So, Game of Thrones just ended Season 7, and we’re on our way to Season 8, the final season in the war against the Lannisters and the undead. But in this finale is one great goodbye to a villain I liked the most in Game of Thrones: Petyr Baelish, also known by his unflattering nickname, “Littlefinger”. I suppose it’s time to write about how I think about both him and the way he went out.
The way he died was gorgeous for me. I felt like I can sense the little boy that he once was when he was begging Sansa Stark for mercy. Granted, me and my friends made fun of it, relating it to the Zelda CD-I scene where Duke Onkled begged the King of Hyrule for mercy, but the scene itself showed how far Sansa had come and how backstabbing and conniving your way to the top can all fall apart once people get wise to your schemes. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time. It’s practically building a house out of cards, and it can all tumble down with the right gush of wind. Especially when Sansa gained an all-seeing ally in the form of her brother Bran Stark, that practically signaled the beginning of the end for Petyr Baelish.
Even if he ran back to the Eyrie once Bran repeated his line of “Chaos is a Ladder”, the Vale Knights would have thrown him down the Moon Door once Bran and Sansa started talking to the Vale Lords about what Baelish did to Jon and Lysa Arryn. I suppose the only way he could have saved himself was to grab a boat and head for Braavos so he can land a gig working in the Iron Bank. After all, he publicly declared his allegiance to Winterfell in Season 6, so Cersei would have killed him. The North now knows that he betrayed Ned, the Vale knows that he killed Jon and Lysa Arryn, their rightful lords, and Daenerys has Varys whispering to her ear, and Varys would obviously tell Dany not to trust his old rival, whom he sees as a menace. Quite obviously, outside of leaving Westeros, Baelish would be screwed. He’d still get screwed in the books, because even though he’s safe in the Vale as lord protector, the Vale Lords don’t trust him, and all it takes is for Sansa to open her mouth and tell them who killed Lysa Arryn for them to throw Baelish down the Moon Door and send him plummeting to the ground.
But I would have done it differently. If I were writing it, I would still have Petyr Baelish die like in the show, but he'd give his reasons as to why he's such a backstabbing bastard. When he gets charged of all these evil deeds, like poisoning Jon Arryn, killing Lysa Arryn, betraying Eddard Stark, selling Sansa to the Boltons, etc., he'd plead guilty to all these charges. He’d somewhat try to justify those actions, saying that Jon Arryn was too old for Lysa, that Lysa was trying to kill Sansa. He only intended for Ned to be sent back to the North on the pretense of him joining the Night’s Watch, and he tried to get Ned to either make peace with the Lannisters or get Renly to replace Joffrey; he didn’t predict that Joffrey would kill Ned. He’d say that he brought Sansa to the Boltons because he thought Stannis would win and make her Warden of the North, and he planted Sansa’s letter to throw off Arya because he saw Arya as a cold-blooded murderer whose negative influence might impact Sansa for the worse. Then he'd explain why he did everything that he did. He'd talk about how trying to live an honorable life as a kid got him diddly-squat, how the love of his life was lost to him because of the rules of the world, and because of the fact that he never got what he really wanted despite trying to be a good kid in the past. He'd explain that he became a conniving bastard because that's what his life experiences showed to be the most successful. He manipulates people against each other so that they'd be forced to turn to him for help, it would make him needed in their eyes, and they would give him more and more power, and he'd say that it was the only way he can make up for the fact that he doesn't have martial powers or the right name.
When Baelish gets chewed out by the lords of the North and the Vale for being an underhanded cheater with no honor, he would fire back. He would disparage the Vale Lords for their high sense of honor, he'd disparage the Northerners for putting too much stock in honor when it suited them, he'd curse out the whole system of nobility and all these great houses who thumbed their nose at him and ruined his love life for the sake of a political alliance. He'd say that their sense of honor matters for shit because they are just as likely to do dishonorable things whenever it suited them, or if it allows them to gain more power. After all, for all their talk of honor and pride, their soldiers rape and pillage the countryside when given the chance. They buy their way through the justice system, either by getting the choice champions in trial by combat, or using aristocratic favors to woo the judges. These nobles were ruthless backstabbers and plotters long before Baelish himself came to the scene, after all. He would hardly be the first person to have done such things to gain power.
