Saturday, November 29, 2014

The character Lord Varys in 'Game of Thrones'

Lord Varys is a character in the HBO television series "Game of Thrones," based on the books by George R. R. Martin. He originally came from a land "across the narrow sea" (as Lord Baelish puts it), was castrated young, does not have a family name, and now sits on the Council of King Robert Baratheon. His epithet is "The Spider," and the small children who serve as his spies are referred to as his "little birds." He is played by the actor Conleth Hill.

Each season of "Game of Thrones" has ten episodes, one hour each. Below, Lord Varys's activity in the first four seasons is summarized, episode by episode. Although this summary carries implicit information about the saga's overall trajectory, there are not many significant "spoilers." Let's put it this way: Many central characters die in the lethal kingmaking battles and intrigues, but Lord Varys survives the first four seasons.

Before you read!

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Season One, Episode Three: “Lord Snow”

The character's first appearance in is this episode. Lord Stark arrives at the hall where the King’s Council is meeting. Lord Varys greets him, saying, “I was grievously sorry to hear of your troubles on the Kingsroad. We are all praying for Prince Joffrey’s full recovery.” Lord Stark replies: “A shame you didn’t say a prayer for the butcher’s son.” [The young prince Joffrey and the butcher's son had a dispute, resulting in the prince's injured hand and the butcher's son's death.] Lord Stark is then informed that the King will not be attending the Council. “His Grace has many cares. He entrusts some small matters to us that we might lighten the load,” Varys explains. Varys also has the closing lines of the scene: “You are the King’s Hand, Lord Stark. We serve at our pleasure.”

Varys appears a second time in the same episode. Lady Stark travels to King's Landing to learn more about a thwarted attempt on the life of her ten-year-old son. The creepy Lord Baelish invites her to a secret meeting, and when she arrives, she’s astonished and insulted to realize that she is inside a brothel. Baelish confesses that he knew she was coming to King's Landing because Varys told him. Varys emerges from behind a red fringed curtain. Varys greets Lady Stark: “To see you again after so many years is a blessing. Your poor hands.” She asks Varys how he knew she was coming. He answers: “Knowledge is my trade, my lady. Did you bring the dagger with you, by any chance? My little birds are everywhere, even in the North. They whisper to me the strangest stories.” He is able to identify that the dagger used in the murder attempt is made of Valyrian steel, but he says he doesn’t know who it belongs to.

Season One, Episode Four: “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things”

The King’s Council continues to plan for a tournament. It is an expensive affair, and the king already has a staggering debt, but he has insisted upon the tournament. Varys, trying to say something positive about the event, says that tournaments are a morale-booster and an economic boon for the people.

After the Council adjourns, Lord Stark speaks privately with Grand Maester Pycelle. He asks if Jon Arryn death’s could have been caused by poison. Pycelle rejects that theory:

“The Hand was loved by all. What sort of man would dare—”
“I’ve heard it said that poison is a woman’s weapon,” Stark interrupts.
“Yes. Women, cravens and eunuchs. Did you know that Lord Varys is a eunuch?”
“Everybody knows that.”
“Yes, yes, of course. How that sort of person found himself on the king’s council, I will never know.”

Lord Baelish points out to Lord Stark as they walk around the courtyard: “Do you see that boy there? One of Varys’s little birds [i.e. spies]. The Spider has taken a great interest in your comings and goings.”

Season One, Episode Five: “The Wolf and the Lion”

Hearing that Lord Stark's young son is paralyzed but with sound mind, Lord Varys responds: “A blessing, then. I suffered an early mutilation myself. Some doors close forever; others open in most unexpected places.” He then says he’s going to say something that would get him executed if the wrong person heard. “And who would mourn poor Varys then? North or South, they sing no songs for spiders.”

