So we’re a week away from the much-anticipated seventh season of Game of Thrones, so I thought I’d make a stab at trying to blog every day for seven days by combining my Game of Thrones fandom with my weird love of vintage cocktails.
There are plenty of Game of Thrones-themed cocktail lists out there, and I admit to having perused several of them before deciding to just wing it with my own bar books and imagination. As such, most of these are not original to me, and I will provide appropriate citations where relevant.
Here’s what I intend to post every night from tonight until the premiere next weekend (though if I come up with additional recipes that I like, I’ll just keep posting until I run out).
1 cocktail recipe, meant to evoke a specific character.
Ramblings about the character, the recipe, whatever it’s based on.
I’ll be up front and say that I am far more familiar with the books than I am with the series–I’ve only rewatched Seasons 1 and 2, while I’ve read all five of the books at least twice and the first three more like seven or eight times. So the ramblings may well err on the side of book canon rather than show canon, but I’ll try to flag that up when it happens.
This is not going to be anything resembling an exhaustive list of characters, and mostly focuses on characters I like. Which is to say there will not be a cocktail for Littlefinger or for Ramsay Bolton because I don’t want to mix undrinkable cocktails. It is also in no particular order, which brings me to Round One…
Martini of Whisperers
3oz Lillet Blanc
1oz Old Tom Gin
3 dashes orange bitters
I bought a bottle of Lillet Blanc years ago and it has been sitting in the back of a cabinet since then, so I’m happy for an excuse to open it. Varys, you deserve it. This drink is based (loosely) on the Liberté cocktail, but I like the balance between the citrusy Old Tom and the not-quite-sweet Lillet. It’s a complex drink, and it’s stronger than it tastes, so be cautious with seconds.
It should have a twist of orange for garnish, but I had run out of those. Alas. Next time.
Lord Varys is one of the most mysterious characters in the Game of Thrones universe. He tells Tyrion Lannister what he claims is his life story, but it’s difficult to know how much to believe from a spymaster. Not to mention his expanded role on the show where he joins Daenerys’ fledgling court in Meereen and is returning to Westeros as part of her council.
(I refuse to think about travel times and am operating on the assumption that Varys has access to a TARDIS or some sort of teleportation device.)
He claims, on more than one occasion, that he is acting for the good of ‘the realm’, whatever that means. We do know that he is in league with Illyrio on the far side of the Narrow Sea and is encouraging war between the great houses, and it remains to be seen what his endgame is.
What I do know is that he is a survivor, and a dangerous one.
So, here are several thoughts I have about Varys. Most of them are about the books, but I love how Conleth Hill plays him on the show, so the two tend to blur together in my mind.
- I want to know a lot more about his history, but it seems doubtful that we’ll ever find out the full story. But what I’m most curious about is how he managed to move from being Master of Whisperers for King Aerys straight into the same gig with King Robert. Presumably he had something on someone high up.
- I do think that show!Varys and book!Varys will diverge, partly because of a plot element that the show has generally played down–the Blackfyre family and its rebellions against the Targaryens. There are a number of interesting (and, I think, convincing) theories that Varys’ plots are in support of the Blackfyres and their latest pretender, fake!Aegon, but since that plotline has been dropped from the show, it appears that we are either jumping ahead in Varys’ book plotline and he eventually switches allegiances to Daenerys, or that Varys is being conflated with another character in Dany’s storyline.
- It is not made clear in the show how Varys’ “little birds” suddenly became willing to work for Qyburn, c.f. their smooth execution of Cersei’s wildfire plot in the Season 6 finale. We do know a number of very disturbing things about them, most notably that Varys has removed all of their tongues so they won’t reveal the secrets they discover. Ugh.
- I do wonder how much Varys and Littlefinger’s networks overlap. By necessity they must, since the two of them often have the same or complementary information. Or possibly there’s just a whole diplomatic corps in King’s Landing that we never hear about who just spend all their time gossiping about all the craziness going on. I like this idea.
Anyway, we’ll see how this experiment goes. Drink and know things!