Littlefinger is one of the most interesting, complex characters in all of the Seven Kingdoms. He is: cunning, witty, manipulative, revered, powerful, sharp-tongued, highly intelligent, creepy, and perverted.
Petyr Baelish is from a small a piece of land in The Fingers of The Vale. His father sent him to Riverrun to be raised by his friend Lord Hoster Tully. He grew up with: Edmure, Lysa & Catelyn Tully. Edmure came up with his nickname Littlefinger. Baelish was a little child and is still at little man but he comes from The Finger in The Vale so the name fits. Lysa loved Petyr but he loved Catelyn. Catelyn was to be married to Brandon Stark. Petyr challenged him to a duel to win her and lost horrendously with physical and mental scars. Brandon was killed by Mad King Aerys II Targaryen (the first move that spurred Robert’s Rebellion) and Catelyn ended up with Ned Stark.
“Do you know what I learnt losing that duel? That’s their game, their rules. I’m not going to fight them. I’m going to fuck them. That’s what I know. That’s what I am. And only by admitting what we are can we get what we want”.
Petyr Baelish To Ros
Petyr Baelish is a small man so he couldn’t win through swordplay. In the fight with Brandon, he learnt that in order get what he wants he must be indirect and strategic. He uses the pen rather than sword or he gets other people to use the sword for him. He is politically and financially brilliant and has friends in high places such in the guise of Lady Lysa Arryn of The Vale. Through his financial brilliance, he was made Master of Coin. Baelish is clever and careful. He uses his power carefully. So he bought property like whorehouses that many a Lannister soldier has used. Who knows what they might let slip whilst having a good time? He established a criminal spy network which spans all of the Seven Kingdoms.
“Petyr moved his own men into place. The Keepers of Keys were his, all four. The King’s Counter and the King’s Scales were men he’d named. The officers in charge of all three mints. Harbormasters, tax farmers, customs sergeants, wool factors, toll collectors, pursers, wine factors; nine of every ten belonged to Littlefinger”
Tyrion IV: A Clash Of Kings
A Game Of Thrones (Season 1) begins with the death of Jon Arryn (Hand Of The King). In Season 4 we find out that Lysa murdered Jon with poison. He told Lysa to kill him and then blame it on the Lannisters and tell Catelyn the same. Catelyn comes to King’s Landing to tell Ned (the new Hand) that the Lannisters sent an assassin to kill Bran. Littlefinger tells Cat that the dagger meant for Bran was Tyrion’s (lies) leading Catelyn to capture Tyrion in a tavern on the way back to Winterfell. In the meantime Baelish helps Ned uncover the Jaime/Cersei incest relationship. Ned confronts the Lannisters and is betrayed by Baelish. Then Ned’s demise soon follows in the form of his public execution in Kings Landing.
All of the moves that he made were implemented to create war mongering conflict between House Stark and House Lannister. It worked and he single-handedly created The War Of Five Kings. Robert suddenly dies in a ‘hunting accident’. Joffery ascends to the Iron Throne becoming King. Renly flees Kings Landing to rally support for his claim to the throne. He calls in the banners of House Baratheon. He even tries to recruit Ned Stark. Ned is too honourable to support Renly over Stannis. Theon has Winterfell for a while until Roose Bolton sends his Bastard, Ramsay to apprehend him. Ramsay flays Theon’s fingers amongst other things. Balon Greyjoy sees this as his chance to start a war by asserting independence for the Iron Islands. He’s done a repeat of the Greyjoy Rebellion.
Stannis sees Joffery as a usurper because he believes that he and the other children are products of Cersei and Jaime’s incestuous relationship which we as the viewers know to be true.
Stannis is pissed:
“The Iron Throne is mine by right. All those who deny that are my foes”
“It is not a question of wanting. The throne is mine, as Robert’s heir. That is law. After me, it must pass to my daughter, unless Selyse should finally give me a son. I am king. Wants do not enter into it. I have a duty to my daughter. To the realm. Even to Robert. He loved me but little, I know, yet he was my brother. The Lannister woman gave him horns and made a motley fool of him. She may have murdered him as well, as she murdered Jon Arryn and Ned Stark. For such crimes there must be justice. Starting with Cersei and her abominations. But only starting. I mean to scour that court clean. As Robert should have done after the Trident.”
“Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark they’re all thieves. They’ll bend the knee or I’ll destroy them.”
