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Varys on Littlefinger's Dagger


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#1 DominusNovus

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 02:39 AM

In aGoT (and in the show, for that matter), Varys is present when Littlefinger lies about the dagger.  While the show definitely hams up their rivalry, why does Varys let Petyr get away with it?  Is it simply because they both are hoping to cause some instability for their respective plans?  Somehow, that seems a bit too convenient.



#2 Usrnmhsnomning

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 02:45 AM

When Arya overhears Varys and Illyrio discuss the upcoming conflict in the dungeons, Illyrio presses Varys to delay the war, while Varys argues for allowing it to happen. Hence, he would guess that Littlefingers game is likely to provoke the Lannister-Stark conflict and allowed it to happen.



#3 Skoboe

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:52 AM

In aGoT (and in the show, for that matter), Varys is present when Littlefinger lies about the dagger.  While the show definitely hams up their rivalry, why does Varys let Petyr get away with it?  Is it simply because they both are hoping to cause some instability for their respective plans?  Somehow, that seems a bit too convenient.

 

They are both playing their own game, but there may be some 'professional' respect and maybe even some small game between the two. They each enjoy the game too much to end it by calling the other out on a lie in front of someone.



#4 Boxman

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 04:04 AM

Varys knows that no one trusts him, and that calling Baelish a liar in that instance would serve no purpose since Catelyn would believe her childhood friend over the him



#5 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:16 AM

When Arya overhears Varys and Illyrio discuss the upcoming conflict in the dungeons, Illyrio presses Varys to delay the war, while Varys argues for allowing it to happen. Hence, he would guess that Littlefingers game is likely to provoke the Lannister-Stark conflict and allowed it to happen.

 

Varys wants the plans he made with Illyrio to happen faster because he isn't able to prevent the war for much longer.

 

 

LF provoked the Starks into conflict with the Lannisters, yes. But the real question is: Does Varys know how the dagger changed hands?

That the dagger is truly LF's, I do not doubt. But LF lost it to Robert, and not Tyrion, and that's the lie he's telling.

 

LF has already shown to be capable to get things past Varys. Varys didn't know who poisoned Jon Arryn, he seemed to think it was Ser Hugh. Varys didn't know that Joff would execute Ned. Varys and Cersei had convinced the boy to let Ned take the black. It was LF's work that Joff did not spare Ned.

 

Varys doesn't seem to know about the dagger at all. In fact, he tells Illyrio that

 

 

"The fools tried to kill his son, and what’s worse, they made a mummer’s farce of it. He’s not a man to put that aside. I warn you, the wolf and lion will soon be at each other’s throats, whether we will it or no."

 

 

The fools most likely refers to the Lannisters. The Lannisters tried to kill his son, Varys is saying here. Varys had no little birds in that tower at Winterfell, there was no one besides Jaime, Cersei and Bran. Varys actually seems to believe that Tyrion was somehow involved.



#6 kiasyd

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:56 AM

 

The fools most likely refers to the Lannisters. The Lannisters tried to kill his son, Varys is saying here. Varys had no little birds in that tower at Winterfell, there was no one besides Jaime, Cersei and Bran. Varys actually seems to believe that Tyrion was somehow involved.

 

"The fools" == Lannisters == Cersei, Jaime, Joffrey. Varys assessment is correct.



#7 DominusNovus

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 12:34 PM

LF has already shown to be capable to get things past Varys. Varys didn't know who poisoned Jon Arryn, he seemed to think it was Ser Hugh. Varys didn't know that Joff would execute Ned. Varys and Cersei had convinced the boy to let Ned take the black. It was LF's work that Joff did not spare Ned.

 

Varys doesn't seem to know about the dagger at all. 

 

Varys didn't know the details of a public event?  There doesn't seem to be much secrecy about the bets at tourneys, so there's no reason to assume that Varys and anyone who wanted to know wouldn't be able to figure out the details with trifling ease.

 

But even if there was some secrecy, surely the Master of Whispers would know that Tyrion never bets against his brother.



#8 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:14 PM

 

Varys didn't know the details of a public event?  There doesn't seem to be much secrecy about the bets at tourneys, so there's no reason to assume that Varys and anyone who wanted to know wouldn't be able to figure out the details with trifling ease.