He tells Lord Stark that, based on the people who have been observing him, he seems to be a man of honor. “I would like to believe I am another, strange as that may seem.” Varys tells him that Jon Arryn — the king’s Hand for 17 years, a man of peace — was killed by a colorless, tasteless poison, because “he started asking questions,” and that the King will suffer the same fate.

Lord Baelish suggests that Lord Varys visits his brothel, and he offers to give him a boy there. Varys replies: “I think you’re mistaking business with pleasure.” Baelish says, "We accommodate all inclinations,” at which Varys tries to get info from him about who has what scandalous, cruel and illegal fetish. Baelish asks: “Tell me. Does someone somewhere keep your balls in a little box. I’ve often wondered.” Varys replies: “Do you know, I have no idea where they are. And we had been so close.”

At the Council meeting, the King frets about the risk posed by the pregnancy of Daenerys Targaryen, based on information that Varys acquired from the slave-trader Jorah Mormont. Someone challenges the King: “You want to assassinate a girl because the Spider heard a rumor?” Varys defends his position: “It is a terrible thing we must consider, a vile thing. Yet we who presume to rule must sometimes do vile things for the good of the realm.”

Season One, Episode Six

Varys is not in this episode.

Season One, Episode Seven: “You Win or You Die”

Suffering in bed from a hunting injury, the King reconsiders his position and admits to Lord Stark that he was right about standing up to him about his plan for Daenerys Targaryen and that the advice of the other Council members, including Varys, had been “worthless.”

Varys stands outside the King's room. He implies that the King’s assistant may have conspired to cause his death, giving him wine before he confronted the boar. Stark asks Varys to cancel the orders to kill Daenerys Targaryen. Varys says: “I’m afraid those birds have flown. The girl is likely dead already.”

A boy delivers a message to a man in exile: “The Spider sends his greetings and his congratulations. A royal pardon. You can go home now.”

Season One, Episode Eight: “The Pointy End”

Varys smuggles in a drink to Lord Stark who is chained in the dungeon and has to sample it first in front of him. “I promise you, it isn’t poisoned. Why is it no one ever trusts the eunuch?” Varys then reports to him in a creepy, non-empathetic way that most of his family has been slaughtered. Stark complains to Varys that he stood idle in the violent dispute; Varys pointed out that he had no weapon. Besides, he says, “When you look at me, do you see a hero?”

Stark asks: “Tell me something, Varys. Who do you truly serve?”
Varys says: “The realm, my Lord. Someone must.”

Varys also has lines at the end of the episode in the chamber before the new King Joffrey. He breaks the news to the Commander of the Kingsguard that he will be given comfortable, but forced, immediate retirement, as the Council has decided.

Season One, Episode Nine: “Baelor”

Varys visits Stark in the dungeon again, telling him that his daughter is pleading for his life, and claiming that he doesn’t want him to die either. He will not rescue Stark, but he explains what Stark has to agree to do to save himself.

“When I was still a boy – before they cut my balls off with a hot knife – I traveled with a group of actors through the free cities. They taught me that each man has a role to play. The same is true at court. I am the master of whisperers. My role is to be sly, obsequious and without scruples. I’m a good actor, my lord.”
“Can you free me from this pit?”
“I could. But will I? No. As I said, I’m no hero.”

Season One, Episode Ten: “Fire and Blood”

Before the Council begins, Varys comes upon Baelish staring at the throne. He asks Baelish what he would do if he were King, and Baelish says he would behead everyone. “A man with great ambition and no morals," Varys says. "I wouldn’t bet against you!” Then Baelish asks Varysh the same question.
“I must be one of the few men in this city who doesn’t want to be king.”
“You must be one of the few men in the city who isn’t a man.”
“Tsk. You can do better than that.”
“When they castrated you, did they take the pillar with the stones? I’ve always wondered.”
“Have you? Do you spend a lot of time wondering what’s between my legs?”
“I picture – a gash. Like a woman’s. Is that about right?”
“I’m flattered, of course, to be pictured at all.”
"Must be strange for you, even after all these years. A man from another land, despised by most, feared by all."
“Am I? That is good to know. Do you lie awake at night fearing my gash?”
“But you carry on, whispering in one king’s ear, and then the next. I admire you.”
“And I admire you, Lord Baelish. A grasper from a minor House with major talent for befriending powerful men and women.”
“A useful talent, I’m sure you’d agree.”