Roose Bolton knelt before Robb Stark and called him king, yet killed him in order to get into Tywin Lannister’s good graces. The lords of the North who followed Robb pledged fealty to Roose and his son Ramsay, with only a few of them lending aid to Jon Snow. The Vale Lords watched from the sidelines as the Lannisters destroyed their friends, the Starks, the Tullies, the Baratheons, and they did so without raising a hand against the corrupt Lannister family that was destroying their old friends from the War against the Mad King. Petyr would curse this notion of aristocratic honor and expose it for what it is: lipstick on a pig to make swine more attractive. It’s there so the nobles can feel good about themselves, but they would soon abandon those notions of chivalry and honor whenever it suited them. Of course, this would make the nobles in the court angry.
He'd say that his only recourse was to connive, deceive, and manipulate these great lords to get them to destroy each other, to destroy this system, because his desire and love for Cat was destroyed by this system, when she was traded to the Starks like the way a cowherd trades a pack mule for money. In a way, what he was doing is something similar to Daenerys’ idea of “breaking the wheel”. He engineered another bloody war between the great houses so he can destroy them and end this system that ruined his life, as it had ruined the lives of some many before him. When he lost Catelyn, first to the Starks, then to the Freys, and when Sansa turns on him, he'd say that their love was all that he ever wanted in his life, and everything he did was all for that end, and if he can't have that, then there's nothing for him to live for, now that he lost both his chances at love and both the North and the Vale want him dead.
He'd then tell Sansa that if she were to execute him, she should stab him at the heart, because his love is what caused him to do all these evil deeds. He'd congratulate Sansa for outwitting him at his own game, and his last words of advice is for her to keep her skills sharp in the game and never lose. Then he closes his eyes, and kneels, and Arya stabs him at the heart. As he bleeds out, a single tear falls from his eye, indicating that he loved Sansa and was genuinely hurt when she turned on him. Then the courtiers and lords present would talk about how tragic the whole thing is-that the greatest criminal and warmonger in Westeros did all those cruel and evil deeds because of lost love.
But enough about my hypothetical endings, let’s get to the man himself.
INTRODUCTION TO THE CHARACTER
Petyr Baelish, from Season 1 onwards, was one of the more enigmatic players in the Game of Thrones. His backstory is quite tragic, and it does explain why a sweet, innocent boy would grow up to be such a ruthless, conniving monster. Like Vader, it involves lost love, and like Vader, it was solidified with him losing in a duel, but unlike Vader, he wasn’t screwed over by some dark mastermind and a former best friend; he was screwed over by the system which their world ran by. As a young boy, little Petyr was raised in Riverrun along with the daughters of lord Hoster Tully of the Riverlands. Petyr’s father was a friend of Hoster’s, so he managed to get his friend to foster his kid. Baelish was bullied around by Hoster’s son, Edmure, who gave him the nickname of “Littlefinger”, because he was small for a boy of his age, and he came from the part of the Vale called “The Fingers”. The name was cruel enough to stick. Edmure’s sisters, on the other hand, Lysa and Catelyn Tully, managed to be good friends with Petyr, and they used him to trade kisses back and forth, something that a young boy like Petyr obviously enjoyed. As they grew older, Littlefinger noticed a difference in the two sisters. Catelyn grew more shy and demure, while Lysa became more bold. Petyr found Lysa pining for more attention from him, to the point where they even mated one time, but he had more of an eye for Catelyn, whom he genuinely loved.
His infatuation and love for her was cut tragically short when Catelyn Tully was betrothed by her father to Brandon Stark, a man she’d never met. Petyr, still believing in the honor code all nobles attend to, tried to stop this by dueling Brandon Stark, which ended in a crushing defeat for young Baelish. He was no fighter like the Stark man was, and Brandon would have killed him had Catelyn not interceded on his behalf……..by saying that Petyr was of no threat to their betrothal because she always thought of him as a little brother instead of a romantic partner. For his “insolence” in interfering with Tully business, Hoster Tully expelled Petyr from Riverrun. Needless to say, that was when Petyr began his fall to the metaphorical Dark Side. He learned a brutal truth: that strength rules the world, and all his aspirations of innocent love mattered for shit if you don’t have the proper strength or family name. Baelish was a minor noble, Stark was the heir to the North. Petyr was an amateur duelist at best, and Brandon was a beast in combat, like all full-grown Stark men were. All those notions of honor and chivalry don’t matter at all when someone who’s stronger than you and more prestigious than you turns against you.
