Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, isn’t just the most creepy player in the whole Game of Thrones. He is also the most devious, perhaps the one best poised to win the whole thing in the end and new photos from the show’s seventh season released Thursday certainly pour fuel on that fire.
There he is, looming over the shoulder of Lady Lyanna Mormont in Winterfell. Some sort of meeting is taking place, and Baelish is watching with interest not drawing attention to himself, but smiling with quiet confidence.
Things are bound to be contentious in a Winterfell governed by the inexperienced Jon Snow, who seems to spread chaos wherever he goes.
As the new Lord Protector of the Vale, the man whose army saved everyone from certain death at the Battle of the Bastards last season, Littlefinger is well poised to take advantage of any discord.
Remember, Baelish was the only man who didn’t cheer when Snow was acclaimed “King in the North” at the end of Season 6. Instead he stared straight at Sansa Stark, wordlessly reminding her of the plan he’d confided in her earlier: he wanted to sit on the Iron Throne with her as his queen, but failing that, she deserves Winterfell at the very least.
This nefarious plot gives the second Littlefinger photo a lot of extra meaning:
This isn’t quite proof that Sansa and Littlefinger are as thick as thieves. But she’s clearly not pushing him away, either.
Even when she sat on horseback next to him at the Battle of the Bastards, helping to save her supposed half-brother’s life, Sansa wore a look of disgust. She couldn’t stand to be next to Baelish for one second longer than necessary which, given that he’d basically sold her down the river to Ramsay Bolton, made sense.
So that neutral expression she’s wearing as they stare down at the goings on in Winterfell yard speaks volumes. She’s either on board with the “Queen in the North” plan, or she thinks she can double cross him down the line.
Which, given everything we’ve seen of Littlefinger so far, would be a major mistake.
Power behind the Thrones
There’s a reason why we ranked Baelish as number three in our “who will win the game of thrones” rankings a couple of years back (behind only Daenerys Targaryen and the still-most-likely-outcome, “no one”).
Daenerys may have dragons and the wily Tyrion as her Hand of the Queen. But Baelish has had a burning, unquenchable ambition this whole time, and concocted his long-term plan way before she started skulking around Slaver’s Bay.
Littlefinger “has the brains to not fight any battles until he’s already won them,” we wrote then. The Battle of the Bastards was the ultimate proof of that theory.
Don’t forget, Baelish was the one who set the entire plot of the series in motion by persuading Lysa Arryn to murder her husband Jon, then the hand of the King; she got kicked through the Moon Door for her troubles.
He also had a hand in the murder of King Joffrey, and we barely even remember his role in it. Do you really think that an inexperienced King Jon would be any trouble for him to flick aside? Or that Queen Cersei will see him coming?
“Chaos isn’t a pit,” Littlefinger told Varys in the pair’s most famous scene. “Chaos is a ladder.” Donald Trump couldn’t have put it any better.
And Littlefinger looks set to climb that ladder all the way to the top in Seasons 7 and 8 perhaps unless Sansa, his weak spot, comes to her senses in time.
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