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Did Varys know about the Purple Wedding?

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I just finished reading SoS and one question popped up.

Did Varys know about Littlefinger's plan to murder Joffrey and smuggle Sansa?

It doesn't make sense that he didn't know, he has little birds everywhere, and Sansa's frequent visits to the godswood were well known. If he had planted some of his birds in Godswood, he would have known about Dontos's plan. 

If he did know, then why did he let Littlefinger have Sansa? She is a valuable piece in the game and letting him get his hands on her could lead to undesirable results.

 

Thoughts?

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Varys is not as omniscient as he appears to be.

In the first book, he even said to Illyrio that he didn't knew anything about what was actually happening in Dragonstone or in The Eyrie.

About Littlefinger, Varys said that no ideia what was the schemes he had in mind.

Quote:

  • aGoT, Arya III:

[...] "This is no longer a game for two players, if ever it was. Stannis Baratheon and Lysa Arryn have fled beyond my reach, and the whispers say they are gathering swords around them. The Knight of Flowers writes Highgarden, urging his lord father to send his sister to court. The girl is a maid of fourteen, sweet and beautiful and tractable, and Lord Renly and Ser Loras intend that Robert should bed her, wed her, and make a new queen. Littlefinger … the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing. Yet Lord Stark's the one who troubles my sleep. He has the bastard, he has the book, and soon enough he'll have the truth. And now his wife has abducted Tyrion Lannister, thanks to Littlefinger's meddling. Lord Tywin will take that for an outrage, and Jaime has a queer affection for the Imp. If the Lannisters move north, that will bring the Tullys in as well. Delay, you say. Make haste, I reply. Even the finest of jugglers cannot keep a hundred balls in the air forever."

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LF specifically told Dontos to meet Sansa only in the godswood because there are no secret passages there for little birds to hide. And the reason he chose the wedding for the escape is so the chaos would allow her to slip away without being seen by a little bird -- plus it has the added affect of implicating Varys in the poisoning and Sansa's disappearance: since he knows everything about everyone, how could he not know what happened to Sansa unless he was in on it.

So no, Varys was not in on the plot.

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Given that the Tyrells were extremely cautious regarding eavesdroppers during their conversation with Sansa, I would expect them to be extremely careful during their plotting.  So, no, Varys would have no way of knowing unless someone actually told him, which I seriously doubt. 

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I don't think that Varys knew, which surprises me. He has ears and eyes everywhere. The purple wedding no doubt helped Varys though, so even if he did know, I can understand him choosing to keep quiet about it.

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On 16/09/2016 at 11:50 PM, John Suburbs said:

LF specifically told Dontos to meet Sansa only in the godswood because there are no secret passages there for little birds to hide

Where i can find this information in the series?

On 27/09/2016 at 10:39 AM, LadysHope said:

He has ears and eyes everywhere.

In aGoT, Varys tells Illyrio that he didn't had informants in Dragonstone or The Eyrie.

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19 hours ago, Ckram said:

Where i can find this information in the series?

"You must come here, to the godswood. As often as you can. This is the safest place. The only safe place. Nowhere else. Not in your chambers nor mine nor on the steps nor in the yard, even if it seems we are alone. The stones have ears in the Red Keep, and only here may we talk freely."  -- Ser Dontos, aCoK, Sansa II

Later, as Tyrion is making his way to kill his father, we find out why the stones have ears: passages that are too small for grown men but perfectly sized for children, and dwarves.

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While it is possible that his little birds saw both Sansa and Dontos entering the godswood and reported back to Varys that they might have been meeting there, as the passage quoted earlier makes clear, Varys will have had no knowledge of anything discussed in the godswood. He might have been suspicious about such meetings, but eavesdropping seems to have been impossible.

But that Varys was unable to learn what exactly was being said between Sansa and Dontos doesn't have to mean that Varys was unaware of the plot between LF and Olenna.

