Illyrio Mopatis

Once a poor bravo, Illyrio Mopatis rose to become one of the wealthiest people in Pentos. Learn more about his story.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Illyrio Mopatis is a wealthy magister and a merchant in the Free City of Pentos. He deals in many commodities, including gemstones, dragonbone, cheese, spices, and slaves. His relationship with many people in Westeros makes him one of the crucial characters influencing the region’s politics. With the city of Pentos having a cordial relationship with House Targaryen, Illyrio takes in the last survivors of the house, Viserys, and Daenerys Targaryen, and keeps them safe from the eye of King Robert Baratheon, a man who hated the Targaryen dynasty intensely.

Personal Details about Illyrio Mopatis

  • Name: Illyrio Mopatis.
  • Allegiance: House Targaryen.
  • City of Birth: Pentos.
  • Culture: Pentos.
  • Aliases: The Fat Man, The Cheesemonger, The Lord of Cheese.
  • Title: Magister of Pentos.

Appearance and Personality

Illyrio Mopatis is a morbidly obese man with squinty eyes and fat cheeks. Though he was once a handsome muscular, and tall bravo, he is now a shadow of his past self. With a huge white belly and saggy skin that shows his breasts dangling, he uses heavy perfumes to conceal the terrible smell that emanates from his flesh. He has a yellow beard and yellow-haired chest, which shows when it bounces from his laughter. Although he is large and has crooked yellow teeth, he walks lightly, a gift he got from his younger years as a bravo.

As the Magister of Pentos, Illyrio speaks gracefully with a honeyed voice and possesses a statue of himself from when he was younger. It features him standing in the water of a marble pool and poised to duel with a bravo’s blade glittering like steel. Because of his wealth, he has many friends in the known world, from Westeros to Essos. His connections span from the Free Cities to Vaes Dothrak, the Jade Sea, and Westeros. Although Braavos outlawed slavery in Pentos, he still owned many servants who were slaves. His favorite is a fair-haired, blue-eyed sixteen-year-old girl.



Before becoming a wealthy man, Illyrio was a poor bravo living in Pentos. He met Varys, a eunuch, and they became friends. Varys and Illyrio began a business where Varys would steal stolen goods from wealthy people and return them to them for a price. The success of their new trade soon exploded their popularity throughout the city as many people started paying for them to return stolen merchandise and goods.


With their business’s success, Illyrio became a wealthy man and married the daughter of a cousin of the Prince of Pentos. His first wife died, and he married another woman, Serra, a Lysene pillow house worker. His marriage to Serra angered the Prince of Pentos, who barred him from visiting the palace forever. Though his marriage with his new wife blossomed, calamity struck Illyrio when a Braavosi trading galley brought a plague called the grey death. The disease claimed more than 2000 lives, including Serra, breaking his heart.

After the passing of his wife and his rise to become one of the wealthiest merchants in Pentos, Illyrio kept contact with his dearest friend, Varys, who became the master of whisperers for Aerys II Targaryen. He became friends with Jon Connington, Lord of Griffin’s Roost, but tragedy struck for the Targaryens as Robert Baratheon incited a rebellion. With the conflict ending in favor of Robert, Aerys got killed, and the crown prince, Rhaegar, died.

Relationship with the Targaryens

After the events at King’s Landing, Viserys Targaryen and his mother fled for Dragonstone, where she gave birth to Daenerys. After their exile from Westeros, Viserys and his sister traveled to the cities of Essos, and Illyrio kept an eye on them until he took them under his protection. Upon meeting Daenerys, he got shocked by her beauty and contemplated killing her brother to take her for himself. However, he retracted from his thoughts, admitting that sleeping with the 13-year-old girl would be uninteresting.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

After taking Viserys Targaryen and his sister, Daenerys, into his Pentos manse, Illyrio begins encouraging Viserys, stating that the people of Westeros are waiting for their true king to take the Iron Throne. After learning of Viserys’s plan to get Khal Drogo’s army, he arranges a wedding proposal between Daenerys and Drogo. He dresses her in a plum silken gown.

