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Iron Flame Theory: Varrish was venin

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Written by: Cory

Iron Flame theory: Varrish was venin

I know what you’re thinking, how can Varrish be venin? We’ve had it with all the villains coming back. Jack Barlow, maybe Varrish? What about the good guys? What about Liam? Dear Rebecca Yarros, we love you dearly and deeply, but we have our grievances here, ok? Stop messing with our feelings.

But seriously, how can Varrish be venin? There are some clues that led me to believe this. Jump on the back of your dragon, and let’s go for a ride. I’m going to give you the quotes and then explain why I think this is important

“What do you know about Major Varrish’s orange? He looks… unstable. And hungry.”

This is relevant because why would a dragon look unstable? That seems like an odd comment to make. And hungry? Strange thing to mention.

“We make it back into formation as Major Varrish moves to the front of the dais, appearing completely unfazed that his dragon just took out riders who hadn’t broken formation, some of them bonded.

Errr, it feels like Solas is not afraid of repercussions here. As much as, dragons roast people for fun. But it’s only the unbonded. They don’t just go around killing other dragons’ riders. Curious as to why Solas is getting away with it here.

“It’s ironic, don’t you think?” […]“From what Colonel Aetos told me, your father was writing a book on feathertails— dragons which hadn’t been seen in hundreds of years—and then you ended up bonded to one.”

Listen, we all know Varrish knows more about feathertails. He wants Violet to produce Andarna to kill her or learn more about the weapon capable of killing venin.

“This is an example of what happens when dragons choose poorly,” Tairn counters. Solas should never have given this barbarian more power.”

Alright, alright, does Tairn know that Solas is bonded to a venin here? Because it’s really confusing. It feels like he knows. Also, this is a good time to check this theory related to Naolin. Because, did Tairn kill his own rider to not give him more power?

“Fascinating. You’ll both be indispensable once you come to heel.”

Listen, listen, we all know venin want Violet for her power to command the sky. When he tells her that she will be indispensable once she essentially submits. But submits to whom?

“She can take it just fine.” He looks at me like he knows. Like he was there at Resson, watching me hurl bolt after bolt at the wyvern.

Errr, wait a damn second. Was this…was this Rebecca Yarros giving us a massive clue? Was Varris really at Resson? On the wrong side, basically?

“Maybe you struggle,” Varrish snips, losing his customary slick indifference. “Some of us do not bow to the whims of our dragons. In fact, we influence them.”

Wow, Varrish, really? You are influencing your own dragon? I see, so Solas didn’t really want to kill those cadets now, did he? Or did he?

““That’s fine,” I promise, gripping the alloy-hilted dagger in my right hand as my left lies uselessly at my side.”

Ok, Violet did use the alloy hilted dagger. Does that mean that at least she actually kill Varrish and he won’t be coming back? Like he killed the venin and that’s it? It would be amazing.

“I memorize the look on Varrish’s face as the life fades out of him, just so I can reassure myself that he’s really dead when the nightmares inevitably come.”

This doesn’t give me peace of mind that he’s actually dead but fingers crossed.

“No. They smell of stolen magic when you get close enough.” She lifts her head, taking up three-quarters of the tunnel. “This smells of… dragons.”

Smell of stolen magic, aye? Andarna called it. Solas smelled like stolen magic. Influenced by venin right?

“Fetid breath fills the air a second before he curls his tongue”

Honestly, the breath of Solas. He’s been corrupted. Because Varrish was venin.

Varrish as venin – now there’s a twist that had us all doing double takes. We’ve been through the wringer with Rebecca Yarros’ stories, haven’t we? But this? This is something else.

First off, Varrish and his dragon, Solas – something’s off there. Why is Solas acting like he’s got a chip on his shoulder? And Varrish, influencing his dragon? Come on, that’s not your everyday dragon-rider relationship.