 

But even if there was some secrecy, surely the Master of Whispers would know that Tyrion never bets against his brother.

 

I'm not saying there wasn't a chance to observe it.

But perhaps Varys didn't view it as important enough to remember all the details of a knife that LF lost to Robert during the betting.

 

And who knows? Perhaps Varys wanted to see what would happen..

 

Personally, I'm hoping that WoW will give more insight into Varys' plans, since there seem to be layers upon layers :)



#9 Brewmaster

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:16 PM

I agree that this is a little bit...out of character. I think you can chalk it up to happening in the first few hundred pages, before characterization was completely fleshed out. We are 5,000 more pages into the story now and have a better grasp on the characters and motives than we did back then, and so does GRRM.

 

If Varys wants to delay open war between the Starks and the Lannisters he could/should make some attempt at diffusing it there. He should also have enough information about the entire Royal family and a huge entourage spending a month at Winterfell, and have some kind of a presence there on the ground supplying him with reliable information.

 

With that being said, since it seems that Joffrey is the one that did it, does supplying Cat/Ned with that information really prevent Lannister/Stark hostilities? But Varys should have known that Littlefinger was lying and could have muddied the waters a bit.



#10 Lost Melnibonean

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:03 PM

When Arya overhears Varys and Illyrio discuss the upcoming conflict in the dungeons, Illyrio presses Varys to delay the war, while Varys argues for allowing it to happen. Hence, he would guess that Littlefingers game is likely to provoke the Lannister-Stark conflict and allowed it to happen.

Varys doesn't argue for letting it happen. He's worried he can't stop it...

"The fools tried to kill his son, and what's worse, they made a mummer's farce of it. He's not a man to put that aside. I warn you, the wolf and lion will soon be at each other's throats, whether we will it or no."

"Too soon, too soon," the voice with the accent complained. "What good is war now? We are not ready. Delay."

"As well bid me stop time. Do you take me for a wizard?"


He does want the Khal to start moving because the realm is fracturing and spinning out of control but Illyrio is convinced that they can't move him yet.

As far as Littlefinger is concerned, this is all Varys has to say...

Littlefinger . . . the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing."

#11 Usrnmhsnomning

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:10 PM

Varys doesn't argue for letting it happen. He's worried he can't stop it...

"The fools tried to kill his son, and what's worse, they made a mummer's farce of it. He's not a man to put that aside. I warn you, the wolf and lion will soon be at each other's throats, whether we will it or no."

"Too soon, too soon," the voice with the accent complained. "What good is war now? We are not ready. Delay."

"As well bid me stop time. Do you take me for a wizard?"


He does want the Khal to start moving because the realm is fracturing and spinning out of control but Illyrio is convinced that they can't move him yet.

As far as Littlefinger is concerned, this is all Varys has to say...

Littlefinger . . . the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing."

Change 'allowed it to happen' to 'did nothing about it' then. The point remains the same. Varys doesn't know what 'game' Littlefinger is playing, but he obviously knows the 'game' involves a Stark-Lannister conflict and actively decided not to intervene with any real advice or knowledge for Ned.


Edited by Usrnmhsnomning, 15 January 2014 - 09:10 PM.


#12 tyrionstark

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:25 PM

In aGoT (and in the show, for that matter), Varys is present when Littlefinger lies about the dagger.  While the show definitely hams up their rivalry, why does Varys let Petyr get away with it?  Is it simply because they both are hoping to cause some instability for their respective plans?  Somehow, that seems a bit too convenient.

Pretty much. Instability is a good thing for both of them. The timing of intimating the instability is crucial to one another irl, but nowhere near as critical as actually confronting each other would be. They'd be showing so much more of their hand if they did that.



#13 Lost Melnibonean

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:27 PM

They are both playing their own game, but there may be some 'professional' respect and maybe even some small game between the two. They each enjoy the game too much to end it by calling the other out on a lie in front of someone.

Varys is Illyrio's agent. Strictly speaking Varys is Illyrio's servant and Illyrio is Varys's master. But the relationship appears to be grounded in mutual admiration and a surprising degree of trust...

Illyrio: "What good is war now? We are not ready. Delay." --That's a command.

"What would you have me do?" --That's request for clarification of and guidance to carry out a command.

