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The Bear

Varys, Littlefinger and climbing the ladder (book spoilers)

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I liked that scene and I had the impression that Varys set everything up to happen this way, or rather that he wasn't bothered in the slightest by this development. Conleth Hill seemed to play the "surprised face" a lot too strong for my opinion. And that is okay, they seem to go a lot more with the open 'evil' thing by Littlefinger and that is okay.

@hamsterminator. You can also put on Littlefinger's Death List: Jon Arryn (convinced Lysa to poison him), Jon Arryn's squire (via Cersei and the mountain), Eddard Stark (someone convinced Joffrey to ask for the head). Littlefinger is very good at making others do the deed and keeping his hands clean. He doesn't create the chaos as the show suggests, but he thrives on it and is quick to get the best of every situation. However that "long-term" no-plan will bite him sometimes. Once it will just not work out for him.

I had an idea where I thought maybe LF's voice changes depending on how much chaos there is at the moment, but then I thought I was maybe just making excuses LOL.

The basic idea is similar to how some people when they enter stressful situations get a sudden focus that most people normally have and lose in the same situation. So LF thrives in chaos so well that when there is none or things are going smoothly, it actually affects his physical health.

But I doubt that's the case.

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Varys isn't that different from LF. He, at the end of book 5, is partially admitting the chaos created in KL would benefit his plans. Of course, he's not creating the chaos, but while he wouldn't burn the realm he would put HIS king on top of those ashes when the chance is on.

It's true that he has been fairly open about Cat, certainly around Sansa and Cat herself. I just didn't remember it ever having been explicitly stated that Varys was aware of it, even if it's precisely the sort of thing Varys would make it his business to know.

I think he knows because many people do know and that's his weakness, which I think someone smart one day will be able to exploit (maybe Sansa herself). Unlike Varys, everybody knows where LF came from, that he was raised by the Tullys and that he one day challenged Brandom and lost. If noble lords know about it, I'm sure Varys would know as well.

OTOH; we don't know if Varys's story about his origin is true. And there is no one around able to confirm it. But many lords can confirm LF's, even Cat herself.

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The difference between LF and Varys seem to be that Littlefinger seems to more be the guy who throws the dies into the air and get the most of how they fall. He doesn't seem to have an end goal and if he has one it is so vague that he can adapt it. Varys on the other hand does work with chaos as well, but he seems to be trying to manipulate the situation to get a certain playing board so that he can play his moves for his ulterior end, whether that is a Targaryen restoration, a Blackfyre dynasty or something completely different.

Oh, and on LF's death list, I forgot one thing discussed in this episode. I always assumed that LF was behind Mandon Moore's attempt on Tyrion's Life at the Battle of Blackwater since Tyrion is a threat to LF because he knows that it was LF who said the dagger belonged to Tyrion (and thus brought him into the Moon Cells at the Eyrie). The show seems to be suggesting more that it was Joffrey, but it's left vague enough...

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I had been disappointed by the way LF had been portrayed so far this season, it seemed as though (through Ros) everyone knew all his plans and secrets. For me, this placed LF firmly back in the game in two ways.

1) He showed Varys that he knew who his little spy was, planting doubts into Varys that everything Ros told him was true and not a set up by LF.

2) He showed he has a really nasty side. Not just devious and manipulative, but actually nasty.

Varys will not be so cocky (no pun intended, although it's quite a good pun) around LF in the future and sets LF up nicely for his stint in the Vale.

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Despite the entire thing about Varys perhaps looking weaker than LF you cannot deny that it was a cracking scene. I know its unusual for both to act differently when they are alone but to me in the TV series they portray the two as men who think they know the other very well. Therefore there's no reason to hide behind smiles and courtesies. I loved the way he said that scene and both of them acted this scene brilliantly. This episode wasn't action packed but this was the best scene (in my opinion) so far other than the Jamie/Brienne bath scene. I think we can all guess what's going to happen with LF in regards to Sansa and the Eyrie now (especially if you've read the books). Personally I felt that they hadn't shown LF being a proper threat and power in the seven kingdoms and had kind of swept him away until this scene. It was so perfectly educated and in a way made sense. I loved it.

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I liked that scene and I had the impression that Varys set everything up to happen this way, or rather that he wasn't bothered in the slightest by this development. Conleth Hill seemed to play the "surprised face" a lot too strong for my opinion. And that is okay, they seem to go a lot more with the open 'evil' thing by Littlefinger and that is okay.

@hamsterminator. You can also put on Littlefinger's Death List: Jon Arryn (convinced Lysa to poison him), Jon Arryn's squire (via Cersei and the mountain), Eddard Stark (someone convinced Joffrey to ask for the head). Littlefinger is very good at making others do the deed and keeping his hands clean. He doesn't create the chaos as the show suggests, but he thrives on it and is quick to get the best of every situation. However that "long-term" no-plan will bite him sometimes. Once it will just not work out for him.