Season Two, Episode One: “The North Remembers”

Cersei asks Lord Baelish to find the missing girl, Arya Stark, who she wants to recapture she she can negotiate with the Starks. Lord Baelish says: "You could ask Varys where she is. He'll have an answer for you. Whether you believe it–myself, I have always had a hard time trusting eunuchs. Who knows what they want?" (Cersei then demonstrates to Baelish that she has the power to order her guards to slit his throat at any moment. It is clear that he ought not to trust her, either.)

Season Two, Episode Two: “The Night Lands”

Varys is flirtatiously conversing with Tyrion Lannister's girlfriend at a kitchen table in the Lannister house in King's Landing when Tyrion arrives home.

"You should taste her fish pie," Tyrion Lannister says wryly. "I don't think Lord Varys likes fish pie," the woman laughs. "How can you tell?" Varys asks. "I can always tell." "Men like Lord Varys and I can't let our disadvantages get the best of us," Tyrion interrupts, referring to his own exceptionally short stature. "We'll make a fisherman of him yet."

Varys then says to Tyrion, in front of the girl: "Unfortunate that your father didn't want her to come. But rest easy, my lord. I am very good at keeping secrets for my good friends." Tyrion says: "Your discretion is legendary – where your friends are concerned."

When the girl leaves, Tyrion whispers to Varys: "Threaten me again, and I will have you thrown into the sea."

Varys replies: "You might be disappointed in the results. The storms come and go. The big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling."

Season Two, Episode Three: “What is Dead May Never Die”

Tyrion tells three different stories to the elderly, dotty Grand Maester Pycelle, to Varys, and to Baelish. He gives them all instructions not to tell Queen Cersei. (Varys coos: “Oooh. ‘The Queen mustn’t know.’ I love conversations that begin this way.”) When Cersei hears Pycelle's version of the story, Tyrion knows that Pycelle is untrustworthy. Pycelle initially denies it and unsuccessfully blames Varys. “The eunuch has spies everywhere,” Pycelle pleads, while Tyrion plays with a nutcracker and retorts, “Cut off his manhood and feed it to the goats.” “There are no goats, halfman,” his thugs report. “Well, make do,” Tyrion says. The thugs cut off Pycelle’s beard and drag him off to prison.

Later, Varys drinks wine with Tyrion and says: “Well played, My Lord Hand.” (By contrast, Baelish wasn’t pleased to have been used in the ruse.) They note the apparent risk of serving on the Small Council. Varys says, “Power is a curious thing, my lord. Are you fond of riddles?...Three great men sit in a room. A king, a priest, and a rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives, who dies?” The riddle is unanswerable. Varys expounds: “But if it’s swordsmen who rule, why do we pretend kings hold all the power? When Ned Stark lost his head, who was truly responsible? Joffrey? The executioner? Or something else?" Eventually, he concludes: "Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

(The DVD has a feature with commentary from the child actors, who, reflecting on this scene, describe Conleth Hill in the role of Varys as "insane," "spooky," "sarcastic." "He changes," they say.)

Season Two, Episode Seven: “A Man Without Honor”

Varys makes little or no appearance in Episodes Four, Five, Six, and Seven. However, in Seven, there is a pejorative reference to "eunuch." Prince Theon is anxiously looking for some people he'd like to have captive. When an advisor suggests they call off the search for the night, he becomes violently angry. “I’m looking at spending the rest of my life being treated like a fool and a eunuch by my own people. Ask yourself, is there anything I wouldn’t do to stop that from happening?”