Petyr says to Varys “chaos is a ladder”. He uses the chaos of war to gain power. In ‘A Clash Of Kings’ (Season 2) he negotiates an alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell. This alliance pays off at the Battle Of Blackwater Bay when Stannis Baratheon nearly wins the battle. The Tyrell army arrives with Tywin Lannister to save them all. He is rewarded with Harrenhal and rule of the Riverlands. He is gaining higher status in the chaos of war. He is sent to marry Lysa Arryn of The Vale to bring the knights of the Vale into the fold. The Vale Of Arryn is the region of the seven kingdoms untouched by conflict. Soon after, he murders Lysa and names himself Lord Protector of The Vale with Robyn Arryn as his ward. Only Robyn Arryn stands in his way. Little boys are sickly, frail and weak and naive. Wouldn’t it be a shame if he suddenly died?
In A Storm Of Swords (Season 4), Joffery is killed at his own wedding which will be forever known as The Purple Wedding due to the color his face turned when he was poisoned. Tyrion Lannister is accused of killing him but the guilty party are Petyr Baelish and Olenna Tyrell. Ser Dontos Hollard escorts Sansa Stark from Kings Landing on the order of Littlefinger. She would have been accused as well due to being married to The Imp. Baelish engineers this plan to gain favor with the Tyrells. He can see the growth in power and the days of House Lannister are numbered once Margaery Tyrell marries Tommen Baratheon.
Why did Littlefinger save Sansa? She looks like her mother Catelyn (killed at the Red Wedding) who Littlefinger grew up with and loved romantically. She did not feel the same. So he goes for the next best thing, her daughter. Sansa looks like Catelyn. The more important reason is that he can use her for political gain. Littlefinger is a power player though an indirect player at that. Robb Stark was killed at The Red Wedding by his own bannerman, Roose Bolton. Bran and Rickon were supposedly put to flame at Winterfell by Theon Greyjoy. Arya is missing. So whoever marries her will be the Lord of Winterfell. Sansa is already married to Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion would need to die for her to marry again. Baelish created the reenactment of the War Of Five Kings at the Purple Wedding. Joffery commands Tyrion take part but refuses which creates conflict between the Tyrion and Joffery. Helping to frame Tyrion for his murder and sentenced to death but Tyrion escaped with the help of his brother Jaime Lannister and Varys. Varys foiled Littlefinger’s plan once again.
So in ‘A Game Of Thrones’ (Season 1) his seat of power was still in The Fingers, The Vale. But he had a criminal spy network too. At the end of ‘A Storm Of Swords’(Season 4) he is Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Protector of The Vale. He is formally Master Of Coin and could claim to be Master of Whispers with Varys. They are equal in terms of acquiring information through their criminal spy networks. He has acquired all of what he has through character manipulation, emotional blackmail and exploiting weaknesses though the chaos of war. I believe that this proves the pen is mightier than the sword. He doesn’t have an army…yet. It’s only a matter of time before he gets one and lords backing him. He has the crown backing his claims on the Riverlands and the Vale. Even though Lord Walder Frey was made Lord Of The Riverlands by Tywin Lannister, his days are numbered and everybody knows what he is. He was very direct in his actions at The Red Wedding whereas Baelish is indirect and strategic. He won’t be Lord of the Riverlands for long. His days are numbered. House Frey will fall.
Baelish is playing the long game. You climb ladders to reach the top. He’s going for everything. He wants the Iron Throne. So his final move will be to win the throne for himself with Sansa as his Queen.
At the end of Season 4 Sansa lies to the Lords of the Vale on the circumstances of Lysa’s demise. She tells them she slipped through the moondoor but was actually pushed by Petyr. Sansa has entered the game. She will learn all she needs to learn from him by learning how to play the game in the highest degree by using deception, strategy and indirect moves like in a game of chess. By not going in for the kill straight way but by careful planning and striking in places where your opponent does not suspect. Once she has learnt everything, she will kill him. The most notable method of murder being poison, a woman’s weapon.
We have now reached the end of season five. Littlefinger sold Cersei out to High Sparrow with the help of Olenna Tyrell yet again. He had the nouse to get Cersei to promise him the title of Warden Of The North beforehand though. It’s only a promise but it’s what that promise represents that really matters. He stitched her up and she doesn’t even know it. The promise of that title would mean that he has to marry Sansa for The North to follow him. The Boltons are pretty disposable for him. I think in the end Sansa will find out that he betrayed her parents and then she will kill him playing the game that he taught her so well how to play.
“Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark.”
I think this stands for the majority of the northern houses as they were loyal to Ned and to Robb. They believed in them. They could never follow Roose Bolton. Littlefinger would have to marry Sansa if the North were to follow him. The Stark name still holds weight in the North. Even with Sansa married to Ramsay, the North will never forget what House Bolton did.
The North Remembers.