Characters: Game Of Thrones House Arryn
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Lord Petyr Baelish: "The men of the Vale are so proud of their mountains, they can't abide any flaw in them."
Great House of the Vale, the highest, most mountainous region in Westeros. Its lord holds the title of Warden of the East.
As suggested by the name of the kingdom, it consists of a large valley surrounded by mountains. This makes it both relatively fertile and
easily defensible, with natural choke points everywhere. The ancestral seat of House Arryn is the Eyrie, a castle built literally into the side of a mountain. The ascent is perilous, whether by foot or by mule, and there are primitive elevators used to bring up foodstuffs. Though we don't see much of it, this kingdom was very important to our characters: Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark grew up here together, and consider each other more brothers than friends.
- Aerith and Bob: Denizens of the Vale tend to have common sounding names for a fantasy setting, with pronunciations and spellings slightly altered - Jon, Lysa, Petyr, Anya and Yohn - alongside names like Ser Vardis and Ser Waymar.
- Animal Motifs / Big Badass Bird of Prey: Their sigil is the falcon and their seat is The Eyrie (lit. "The Eagles Nest"). The throne of the Eyrie main hall is made out from a tree.
- Disney Villain Death: The Eyrie has no executioner. Instead, convicted criminals are thrown off a trapdoor in the ground (The Moon Door) or left in the open Sky Cells to do the job themselves.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark grew up as fast friends in the Eyrie, with Lord Jon as (essentially) the schoolteacher. They also befriended Lord Yohn Royce during their time there.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As noted by Harry Lloyd in the DVD audio commentary. The Vale being the most mountainous part of Westeros and its ethnic division between fortress-dwelling Andals (i.e. Anglo-Saxons) and restive mountain tribes that descend from the First Men (i.e. Celts) likens it to Wales. Coincidentally, Ser Vardis Egen speaks with a Welsh accent in the show.
- On the other hand, the fact that the Vale is located high in the mountains with narrow bottlenecks makes it very similar to the real-life Switzerland which is notoriously hard to invade.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: In the History and Lore videos on The Vale, Petyr Baelish, admittedly biased, regards this as the chief failing of the Vale, noting that their geographical defenses have kept themselves isolated from matters of real concern, like making peace or destroying the Hill Tribes and it feeds them an unjustified sense of security and superiority.
- Honor Before Reason: As shown by the Arryn house words "As High as Honor", the men of the Vale adhere to a strict sense of honor which often end up hindering or outright endangering them. In fact, Eddard Stark's sense of honor is more Arryn than Stark, having been raised in the Eyrie and taught by Jon Arryn.
- Team Switzerland: Due to Lysa's leadership, the Vale remains neutral in the war between Starks and Lannisters, despite her family connection and the fact that Lysa goaded her sister for action against the Lannisters in the first place. There turns out to be a very good reason for this, since Lysa, working with Littlefinger, was instigating a war with the intention to damage and scar the Vale's neighbours while ensuring that it loses nothing in life and property.
- Averted in the backstory, the Rebellion that deposed the three hundred year old Targaryen dynasty began in the Vale, when Lord Jon Arryn refused to send his two wards, Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon, into the clutches of the Mad King after he killed Rickard and Brandon Stark.
- Petyr lampshades this to his advantage, as they pretty much sat out in the whole war and let the Lannisters kill Ned Stark, and implores them to start training Robin to be the next lord of the Vale with him and Sansa pulling his strings for his next plan for both the Vale and North.
Lord Jon Arryn
"The seed is strong."
Played By: John Standing
The recently deceased Hand of the King and Lord of the Vale. Jon was Eddard Stark's mentor and was married to Catelyn's sister Lysa.
- Big Good: To Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and several Vale Lords.
- Character Death: Jon Arryn died before the events of the series, likely poisoned by his squire Ser Hugh on the orders of the Lannisters. Except not. In "The First of His Name", it's revealed that Littlefinger manipulated Lysa into poisoning Jon, which they then blamed on the Lannisters, which pretty much started this whole mess.
- Demoted to Extra: The reason he is "played" by an established actor rather than an extra is because the original pilot opened with a scene featuring Arryn's discovery and his subsequent murder because He Knows Too Much. This scene was cut when a new pilot was filmed, instead using the White Walker attack north of the Wall as the first scene in the episode, like in the book series.
- The Good Chancellor: Ultimately played with. While everyone agrees that he gave the realm "17 good years," his skills appear to have lain mainly in administration and diplomacy, not politics or intrigue; Varys points out that his disdain for the Game of Thrones allowed the likes of the Lannisters and Petyr Baelish to expand their influence and political power unchecked, which set up later catastrophes.
- He Knows Too Much: It is generally believed by most people that he was killed because he discovered that Joffrey and his siblings were inbred bastards that Cersei had with her twin brother. He was actually poisoned by his own wife, Lysa Arryn, at Littlefinger's behest. However, as the Lannisters suspected, he had discovered the secret about Cersei's children, which is why Grand Maester Pycelle, a loyal Lannister retainer, withdrew treatment and left him to die before he confronted Cersei and Jaime, neither of whom were sure at the time of his death if he had told anyone.
- Horrible Judge of Character: As per Yohn Royce, Jon Arryn was the man who appointed Petyr Baelish as the Master of Coin. He became the first of many who Littlefinger betrayed and killed.
- Like a Son to Me: Eddard, as well as King Robert.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Catelyn receives word from her sister that her husband was not a victim of a fever but of murder. It turns out that it was murder, by Lysa Arryn and her lover, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish.
- The Mentor: To Robert and Ned.
- Number Two: To King Robert as Hand of the King.
- Old Man Marrying A Child: To cement the alliance of House Tully and the Lords of the Riverlands during Robert's Rebellion, Jon Arryn married Lysa Tully. Walder Frey uses this as a justification for his Dirty Old Man reputation, noting the Double Standard which allows Arryn to have an honorable reputation while the Freys remain hated as sleazebags.
