If you want to betray anyone anywhere in Westeros, Petyr Baelish is the man to call.
Better known as Littlefinger, Petyr Baelish is a master at playing the game and moving every pawn into place. He’ll make you think he’s your best friend while he’s planning your murder. He’s skilled at setting up the gallows and never pulling the rope. Littlefinger hooks so many people into his schemes that he doesn’t appear directly responsible. In short, don’t get in his way.
Over four seasons of Game of Thrones, we’ve watched him scheme and sneak as he moves towards his ultimate goal. We don’t know what his endgame is, but it involves accumulating power and having friends in the right places. To commemorate his triumph at the Eyrie last week in “Mockingbird,” let’s look at three of Littlefinger’s best plots.
Warning: spoilers through season four of Game of Thrones ahead…
The Death of Jon Arryn
If you want to trace the tragedies of the Stark family to a starting point, it’s Jon Arryn’s murder. Losing the Hand of the King is what prompted King Robert Baratheon to travel to Winterfell and ask Ned Stark to be his new Hand. If Arryn had lived, the Starks would still be in the North and more of them would be alive.
But unfortunately, Littlefinger convinced Lysa Arryn to poison her husband. Beyond that, he had Lysa write to her sister Catelyn Stark and say the Lannisters were responsible for Jon’s death. That sets Ned’s not-so-subtle investigating into motion. Basically, the dominoes are still falling all around Westeros because of this single event.
This act illustrates Littlefinger’s patience. He probably had an idea of what could happen, but even without guarantees, he was willing to take the risk and wait for his chance to seize power.
The Betrayal of Ned Stark
One of the most painful moments of season one is when Littlefinger comes up behind Ned in the Throne Room, holds a knife to his neck, and says, “I did warn you not to trust me.” It hurt then and thinking about it now makes me cringe. He played Ned for a fool, pretending that he wouldn’t hurt him because of his feelings for Catelyn. It’s especially cruel because Littlefinger seemed to be Ned’s friend as he assisted him with navigating the web of King’s Landing and in his search for the truth about Cersei’s illegitimate children.
Littlefinger knew enough about Joffrey to surmise that the bratty king wouldn’t let Ned live, so his betrayal indirectly led to Ned’s execution. With Ned Stark gone, there was the possibility to finally call Catelyn his wife. Also, more power. The act earned him trust from the Lannisters because it kept Joffrey in the throne (Ned would have revealed the identity of his father), and that’s handy to have in your pocket.
The Death of Joffrey Baratheon
If you’re thankful for any of Littlefinger’s plots, it’s probably the poisoning of Joffrey Baratheon. Littlefinger is a fair-weather friend, and once he realized the Tyrells were more valuable to him than the Lannisters, he went about making them happy. He plotted with Lady Olenna to make Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding day an event to remember.
This plot impresses me the most because it depends on two other people, and one of them is a drunkard. Dontos had to get the necklace to Sansa, she had to wear it to the wedding, and Olenna had to steal one of the jewels (probably a precise jewel) and get it into Joffrey’s wine with no one suspecting. That’s a lot of moving pieces, but I’m sure that Littlefinger had a back-up plan if any of them failed.
The move won him favor with the Tyrells, and since Margaery is still in place to become Queen of Westeros, they’re solid allies to have.
While they’re sorting out the mess of Joffrey’s death in King’s Landing, Littlefinger is sitting pretty in the Eyrie with Sansa under his control. I can only imagine what his next move will be; surely he won’t be content with ruling the Vale for long.
Which of Littlefinger’s moves impressed you the most? Let us know in the comments!