The theories about Lord Varys' rings prove he's the ultimate Game of Thrones player.


Warning: This post contains a LOT of spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5. If you’re not caught up on the latest episode, bookmark us and come back once you’re ready to properly debrief. Ready? Let’s go!

Lord Varys was undoubtedly one of the most intelligent – and complex – characters that Game of Thrones has bestowed upon us.

Also known as the ‘Master of Whisperers’, the ‘Spider’ or even simply ‘The Eunuch’, Varys always stressed he did everything “for the good of the realm”.

You could also say he’s a messy b*tch who LIVES for drama.

Correction: Was. Because in the penultimate episode ‘The Bells’, we lost our favourite schemer when Daenerys executed him by burning him alive.

It was a rough scene. Particularly his exchange with Tyrion, his ‘old friend’ who turned him in to Dany for treason. Varys gave Tyrion final warning that he hoped he was wrong about Dany becoming the Mad Queen before being burnt to smithereens.

LISTEN: Claire Murphy and Holly Wainwright discuss everything that happened on Game Of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5:

But… we’re pretty sure Varys’ death wasn’t in vain. He was arguably the most well-informed man in Westeros, and fan theories are flying around all over the joint about his potentially very significant final actions.

Let’s dive in and explore the best Varys theories, shall we? Namely, why the hell did he take off those rings…


Who was Varys writing to?

Before being executed, Varys is busy writing letters to tell unknown recipients that Jon Snow is the “true heir” to the Iron Throne.

When he hears the soldiers coming for him, he burns one of the letters but did he manage to send out more?


We have a few theories on who Varys was writing to:

The new Prince of Dorne.

The most compelling theory is that he’s writing to the new Prince of Dorne. He actually mentions the Dornish prince to Daenerys when he’s warning her against burning down King’s Landing in the previous episode. He tells her she currently has his support. As happy as the Dornish will be that Dany managed to get rid of Cersei, will they support Jon with the stronger claim?

Gendry Baratheon.

Varys would probably like to keep the new Lord of Storm’s End across new developments as Ned Stark did when he wrote to Stannis Baratheon to tell him Joffrey wasn’t the rightful heir to the throne. Even though Dany gave him his fancy new title, his loyalty (and heart) belong to the Starks and therefore Jon.

Robin Arryn.

The (quite frankly terrifying) young Lord came to Sansa’s rescue (via Littlefinger) and sent the Knights of the Vale to fight in the Battle of the Bastards. With Littlefinger gone, maybe Varys was attempting to pull those strings.

Yara Greyjoy.

Yara has sworn allegiance to Dany but following her murderous rampage and the fact Jon should be the Targaryen to follow, perhaps she and the Iron Islands could be swayed. It’s what Theon would’ve wanted, but who knows how she’ll feel given their respective House’s history.


Was Varys trying to poison Dany?

In short, probably. Varys’ child spies are called his ‘little birds’. Not to be confused with Cersei’s old nickname ‘little bird’ or ‘little dove’ for Sansa, Varys’ little birds are child informants. Think the kids who work in kitchens and chambers who are privy to all sorts of information, but look like butter wouldn’t melt.

They’re also used as assassins. Some of Varys’ King’s Landing little birds were even hijacked by Cersei to stab Grand Maester Pycelle at the end of season six..

Back to the lead-up to Varys’ execution, was Varys using one of his little birds, a kitchen hand called Martha, to try to poison Dany? It was a subtle conversation right at the start of the episode and actually one of the details we missed from episode five.

Fun fact: Martha was one of the kids hiding with him in the crypts during The Battle of Winterfell. Here’s their exchange:

Varys: “Nothing?”

Martha: “She won’t eat.”

Varys: “We’ll try again at supper.”

Martha: “I think they’re watching me.”

Varys: “Who?”

Martha: “Her soldiers.”

Varys: “Of course they are. That’s their job. What have I told you, Martha?”

Martha: “The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.”


Varys: “Go on. They’ll be missing you in the kitchen.”

It very much sounds like Varys was trying to poison Dany’s food.

Why did Varys take off his rings?

Ok, so we’ve established Varys is most likely trying to poison Dany. One theory is that he’s concealing more poison in one of his rings he takes off, presumably for Martha (or even Tyrion at this point) to finish the job.

There was too much emphasis on the frame of him removing his rings for it not to mean… anything?

And it wouldn’t be the first time a character has hidden poison in their jewellery… Notably when Olenna Tyrell concealed the poison to kill Joffrey in an unwitting Sansa’s necklace.

Of course, it could also just have been a very symbolic moment. Varys knew he was busted and had resigned himself to the fact he was about to die, removing his worldly possessions before he did.

Way sadder than the poison theory.

Nonetheless, we don’t think we’ve heard the last word from Varys quite yet and very much enjoy that he is so good at the game of thrones, he’s even playing it from beyond the grave.

Do you think Varys’ letters or rings will have an impact in the finale? Tell us in the comments.

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