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"The last time the lords of the Eyrie formed an alliance with the lords of the North, they brought down the greatest dynasty this world has ever known."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.
— Lord Petyr Baelish
- Animal Motifs: 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. Their motto that goes along with the falcon is also "As High as Honor". The symbolism is that like an honorable falcon, they think they're "above" the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, safely secluded behind their defensive mountains, and remain aloof from the War of the Five Kings, not committing their armies to any side.
- The Cavalry: Quite literally. The Knights of the Vale arrive during the Battle of the Bastards at the last possible second to break the Bolton army and enable the Starks to reclaim Winterfell.
- 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. In the History and Lore video, "Justice of the Seven Kingdoms", Bronn considers this the most sadistic form of execution in the Seven Kingdoms:Bronn: Open on one side to a long fall, with the floor sloping down towards you like a woman's thighs. After a few days, they say the sky starts calling to you. Men jump with smiles on their faces, expecting the wind to lift them into the sky. [beat] It doesn't.
- 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.
- 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 neighbors 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.
- In Season 6, after helping Jon and Sansa liberate Winterfell, Littlefinger announces that he and the other Knights of the Vale have broken ties with the 7 Kingdoms, and in the end they acclaim Jon Snow as King in the North.
Lord Jon Arryn
Played By: John StandingThe 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.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Is loved and respected by many people, even after his death. With the exception of His wife, Littlefinger, the Lannisters sans Tyrion, and the Targaryens, of course.
- Big Good: To Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and several Vale Lords. In the books...
- 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.
- A Father to His Men: Both Ned and Robert treats him as a second father and his men love him.
- 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. Perhaps the best example of his skill was in reconciling the Tyrells, who supported the Targaryens, to King Robert. The loyalist Tyrells were given amnesty, and in exchange they assumed a large part of the war debt, and (since the Reach was mostly untouched by the war) agreed to supply the realm with food and other basic resources for the war-exhausted continent.note
- 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.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: As Robert's Hand, he basically ran the Seven Kingdoms due to the former being so lazy and hating the job.
- 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.
- Older Sidekick: Serves as his former student's Hand after his coronation.
- 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.
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: When the Mad King orders for both Ned and Robert's heads, he refuses to comply and joins his students' respectable houses in rebellion.
Lady Lysa Arryn, née Tully
Played By: Kate Dickie
"My father, my husband, my sister, they all stood between us and now they're all dead. That's what happens to people who stand between Petyr and me!"Jon Arryn's widow, and sister to Catelyn Stark. Driven completely insane by her husband's death, she spends her time fawning her son and sending hundreds of people to their deaths through the Moon Door.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Played for drama. Lysa is obsessed with Littlefinger. Littlefinger, a man who has no qualms with forcing his prostitutes to perform depraved and life threatening jobs, is unsettled by this obsession.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: She's much leaner in the series than in the books.
- Adaptational Villainy: She still kills Jon in the books, but her motive is to prevent him from sending Robin away; her overprotectiveness comes from having had multiple miscarriages and stillbirths (and it's hinted that it was caused by her father giving her an early abortion), and she also keeps out of the war to protect her son. In the show, it's all for Littlefinger.
- All Love Is Unrequited: It's mentioned that Lysa has a thing for Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish. Littlefinger loves himself (and her sister Catelyn, and by extension her Generation Xerox daughter Sansa). Before he murders her, Littlefinger makes a point of telling her that he has only ever loved Catelyn.
- Asshole Victim: A wretched woman responsible for the death of her reasonable husband and plenty of thousands after triggering a civil war. Her death is well deserved.
- Ax-Crazy: Lysa is notably unhinged, willing to straight-up murder a Lannister in a Kangaroo Court. She later attempts to murder Sansa out of jealousy.
- Big Little Sister: She is a few inches (5'6 1/2) taller than Cat (5'5).
- The Bus Came Back: She finally makes a return on Season 4's fifth episode "The First of his Name".
- Cavalry Refusal: Refuses to help the Starks when Catelyn calls for aid.Lysa: The Knights of the Vale will stay in the Vale to protect their Lord.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: To Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish. Just watch how quickly she gets furious, when she asks Sansa about why Littlefinger feels so "responsible" for her.