Petyr returned to his homeland in the Fingers, mulling over the harsh lessons he had learned, and decided to sharpen his wits instead. He could never defeat high lords in combat, so instead, he would rather use wits and cunning to trip them up and defeat them. Then the Mad King Aerys Targaryen executed Brandon Stark and his father, Rickard Stark, for daring to protest about his son Rhaegar Targaryen “kidnapping” (in reality secretly eloping with) Lyanna Stark, Brandon’s sister and Rickard’s daughter. Catelyn was then wed to Brandon’s younger brother Eddard Stark, while Lysa Tully was wed to Jon Arryn, Petyr’s liege lord in the Vale, to secure the alliance between the Vale and the Riverlands. Petyr used his contacts with Lysa to get Jon Arryn to land him a financial job being the man in charge of customs in the Vale’s largest port, Gulltown. When he increased the place’s income several times over, Jon Arryn took note of this lowly lord from the Fingers, that a great economist was under his domain the whole time. When the Mad King Aerys and his side lost the war, Jon Arryn became the new Hand of the King to his former pupil, the newly-crowned King Robert Baratheon. When the Hand needed a man to find gold as the new king wasted away the full treasury left behind by his predecessor, Jon Arryn knew just the man, and Petyr Baelish became the new Master of Coin for the kingdom of Westeros.
As the series starts, Petyr is shown to be this weasly and middling lord who traffics in secrets, gold, and prostitutes, a combination of rather low and immoral pursuits, chasing gossip, peddling a flesh market, and being in charge of the economy for a kingdom that is 6 million gold in debt. Not the kind of guy you’d trust at first glance, especially since the main viewpoint character, Eddard “Ned” Stark, has to deal with Baelish being his wife’s ex-boyfriend. Now isn’t that awkward? But, when Catelyn shows up with a dagger that was used to try and kill her son Brandon, Petyr shows up to aid Ned Stark in finding the one who sent the killer. Littlefinger claims the dagger was his, and it was lost to Tyrion Lannister when he lost a bet in a previous tournament, which implies that one of the Lannisters, Tyrion, tried to kill Bran. In the books, Tyrion claims the dagger was King Robert Baratheon’s, and Joffrey, the King’s “son”, stole it and paid someone to slit Bran Stark’s throat with it, so the notion that the Lannisters tried to kill Bran was half-right. But in the show, they never made anything clear aside from the fact that the dagger was once Baelish’s blade, so the topic as to who tried to kill Bran is up for grabs. In any case, Baelish blames Tyrion for it, which sets the stage for the Lannister-Stark conflict.
For the most part, Baelish acts as the audience’s introduction to the eponymous “Game of Thrones”, where he tries to show Lord Eddard the intricacies of the game. He shows Ned how common people on the side are paid by people like Queen Cersei and Varys the Spider to spy on other people. He talks to Sansa about the nasty history between the Clegane brothers. When King Robert is in his deathbed and he names Ned the “Protector of the Realm”, Baelish tries to plot with Eddard to either manipulate House Lannister into becoming their allies by moving forward with the Sansa-Joffrey wedding, or to replace Joffrey with Robert’s youngest brother, Renly Baratheon, by revealing the truth about Joffrey “Baratheon” being Jaime Lannister’s bastard instead of being King Robert Baratheon’s son. It would make sense in Baelish’s eyes for Ned to do either thing: since he is Lord Protector, Robert basically just gave him the keys to the kingdom, and the first option Petyr presented would force the Lannisters to become allies of the Starks instead of being their enemy, and the second option at least gets the powerful Renly faction on their side if things go south with the Lannisters, since Renly is not only the Lord of the Stormlands, but he also has the powerful Tyrell family on his side, thanks to his friendship with Loras Tyrell, the heir to the Tyrell capital of Highgarden. The Tyrells and the Lannisters are two of the most powerful families of Westeros, and Baelish gave Ned the chance to get either side on his lap.
