Movies & TV

Fans Almost Missed Varys' Sneaky Attempt to Poison Daenerys in Episode Five

The Spider's plan was a lot more sinister than it appeared.

Game of Thrones covered a lot of ground in its latest 80 minute installment—seven characters died (Ser Harry Strickland doesn’t count), King’s Landing was torched by a dragon, wildfire was exploding everywhere. And in the midst of that sensory overload it was potentially easy to miss a small but quiet moment early in the episode.

arys made it clear to Tyrion in Episode Four that he believed Jon Snow would make a better ruler than Daenerys Targaryen. The beginning of Episode Five found Varys at Dragonstone writing a letter naming Jon as the true heir to the Iron Throne and consulting with one of his "little birds," an adorable kitchen girl named Martha.

“She won’t eat,” Martha told Varys.

"We’ll try again at supper,” he replied.

Martha let Varys know that she thought soldiers were watching her. “Of course they are,” he responded. "That's their job. What have I told you, Martha?”


"The bigger the risk, the bigger reward,” the girl replied.

Daenerys wasn’t named in the exchange, but on whom else’s behalf would the troops at Dragonstone be spying on a kitchen maid? And why else would Varys be concerned about whether or not the queen he wants to topple is well fed?

Varys trying to eliminate Daenerys by poison fits perfectly into a line from Season One, back when Ned Stark was trying to piece together the death of Jon Arryn, his predecessor as Robert Baratheon’s Hand. Ned suspects, correctly, that Arryn was poisoned, and told Grand Master Pycelle.

“I’ve heard it said that poison is a woman’s weapon,” said Ned.

“Yes, women, cravens, and eunuchs,” Pycelle responded. “Did you know that Lord Varys is a eunuch?”

Varys’s attempt to poison Daenerys makes his execution pretty justifiable—she had promised in Season Seven to burn him to death if he attempted to betray her, after all. It also makes Dany’s too-rapid descent into Mad Queen status and city burning feel a little more natural. On top of losing her dragon and her best friend and finding out that her lover was actually her nephew and potential rival, one of her closest advisors was trying to have her killed. But the fact that she went on to torch King’s Landing also suggests that it probably would have worked out for the greater good if Varys’s poisoning plan had worked.


"I hope I deserve this, truly I do,” Varys said moments before his execution for treason. "I hope I’m wrong.” He wasn’t. 

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

View More Articles About:
About The Author
Gabrielle Bruney
View Other Articles From Gabrielle
Latest Feed
Likhain, aka Mia Sereno, was recognized as "Best Fan Artist" at the 2019 Hugo Awards in Dublin.
Zamboanga Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar pushes for inclusivity in government.
Brad Pitt plays an astronaut named Roy McBride, along with Tommy Lee Jones and perennial space wife Liv Tyler.
Accidents on the road during adverse weather conditions can be easily prevented.
They have a pretty valid point about the deeply troubled Winter Soldier.
Hado Pilipinas’ cutting-edge augmented reality dodgeball is the Philippines’ newest sport.
With Disney and Sony fighting over big money, Spidey's future is uncertain. For now.
Star Cadet, a brand by the guy behind the hilarious TBS series Final Space, just dropped a Star Trek-themed collection.
The country’s bestselling utility van gets a major upgrade after 15 years.
From the BTK killer to the Atlanta Child Murders and Charles Manson.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us