- Combat Pragmatist: She doesn't get involved in combat herself, but she's perfectly happy to send a knight in full armor up against the unarmed and small-of-stature Tyrion, and refuses to allow Tyrion his legal right to a champion when he tries to name his brother Jaime. It would have worked, if Tyrion hadn't convinced Bronn to fight for him, with little more than a glance and a single phrase, a full episode before he was imprisoned.
- Crazy Survivalist: After Jon's death, she fled to his isolated, impregnable fortress: the Eyrie. And despite the oncoming winter, she still hasn't come down, even though the Eyrie is nearly uninhabitable during the winter and even though the Arryns typically descend from the Eyrie to a lower-altitude fortress during the winter.
- Daddy Issues: She resents her father so much that she didn't even go to his funeral.
- Disney Villain Death: Littlefinger pushes her out the Moon Door.
- Evil All Along: It turns out she and Littlefinger, not the Lannisters, were behind Jon Arryn's murder, and together essentially caused the whole fucking plot, including, but certainly not limited to, the deaths of millions in the War of the Five Kings, the near-extinction and exile of House Stark, the fall of Lysa's own House Tully, the ascent of the despicable Houses Frey and Bolton, the burning of Winterfell, Littlefinger's own meteoric rise (which is definitely a bad thing), Joffrey's final victory and then horrific death.
- Evil Is Hammy: She really ramps it up in her last scene when she tries to kill Sansa."Liar! HE IS MINE!"
- Evil Redhead: Had her husband murdered and was planning to kill Sansa out of jealousy until Littlefinger intervenes.
- Fiery Redhead: Mainly because she's so unhinged.
- Foil: To her sister Catelyn. While the Tully girls are both mothers acting in defense of their children, her strategy is passive (hide in the Eyrie with Robin), and vicious (willing to allow Tyrion the chance to fall to his death in one of her sky cells). And then she's a My Beloved Smother.
- Frame-Up: In "The First of His Name", in a Call Back to one of the very first scenes in the show, Lysa reveals that she framed the Lannisters for her husband's death, along with Littlefinger. Littlefinger manipulated her into assassinating him and sending Catelyn a message blaming the Lannisters.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Lysa was always jealous of Littlefinger's love for Catelyn, who was oblivious to Lysa's feelings.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: She's Lady of the Vale, not a queen, but otherwise fits this trope perfectly. Besides, it's one of the Seven Kingdoms, so she would be a queen if it weren't for the Targaryen conquest.
- Green-Eyed Monster: To an absurd degree. She was jealous of Littlefinger's affection for Cat. Then she comes close to killing Sansa because she believes Littlefinger wants her.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Littlefinger personally throws her out of the Moon Door, her preferred method of execution.
- Her accusations of Tyrion, whom she slurs for being a dwarf. It turns out that, Bran's crippling and attempted execution asidenote , she was the one who murdered Jon Arryn, the very crime she means to execute an innocent man for. She has the gall to continue painting him as a monster to Sansa.
- Also in retrospect, her declaration to Bronn that he doesn't fight with honor. Yes, the woman who cheated on her husband and then killed him is the right person to start talking about honor.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Proudly tells Littlefinger she's going to scream as they make love. She isn't joking.
- Incest Subtext: In her first scene she's breastfeeding Robin. Who's eight! Also implied later when he's sent off to take a bath that she'll be along presently to do the bathing. In-universe, her relationship to her son squicks out both Tyrion and her sister Catelyn.
- Karmic Death: She gets thrown out the Moon Door after trying to throw Sansa out it.
- Love Makes You Evil: Her super creepy obsession with Littlefinger made it easy for him to manipulate her into murdering Jon Arryn and blaming the Lannisters, which was the seed of the War of the Five Kings, and also made it easy for him to manipulate her into marrying him, making him Lord Protector of the Vale.
- Madwoman in the Attic: With the twist being that this attic is the Eyrie as a whole, whilst Lysa chooses to hole up in it herself, and that she is the ruler of the Vale after the death of her husband. Even though it's obvious to anyone that she is nuts.
- Mama Bear: To her son, Robin.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: More neglect than mistreatment, but still. Because she was prevented from marrying Littlefinger, and forced to marry Jon Arryn, whom she never loved, it didn't take much encouragement from Littlefinger to poison Jon Arryn and blame the Lannisters.
- Mole in Charge: For Littlefinger. He manipulated her into killing Jon Arryn and blaming the Lannisters, which helped him start the War of the Five Kings to get revenge on the Starks for being unable to marry Catelyn. And then he manipulated her into marrying him so he could be the de facto Lord of the Vale.
