Warning: this article contains spoilers for the fifth episode of Game of Thrones season eight, “The Bells.”
There was a lot to take in during the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones but amid the chaos, there was a little moment early on in the episode that hinted at how Daenerys’ rule could be ended before it really begins — and Tyrion could be responsible.
Varys made it clear to Tyrion in a previous episode that he felt Jon Snow would make a better leader than Daenerys. And at the beginning of “The Bells,” we see the eunuch penning a letter naming Jon (aka Aegon Targaryen) as the true heir to the throne. He is also shown addressing Martha, a kitchen girl and one of his “little birds.”
“She won’t eat,” Martha tells Varys, to which he replies, “We’ll try again at supper.” While it’s not made explicit that they’re referring to Daenerys, Martha then shares her concern that soldiers are watching her. “Of course they are,” says Varys. “That’s their job. What have I told you, Martha? The bigger the risk, the bigger reward.” It makes sense that only Daenerys’ troops would spy on a kitchen maid at Dragonstone.
This harks back to season one, when Ned Stark tells Grand Maester Pycelle, “I’ve heard it said that poison is a woman’s weapon.” To which Pycelle replies, “Yes: women, cravens, and eunuchs. Did you know that Lord Varys is a eunuch?”
To get a little “fan theory” for a second, shortly before being taken away to be executed for betraying Daenerys, Varys removes his rings. Jewelry has been used as a vessel for poison before, when the Queen of Thorns (Olenna Tyrell) killed Cersei’s son King Joffrey with poison hidden in Sansa’s pendant pellets. Perhaps Varys, knowing he was about to die, hid poison in his rings, hoping Tyrion, his closest friend, would inherit the jewelry and finish the job.