The king’s master of whisperers, Varys is a eunuch born in the Free City of Lys, across the Narrow Sea. He was brought to court by King Aerys, and it’s said that Aerys’s growing paranoia began when Varys began to ferret out every disloyalty against the Mad King. Despite this, Varys survived Aerys’s downfall and came to serve King Robert. He is known derisively as the Spider, even if he sits on the king’s small council and holds the style of Lord Varys.
Plump, perfumed, powdered, hairless as an egg, and wearing garments such as they wear in Lys, Varys cuts an exotic figure in the court of the Red Keep. He has soft, moist hands, and often titters as he speaks obliquely and sometimes mincingly about his “little birds” and the whispers they bring them.
Immediately taking interest in Tyrion, Varys advises him and keeps the secret of the presence of Shae in the castle despite Lord Tywin’s command that Tyrion leave her behind. Varys plays a key role in the Battle of the Blackwater, having given Tyrion a map of some of the underground passages that permits his forces to enter the battle from an unexpected direction. Varys also takes the prositutute Ros into his secret employment, following the abuse and horrors she witnessed.