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Little birds

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"My little birds are everywhere."

Little birds are the members of a network of spies and informants in the service of Varys, the Master of Whisperers on the small council of the Red Keep. Many of Varys's "little birds" are seemingly innocuous street children, although of course adults are counted amongst their ranks as well.

Apparently Varys informally refers to his spies as "my little birds" due to the common euphemism for spying, that "a little bird told me".

Varys's network spans not only the length and breadth of Westeros, but also Essos as far east as Vaes Dothrak and Slaver's Bay and possibly even Qarth.

After Varys flees from King's Landing, some of his little birds in the city are recruited and used by Qyburn, the new Master of Whisperers under Cersei Lannister.

Known membersEdit


Season 1Edit

Varys informs Catelyn Stark that he has "little birds" all over the continent, even in the North. He is already aware of the Valyrian steel dagger that was used in the attempt on Bran's life, and knew that Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel were coming to King's Landing.[1]

While walking in the Red Keep's gardens, Littlefinger identifies several of Varys's "little birds" to Eddard Stark, most notably several children.[2]

A young boy reaches Ser Jorah Mormont at the market at Vaes Dothrak, gives him a letter of pardon from King Robert Baratheon for his reports on the movements of Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, and informs him he can go home. The letter clues Ser Jorah that an assassination attempt against Daenerys is imminent.[3]

Season 2Edit

Shortly before the Battle of the Blackwater Varys's little birds bring him tidings from the edge of the Known World: Daenerys Targaryen still lives, and has hatched three dragons.[4]

Varys, aware that Petyr Baelish has mistreated Ros since she came into his service, offers Ros a chance to work for him as a spy.[5]

Season 3Edit

Ros continues to act as one of Varys's little birds, informing him of Littlefinger's plan of taking Sansa Stark with him to the Eyrie.[6] Ros's arrangement is eventually discovered by Littlefinger, who then sells Ros to Joffrey for target practice before Varys can protect her.[7]

Season 4Edit

In a meeting of the Small Council, Varys informs Tywin that Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen has come to power in Meereen and is growing stronger, with three dragons, two experienced knights at her side, and a powerful army behind her. While Cersei merely brushes these off, a more concerned Tywin decides to deal with her. He enquires of Varys whether his little birds can find their way into Meereen. Varys assures him that they can. [8]

Later, a young boy approaches Ser Barristan Selmy in Meereen and presents him with a letter. Barristan reads the letter and discovers that Ser Jorah Mormont was reporting Daenerys's activities to Varys.[9]

Season 5Edit

Many weeks after losing Tyrion in Volantis, Varys presents himself to the Imp in Meereen. He explains that his little birds sing in the east as well as the west, and he was thus aware that Tyrion had reached the city and become Daenerys's new advisor, exactly as Varys had intended. The Spider then implies that he will put his little birds to use helping Tyrion enforce the Queen's peace in Meereen.[10]

Season 6Edit

While investigating the Sons of the Harpy with Tyrion, Varys determines that the Sons must have a leader and confirms that his little birds are already aflutter.[11]


The "Little Bird" Spies

Varys's little birds eventually enable him to locate Vala, the prostitute who has been helping the Sons of the Harpy prey upon the Unsullied. After dealing with her, Tyrion asks Varys if his little birds can infiltrate Yunkai, Astapor, and Volantis, the three cities now arrayed against Meereen. Varys assures him that they can. Back in King's Landing, Qyburn, the new Master of Whisperers, is busy co-opting Varys's little birds (at least those in the capital) for himself. Like Varys, he is kind to the children, asks after their families and gives them sweets, simply asking for whispers in exchange.[12] Later, Qyburn asks them to kill Pycelle.

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, at least some of Varys' "little birds" have had their tongues cut out - though Varys himself did not cut them out, they are provided to him already mutilated by Illyrio Mopatis. They are mostly children, which allows them to move through the secret passages of the Red Keep After Qyburn's appointment to Varys's position on the Small Council, the failed maester boasts that he has easily taken over Varys's network, since most of the little birds are eager to be rewarded for their information, regardless of who the Master of Whisperers actually is. Nonetheless, Varys himself remains at large, and it is not clear how much of Varys's network Qyburn has actually managed to turn.

Prior to relocating to King's Landing, Varys had a network of "little mice", small and quick orphan boys and girls whom he taught to climb through walls and chimneys, as well as how to read, in order to steal secret information recorded in letters and ledgers, and sell them to the highest bidder.

See alsoEdit


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