(Spoilers ahead for the next-to-last episode of “Game of Thrones,” episode 5 of season 8)
The penultimate episode of all of “Game of Thrones” was extremely eventful, as we all expected, with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) attacking King’s Landing and basically nuking it by the time the episode was over. It was all-out war, with a pile of major characters and thousands of random townfolk killed and/or turned to ash by dragonfire in a sequence that lasted for nearly an hour.
So it can be easy to forget what happened before Dany and Grey Worm decided to level King’s Landing. The episode opened with Varys (Conleth Hill) writing letters on raven scrolls about how Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is secretly a Targaryen and is the true heir to the Iron Throne. Soon after, he is executed by Daenerys for scheming about Jon Snow’s destiny after Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) rats him out.
Varys is still writing those letters when Dany’s soldiers come for him, and it’s clear based on the arrangement of scenes that some time has passed and he’s finished a number of those letters and probably sent them out — remember also that he’s got his little bird operating on Dragonstone during all of this.
The question, of course, is about who he’s writing to. This is a question that will certainly be answered next week when “Game of Thrones” finally comes to a close in the series finale, but for now we’re left to wonder. But I think I have a pretty good idea of who Varys is trying to spread the word about Jon’s heritage to.
With Varys being committed at this point to deposing Dany, it makes the most sense that he would be sending word about Jon to the remaining lords of Westeros. Because he wants everyone to know the situation when Dany takes the throne if she manages to take King’s Landing and kill Cersei. And she does both of those things later in the episode, so …
It’s an important thing for Varys to do because Dany’s invasion of Westeros is based not on simply her ability to conquer it, but her own statement that she is the true heir to the throne. Except that she isn’t really.
But it’s anyone’s guess what those who receive Varys’ letters will actually do with that knowledge. Ultimately, it doesn’t actually matter who has the best claim to the throne — as we have seen throughout the series, it only matters who can hold it. And though the fate of the Iron Throne itself is uncertain with the Red Keep in ruins, by the end of the episode Daenerys clearly is in control.
But, hey, we’ve only got to wait a week to until we find out how it all ends. The series finale of “Game of Thrones” lands this Sunday.