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House Baelish
Petyr Baelish
House Baelish
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Season(s)
1, 2, 3, 4
First seen
Last seen
Appeared in
19 episodes (see below)
Mentioned in
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Also known as
Littlefinger
Status
Age
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Date of birth
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Death
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Allegiance
Culture
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"He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes."
Varys on Petyr Baelish.[src]

Petyr Baelish, popularly called Littlefinger, is a major character in the first, second, third and fourth seasons. He is played by starring cast member Aidan Gillen and debuts in "Lord Snow." Petyr Baelish was the Master of Coin on the Small Council. He is a skilled manipulator and uses his ownership of brothels in King's Landing to accrue intelligence on political rivals. Baelish's spy network is eclipsed only by that of Varys. He betrayed Eddard Stark to side with House Lannister and King Joffrey Baratheon following the death of King Robert Baratheon, becoming one of the instigators of the War of the Five Kings. Following the events of the Battle of Blackwater, King Joffrey named Littlefinger the Lord of Harrenhal.

Biography

Background

Petyr Baelish is the head of House Baelish and the lord of an extremely minor holding, so small it has neither name nor maester, located in a small area within the Fingers, a coastal region in the northeastern shores of the Vale of Arryn. In reference to his family's humble domain in the smallest of the Fingers, as well as his small size, Edmure Tully nicknamed him "Littlefinger" when they were children and Petyr was fostered at Riverrun. The nickname would stick with him throughout his life. Eventually even Baelish sarcastically embraced the nickname, due to the fact that it demonstrated how far he had risen, from a poor minor noble from the "little Finger" peninsula to one of the most powerful officials in the Seven Kingdoms.

Petyr vs Brandon
Petyr's failed attempt to win Catelyn's hand
Greater goodAdded by Greater good
Despite Baelish's humble origins, his financial acumen has seen him rise to the small council and the rank of Master of Coin, the treasurer of the Seven Kingdoms, under King Robert Baratheon. His naked ambition often places him at odds with the Master of Whisperers Lord Varys. He is a friend of Lady Catelyn Stark, one of the few contacts she has at court. Baelish's father was a wartime friend of Catelyn's father, Lord Hoster Tully.[1]

He challenged her betrothed Brandon Stark to a duel and was severely injured. Brandon was later killed by King Aerys II Targaryen but Catelyn married his younger brother Eddard Stark in his place. He owns a number of brothels in King's Landing. Though the symbol of his family is the head of the Titan of Braavos, Petyr prefers to use a personal sigil, that of an unthreatening mockingbird.

Season 1

Littlefinger greets Eddard upon his arrival in King's Landing and reports that the realm is six million gold dragons in debt, half of it owed to House Lannister. Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel attempt to sneak into the city, but are spotted by one of Littlefinger's men. They are taken to meet Littlefinger at one of his brothels. Catelyn is angered by their treatment, but asks Littlefinger for aid. She is trying to identify the people who tried to have her son Bran Stark killed. Littlefinger is able to answer this quickly: the elaborate dagger wielded by the assassin used to be his, but he lost it in a gamble with Tyrion Lannister.[2]

Eddard and Petyr 1x03
Eddard assaulting Petyr for saying his wife is in this brothel
XixikalAdded by Xixikal

Littlefinger fetches Eddard to meet his wife, but when Eddard realizes he was being brought to a brothel, he thinks Littlefinger is insulting him by saying his wife is a whore. Eddard throws Littlefinger up against a wall before Catelyn appears and Eddard becomes pacified. After hearing her news, he vows to find the truth and expose the Lannisters to Robert and Littlefinger agrees to be his ally in this, for the affection he once bore Catelyn as a youngster. Eddard believes that Littlefinger is still in love with his wife.[3]

Littlefinger attaches himself more firmly to Eddard's cause, giving him information that leads Eddard to Tobho Mott's smithy. He also points out some of the agents belonging to the Queen and to Varys. He later tells Sansa Stark about how Sandor Clegane has his face burned by his brother when he was young for stealing a toy. He advises her not to mention the matter to Sandor.[4]

Petyr and Varys 1x05
Baelish and Varys converse
XixikalAdded by Xixikal

Littlefinger loses a bet to Renly Baratheon over the joust between Ser Loras Tyrell and Ser Gregor Clegane. He makes it clear that he knows about Renly's sexual relationship with Loras, to Renly's discomfort. Littlefinger and Varys verbally spar, Littlefinger threatening to reveal to the King that Varys has been meeting with Illyrio Mopatis in secret whilst Varys threatens to reveal to the Lannisters that it was Littlefinger who implicated Tyrion in the attempted murder of Bran Stark. However, they then both support the motion to have Daenerys Targaryen assassinated before the Dothraki can invade Westeros.[5]

Littlefinger later introduces Eddard to Mhaegen, a prostitute and mother of yet another of King Robert's bastard children. Outside the brothel Eddard gets into a fight with Ser Jaime Lannister. Littlefinger flees, promising to return with the City Watch.[6]