Then there’s the whole magic and venin angle. Violet ending Varrish with that dagger – was it really the end of him? Or is this just Yarros pulling another fast one on us? We’re left wondering, maybe even hoping, that this REALLY is the last we’ve seen of him. But let’s face it, in Yarros’ world, anything can happen.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, it’s like trying to catch a dragon by the tail – thrilling, a bit scary, and a whole lot of fun. But yeah, I do think based on Solas alone that Varrish is definitely a nasty venin.

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20 responses to “Iron Flame Theory: Varrish was venin”

  1. I think Varrish was absolutely Venin. Kaori made that statement about him abusing his power in general when interrogating Violet when she went to Samara without leave on the emotions of Tairn. Jack stating that they are more among them….. Colonol Aetos is one for sure. Is that who Lilith was wanting a cure for, her most trusted aide….. the good news is I think he is actually dead since Dain stabbed him first with the alloy hilted dagger. I can’t take him coming back.

    1. ““That’s fine,” I promise, gripping the alloy-hilted dagger in my right hand as my left lies uselessly at my side.” We have to assume Varrish is dead forever killed with the alloy indeed. She did learn from her mistakes with Jack, I see. She is, after all, a quick learner!

  2. So I’m now thinking in Violet killings:

    She killed Jack Barlowe, but like a cockroach, he survived a whole mountain.
    She killed venins and wyberns in Resson.

    In Iron Flame, she killed the guy with red eyes that Aetos sent to kill her. So, a turning venin?
    She ended Varrish.
    She almost killed Cat, but she didn’t.
    Solas was killed by Andarna.
    And then, just venins and wyberns.

    So, it’s just Varrish on the list.

    1. Indeed. She only ever killed venin, wyvern and Varrish…who surprise was a def venin! I think we cannot have Violet kill “innocents”. She is destined to do good, so we can’t bring any moral greyness to her.

    2. Wow! This is a very interesting point…. She’s only ever killed venin and wyvern! Could this also be a clue into her second signet? Or the prophecy Andarna speaks of?

      1. It might be. It might just be that!

  3. Just had a thought about Solas’s ‘fetid breath’.

    If that is a sign that a dragon is venin..

    Violet makes a comment that Cath (Dains Dragon) must have something stuck in her teeth because her breath smells during Dains speech as Wingleader after parapet in Iron Flame.

    I don’t have my book on me so not sure of the exact wording.

    But if that was one of the ‘signs’ of a venin dragon wouldn’t that be mad !

    I don’t really believe it but just thought it was interesting !

    1. Yes yes yes, Anna! I have a theory about it here -> https://www.empyreanriders.com/articles/iron-flame-theory-smells-are-crucial-clues/
      We are panicking about it that Dain might not be as good as we thought!

  4. This is not a theory, but I need more heads to collectively think about this connection. Varrish was pulled from the Samara Outpost (for three people dying during his torture), which is the same location that Xaden is sent to after graduation, AND where the ‘final battle’ Melgren sees the Navarrian forces being overrun.
    I need to know more about Samara. I also feel like RY is wayyy more precise with her clues and foreshadowing for it to be a coincidence.
    Varrish is a major — and if I’m working off the theory that the venin knowledge is limited to those in the rebellion, those outside Navarre, higher leadership, or those with significant signets?? — so did Varrish find out about venin from torturing? Are more people in Samara involved with venin? I also assume that there are lure boxes at Samara — which if true, asks the question of who put those lure boxes at Samara?

    I don’t know anything and this book has confirmed that I don’t know anything. So thoughts?

    1. Hi Elle, haha welcome to the club of want to know everything but in reality, we know nothing!
      It’s a bit frustrating, isn’t it?

      We don’t know much about Samara. That is true. But one thing is clear, there is venin among leadership. Varrish was one of them. Chances are, Colonel Aetos too.
      I think Varrish is just a bad, greedy man. And when he has the opportunity to reach, he did. His signet shows who he truly is at his very core: a rotten man who doesn’t see people, he sees weakness he can exploit.

