Warning: Season 8 Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.
After four episodes, several brutal deaths, and some heartbreak (poor Tormund!), Game of Thrones is back on its political grind. Cersei proved she still knows the value of the element of surprise, and the strong Danerys everyone was rooting for seems to be losing her edge. A few of her advisors have taken notice, and some aren't ready to go down with the Mother of Dragons. Varys has made his concerns known, and he is definitely going to double cross Daenarys in episode 5.
Varys's plan on Game of Thrones is, and always has been, a spiderweb. But, as Varys himself has made clear, his endgame is to put someone on the throne who will prioritize the needs of the common people of the Seven Kingdoms. While Dany has appeared to be the queen of the people in the past, her behavior has become much more brutal as of late, and Jon Snow's true heritage makes him an appealing potential ruler. If you don't think Varys will betray Daenarys, think again.
Varys's Loyalty Is To The Citizens, Not To DaenerysPhoto: HBO
Varys has said all along that his allegiance is to the lowborn, the common people. He's even told Dany as much in Season 7's second episode, when she questions his loyalty:
You wish to know where my true loyalties lie? Not with any king or queen, but with the people. The people who suffer under despots and prosper under just rule. The people whose hearts you aim to win. If you demand blind allegiance, I respect your wishes. Grey Worm can behead me or your dragons can devour me. But if you let me live, I will serve you well. I will dedicate myself to seeing you on the Iron Throne because I choose you. Because I know the people have no better chance than you.
He will be loyal to Daenerys as long as she prioritizes the well-being of all her future subjects—but only under that condition.
Daenerys Is Starting To Act Like Her FatherPhoto: HBO
Season 7 was full of reminders that, like her Mad father, Daenerys can be quite impulsive. At times, it seems she has lost sight of her goal to be a queen for the people. Most of all, she simply wants to be queen. This has been illuminated in her arguments with Tyrion and Varys, and especially in the instance in which she executed the Tarlys when they refused to pledge their loyalty.
Season 8 has shown us more instances of Dany's seemingly unhinged behavior. After the Battle of Winterfell, she opted to go to King's Landing without giving her soldiers the time they needed to recover. All of her advisors, including Varys, explicitly said that she was making a mistake. Still, she charges on, and she loses Rhaegal and Missandei to Cersei Lannister and Euron Greyjoy.
Varys Hates Both Magic And Royalty, But Daenerys Is A Magic QueenPhoto: HBO
Varys has made plain his feelings about royalty. He laments that has yet to see a just ruler, and he distrusts Daenerys will be much different from her father.
Ever since he was castrated by a sorcerer as a child, Varys has hated magic. He even detests all those who use it. Dany may only have Drogon left, but dragons are, in a way, the physical embodiment of magic. Those are two more strikes against Dany in Varys's book.
Varys Doesn't Want Another Mad King (Or Queen)Photo: HBO
After the dragons burned the Tarlys, Tyrion and Varys drank away the horror of the event in the throne room of Dragonstone. Varys recalled the times he watched the Mad King do virtually the same thing, all the while telling himself he was not the one doing it, trying to shirk his complicity. It's clear he does not want to go through that again, and Daenerys's behavior makes him uneasy.