‘Game of Thrones’: Did You Catch Lord Varys’ Final Play to Eliminate Daenerys?

Varys death 4

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 8, Episode 5 of Game of Thrones, “The Bells.”]

So, in case it wasn’t obvious in Episode 4 of Game of Thrones‘ final season, Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) wasn’t sold on Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) as the ruler of Westeros. In a conversation between himself and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), he doubted her ability to wield power justly, and he attempted to eradicate what he feared — Daenerys herself.

To fans unaware of the moment in which Varys attempts to take out the Dragon Queen before irreparable damage is caused, it takes place at the start of Episode 5, titled “The Bells.” Varys is seen writing a scroll that discloses the information about Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) lineage as the true heir to the Iron Throne.

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When Varys hears a knock on the door, a little girl is seen standing in the spot from where it came. “And?” he asks the young one, who we quickly understand to be one of his “little birds” — or spies. Shaking her head, he questions, “Nothing?”

“She won’t eat,” the girl replies of Daenerys. “We’ll try again at supper, ” Varys answers her, and while it could seem like a simple concern for Daenerys’ diet, the next comment he makes changes the tone.

(Credit: HBO)

“I think they’re watching me,” the girl says. And when Varys asks who is watching her, the child says, “her soldiers.”

“Of course they are. That’s their job,” Varys says, holding a hand out in comfort. “What have I told you, Martha?” he asks her.

“The greater the risk, the greater the reward,” she says, to his approving nod.

What’s the reward in this case? Daenerys’ death, it would seem. One fan pointed out the parallels to a Season 1 plotline about the poisoning of Robert Baratheon’s (Mark Addy) hand Jon Arryn. Even though it was revealed to be Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) who did the deed, Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover) hinted that Varys wasn’t above poisoning in a conversation with Ned Stark (Sean Bean).

At the time, Ned believed Cersei (Lena Headey) may have poisoned Jon Arryn to keep her relationship with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) a secret and notes that poison is “a woman’s weapon.”

“Yes, women, cravens and eunuchs. Did you know that Lord Varys is a eunuch?” Pycelle offers in the conversation. Sure, Varys may not have poisoned Jon Arryn, but he definitely tried with Daenerys and paid the ultimate price for his other betrayals of the hopeful queen.

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Instead, Daenerys had Varys brought out to the rocks of Dragonstone, where she torched him in dragon fire for his treason against her. Tyrion even told his friend that he was responsible for his end before it happened. “It was me,” Tyrion says to Varys.

Rather than taking the man down with him for their prior conversations about Daenerys though, Varys simply says, “I hope I deserve this. Truly, I do. I hope I’m wrong. Goodbye old friend.”

(Credit: HBO)

Of course, we all know that he didn’t deserve it, as his belief that Daenerys would burn King’s Landing to the ground came true. But he certainly didn’t go out without a final fight, even if he didn’t succeed in poisoning her.

Game of Thrones, Series Finale, Sunday, May 19, 9/8c, HBO