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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Game of Thrones (2011) - Petyr Baelish - The Psychopath You Will Love

Charming, manipulative and deadly - the ultimate mastermind
Game of Thrones has featured many psychopaths - Prince Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Snow being the most memorable ones - both psychologically damaged and utterly insane. But both lack what is needed in a high-functioning sociopath - the charm, finesse and shrewdness of Lord Petyr Baelish, also known as Littlefinger.

Love him or hate him, Petyr Baelish is the one man who orchestrates every major chaos that occurs in the Game of Thrones and manages to sway every situation to his own advantage. His foresight and sheer genius leaves us gaping in horror and admiration.

Rise to Power - From Nothing to Everything

Petyr Baelish came from a humble background and was madly in love with Catelyn Tully. To claim his love, he fought a duel in which he was defeated by Brandon Stark of Winterfell and badly humiliated for his low background. Catelyn went on to become Catelyn Stark, Brandon's son Ned Stark's wife. From that day on, he had a sole ambition in life, to become the most powerful and wealthy man in Westeros.

He started a superior-class brothel in King's Landing, entered the royal Small Council, showed his business prowess as the Master of Coin (modern day Finance Minister) and became the most dangerous player in the game of thrones.

Betrayal with Ned Stark

  • Baelish's game of treachery and betrayal came to light with Lord Ned Stark coming to King's Landing as Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon. 
  • He fed false information to Ned, making him believe that the Lannisters had killed the previous Hand of the King, his friend and brother-in-law Jon Arryn.
Baelish (laughing inwardly): Little brother! Yeah right Catelyn! You will see!
  • Chasing the leads led Ned Stark to get captured and accused of treason against King Joffrey.
    The only time Baelish was honest with Ned Stark
  • Baelish promised Ned the loyalty of the Kingsguard, but instead turned them against him, leading to Ned's capture and eventual execution.
Littlefinger/Petyr Baelish: I did warn you not to trust me!
Ned Stark (thinking): He did! What the hell is wrong with me?!
  • Season 4 revealed how Baelish had made Lysa Arryn poison her husband Jon Arryn and write a letter to Ned and Catelyn about Lannister involvement, thus triggering the cycle of treachery.
  • While we don't know if Baelish had indeed foreseen Ned Stark getting executed, with Ned out of the way, it was his sweet revenge for losing Catelyn to the Starks.
  • He was made the Lord of Harrenhal by the Lannisters as a reward for his loyalty.
Gains:
  1. Revenge of his lost-love and humiliation on the Starks.
  2. Possible second chance with Catelyn Stark.
  3. Won the trust of the Lannisters and became Lord of Harrenhal.

Double Games with the Tyrells and the Lannisters

  • Baelish struck a marriage alliance between Margaery Tyrell and King Joffrey.
  • Learning what a monster Joffrey was, Margaery's grandmother Lady Ollena wanted to prevent the marriage.
  • Joffrey drank poisoned wine and died during his wedding feast, while Joffrey's horrified mother Cersei accused Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark of plotting against Joffrey, as both of them had the strongest motives.
  • As Joffrey lay dying, Baelish, who was waiting on his anchored ship hidden from view, had Sansa smuggled out of King's Landing into the ship. He appointed a drunken ex-knight to do the job, and once Sansa reached the safety of the ship, Baelish shot the knight to eliminate the sole witness who knew of his involvement in Sansa's escape.
  • With Joffrey dead, Baelish gained favour with the Tyrells while ensuring that Sansa Stark was completely at his mercy and indebted to him forever.
Petyr Baelish reveals to Sansa Stark - the truth behind Joffrey's murder
  • Much later, at Queen Mother Cersei's demand, Baelish leaked that Sir Loras Tyrell, Queen Margaery's brother, was gay. Cersei had the High Sparrow imprisoned both Loras and Margaery on grounds of moral crime.
  • At the same time, Baelish, on the pretext of helping Loras and Margaery, informed Lady Ollena that Cersei too had committed incest on multiple occasions. The tables turned on Cersei as she got imprisoned by the High Sparrow and was forced to perform the Walk of Shame in full view of the public.
Gains:
  1. Found favour with the Tyrells, the second powerful House after the Lannisters.
  2. Got mad Joffrey out of his way - left the Lannisters weak and vulnerable.
  3. Total chaos in King's Landing with naive the Tommen, Joffrey's brother, at the throne.
  4. Sansa Stark at his mercy.

Double Crossing Lysa Arryn of Vale

  • Baelish knew of Lysa Arryn's weakness for him and her jealousy towards her sister Catelyn Stark. He used this to manipulate Lysa to murder her own husband and blame the Lannisters for it, stirring up trouble between the Starks and Lannisters.
    Baelish (impatiently thinking): This bitch will never stop! Something must be done!
  • Later, he married Lysa to become the head of Vale and planned to have Sansa Stark wed the heir of Vale so that she would become the queen of the north and he would be able to control the north through her.
Lysa Arryn: We must get married today!
Petyr Baelish (thinking): Let's get this over with.
  • In a moment of weakness, he kissed Sansa and was caught by Lysa, who tried to kill Sansa out of jealousy. To save Sansa as well as eliminate Lysa for good, Baelish took the impulsive decision of pushing Lysa to her death.
Petyr Baelish pushes Lysa Arryn out of the moon door - wish he had done it sooner!
  • Under scrutiny after the Lysa mishap, Baelish arranged the marriage alliance with Sansa and Ramsay Bolton, the heir of Lord Bolton, the warden of the North.
Gains:
  1. Complete control of the Vale after marrying and killing his wife of 2 days - Lysa Arryn.
  2. Won favour with the Boltons, the wardens of the North.
  3. Future control of North through Sansa, the true heir of the Winterfell.

His End-Game With Sansa Stark

What good is power and money if you don't get finally the girl? Petyr Baelish had eyes on Ned and Catelyn's daughter Sansa Stark from the very beginning, right from the Hand's tournament at Winterfell.
  • While his motives towards her was not clear during the initial days, he would always approach her at unexpected times and give her unsolicited advice.
Sansa and Baelish at the Hand's Tournament
  • Not only was Sansa one of his biggest pawns in the game of thrones, her striking resemblance to her mother Catelyn Stark rekindled his buried feelings and dream of a second chance at love.
And my wife!! Especially my wife!!
  • He took many risks for her - he plotted her escape from King's Landing after Joffrey's death and killed her aunt Lysa to protect both Sansa and himself.
  • Of course, he gave more importance to his conspiracy plans than keeping her close - as seen clearly from his arrangement for Sansa with the Boltons, but all his plans did involve leading him back to her eventually - whatever the consequence. We cannot deny that Sansa is the only one ever to whom Petyr Baelish had revealed his true intentions.

Baelish (thinking): Everything includes "you", my sweet Sansa.

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