- Parental Substitute: To both Ned and Robert. Robert more-so, since his father died young and he did not know him very well.
- Plot Triggering Death: His death is what causes Eddard Stark and his family to become tangled in the game of thrones and, essentially, launches the War of the Five Kings. It turns out this trope was invoked by the true killer, Petyr Baelish.
- Posthumous Character: Jon dies prior to the beginning of the series. Only his body is seen.
Lady Lysa Arryn, née Tully
"The Sky Cells always break them."
"These men are Knights of the Vale! Everyone of them loved Jon Arryn, everyone of them would die for me!"
Jon Arryn's widow, and sister to Catelyn Stark. Driven completely insane by her husband's death, she now spends her time fawning her son and sending hundreds of people to their deaths through the Moon Door.
Lord Robin Arryn
"I'm Lord of the Vale. When I grow up, I'm gonna see fly anybody who bothers me."
"Mummy, I want to see the bad man fly."
Jon and Lysa's only son, and technically Lord of the Vale despite being eight, utterly dominated by his mother, and more than a little unhinged.
- Adaptation Name Change: Originally, he was Robert Arryn, named after King Robert, with Robin and Sweetrobin as occasional nicknames. This changed to comply with the One Steve Limit.
- Children Are Innocent: Played with. Contrast his eagerness to have people executed with his innocent curiosity about what Tyrion did with a jackass and a honeycomb in a brothel. After being bethrothed to Sansa, he seems surprisingly sincere in wanting her to be happy, including offering to shove anyone she wants out the moon door.
- Creepy Child: He tells Sansa that he likes having people he doesn't like out the Moon Door. However, unlike Joffrey, Robin doesn't seem to have any real sadistic streak. His mother has sheltered him so much that he seems to have trouble with the concept of death or what it means to other people.
- Foil/Shadow Archetype: If Lysa is this to Catelyn, then Robin is these to Bran. He's shaping up to be one for Joffrey, a mentally disturbed child betrothed to Sansa and raised by poor parents. Unlike Joffrey, Robin isn't naturally violent or sadistic, but like him he's been spoiled so badly that he doesn't have proper social skills.
- Momma's Boy: Up to and including being breastfed, despite being EIGHT YEARS OLD.
- My Beloved Smother: See above.
- No Social Skills: He's positively cheerful while asking Sansa if the events of the Red Wedding are true. He then, with equal cheer, notes that his own father was murdered by the same people as hers.
- One Steve Limit: The book version of Lord Arryn named his son after King Robert. The TV show changed this to "Robin" to avoid confusion.
- Royal Brat: He's used to getting what he wants. Unfortunately, what he wants is usually to "see people fly."
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Inverted; he's eight and is still breastfeeding. Played straight in his wanting to see people "fly."
Arryn bannermen, retainers and household
Lord Petyr Baelish a.k.a "Littlefinger"
"Given the opportunity, what do we do to those who've hurt the ones we love?"
The sole member of House Baelish, one of the lowest noble houses. After serving as Master of Coin on King Robert's and King Joffrey's Small Councils, he's appointed Lord of Harrenhal. Littlefinger presents an affable mask to his fellows and betters, but he is unashamedly one of the most ambitious and talented schemers in King's Landing, with an information network to rival that of Varys. He is one of the few characters within the series to gain in stature and power over time, rather than lose it. Despite having been formally granted the Lordship of Harrenhal and the Lordship Paramount of the Trident, Baelish apparently has no interest in either, and so those titles remain unclaimed (and the latter exercised de facto
by Walder Frey). Instead, he has gone to the Vale to "serve" his now-wife, Lady Lysa Arryn.
- Adaptational Villainy: To the point that George Martin considers him the character most altered, noting that book Littlefinger is much more friendly and better at keeping his true motives ambiguous than TV!Littlefinger!
- Ambition Is Evil: He was born without wealth, influence or a great title. By Season 3, he's got all of those, and gained them by being a scheming backstabber.
Varys: A man with great ambition and no morals. I wouldn't bet against you.
- Affably Evil: Only around Sansa.
- Authority in Name Only: Varys mocks him because despite being named Lord of Harrenhal, he's ruling no land as long as the Northern army occupies the Riverlands. Varys' pun aside, the designation elevates Baelish' rank and position to the extent that he can marry Lysa Arryn and gain control of the Vale by marriage, becoming a de facto High Lord. Especially after killing her.
- Bad Boss: Occasionally shows his true colors to his sex workers.
- Badass Bookworm: Like Tyrion and Varys, he's dangerous because of his knowledge instead of his fighting prowess. His power as Master of Coin lies in his logbooks. Though Tyrion on examining the logbooks notes that Petyr's claim to being a financial wizard is slightly hollow since he's been borrowing debts from the Iron Bank of Braavos, a dangerous source of income if the Crown is not able to pay debts. Knowing Littlefinger however, this was probably not entirely unintentional. Later revelations, in fact, make it a near-certainty it was absolutely intended.
- Beard of Evil: His little goatee thing. It leads Bronn to derisively nickname him "Twatbeard".
- Beneath the Mask: Littlefinger is a sociopath, who only rarely lets slip just how ambitious he is, and how little he cares for others. Allowing Ros to be brutally killed by Joffrey is a stark example of just how bad he really is.
- Big Bad: One of the main contenders of the title, at least for the War of the Five Kings storyline, since he is the one that secretly started it. With the death of King Joffrey and the murder of Tywin Lannister, Littlefinger is this in all but name. He's won the complete favor of the Vale Lords, he's in charge of a terrain free of war and an army, and he's effectively become one of the most powerful men in Westeros with the only ones who can stop him - Varys and Tyrion - exiled to Essos, giving him a clean playing field.
