Conleth Hill, the actor who portrayed Varys in Game of Thrones, expresses his dissatisfaction with how his character was written during the final two seasons of the show. Hill, an Irish actor, played the role of Lord Varys, a cunning spymaster known as the Spider, in HBO’s immensely popular fantasy series, which concluded in 2019. Varys initially supported Daenerys Targaryen but later switched sides when he learned about Jon Snow’s claim to the Iron Throne. His betrayal led to his eventual execution by dragon-fire.
II. The Frustrating End Of Varys’ Journey
In a recent interview with The Times, Conleth Hill reveals that he began feeling frustrated with Varys’ portrayal in the last two seasons of Game of Thrones. He states that the character he once portrayed as an all-knowing figure lost that essence in the later seasons. Hill points out that he sensed creative differences between the writers’ intentions and HBO’s preferences for the show’s conclusion. Moreover, he voices his opinion that season 8 felt rushed, a sentiment shared by many viewers and cast members.
Hill’s frustration is not new; during the table read for season 8, he visibly showed his displeasure during Varys’ death scene and put the script aside after reading it. In 2019, he previously expressed disappointment in how Varys was sidelined during the later seasons, which was understandable considering the ensemble nature of the show but still frustrating for him.
III. Assessing The Validity Of Varys’ Frustration
A. The Loss of Varys’ “All-Knowing” Persona
Throughout the earlier seasons, Varys was portrayed as the Master of Whisperers, with a vast network of spies and informants serving him in both Westeros and Essos. However, in the last two seasons, the character seemed to lose his grip on the unfolding events and exerted minimal influence. Despite this shift, one could argue that Varys remained faithful to the realm until the end, differentiating him from his self-serving rival, Littlefinger.
B. The Haste Of Game Of Thrones Season 8
One of the most prevalent criticisms of Game of Thrones’ final season was its brevity, consisting of only six episodes instead of the usual ten. This accelerated pace required rapid conclusions for various character arcs, including Varys’, leading to dissatisfaction among both viewers and cast members. Even years after the show ended, the rushed nature of season 8 continues to be a contentious topic.
Conleth Hill’s candid interview sheds light on the frustrations he experienced with the portrayal of his character, Varys, during the latter part of Game of Thrones. The loss of Varys’ all-knowing persona and the perceived haste of the final season were significant factors contributing to Hill’s dissatisfaction, as well as that of many fans. Despite these criticisms, Game of Thrones remains an enduring cultural phenomenon that has left a lasting impact on the world of television and storytelling.