- Mood-Swinger: Especially towards poor Sansa. It's clear Lysa cares about her, but her jealousy of Littlefinger's affections makes her even more dangerously unstable, when she thinks that he might having an affair with her. In all likelihood, this was probably why Baelish killed her eventually.
- My Beloved Smother: Had she done a better job raising Robin (for example, not breast-feeding him several years past the cut-off point) maybe he wouldn't have turned out so damn creepy. From the books...
- Oh, Crap!: When Littlefinger says that he's only loved Catelyn. Five seconds later, he shoves her out the Moon Door.
- Pet the Dog: She is genuinely happy to see Sansa and that her niece has finally escaped from the Lannisters' clutches. Unfortunately, Lysa's jealousy eventually corrupted her.
- Regent for Life: Though Robin is the official Lord of the Vale; Lysa is the one with actual power, and even as he grows she's unlikely to change that.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Once Littlefinger finally gets everything he wants from her, she's not long for this world.
- Sanity Slippage: Jon Arryn's death has turned her into a paranoid recluse with a penchant for tossing people through the Moon Door. It's unclear how sane she was before this, but when Catelyn meets her after two years of no contact, she's shocked by how far gone Lysa is.
- Shotgun Wedding: Invoked, even though she'd never do Littlefinger harm. She tells him it's high time they get married, in front of the open Moon Door, and when he agrees she reveals she had a septon ready with two armed guards behind the other door the entire time.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Littlefinger. When he returns to the Vale, her blatant obsession with him is... unsettling to say the least.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite appearing in six episodes, Lysa Arryn's actions have majorly affected the plot of the entire series. She's revealed to be the one who murdered her husband, framed the Lannisters for the deed, and is responsible for the entire war that followed, all of which she did at Littlefinger's behest.
- Smug Snake: Not nearly as smart as she thinks she is. Though she murdered her husband, Jon Arryn, and conducted an affair with Littlefinger and remains Beneath Suspicion.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Petyr claims this while attempting to explain Lysa's "suicide". The audience knows better.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Vale under her command essentially. The knights and bannerhouses of the Vale are loyal to her, but more out of respect for Jon Arryn's legacy and for House Arryn (the most ancient Andal house, and which gave Westeros its very first Andal kings) itself than anything else.
- Yandere: She's quite... obsessed with Littlefinger, showing willingness to harm anybody she suspects of getting in-between the two of them. This includes her own father and her sister, her husband, Jon Arryn, who she poisoned on Littlefinger's behest.
- Your Cheating Heart: She and Littlefinger have conducted an affair behind Jon Arryn's back.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It's a bit ambiguous just how long Littlefinger was going to keep her around after marrying her, but after seeing how dangerously unstable she really is and the fact that she threatened Sansa, she goes through the moon door seconds later.
Lord Robin Arryn
Played By: Lino Facioli
"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.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He appears very off in different aspects, though it may be due to Lysa's upbringing.
- The Bus Came Back: After his appearance in Season 1, he is not seen again until Season 4. He has since been making an appearance at least Once a Season.
- 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.Robin: [learning Sansa is being hunted] She is my cousin... We should help her.
- 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.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Puns aside, he is notably pale, has dark brown hair, and is a Creepy Child to boot.
- Foil: 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.
- Horrible Judge of Character: He trusts Littlefinger's assessments of who in his court is loyal. Justified as his mom was in love with Petyr and even made him the Honorary Uncle to Robin, the kid being coddled all his life by his mom probably belived her.
- Momma's Boy: Up to and including being breastfed, despite being EIGHT YEARS OLD.
- My Beloved Smother: See above.
- Non-Action Guy: Royce describes his swordsmanship as being like "a girl with palsy."
- 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.
- Pet the Dog: When he hears that Sansa's in trouble he sends his army to help her.
- Puppet King: He is too distracted by Petyr's gifts that, making him the perfect pawn since unlike Joffrey his kill-them-all attitude is out of boredom than pleasure.
- Royal Brat: He's used to getting what he wants. Unfortunately, what he wants is usually to "see people fly."
- Thicker Than Water: He decides to help Sansa because she's his cousin, even though he has no obligation to.
- 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"
Played By: Aidan Gillen
"I did warn you not to trust me."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 Westeros, 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 new wife, Lady Lysa Arryn.