- Bullying a Dragon: In "The North Remembers", Littlefinger learns how much power he really has after he alludes smugly to and attempts to lord over the queen with the "rumor" of Twincest going around about her and her brother. Cersei then showcases her own when, seemingly on a whim, she tells her guards to cut his throat before rescinding the order just before they follow through. In retrospect, it also worked in reverse, considering the look of hatred Littlefinger gives her. It more than likely put Cersei on his special shit-list which compounded by his anger at the Lannisters for enabling Catelyn's death at the Red Wedding makes him more than a little enthusiastic to help the Tyrells screw them over and have Joffrey die in his mother's arms.
- Captain Obvious/Mr. Exposition: When someone mentions seeing a knight decapitate a horse, he tells Ned, "That sounds like someone we know... the Mountain!" While he is being deliberately condescending and provocative at the time, did he really think anyone could forget that?
- Chekhov's Gun: The necklace Ser Dontos gives Sansa, which he claims is an heirloom of House Hollard, but was in fact a cheap imitation made by Littlefinger. When Sansa arrives aboard Littlefinger's ship after being secreted out of King's Landing by Ser Dontos, he takes off the necklace. One of the fake gems is missing. In the next episode, he confirms to Sansa that he hid the poison that Olenna Tyrell dropped into Joffrey's wine in the missing stone.
- The Chessmaster: Unfortunately for Ned Stark, he's very skilled at navigating and manipulating the politics surrounding the Iron Throne to his own ends. "The First of His Name" reveals his Chessmastery goes all the way to instigating the War of the Five Kings by having Lysa poison Jon Arryn and then write to Catelyn and blame the Lannisters.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: With other characters, you should keep an eye on them if you decide to trust him/her. With Baelish, it's not a matter of if he'll betray you, but when and to whom, because he will sell out anyone, anytime, to anyone, to further his aspirations of power. The list of people he has conned and betrayed is perversely impressive, Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, Catelyn Tully, Tywin Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Joffrey Baratheon, Ser Dontos Hollard and Lysa Arryn.
- Comforting the Widow: Attempts this on Catelyn, even bringing Ned's bones to her as an offering. She goes for her knife and tells him to get the hell out.
- The Conspiracy:
- Is part of one with Olenna Tyrell, Ser Dontos Hollard, and (unwittingly) Sansa, and which orchestrated Joffrey's poisoning.
- Is part of an even bigger one with Lysa Arryn, arranging for the death of Jon Arryn and the framing of the Lannisters, triggering the entire plot of the show.
- Consummate Liar: Lying comes as easily to him as breathing. He often mixes his lies with half truths, just for good measure.
- Contemplative Councilor: He's fascinated by the Iron Throne and is shown a number of times from behind, standing still and looking at it before being engaged in conversation.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Medieval version. His idea of raising money for King Robert's tourneys and the Kingdom is borrowing money and sinking the Royal Treasury deeply into debt, as noted by Tyrion Lannister. It's bad enough that he borrows from the Lannisters, giving them disproportionate influence on the throne (as noted by Ned in alarm) but he's also borrowing from the dangerous Iron Bank of Braavos, which makes Tyrion worried that if and when they default, the Bank will support their enemies. When he quits as Master of Coin, the Crown is so deeply in debt that it cannot afford to pay for the King's wedding on its own, requiring the Tyrells to foot half the bill. He also makes it clear to his prostitutes, especially Ros, that he regards them as "investments" and regards any human feelings, like trauma from seeing a baby killed in front of you, as bad for business.
- Creepy Uncle: He's a close family friend to Sansa's mother, and openly attracted to Catelyn. Eventually, he announces plans to wed Sansa's aunt (which would make him a literal uncle, rather than Honorary Uncle) and he just gets even touchier, eventually going so far as to kiss Sansa.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Sometimes, dishonest people who admit that they're dishonest can seem the most trustworthy. Littlefinger knows this. This is the reason why Varys labels him as one of the most dangerous people in the kingdom.
Baelish: Do you know what I learned, losing that duel? I learned 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?
- Dark and Troubled Past: Oh-so-subtly implied in "The First of His Name", when Lysa reminds him of their "wedding night" many years ago. His face and eyes just go hollow, like he's having a post-traumatic episode.
- Deadpan Snarker: Often leads to him and Varys having verbal sparring matches.
- Deadly Euphemism: "She was a ba-ad investment".
- Despotism Justifies the Means: Varys comments of him "He would see this kingdom burn if he could be king of the ashes."
- Devil in Plain Sight: Is very obviously up-to-no-good, and is quite honest about this. People rely on him anyway. George Martin noted that this was a major change in adaptation since the book Littlefinger was better at keeping himself in check and was more likable. In the books, he even had Villain with Good Publicity with Robert Baratheon, Tywin, Jaimenote , Cersei and even Edmure Tully. The only one who distrusted Littlefinger is Tyrion.
- Dissonant Serenity: During Ned's execution, everyone else seems genuinely surprised and shocked by Joffrey's decision and try to coerce him out of it. Littlefinger doesn't move an inch, just standing there wearing that same damn smile as always! Possibly because he realized that it might benefit him, as seen in the next season where he attempts Comforting the Widow on Catelyn. It might be a call-back to his book-counterpart, whose doesn't have the widest range of facial expressions beyond smiling.
- Double Meaning: When Lysa asks him if he remembers their "wedding night" many years ago, he replies, "Like it was yesterday." Lysa doesn't notice, because she's so obsessed, but it's clear from his face that it's not a happy memory.
- Evil Counterpart:
- To Lord Renly Baratheon. Renly wants to help Ned survive the imminent power struggle that will break out after Robert dies, whereas Baelish is quick to betray Lord Stark once he no longer finds the latter to be useful in his schemes.
- To Varys. While Varys isn't exactly "heroic", he is oriented toward maintaining the kingdom and preventing breakdown, regardless of who is in charge. Littlefinger, on the other hand, would unhesitatingly destroy everything to gain power for himself. As Varys memorably puts it, "He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes."