Littlefinger is stunned when Eddard orders that Gregor Clegane be arrested and executed for his raids on the Riverlands and when he also orders Tywin Lannister to present himself at court to answer for his bannerman's crimes. Littlefinger reminds Eddard that Tywin is the richest man in Westeros and that it is gold that wins wars, not armies. Eddard disagrees, asking why then Tywin is not the king.[7]

Littlefinger tutors a new recruit to his brothels, Ros, and discusses his ambitions with her. Later, Eddard tells him the truth of Joffrey's parentage and his plan to install Stannis on the throne when Robert dies.[8]

Eddard and Petyr 1x07
Lord Baelish turns on Eddard Stark
XixikalAdded by Xixikal

Littlefinger suggests instead that they let Joffrey rule but act as the powers behind the throne. If he does not mature into the king they want, they can expose his dirty secret and install Lord Renly instead. Eddard rejects the plan as treason and instead asks Littlefinger to win over the City Watch to their cause. Littlefinger agrees, but later the City Watch turns on Eddard's men and kills them, whilst Littlefinger holds a dagger to Eddard's throat, pointing out, "I did warn you not to trust me."[9]

Lord Baelish asks the Queen to allow Sansa Stark to prove her loyalty as he attends the girl’s audience with the Queen and the council. He stands with the small council as the details of Joffrey’s reign are read out and Barristan Selmy’s position is ordered to be taken up by Jaime Lannister. He glances suspiciously at Varys as Sansa seeks pardon for her father’s actions.[10]

Baelish watches on as Eddard Stark confesses at his trial and is executed.[11]

Littlefinger discusses kingship with Varys, and they engage in banter revolving around the Master of Whisperers' lack of genitalia.They eventually acknowledge their mutual admiration and respect of one another, before being interrupted by Joffrey and his entourage.[12]

Season 2

The Citadel announces the coming of winter and Littlefinger warns the small council that they do not have enough food for a protracted winter lasting more than five years. Cersei orders the city barred to refugees from the War of the Five Kings. Tyrion Lannister arrives to take up his position as acting Hand of the King to Cersei's consternation.[13]

Stannis Baratheon learns of Jaime Lannister's incestuous relationship with Cersei in a letter sent by Eddard Stark before his death. Stannis composes his own missive and sends it to all the high lords of the Seven Kingdoms asking them to declare their loyalty to him and telling them of Joffrey's illegitimacy. Cersei tasks Littlefinger with finding the missing Arya Stark and needles him about his love for Catelyn Stark. He responds by referencing her incest and receives a violent reprimand. King Joffrey Baratheon responds to the ensuing rumors by ordering a city wide massacre of his father's bastards. The city watch storm into Littlefinger's brothel and kill the infant Barra in front of his employees.[13]

Littlefinger mocks a request from the Night's Watch for assistance combating Wildling activity and reporting an attack by Wights. Tyrion has Lord Janos Slynt exiled to the Wall for his part in the massacre. Littlefinger intimidates Ros into keeping up her work despite the traumatic murder she witnessed.[14]

Tyrion meets with Littlefinger and outlines a plan to wed Myrcella Baratheon to Robin Arryn to secure the support of the Vale. He promises to make Littlefinger the Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands in exchange for his assistance and swears him to secrecy. Pycelle is arrested for revealing that Tyrion plans to wed Myrcella into House Martell and Littlefinger realizes that he was involved in a ruse. He confronts Tyrion who apologizes and offers him another opportunity; to act as an envoy to Catelyn to propose a prisoner exchange.[15]

SilentSistersNedsBones
Petyr Baelish gives Ned's bones to Catelyn
Loras vengeance Renly
Petyr Baelish forging a new alliance with the Tyrells in "The Ghost of Harrenhal".
MesmermannAdded by Mesmermann

Littlefinger reaches Catelyn at Renly Baratheon's camp in the Stormlands. He faces a frosty reception from Renly but nevertheless offers to betray the Lannisters and open the gates of King's Landing to Renly's army. He takes interest in Renly's new bride Margaery Tyrell and lets Margaery know that he is aware that it is a purely political marriage because of Renly's homosexuality.[16] He meets with Catelyn as planned and delivers Eddard's remains as a sign of good faith. She greets him with angry recriminations over his betrayal of Eddard and rejects his poorly timed advances. He delivers Tyrion's suggested exchange terms; Jaime for Sansa and Arya Stark. Littlefinger lies that the Lannisters have Arya in their custody.[16] Renly is killed in mysterious circumstances and Littlefinger then approaches the Tyrells with a new proposal of alliance with Joffrey. This will allow Margaery Tyrell to remain a queen and provide Loras Tyrell vengeance on Stannis. He leaves the camp with them for Highgarden. [17] Catelyn acts alone to free Jaime on returning to Robb's camp, just as Littlefinger suggested.[18]

Littlefinger travels to Harrenhal to propose an alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell to Lord Tywin Lannister.[19] Littlefinger is successful in negotiating with the Tyrells and the allied forces arrive in time to claim victory at the Battle of the Blackwater.[20]

