal the very sorcerer who castrated him many years ago. What we learn about Varys is that he plays the long game. He can be just as dangerous as Littlefinger, just a lot less obvious, and his web is vast.
But the big question is, what did he do with that sorcerer? Probably not something quick. Where’s your blue-flamed god now, sorcerer guy?
Varys’s Riddle Is The Key To EverythingVideo: YouTubeGeorge R.R. Martin wants us to ponder this riddle because it may hold the key to the entire story of A Song of Ice and Fire. Here’s Varys’s riddle: “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?”
Tyrion reasons that it depends upon the man with the sword. Then Varys counters with, “Then why do we pretend kings have all the power?” When he asks Tyrion who was truly responsible for Ned’s beheading - Joffrey, the executioner, or something else - Tyrion decides he doesn’t like riddles after all. Varys tells him, ”Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
Who Answered The Sorcerer From Within The Blue Flame?Photo: HBOVarys says that a voice called out from the flame when his manhood burned in the brazier. Which god or goddess was the sorcerer trying to contact? R’hllor? Mirri Maz Duur’s god, the Great Shepherd? Or the moonsinger god? Whoever it was, Varys still pledged a “symbolic revenge of sorts” to Stannis and his Red Priestess. So if he and Melisandre ever meet up, Varys will probably not give her a big hug.
Varys Is Getting The Band Together To Combat Several FrontsPhoto: HBOVarys wishes to join Daenerys and Tyrion with Jon in order to put a Targaryen and a line of the Targs, the Blackfyres, in power along with some Stark and Lannister thrown in for checks and balances. There will be no roasting of Starks, rape, or smashing of children on his watch. He truly believes that the throne needs many elements to restore power and maintain it.
Tyrion is the brains of the outfit, maneuvering and negotiating among slavers, usurpers, and politicians, spawning one-liners as he goes. Daenerys is the ruler, the actual rightful heir to the Throne who will restore order and not abuse her power, and Jon is Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised to beat back the coming winter and the White Walker army with it.
Varys Kills Kevan Lannister And Maester Pycelle In The BooksPhoto: HBOThe show hasn’t pursued this plot line so far, but Varys kills the two men in the books in order to spark a war between the Tyrells and the Lannisters. Turns out, Ellaria Sand does that for him on the show. So just know that Varys straight up crossbows Kevan and Pycelle in the books. He does apologize while doing it, if that’s any consolation. On the show, the Mountain might just turn the whole Small Council into jelly before it’s all over. We know what Maester Pycelle’s hindquarters will say to that.