- Entitled to Have You: This in huge amounts towards Caetlyn Stark, as he doesn't seem to notice or care that she never actually returned his affection and has taken on squicky shades of this in his relationship with Sansa.
- Evil Genius: Littlefinger is incredibly sophisticated about politics and how it actually works, shrewdly judging strengths and weaknesses, flaws and fatal errors in the History and Lore Extra videos, where you almost forget that he's the worst schemer in Westeros. He has a knack for financial management and an obscure talent finding money for the crown. From the books... In Season 3, Tyrion is appointed Master of Coin after Littlefinger notes that his "secret" is borrowing money from the Iron Bank of Braavos, indebting the kingdom to a dangerous source.
- Evil Mentor: In Season 4, he starts revealing a few of his tricks to Sansa and appears to be coaching her how to play the Game of Thrones.
- Eviler than Thou: To Tywin and Cersei Lannister and King Joffrey. Some two years and thousands of deaths after the start of the War, Littlefinger reveals that he was the catalyst of it all in "The First of His Name" — the man who ordered Jon Arryn's assassination, the letter by Lysa that falsely accused the Lannisters, his betrayal of Ned Stark, sinking the realm into debt, the Tyrell-Lannister alliance and the murder of King Joffrey. He started it and finished it and is now the High Lord, by marriage, of the only part of the realm (aside from Dorne) that sat out of the conflict, all the while the Lannisters consume themselves in debt and family squabbles.
- Expy: It's more subtle in the books, but Aiden Gillen's Littlefinger is essentially a fantasy version of Niccolò Machiavelli or rather a Flanderization. His outfits and frame even resembles portraits of the real man. A lot of his speeches and observations are expressions and paraphrases of the author's works. The fact that his family comes from Braavos; which is the Westeros version of Renaissance-era Florence and Venice, also nods to his inspiration.
- Faux Affably Evil: His politeness becomes gradually less genuine as the series goes on. See also Adaptational Villainy.
- Forceful Kiss: He gives one to a stunned Sansa in "Mockingbird."
- Frames Tyrion and Sansa for Joffrey's murder. Sansa's actually pretty okay with it, after Littlefinger reveals her role in Joffrey's death, mainly since she's out from under his and Cersei's thumbs.
- It's revealed that he and Lysa Arryn conspired to frame the Lannisters for Jon Arryn's murder, goading the Starks and the Lannisters into a civil war, that ultimately will consume them both.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The necklace Ser Dontos gives Sansa is missing one of its fake gems when Littlefinger takes it off Sansa aboard his boat, and which Littlefinger confirms contained the poison used to kill Joffrey.
- Freudian Excuse: He claims that when he tried to win Catelyn's hand honorably against her original betrothed Brandon Stark, not only did he lose badly, but Catelyn asked him to be spared because "He's only a boy." He realized then that the only way to win in life was to simply not do things honorably, to not play it their way. Though because of his sociopathy, it's obvious he might be embellishing a tad.
- Friendly Enemy: Varys loathes him, but they call each other friend with a veiled, sardonic emphasis and frequently trade barbs in a polite and subtle manner. This is reinforced in their commentary on Robert's Rebellion in the Season 3 DVD where they politely trade barbs on their observations of history and how vaunting Varys' role was in the event.
Varys: I rather enjoy him, but he would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Came from a very minor noble family, became Master of Coin, then Lord of Harrenhal and now he's off to marry the widow of the Lord Paramount of the Vale. From his humble position, he has entrapped the Kingdom into debt with the Iron Bank of Braavos and conspired with Olenna Tyrell to murder King Joffrey and further destabilize the realm in the wake of a devastating war. A war which he made happen by murdering and betraying the right people at the right time. As he explains to Sansa: "Know your strengths, use them wisely, and one man can be worth 10,000."
- The Heavy: His actions from behind the scenes sparked the War of the Five Kings and therefore the main storyline.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: As Varys says to Illyrio, "The Gods alone know what Littlefinger is up to!". Whether it's selling Ned Stark to the Lannisters, or killing Joffrey for the Tyrells what Littlefinger hopes to get out of this is anybody's guess. The only answer he gives regarding what he really wants is, "Everything".
- Hyper Awareness: Watch him avoiding a Right Behind Me situation in "Fire and Blood", and that's just one of the times he shows it.
- In-Series Nickname: "Littlefinger", and he resents it as unbecoming. Bronn suggests "Lord Twatbeard" would be more appropriate.
- Jerkass: Not great at hiding it, either. Varys even calls Baelish out for not being able to insult him in a polite, subtle manner.
- Kick the Dog: His treatment of Ros and Ser Dontos. Not to mention the time he sold out Ned Stark to Cersei. Also framing Tyrion and Sansa.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Well, he orchestrated Joffrey's assassination with Olenna Tyrell.
- Knowledge Broker: Seems to know everything about everyone, and in "The Wolf and the Lion", he proves his information gathering to be almost equal to that of Varys.
- Lack of Empathy: For everyone except Catelyn and her daughters.
- A Lady on Each Arm: Has greeted both Catelyn and Ned seated on a couch with two prostitutes he employs on either side of him.
- Large Ham: It's growing at the same pace as his villany.
- Let no Crisis Go to Waste: Littlefinger's life philosophy. Take a drink every time he uses a crisis to acquire more power, do get an ambulance as alcohol-poisoning will set in soon.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Littlefinger is the single greatest Aversion, often to Lord Varys' displeasure. Indeed, he demonstrates the virtues and rewards of cold-blooded social climbing and carefully timed political assassination and murder.
- Man Behind the Man: It's been said, but he quite literally set the entire plot in motion. He's the one who killed Jon Arryn, he's the one who got the Starks wound up and paranoid, he's the one who assassinated Joffrey too - his actions were the catalyst for basically all the misery in the entire series outside of Daenerys' plotline. And only a tiny handful of people even know about it.