"If one Hand can die, why not a second?"

"Before is not now, and this Hand is not the other," 

"Perhaps so,"
--That's a professional back-and-forth where the servant advises the master and the master values and considers the advice.

"Nonetheless, we must have time." --The order is final.

It finishes with the agent requesting certain material support from his patron.

#14 Lost Melnibonean

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:30 PM

Varys knows that no one trusts him, and that calling Baelish a liar in that instance would serve no purpose since Catelyn would believe her childhood friend over the him

I agree.

#15 voodooqueen126

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:42 PM

If we take it as a given that Varys' ultimate goal was "Aegon on the throne" then destablizing the Starks and Lannisters does serve his ultimate purpose. He might not have wanted it to happen quickly but it served his interests that it happened, there was no way he could've expected Catelyn to randomly encounter Tyrion and kidnap him on the road and thus cause things to escalate a lot faster.



#16 Lost Melnibonean

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:47 PM

 
Varys wants the plans he made with Illyrio to happen faster because he isn't able to prevent the war for much longer.

 
LF provoked the Starks into conflict with the Lannisters, yes. But the real question is: Does Varys know how the dagger changed hands?
That the dagger is truly LF's, I do not doubt. But LF lost it to Robert, and not Tyrion, and that's the lie he's telling.
 
LF has already shown to be capable to get things past Varys. Varys didn't know who poisoned Jon Arryn, he seemed to think it was Ser Hugh. Varys didn't know that Joff would execute Ned. Varys and Cersei had convinced the boy to let Ned take the black. It was LF's work that Joff did not spare Ned.
 
Varys doesn't seem to know about the dagger at all. In fact, he tells Illyrio that
 
 
 
The fools most likely refers to the Lannisters. The Lannisters tried to kill his son, Varys is saying here. Varys had no little birds in that tower at Winterfell, there was no one besides Jaime, Cersei and Bran. Varys's actually seems to believe that Tyrion was somehow involved.

Varys knew about the dagger before LF. His little birds heard Rodrik talking with Aaron Santagar. LF quickly determined Cat's purpose and turned it to his advantage by putting the dagger in the hands of Tyrion. Even if Varys recognized the lie he would have been foolish to call LF on it there and then, as you say.

#17 Lost Melnibonean

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:00 PM

Change 'allowed it to happen' to 'did nothing about it' then. The point remains the same. Varys doesn't know what 'game' Littlefinger is playing, but he obviously knows the 'game' involves a Stark-Lannister conflict and actively decided not to intervene with any real advice or knowledge for Ned.

That last part's true enough. At some point he sided with the Lannisters, which was particularly risky since Tywin as regent had to be the least optimal outcome at the time. But after Robert got gored he probably felt it was his only chance to survive Ned's eventual fall.

#18 The Unborn

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:05 PM

 

 

 

 

 

LF has already shown to be capable to get things past Varys. Varys didn't know who poisoned Jon Arryn, he seemed to think it was Ser Hugh.

 

 

 

Varys to Ned :

"There was one boy. All he was, he owed to Jon Arryn, but when the widow fled to the Eyrie with her household, he stayed in King's Landing and prospered. It always gladdens my heart to see the young rise in this world."

 

He then proceeded to talk about Ser Hugh, but it's clear to me he knew it was LF.



#19 DominusNovus

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:32 PM

I suppose the most important question is whether or not Varys thinks LF will be a threat to Aegon or whatever Varys' ultimate plans are.  If he's not willing to cut Baelish off at the knees here, then he must be fairly confident that he can overcome whatever threat LF poses to the endgame.



#20 CrowsBeforeHoes

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:50 PM

Varys knows LF thrives on instability. And that's what he wants. So why not let him plot all he wants as long as he doesn't mess with Varys' plans. Keeping LF in a position of power was probably one of his best moves. LF arranged the the alliance that turned Blackwater further into a bloodbath and in the long term destabilized central power. LF also eventually helped to assassinate Joffrey and causes more upheaval in the Vale.
Varys is on another level. Where LF struggles to control the vale, then probably the Riverlands and north Varys has his eyes set on the throne. LF has no candidate for the throne, and that's all that matters. His game is little compared to Varys'. So why not let him do what he wants.