Hrm, it has been awhile since I read that part of the series but I thought it was...

Cersei has Jon Aryn poisoned because he learns the truth about Cersei/Jaime. The Maester allows him to die because he knew Jon found out.

LF has Lysa send a note to Cat saying that the Lannisters killed Jon and were going to kill her and she was fleeing to the Eyrie*.

That leads to Ned accepting the Hand position even though he didn't want to take it and starts the ball of chaos rolling.

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Varys is helping to lay waste to realm ....

Explain one thing that Varys has done so far in the books or story at this point (page ~400 of Storm of Swords) that is helping to lay waste to the realm.

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In this scene, I loved the way, how littlefinger was staring at the Iron Throne, when Varys came in. He really dreams of sitting on it one day.

I noticed that, and caught on to the symbolism as well, but didn't like it. I always have thought of LF as preferring anonymity, enjoying pulling the strings from behind the scenes, I don't think he actually wants to sit the IT.

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Do you think his speech being about climbing and ending on the wildlings is a hint that he knows about the coming threat of the others/wildlings? Would it fit with his chaos motto to now about it and do nothing, or would that be too dangerous to his own well-being for him to try?

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I noticed that, and caught on to the symbolism as well, but didn't like it. I always have thought of LF as preferring anonymity, enjoying pulling the strings from behind the scenes, I don't think he actually wants to sit the IT.

Ah he enjoys pulling the strings but eventually he wants to be king of it all, at least rule through his natural daughter.

If you notice Varys and LF have a conversation where LF is looking at the Iron Throne in season one, two(deleted scene) and now season three.

In season one LF and Varys were standing in "equal" admiration, they are both landless lords, that are basically equal. Serving the new king.

In season two(deleted scene) LF taunts Varys(which I think is the reason that he seeks out Ros to help him keep LF contained) in this scene he actually touches it.

In season three now LF just basically tells Varys that he's pwned him not only in his plan to marry Sansa to Loras but also killed Ros because he had choose her as an ally.

In the books, no, we don't see LF stays behind the curtain because we don't have a POV of him, but the show it be too cheesy to not show LF playing the game while in KL because he obviously is.

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The show seems to suggest that LF does hope to sit the Iron Throne if he can reach it. LF's objective in the book series is murkier (as of now), although probably the same. LF works through the shadows often, but apparently he does intend to personally don a crown down the road.

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I always thought that LF tried to arrange the sansa tyrell marriage.

must read books for 5th time !

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Hrm, it has been awhile since I read that part of the series but I thought it was...

Cersei has Jon Aryn poisoned because he learns the truth about Cersei/Jaime. The Maester allows him to die because he knew Jon found out.

LF has Lysa send a note to Cat saying that the Lannisters killed Jon and were going to kill her and she was fleeing to the Eyrie*.

That leads to Ned accepting the Hand position even though he didn't want to take it and starts the ball of chaos rolling.

LF convinces Lysa Arryn to kill her husband by tellin her that he wants to foster her child at Dragonstone. Lysa is deeply in love with LF and that's what LF uses to further his advance to power. It's these personal relations that allowed him to start as a customs director at gulltown and build up a network of organized bribes. Notice how he makes Lysa blame Cersei for the murder of Jon Arryn.

As for the series, it's obviously a bit different, and I agree with the view that the show has LF "winning" his barter with Varys, but then Varys seems to be playing the longer game. So I doubt that LF even in the show knows about the Wildlings. They are simply not a factor and apart from a possible Braavos connection, LF's power lies in the people he brought up to powerful places all over Westeros such as customs inspectors, tax overseer or city guard captains. But those are mostly in Westeros and there mostly in the Vale...

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I don't think Littlefinger knows Varys 'really well'. The whole point with Varys' personality is that he is playing a role. And I don't see him dropping this facade to anyone, and most certainly not when he is privately conferring with Littlefinger. It's just completely out of character.

If we read the novels we can deduce Varys modus operandi from his talks to various POV characters, most importantly Tyrion and Ned. The whole thing about serving the Realm is Varys approach to win Ned's trust. He does not use that routine when dealing with Tyrion. There may be some truth to this since Varys endgame seems to be give the Realm a new golden era of peace and plenty, but it's obvious that he is trying to achieve this goal through a Targaryen pretender.

In the long run, Littlefinger unwittingly helped Varys' plan along. Back in AGoT Illyrio and Varys tried to prolong the outbreak of the civil war and failed due to Littlefinger's intervention, but this did actually turn out in their favor since the whole Dothraki plan went to hell when Drogo died prematurely. They had to postpone the invasion of Westeros. And right now things may even better than they could have hoped for.

