Major spoiler for A Dance With Dragons ahead.

So Varys sent Tyrion to aid Daenerys and advise her to getting back to Westeros and becoming queen etc. but as we know, he secretly had plans to

put Aegon on the Throne.

We know that Varys and Illyrio had kept the fact that he was alive very close to their chests, and told almost no one outside of his companions that he was even alive.

But why didn't he tell Tyrion before sending him on his journey?

He sent Tyrion with Jon Connington and Young Griff to go and meet Daenerys, so he had to know he would figure out his identity eventually, or at the very least consider the possibility that he would find out.

If he trusted Tyrion enough to travel with them, how did he not trust him enough to divulge the secret? Or did he want Tyrion to find out on his own?

We know that Varys sprang Tyrion before his execution, so we know he at least liked or respected him enough to do it. Even though he says he did it because Jaime asked, if he didn't want to he wouldn't have. He was risking a hell of a lot to save Tyrion, he had to have a good reason.

Did he not trust him at that point simply because he went rogue and killed Tywin? Did he consider him a loose cannon?

  • 3
    My guess would be that he wanted him to find out on his own. Casually dropping the "fact" he was alive would probably make Tyrion less likely to believe it, compared to gradually putting two and two together and reaching the conclusion himself.
    – Jaciq
    Apr 15, 2015 at 9:53
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    Why did I hover over the spoiler section?? Why?!?!
    – Daft
    Apr 15, 2015 at 10:11
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    My guess is it was safer this way, if Tyrion found out when in Essos there's less damage he can do to Varys with it, than finding out in Wersteros.
    – Ben
    Apr 15, 2015 at 13:03
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    Did Varys ever really trust anyone? Apr 15, 2015 at 15:25
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    @Daft Well the username is a strong hint...
    – Telestia
    Apr 15, 2015 at 16:45

3 Answers 3


It is unclear whether or not Varys trusts Tyrion; as we do not know the inner workings of Varys' mind, or his ultimate intentions... Yet. But it doesn't matter as Varys didn't have the opportunity to tell Tyrion, therefore the point of Varys trusting Tyrion is moot.

Little birds can only whisper so far
This is an interesting case, since after the events of A Storm of Swords

where Tyrion kills his own father, Tywin[1]

Tyrion gets shipped off to Illyrio's manse in Pentos in a crate. This is all done very fast and Varys clearly has no time to tell Tyrion anything.

Whilst in Pentos, it is Illyrio who introduces Tyrion to their Targaryen alliance and "plans"[2], he doesn't tell Tyrion of the full plans, but that may or may not have had anything to do with trust.

To tell or not to tell
Tyrion at this point is a broken man. He has been convicted of Regicide (which he happens to not have committed), and is on the run since

committing Patricide.

He's also drowning in a sea of wine. He most definitely is not in the right mind, nor is he himself.

Whether or not Varys and Illyrio (Vallyrio) trust him when he his sober, is irrelevant, since Tyrion is not going to be of much help, let alone be trustworthy in his drunken stupor.

Whet his appetite
You see, Tyrion has just lost his right to Casterly Rock, and Illyrio offers him a chance to win it back; this gets Tyrion going[3].

Once on his way, he slowly discovers that people aren't who they say they are and other mysteries, such as:

this very much intrigues Tyrion and his curiosity; he just can't help trying to solve things and to prove his intellect. Finally he finds out that

Young Griff turns out to be Aegon VI Targaryen (questionable, but that's a whole other kettle of fish).

aaaaaaaand he's hooked!

It's the journey, not the destination
So, Vallyrio are clever enough to know that Tyrion is an asset. He has proven his worth many times over:

  • Successfully improving the cisterns and drainage at Casterly Rock[4]
  • Successfully evading the death penalty at the Eyrie[5]
  • Successfully cleaning up King's Landing whilst serving as The Hand of The King
  • Successfully defending King's Landing against one of the most formidable forces to ever engage in war against the city, in The Battle of The Blackwater[6]

Let alone all of his smaller triumphs. So they are ready to utilise him, and they know (especially Varys with his many one-on-one dealings with Tyrion) that he is very intelligent and capable of leading or at least advising the intendeds, but he has to be interested first! - hence the "journey" to discover the truth!

  • 2
    This throws up a lot of interesting points: perhaps Varys was working to get Tyrion kicked out of King's Landing and towards the Targaryens as soon as he realized that he was a true Player of the GoT. He could even have manufactured his demotion from Acting Hand to Master of Coin. I would have accepted this answer just from 'Vallyrio', but the idea that they sent him on the journey in order for him to solve the puzzle of who everyone was is great, to get his mind back to solving problems and get him interested in the plot before he finds out the details. Good answer! May 20, 2015 at 9:30

Well, in the books we know that Jon Connington and Aegon were sent to meet Daenerys. Which they never did because after their encounter with the Golden Company Aegon decides they should go to Westeros without Daenerys.

So… they’re not following Illyrio’s and Varys’s plan (neither is Daenerys) at all.

From the information in the books, I can surmise that Varys wasn’t secretly planning to put Aegon on the throne, but rather reunite the Targaryens in hopes to increase their strength.


Although Varys always states that his motivation is that he is "Loyal to the realm" there is no reason to believe that is his true motivation. His deeds are always to increase chaos and remove stability even in the days of the mad King. There is evidence that he was behind the success of Robert's Rebellion in the form of intelligence. And the final opening of the city gates to Tywin Lannister. What I mean is that he plays on the Paranoia of King Aerys and allows Pycell to convince the King to open the gates. The far fetched machinations of Illyrio and Varys to "Manipulate" first Dany and later Aegon into establishing rule in westeros and at the same time providing a way to do the opposite. I mean think about it. Dany is a penniless beggar with no way of being important and she is provided first with Dragons and later a fleet (with merchandize that can be sold) and Barristan the Bold seems like it would be easier to do what she actually did and not go to westeros. Aegon was prepared to go see Dany but is provided with Tyrion who knows the history of Griffin and how things stand in Westeros and what else would they do and go west. Once again we have instability in both house Lannister and Targaryan. No, Varys does not trust Tyrion, he is only using him

  • "Loyal to the realm" may mean that Varys is loyal to Westoros as a whole. He doesn't really care who's on the throne as long as Westeros is united under a good ruler - any good ruler - that can get the people through the next Winter. Not out of kindness, but because you can't get taxes or services from dead peasants.
    – Joe L.
    Apr 17, 2015 at 17:27
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    The true chaos agent is Peter Baelish. Varys acts out of a sense of (some) order and "greater good of the realm" in that he wants a stability that will last, as opposed to a perpetual war. Where Bealish does what he can to further his own ascension by whatever means necessary, Varys seeks to stabilize the realm (ultimately decreasing death, one day) by most means. Apr 25, 2015 at 2:30
  • As far as I understand Varys was the one who advised Mad king not to open the gates for Lannisters.
    – HBhatia
    Apr 30, 2015 at 8:59
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    Eric, This discussion is really interesting. I disagree with the thought that Vary is an agent of stability as he did murder Kevan just to keep the chaos going. He is an active participant in the chaos of Kings landing. What makes your point interesting is that I'm not sure if he is a champion of specifically the Targaryen family, or has his own agenda. However, he definitely does not care about the realm since the chaos he unleashed will cause years of conflict which are far from stability. I think he is a clever liar Apr 30, 2015 at 15:16

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