- "I did warn you not to trust me."
- ―Petyr Baelish to Eddard Stark
Petyr Baelish, popularly called Littlefinger, is a major character in the first and second seasons. He is played by starring cast member Aidan Gillen and debuts in "Lord Snow." Petyr Baelish is 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. He betrayed Eddard Stark to side with House Lannister and King Joffrey Baratheon following the death of King Robert Baratheon. Following the events of the Battle of Blackwater, King Joffrey named Littlefinger the Lord of Harrenhal.
Petyr Baelish is the head of House Baelish and is the lord of an extremely minor holding, just a small area within the Fingers, a coastal area in the north-eastern shores of the Vale of Arryn. In reference to his family's humble origin and the small size of his poor landholdings in the Fingers (as well as his small size as a child), he earned the derogatory nickname "Little-finger", which 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.
Despite Baelish's humble origins, his extreme 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. He was fostered with her family at Riverrun in his youth and developed unrequited feelings for her.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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 Jamie Lannister. He glances suspiciously at Varys as Sansa seeks pardon for her father’s actions.
Baelish watches on as Eddard Stark confesses at his trial and is executed.
Littlefinger discusses kingship with Varys, and they engage in banter revolving around the Master of Whispers’ lack of genitalia.They eventually acknowledge their mutual admiration and respect of one another before being interrupted by Joffrey and his entourage.
- Main: Petyr Baelish 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 season. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. Renly is killed in mysterious circumstances and Littlefinger leaves the camp with Margaery having gauged her ambition. Catelyn acts alone to free Jaime on returning to Robb's camp, just as Littlefinger suggested.
Littlefinger travels to Harrenhal to propose an alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell to Lord Tywin Lannister. Littlefinger is successful in negotiating with the Tyrells and the allied forces arrive in time to claim victory at the Battle of the Blackwater. Littlefinger is elevated to Lord of Harrenhal in reward. Sansa's betrothal to King Joffrey is broken so that Joffrey can marry Margaery. Littlefinger warns Sansa that the King will not let her go despite setting her aside. He tells her that she reminds him of Catelyn and offers to take her home to Winterfell but she is reluctant to trust him.
|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|
- "Those who have the most power have the least grace." - to Ros in the "Power and Grace" trailer
- "Distrusting me was the wisest thing you've done since you climbed off your horse."
- "Look around you, we're all liars here, and every one of us is better than you."
In the books
In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, Petyr Baelish's father made the acquaintence of Lord Hoster Tully during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, where they fought together. On the basis of this acquaintence, 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.
Petyr is the only living member of House Baelish, though it is so poor that he gained all of his current wealth due to his own brilliant career in financial administration. Petyr's great-grandfather was actually a common sellsword from Braavos who came to the Vale. His son, Petyr's grandfather, founded "House Baelish" when he was knighted, but did not hold any land. Petyr's own father held some land, but only a few stony acres in the Fingers. The only real benefit Petyr received from being born into House Baelish is that it technically made him a member of the minor nobility, thus allowing his initial entry into court life. Petyr downplays his partial descent from the Free Cities of the east, even abandoning the use of the original sigil of House Baelish, displaying the Titan of Braavos, to his own personal sigil featuring a mockingbird. Thus it is somewhat ironic that he criticizes Varys for being from the Free Cities.
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".
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Petyr Baelish entry
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "Lord Snow"
- ↑ "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
- ↑ "The Wolf and the Lion"
- ↑ "The Wolf and the Lion"
- ↑ "A Golden Crown"
- ↑ "You Win or You Die"
- ↑ "You Win or You Die"
- ↑ "The Pointy End"
- ↑ "Baelor"
- ↑ "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 "The North Remembers"
- ↑ "The Night Lands"
- ↑ "What is Dead May Never Die"
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 "Garden of Bones"
- ↑ "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
- ↑ "The Prince of Winterfell"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "Blackwater"
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
|Lord:||Lord Petyr Baelish||Heir:||None|
|Title(s):||Lord of Harrenhal|
|Overlord:||House Baratheon of King's Landing|
|Hand of the King:||Current: Lord Tywin Lannister|
|Former: Lord Jon Arryn · Lord Eddard Stark · Tyrion Lannister|
|Grand Maester:||Current: Pycelle|
|Master of Coin:||Current: Tyrion Lannister|
|Former: Lord Petyr Baelish|
|Master of Whisperers:||Current: Varys|
|Master of Laws:||Current: Vacant|
|Former: Lord Renly Baratheon|
|Master of Ships:||Current: Vacant|
|Former: Lord Stannis Baratheon|
|Lord:||King Joffrey I||Heir:||Prince Tommen Baratheon|
|Seat:||King's Landing||Lands:||The Crownlands|
|Title(s):||King of the Andals and the First Men · Lord of the Seven Kingdoms · Protector of the Realm|
|Current members:||Queen Regent Cersei Lannister · Princess Myrcella Baratheon|
|Deceased members:||Robert Baratheon|
|Household:||Lord Tywin Lannister · Margaery Tyrell · Ser Loras Tyrell · Tyrion Lannister · Grand Maester Pycelle · Lord Varys · Sandor Clegane · Ser Meryn Trant · Ser Preston Greenfield · Ser Arys Oakheart · Ser Mandon Moore · Ser Boros Blount · Ser Ilyn Payne · Lord Gyles Rosby · Ser Lancel Lannister · Ser Aron Santagar · Septa Eglantine · Dontos Hollard|