In S08E04, "The Last of the Starks":

Rhaegal got killed by the scorpions.

When during the whole show, Varys has "Little Birds" informing him about everything, how could he miss that King's Landing (or their ships) had so many scorpions to defend the city against dragons?


1 Answer 1


Because Varys doesn't control the Little Birds in Westeros or at least King's Landing anymore, when he fled to Essos, Qyburn took over control of them.

LITTLE BIRD: Will Lord Varys ever come back?

QYBURN: I don’t think so. Do you miss him?

LITTLE BIRD: He was nice.

ARTHUR: He called us his little birds. He gave us sweets.

QYBURN: It’s funny you should mention that. Guess what I happened to find today. Candied plums from Dorne.

QYBURN: Now remember, if any of your friends like sweets or need help, they can always come to me. All I need in return are whispers.


CERSEI: Varys's little birds?

QYBURN: Your little birds now, your Grace.

Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 3, "Oathbreaker"

On top of this who's to say he didn't know about the scorpions at King's Landing? In fact the evidence states he probably did know considering they placed Drogon further back than the main forces when they went to demand for the release of Missandei.

  • 9
    The notion that Varys would have not a single spy at Kings landing is just laughable bad writing. It seems they stuck the 'scorpions' at every possible place in capitol so its not a secret they prepared for dragons.
    – GoTTimw
    May 7, 2019 at 12:58
  • 6
    @GoTTimw Except in this case it's not that bad writing. Varys hasn't been near the capitol since his return to Westeros except during the Dragonpit meeting where he didn't exactly have time to set up spies and his spy network was completely taken over. On top of that Qyburn and Cersei would be being very carefully looking out for spies with the knowledge of his return. It's not inconceivable his network doesn't have much knowledge of what's going on. However, how do we know he didn't know about the scorpions at King's Landing?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 7, 2019 at 13:07
  • 3
    before the army went down to Kings Landing there was a council, it seems they are informed well enough to know of the strength of Cersei's forces. By a spy I also meant 'anyone who can walk around city'. KL is a city it has merchants, farmers, traders coming in and out. Any of those people could see fleet with scorpions, or at very least tons of scorpions on the walls. TBH there is no point discussing it really, as there are so many issues with recent writing. At this point I just watch it for fun and dont seek any deeper meaning/plots as there isn't one.
    – GoTTimw
    May 7, 2019 at 13:30
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    @TheLethalCarrot I think everyone on Dany's side knew Cersei had dragon-slaying ballistae by the time they approached the gates for the parlay, considering they had just been attacked by them and lost a dragon.
    – TylerH
    May 7, 2019 at 14:05
  • 1
    @GoTTimw If the ships were modified at Kings Landing where everybody could see them then you you would have a point. But if there were modified at some other location that Dany's forces do not know about then there would be no way for them to know about them without infiltrators deep in Cersei's forces. And the incident described in the question's spoiler did not happen at Kings Landing so whether or not they knew about the defenses on those walls does not matter to the incident described in the question's spoiler tag.
    – krb
    May 7, 2019 at 14:58

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