- Adaptational Intelligence: Inverted. His book counterpart was a genius with money who took out loans to fund a successful investment plan which gave the crown a massively increased income (and increased control over trade in the capital by buying up the dock businesses), which only collapsed because his successors had no idea what they were doing. This version took loans to directly pay the crown's expenses, gambling he'd be out of town by the time anyone figured out he'd screwed over the kingdom.
- Then again, even in the books, a large number of fans suspect that Littlefinger himself engineered the debt crisis for the crown, because he knew he'd one day turn against the Iron Throne. Even Tyrion in the novels points out that due to simple math, Robert couldn't have racked up that much debt on lavish tournaments alone, due to the strong gross income levels - Tyrion thinks Littlefinger was robbing the crown blind.
- Thanks to having less players around in his quest for power he climbs the ladder way faster than his book counterpart with and already owns the Vale in all but name.
- 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.
- 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: Once an employee is no longer useful or profitable, Baelish has them murdered or subjected to A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Badass Boast: "The Eyrie is mine", he says to his fellow schemer Roose Bolton, Lord of Winterfell, and that the last time the Vale and the North were in league, they brought down the greatest dynasty the world has ever known. Ironically, Littlefinger would be instrumental in the extinguishing of House Bolton down the road...
- 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. Unlike Joffrey or Ramsay, who delight in sadism itself, Littlefinger loves power, and he gives as much thought to the people he hurts along the way as he does to stepping on ants.
- 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 and later Roose Bolton, 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. Though this might change as Varys and Tyrion return to Westeros alongside Daenerys.
- Big Damn Heroes: Whatever his motives, Littlefinger's arrives with the Knights of the Vale during the Second Battle of Winterfell and the timely intervention saves the Stark army from complete annihilation and utterly turns the tide against Ramsay Bolton.
- 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.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: He invokes this a lot and people believing him is how he is able to keep getting away with obvious act of treason. He also indirectly does it to Royce when he shows that he could have him killed by lord Robin's orders but doesn't since he is a good military mind for the wars to come.
- Captain Obvious:
- 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? He also notes "Fish, the sigil of house Tully... isn't that your wife's house, Tully, my lord Hand?" Given that he spent his childhood with the Tullys and is madly in love with Catelyn, something both he and Ned know, he's being blatantly willfully obtuse.
- Tywin angrily interrupts Baelish in the middle of one of his As You Know circumlocutions.
- 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, Lysa Arryn, and Roose Bolton.
- 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.
- Composite Character: Obsessed with putting the child of his beloved on a seat of power? He's Jon Connington.
- 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 Boss: 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.
- Corrupt Politician: Baelish stands out among his fellow schemers thanks to his financial legerdemain, his moustache twirling backstabbing and his murderous nature.
- Creepy Monotone: At his most disturbing, Petyr's voice becomes completely flat and emotionless.
- 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.
- 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.note
- Dark is Evil: Littlefinger likes to wear dark clothes and caused most of the problems in the series out of malice.
- Deadpan Snarker: It often leads to him and Varys having verbal sparring matches.
- Deadly Euphemism: "She was a ba-ad investment".
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the traditional underdog hero. Him dueling Brandon Stark for Cat was straight out of the old storybooks, the weakling childhood friend challenging the brutish knight to win a fair maiden's hand... and then Brandon kicked his ass and Petyr was only spared from death because Catlyn pleaded on his behalf. When expositing this backstory to Ros, he pretty much lampshades that the experience taught him that reality doesn't follow the stories, and neither can he if he wants to get ahead in life.
- 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.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Of the Vale. Technically, he's only Robin Arryn's regent, but he effectively runs the place through a combination of his usual politicking and threatening to sic Robin and his Moon Door on anyone who resists him.
- 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."
- To Ser Davos Seaworth. Both men came from almost nothing to having a great deal of power and influence, though are still mocked for their initial positions. While Davos takes the mockery in stride, is grateful for what he has and rewards the man who gave him his power with Undying Loyalty, Littlefinger is resentful of the mockery and rewards the people who gave him power with treachery in order to get more.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- First-Name Basis: He keeps insisting to Sansa that she call him "Petyr" but she keeps calling him, "Lord Baelish" which considering that most people call him Littlefinger is something he should be grateful for.
