Petyr Baelish

As one of the most intelligent people in Westeros, Petyr Baelish creates the rift between the Starks and Lannisters, causing the War of the Five Kings.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Lord Petyr Baelish, also called Littlefinger, is the head of House Baelish of the Fingers. He served as the master of coin on the small council of King Robert Baratheon and later became the Lord of Harrenhal. Though he came from lesser beginnings, Petyr rose in the ranks with his exceptional intelligence to become one of the political titans in the Seven Kingdoms. His mastery of finances made him crucial to the economy of King’s Landing, and when he left, Queen Cersei Lannister’s terrible governance wrecked the city.

Petyr Baelish Personal Details

  • Name: Petyr Baelish.
  • Year of Birth: 268 A.
  • Parents: Lord Baelish and Lady Alayne.
  • Allegiances: House Baelish of the Fingers, House Baelish of Harrenhal.
  • Aliases: Littlefinger, Lord Littlefinger.
  • Titles: Lord, Master of Coin, Lord Paramount of the Trident, Lord of Harrenhal, Lord Protector of the Eyrie, and the Vale of Arryn.
  • Personal Arms: Mockingbirds on a field of green.
  • Culture: Valemen.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.
  • Hair Color: Black.
  • Eye Color: gray-green.

Appearance and Personality

Petyr is a slender-framed man with sharp facial features. He has dark hair with wisps of grey, a small pointed chin, and his eyes are gray-greenish. His breath is fresh as he chews on mints, a hobby he has always enjoyed. One distinct feature of Petyr is a unique smile. According to Catelyn Stark, his cat-like eyes show no emotion when he smiles.

Petyr is an incredibly cunning man with exceptional finance skills. He is ambitious and a bold boy with little fear. Though he is intelligent, littlefinger is subtle, and most people think he is weak. When Tyrion arrived at King’s Landing, he discovered that people trusted Petyr because they looked down on him, whereas the lord is a highly skilled and dangerous man.

For his attire, littlefinger wears a slashed cream and silver velvet doublet, a plum-colored doublet embroidered with his arms, a black grey-sleeved velvet doublet, and a blue velvet tunic. He owns capes of different colors, and his cloaks got patterned with the shape of mockingbirds.

Petyr Baelish Biography

Early Life

Petyr Baelish has a Braavosi ancestry. His great-grandfather was a Braavosi sellsword in service of Lord Corbray, and his son became a hedge knight who took the head of the Titan of Braavos as his sigil. Petyr’s father became a minor lord on one of the remotest lands of the fingers. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings, he befriended Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun; this enabled Petyr to become a ward of Hoster.

While at Riverrun, Petyr got fostered alongside Hoster Tully’s children, Catelyn, Lysa, and Edmure. Because of his height, Edmure Tully nicknamed him littlefinger, and the name stuck for the rest of his life. He grew closer to the Tully children and once ate mud pies cooked by Catelyn and her sister, which made him sick for a week. As he grew older, Petyr fell in love with Catelyn, but she never returned the affection as she only saw him as a brother. Her sister, on the other hand, Lysa, fell in love with him and would allow him to kiss her.

Upon learning that Catelyn got betrothed to Brandon Stark, the heir to Winterfell, Petyr tried showing his love by kissing Cat during a dance. She shoved him away and laughed at him, making him get drunk. While in a state of stupor, Lysa came to Petyr, and believing she was Catelyn, they slept together; this made him think Catelyn gave him her maidenhead.

When Catelyn’s wedding date got announced, Petyr challenged Brandon to a fight. He got severely wounded during the duel. After recovering from his wounds, Hoster sent him away. However, before leaving, he slept with Lysa and thought he had claimed the maidenhead of the Tully sisters. Lya later got pregnant, but her father forced her to abort the child because littlefinger was of low birth.

Rise to Power

After Brandon’s death at the hands of King Aerys II Targaryen, Petyr sent a letter to Catelyn, but she burnt it without reading it. She later married Lord Eddard Stark, and her sister married Lord Jon Aryyn during Robert’s Rebellion. After the Mad King’s death, Robert Baratheon became King, and Lord Arryn became the Hand of the King. Littlefinger maintained a relationship with Lysa, and she convinced her husband to give Petyr control over the customs at Gulltown. 

After increasing the income tenfold, Jon brought Petyr to the royal court to serve on King Robert Baratheon’s small council as the master of coin. Petyr built a network of influence and placed people loyal to him in many positions. He created a complex system of loans and revenue generators to ensure the King never went short of gold. He continues his relationship with Lady Lysa Arryn. When she learns her husband plans to send her son, Young Robert, to be fostered at Dragonstone by Stannis Baratheon, she asks Petyr for a potion and kills her husband.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

After Jon Arryn’s death, Robert Baratheon asks Lord Eddard Stark to become the Hand of the King. Bran Stark slips into a coma after getting thrown off a tower by Ser Jaime Lannister. An assassin tries to kill him with a Valyrian steel dagger.

