Most characters on “Game of Thrones” have an obvious goal they’re working towards – Daenerys wants to sit on the iron throne, Cersei wants to stay on the throne, Jon wants to play with zombies and Hot Pie wants to make pie.
But what about Littlefinger?
Unlike Varys, who has revealed himself time and time again to be a servant of the realm (ie. he does what he does for the good of the people), Littlefinger is playing the game for himself. He was seemingly on Ned Stark’s side and then he got him executed, he was on Cersei’s side and then he helped Sansa escape, and THEN he was on #TeamSansa…and so of course he went and got her married to Ramsay Bolton.
It’s been lightly hinted at, but Littlefinger is motivated by one thing and one thing only: himself.
So then what the fuck is Littlefinger doing in Winterfell? Because for the past few episodes all it looks like he’s been doing is trying to poison Arya and Sansa against each other – but why? What’s the point in that and how does it get him closer to the iron throne? I honestly didn’t have an answer for you and was getting annoyed at how blind Sansa is towards him and how fucking stupid Arya is (yeah she’s a badass assassin now, but just because she learned a few tricks doesn’t mean her IQ went up at all), but a new fan theory explains why Littlefinger is seemingly wasting his time in the north. Via Redditor squirrelwoman:
Littlefinger wants Sansa and the Iron Throne; Jon is the roadblock in the way of both goals.
Littlefinger’s already told us what his basic strategy is; he lets his enemies destroy each other for him while he acquires more territory and an ever-larger army. Adding the North to his pile is his next step, and while he seems to be sitting around Winterfell twiddling his thumbs, he’s actually positioned exactly where he wants to be, with a fantastic excuse for staying out of the fiery bloodbath to the south.
While Littlefinger and his army are parked safely at Winterfell, his rivals are dropping like flies: the Martells and Tyrells are gone, half the Greyjoy fleet just sunk the other half, and Team Cersei and Team Daenerys are hacking away huge chunks of each other’s military might every time they clash.
In Littlefinger’s plan, it doesn’t matter much whether it’s Cersei or Daenerys who wins; whichever one sits on the Iron Throne at the end will do so with heavy martial losses and a serious public relations problem. People hated Targaryens before one unleashed a Dothraki horde and burninated the countryside… and they hated Cersei before she blew up their religion and strutted around pregnant with her brother’s baby, thus proving the rumors true that Joffrey and Tommen were never legitimate kings.
This makes sense – why get involved in the fray when you can just sit and wait it out? But problems arise with one person he didn’t expect being thrown into the mix: Jon Snow.
But then Jon threw a wrench in this plan by not dying during the Battle of the Bastards… and another by being so impressive that no one in the North cared that Sansa outranked him… and yet another when he crowned himself King of the Cockblock.
But to Littlefinger, there’s something even worse and more dangerous about Jon: if Jon isn’t stopped soon, Jon is going to completely destroy Littlefinger’s throne-taking army by marching it north to die fighting magical snow zombies.
To Littlefinger, magical snow zombies will never be more important than winning the iron throne. Just like all of the southerners, he doesn’t understand the true threat that’s walking their way – which is why instead of trying to help the cause, he went behind Sansa and Jon’s back in an attempt to sway Bran to his side:
So when Bran shows up, Littlefinger tries to turn him into an asset. Bran is physically weak and seems like he might have some mental problems to boot; at first glance, he seems like he might be as easy to manipulate as Sweetrobin. That could even be a sweet shortcut for Littlefinger; instead of having to painstakingly chip away at Sansa’s defenses, he could just get Bran to commandSansa to marry him.
So Littlefinger gives Bran a neat present, tries to ingratiate himself, and starts working the “Hey, y’know, YOU’RE the rightful Lord of Winterfell, not that bastard brother of yours” angle. If he can get Bran to challenge Jon, either outcome is a win; even if Jon stays in power, Jon will take a massive hit to his reputation and the loyalty of his Stark-sworn bannermen.
But instead, of course, Bran looks right through Littlefinger and tells him that “chaos is a ladder”. And while it’s plenty unsettling on the “I know about shit you said to Varys in private” level, it also implies that Bran knows exactly what Littlefinger is trying to do at Winterfell… create chaos so that he can climb the ladder.
And now Arya shows up. And Arya is a problem. Not just because Littlefinger recognizes that fighting style, but because any of the folks currently at Winterfell who spent time around the Stark kids before the war could have told him that Arya and Jon were best buddies. That’d be dangerous to have around even before you threw Arya’s currently unknown badass capabilities into the mix.
BUT…if Littlefinger can somehow poison Arya and Sansa against each other, it’s possible that Jon becomes neutralized and Sansa takes his place as the Queen in the North:
Right now, if Littlefinger tried to poison Sansa against Jon, Arya could talk some sense into her… but Arya will lose all her power to do that if Sansa no longer trusts her.
If Arya thinks Sansa is plotting against Jon, Arya would likely start undermining Sansa… and since Sansa is actually trying to help Jon, Arya will be making Jon’s situation worse. And if Sansa finds out, they’d be even madder at each other.
Moreover, if shit goes down before Jon returns, he’d be asked to choose sides… either pissing off a terrifying little No One, or the woman half his army are more loyal to than him.
And maybe more importantly than any of that in Littlefinger’s eyes, the situation has the potential to cause Sansa to feel utter despair. For years, Sansa has longed to go home, to escape backstabbing and intrigue and return to a place where she can truly feel safe, surrounded by love and honesty. If Sansa has finally gotten back to Winterfell, finally gotten back to the Starks, only to have the Bran-bot stare at a tree while Jon and Arya betray her… after everything Sansa’s been through, that could be the thing that truly breaks her and sends her running into Littlefinger’s arms.
In other words, Littlefinger is taking one straight out of his own playbook: sow doubt and try to flip loyalties.
The chances that Littlefinger makes it to the end of the series is slim, if you ask me – there’s no way he lives and Varys doesn’t, and we all know Varys is going to die via his conversation with Melisandre at Dragonstone. Whether it’s Arya or Sansa who kills him is up for debate, and while it’d be insanely gratifying to see Sansa do it, so far she’s passed up every available chance for murder that’s been placed in front of her. No, this is a job for Arya or Jon…but ideally sooner rather than later.