As we know, Varys from Game of Thrones was one of the true well-wishers of the seven kingdoms and a brilliant diplomatic person of King's Landing. As per my knowledge he had no relationship with any royal family.

What did he actually do for the kingdom that made him a member of the council, who takes important decisions for the kingdom? How did he become so important to the royal family?


2 Answers 2


Besides the story of how he was castrated, we don't really get much backstory on Varys in the show. Below is his backstory from the books:

Years before Robert's Rebellion, Varys and Illyrio Mopatis (the merchant at the beginning of Season 1 who 'sells' Daenerys to Khal Drogo and gives her the dragon eggs) started a business in Pentos where Varys would steal items from lesser thieves, and Illyrio would sell them back to the original owners for a small fee. They soon became the go-to people in Pentos for retrieving stolen property, and they both got rich.

Eventually realizing that information is often more valuable than gold, Varys began building a network of spies. He purchased small, quick, and quiet orphan children, taught them to read and write, and set them to work copying the information in the letters, ledgers, and charts of the wealthy and powerful. (Varys' network of children spies eventually became known as his 'little birds.') Using this information to make insider trades, for blackmail, etc., Varys and Illyrio increased their wealth tenfold.

Varys eventually became so infamous that word of his abilities reached King Aerys II (the Mad King) in King's Landing. By this time the king was starting to devolve into paranoia, and he no longer trusted his wife Rhaella, his son Rhaegar, or his Hand Tywin Lannister. Aerys contacted Varys, who agreed to be the king's Master of Whisperers. Varys quickly gained his trust by pointing out traitors and schemers, and as the king's paranoia grew so too did Varys' influence.

At the end of Robert's Rebellion, Varys tried to warn King Aerys against letting Tywin Lannister's host through the gates. Grand Maester Pycelle convinced him otherwise, and King's Landing was sacked. Jaime Lannister killed the Mad King when he asked his pyromancers to burn the city to the ground, and Robert Baratheon took the throne for himself. Varys' talents were useful enough for him to be kept around, so he was allowed to remain Master of Whisperers.

  • Which of the book(s) is that from?
    – blm
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 18:44
  • @blm The information in the first three paragraphs is mostly from Tyrion II in ADWD. The information in the last paragraph mostly comes from Jaime's bathtub monologue in ASOS. It's also information that Jaime gives us (in passing) in the same scene in the TV series.
    – Jold
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 19:09
  • Ok, thanks. I just finished ASoS so recognized the last paragraph, but still wondered how Varys got on the small council. Everyone else seems obvious, the Hand, Master of Coin, various lords, etc, so good to know how Varys got there.
    – blm
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 19:49
  • 2
    It's worth mentioning that book Varys and TV Varys seem to be quite different personalities playing very different games. In the book, he's much less of a "true well-wisher" than he appears in the show Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 13:22
  • @user568458 Agreed. Plus, D&D cut from the show what is apparently Varys and Illyrio's endgame in the books: Aegon VI.
    – Jold
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 18:10

Long History Short: The Mad King, as crazy as he was, suspected of everybody in his council, so he called for the services of this young guy who had certains skills across the narrow see. For a more descriptive history watch Game of Thrones Epic History: Character Spotlight - LORD VARYS

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