Varys, the Spider

Master of Whispers


Nicknamed “the King’s Spider,” Varys has served on the small council through years of Aerys’s reign and all of Robert’s reign. He is a consummate spymaster and fills the role of the master of whispers. Physically, he is no threat at all, but politically, he is a powerhouse because of his knowledge and web of informants.

Varys is the quintessential eunuch, being plump and effeminate. He has a girlish giggle and shaky, nervous fingers that flutter about. Hairless, he’s a disturbing creature and one that immediately rouses distrust. Varys prefers comfortable clothing, fine silks often in outrageous colors. He is always perfumed and powdered, smelling of lilac and other pleasant aromas. Of course, this appearance is just a display, one of the many masks the master of whispers wears. Adept at disguise, he can alter his appearance using make-up, wigs, prosthetics, and all the other tricks mummers use to blend into any environment, more often than not, fooling everyone around him.

Secrets are Varys’s trade, and he knows them all. Varys believes his own worth can be measured by what he knows, what he tells, and what he keeps to himself. Thus, he ever gathers his secrets from his little birds, doling out only the most vital information, bit by bit, and almost always in ways that paint him the hero. More than anything, Varys wants an ordered and stable Seven Kingdoms, and his loyalty extends only so far as this can be achieved. For this reason, he provides information to all sides, aiding enemies, pitting rivals against one another, and manipulating events through the information he reveals to achieve his true ends.


Since the only things known of Varys are what Varys reveals, there’s no way to know if it’s the truth or not, but the details of his past, such as they are known, are not beyond the realm of possibility, and thus they suffice in establishing a history for this elusive and mysterious figure. This said, take everything here with a healthy dose of salt. Varys was born a slave in Lys and was eventually sold and apprenticed to a traveling folly, a troupe of mummers who worked the Free Cities, Old Town, and occasionally King’s Landing, by means of a fat little cog owned by the troupe’s master. Varys was a quick study and learned the art of mummery early. For all of his accomplishment, however, it was not enough for his master to refuse the coin a strange man offered to take ownership of the young man.

Knowing the tastes of the strange and powerful, Varys suspected he would serve as a love slave, but what lay in store for him was far worse. The man who purchased him proved to be a wizard, a trafficker in dark forces, and he needed something from Varys to complete some wicked ritual. He plied the young man with a powerful potion, and while Varys was paralyzed by the concoction, the wizard cut off his manhood, and Varys watched as it burned in the brazier to appease the vile spirit and complete the spell.

With the terrible act complete, the wizard had no use for the boy, and so Varys found himself hurt, alone, and tossed out on the streets. Rather than succumb to his injuries, as the wizard would have liked, Varys found a way to survive. At first, he lived by begging and stealing, using the techniques learned from the mummers to make ends meet, but eventually, he realized there were things far more valuable than gold. Varys learned to read, learned to spy, and learned the secrets of other men until he became valuable enough that no man would move against him.

At some point, Varys won a post on the small council, serving King Aerys as master of whispers. Installed in this position, his vast network expanded until his “little birds” worked throughout the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. The eunuch became so powerful that when Robert took the Iron Throne, the new king pardoned him and, thus, Varys’ position on the small council remained secure.

Varys, the Spider

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