      As for Samara…”It’s the easternmost outpost of the Southern Wing, where the borders of Krovla and Braevick provinces intersect, and a day’s flight away.”
      I do think Samara might be somewhat important. Mira is being moved there too which I feel is also important.
      There were two uprisings in Krovla, one of which is super important because Dad Sorrengail was doing research on “which is funny because I remember your father doing a bit of research about the second Krovlan uprising, and he mentioned something about feathertails, but we can’t seem to find that tome.”

      I believe the lure boxes were put there by Colonel Aetos. I think he also put them in Athebyne/Resson.

  5. I don’t think Varrish is venin, mostly because all of the other venin seem to think Violet is to be collected, not killed. Varrish almost killed her with his punishment (he isn’t the reason she didn’t die, it seemed as if he would have been happy either way).

    I have a feeling that Dain’s Dad and Varrish are almost a third party. A group of Navar leaders who know of the venin, might be working with the venin, but are not venin themselves and seem to have different goals than the venin. Why? Neither seem to want to collect or deliver Violet to leader and both seem comfortable with her death as an outcome of their actions. Also, neither Dain’s dad or Varrish are ever described as having red eyes. Dain’s dad knows how to lure venin, just like Jack Barlow placed lures to guide the horde after the wards fell and Dain’s dad sent that 1st year with red eyes to kill Violet, which makes me think he might be working with/sharing info with venin. Varrish seemed to know about Jack and to know what he is, but I suspect a lot of Navar leaders know that, so that might not be evidence alone of working with them.

    There definitely is something about Varrish controlling his dragon, similar to how Jack did maybe? But I don’t think that neccessarily makes him a venin.

    Ok, just rambling at this point…

    1. I welcome all sorts of theories and I LOVE them.I like the theory btw, that Varrish and Colonel Aetos are part of a pro-venin group somehow. But then why would they do that without the need for power?
      Why would they aid venin ultimately? Jack doesn’t have red eyes either because he’s been taking that serum. I think they need it to keep venin in check somehow. Also, would there be any other sort of corruption is that why they can control other dragons?
      Because I think Colonel Aetos somewhat controls Cath too.

  6. “She can take it just fine.” He looks at me like he knows. Like he was there at Resson, watching me hurl bolt after bolt at the wyvern.

    This quote to me, helps confirm Varish is Venin! Isn’t there a moment in IF, either with Jack Barlowe, on the cliff with the fliers, or somewhere, where we learned that wyvern are connected to the venin that created them? What the Wyvern learn, see, and hear, is communicated back to their venin?

    1. Correct! And I too think he was there. So this begs the question, doesn’t it? WHY do venin need Violet to strike MANY MANY times rather than true?

      1. Very very interesting. Let me sit on this question… it is definitely one we need answered! Considering how much it was brought up in Aretia how concerning it was that she was not shown smaller more precise strikes!

        1. Exactly! I think she is needed so that power is like “food” for venin. It can kill them, but it can also feed them. I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m thinking about it.

  7. And also…he never used his signet on her truly. And he was the one that brought Barlow back and was excited about it, right? And was behind the curtain making Nolan mend Jack? He always wanted the only feather tail to come so he could kill her so they couldn’t raise the ward again. Jack said they’re already here and among us—and this is after he’s dead but meaning it’s not out of the question they walk among them easily. And Jack saved Violet solely because they had orders not to let her die. He’s totally one.

    1. I think so too! Totally venin!

  8. “Only a rider can be the vice commandant of Basgiath,” Tairn warns, and Solas lets out a sound that’s half roar, half shriek. “Without a dragon, you are no rider.”

    Tairn knows Varrish is venin. Otherwise, killing Solas would kill him and clearly he’s saying here it wouldn’t.

    But the bigger question is why would he not oust this that are venin? Who are the dragons protecting if they can tell there are venin within the wards?

    1. Exactly!!! I am 100% certain that’s what Tairn implied.
      And you are so right. Why would Tairn now say a word about it then? Who are they protecting? Wait…waaaaaait

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