When Drogo agrees to marry Daenerys, Illyrio provides wine for the wedding feast and gifts Daenerys three scorched dragon eggs as a wedding gift. He also gives Viserys three girls to gift his sister as maids. Illyrio then travels to King’s Landing and meets Lord Varys in the tunnels of the Red Keep. He learns from him that the seven kingdoms are in a delicate situation as war will soon begin on many fronts. Varys reveals to Illyrio that he is no longer in control of the events happening as the Starks and Lannisters are beginning to resist each other. He states that a civil war is imminent. 

Illyrio advises Varys to arrange Lord Eddard Stark’s death, but the eunuch tells him that he cannot kill the Hand of the King and he has lost control over two crucial people, Lady Lysa Arryn and Lord Stannis Baratheon. He also reveals that Lord Renly is concocting a secret plan, and Petyr Baelish is plotting. Arya Stark overhears their discussion about killing her father, but when she tells him what she heard, he brushes her off, telling her the men might have been just a group of Mummers staying in King’s Landing for the Hand’s Tourney.

After the wedding between Drogo and Daenerys, Illyrio advises Viserys to remain in Pentos, but he refuses and follows the Dothraki to Vaes Dothrak. Unable to live with the Dothraki, Viserys orders Khal Drogo to give him an army and draws a weapon in the sacred city; this leads to him getting killed by having molten gold poured on him.

When Illyrio learns of Visery’s death, he sends a letter to Daenerys, warning her of the threat from Robert Baratheon, who had ordered her to get killed. Later she loses her husband and unborn son, and her three eggs hatch into dragons, Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion.

A Clash of Kings

After learning what happened to her, Illyrio sends Strong Belwas and Arstan Whitebeard to bring her back on three ships captained by Groleo. When Jorah meets Arstan, he notes that he is too old to be a squire. Later, Daenerys travels to Astaphor and gets the Unsullied, a eunuch army.

A Dance with Dragons

After Tyrion Lannister gets convicted of poisoning Joffrey Baratheon, he gets locked up in a cell. His brother, Jaime Lannister, rescues him, and he meets up with Varys. After meeting Varys, Tyrion travels to the Red Keep and kills his father, Tywin Lannister. He then gets smuggled out of King’s Landing and travels across the Narrow Sea to Pentos, where he meets Illyrio. The magister tells him that since he killed his father, he may be of service to Daenerys. He tells Tyrion if he supports her, he may become the Lord of Casterly Rock. Illyrio reveals that he is supporting Daenerys in exchange for becoming the master of coin for her future council.

Illyrio takes Tyrion out of Pentos and hands him to Haldon, who plans to take him to Volantis. Aboard the ship, Tyrion meets Griff and his son Young Griff, who turn out to be Aegon Targaryen and Jon Connington. Tyrion learns that Illyrio has gained the support of the Golden Company for Daenerys.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s television adaptation Game of Thrones, Illyrio’s character got portrayed by actor Roger Allam. His character wildly varies from the show, and he does not support Daenerys. Instead, he sells her to Khal Drogo. He gifts her three dragon eggs and later travels to King’s Landing. When Daenerys gets pregnant, Illyrio tells Varys, who brings the information to the small council.

Illyrio: The Magister who shaped the Dragon Mother

Though Illyrio is a minor character in A Song of Ice and Fire, he is the catalyst that propels Daenerys’s rise to power. He gifts her the dragon eggs that will become her symbol of strength and supports her with the ships that become the first of her fleet. Though he did everything he did for personal gain, he inadvertently became the magister who created the dragon mother.


Why did Illyrio support the Targaryens?

Illyrio wanted to become the master of coin for King’s Landing. He supported Viserys’s claim to the Iron Throne, thinking that after getting the Targaryens on the Iron Throne, he would get appointed to a position of high authority.

Was Illyrio a good man?

Though he helped Daenerys, Illyrio is far from being a good person. He was involved in slavery and never cared for life except when it benefitted him; this made him a villain. 

What is the difference between Illyrio of the tv series and the books?

The Illyrio of the books is much uglier than that of the series. He is fat and ugly with drooping skin and yellow teeth. The tv series portrays Illyrio in a kinder appearance. However, his evil side got explored more in the show than in the novels.

Where did Illyrio get the dragon eggs he gave Daenerys?

According to Illyrio, he got the dragon eggs from the Shadowlands of Asshai. However, there seems to be more to the eggs he gave Daenerys. Many speculations have arisen about how he managed to get the eggs, but the information on them is he got them from Asshai.

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