- Manipulative Bastard: Just ask Eddard Stark. And for that matter Sansa, who as a result of Joffrey's assassination and going on the lam, both of which was arranged by Baelish, has no choice but to rely on him for basic survival, since Cersei has put a large bounty on her head. It is further revealed, that he conspired with Lysa to murder Jon Arryn, the former Hand of the King. He then had her send a letter to Catelyn falsely implicating the Lannisters. Add his manipulation of Ned Stark, his sinking the Crown into debt with the Iron Bank of Braavos, Baelish willingly plunged the realm into a civil war and a vast debt, while he walks out of it as the de-facto ruler of the Vale, the only part of the realm to be stable and unaffected by the war. King of the Ashes, indeed. So, by the midpoint of Season 4, Littlefinger has successfully played three of the Great Houses of Westeros — the Starks, Tullys and Lannisters — off against each other to his advantage, and is currently manipulating two more — the Tyrells (who have already served their purpose) and the Arryns (who are almost literally dancing to his tune). The only families he hasn't played like a fiddle are the Martells, Greyjoy and Baratheons, and the latter he used to set up the Lannisters' downfall via the Iron Bank by borrowing huge amounts of money the Lannisters wouldn't be able to pay back after inevitably (the Tyrells made the Lannisters effectively unbeatable, and remember that Littlefinger brought them over) "winning" the war he started.
- Morality Pet: Catelyn and her daughter, Sansa. He claims not to be involved in any plot that brings harm to them in particular (their male family members are a different story). Indeed, for Sansa, he's willing to do anything, regicide, murder his own wife when she threatens to kill her, bring carts of lemons all the way from Kings Landing to the Eyrie just so she can have her favorite Lemon Cakes.
- Non-Action Guy: A classic courtier at best and more often a downplayed Non-Action Big Bad. Indeed, unlike most of the lords with wealth and power to rival or exceed his, he doesn't carry a sword, just a small dagger. Almost every time he involves himself in murder, it's always someone else who pulls the trigger, whether it's Lysa Arryn killing her husband Jon, Joffrey killing Ros, Olenna poisoning Joffrey or his personal mooks shooting Ser Dontos. The only time he has killed someone on-screen (so far), is when he shoves Lysa out of the Moon Door.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Only towards Sansa, but he seems incapable of interacting with her without getting really close to or touching her somehow.
- Not-So-Badass Longcoat: While Baelish may enjoy wearing longcoats of varying finery and style, he is nothing close to being called "badass" in that sense.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: With the exception of his intellectual equal Varys, barely any characters in the series see him as a threat at all, let alone a serious one. Every time, he proves them wrong, with extreme prejudice, often without any of them even realizing it, letting him keep up his facade. In Season 4, he has murdered King Joffrey, in conspiracy with Olenna Tyrell, in broad daylight and is not even close to being suspected, or absconding with Sansa Stark moreover. It is also revealed that he was the one who instigated the War of the Five Kings from behind the scenes, leading to the near destruction of House Stark, ousting of House Tully, the (secret) bankruptcy of House Lannister, his ascension to Lord of the Vale, Westeros tearing itself apart and thousands of deaths and destroyed lives.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Gillen seems to have stopped suppressing his Irish accent sometime after Season 2. The reveal in season 4 that he has Braavosi ancestry may be an attempt to mitigate this, indicating that when we first met him he hid his real accent to get ahead in King's Landing, but now he's reached a point where he no longer has to.
- Order Versus Chaos: Firmly on the side of Chaos, compared to Varys' Order. He even encourages disorder, viewing chaos not as a hopeless pit, but as a ladder to allow ambitious people like him to seize opportunities and rise beyond their meager stations.
- Pet the Dog: Perhaps the only living person for whom he has (relatively) unselfish regard is Sansa, and he sticks his neck way out to get her out of King's Landing. Sure, it may be a fairly creepy projection of his love for Catelyn onto her daughter, but it's still pretty sweet that he'd risk so much for, basically, love.
Baelish: I loved your mother more than you could ever know. Given the opportunity, what do we do to those who've hurt the ones we love? (Sansa smiles slightly) In a better world, one where love could overcome strength, and duty, you might have been my child. But we don't live in that world.
- Playing Both Sides: He has a gift, if it can be called that, for this. He plays the Starks against the Lannisters, the Tyrells against the Baratheons and then helps the Tyrells screw over the Lannisters by killing their Puppet King and framing his Uncle for it. He also played the Crown against the Iron Bank, poisoning the regime of anyone who comes out on top of the game of thrones.
- Put on a Bus: He takes a boat to the Eyrie at the end of "The Climb", and doesn't appear for the rest of the third season and parts of the fourth. He reappears aboard his ship in "Breaker of Chains".
- Rags to Riches: He is the third-generation descendant of a Braavosi immigrant to Westeros and when he was fostered in Riverrun with the Tullys, he arrived with a bundle containing all his possessions. He has since gone on to acquire wealth, connections, influence and titles. Presently, he is the de-facto overlord of a fertile region with a large army. Not surprisingly, other nobles resent him as an upstart for his rather brazen climb, while Varys is appalled at his mercenary ambition.
- Realpolitik: The History and Lore videos on The Vale and Robert's Rebellion has him embody this perspective, mocking sentiment and mythical explanations as rationalizations for defeat. He also criticizes the notion that it was Robert's Targaryen blood that validated his claim to the throne.
Baelish: A pretty dress for an ugly truth. It was war and Robert could swing the hammer harder than his opponent.
- Replacement Goldfish: His relationship with Sansa in a nutshell, is a result of his confused obsession with Catelyn. He follows this confession with a Forceful Kiss.
"In a better world, where love can overcome strength and duty, you might have been my child. But we don't live in that world. (Beat
) You are far more beautiful than she ever was."