- Foil: The Sons of the Harpy implies that he sees himself as one to Rhaegar who unintentionally started a war out of a doomed romance with Lyanna Stark. Littlefinger, intentionally, started a war by dooming all the people who came in the way of his desires. Sansa sees through this justification and calls him out reminding him the human cost of Rhaegar's actions.
- 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 then he marries 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.
- Karma Houdini: Makes it out of the War of Five Kings (which he started) completely unscathed and with more power than ever.
- 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. It'd be easier to list the moments when he hasn't kicked the dog...
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Well, he orchestrated Joffrey's assassination with Olenna Tyrell. And his murder of Lysa isn't his greatest sin.
- Knife Nut: Littlefinger's only weapon apart from his scheming brain is a dagger.
- 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. Even then he isn't above plotting the death of Catelyn's husband and marrying Sansa to Ramsay, who at best only saw as the son of her brother's murderer and at worst saw him as Ramsay, telling her to suck it up for the sake of revenge and his own scheme.
- 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: As the master manipulator he is, he's always acting in some way or another and keeps a creepy theatricality in his mannerisms, with an emphasis on his speech akin to grandstanding.
- 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.
- The 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.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Petyr always dresses in a dapper manner befitting his station as Master of Coin. It being a Medieval Fantasy series, this tends to get him underestimated rather than respected, which is likely all part of the plan.
- 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 then manipulates 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 Stark and her daughter Sansa initially seem to be this for him. He claims to love and protect them, and acts as if his motivations stem from his unrequited love for Catelyn. But looking a little deeper, it's averted. Littlefinger engineers the fall of Catelyn's house and the death of Eddard Stark, and only really cares about her as a romantic interest as opposed to an actual person. To Littlefinger, it doesn't matter how much pain Catelyn goes through; he'll put her through hell if it means the path leads to him as the last viable option. As for Sansa, he frames her for regicide and alienates everyone else who could possibly help her just so she's trapped with him. And now he's forcing kisses on her and clumsily trying to seduce her while making her a Replacement Goldfish for Catelyn (whose death he showed no grief for). He's basically transferred his affections from Catelyn to Sansa, as if he's replacing a tool.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: While he didn't do it personally, his betrayal of Ned directly led to his death.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Some comparisons have been brought up between him and Alexander Hamilton. Both were poor growing up, with a wealthy benefactor (Hoster Tully, then Jon Arryn for Littlefinger, the merchant for Hamilton), then became valuable officials in the country's government in the realm of finance This article is one of them.
- 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.
- No, You: When Yohn Royce rightly accuses him of marrying Sansa to Ramsay Bolton, Baelish claims that she was captured and that the only one he told of their departure was Royce, retorting that he must be the traitor. This actually works out for him, despite its obviously false nature, because he's got Robin Arryn wrapped around his finger.
- 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 he reaches 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.
- Overarching Villain: Season 4 establishes Littlefinger as the omnipresent main antagonist of the non-supernatural conflict of the series, being that he masterminded the entire war and is still pulling the strings after the conflict is over, Season 5 establishes him as one of the realm's most powerful men.
- Pet the Dog:
- Seemingly for Sansa, but it's averted by his actual actions. He frames her for regicide and traps her with him so he can keep clumsily hitting on someone half his age. He does get one moment where he privately tells Sansa that Arya is still alive, seemingly to comfort her.
- And later there's a much clearer case as after Sansa fully rejects him, even refusing to let the Vale's army help her retake Winterfell just because he's associated with them, he advises her where she can get another army, with no benefit to him at all.
- 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. Sansa calls him out for this when he tells her that this time he has totally cut off ties with everyone and is firmly Team Stark.
- Psychopathic Manchild: A high-functioning one. Highly intelligent and prestigious, but is childish in his obsession with Catelyn since his child and his entire plan is essentially a giant tantrum because he couldn't have her for his wife.
- 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. He becomes 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.
- Rags to Royalty: Being king is his ultimate goal and wants to prove it can be done with minimal effort but maximum effect.
- 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.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gets a long delayed one from Sansa who calls him out for his hare-brained plot in Season 5 about engaging her to Ramsay. Littlefinger defends himself by insisting he didn't know:Sansa: If you didn't know, you're an idiot. If you did know, you're my enemy.
- Refuge in Audacity: When Littlefinger returns to the Vale announcing his intent to "rescue" Sansa from the Boltons, Lord Royce accuses him (completely accurately) of selling her out in the first place. Littlefinger's rebuttal boils down to No, You, and it's such a brazen bit of Baelish bullshit that it really shouldn't work, but it does, backed by an Implied Death Threat.
