Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 "The Bells" are discussed below.
It was a scene whose meaning may have gotten missed by Game of Thrones’ audience, and it was one that certainly got overlooked by this viewer on first watch. Did you, dear fans, realize there was probably a Daenerys murder plot that may have preceded everything that happened in “The Bells?”
It turns out that Varys was probably planning to take Daenerys out before she could wreak havoc on King's Landing. His method? An assassination through poison!
Or at least, that's what fans online are presuming is the case. If you are wondering where you were when this took place, brace yourself. It happened in plain sight, and Game of Thrones set it up in a way that made it easy to miss, though impossible to ignore after understanding.
“The Bells” opened up with Varys working overtime with the knowledge that Tyrion had given him, that Jon Snow is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. As he'd always done, Varys recruited one of his little birds to tackle one of his special projects. At first, it seemed that little Martha had come in to give an innocent status update on Daenerys, which made enough sense.
However, that update had a more shadowy ring to it upon further reflection. After telling Varys that Daenerys would not eat, Varys responded that they will “try again at supper.” Wait, try what again? Feeding her a non-tainted meal? Not exactly.
Game of Thrones long ago laid the groundwork for careful viewers to eventually deduce that Varys was attempting to poison Daenerys in the series' penultimate episode. It was also a move he had hinted at during his talk with Tyrion in the previous episode, so such a plan would not have come out of nowhere.
The going theory is that Varys’ propensity for poison was foreshadowed all the way back in Season 1, when Ned was investigating the death of Jon Arryn, the guy who got wise to the Baratheon kids not actually being biological Baratheons.
Realizing that Jon Arryn was poisoned, Ned seemed to think a woman was guilty. Maybe Cersei? But wait! That is when Grand Maester Pycelle throws unnamed suspicion on Varys for the crime. Check out a fan's post below that sums things up accordingly.
Daenerys’ grief and subsequent lack of appetite rendered Varys’ poisonous plan unrealized, and before that night ended, Daenerys had Varys executed, throwing another massive wrinkle in his plan. The biggest wrinkle of all, some would say. That is, unless Martha somehow managed to get a deadly dose into Daenerys’ breakfast.
In all likelihood, Martha was back in King’s Landing before the sun rose and was not able to make such things happen. So, fans should probably not expect Daenerys to fall ill mid-sentence during her self-coronation speech.
Sadly, for numerous innocents, Varys’ plan failed. Daenerys ended up murdering Martha, her mother, and countless other civilians in a brutal and devastating attack on King’s Landing. She burned them all, and toppled a multitude of buildings in the process.
Now, are Game of Thrones fans reading too much into Varys’ words? I do not think so. It fits that Varys would make such an attempt, and he'd alluded to it earlier. Plus, Varys had gotten a front row seat to the madness of Daenerys’ father.
Hence, Varys could have easily seen the same signs emanating from Daenerys, inspiring him to make his move. Daenerys executed Varys assumedly without knowing he may have been trying to kill her. He would be devastated to know what happened after he failed, too. Daenerys’ murderous rampage meant the loss of all the people that Varys had tried for so long to protect. You tried, Varys.
Will Daenerys end up meeting her end? Find out when Game of Thrones’ series finale airs Sunday, May 16 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. At that point, maybe the showrunners will have come out of hiding.
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Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.