- The Resenter: Being a petty noble without lineage or combat skill, he has great resentment and ill-intent toward those who possess both of these. In the history and lore videos, he has barely restrained contempt for feudal virtues and obsessions for valour, chivalry and pretentions of honor regarding them as excuses for maintaining un-merited power and position. Some of this resentment is justified since Yohn Royce brings up his Braavosi ancestry as a point of contention during his inquiry, rather than his own actions.
- His stated motive for murdering Joffrey is that he wanted revenge on the Lannisters for killing Catelyn at the Red Wedding.
"Given the chance, what do we do to those who hurt the ones we love?"
- His conversation with Sansa hints that he orchestrated the War of the Five Kings and the resulting downfall and weakening of several Great Houses of Westeros, as a way to spite the entire feudal order that kept low-born Lords like him from the woman he loved.
- Rule of Symbolism: He may be a behind-the scenes schemer, but he personally holds a knife to Ned's throat to underscore his backstabbing.
- Secret Keeper: In Season 2, he recognizes Arya Stark as Tywin Lannister's cupbearer but tells no one about this, mentioning it to Sansa.
- Self-Deprecation: At least he's honest about how dishonest he is. Ned Stark should have listened.
Littlefinger: I did warn you not to trust me.
- Self-Made Man: Varys notes it arguably makes him even more dangerous, as it means his ambition is less restrained than most people.
- Self-Proclaimed Liar: One of the tricks he uses to get Ned Stark on his side, as a dishonest person can make people think they're trustworthy by admitting they aren't.
- Settle for Sibling: Varys mocks Petyr for settling for Lysa Arryn despite carrying a torch for Catelyn all his life. Of course, everyone knows that his real interest is in Sansa, even Lysa and Sansa herself.
- Shame If Something Happened: After finding Ros crying over Mhaegen's murdered baby he tells her she reminds him of girl he purchased from a Lyseni pleasure house, very expensive and beautiful but she was constantly sad. Since she was a bad investment he sold her to a Lord who wanted to transform her and who derived pleasure from stuff most men would consider unthinkable. In "The Climb", he follows through on the threat by delivering her to Joffrey.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: It's becoming a pattern for Littlefinger to have his attempts to win someone over, threaten them and/or gloat be quite rudely interrupted. Ned, Cersei and Catelyn have all separately pulled this on him, and all three have gone for his throat or threatened to do so, and Ned even chokeslams him into a wall.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Ros at least seems to think he's this in regards to Catelyn, since when asked about who or what he's into, she responds that despite running a whorehouse, he's never seemed particularly interested in the other women there. Varys taunts him with this after he announces plans to marry Lysa Arryn, referring to her as having always been his "second choice" after Catelyn. Eventually, the interest is seemingly transferred to Sansa. He clarifies to Sansa and later, to Lysa that Catelyn Tully is the only woman he ever loved.
- Skunk Stripe: White hair on the sides of his head.
- Sleazy Politician: He openly advertises that he's a weasel.
- Slimeball: Overtly-sycophantic when he needs to be, but also sneaky, manipulative, creepy, and occasionally hammy.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Renly and Varys. Since neither man possesses any talent for fighting, this is the only form of combat that they excel at.
- Social Climber: To the point of forming an entire philosophy revolving around it. Along with Bronn, a character who has consistently gone from strength to strength. At the start, he was "Master of Coin" and a petty Lord, but by Season 3, he's Lord Paramount of the Trident and Harrenhal, and is given leave by the Crown to marry Lysa Arryn, the widow of an entire region, which by marriage would make him one of the High Lords of Westeros. And there's no indication that he plans to stop there.
- The Sociopath: According to Varys. Littlefinger proves him right by delivering Ros to be used by Joffrey for target practice.
- Sssssnake Talk: More subtle than most examples, but yes. It's become much more pronounced as of late, especially in his talks with Sansa, when he borders on Large Ham.
- Straw Nihilist: He believes that life is essentially chaotic and there is nothing but 'the climb'.
- The Svengali: He's taking over this role over Sansa. Disturbingly, he's succeeding. Despite knowing that he's murderous and treacherous, Sansa defends his life to her accusers and former friends of her father and then steps down dressed in black to become his Number Two.
- Travelling at the Speed of Plot: In Season 2, he travels from King's Landing to Storm's End (in the Stormlands), then from there to Harrenhal (in the Riverlands), and then from there to Highgarden (in the Reach), and then finally back to King's Landing. Thanks to the exact length of time Season 2 takes place over being unclear, many fans joke he has a jetpack.
- Treacherous Advisor: Littlefinger tends to betray everyone. He betrays Ned. which ultimately results in the latter's death. And if you think he did it out of loyalty to the Lannisters, think again. He betrays Joffrey and conspires with Lady Olenna to kill him. And if you think he did it out of loyalty to the Tyrells, think again.
- Underestimating Badassery: One reason why Littlefinger is able to get away with so much is that the feudal values of the aristocrats prevent them from taking the "grubby work" of finance seriously. Only Varys and Tyrion, who does think that Littlefinger's logbooks contain the "secret history of Westeros", think otherwise. Littlefinger for his part encourages this trope for all its worth.
- The Unfettered: Although he verges on outright sociopathy like his book counterpart.
Varys: He would see this kingdom burn if he could be king of the ashes.
- He openly admits this to Sansa, when the latter is appalled at his audacity in committing regicide:
Littlefinger: So many men, they risk so little, they spend their lives avoiding danger and they die. I'd risk everything to get what I want.
Sansa: And what do you want?
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: To Catelyn.
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: A very dark example. His love for Catelyn Stark has never died and he sure as hell makes a lot of other people die for it.
- Unusual Euphemism: Averted. Despite the sexual connotations of his nickname, its origins are completely mundane (at least, according to him): he was a small kid, and he came from a place in the Vale called 'The Fingers;' thus, "Littlefinger."
