So far Game of Thrones has shown Varys and Tyrion to be somewhat good friends and people on a similar level of understanding in terms of what they want to accomplish. In the previous episode, Tyrion even revealed the truth about Jon Snow to him, instead of talking to Daenerys about it.

Now in S08E05, Tyrion just walks up to Daenerys and calmly lets her know that it is Varys who has been the one to betray her (presumably meaning spreading the truth about Jon via his letters).

Why would Tyrion betray his good friend like this, knowing he will be executed for it? Surely Daenerys would never be able to deduce who it was that spread the rumours: it could've been anybody that Sansa and Arya might've talked to, or maybe Sansa and Arya themselves, so there'd be no way for Daenerys to find out. Why did Tyrion then just give up Varys like that?

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    Tyrion has time and again shown devotion to his Queen, regardless of her ever-increasing reckless behavior/desires. His loyalty simply lies with more with her than it does Varys. As he's said many times before, he still "believes in her".
    – Charles
    May 13, 2019 at 7:40
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    "Surely Daenerys would never be able to deduce who it was that spread the rumours:" Immediately after he 'tattled', she laid it out quite clearly for him: Jon told Sansa, who told Tyrion, who told Varys. Even assuming she only figured that out on the spur of the moment when he told her, she had to have had a good suspicion either way. I doubt that the lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt would have stopped her from handing out justice.
    – Geobits
    May 13, 2019 at 12:22
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    @Charles As much as Tyrion believes in Daenerys, he also revealed in S08E04 that he is scared of her in equal measure. So as tbrookside mentioned in his answer, this was most likely a maneouver to cover himself as well.
    – B.M.
    May 14, 2019 at 10:40

3 Answers 3


Varys attempts to get Jon Snow to usurp the throne from Daenerys.

Once you've acknowledged someone as your sovereign, declaring that someone else has a superior claim and should be sovereign instead is treason all on its own. To take the additional step of urging that other claimant to take the throne is even worse.

While Tyrion and Varys were idly talking about what they should do with the information about Jon, they were reasonably safe, although Daenerys might have been enraged if she found out. When Varys acted on that information, it became treason. If Tyrion didn't turn Varys in, and Daenerys found out independently (and Jon could have told her about his conversation with Varys at any moment) then Tyrion looks like he's part of a treasonous conspiracy.


Tyrion warned Varys to abandon his treason. When Varys persisted, he had to face the consequences. Varys was prepared for this and willing to face them.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty ... in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

Tryion's revelation to Varys that Tyrion turned him in is Tyrion taking responsibility.

Tyrion himself engages in civil disobedience by freeing Jamie, knowing full well his fate may be the same a Varys'.


TL;DR: because Tyrion is too naive.

Time and again, during many different episodes, it can be seen that he trusts Daenerys and believes she will be a good ruler. He truly belives she is different from the Mad King, and care about her people.

That's why, in my opinion, he don't want to see her die, and the reason he betrays Varys.

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