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"Robert's Rebellion - Petyr Baelish and Varys"[a] is the tenth short of the third season of Histories & Lore. It is the fifty-third short of the series overall. It was released on February 18, 2014 in Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season. It was narrated by Conleth Hill as Varys and Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish, and written by Dave Hill.


Petyr Baelish and Lord Varys debate the ramifications of Robert Baratheon's rebellion against the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, and its impact on the realm.[3]


Varys: For three hundred years, the Targaryen dynasty ruled Westeros. Wars were still fought, homes still burned and men still died, but compared to the chaos of what came before, the realm was stable.

Petyr Baelish: And boring. The Targaryens lied, killed, and thieved as much as other lords. They just had dragons to answer all complaints. Until they didn't.

When the last dragon died, it was only a matter of time before the Targaryens followed.

Varys: By "only," you mean another century?

Petyr Baelish: Which they wasted trying to replace their lost advantage: incinerating their own palaces to hatch dragon eggs, drinking wildfire to become dragons, and, let's not forget the Mad King's favorite, burning men alive so he could pretend to be a dragon.

Varys: We urged Aerys to pardon Brandon Stark. The boy had threatened Prince Rhaegar, but Rhaegar had stolen the boy's sister, and the boy was the eldest son of our Warden of the North.

Petyr Baelish: Who is the greater fool: a mad king or the man who reasons with him? Aerys saw knives in every shadow.

When you told him to treat the Starks with caution, you made him afraid and what he feared he killed.

Varys: I wouldn't have thought you of all people would bother with recriminations for Brandon's death, Lord Baelish. Not after your, shall we call it, "duel" with him?

Petyr Baelish: Brandon was as arrogant as he was stupid; like his father, Lord Stark, who answered Aerys' summon to the capital. They earned their fates. But the younger son, Ned, what was his crime? That Aerys ordered his death as well?

Varys: Unlike men, families do not die when you lop off their head.

Petyr Baelish: At the very least, you should have pointed out that loyal and dutiful Ned was living with Jon Arryn, a proud and over-righteous lord with an impregnable castle and no sons of his own. Perhaps you could have spared Aerys the "embarrassment" of revolt.

Varys: If only we'd had the foresight to consult you, Lord Baelish, but I suppose first we'd have had to know who you were.

Petyr Baelish: Nobody knew Robert Baratheon either, yet he claimed the right to sit on the Iron Throne.

Varys: He had Targaryen blood through his mother.

Petyr Baelish: A pretty dress for an ugly truth: it was war; and he could swing a hammer harder than the other options. When did you know you'd lost, Lord Varys?

Varys: When Robert Baratheon killed Prince Rhaegar on the Trident.

Petyr Baelish: Wrong. You lost the war when you let Ned Stark slip back into the North. Neither the Bloody Gate of the Vale or Moat Cailin in the North have ever fallen. They could have held out for years even if you'd killed Robert, but you let him slip through your fingers as well.

Varys: I told the court that Robert was hiding in the Stoney Sept, but the Hand of the King wasted too much time searching the city. Something about the glory of single combat. Then Ned Stark's army arrived to save the day.

Petyr Baelish: Too bad Lord Tywin wasn't Hand any longer. He would have simply razed the town and been done with it.

Varys: Perhaps. And perhaps the rebels would have found even more of the countryside flocking to their banners.

Petyr Baelish: I'd almost forgotten. You weren't always so loyal to the Lannisters during the war, were you?

Varys: I did my duty to the realm. When Lord Tywin showed up at King's Landing professing loyalty, I warned Aerys not to open the gates. Prince Rhaegar was dead, our army scattered. "The lion does not stir unless he smells meat."

Petyr Baelish: I admire your powers of persuasion, Lord Varys. Few could traffic on so many secrets to so little avail.

Varys: Grand Maester Pycelle told Aerys what he wanted to hear, that his old friend Tywin was there to save him.

Petyr Baelish: Then Aerys's "old friend" sacked the city, and his son stabbed Aerys in the back.

Varys: A regrettable though necessary action.

Petyr Baelish: As were the pardons the new King Robert bestowed upon the royalists: Mace Tyrell, Barristan Selmy, you.

Varys: King Robert wisely chose order over vengeance.

