Game of Thrones’ Lord Varys Lives On in House of the Dragon’s Spymasters

Larys Strong and Mysaria "The White Worm" carry on Varys' master of whispers legacy on House of the Dragon.

Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) in House of the Dragon episode 8
Photo: Ollie Upton | HBO

This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 9.

There’s a new bastard in King’s Landing for House of the Dragon, and no, we don’t mean Rhaenyra’s illegitimate offspring with Harwin Strong. In a show that’s already painted the likes of Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) as villains in the race to the Iron Throne, Matthew Needham’s Larys Strong is giving Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) a run for his money as the show’s most loathsome hate figure.

Larys is already being called the show’s very own Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aiden Gillen) with just a dash of Varys (Conleth Hill). Ironic that his name sounds like a hybrid of the pair. Known as Larys “Clubfoot” Strong, he’s the current Lord of Harrenhal, Master of Whispers, and Lord Confessor for the Greens. As his title suggests, the Master of Whispers has their ear close to the ground with everything that’s going on in King’s Landing’s underworld. But trust us when we say Larys Strong is only looking out for himself.  

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a very different Varys in the form of Sonoya Mizuno’s Mysaria. The jilted lover of Daemon Targaryen has returned from her exile to Lys, and these days, she’s set up shop in the backstreets of King’s Landing under the moniker of the White Worm. Both Larys and Mysaria have parallels with Varys, who was a major player on the Small Council during the War of the Five Kings. While Larys has the scheming qualities of Varys, Mysaria has the same affinity with children as the Spider did. This town isn’t big enough for two Varyses, and as they send their “little birds” out to gather intel, only one will come out on top.

Ad – content continues below

There were many talking points in Oct. 16’s “The Green Council,” but somehow, the coronation of King Aegon II being interrupted by Rhaenys “Queen Who Never Was” Targaryen atop Meleys wasn’t the most shocking. In a scene some are calling wose than incestuous sex between Daemon and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), Larys was seen pleasuring himself to the feet of Alicent. It’s just the latest in the pair’s sordid saga, which shows who’s really pulling the strings in House of the Dragon

Remember, it was Larys who killed his brother and father (Harwin and Lyonel Strong) to help Alicent reinstate Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) as the Hand of the King. From what we’ve seen so far, Larys hasn’t been invited to sit at the Small Council with the likes of Otto, Alicent, and Tyland Lannister (Jefferson Hall), but given that the Strongs died in 120 AC (After Aegon’s Conquest) and Aegon II is crowned in 129 AC, it hammers home just how long Larys has been scheming for.

When it comes to Larys’ titles, the Master (or Mistress) of Whispers was a role created by Maegor the Cruel’s wife Tyanna – as she gathered secrets around the Red Keep. Even the rats and insects were said to act as Tyanna’s spies, which is a visual metaphor we’ve repeatedly seen with rats haunting Viserys I’s reign. As for Mysaria, she’s physically different from the books, where she’d earned the name the White Worm because of her albino appearance. She has no official status in the capital, whereas Lord Allun Caswell refers to Larys as the Lord Confessor. The Lord Confessor is in charge of torturing prisoners, and as we saw when he cut the tongues out of those used to kill his father and brother, he’s taking no chances with having his own secrets spilled.

When Otto questions why Larys has been spending so much time with his daughter, the latter ominously says there’s no reason why these hours couldn’t benefit Otto. This suggests the two biggest schemers are about to unite, which will further cement Alicent as a pawn in their game of thrones. Mysaria was a close informant of Otto, and it was her who told him Daemon and Rhaenyra had been spotted in a pleasure den. Otto was supposed to use this information to his advantage, but instead, was cast out by Viserys. When Mysaria meets Otto in episode nine, she’s once again spinning things to her advantage and is revealed as the one who stole Prince Aegon away. She returns the future king and takes Otto’s money, but demands the Hand outlaws the child fighting pits. Although Hightower promises to make it happen, the episode ends with Mysaria’s future unknown.

Even if we’re supposed to think Mysaria has suffered the same fiery fate as the Strongs at the hands of Larys, we guess she’s got more of a story to tell.  We know what should happen to Larys and Mysaria, with the White Worm arguably being even more villainous. Mysaria can’t like children that much, and while we won’t ruin what happens, she plays a massive part in the Blood and Cheese arc. As with most villains in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, Larys and Mysaria are due a healthy dose of karma once the Dance of Dragons comes to an end. For the time being though, the foot-obsessed Master of Whispers has his clubfoot firmly under the table, while his pale counterpart is being underestimated from the shadows.

New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max in the U.S. and Sky Atlantic in the U.K.

Ad – content continues below