Season Two, Episode Eight: “The Prince of Winterfell”

Varys comes in to help plan a battle and compliments the City Watch efforts, saying that theft has declined. The man on the City Watch explains that he rounded up all the known thieves so that they wouldn't steal all the food to profit off it while the city is under siege. Varys defends him to Tyrion: “Given the circumstances, my Lord, I believe extreme measures are warranted.”

Later, Tyrion speaks privately with Cersei about Varys.

Cersei: Odd little boy. [of the wine pourer]
Tyrion: I have a certain sympathy for odd little boys.
Cersei: You and Varys both.
* * *
Cersei: Do you know why Varys is so dangerous?
Tyrion: Because he has thousands of spies in his employ. Because he knows everything we do before we do it.
Cersei: Because he doesn’t have a cock.
Tyrion: Neither do you.
Cersei: Perhaps I’m dangerous, too. You, on the other hand, are as big a fool as every other man. That little worm between your legs does half your thinking.
Tyrion: It’s not that little.

Next, the sociopathic child king Joffrey complains to Varys that he isn't providing enough information.

"You’re the Master of Whisperers. You’re supposed to know everything," Joffrey says. "No man can be in all rooms at all times. I have many little birds in the North, my Lord, but I haven’t heard their songs since Theon Greyjoy captured Winterfell," Varys apologizes.

Tyrion and Varys speak alone on a rampart.

Tyrion: You’re an intelligent man. I’d like to think I’m an intelligent man. Varys: Oh, no one disputes that, my lord, not even the multitudes who despise you. Tyrion: I wish we could converse as two honest, intelligent men. Varys: I wish we could, too. Tyrion: What do you want? Tell me. Varys: If we’re going to play, you’ll have to start.

Then, Varys tells him: "In the Summer Isles, they worship a fertility goddess with 16 teats." Varys reveals to Tyrion that Daenaerys Targaryen lives and that she has three dragons.

Season Two, Episode Nine: “Blackwater”

As bells ring loudly, Tyrion's assistant helps him put on his armor.
Varys: I’ve alway hated the bells. They ring for horror. A dead king, a city under siege –
Tyrion: A wedding.
Varys: Exactly. 'Podrick,' is that it? [asking the name of Tyrion's assistant]
Tyrion: 'Is that it?' Nice touch. As if you don’t know the name of every boy in town.
Varys: I’m not entirely sure what you’re suggesting.
Tyrion: I’m entirely sure you’re entirely sure what you’re suggesting.
Varys then brings up the "old powers" and the "dark arts," implying that he believes in them. In this context, he says to Tyrion, "I don’t believe I’ve ever told you how I was cut." "No, I don’t believe you have," Tyrion replies. "One day, I will," Varys promises.

Season Two, Episode Ten: “Valar Morghulis”

Varys comes into a woman's chambers at Baelish's brothel. She disrobes. Varys removes his hood and says "No need for that, my dear...I'm not like most men." The woman does not know who he is. She gropes him and then uncomfortably withdraws. He raises one eyebrow at her and says, "You're afraid. Why? Nothing dangerous down there." She says, "I know who you are." He says, "And, unlike your current employer, I protect those who work for me. I don't abuse them to satisfy royal whims or force them to abuse each other." (He is referring to an incident she suffered at the hands of King Joffrey.) He explains to her what he wants: "Littlefinger [Baelish] looks at you and sees a collection of profitable holes. I see a potential partner." Then he hints to her that, although Baelish is dangerous, he has a weakness.

Varys visits Tyrion in his sickbed. (Tyrion was wounded in the previous episode.) Varys breaks the news that Tyrion's father and sister are now in control, leaving Tyrion vulnerable. "I'm afraid we won't be seeing each other for some time, my Lord," Varys says. "And I thought we were friends," Tyrion says. "We are," Varys says. He rises to leave, but turns and thanks Tyrion for his valor in battle. "There are many who know that without you this city faced certain defeat. The king won't give you any honors, the histories won't mention you, but we will not forget."

