This question may contain spoilers for season one and season five.
In the season one episode, "The Wolf and the Lion", the small council discusses the imminent threat of Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen. It is announced that both Targaryen children should be killed in order to preserve the peace in the Seven Kingdoms. The small council seem to agree that this is the right thing to do, including Varys.
My question is: Why did Varys support the assassination of the Targaryen children?
When I first saw this it made sense. Varys seeks to "serve the realm" and only wants peace. It occurred to me that he justified the decision because it would mean longer-lasting peace for the world if the Targaryens are not able to cause an uprising and ultimately war.
However, previously in the same episode, Varys meets with Illyrio Mopatis. The two discuss their already-in-action plan to restore the Targaryens to the throne. It seems to be implied that it is intended that two powerful houses, Lannister and Stark, are to fight in order to disrupt the stability of the Seven Kingdoms. Varys states that
the conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks will soon escalate into a civil war
The gameofthrones.wikia.com article goes on to state
Despite Varys's meeting with Illyrio, later at a small council meeting he seemingly supports King Robert's proposal to assassinate Daenerys Targaryen.
But it doesn't give any reason or further explanation.
Furthermore, earlier in the same episode, Varys tells Eddard Stark
the king is a fool and will soon be dead
Varys is referring to King Robert Baratheon. Varys clearly believes him to be an inadequate king.
Questions and further thoughts
- If Varys was "pretending" to want the Targaryen children to be executed (to seem loyal), isn't that a big risk? What if the plot had succeeded and Daenarys and Viserys had been killed? Could he not have sided with Eddard Stark and said that the Targaryen children are not a threat?
At the time of the small council meeting
Viserys is still alive
Doesn't this mean that Varys supports Viserys or perhaps both Targaryen children, rather than just Daenerys? With all of Varys' wisdom and knowledge, shouldn't he know that Viserys is actually ruthless and stupid and would make a terrible king? Was it his plan to restore Viserys or was it always his plan to restore Daenarys?
During the meeting with Varys and Illyrio Mopatis, it is implied that they are orchestrating the plan to install Eddard as Hand of the King and establish a conflict between House Stark and House Lannister. However, we also learn that
Why do Varys and Illyrio Mopatis seem to take credit for this? Are they really in as much control as implied, or merely taking advantage of whatever events they are presented with?