Game of Thrones recap: Littlefinger, Big Plans

Another murder mystery solved as Littlefinger is revealed to be the ultimate Westeros puppet master
Ep. 05 | Aired May 4, 2014

LITTLE DO THEY KNOW: Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) weds and beds Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie)

Meereen: It's another small council scene, except now we get to see Dany's small council. We learn Daario captured 90 ships for Dany without being asked. "I heard you liked ships," he says, so very cool and casual, like he just picked up some take-out lunch. "I heard you liked tacos."

She then contemplates conquering Westeros. Our ears perk up. The first problem, we are told, is she may not have enough troops. Oddly, no mention is made of Dany's dragons when discussing this plan; one would think they'd at least be some kind of factor in an attack, right? "Oh, we have 10,000 troops, plus three dragons." It's kind of a big thing to leave off the inventory list. Yet they've been off out of sight and mind since the season premiere.

The bigger problem is the last two cities Dany conquered have slid back into chaos since she departed. Apparently invading a city, ordering its people to radically change their ways, then taking off isn't the best foreign policy regime-change strategy. You would think that would be pretty obvious -- but for some reason, it never is.

The slowness of Dany's progression toward Westeros has frustrated TV views and book readers alike. But this scene spells out her issue neatly. One of the major themes in Game of Thrones is that conquest is easy -- but ruling is hard. Just ask Theon, who took Winterfell, only to quickly lose the castle (along with other things). And remember Tywin's quizzing of Tommen about what it takes to be a good king? This is one area where Tywin and Dany would agree: You need wisdom to rule. Dany recognizes that she is not yet ready to rule Westeros. She hasn't accumulated enough wisdom. This is why she has the potential to be a fantastic ruler: Unlike everybody else vying for power, Dany knows what she does not know and has the patience to learn it.

"How can I rule seven kingdoms if I cannot rule Slaver's Bay?" she asks Ser Jorah. "I will not let those I freed slide back into chains ... I will do what queens do. I will rule."

So Dany's going to stick around this city for awhile. But again: Pyramid!

The Eyrie at the Vale of Arryn: We've all had to visit nutty relatives and try to get a sense of their customs, rules and personalities. Are you supposed to take off your shoes before coming inside? Say grace before dinner? Here, Littlefinger takes Sansa to meet her crazy Aunt Lysa and  strange cousin Robin.

First we're told how this castle, The Eyrie, is super protected from enemies due to its rather unique geography (which probably makes getting delivery rather difficult). This was also mentioned in the first season, when Tyrion was brought here: The Eyrie is impregnable. ("Give me ten good men and some climbing spikes; I'll impregnate the bitch," Bronn memorably quipped). If I wasn't sure before, after this second and more emphasized reference, I'm convinced this location will eventually be a key setting in a battle of some sort.

In the castle, we see Robin is still at his mother's bosom (thankfully covered this time). Littlefinger gives Robin a pretty glass bird and he promptly throws it out the Moon Door -- that hole in the floor the Vale uses to execute people. You wouldn't think Lysa would just leave it open with little Robin running around -- but, you know, her house, her rules.

Lysa tells Littlefinger she wants to marry him now, now, now. He agrees, seemingly reluctant. Lysa arranges an ultra-fast ceremony and they get married. Amazingly, nobody dies.

During this sequence, we get a huge reveal: The inciting incident in the Game of Thrones pilot was the poisoning of Lysa's husband, Jon Arryn, who was then Hand of the King to Robert Barathon. That event sent Robert to Winterfell to conscript Ned Stark. We've always assumed Cersei and Jaime killed Arryn because he learned about their incestuous relationship. Now we learn the truth: Littlefinger sneakily seduced Lysa and convinced her to poison her husband. I bet he also pushed Robert to tap Stark to replace him. Littlefinger then had Lysa write a letter to Catelyn Stark blaming the Lannisters for her husband's death. Littlefinger also told Catelyn and Ned the assassins' dagger used to try and kill Bran after his accident was last seen in the hands of Tyrion. Catelyn then kidnapped Tyrion, and tried to have him executed in Lysa's court, provoking the Lannisters. Then Littlefinger betrayed Ned Stark which led to his arrest and execution. Then: War!

So The War of the Five Kings was in a large part instigated by Littlefinger. Others made key moves, like Joffrey executing Ned Stark. But Littlefinger was deliberately pulling strings, trying to create a chaotic situation where he could benefit. Now he's killed Joffrey, too, and forged a secret alliance with Lannister frenemy the Tyrells. Plus he's in a castle that is considered extremely difficult to attack. And he has Ned Stark's daughter.

We were once warned by Varys that Petyr Baelish is "the most dangerous man in Westeros." We've been waiting to see evidence of that. And as it turns out, we've been seeing tons of evidence the past three seasons! So much of the death and mayhem we've already witnessed is attributable, indirectly, to Littlefinger.

Then we find out Littlefinger is also quite adept at having sex with loopy aunts. All that time running a brothel probably taught Littlefinger a few little-finger tricks. Sansa lays awake at night and hears strange howling. It sounds like a direwolf being strangled. It's her aunt absolutely screaming in passion. Given her volume, it sounds like he's going right up her Moon Door.

NEXT: A raid on Craster's

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