By season 7 episode 3, we have already seen that -

Daenerys has lost both her Westerosi allies - Tyrells and Martells

My question pertaining to this is-

Why hasn't Varys received any prior information from his little birds (or spies) regarding Lannisters plans?

In Euron's case, I agree the strategy would not have been discussed since it was his plan (and crew) all along but I believe the plan to take Highgarden should have been intercepted by one of Varys' spies. Being away from a place has never stopped Varys from gathering any information before. Why now?

  • 1
    Unfortunately I have no time right now to provide a decent answer with the appropriate sources, but I may say that they do not work for him since he left Westeros, and they were aiding Cersei and Qyburn.
    – LeonX
    Aug 4, 2017 at 20:00
  • How do you know he isn't?
    – Möoz
    Aug 6, 2017 at 23:27
  • @Möoz Varys did not get any information about Lannister plans which in turn led to the failure of Tyrion's plans and caused Dany to lose two of her allies while the Unsullied were left to fend for themselves in Casterly Rock without any food or supplies. Hence, the question.
    – rusk
    Aug 8, 2017 at 9:12
  • @rusk But Varys serves only himself, so he might have decided not to share the information for whatever reasons.
    – JiK
    Aug 8, 2017 at 10:16
  • I was wondering about this too. Varys was the mightiest spymaster ever. He had spies everywhere. And suddenly all his network is just a group of children which get seduced by Qyburn? This doesn't make sense in the show.
    – Tomas
    Jan 2, 2021 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


In "Oathbreaker" (Game of Thrones, S06E03) we see a scene in which Qyburn bribes and acquires Varys' "little birds":

We can assume from this scene that he made other actions in order to take over large chunks of Varys' network of spies.

Varys is wanted by the law and, for all intents and purposes, in hiding, so even from that alone he probably lost contact with a lot of his Westerosi spies.

  • I suppose this should be it. But it is very hard to believe that Varys didn't have any supporters left in Westeros even after helping (or bribing) them all these years. Have my upvote for the moment.
    – rusk
    Aug 4, 2017 at 20:35
  • @rusk If he didn't have the information from his spies (in the show), and it's uncharacteristic, it's because he no longer has access to those spies that he'd have needed, or because he's hiding it from Daenerys. One of those two options seems much more probable. The books, I'm sure, would have a much more complex and realistic approach, here, but it's the show's prerogative to simplify and condense it to their desire, which can result in unfortunate logical eyebrow raisers, for those of us who appreciate that extra realism. Aug 4, 2017 at 20:38
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    Even if Varys did have some "little birds" remaining in his service, military strategy is also not the type of information that one could expect them to bring to him. It would be tightly guarded and not easily accessible to street urchins. Also also, if there are any "little birds" still in Varys' service, Kings Landing is the last place they'd be.
    – J Doe
    Aug 4, 2017 at 22:35
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    @JDoe I think that's too literal an interpretation. Qyburn's scene above is not just setup for the destruction of the Sept of Baelor, but a symbolic scene that represents a major takeover of Varys' network of spies. It's, in my opinion, implied that Qyburn is now the Master of Whisperers and that this is scene represents many things he did to acquire Varys' spies. Even then, I also mentioned other reasons why Varys didn't have the spies available to him for this information, so. Aug 4, 2017 at 22:56
  • @GhotiandChips Too literal? Rusk commented arguing that Varys could have some spies left. I'm saying that even if that were true, he wouldn't have any left in KL - for precisely the reasons you already explained.
    – J Doe
    Aug 4, 2017 at 23:16

My assumption is this: Varys' network is far less effective than it once was. In the early seasons he was in Kinds landing, surrounded by children he could befriend and make use of. He had his secret passages and an entire city he knew well.

Now he's been away for years, on another continent. Qyburn has been working to subvert the network Varys left behind. And also probably has few qualms about punishing those who won't go to his side. And the children he had trained before have been growing up and a new generation taking their place without Varys' guidance. He's instead been on another continent, then secluded in Dragonstone. I'm sure few "little birds" make the trip from King's Landing to Dragonstone.

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