After the assassin’s death, Catelyn travels to King’s Landing and meets Petyr, who lies he lost the blade to Tyrion Lannister. He hides her true identity and takes Ned to meet her. He then vows to help Ned uncover the truth behind the assassination of Jon Arryn.

When Robert holds a small council meeting about Daenerys Targaryen, Petyr agrees that she should get assassinated. Later Ned discovers Cersei’s illegitimacy and asks for Petyr’s help. When he confronts Cersei, she arranges for her husband’s accident, and the King dies. When Ned tries to seize the throne, Petyr betrays him, and he gets arrested for treason. He holds Jeyne Poole in his custody while Arya Stark flees.

A Clash of Kings

After the deaths of Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon, Lord Tywin Lannister sends his son Tyrion Lannister to serve as the acting Hand of the King. On getting to King’s Landing, Tyrion realizes how connected Petyr is, and the lord suggests the Iron Throne spread false rumors about Stannis’s daughter, Selyse.

When Renly Baratheon gets killed, he sends him to negotiate a Lannister-Tyrell alliance between King Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell. Petyr succeeds, and Stannis gets defeated. After the battle, littlefinger gets rewarded with the title of Lord Paramount of the Trident and Lord of Harrenhal. He maintains communication with Sansa through Ser Dontos Hollard.

A Storm of Swords

After Sansa meets with Lady Olenna Tyrell, Petyr warns Tywin of Tyrells plot to wed Sansa to Willas Tyrell; this makes Tywin hastily marry his son to her. Due to his high status, Petyr gets considered as a husband for Lysa Arryn, and he leaves King’s Landing. However, he stays near the city and waits.

Joffrey gets killed, and Sansa leaves King Landing to Petyrs custody. He reveals he and Olenna planned Joffrey’s murder and tells her he also plotted for Tyrion to get killed as that would make Sansa a widow. He dyes her hair and makes her his bastard daughter Alayne Stone.

When Petyr reaches the Eyrie, Lysa makes him the Lord Protector of the Vale. When she catches him kissing Sansa, she almost pushes the young girl out of the Moon Door. However, Petyr comes in time to save Sansa. Lysa then reveals how they killed her husband and wrote the letter that made House Stark hate the Lannisters. Petyr eventually pushes Lysa through the Moon Door.

A Feast for Crows

After Lysa’s death, the Lords of the Vale plan to remove Petyr from his position. During a meeting with the Lords Declarant at the Eyrie, Petyr tells Sansa he will place some of the lords on his payroll and effectively gains their support. He teaches Sansa more about politics and how to influence others.

A Dance with Dragons

After the Red Wedding, the Lannisters bring a northern girl and claim she is Arya stark. They give her to Ramsay Bolton as a wife to seal the alliance between the Iron throne and House Bolton. Meanwhile, the girl is Jeyne Poole, who got trained while being kept in one of Petyr’s brothels. With the help of Theon Greyjoy, Jeyne escapes Winterfell and meets Stannis’s host.

Appearance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Aidan Gillen portrayed Petyr Baelish. He appeared in seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and starred in 41 episodes. After Jon Arryn’s death, Petyr meets Varys in the throne room. After Joffrey’s death, Petyr travels to the Eyrie, where he marries Lysa Arryn. However, Lysa gets jealous of Sansa and tells her she and Petyr had their wedding night long before they got married. She reveals the truth to Sansa but gets killed.

After her death, Lord Yohn Royce questions Petyr about Lysa’s death, but he is not found guilty. When Jon snow becomes King in the North and Sansa becomes the Lady of Winterfell, Petyr gets sentenced to death for his hand in the war between the Stark and Lannisters. Arya slits his throat.

Petyr Baelish: The Smartest Man

It is without a doubt that Petyr Baelish is the most intelligent man in Westeros. Besides his exceptional skills in finance and commerce, he is a true player of the game of thrones. Having come from humble beginnings, he was able to work his way to the top through manipulation and careful planning.

After becoming master of coin, he still singlehandedly engineered a war between the Starks and Lannisters and became one of the most powerful lords in the Seven Kingdoms. What makes Petyr truly a genius is that he planned everything without leaving a trace; this makes him a true political genius.


Is Petyr the wisest person in A Song of Ice and Fire?

Petyr is the most intelligent and cunning person in A Song of Ice and Fire. He engineered the War of the Five Kings, killed Joffrey, and broke the houses of Stark and Lannister while profiting from the chaos.

Who did Petyr Baelish love? 

Petyr loved Catelyn Stark. When they were younger, he professed his feelings and got rejected. He never found love, even though he and Lysa kept having an affair.

Did Petyr hate Eddard Stark?

Yes. Petyr had many reasons to hate Lord Eddard Stark. First, Ned married Catelyn, the woman Petyr loved, and he was an overly honorable man who looked down on people that played dirty; this infuriated Petyr.

Why did Petyr engineer the problems of King’s Landing?

He wanted power. Having come from a minor house, Petyr experienced the brutality of being a nobody. However, his intelligence took him to the top. On getting to the pinnacle, he realized he wanted to be more than a servant. He craved to control the Iron Throne; this led to him devising the plans to wreck King’s Landing.

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