- 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.Littlefinger: 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. However, it seems unlikely that this was his sole motivation. Had he wanted to genuinely get revenge for Catelyn's death, he would have aimed his sights at Tywin, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton.Littlefinger: 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. He finally admits as much to her in the Season Finale where he admits that he sees himself on the Iron Throne with Sansa as his Hot Consort.
- His stated motive for murdering Joffrey is that he wanted revenge on the Lannisters for killing Catelyn at the Red Wedding. However, it seems unlikely that this was his sole motivation. Had he wanted to genuinely get revenge for Catelyn's death, he would have aimed his sights at Tywin, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton.
- The Rival: He and Varys regularly try outwitting the other during their time at the small council.
- 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. Otherwise, he's an entirely self-motivated snake of a man who is indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands just so he can become more like the people he hates. He even sent one of the few person he cares about in the hand of her family's murderer in a strategic move and expects her to forgive him when he comes back.
- 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. 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.
- Token Evil Teammate: To King Jon Snow. He is nominally sworn along with the other Vale forces to House Stark, but its clear evident that he has his own ambitions and will serve Jon... For the time being. Perfectly illustrated in the coronation scene, where the crowd is chanting "King in the North", Baelish is the only one quiet and very unhappy at this development.
- Tranquil Fury: He gives Olenna a very nasty glare when she notes that he cannot plot against the Tyrells, as if she falls she'll reveal his part in arranging Joffrey's death.
- Travelling at the Speed of Plot: More obvious than with other characters, as Littlefinger is a very mobile negotiator, acting in his own and the crown's interests. 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. His rapid travel in Seasons 5 and 6 resurrects this trend. Between Season 5 Episode 4 and Season 6 Episode 5, he has bounced between the Vale, Winterfell, Kings Landing, the Vale again, and finally lands in Mole's Town.
- 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?
Littlefinger: (Beat) Everything.
- Although he verges on outright sociopathy like his book counterpart.
- 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: He 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:Littlefinger: 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.
- Worthy Opponent: Judging by his facial expressions during their scene in 'The Gift', he thinks of Olenna Tyrell as this.
- 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
Played by: Rupert VansittartLord of Runestone and head of House Royce, the second most powerful house in the Vale. Father of Ser Waymar Royce of the Night's Watch note .
- 24-Hour Armor: Royce wears a breastplate during Littlefinger's interrogation, despite the fact that Baelish is unarmed and he's sitting in perhaps the least assailable castle in Westeros (in the novels, it is stated that it is a tradition among the Royces that their leader always wears armor).
- Adaptational Wimp: In the books, Royce is on to Baelish and knows how reality-warpingly dangerous he is. On the show, Royce is at least partially taken in by Baelish and Sansa's act. In his defense, he only gets taken in for the fairly convincing reason that the daughter of Ned Stark couldn't possibly enable a liar and conman. Also, Littlefinger's overall plan basically involves eventually turning on the Lannisters, which happens to also align with Royce's goals (in the novels, he was the Vale lord who most strongly argued that they needed to enter the war against the Lannisters). By the time Royce knows what he is up to, Baelish has already forced him to fall in line.
- Badass Boast / Bilingual Bonus: His cloak (and the sigil of House Royce) have ancient runes written across it, and they translate (from the Old Tongue of the First Men) into "Run before your blood runs".
- Badass Grandpa: Royce is an old but experienced warrior, still wearing armor in situations where other lords wear formal clothes, and is not afraid to challenge someone to a sword-fight if he feels slighted.
- Boisterous Bruiser: While he's not seen in battle all that often, he has the over-the-top, bombastic Hot-Blooded mannerisms down.
- 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 the rather miserable state that Lysa Arryn's coddling left her son Robin in.
- The Cassandra: Royce quickly catches on to the simple and obvious fact Littlefinger married Sansa to the Boltons, but no one believes him.
- Composite Character: He is a composite of both Yohn Royce and his more corrupt cousin, Nestor Royce. In the books Nestor Royce conducted the inquiry on Lysa's death and was swayed by Littlefinger, while Yohn Royce remains hostile to him.
- Cool Old Guy: While prideful and bigoted, he's also 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...
- Cynical Mentor: Despite training Robyn, Lord Royce has no faith that his little lord will ever improve. He's probably right.
