‘I have to die in this strange country — just like you.’- Melisandre told this to Varys during the third episode (The Queen’s Justice) of Game of Thrones season 7, which definitely unsettled him and also made fans wonder if Varys is gonna die at some point on the show. Conleth Hill, who plays the role, talked to THR about Melisandre’s ominous prediction and what Varys generally thinks of prophecies. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
It’s a great scene, because we’re so used to seeing Varys fully collected. It’s very unsettling to see him so unsettled.
That’s interesting. I never thought about it that way. It’s kind of unsettling for you as an actor, too. You go, “Oh, God, is this it?” Because of Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and everything. As soon as Hodor happened, I went, “Oh, God, I bet I have to hold a door at some point.” (Laughs.) Just because of the scenes we shot through the years about the sacrifice and everything, and Varys heard something [in the flames]. I hope that’s not exactly what it is, but it’s ominous, yeah.
Prophecies don’t always play out exactly on the show, but usually some version of those predictions comes true.
Yeah. And does Varys take this to heart, or does he get on with his life? I don’t think he has very much respect for the red priestesses, so there’s an argument that he won’t take it to heart. It’s the familiarity, that trick of we know what you said, that gets him every time. It’s something he can’t really be logical about. His distaste of their human sacrifices and all of that is perfectly alright. But I don’t know what the sorcerer said [to Varys when he was castrated]. I’ve never been told. I’ve never read it anywhere.
In your mind, did you create a version of what the flames said? Or was it enough to know that whatever it was is deeply troubling?
Yeah. In the books, I think it’s said that he couldn’t understand what was said. If you take that version of the book and put it with Kinvara, the red priestess, who said, “Do you want to know what was said?” Maybe he doesn’t remember or know specifically what was said, but he knows it said something, and that’s what freaked him out. The fact that these red priestesses know … I think in this story, the only person he’s told is Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), and I don’t think Tyrion would betray him and wind him up. So, it’s pretty ominous. But you know, at this stage? None of us are getting out of this alive. (Laughs.)
Do you think Varys disdains magic because he believes in it?
No, I think it’s because they hurt him when he was a child and left him for dead. To me, that’s a logical follow-on, because of how he was treated by red priests or priestesses, he would have an aversion to them for the rest of his life. Even if they have a validity in this plot and within the story, I don’t think he’ll change his mind.
It’s too deeply rooted for him.
Yeah. If you were abused as a kid, isn’t it possible you would still hold onto the hate for the people who did that to you? Magic within the story is so different. We’ve seen the red priestess breathe life into Jon Snow (Kit Harington), or she was there when he came alive, and some of her prophecies have been pretty accurate. But not all of them. That’s the only thread to hang onto. “Maybe she got that one wrong!”