Though it has yet to premiere, it’s clear that House of the Dragon will, like Game of Thrones, focus on the dangerous nature of Westerosi politics and the many things that people will do to gain the power they feel they deserve. In Game of Thrones, one of the most avaricious and power-hungry people was Petyr Baelish, who was constantly scheming to gain an advantage in the dangerous and deadly court at King’s Landing.
Complex though he was a character–maintaining his enigmatic persona until the very end–there are actually a number of quotes from him that sum up his entire personality.
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10 He Knows His Enemies
“Always Keep Your Foes Confused, If They Don’t Know Who You Are, What You Want, They Can’t Know What You Plan To Do Next.”
There are few characters who are as politically canny as Littlefinger, who seems to have an almost supernatural ability to understand and grasp the nuances of politics in Westeros. She is, in that sense, one of its most intelligent characters.
As this quote makes clear, he is someone who always knows what his enemies are doing. In fact, it is precisely his ability to grasp other’s motivations that allows him to endure as long as he does, when many of his opponents meet their deaths much sooner.
9 Self-Awareness Is A Virtue
“Only By Admitting What We Are Can We Get What We Want.”
Many of even the best characters in Game of Thrones tend to be very capable of deluding themselves about their own motivations and personalities. This is not true of Littlefinger, however. Though he might be one of the most amoral characters, no one can fault him for not understanding himself, his desires, and what he wants to get out of his place at court.
This quote demonstrates the extent to which he has spent his entire life getting to know himself and, as a result, honing his political abilities.
8 He’s Always One Step Ahead
“Don’t Fight In The North Or The South. Fight Every Battle, Everywhere, Always, In Your Mind.”
Though many of the most important battles in Game of Thrones take place in the real world, those who are the best generals, commanders, and schemers are those who realize the extent to which success ultimately stems from one’s ability to strategize in the mind.
Of all of the characters who occupy King’s Landing, it’s arguably Littlefinger who sees the lines of power most clearly. It’s for this reason that he’s able to set in motion the many events that bring the entire realm to its knees.
7 Money Makes The World Go Round
“All Desires Are Valid To A Man With A Full Purse.”
Cynicism is often the order of the day in King’s Landing, and most of the members of the court are always out for their own benefit, no matter what the costs to the kingdom as a whole. Littlefinger, as is so often the case, encapsulates this cynicism with this quote.
Though others might pursue loftier goals and ideals, he knows the ugly truth about the world in which they live: that money is the only thing that matters. Even the most depraved desires can be justified if the person in question has enough gold.
6 Eyes On The Prize
“The Past Is The Past. The Future Is All That’s Worth Discussing.”
Though Littlefinger is one of the series’ villains, there are still a few moments in which the audience is led to feel sorry for him. One can sense, in this quote, his own desire to put his own ignominious past behind him and to embrace the unlimited potential that the future seems to hold.
In fact, so much of his character is motivated by his yearning to escape the limits of his past, and this quote reveals the extent to which that desire is, in many ways, key to his entire political philosophy.
5 He Is An Island
“Everyone Is Your Enemy, Everyone Is Your Friend, Every Possible Series Of Events Is Happening, All At Once. Live That Way, And Nothing Will Surprise You. Everything That Happens Will Be Something That You’ve Seen Before.”
Though he is a canny politician, Littlefinger is also something of a philosopher. Having spent so much time at court, he has also developed an understanding of human nature. Obviously, his relationship with Sansa is one of the most important in the series, and this quote helps the viewer to understand why.
He grasps the reality that Sansa is slow to, i.e. that it is necessary to be constantly vigilant about the world around, to make sure that one is never caught flat-footed by other events.
4 The Power Of A Lie
“Look Around You, We’re All Liars Here, And Every One Of Us Is Better Than You.”
Though he can be quite acerbic in his attitude, the truth is that Petyr Baelish is one of the most clear-eyed people in the series. While others might dress themselves up and pretend to be something they’re not, he recognizes the ugly reality that almost everyone in King’s Landing is a liar, including himself.
There is, in fact, something almost refreshing about this quote, in that it reveals just how much he realizes about himself and about the people that surround him. He is as far from a romantic as it is possible to be.
3 He Has A Point
“Money Buys A Man’s Silence For A Time. A Bolt In The Heart Buys It Forever.”
In the world of Game of Thrones, everyone is trying to attain what power they can, no matter who they have to crush on the way to doing so. Littlefinger, as this quote reveals, is more than willing to use money to attain what he wants, but he is also very much attuned to the power of physical violence.
And, given his general cynicism, he sees it as mostly devoid of moral value. Violence, like money, is a tool that can be used to attain whatever political goals one has in mind.
2 What Is Justice?
“There Is No Justice In This World. Not Unless We Make It.”
Though some of the characters in Game of Thrones seem to want the best for the realm as a whole, Littlefinger mostly looks out only for himself.
This quote demonstrates the extent to which he sees justice, not as some abstract moral good but, instead, as something that depends on the individual and their power. Like so many of the other people who inhabit this world, he essentially subscribes to the philosophy that “might makes right”. There is no hope for true justice in the world that Littlefinger envisions.
1 The Power Of Gold
“Gold Wins Wars, Not Soldiers.”
If anyone epitomizes the saying that money makes the world go round, it would be Littlefinger. As Master of Coin, he has a particularly keen and insightful eye on the way that money is essential to the functioning of a kingdom like the Seven Kingdoms.
And, while there are many who believe that it is simply the force of arms that win battles and wars, he’s smart enough to realize that it is money–who has it, who doesn’t, and who knows what to do with it–that plays the greater part in the mighty events of the age.
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About The Author
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Thomas J. West III earned a PhD in film and screen studies from Syracuse University in 2018. His writing on film, TV, and popular culture has appeared in Screenology, FanFare, Primetimer, Cinemania, and in a number of scholarly journals and edited collections. He co-hosts the Queens of the B’s podcast with Mark Muster and writes a regular newsletter, Omnivorous, on Substack.
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