Season Three, Episode Three: “Walk of Punishment”

Varys appears in a Small Council meeting at the beginning of the episode, where he has a few lines but does not say anything especially remarkable.

Season Three, Episode Four: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Tyrion has inherited Baelish's position as the Master of Coin, but he does not have spies, and so Tyrion approaches Varys asking for proof that Tyrion’s sister is trying to kill him. Varys, instead, tells him the story of his castration.

Varys: “As a boy, I traveled with a troupe of actors through the free cities. One day in Myr, a certain man made my master an offer too tempting to refuse. I feared the man meant to use me as I’d heard some men used small boys, but what he wanted was far worse. He gave me a potion that made me powerless to move or speak, yet did nothing to dull my senses. With a hooked blade, he sliced me, root and stem, chanting all the while. He burned my parts in a brazier. The flames turned blue, and I heard a voice answer his call. I still dream of that night. Not of the sorcerer, not of his blade. I dream of the voice from the flames. Was it a god? A demon? A conjuror’s trick? I don’t know. But the sorcerer called and a voice answered. And ever since that day, I have hated magic and all those who practice it. But you can see why I was eager to aid in your fight against Stannis and his red priestess. A symbolic revenge of sorts."
Tyrion: "Yes. I feel the need for actual revenge against the actual person who tried to have me killed, which will require a degree of influence, which –"
Varys: "– you do not possess at the moment. But influence is largely a matter of patience, I have found. Once I had served the sorcerer’s purpose, he threw me out of is house to die. I resolved to live to spite him. I begged. I sold what parts of my body remained to me. I became an excellent thief, and soon learned that the contents of a man’s letters are more valuable than the contents of his purse. Step by step, one distasteful task after another, I made my way from the slums of Myr to the Small Council chamber. Influence grows like a weed. I tended mine patiently until its tendrils reached form the Red Keep all the way across to the far side of the world, where I managed to wrap them around something very special."

At this juncture, Varys unbolts a coffin-like box, where he keeps the sorcerer, trembling and whimpering incoherently.

In another scene, a former prostitute tells Varys that she believes Baelish plans to put Sansa Stark on a ship.

Then Varys interviews the Margaery Tyrell's grandmother, Olenna, who refers to Varys' "nonexistent" sexual parts:

Are you here to seduce me?
A little obvious, perhaps?
No, please. Seduce away. It’s been so long. Though I rather think it’s all for naught. What happens when the nonexistent bumps against the decrepit? [Varys glances nervously under his robe] A question for the philosophers. But you’ve come mincing all this way for something.

Varys tells Olenna that Sansa Stark is still too young to be either an ally nor an enemy. He passes on the information that Baelish has his eye on Sansa. “If Robb Stark falls," Varys says, "Sansa Stark is the key to the North.” He adds that Baelish "would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.”

Season Three, Episode Six: “The Climb”

Varys and Baelish discuss the Iron Throne. According to legend, it is made of 1,000 weapons of Aegon’s enemies, but Baelish says he’s counted and it looks like less than 200. Varys notes that it’s his second-choice chair. Then, they philosophize:

Baelish: “It is flattering, really, you feeling such dread at the prospect of me getting what I want.”
Varys: “Thwarting you has never been my primary ambition, I promise you. Although who doesn’t like to see their friends fail now and then.”
Baelish: “You’re so right – for instance, when I thwarted your plan to give Sansa Stark to the Tyrells. If I’m going to be honest, I did feel an unmistakeable sense of enjoyment there. But your confidant – the one who fed you information about my plans – the one you swore to protect – You didn’t bring her any enjoyment and she didn’t bring me any enjoyment. She was a bad investment on my part. Luckily, I have a friend who wants to try something new. Something daring. And he was so grateful to me for providing this fresh experience.”
Varys: “I did what I did for the good of the realm.”
Baelish: “The realm. Do you know what the realm is? It’s the thousand blades of Aegon’s enemies. A story that we agreed to tell each other over and over till we forget that it’s a lie."
Varys: "But what do we have left once we abandon the lie? Chaos. A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all."
Baelish: "Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

Season Three, Episode Ten: “Mhysa”

At a Small Council meeting, the young king Joffrey reveals gleefully that Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn Stark are dead. Varys makes an ineffectual protest against Joffrey's sadism.

