Petyr Baelish - The Best Villain in Game of Thrones

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Who is Petyr Baelish?

Petyr Baelish or Littlefinger is one of the primary characters in the super-hit HBO fantasy TV series Game of Thrones. The epic fantasy is based on the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin and is well known for its twisted conspiracies, even more twisted characters and the knack for killing off its important characters at the most unexpected times, constantly challenging our strong belief of good triumphing over evil.

Every Game of Thrones fan will agree that they are scared to choose a favourite character in the series, because it would be pointless, since the character would get killed sooner or later. It would not be an over-statement to say that surviving in Game of Thrones is not easy, so you can imagine how difficult it is to emerge a winner in the game.

But Petyr Baelish does the impossible. He literally rules the game and orchestrates every major conspiracy with an amazing success rate and emerges as the one true master of the Game of Thrones.

Petyr rises up the ladder of power using his resourcefulness, intelligence and cunning. He starts a high-class brothel for the nobles and all those who can afford it, learning many of their secrets through their weaknesses, gaining access to valuable information as well as making some powerful friends. His business acumen gets him an entry into the Small Council in King's Landing, thus becoming a powerful player in the innermost circle of the royal council.

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His Primary Motivations

Motivation #1

Petyr Baelish came from a very humble background and used to love Lady Catelyn Tully, the daughter of a high-born lord. He was defeated in a duel by Edward Stark and humiliated in public, and Catelyn was married off to Edward's son Ned Stark.

Intense hatred towards the noble class gnawed away at Petyr's mind. Revenge against the Starks and all those who had insulted him became the sole purpose of his life. Petyr Baelish vowed to become the most powerful and wealthiest man in all of Westeros, someone who would never be insulted or belittled again for his background.

Catelyn Stark

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Sansa Stark

Motivation #2

Within all the hatred, there lay buried his intense love for Catelyn Stark. In spite of everything, he never stopped loving her, and he never stopped hoping that one day, he would win her from Ned Stark, even if it meant destroying her family.

Motivation #3

When Petyr met Ned and Catelyn's eldest daughter Sansa Stark, he was smitten with her beauty and her striking resemblance to her mother.

He tried to get friendly with Sansa right from the moment he set his eyes on her at the Hand's tournament. He introduced himself to Sansa as her mother's close friend and a well-wisher of the Stark family.

Petyr's intentions towards Sansa were not very clear in the beginning, but with every episode where Sansa encountered him, it became clear that he had certain vested interests in her. Initially, it looked like he had genuine sympathy for Sansa and her miserable predicament in King's Landing as a captive of the Lannisters. Remember Petyr telling Sansa - "look around you, we are all liars here". But it was much more than his concern for Sansa's safety.

To Petyr Baelish, Sansa Stark meant two things. Firstly, she was the sole heir to Winterfell, the northern kingdom and therefore his gateway to gaining control of the north. Secondly, Sansa with her striking resemblance to Catelyn seemed like a second chance at love. Twisted as it may seem, Sansa was the young version of Catelyn and was a worthy cause for Petyr to pursue,

Petyr Baelish Shares His Outlook on Chaos With Varys

Petyr Baelish and His Web of Conspiracies

Petyr Baelish and his web of conspiracies triggered various events that eventually destroyed five powerful families of Westeros:

  • The Arryns of the Vale

  • The Starks of Winterfell

  • The Baratheons ruling from King's Landing

  • The Lannisters, the second-in-command

  • The Tyrells of Highgarden

Target #1 - The Arryns of Vale

Petyr Baelish started his cycle of conspiracy by faking his affections for Lysa Arryn, the sister of Catelyn Stark and wife to John Arryn, the Hand of the King Robert Baratheon.

Petyr convinced the madly-in-love Lysa to poison her husband and send a letter to Ned and Catelyn Stark, accusing the Lannisters of John Arryn's murder. The letter is what triggered Ned Stark down the path of self-destruction by chasing leads against the all-powerful Lannisters.

Lysa Arryn - Poisoned Husband, Betrayed Sister

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Target #2 - The Starks of Winterfell

Ned Stark agreed to become the Hand of the King at the request of his old-time friend King Robert Baratheon, with the secret intention of tracking down his other old friend John Arryn's murderer. Once in King's Landing, Petyr Baelish misled Ned Stark to follow up on the king's bastard sons, exposing the secret incestuous relationship between Queen Cersei and her brother Jamie Lannister, the real father of her children.