- Four-Star Badass: A proud military commander, and from Littlefinger's comments, he also seems to be a dangerous swordsman. He presumably led the Knights of the Vale at the Battle of the Bastards, as he is present in Winterfell after the battle.
- 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. However, he is willing to apologise when he realises he's wronged somebody.Royce: [I apologize] to you as well, Baelish. We treated you most harshly.
- Good Is Not Dumb: He knows Baelish is a treacherous snake. The only reason he trusts him at first is due Sansa vouching for him.
- Have We Met?: Sansa has to remind him that they've met before when he brought his son Waymar to the Night's Watch and stopped at Winterfell; that is, Ser Waymar from the very first episode and scene in the show.
- Hot-Blooded: Very quick to anger.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his Jerk Jock tendencies and his discrimination against the Wildlings, he is a very loyal bannerman and friend. He even comforts Sansa during her stay at the Vale, and continues to show concern for her afterwards.
- 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.
- Mythology Gag: In the books, Yohn Royce (and all members of House Royce) wear bronze armor infused with ancient magical runes. The show ditches the bronze armor concept, presumably because it'd look strange, but instead Yohn's cloak is full of runes.
- Noble Bigot: Royce is extremely proud of the Vale's ancient heritage, and dislikes Baelish in part because his great-grandfather was from Braavos. He also has an intense dislike of the Free Folk, like most Westerosi.
- Officer and a Gentleman: The Vale's most distinguished military commander and a highly honorable gentleman.
- Oh, Crap!: He is visibly terrified when Littlefinger suggests to Robin that they should execute him for being disloyal. Luckily, the two decide to spare him.
- 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 is noted to have a distinguished military career, having 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...
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Markedly, unlike any other Vale character we've met, Yohn Royce seems to view the Vale's tradition of destroying invaders with immense pride.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lays the verbal smackdown on Petyr during his trial, repeatedly telling him he's a grubby man only good for counting coins and licking boots.
- 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.
- Sole Survivor: Yohn's likely the last main member of Robert's inner circle during Robert's Rebellion who's still alive.
- 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
Played by: Paola DionisottiLady 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 apologizes 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
Played By: Brendan McCormackA 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Played By: Jefferson HallAlso 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.
- 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.
- Blood from the Mouth: He dies choking in his own blood thanks to the Mountain.
- He Knows Too Much: It's initially 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. This puts him one step closer to Gregor Clegane's lance, which gets rid of one potential lead to the mystery of Jon Arryn's death.
- 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: Depiste 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.
- The Squire: Served as Jon Arryn's squire and was knighted after his death.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Receives little to no characterisation beyond 'dick-weasel', before Gregor's lance finds his neck.
Played By: Ciaran BirminghamThe jailor in charge of the sky cells in the Eyrie.
- Baddie Flattery: Tyrion cajoles him, not believing himself for a second. Mord is grudgingly called a smart man.
- Bald of Evil: As bald as he is aggressive, which is very.
- Brick Joke: Tyrion promises to pay him if he delivers a message to Lysa Arryn, requesting a trial by combat. After Tyrion wins his freedom with help from Bronn, we see him retrieve his coinpurse and then casually chuck it to Mord as he leaves.
- Dumb Muscle: Stupid to the point of not understanding riches, but big enough to do his simple job.
- Fat Bastard: Part of what contributes to his Dumb Muscle status is his size.
- Foil: Quite possibly, as part of the dynamic between the Tully sisters and their kids. Mord could be seen as a darker version of Hodor, just as Lysa and Robin are darker versions of Catelyn and Bran.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Mord has a huge, ugly scar on his head. If the wound that created it gave Mord brain damage, it would make a lot of sense.
- Hulk Speak: Mord speaks mostly in exclamation marks.
- Large Ham: He always speaks in a very Hot-Blooded manner.
- Precision F-Strike: When Tyrion first tries to bribe him.Mord: No gold!
Tyrion: Well, I don't have it here!
Mord: NO GOLD! Fuck off!
- Too Dumb to Fool: He's almost functionally incorruptible, since he's very nearly too stupid to be bribed, though Tyrion does eventually manage to bribe him enough to give a message to Lysa Arryn.
Ser Donnel Waynwood
Played by: Alisdair SimpsonThe second son of Lady Anya, serves 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
Played by: Richard Doubleday
"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.
