After several seasons of fighting the undead threat, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 firmly puts the narrative back where it started – politics, murder, and treason. Treason is one of the most prominent themes of the episode, and Varys and Tyrion – Daenerys’ only remaining advisers – are at the heart of it.
So, Jon Snow’s secret parentage is out in the open, thanks to his love for his Stark family and political naivete combined. The secret turns to ‘information’ in no time through an elaborate Chinese whisper involving Jon-Sansa-Tyrion-Varys. Interestingly, both Varys and Tyrion are considering the possibility of having Jon on the Throne instead of Daenerys – sparked by Dany’s swift spiralling into blood fury and possible madness through the course of the episode.
Varys and Tyrion discuss Jon Snow’s fate twice in this episode – once in the boat right before Euron Greyjoy attack and drown their fleet, and again after Dany decides to attack King’s Landing.
Tyrion wants to marry Jon and Daenerys. But Varys has reasons to be sceptical – Jon may not want to marry his aunt and Dany may not want to share the throne. He also points out Jon will be more acceptable to Westerosi society as a male ruler. Tyrion says they are discussing treason and wants to stop, but it’s clear these thoughts have crossed his mind.
On their second conversation, Varys is much more insistent. Neither Tyrion nor he has been able to control Dany’s worst impulses, so how could Jon? Daenerys is looking like a tyrant, and Jon doesn’t even want power for himself. Varys asks Tyrion, “Have you considered that the best ruler might be someone who doesn’t want to rule?” He clearly believes Jon would be a better fit for the benefit of the realm than Dany. Tyrion is still loyal to her, insisting “she’ll make the right choice.”
But with Rhaegal and Missandei gone, Daenerys is too enraged, provoked, and mad with grief to make the right choice. She seems ready to throw any consideration for innocent lives to the wind in order to “bring the sky down” upon the Red Keep.
Varys and Tyrion’s worries about their Queen’s ‘state of mind’ is all but confirmed. Will they respond by favouring a new King? Well, the next episode awaits!