- Villain with Good Publicity: Played with, at least in relation to his book counterpart who presents a convincing likable front to most people. TV!Littlefinger is known as a pimp and smarmy suck-up, regarded as a useful Knowledge Broker and harmless creep by the Lannisters who underestimate how dangerous he actually is and disliked by everybody else for being a toady. He gets this finally, thanks to Sansa, who presents him as the protector Ned Stark's eldest daughter from the Lannisters in front of the Vale Lords who otherwise disliked him.
- Villainous Crush: On Catelyn, obviously. It's been stated by the actor and implied in the show that he has this for Sansa as well, whom he says reminds him of Catelyn.
- Villainous Rescue: Is ultimately behind Sansa's evacuation of the capital following the events of the royal wedding. Given his creepiness towards her, in some ways it's presented as if she's out of the frying pan and into the fire.
- War for Fun and Profit: He repeatedly talks of chaos and crisis creating opportunities. In the History and Lore videos, he talks about how the Targaryen conquest by unifying the Seven Kingdoms "made it boring" and he regards peacetime rule as a "lie". Naturally, he started the War of the Five Kings with a few choice assassinations and calculated treachery just so he could propel himself to the literal heights of the Vale.
- Wife Husbandry: His creeping on Sansa seems like the beginning of this. When Sansa lands up on his boat, he drops any pretensions, leering at her more than usual but keeping himself relatively in check for the time being. In "Mockingbird", he outright kisses her; and it's just as creepy as you'd expect. Even more creepily, she later exploits his obvious interest to ensure her own survival. She's had to endure so much horror over the years that it's literally the only option left to her.
- Wild Card: His only true loyalty is to himself. Stark, Lannister, Tyrell, he doesn't really care. When discussing his planning and involvement in Joffrey's assassination, Sansa questions why he would betray the Lannisters and murder a King who rewarded him so well:
A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always keep your foes confused. If they don't know who you are and what you want, they can't know what you plan to do next.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Originally, when he decided to fight Brandon Stark for Catelyn's hand, and got utterly decimated. However, he learned his lesson, and realized that if he was going to get ahead, he would have to play by his own rules.
Lord Yohn Royce
"Our forebears settled the Vale thousands of years ago. We've fought off invaders ever since."
Played by: Rupert Vansittart
Lord of Runestone and head of House Royce, the second most powerful house in the Vale.
- 24-Hour Armor: During the interrogation, Royce is wearing a breastplate, despite the fact that Baelish is unarmed and he's sitting in perhaps the least assailable castle in Westeros.
- Badass Grandpa: While he's yet to be seen in a fight, it's invoked by his appearance, being an old but strong-looking man wearing armor to a formal interrogation. From the books...
- Brutal Honesty: Not one for mincing words, Royce makes his opinions of other people very clear, whether it be openly showing his disdain of Petyr Baelish or lamenting that Lysa Arryn still breastfed her son when he was 10.
- Cool Old Guy: While prideful and bigoted, he's an honorable and decent man, regarded as a friend of Eddard Stark.
- Culture Clash: He brings up Petyr's foreign descent as a black mark against him, even mocking his skill with money as "grubby" and suited to his low birth. Littlefinger merely points out that everyone has to come from somewhere, though Royce retorts that his hourse has lived in the Vale for thousands of years. From the books...
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Not done deliberately, but between him and Lady Anya Waynwood, he plays the part of the Bad Cop during the interrogation of Littlefinger and Sansa. He grills them relentlessly while Lady Waynwood remains reserved and polite.
- Good Is Not Nice: A proud and honorable man, but extremely blunt and comes across as insensitive.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He's very insulting during his interrogation of Petyr Baelish and brings up his foreign descent as a point against him, but he's actually right to mistrust Petyr and is even dead-right on his role in Lysa's murder.
- Large and in Charge: He's big and bearish in stature, and in charge of the second most powerful family in the Vale.
- Noble Bigot: Royce is extremely proud of the Vale's ancient heritage, and dislikes Baelish in part because his great-grandfather was from Braavos.
- Old Friend: To Robert and Eddard, both of whom he befriended when they were growing up at the Eyrie. He often went hunting with Ned and fondly remembers his visit to Winterfell. The main reason he believes Sansa's story is because she's Ned Stark's daughter.
- Old Soldier: He fought during Robert's Rebellion and still goes around wearing a steel breastplate where other lords would just wear clothes.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His son Waymar Royce joined the Night's Watch and dies in the very first scene of the series. From the books...
- Pride: A very proud man, being the head of a noble family thousands of years old and descended from the First Men. This pride fuels his dislike of Petyr Baelish, both due to his Braavosi descent and because of the sleazy businesses he runs. However, learning of how Petyr supposedly "saved" Sansa Stark seems to make him warm up to Littlefinger.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's a genuinely honorable man and treats Sansa with respect when she reveals who she is.
- Secret Keeper: Sansa discloses her true identity to him.
- Undying Loyalty: To House Arryn. Despite the house's sorry shape (and the fact that, as a result of their comparative weakness he is probably the most powerful lord in the Vale), Royce never once expresses any desire to usurp the Vale, or even assume a regency for Lord Robin, though he does agree with Baelish that some drastic changes need to be made in Robin's upbringing.
- Unwitting Pawn: He plays right into Littlefinger's (and Sansa's, for that matter) hands.
Lady Anya Waynwood
"It's not your fault, sweet girl. It's not your fault."
Played by: Paola Dionisotti
Lady of Ironoaks and head of House Waynwood, one of the most powerful houses in the Vale.
- Cool Old Lady: Is very nice and positively maternal to Sansa.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Not done deliberately, but between her and Yohn Royce; she plays the part of the Good Cop during the interrogation of Littlefinger and Sansa, remaining reserved and polite (with a hint of steel) while Royce relentlessly grills them.
