Varys: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Littlefinger isn't the only character to rise up from nothing to become one of the major players in the "game of thrones." There’s also his bald rival, Varys, aka the Spider. However, unlike Littlefinger, Varys isn’t interested in grabbing power for himself. He schemes for the good of the country and prefers to be the power behind the throne. As such, he's a natural fit for Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy. The books — the third of which hasn't yet been published — chronicle Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII. Mantel paints Cromwell as a ruthless yet pragmatic manipulator helping to keep Henry in power behind the scenes. Henry needed this help, as the English throne had been mired in the War of the Roses only decades earlier — the very war that inspired George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels that Game of Thrones is adapted from.