However, if Varys had known about the plot to kill Joffrey, you'd have to wonder about why he didn't act. Surely, even though Tywin was taking on most of the rule, with Joffrey as king instead of Tommen, there'd be a bigger chance of chaos. And it is that chaos that Varys needed.

So perhaps he knew, perhaps he did not. But if he knew, as far as I know, he didn't act on it.

 

That doesn't mean that Varys hadn't been busy trying to "work" the Tyrells Personally, I think that Varys was trying to get Olenna on his side.

“Sansa,” Lady Alerie broke in, “you must be very hungry. Shall we have a bite of boar together, and some lemon cakes?”
“Lemon cakes are my favorite,” Sansa admitted.
“So we have been told,” declared Lady Olenna, who obviously had no intention of being hushed. “That Varys creature seemed to think we should be grateful for the information.
I’ve never been quite sure what the point of a eunuch is, if truth be told. It seems to me they’re only men with the useful bits cut off. Alerie, will you have them bring the food, or do you mean to starve me to death? Here, Sansa, sit here next to me, I’m much less boring than these others. I hope that you’re fond of fools.”

Trying to convince her that he was her "friend", as he apparently did with others.

"Or so he'd have you believe. You think you're the only one he whispers secrets to? He gives each of us just enough to convince us that we'd be helpless without him. He played the same game with me, when I first wed Robert. For years, I was convinced I had no truer friend at court, but now . . ." She studied his face for a moment. "He says you mean to take the Hound from Joffrey."

Olenna, however, wasn't taking the bait.

I have little doubt that Olenna suspected that Varys was spying, and perhaps even eavesdropping, on the lunch meeting.

Lady Olenna squirmed forward. “Even when I was a girl younger than you, it was well known that in the Red Keep the very walls have ears. Well, they will be the better for a song, and meanwhile we girls shall speak freely.”

Keeping things a secret in the Red Keep was apparently already difficult during the reign of Aegon V, before Varys ever came to Westeros. That she has Butterbumps sing loudly does not only serve the purpose that Sansa feels safely enough to speak more freely, but also sends a message to Varys.

Additionally, I have been wonder whether this might have been a direct message to Varys, too. She was certainly shouting loud enough to be overheard by little birds.

Are you whispering at me, you fat fool? I don’t pay you for whispers. Sing!

With the "I don't pay you for whispers" indicating that, what he had supplied her with so far (lemon cakes are Sansa's favorite) was not good enough, and instead of 'whispering' to her, he'll need to come with something better (and bigger, hence "sing"). "Whispers" referencing Varys's position (master of whispers) and "sing" referencing his "little birds".

Olenna's plotting with LF presumably began all the way back at Bitterbridge, or on route to KL. If not there, it must have been finalized during the first few days following the Blackwater, as the hairnet with the poison in it, as well as the date to wear it (Joffrey's wedding to Margaery) is provided to Sansa shortly after the Battle of the Blackwater, and the day of the announcement of Joffrey's betrothal to Margaery. So for Olenna to halt her plot with LF in favor of whatever Varys wants from her, will require Varys to provide her with more than he had been doing so far.

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On 18.10.2016 at 3:51 PM, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

However, if Varys had known about the plot to kill Joffrey, you'd have to wonder about why he didn't act. Surely, even though Tywin was taking on most of the rule, with Joffrey as king instead of Tommen, there'd be a bigger chance of chaos. And it is that chaos that Varys needed.

It isn't Varys who needs the chaos, but Littlefinger (see the fabulous dialogue "Chaos is a ladder" from the series). On the contrary, Varys fears the chaos. I even suspect that his perpetual reference to "the realm" he pretents to be serving means, strictly speaking, "order" in a universal sense.

So, no, I don't believe he knew about the PW, otherwise he would have acted. There's a never-ending competition between Varys and LF, and they run it head-to-head, so it's easily possible that one of them doesn't know about the plottings of his opponent. 

Quote

Varys: But enough about me, how have you been since we last saw each other?
Littlefinger: Since you last saw me or since I last saw you?