Both of of these schemes fail because Eddard would rather support Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s eldest brother and next of kin for the throne, which was something Baelish couldn’t support, considering that Stannis is the kind of guy who doesn’t play the game of thrones-he would just do what any puritanical man does to a bunch of corrupt schemers in a royal court and disposes of all the players, which would mean the end for Littlefinger if Stannis became king. Eddard is steady on this course, since Stannis is the legal next of kin for Robert, so Petyr Baelish decides to betray Ned to the Lannisters before Ned can hand the throne to Stannis. When Robert died, Joffrey summoned Ned and the other council members to court, and asks them to swear fealty. Ned refuses to do so, handing in his writ from Robert that names him Protector of the Realm, which Queen Cersei ignores and tears up. The city guards, bribed by Baelish, at first point their weapons at the Lannisters under Ned’s orders, but then turn against Ned and his Northern host and Baelish himself captures Ned. However, Petyr, along with Cersei, planned on giving mercy to Ned due to Sansa Stark’s pleas, with Petyr himself convincing Cersei that Sansa was innocent of her father’s “treason”. They decide to just send Ned back to the North to be with the Night’s Watch. However, King Joffrey shows no such mercy, and he executes Ned in front of the crowd, over the complaints of Sansa and Cersei, his would-be Queen and his Queen Mother.
At first, this makes Baelish out to be extremely corrupt. He allows the country to fall into debt. He deals with whores and secrets. He tries to get Ned to commit treason by either keeping Joffrey’s bastardry a secret or by trying to get him to support Renly over Stannis. He betrays Ned to the Lannisters. But each of these moves had some semblance of logic. His continued borrowing of money from the Iron Bank and from Tywin would render the next heir to the throne to be deeply in debt, and the most likely heirs were Cersei’s children, so he was making sure that the next Lannister inbred to sit on the throne would have to deal with a massive economic downturn. He borrowed three million gold dragons from Tywin Lannister, taking all that money away from Casterly Rock without a suitable means of paying for it, which would, again, weaken the Lannister dynasty. His dealings with whores and secrets makes him a very wealthy and powerful man, seeing as whores are a very profitable business in a city like King’s Landing, and secrets are a powerful tool for any politician to wield.
Technically, his ideas of getting Ned to support either Joffrey or Renly are both treasonous, but supporting Stannis means they would have few allies, not to mention the fact that Stannis would probably hate Littlefinger’s guts, considering he’s one of the schemers in the realm. It was as much self-preservation for Littlefinger to go against Stannis as it was pragmatism-he knew guys like Stannis would probably kick him out of court or even decapitate him. Not to mention the fact that had Ned followed Baelish’s advice, he could get either the Lannisters as allies instead of enemies, or he could get the powerful Renly/Loras faction which has the wealthy and powerful House Tyrell in its grasp. Getting at least one of these two powerful factions on Ned’s side would make sense in Littlefinger’s eyes, so that if push comes to shove, the Lannisters or the Tyrells can back them up, and such powerful houses would have preserved Ned’s reign as Protector of the Realm. And even when Littlefinger betrayed Ned to the Lannisters, their plan was to send him back north to join the Night’s Watch, which would undoubtedly get Ned back to Winterfell because the Northerners under Robb would be able to intercept Ned on his way to the Wall and get him back home. It was Joffrey’s idea to kill Ned, and guess who it is who plots the death of Joffrey along with the Tyrells in Season 4? That’s right: Petyr Baelish.
Season 2 shows us that Petyr Baelish isn’t totally loyal to the Lannisters either. After Ned’s death, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, and Robb Stark all declare themselves to be kings, disputing Joffrey’s claim to the throne. The War of Five Kings begins. Out of all the contenders, Petyr seemed to gravitate towards Renly, who had the largest army. In Renly’s camp, Petyr tries to negotiate with Renly, promising him that if they work together, Littlefinger will see to it that Renly’s army will be met with open gates once they get to the capital. There, Petyr also meets his old girlfriend, Catelyn Stark, who was still furious over his betrayal of Ned. Petyr tries to explain that he DID try to get Ned to do the right thing, but Ned refused and his stubborn Northern honor got him killed. His dealings to get Jaime back by offering Sansa and Arya (the latter of whom wasn’t in the capital) did undermine the North by getting Catelyn to release Jaime Lannister, and once Renly dies, Littlefinger, after consulting with Tywin, gets the Tyrells, who refuse to declare for Renly’s brother Stannis, to join with the Lannisters and save King’s Landing from falling to the forces of Stannis Baratheon, and in reward, King Joffrey names Petyr Baelish the new lord of Harrenhal, as a prize for his “ingenuity”. By wedding the Tyrells to the Lannisters, Baelish secured Lannister dominance on the continent……..or did he?
