In season three of Game of Thrones, the sorcerer who took young Varys’ manhood is revealed to be living in a box. Much to Tyrion’s dismay, this crate is the embodiment of Varys’ ambition and his indefatigable spirit. Though he was castrated and left to die, he built himself up to become an indispensable advisor, tracked down the wizard, and imprisoned him in a box that he opens up from time to time to say, “Hello, my old friend. It’s been a long time.” Though he keeps the box in place, it’s clear Varys is always on the run from his tragic childhood.
After Kinvara, the Spider stayed clear of Red Priestesses until Melisandre arrived at Dragonstone. The witch minded her business, brought Jon Snow to Daenerys Targaryen, then watched from on high as ice and fire aligned. In announcing her leave of absence from Dragonstone (actress Carice van Houten is confirmed to only star in two episodes this season), Melisandre teased her upcoming journey to Volantis, home to the flagship Temple of the Lord of Light.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, when Jorah Mormont travels through the city, he learns that there are more disciples of R’hllor in Volantis than followers of every other religion in Westeros. In Game of Thrones, Melisandre makes it clear that she’ll be returning to Westeros, but after a few months in the heartland of R’hllor, who knows what she may bring to the Seven Kingdoms – a flaming sword, an army of Red Priestesses, the Lord of Light himself?
Varys' Loyalty In Question
Melisandre not only expects to die, but she’s seemingly at peace with it. With a Mona Lisa smile and an unblinking gaze, she flaunts the cold truth in the face of Varys. She even avoids the refrain of “the night is dark and full of terrors,” instead becoming more placid and assured than we’ve ever seen her. As she wraps up her work on Dragonstone, Melisandre’s efforts are enhanced by the rising tide of R’hllor across the land (encapsulated by the Hound’s prophecy in the season premiere).
None of this is lost on Varys, whose confidence shatters like steel against a White Walker’s blade when Melisandre assures him of his impending death. Has Varys heard this prophecy before? According to his encounter with the sorcerer, he very well might have. Kinvara knows what “the voice” told him, and she knows the identity of the voice itself.
Could that statement be the same prophecy Melisandre foretold? Varys has had a good run in the Seven Kingdoms, but it appears his days have always been numbered. Though he once swore to serve the “good of the realm,” and most recently promised to support Daenerys through all trials and tribulations, it seems the Spider has finally been caught in his own web.
Now that the handwriting is on the wall, will Varys remain loyal to his queen, or will he stab her in the back? Though many consider Dany to be the Prince(ss) That Was Promised, it’s worth noting that the Azor Ahai prophecy ended with a warning from Quaithe to the Targaryen herself: “beware the perfumed seneschal.” As A Song of Ice and Fire aficionados know, Varys is described as wearing more perfume than any other character. He has never been trustworthy, but now that the clock is ticking, Varys has become a full-blown liability to the Mother of Dragons.
Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘The Spoils of War’ @ 9pm on HBO.