Hill tribes of the ValeMountain tribes of the Vale that descend from the First Men and do not accept the rule of House Arryn. They live up in the Mountains of the Moon which ring the borders of the Vale of Arryn, and do not acknowledge the rule of the Arryns or other noble Houses.They have absolutely nothing to do with the "Free Folk" who live beyond the Wall, though occasionally they also get called "wildlings" - because in Westeros, "wildling" is a generic term for "savage" or "barbarian".
- Barbarian Tribe: It's what they are, lurking in the Vale and living like savages.
- Hidden Depths: Well, barely. They're introduced as utter savages, but while they certainly aren't the most refined bunch, they're not mere cavemen. For example, when a Moon Brother stabs a Stone Crow, three other Stone Crows respond by opening the Moon Brother's throat. Instead of demanding a bloody vengeance, the dead man's chieftain demands blood money from the accused as compensation. This indicates that unlike the Free Folk beyond the Wall (or even the Dothraki, really) the hill tribes do value and use currency, and are known to solve conflicts with payment rather than attacking each other like animals. Of course, this is then subverted: the Moon Brother stabbed the Stone Crow in the first place over a sausage. They're presented as a lot more casually violent than the Free Folk are.
- I Am X, Son of Y: How they introduce themselves.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: Twice in Tyrion's first season plot.
Shagga, Son of Dolf
Played By: Mark Lewis JonesChieftain of the Stone Crows and ally to Tyrion.
- An Axe to Grind: Shagga likes axes.
- Badass Boast: See the above.
- Beard of Barbarism: Bonus points for being an actual barbarian.
- Beard of Evil: He might be Tyrion's ally, but he's still a murderous savage.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Violent, aggressive and with the fists to back it up.
- The Brute: For Tyrion.
- Catch Phrase: Apparently, threatening to cut off someone's manhood and feed it to the goats is his, if the way Tyrion finishes it for him is any indication.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He's nowhere to be seen in Season 2. One memorable act of his from the second book is done by Bronn and Timett instead.
- Composite Character: There are about five Tribesmen in the books who interact with Tyrion (and one of them is actually Shagga's boss), they're all collapsed into Shagga, Son of Dolf in the show.
- Dual Wielding: Shagga really likes axes. Lines that didn't survive the book-to-television transition:Lord Lefford: He still had that woodaxe strapped to his back.
Tyrion: Shagga is of the opinion that three axes are better than two.
- Horny Vikings: His helmet and general appearance are reminiscent of theirs.
- I Am X, Son of Y: It's how he introduces himself, every single time.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: According to Tywin, the Hill Tribes are renowned as great warriors. A bit of that was Tywin buttering him up, but from the novels, while they're not exactly the most refined or "skilled" warriors, they are vicious sons of bitches.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 2, the Hill Tribes are compensated by Tywin and dismissed. He hasn't been seen since.
- Third-Person Person: Shagga, Son of Dolf does this a few times, just in case you'd forgotten his name.
Timett, Son of Timett
Played By: Tobias WinterRed Hand of the Burned Men and ally to Tyrion.
- Adaptational Wimp: While Timmett can be assumed to be a good fighter in the show, he's visually almost indistinguishable from the others tribesmen and never fights onscreen. In the books Timmett is still a teenager, put out his own eye with a red-hot knife (presumably the show's Timmett lost his eye the same way, but it's not explained), leaps right off his horse and comes up ready to fight when it's shot from under him in Tyrion's first battle, and tears out a man's throat with the fingers of one hand.
- An Axe to Grind: He's rather fond of his axes.
- Ascended Extra: In Season 1, he wasn't even credited. He has a slightly more prominent role in Season 2.
- Beard of Barbarism: He has one, being a barbarian and all.
- The Brute: Depending on how you look at it. He and his are helping out resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold Tyrion Lannister.
- Comically Missing the Point: "There are no goats, Half-man!"
- Composite Character: In the books, while Timett is also present, it is Shagga the one who Tyrion tells to "cut off [Pycelle's] manhood and feed it to the goats."
- Dumb Muscle: Timett is an uneducated savage, but he's a capable fighter.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: One of his eyes is completely burned. From the books...
- Guttural Growler: This was probably to be expected.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 2, the Hill Tribes are compensated by Tywin and dismissed. He hasn't been seen since.
Chella, Daughter of Cheyk
Played By: N/AChieftain of the Black Ears and ally to Tyrion.