Game of Thrones’ penultimate episode, titled The Bells, saw the deaths of many major players. Among them was Varys, one of the finest players of the game of thrones and perhaps also one of the most conscientious.
Varys was the king’s spymaster (called Master of Whisperers) before he began to serve Daenerys Targaryen. Her served Robert and before him Aerys Targaryen. Monarchs came and went, and he survived. As he said himself, “The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.”
However, now his paddling days are done. After his decision to make Jon Snow the king instead of Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister ratted him out. Daenerys, not one to delay a good human-barbecue, got him burnt to death by her remaining “son” Drogon.
Conleth Hill, the actor who played Varys all these years, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his reaction when he discovered his character’s incendiary fate. He said, “I took it very personally. I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. I understood the reactions of previous actors who had been in same position a lot more than I did at the time. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about. The only thing that consoles you is people who worked a lot harder than you are in the same boat. So that helps. I don’t think anybody who hasn’t been through it can identify with it. They think, “What’s all the fuss about? You’re all finishing anyway.” But you take it personally, you can’t help it.”
Game of Thrones is a show that is known for killing its major characters when the viewers least expect. It all began with the beheading of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) back in season 1. Ned was the primary character of the show and the main thread of the story revolved around him. But he was unceremoniously dispensed with anyway. However, there was a reason for his death — he refused to play the game of thrones, something Varys was good at.
On Varys’ decision to betray his queen, Hill told EW, “All brilliant. All noble. He was absolutely true to his word the whole way through. All he wanted was the right person on the throne and a fair person on the throne. He said it so many times in the scripts. I don’t have the distraction of love or desire or any of those things. And the people he needed to see clearly were both in love. So that makes perfect sense. And now with hindsight, I’m okay, but I really was inconsolable.”