In Game of Thrones S06E10 ("The Winds of Winter") we see Olenna Tyrell in Dorne, conversing with Ellaria Sand about a possible alliance between Dorne and Tyrell. Then suddenly Varys appears saying

Fire and blood.

What does this mean? It could point to an alliance between Dorne, Tyrell and Daenerys, which seems a reasonable choice, seeing that they both want to go against the Lannisters. But his appearance still seemed rather odd to me, since Varys should still be in Meereen, as we see him sailing on the ships that leave for Westeros with Daenerys later. So how was he suddenly in Dorne? Does this mean that scene was out of chronological order (in which case, was it earlier or later?)? Or does he have some other means for fast travel? Or was this maybe not even Varys?

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I would not like this question to degrade too much into completely random speculation and hope I just missed something obvious or it isn't as odd for him to be there as I might think. If this is really supposed to be a huge mystery to ponder the viewers for the next year, then be it so. Or do the books offer some insights on the matter (even thought I know that the series might diverge further and further from them in many regards).

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    There was an alliance made between Dorne and the Targaryens before the events of book 1 take place. These are all removed from from the show. Otherwise, its pretty obvious what is taking place in this scene. Varys left on a mission, this was his mission. Fast forward to Dany leaving for Westeros when Varys returned with news of the alliance.
    – user25738
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 19:18
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    I don't think there's any chronological problem here. Dany just acquired the means to cross the ocean and invade. Invasions, and ocean crossings, take preparation. It would be much stranger if Varys wasn't back by the time they set sail.
    – Hal
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 0:18
  • See also on Science Fiction & Fantasy: How does Varys travel so fast?
    – unor
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 2:03
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    Also worth mentioning that Fire and Blood are the words of House Targaryen, something that some as old as Ollena Tyrell would be well familiar with. Varys saying those words would immediately tell Ollena what Varys was offering.
    – SGR
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 8:59

5 Answers 5


Varys was recruiting Dorne and the Reach to Daenarys' side.

There is a similar dialogue in A Feast for Crows between Prince Doran Martell and his daughter Arianne (who does not appear in the show):

[Arianne] narrowed her eyes. “What is our heart’s desire?” [Prince Doran]“Vengeance.” His voice was soft, as if he were afraid that someone might be listening. “Justice.” Prince Doran pressed the onyx dragon into her palm with his swollen, gouty fingers, and whispered, “Fire and blood.”

This conversation serves the same purpose as the show conversation, to announce that Dorne is finally coming into the conflict, and they are supporting the Targaryens.

Characters in universe would understand that Varys/Prince Doran are referring to the Targaryens, because "Fire and Blood" is their house words.

In the final scene, you are able to see a ship with the Dornish sigil sailing in the fleet. (Right side of the image) enter image description here

We can assume that Varys' meeting in Dorne occurred well before the final scene showing the fleet leave Meereen.

Asynchronous storytelling is a common tool in Game of Thrones and explains most of the timing discrepancies that we see.

  • Yeah they do look more then 100 ships i.sstatic.net/Bgrho.jpg which they got from Yara
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 19:16
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    I took a screen shot of that scene and counted the ships (marking them as I went). There were almost exactly 200 ships. Presumably 100 stolen from the Iron Islands and 100 from the recently commandeered armada.
    – Hal
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 0:15
  • @Hal didn't they say in episode 9 that they have 1000 ships in total?
    – Federico
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:50
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    You can see ships with the Tyrell sigil on them as well, so we can assume that the Tyrell fleet has also joined Dany.
    – SGR
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 9:01
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    I found it quite hard to tell what was exactly going on in that fleet as I watched the episode. Reading this makes it all much more satisfying as it's been cleared up who was really there. :) Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 10:34

The creators of the show have already said that the timelines of different places is not in sync. Some places move forward in hours, some in days and some in months.

Writer Bryan Cogman, who wrote episodes 6 & 7 of season 6 had this to say

The timelines between the various storylines don’t necessarily line up within a given episode. For instance, the ‘Northern Tour’ Jon and Sansa embark on would probably take a couple weeks, but Arya’s storyline over the past few episodes only spans a few days. We realized a while ago that if we tied ourselves in knots trying to make all the ‘story days’ line up between all the characters the momentum would suffer.

Varys leaves Mereen in episode 8. He is seen in Dorne in episode 10. So, that's believable. He gathers the support of Dorne and Tyrell ships and goes back in the same episode to Mereen. Varys doesn't have teleportation power because you can see Tyrell and Dorne ships along with Greyjoy and Targaryian ships in the naval fleet of Dany. You can't teleport ships so it is to be assumed that Varys sent a word back to Tyrion telling him that Tyrell and Martels are behind Dany now, so wait up. Varys must have got back with a token ship of Tyrell and Martel each with some envoys to prove their support.

Here are the screenshots of Martells & Tyrells ships with sunspear & rose as the banner.

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    Here's one link imgur.com/a/qIwnz I'd have thought it'd be easier to meet Varys and the Dornish/Tyrells on route (Volantis?) personally rather than go all the way back to Mereen (though I guess that'd give them more time to paint all those sails...) Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 8:42

Before Robert's Rebellion, the Tyrell and the Martels were supporters of the Targaryen family. The relationships were made stronger by marriage as well. When Robert took the throne, they were forced to follow him as the king as the Targaryens were dead (according to them) and Robert had won the throne by right of conquest. Plus he was pretty badass at the time with a great army with him (Check out Greyjoy rebellion).

Varys was thus in Dorne to inform the leaders of the two Targaryen supporting houses that there was still a Targaryen alive that could take the throne. Thus he is shown saying "Fire and Blood" which are the house words of Targaryens.

As for the teleportation, that is just the way the show is made. In the first season, it takes Robert's convoy a month to arrive. Yet we see the letter of intimation and the convoy arriving in the same episode. Also, Varys is joined by Martell and Tyrell ships along with Dany's. So you can pretty much say they are near Dorne. Closer than it seems.


I found the "timeline explanation" to be a bit clumsy and thought it was a production mistake, so I dug a bit and found an interview* with Conleth Hill, the Varys actor, where he answered this very question!:

I still wanna know how he got from lady Olenna and all the people in Dorne to Daenerys on the boat so fast.

Conleth Hill answered:

I don't think he did, you just didn't see the intervening time, it was just a cut.

*) interview for Access Hollywood YouTube channel published on Jul 16, 2017

Even though this single episode, and things seems to be happening after few hours. Actually its few days between events. Single characters take lesser time to travel while on land rather than big armies and groups of people. However, by boats it is almost same time for big armies and single person.

There is no special power shown with Varys, apart from he has more connections so he gets onboarded to next ship quickly. You can see littlefinger also, travelling and reaching different location frequently.

As both characters, don't have any strings attached so they move anytime and don't need inform family and friends.

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