Littlefinger has been obsessed with Sansa since Game of Thrones began, but the devious miscreant has found a new interest in the younger, not-as-easy-to-manipulate Arya Stark.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5.]
It’s ironic that the Stark children have finally reunited at their family home as the house has never felt more divided. Bran has denounced his Stark name, insisting he be referred to as the Three-Eyed Raven. Jon Snow is off trying to collect dragonglass from Dragonstone before venturing North to defeat the army of undead. Arya and Sansa, still at Winterfell, can’t stand each other — and no one has noticed this more than Littlefinger.
Until recently, Sansa had been easier for Littlefinger to manipulate. She was more trusting and he abused that power. Arya isn’t keen on the shadowy figure, but understands he has a close relationship to her sister. The more Arya becomes aware of Sansa’s perceived lust for power, even going so far as to not defend her brother Jon from the angry lords of the North, the young Stark also notices more of Littlefinger’s dealings with various people.
It comes to a head when Arya spots Littlefinger speaking to someone who discovered a note Sansa wrote — and that was hidden by the former Maester Luwin. Littlefinger hides it in a place where the note seems hidden but he knows Arya will find it. If you couldn’t decipher the note, here’s its text:
I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert's brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and providing me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King's Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark.
Sound familiar? If you recall the show’s first season, this was the letter Sansa was forced to write, under the watchful eye of Cersei Lannister, and send to Robb Stark. Littlefinger, like Maester Luwin who first told Robb that the letter seemed strange, knows full well Sansa didn’t want to write it. He’s also aware that she was under forced to do so.
This is all a part of Littlefinger’s game. If he can get Arya to believe that Sansa would turn her back on the Stark family years ago, than why wouldn’t she do it now? Arya may be more difficult to manipulate, but she isn’t perfect. Sansa has become more aware of Littlefinger’s games, encouraging Arya not to trust him, but this one will be hard for her sister to defend against.
It’s all a part of Littlefinger’s plan to divide the sisters. Aidan Gillen, the actor who plays Littlefinger, told TV and Satellite that his character will spend the season making everyone doubt Sansa, including Sansa herself.
“He’s trying to sow seeds of doubt to Sansa, doubts about her brother Jon Snow’s validity as a leader, even about his validity as a brother,” Gillen said. “And now that Arya’s arrived at Winterfell, he wants to drive the sisters apart too.”
Now that Littlefinger has access to all of Maester Luwin’s records, which include every single letter that was sent to King’s Landing or received at Winterfell, Littlefinger has a new arsenal of weapons to use. Littlefinger hasn’t hid his desire to become the King in the North. With Jon out fighting a number of battles and Arya being driven apart from her sister, now is the perfect time to strike.
It’ll be up to Arya and Sansa to see through Littlefinger’s ploys. They have to trust in one another and band together against Littlefinger. Otherwise, the future of Winterfell will be at stake once again.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.