:ph34r:                                                                                                                          :ph34r:

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10 hours ago, Moving Watch said:

It isn't Varys who needs the chaos, but Littlefinger (see the fabulous dialogue "Chaos is a ladder" from the series). On the contrary, Varys fears the chaos. I even suspect that his perpetual reference to "the realm" he pretents to be serving means, strictly speaking, "order" in a universal sense.

So, no, I don't believe he knew about the PW, otherwise he would have acted. There's a never-ending competition between Varys and LF, and they run it head-to-head, so it's easily possible that one of them doesn't know about the plottings of his opponent. 

:ph34r:                                                                                                                          :ph34r:

First of all, the show is not the books.

Secondly, in AGOT, Varys feared the chaos, because they were not ready yet to move forward with their plans. The chaos was coming too quickly, and they needed more time to prepare.

However,  

Spoiler

I think that later on, it becomes rather clear that Varys needs that chaos in the realm. People who are fighting against each other do not unite against a new enemy...

 

That said, I agree that it is possible that Varys didn't know about the plot to kill Joffrey.

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1 hour ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

First of all, the show is not the books.

 

 

I agree. And I'm aware of the whole this-board-is-not-about-the-series issue. I used the quote nonetheless, because it puts in a nutshell exactly what i felt about the two reading the book (read the books first, then saw the show).

But maybe you are right... Your quote opened my eyes on the mechanism, I can see his real agenda clearer now:

Spoiler

If Varys is in for establishing a new (old) order in the realm, then he must needs throw the old (new) order into turmoil.

The only difference between him and LF seems to be that the latter needs the chaos for achieving a strictly personal aim - at least it seems so at the end of the hitherto available books.

The Purple Wedding was a Littlefinger thing, though I wouldn't exclude that it came in useful to Varys' intentions.

Edited by Moving Watch

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On 17.9.2016 at 2:31 PM, Nevets said:

Given that the Tyrells were extremely cautious regarding eavesdroppers during their conversation with Sansa, I would expect them to be extremely careful during their plotting.  So, no, Varys would have no way of knowing unless someone actually told him, which I seriously doubt. 

Most likely he did not know the exact plan, but for me it is much unlikely that an man like Varys does not figueres out that there is something fishy going on...
But even if he had known enough to stop the purple wedding - why should he?
He knows Joff well enough to see that he will be in no way a good king, especially that his actions are not predictable (Neb being beheadet instead of sent to the wall) - and this would be a real big problem for a powerbroker as Varys!
 

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This is likely to be absolutely crack-pot in part, but probably not in the whole.

I would give a 50/50 to whether Varys knew or didn;t but, IMHO, he reacted to the aftermath pretty swiftly in terms of how he used Tyrion.

Okay, this is going to involve several of my theories being right for it to work...  Firstly, I think he is playing Illyrio, who I think (conjecture again lol that is FAegon;s father).  In any event, the soil was not ripe for either Aegon or Dany just yet... and think he is backing Dany not so much for the "good of the realm" but not against it either but because, okay crack-pot begins: he was cut because of his royal blood, bastard blood I am sure but I think he is a full blown Targ with a wench or whatever, maybe his mother was high born after all, but I would put a good bet on him being Targ from royal blood, hey not Aery's son lol but maybe a half brother... I believe Varys backs Dany and "pretends too much" to back Aegon.  Illyrio is a useful and rich ally and also I bet Varys is just waiting to see how things develop before he "adapts."  I think he is hedging his bets with him leaning towards Dany if they two don't see eye to eye, say.  

Still that speech about "power resides where people believe to reside" or something of that ilk refers to this.  He is backing a Targ; the one that proves stronger, with more chances, or ideally both, say by marriage mayhaps...  That speech clearly refers to the fact that, even if you are fake, what does it matter if people perceive you as real?

