Lord Varys: Should I be worried? Janos Slynt, Pycelle...the Small Council grows smaller every day.
Tyrion Lannister: The Council has a reputation for serving past Hands poorly. I don't mean to follow Ned Stark to the grave.
Varys: Power is a curious thing, my lord. Are you fond of riddles?
Tyrion: Why, am I about to hear one?
Varys: Three great men sit in a room; a king, a priest and a rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives, who dies?
Tyrion: Depends on the sellsword.
Varys: Does it? He has neither crown, nor gold, nor the favour of the gods.
Tyrion: He has a sword, the power of life and death.
Varys: But if it's swordsmen who rule, why do we pretend kings hold all the power? When Ned Stark lost his head, who was truly responsible? Joffrey? The executioner? Or something else?
Tyrion: I've decided I don't like riddles.
Varys: Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall, and a very small man can cast a very large shadow.