Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones S8E5, “The Bells” ahead.
Prior to Game of Thrones S8E5 “The Bells,” there was still plenty of room to debate whether or not Daenerys Targaryen could be considered mad like her father, Aerys II Targaryen “The Mad King,”; one character in the show however was certain Daenerys wasn’t the one fit to lead — and he was dead set on ensuring Daenerys didn’t end up going ballistic in her quest for the Iron Throne — Varys, The Master of Whisperers.
Although the plot point was shown in ephemeral fashion, Varys’ machination was there nonetheless:
Game of Thrones has been moving at a hurried clip this season, so this narrative thread took a backseat, but imagine how much more intriguing the story could have been if Varys’ assassination attempt had spanned the majority of an episode and further fueled Daenerys’ descent into madness. Actor Conleth Hill, who portrayed Varys on the show, expressed some of his dismay with Game of Thrones‘ seemingly pressed pace favoring some characters over others. “Last season and this season there were great scenes and then I’d come in and kind of give a weather report at the end of them — ‘film at 11.’ So I thought he was losing his knowledge,” Hill said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “If he was such an intelligent man and he had such resources, how come he didn’t know about things? That added to my dismay. It’s now being rectified with getting a great and noble ending. But that was frustrating for a couple seasons.”
Hill also regrets not being able to film a final scene with his in-show frienemy/rival, Peytr Baelish AKA Littlefinger. “I was very bummed to not have a final scene with him. I was bummed not to have any reaction to him dying, if he was my nemesis. That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons, that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more. That’s fine. It’s the nature of a multi-character show. It was kind of frustrating. As a whole it’s been overwhelmingly positive and brilliant but I suppose the last couple seasons weren’t my favorite.”
Although Varys ended up being right in his assessment of Daenerys, was he right to try and poison her? Hill thinks so. “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.”
Will Varys’ death and failed assassination attempt end up being an even more grievous error if Daenerys retains her power over the Iron Throne in the next episode and when the series comes to an end? We’ll find out when the final episode of Game of Thrones airs at 9PM EST, May 19th on HBO.