“A man with no motive is a man no one suspects.”
What effect has Petyr Baelish had this season? None. Nada. Nothing more than a thorn in the side. A monkey on a back. A tick on Sansa’s ass.
Nothing is just nothing… unless, we’re referring to Littlefinger. Then nothing changes its meaning and usually translates to something. Today a man discusses what no one really wants to discuss… the Dirtball Effect.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first… Littlefinger deserves to die. Most people would have been fine had he died seasons ago. He most certainly deserved to die right after he caused the untimely exit of my dear Kate Dickie (RIP Lysa Arryn).
That freakin’ moon door-pushing shithead.
But why, exactly, does Lysakiller need to die? Is it because his story arc has simply run out of gas? Because fans in mass quantity are tired of his lurking? Because there is really nothing left for him to contribute to the end of this tale?
But maybe, the hope for his sooner-rather-than-later demise is because he threatens our view of what the conclusion of the show might look like should he somehow survive until the end. In truth, many people believe he will have entirely no influence one way or the other. I tend to disagree.
Up until this point in Season 7, LF has largely been the creepy guy in the corner of the bar watching everyone else enjoy drinks and conversing.
What should be concerning to everyone is that he is still in the bar at all. That creepy guy in the corner is observing, scheming and waiting to see how the rest of the field fairs before he makes his move. He studies his targets to see how they might react to the unsuspecting advances of would-be one-night suitors. His presence is disturbing enough to get noticed by the management, but not enough to get him kicked out of the joint.
He is disciplined and calculating, ready to strike at anytime if the situation is right. But he is also willing to walk away empty-handed if the situation at hand never unfolds in his favor. He recognizes that if he is patient, that perfect situation will present itself, even if it is at a later date.
That is Season 7’s Petyr Baelish.
Now, let’s talk Bran and Petyr.
Much has been discussed this week about just how much Bran knows and exactly what Baelish realized when that quote came up.
The fact is that we won’t know how this plays out until sometime in the near future. But, based on logically collected show-only theory, here is what I suspect:
Bran knows very little about Littlefinger. But LF’s discussion with Bran, combined with the overall aura of distrust by the rest of the Stark kids, will prompt Bran to take a closer look which could expose many of LF’s past dealings.
Littlefinger on the other hand recognized that Bran does have a special talent. What he knows of this talent is unclear, but considering his knowledge base, it is conceivable that Littlefinger may have an indication of the power of the sight. For all we know, LF has heard tales about the Three-Eyed Raven himself.
You could easily surmise that this has to be a big concern for Baelish and a complication he did not anticipate. So, where do we go from here?
It’s no secret that Sansa and company want him gone. Like, yesterday. But LF has the Stark kids in a precarious situation. First, they still him owe him a huge debt of gratitude for saving Jon at the Battle of the Bastards. Without him, the North as we know it in Season 7 looks a hell of a lot different. And it’s one of the main reasons that he hasn’t gotten kicked out of the bar yet.
The other is that Jon and Sansa know that they need the Knights of the Vale for what is coming. We already know that Jon and Davos don’t believe they have enough men to defeat the Night King, and losing the Vale army sure as hell wouldn’t help.
There are numerous scenarios involving LF that could sway the outcome of this Game. Let’s look at a couple (and throw me some more in the comments).
What would the Starks do if LF and the Knights loaded the wagons and left Winterfell?
If LF is spooked enough by Bran, or just sick and tired of being disrespected by the kids, it’s feasible (although unlikely) that he might load up the truck and go back to Beverly (hills that is… moon doors, impregnable walls). The Vale might be a good place to watch the Great War go down if he believes his situation is becoming untenable. Would Jon and Sansa be forced to beg LF to reconsider?
If one of the Starks take out LF, what would Robin do?
One indication that this will not happen anytime soon is the absence of Lino Facioli (Robin Arryn). The Starks would be wise to gauge where Robin’s loyalties are should something happen to Uncle Petyr. But remember that much like his wonderful mother, Robin is a bit off-kilter himself and is by no means a sure thing to remain loyal to the North.
“Always keep your foes confused. If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next.”
Is Littlefinger Cersei’s mole?
How possible is it that Dirtball is sitting in the North watching the chaos unfold and is sending Cersei updates on the Starks?
For starters, Cersei is focused on Dany and the Dragons and has shown very little concern with what is happening in the North. Maybe that’s because she is predisposed with three very large dragons. Or maybe she’s comfortable because she has reliable information coming down the raven pipe.
“Every time I’m faced with a decision, I close my eyes and see the same picture. Whenever I consider a question, I ask myself ‘Will this action make this picture a reality’, pull it out of my mind and into the world…and I only act if the answer is yes. A picture of me on the Iron Throne, and you by my side.“
From a strategic standpoint, it makes sense as well. We are all aware of Littlefinger’s ultimate goal. I would think that he knows that getting there will be easier dealing with Cersei rather than Dany and the Dragons, or even a combination of Dany and Jon.
If Jon and Dany are obliterated taking heavy casualties in their battle with the White Walkers, the door is wide open for his hostile takeover. If Jon and Dany defeat the Night King, perfect. Whatever is left of them would theoretically be easy to finish off or made to bend the knee.
And if they lose, none of it matters anyway.
This would also set up a scene I’m convinced we will see at least once more… a final face-off between LF and Varys.
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse; they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.“
For Littlefinger, the climb is ongoing whether it’s apparent or not. That’s what he does… he watches and waits and plots and schemes while everyone else fights with ice and fire and sword and shield and then emerges with an advantage.
Don’t be naïve. LF didn’t make I this far just to be randomly killed in Episode 5. And the longer he lurks, the better his odds. We’ve already seen the fall of many great houses. And with each one, Littlefinger gets a little closer to his goal.
The Dirtball Effect is real, even if it hasn’t materialized through the first four episodes.
“I did warn you not to trust me.”
That’s it for me today, Ladies and Sers. A man will see you Monday morning for the Unsullied Unepic Recap, bringing you undeniable joy that is simply unattainable anywhere else.
Invite someone to the Wall. Watch out for that creepy guy in the corner tonight. And may there always be peace in your realm.
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