Knowing how honourable and forthright Ned Stark was, Petyr Baelish gambled well. As predicted, Ned Stark got convinced that Cersei and Jamie were behind John Arryn's murder and threatened Cersei to expose the truth to the King. Thus began the destruction of the Starks. Ned Stark was imprisoned and eventually executed of treachery. His son and wife, Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark were lured into a wedding by Walder Frey, who had both of them killed at the behest of the Lannisters.

Ned Stark - Trusts Petyr Who Tells Him Not to Trust Him

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Target #3 - The Baratheons and The Lannisters

Petyr Baelish sided with the Tyrells of Highgarden to win the favour of the second-most powerful family in Westeros. Margaery Tyrell wanted to be the queen and Petyr promised to fulfil her dream. He arranged her wedding to King Joffrey, gaining an ally in the Tyrell matriarch Lady Olenna Tyrell.

Margaery Tyrell - Wanted to be Queen, Became Queen

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Petyr had Joffrey poisoned at his own wedding, at the request of Lady Olenna who was worried that her grand-daughter Margaery was marrying a monster like Joffrey.

Joffrey - Monster and Sadist, Poisoned at His Own Wedding

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As the poisoning incident took place, Petyr orchestrated Sansa Stark's escape from King's Landing to his anchored ship hiding in the sea. With one stone, Petyr Baelish managed to hit three birds:

  • Joffrey was out of the way, leaving the Lannisters weak and vulnerable

  • Petyr had the Tyrells on his side

  • He gained control of Sansa Stark's fate, freeing her of the Lannisters and completely under his control and dependent on him.

The Kiss

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Lysa Threatens Sansa

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Bye Bitch

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Target #4 - Lysa Arryn of Vale

Petyr took Sansa to her aunt Lysa Arryn ruling the Vale, with the plan of getting Sansa married to Lysa's son Robin.

In the meantime, Lysa became insecure about Petyr's true feelings for Sansa and impatiently insisted on getting married to Petyr within the day. Forced to marry Lysa in a hurry, Petyr thought that the marriage may after all reap benefits, making him the ruler of the Vale until Robin became an adult.

However, all his plans went haywire when Lysa witnessed him kissing Sansa in front of the snow castle. Enraged, she dragged Sansa to the moon-door of her own castle and threatened to push her.

Petyr came to Sansa's rescue and sweet-talked Lysa into releasing her, before taking the spilt second decision of pushing Lysa through the moon-door.

While Lysa totally deserved what she got, her murder achieved two purposes:

  • She was Petyr's sole accomplice in John Arryn's murder and proved to be an unstable and jealous woman. With her out of the way, his secret was forever safe and he gained total control of the Vale.

  • Petyr knew that Lysa was too jealous and malevolent to let go of the incident and that Sansa would never truly be safe with her again.

Loras Tyrell - Knight of Flowers, Punished for Homosexuality

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Target #5 - The Tyrells

Petyr Baelish played further double games with both the Tyrells and the Lannisters:

  • He employed one of his man to pose as squire to Loras Tyrell, a knight and Margaery's brother. Attracted to men, Loras got involved with the guy.

  • Petyr leaked to Cersei about Loras Tyrell being gay, that led to Loras getting imprisoned by the High Priest in King's Landing. Margaery was also imprisoned for wilfully withholding information and lying during the trial to protect her brother.

Cersei Lannister - Walk of Shame

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Target #6 - Cersei Lannister

In the meantime, Petyr revealed Cersei's incestuous secret with Jamie Lannister to Lady Olenna. Outraged at the atrocities on her grand-children, Lady Olenna exposed Cersei's secret to the High Priest.

This led to Cersei getting imprisoned and forced to take the Walk of Shame through the roads of King's Landing.

What Does Season 6 Have in Store For Petyr Baelish?

Petyr Baelish destroyed the most powerful families of Westeros, none of them aware of Petyr Baelish's involvement in both the incidents, both of them thinking that he was their ally.

The burning questions for Season 6 are:

  • Will Sansa Stark find out that it was Petyr Baelish, her protector and almost-lover who had actually betrayed her father Ned Stark?

  • Will Cersei and the Tyrells eventually discover Petyr's role in their humiliation and imprisonment? Both of them are vengeful characters and it would be interesting to watch how they will try to settle their scores with Petyr Baelish and whether they will be able to match his wits.

© 2015 Ritu Temptor

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3 comments

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Great character analysis.


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Miran Shuleta 17 months ago

An astute observation on a very complex character, great hub.


temptor94 profile image

temptor94 17 months ago from India Author

Thank you Larry and Miran, glad you liked it.

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