Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) is one of the most powerful players in the Game of Thrones universe. Using his vast spy network, he has collected invaluable knowledge about most everyone in Westeros and beyond.
As one of the chief advisors to Aerys “Mad King” Targaryen during the turmoil of Robert’s Rebellion, he was there when all of the major events that shaped Game of Thrones as we know it, transpired. With Varys involved in so much, theories surrounding what he knows are endless.
What does Varys know about that time? Could he know the best kept secret in Game of Thrones history? Does Varys know about Jon Snow’s true parentage?
Who is Varys?
He is a collector of secrets and the former Master of Whisperers on the King’s Small Council. Having served House Targaryen before its fall, he maintained his position throughout House Baratheon and House Lannister’s terms on the Iron Throne, until Season 4.
Who is Varys loyal too?
For several seasons Varys’ true allegiances had been shrouded in mystery. As it turns out, Varys supports the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), for the Iron Throne.
In Season 6, Varys successfully brought House Tyrell and the usurpers of Dorne together in an alliance to support the Khaleesi. In the season finale, he was seen riding along with Daenerys as she, and her army, rode towards Westeros.
Jon Snow revealed
In that same episode (“The Winds of Winter”) fans learned that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is not the illegitimate son of Ned Stark. Rather he is presumed to be the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. If Jon is legitimate, his claim supersedes that of his aunt Daenerys, making him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
What are the clues that indicate Varys knows about Jon Snow?
First of all, it is hard to imagine that a man, who knows the Seven Kingdoms’ greatest secrets, would not be privy to this one as well. In one of the “History & Lore” segments on the Game of Thrones Season 6 home box set, Varys recounts his rise to power as one of King Aerys’ closest confidants.
He mentions that Aerys was mistrustful of Prince Rhaegar (among several others), and that he was right to be. Was the reason that Aerys should not have trusted his son, because he was having a secret love affair with Lyanna Stark? If Varys knows that, he might also know that Rhaegar sired a child with Lyanna, and who that child is.
When it comes to the Seven Kingdoms, Varys knows everything.
Time and again, Game of Thrones has reminded viewers of Varys’ intricate spy network, namely his “little birds.” The best evidence that Varys knows about Jon Snow, is that there is so much proof against him not knowing.
Is it a coincidence that the title of the episode Varys makes his Game of Thrones debut in is “Lord Snow?” It could mean nothing, but the choice is intriguing.
Why would Varys back Daenerys, if he knows Jon is the true heir?
This is the trickiest part of the puzzle to understand. Varys claims that his ultimate goal is peace for the realm. Daenerys’ penchant for war mongering would seem counterproductive to that goal. If he knows that Jon is the rightful claimant to the throne, then he has an appealing alternative.
If Varys truly wants peace, why would he back Daenerys over Jon?
Jon has shown a propensity for taking the exact opposite tact as his aunt. His go-to is diplomacy with the use of military action as a last resort. Jon is everything Varys claims he wants.
Hence there are two options for why Varys is backing Daenerys over Jon. The first being he truly does not know about Jon Snow’s parentage. The second being he is lying about his true goals for the Seven Kingdoms.
Will Varys reveal the truth?
While there are many theories as to how Jon Snow will learn the truth about his heritage, Varys could be the unexpected revealer. While Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) vision could be enough to convince Jon of his true parentage, it does not equip him with the concrete proof, he would need to prove his claim to the Iron Throne. Varys could be the one in custody of the paper trail that proves Jon’s claim.
In the “History & Lore” segment, Varys also mentions that he has had access to papers that contain explosive secrets. If anyone could have gotten their hands on a document proving Jon’s heritage, it is Varys.
Find out if the theory that Varys knows about Jon Snow is true, when Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres next summer on HBO.
[Featured Image by HBO]