Joffrey: “Write back to Lord Frey. Thank him for his service. And command him to send Robb Stark’s head. I’m going to serve it to Sansa at my wedding feast.”
Varys cautions: “Your grace, Lady Sansa is your aunt by marriage.”
Joffrey's mother Cersei smiles: “A joke. Joffrey did not mean it."
Joffrey: “Yes, I did. I’m going to have it served to Sansa at my wedding feast.”
Tyrion: “No. She is no longer yours to torment.”
Joffrey: “Everyone is mine to torment. You’d do well to remember that, you little monster.”
Tyrion: “Oh, monster. Perhaps you should speak to me more softly, then. Monsters are dangerous, and just now, kings are dying like flies.”

After some discussion, Joffrey cries petulantly, “I am the king!”, sweeping his hand, nearly hitting Varys’s face. Varys closes his eyes with exasperation or horror.

Later, Varys talks to Tyrion’s lover and gives her a pouch of diamonds, advising her to leave the city and resettle somewhere else comfortably. “You have one name, as do I. Here, only the family name matters,” he tells her. He further explains: “I’m not asking you to leave him for money. I’m asking you to leave because your presence in the capital endangers him.”

Season Four, Episode Two: “The Lion and the Rose”

At the beginning, Varys speaks with Tyrion, warning him that his girlfriend, Shae, also known as “the whore,” is in danger from his father, who disapproves of the relationship.

Tyrion: Lord Varys. Breakfasting with the King?
Varys: I’m afraid foreigners aren’t welcome at such exclusive affairs.
Tyrion: Oh, to be foreign.
Varys: Shae has been noticed. Sansa’s maid saw her with you. She already told your sister. It’s only a matter of time before your father hears.
Tyrion: So I’m guilty of being seen with my own wife’s handmaiden. My father will ask you if there’s anything more, and you’ll tell him some clever lie.
Varys: No, I will not. How long do you imagine your father and sister would let me live if they suspected me of lying? I have no pet sellsword to protect me, no legendary brother to avenge me. Only little birds who whisper in my ear.
Tyrion: Forgive me if I don’t weep for you.
Varys: No one weeps for spiders — or whores. I have friends across the sea who could help her.
Tyrion: She won’t leave. I’ve told her this is a dangerous place so many times, she no longer believes it.
Varys: Your father has promised to hang the next whore he finds you with. Have you ever known your father to make an idle threat?

The next time Tyrion sees Shae, he sends her away. Bronn later confirms to Tyrion that he escorted Shae to a faraway location: “No one knows she’s there but you, me and Varys.”

Varys attends King Joffrey's wedding to Margaery Tyrell. When Margarery announces that the leftover food will be given to the poor, Varys can be seen in the audience, straight-faced, looking skeptical or angry. He also looks miserable during the farcical Battle of the Five Kings. Yet again, when Joffrey challenges Tyrion before all the wedding guests and loses the war of words, Varys’ face is hard to read.

Season Four, Episode Three: "Breaker of Chains"

Tyrion, though innocent, awaits trial for murdering King Joffrey. Tyrion’s squire Podrick visits Tyrion in the dungeon. Tyrion brainstorms the witnesses he might call to defend his character at the trial. “Varys could vouch for me, if he dared,” Tyrion suggests. Podrick replies: “He’s already been called as a witness for the Queen.” “Of course,” Tyrion says sarcastically.

Varys himself does not appear in this episode.