Okay, how does this tally, well, okay, departing and bit and going back to the beginning a bit; Joff was unmanageable in any event and Varys was not ready "yet" to introduce Dany/Aegon (either or both).  Illyrio is impatient in GOT (conversation partly overheard by Arya) because he want his son on the throne (if I am correct).  If I am not, because he wants Essos on the Iron Throne for whatever reason but the time is not right according to Varys...

So, for the time being (at the time of the PW), Varys has no clear reason to cause any sort of chaos in KL.  However, he had one person he very much wanted to "head-hunt."  This is like the more aggressive way ever of getting a genius from Microsoft to work for Apple or something lol  Not saying that Tyrion is a genius but he is one of the brightest.  Now, going to Tyrion with a promise of a beautiful maiden in marriage or something may or may not make him defect against the Lannisters.  I wouldn't take the risk if I were Varys. So Varys wants to recruit Tyrion badly!  He knows riches won't do it.  Necessity and desperation would thought!  

I am inclined to think that he wasn't aware of the whole plot.  Yet, like LF, he adapts to circumstances at the speed of light.  PW happens, Tyrion is in shit, so is Sansa, more so for disappearing and that makes Tyrion look very bad indeed and well herself, a pawn mayhaps but likely a regicide...  Now, he is in his hands.  He doesn't want Tyrion to die, far from it...he wants to take him to Essos.  He testified against him, fair enough, to save his own neck but on further analysis, Tyrion had to be convicted and facing execution so he could go and save him!  This may or may not make Tyrion loyal to him in his heart but surely nobody can refuse escaping their own beheading!!!  He had him by the "short and curlies" there and there was nothing Ty could do, failing taking the black (and after what happened to Ned...), mayhaps which I wager Varys thought unlikely, if another avenue was available.

I agree that Jaime must have begged Varys to save his little brother but I think Varys knew that would be the case, just by looking at their relationship (Jaime and Tyrion's)

Now, Varys has Tyrion where he wants him.  Using him as an "impersonator tester" for FAegon.  I think Varys here wants to know how much or how little Aegon can fool the world and Tyrion is good at that sort of thing.  Of course his plans for Tyrion go well beyond, but can be adapted as needed.  Tyrion is one of these characters that he thinks is a player but is often a pawn.  Not his fault and he is very able but still, he is a pawn to Varys in this instance.  Now, his wife (with LF's help and unwittingly - for I don't think for a moment he wants Tyrion to come to harm, just didn't give the possibility much of a thought lol), incriminates him no end!  I personally think Varys knew some of it, not sure since when or how much, but let it roll because that was the way he could ensure Tyrion would have no choice but to work for him (Varys).

Now the whole scene when Tyrion kills Tywin and Shae seems a little artificial to me in the sense that, okay Tywin could have been a hypocrite all his life for all we know but seems...  I think Shae was there for a reason other than sex.  Okay, Tywin may have wanted to know why she was so special that Tyrion just lost his reasoning for her...  I seem to recall though (but can't find the quote) that George said he couldn't answer a question in connection with that because he intends to reveal more.  I think Varys tweaked that somehow, and although he didn't do it directly, he prompted Tyrion's memory and that cause him to go up and yes, find her in his father's bed!  Whether she was under duress or not matters little for this purpose.  Varys had to ensure that the only possible avenue open to Tyrion was exile, under his direction...  Granted, he already had that.  Tyrion was going on the chopping block I guess in the morrow.  This was perhaps one of those things where, if it panned out (stupid Tyrion!) he would vilify him further and he is more on Varys' mercy, if it doesn't no harm done as he is flying execution in any event.

Why is Tyrion so important?  Well, despite the bad blood between Lannisters and Targaryens, I believe Varys is a great judge of character and they know they would ally and help each other, for the good of the realm lol whatever that may mean to Lord Varys...

Okay, guys I do appreciate that I use a ton of theories here that are not yet substantiated so criticism/thoughts of any kind much appreciated. ;)

 

 

Edited by Morgana Lannister

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