As to Littlefinger's involvement in Jon Arryn's death: He told Lysa that and how she could poison him. But he did not tell her that Jon Arryn intended to send Robert as Stannis' ward to Dragonstone. Jon did tell this Lysa herself (Walder Frey tells us as much in AGoT when he complains to Cat the Arryns were fighting over this issue in front of him), and Lysa was desperate, and went to Petyr for help. Littlefinger suggested that Lysa could poison him and blame the Lannisters in a letter to Catelyn since they had the way better motive.

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I had been disappointed by the way LF had been portrayed so far this season, it seemed as though (through Ros) everyone knew all his plans and secrets.

True.... for some reason the show wants to paint him in the traditional Machiavellian villain in these scenes. Its too affected. The way he speaks with the scratchy low voice with gritted teeth. Why should Varys or ROs have to convince anyone that he is evil ....he is acting the part and it is somewhat out of character for someone that is supposed to be wise and secretly plotting. Off course we only see this as TV viewers....the characters LF interacts with obviously never saw a bad episode of Hunter ..

I had an idea where I thought maybe LF's voice changes depending on how much chaos there is at the moment, but then I thought I was maybe just making excuses LOL.

As I said the voice is Affect....maybe only for dumb viewing audience. Maybe he should say. " And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!!!

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It's also cool that every time he has a scene with Varys and the throne, he is closer to it.

Oh... I hadn't even noticed that.

That's pretty awesome... :D

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Explain one thing that Varys has done so far in the books or story at this point (page ~400 of Storm of Swords) that is helping to lay waste to the realm.

I don't think the analysis works that way. Varys has long reaching plans. Plans LF sped up Varys' plans, and Varys just stopped to watch. We do know later on he'll kill Kevan and Pycelle because Kevan was competent and created dissent between Lannisters and Tyrells by showing that coin to Cersei. We also know he could have unmasked LF to Ned, thus preventing further animosity between Houses Lannister and Stark and did nothing. How is allowing a civil war to brew working for the realm?

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(I for one like to think Randyll Tarly will turn his cloak just for a chance to crap on Mace Tyrell at some point).

Because that dolt Mace stole away the pride for his greatest victory? That would be awesome, Randyll is certainly capable of giving the fat flower the fate he deserves.

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I don't think the analysis works that way. Varys has long reaching plans. Plans LF sped up Varys' plans, and Varys just stopped to watch. We do know later on he'll kill Kevan and Pycelle because Kevan was competent and created dissent between Lannisters and Tyrells by showing that coin to Cersei. We also know he could have unmasked LF to Ned, thus preventing further animosity between Houses Lannister and Stark and did nothing. How is allowing a civil war to brew working for the realm?

This is a concept that shows up in fiction a lot, and applies to nonfictional situations on a more shallow level. It's closest to the idea that the league of shadows had in Batman Begins, where the villain (who sees themselves as a good guy) believes that things have to be brought down so that things can be rebuilt in a better way. It's also a plot point in Arrow (CW) right now. The main bad guy wants to tear down the projects where his wife was murdered in order to rebuild it. The concept also applies somewhat to racehorses that have to be broken before you can ride them. And, as I've mentioned before, it's done in raising children too. Allowing them to make their own mistakes/get hurt sometimes for their own benefit.

I suppose it raises the more philosophical question of the means justifying the end. I would say that Varys would answer yes. Both LF and Varys use chaos, but Varys sees it as a means to a greater end, while LF sees it as an opportunity for selfish advancement.

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I don't think the analysis works that way. Varys has long reaching plans.

My point exactly that, saying "Varys is trying to cause chaos in order to seat Aegon" is not true, it's true once Aegon is close to coming to Westeros and he's actively trying to keep the realm in chaos once Cersei comes to power but when Aegon is a baby he's not trying to throw the realm into chaos. When Aegon is ten years old he's not trying to throw the realm into chaos and all those years in between he's probably not trying to throw the realm into chaos.

Plans LF sped up Varys' plans, and Varys just stopped to watch. We do know later on he'll kill Kevan and Pycelle because Kevan was competent and created dissent between Lannisters and Tyrells by showing that coin to Cersei. How is allowing a civil war to brew working for the realm?

Varys actively before the War of Five Kings was trying to prevent war until the Darthaki were ready to invade, he was going against the tide of war,

Ultimately there is one thing that Varys has to care about more than the realm. His own life, if he dies, he cannot really serve the realm.

We also know he could have unmasked LF to Ned, thus preventing further animosity between Houses Lannister and Stark and did nothing.

Ned trusted Catelyn's judgement of LF, LF himself told Ned not to trust him. Ned wouldn't have believed Varys. LF was helping Ned find out the truth about Jon Arryn's murder.

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