- Iron Lady: She's an old grandmother who is powerful and influential enough to discuss the Vale's future role in the war on equal footing with the Vale's rulers.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Takes offence when Yohn Royce begins speaking of how the deceased Lysa Arryn was clearly insane, due to how she breastfed her son at the age of 10. He quickly apologises in return.
- Secret Keeper: Sansa discloses her true identity to her.
- Unwitting Pawn: She plays right into Littlefinger's (and Sansa's, for that matter) hands.
Ser Vardis Egen
"My Lady, I would gladly fight the Imp's champion, for you."
Played By: Brendan McCormack
A knight in service to House Arryn. He serves as Captain of the Guards at the Eyrie.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, Ser Vardis is older and stockier than his TV counterpart, more similar to the second knight who offers to be Lord Robin's champion.
- Armor Is Useless: Despite being clad head to toe in heavy plate armor while his opponent Bronn wears none, he is still outmatched and killed, mostly by being tired out and cut through the exposed parts of his armor.
- Badass Beard: As shown by his character image.
- The Captain: The Eyrie's Captain of the Guards.
- The Champion: Serves as Lysa Arryn's during Tyrion's Trial by Combat.
- Character Death: Bronn kills him in one-on-one combat, before dropping him out of the Moon Door.
- Composite Character: Takes some characteristics of Ser Donnel Waynwood (mostly his age) and Ser Brynden Tully, who welcomes Catelyn and her party to the Mountains of the Moon and escorts her to the Eyrie.
- The Dragon: Serves as Lysa Arryn's lead enforcer, though he can hardly be called a villain himself.
- Duel to the Death: Fights against Bronn in a duel when Bronn volunteers to be Tyrion's champion during a Trial by Combat. Bronn wins and throws Ser Vardis' corpse out the Moon Door.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Vardis is a devoted champion and honorable knight, initially refusing to fight Tyrion in the Trial by Combat because it would quite rightly be shameful to slay such an outmatched opponent and call it justice.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Wields a huge kite shield for his duel with Bronn. Unfortunately it does him more harm than good, as the huge size of the shield plays a big part in slowing him down and tiring him out.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He seems to assume that Bronn will fight with the same honor that he does.
"I see. Well, it just so happens that I am."
Played By: Jefferson Hall
Also known as "Ser Hugh of the Vale". A young knight and the former squire of the late Jon Arryn.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books he's described as having rough-hewn features and explicitly not being handsome, which is not completely the case in the show.
- The Apprentice: To Jon Arryn's Old Master.
- Asshole Victim: Gruesome as his death is, it's hard to feel sorry for him given how much of a dick he was to Jory.
- Character Death: Gregor Clegane kills him in the Tourney of the Hand.
- He Knows Too Much: It's implied that he had something to do with Jon Arryn's death and the other conspirator(s) silenced him by making sure he would be pitted against Ser Gregor. Except, as it turns out, he had no role in Jon Arryn's death or the truth about Robert's children. Lysa poisoned Jon Arryn on Littlefinger's instruction.
- Jerkass: Refuses to talk to Jory because the latter isn't a knight.
- Promoted to Scapegoat: He's knighted almost immediately after Jon Arryn's death, even though its clear he's neither ready or deserving of knighthood. To Ser Hugh, its payment for his role in the murder, to the people who promoted him, its just one step closer on his way to Gregor Clegane's lance. Turns out he had no part in his murder. He was just knighted in honor of Jon Arryn's memory and happened to be unlucky enough to face Gregor Clegane.
- Red Herring: Set up as one by Littlefinger for Ned Stark's investigation of Jon Arryn's death.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Killed to show how much of a monster Ser Gregor Clegane actually is.
- Smug Snake: Despite having murdered his way to the top and lacking any kind of skill as a knight, Hugh is very assured of his own importance. He haughtily looks down on Jory for not being a knight while blindly walking toward his own demise.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Receives little to no characterisation beyond 'dick-weasel', before Gregor's lance finds his neck.
"Dwarf man making noise again!"
Played By: Ciaran Birmingham
The jailor in charge of the sky cells in the Eyrie.
Ser Donnel Waynwood
"Who would pass the Bloody Gate?"
Played by: Alisdair Simpson
The second son of Lady Anya, currently serving as Knight of the Gate, the guardian of the Bloody Gate, which blocks the mountain road into the Vale.
- Bearer of Bad News: When Arya Stark arrives at the Bloody Gate with Sandor Clegane, he gives them the news that her aunt Lysa is dead, botching Sandor's plans to ransom Arya at the Eyrie. Arya's response? Laughing her ass off.
- The Captain: As the Knight of the Gate, he's in charge of all the soldiers protecting the Bloody Gate.
- Catch Phrase: "Who would pass the Bloody Gate?" is the customary phrase given by every Knight of the Gate to anybody that would want to pass through it.
- Demoted to Extra: While still a minor character in the books, his role in the first book (Leading the sortie that saves Catelyn and the others from further mountain clan ambushes and escorting them to Eyrie) is given to Ser Vardis Egen instead. He finally shows up in season 4 as the Knight of the Gate.
- Gate Guardian: He is responsible for defending the Bloody Gate, and thus all of the Vale.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Bloody Gate sounds like quite the inviting name, right?
Ser Vance Corbray
"Your secret is safe with us, my lady."
A knight of House Corbray, a noble family of the Vale seated at Heart's Home.
- Canon Foreigner: In the books, we have the brothers Lyonel and Lyn Corbray. Vance is a show-only character.
- The Quiet One: He's mostly silent during Littlefinger's hearing and only speaks when he promises to keep Sansa's identity a secret.
- Secret Keeper: He promises that Sansa's true identity will be a guarded secret.
- Spear Carrier: He has only one line of dialogue during the hearing and is not present afterwards when Littlefinger discusses the Vale's future role in the war with the other nobles.
- Unwitting Pawn: Like the other two Vale aristocrats, he is suckered by Littlefinger's (and Sansa's) ruse.