Littlefinger is elevated to Lord of Harrenhal in reward for brokering the alliance. He jokes that now he must get started on producing some heirs. Sansa's betrothal to King Joffrey is broken so that Joffrey can marry Margaery. Sansa is overjoyed at this, but tries to look heartbroken. Littlefinger warns Sansa that she isn't fooling anyone and that Joffrey will not let her go despite setting her aside. Lord Petyr tells her that she reminds him of Catelyn and offers to take her home to Winterfell but she is reluctant to trust him.[21]

Season 3

Baelish colludes with Sansa Stark that he plans to smuggle her out of the city on his ship when he leaves on an upcoming mission.[22]

With his new position as Lord of Harrenhal, Littlefinger's status is elevated considerably, enough for him to leave his position as Master of Coin to Tyrion, purchase a ship and prepare to sail to the Eyrie with a marriage proposal to the widowed Lysa Arryn. However, knowing full well that Sansa could end up being a more politically powerful wife than Lysa, he plans to take her on his ship with him. Ros, now secretly working for Varys, discovers his intentions and informs Varys who promptly convinces Lady Olenna Redwyne to arrange a marriage between Sansa and Loras.[23]

Having been asked by Cersei to collect information on the Tyrells, Littlefinger orders one of his homosexual prostitutes, Olyvar, to act as Loras' squire and seduce him all the way to the bedroom. He does so and manages to get Loras to admit to the secret wedding plans. Olyvar relays this piece of information back to Littlefinger, who tests Sansa. When she declines her place on his ship, Baelish deduces Varys' plan and tips off Cersei and Tywin.[24]

BaelishShip
Petyr Baelish sailing to the The Vale of Arryn
Blaublau94Added by Blaublau94

Baelish deduces that it must have been Ros who betrayed him, and he proceeds to send her to King Joffrey who tortures and kills her. In the throne room, Littlefinger confronts Varys about his foiled plot. Varys responds by telling him that he "did what he did for the good of the realm" to prevent it spiralling into chaos but Littlefinger counters him by asserting that he views chaos as the perfect scenario to climb further up the social ladder. His ship then departs for the Vale of Arryn.[25]

Personality

Appearances

Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa

Image gallery

Quotes

Petyr Baelish: "You know what I learnt losing that duel? I learnt that I'll never win. Not that way. 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."
Ros: "And what do you want?"
Petyr Baelish: "Oh, everything, my dear. Everything there is."
— Littlefinger and Ros[src]
Ros: "What she doesn't know won't hurt her."
Petyr Baelish: "A stupid saying. What we don't know is usually what get us killed."
— Littlefinger and Ros[src]
Varys: "I admire you, Lord Baelish: a grasper from a minor House, with a major talent for befriending powerful men, and women."
Petyr Baelish: "A useful talent, I'm sure you'd agree"
— Littlefinger and Varys[src]
Petyr Baelish: "Do you know what the realm is? It's the thousand blades of Aegon's enemies, a story we agree to tell each other over and over until we forget that it's a lie."
Varys: "But what do we have left once we abandon the lie? Chaos, a gaping pit, waiting to swallow us all."
Petyr Baelish: "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb; they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is."
— Littlefinger and Varys[src]
"Those who have the most power have the least grace."
Petyr Baelish to Ros[src]
"Distrusting me was the wisest thing you've done since you climbed off your horse."
Petyr Baelish to Eddard Stark[src]
"Look around you, we're all liars here, and every one of us is better than you."
Petyr Baelish to Sansa Stark[src]

Behind the scenes

On the Season 3 Blu-ray, Littlefinger narrates Histories & Lore videos "The Vale" and "Robert's Rebellion"

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Petyr Baelish's father made the acquaintance of Lord Hoster Tully during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, where they fought together. On the basis of this acquaintance, Petyr was sent to foster at Riverrun, where he met Hoster's own daughters, Catelyn and Lysa. Lysa developed a crush on Petyr, but Petyr preferred the older, more unobtainable Catelyn. When Catelyn was betrothed to Brandon Stark of Winterfell Petyr challenged Brandon to a duel of honor for Catelyn's hand, but was soundly defeated. Petyr returned home. He was later appointed as a customs official in Gulltown, the main city of the Vale, and his extreme success in raising funds led Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, to appoint him to the small council as Master of Coin, a task at which Petyr has excelled.

"Littlefinger" is a nickname given to Petyr by Edmure Tully during their time at Riverrun together. It is a reference to the fact that Petyr Baelish's holdings are on the smallest of the Fingers, the numerous headlands and peninsulas protruding into the Narrow Sea on the Vale's east coast.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Petyr Baelish" is pronounced "PEE-ter BAY-lish", i.e. like the normal given name "Peter".

Whereas in the series Littlefinger's goals are more transparent (sitting on the Iron Throne), this is not the case of the novels. As Littlefinger is only seen through the POV of other characters, his ultimate objective remains a mystery. Likewise, his rivalry with Varys is an addition from the show.

See also

References

v  d  e
Lord: Lord Petyr Baelish Heir: None
Seat: Harrenhal Lands: The Riverlands
Title(s): Lord of Harrenhal · Lord Paramount of the Trident
Household:Lothor Brune · Olyver · {Ros}
Overlord:House Baratheon of King's Landing


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