Petyr Baelish: Jon Arryn wisely chose for Robert. But Jon Arryn died, then Robert, then Ned. So ended their glorious revolution.

Varys: And Westeros has been burning ever since.

Petyr Baelish: Let it.

Varys: How Targaryen of you. One of the mad ones.

Petyr Baelish: Fire turns even the proudest oaks to ash, leaving newer roots space to climb.








Behind the scenes[]

  • This is the seventh of ten shorts on Robert's Rebellion.
  • A point which might cause some confusion is that Varys says that "we" warned King Aerys, which some might mistake to imply that Littlefinger was also on the Small Council at the time. However, later in the short, Varys makes a separate jab that no one at court even knew who Baelish was at the time because he was still a minor lord living in the Vale, so this is not a change from the books.
  • A rather large break with book continuity is introduced by this short. In Season 1 episode "Baelor", Maester Aemon stated that Aerys was his brother's son, not his brother's grandson. In the books, Aemon's younger brother Aegon V Targaryen became king (after Aemon refused the crown due to his vows), and was later succeeded by his son Jaehaerys II, a good but physically frail man who died after ruling only three years. King Aerys II and Queen Rhaella Targaryen were the children of Jaehaerys II. Aemon's statements in the TV series, however, seemed to skip Jaehaerys II. The TV writers later confirmed that Jaehaerys II has indeed been omitted from the TV continuity - they have not stated why, but possibly just to simplify the relationship between Aemon and Daenerys. The major problem this change introduced is that House Baratheon intermarried with House Targaryen in that generation: Aegon V's daughter (and Jaehaerys II's sister) Rhaelle Targaryen married the lord of House Baratheon, and their son was Steffon Baratheon, the father of Robert, Stannis, and Renly. Robert Baratheon's entire claim to the throne was based on the technicality that he had Targaryen blood through Rhaelle (though even this short points out that it was a pretext and he won the crown through warfare). Though no information was ever given on-screen, the prop of the book The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms in Season 1 does establish that Rhaelle Targaryen existed in the TV continuity as well and married a lord of House Baratheon, though she married Lyonel Baratheon and not his heir Ormund Baratheon (as she did in the books). Despite this, the Season 1 animated shorts even somewhat implied that in order to simplify the story, Robert's "Targaryen blood" came purely from Orys Baratheon, the founder of House Baratheon and rumored bastard half-brother of Aegon the Conqueror (which would be complicated, given that Orys is widely believed to have been Aegon's half-brother, but this was never proven). In either scenario, the Targaryen bloodline passed through Robert's father Steffon. In this short, however, Varys clearly states that Robert possessed Targaryen blood "through his mother" - Cassana Baratheon, born into House Estermont. It is unclear how to reconcile this new information. It is possible in the TV continuity that Cassana Estermont had Targaryen blood through her mother.
  • The unnamed Hand of the King who failed to capture Robert, to whom Varys and Littlefinger refer, is Jon Connington. According to Connington's inner monologue in the fifth novel, as Varys correctly comments, he indeed wasted too much time searching for Robert because he wanted the glory of slaying Robert in single combat.
  • Littlefinger comments that Tywin, had he been in Connington's place, would have razed the town, thus put an end to the rebellion. In the novels, it was Ser Myles Toyne, a former captain-general of the Golden Company, who said to Connington that Tywin "would have burned that town and every living creature in it". Connington, however, refrained from such act due to the aforementioned reason, and also because he did not want to gain the reputation of a butcher. Years later, in retrospect, Connington thinks Myles was right, although - as Varys comments - such cruel deed might have severely shamed the royal side in the war; more lords might have gone over to the rebels in protest.

In the books[]

  • The short is adapted from the following chapters of A Dance with Dragons:


  1. Jacob Klein (June 24, 2013). Game of Thrones Season 3 Blu-Ray & DVD Release Date Confirmed. HBO Watch. Retrieved December 15, 2023.
  2. Histories & Lore: Season 3, Short 10: "Robert's Rebellion - Petyr Baelish and Varys" (2014).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season (2014).
  4. Vanessa Cole (July 22, 2017). Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill gives a behind the scenes look at the creative process. Watchers on the Wall. Retrieved December 15, 2023.


  1. In Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season, this short is simply titled "Robert's Rebellion."