Season Four, Episode Six: "The Laws of Gods and Men"

Varys has two significant appearances in this episode.

First, at a council meeting, he begins with his usual military report, and then adds news of the "powerful army" in "the east". Cersei demands to know how Daenerys Targaryen conquered Meereen and became its queen. Varys answers: “She commands an army of Unsullied, my queen, some 8,000 strong. She has a company of sellswords, the Second Sons. She has two knights advising her, Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy. And she has three dragons.” Prince Oberyn adds: "Lord Varys is right. I have been to Essos and seen the Unsullied firsthand. They are very impressive on the battlefield. Less so in the bedroom." Varys tells Tywin that he can send more spies.

In the next scene, Varys is in the throne room alone, staring at the Iron Throne. Prince Oberyn approaches.

Varys: Prince Oberyn.
Oberyn: Lord Varys.
Varys: Only Varys. I’m not actually a nobleman. No one is under obligation to call me lord.
Oberyn: And yet everyone does.
Varys: You seem quite knowledgeable about the Unsullied. Did you spend much time in Essos?
Oberyn: Five years.
* * * *
Oberyn: You are from Essos. Where? Lys? I have an ear for accents.
Varys: I’ve lost my accent entirely.
Oberyn: I have an ear for that as well. How did you get here?
Varys: It’s a long story.
Oberyn: One you don’t like telling people.
Varys: People I trust.
* * *
[Oberyn invites Varys to the brothel.]
Oberyn: We have some lovely boys on retainer, did like boys before? Really? Girls, hmm. I hope you won’t be offended when I say I never would have guessed.
Varys: Not at all. But I was never interested in girls, either.
Oberyn: What then?
Varys: Nothing.
Oberyn: Everybody is interested in something.
Varys: Not me. When I see what desire does to people, what it’s done to this country, I am very glad to have no part in it. Besides, the absence of desire leaves one free to pursue other things.
Oberyn: Such as?
[Varys looks at the iron throne]

Later, Varys testifies against Tyrion at his regicide trial. Varys reports that Tyrion said at a small council meeting: “Perhaps you should speak more softly to me then. Monsters are dangerous and just now kings are dying like flies.” He also says that his marriage to Sansa Stark may have made him sympathize with the north and the recent death of Robb Stark. Tyrion asks for permission to speak, and reminds Varys that he'd once said that he would never forget what Tyrion did to save the city.

Tyrion: “Have you forgotten, Lord Varys?”
Varys: “Sadly, my lord, I never forget a thing.”

Season Four, Episode Eight: "The Mountain and the Viper"

Varys is mentioned indirectly in this episode.

Ser Barristan is served with a pardon from the late King Robert Baratheon. This is a problem for him, since he serves the rival Daenerys Targaryen, who wants to take back her family's throne from the House Baratheon. Daenerys demands an explanation for why the pardon was issued years previously. Ser Barristan explains that the he had told Varys, “the spymaster of King’s Landing,” about Daenerys' arrival with her brother Viserys in Pentos, her marriage and pregnancy, and Viserys' death. Daenerys realizes that this information explains why someone knew where she was and tried to poison her, and she finds Ser Barristan's effort to save her from the poisoning to be inadequate restitution for his betrayal in the first place.

Season Four, Episode Ten: "The Children"

Tyrion has been sentenced to death at the end of Episode Eight and he awaits his fate in the dungeon. His brother Jaime releases him. He tells him to give a secret knock at the top of the stairs, where Varys will open the door. “You have more friends than you thought,” Jaime answers Tyrion's surprise that Varys is helping. From there, he says, Tyrion must board the ship in the bay that will take him to the free cities.

Tyrion does not go directly to Varys's door. First, he takes a detour of moral significance. When he finally arrives at the door, Varys asks: “What have you done?” Tyrion does not answer. Varys ushers him inside and bolts the door. “Trust me, my friend. I brought you this far," Varys says. Varys is shown boarding the ship. The season ends.

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