We see in Season 3 that by wedding the Tyrells to the Lannisters, Baelish immensely weakened the latter while strengthening the former. The Tyrells in the capital were handing out food and toy donations, which gained them popular support, in contrast to the unpopular King Joffrey, who did one impulsive act after another, and who once had to face a riot because of the starving citizens. The Lannisters were being undermined in the very seat of Westerosi power. To add fuel to the fire, Margaery Tyrell, who was Joffrey’s new bride-to-be after he set aside Sansa, began to manipulate Joffrey, and managed to control him-a feat that not even his mother Cersei Lannister was able to accomplish. Not to mention that since the Lannisters are broke, losing three million gold dragons to Robert Baratheon and owing two million more to the Iron Bank of Braavos, the Lannisters were now forced to rely on the Tyrells to pay back such loans. By bringing the Tyrells to the capital, Littlefinger weakened the Lannisters by getting the people in the capital to root for the Tyrells and getting even the king to side with Margaery over his own mother, not to mention forcing the Lannisters to appease the Tyrells so the Tyrells would pay back their debts to the Iron Bank because the Lannisters were broke.
Joffrey saw Cersei as beneath him and he saw Tywin as a coward, but he was sincerely amused by Margaery when she managed to convince him that she had a fascination for violence. And in the people’s eyes, Cersei was a monster, and Joffrey was a product of incest. By forging an alliance between Lannisters and Tyrells, Baelish immensely weakened the Lannisters, and given that the Tyrells had no interest in fighting the North, had the Tyrells taken complete control of the capital and the throne, (which they would have done eventually) the war against the North would have eventually faded, and Baelish would have accomplished what Robb Stark could not-the permanent weakening and defeat of House Lannister.
Then of course, came the Red Wedding. A plot between Tywin Lannister, Walder Frey, and Roose Bolton to destroy House Stark and end the war against the North in a Lannister-Frey-Bolton victory. Roose Bolton and Walder Frey, bannermen of Houses Stark and Tully, were sworn to be vassal houses of King Robb Stark’s kingdom of the North and the Riverlands. Roose Bolton was weary of fighting Robb Stark’s war, especially since his ancestors fought against the Starks in the old days. Walder Frey was angry that Robb broke his promise to marry a daughter of House Frey by marrying either a daughter of House Westerling (in the books) or a field nurse. (in the show) To compound the problems for the Starks, during Jaime’s escape, he killed a bunch of Karstark sons; sons of Lord Rickard Karstark, and Karstark retaliated by killing a bunch of Lannister boys related to Jaime’s family. Robb Stark answered this rogue behavior with execution: he decapitated Lord Karstark, and Karstark’s army went home in disapproval of their king’s actions.
Robb Stark was now guilty of kinslaying, since the Karstarks were members of the Stark family and Rickard Karstark was even named after Robb Stark’s grandfather and Ned Stark’s father, Rickard Stark. With the Northern host weakened, Robb Stark’s victories in the field failing to end the war decisively, and a very displeased Walder Frey angry that he didn’t get the marriage he wanted, the Boltons and Freys finally came together, made a pact with Tywin Lannister, and assassinated Robb Stark, his mother, his pregnant wife(in the TV show), and most of the Stark forces in a wedding ceremony in the Twin Towers of Frey, a wedding that was supposed to be between Robb Stark’s uncle Edmure Tully and one of Walder Frey’s daughters.
One thing is clear: this was all Tywin’s doing, not Littlefinger’s. Baelish’s plan to weaken the Lannisters by bringing the Tyrells to the capital did not take into account Robb Stark’s traitorous bannermen having discreet communications with Lord Tywin. But still, this ended the War of the Five Kings in a decisive Lannister victory, with Baelish’s old flame Catelyn among the dead.
Of course, Littlefinger telling his old friend Lysa Tully to keep the Vale neutral in the war didn’t help, but again, as with Ned’s death, Baelish didn’t take into account the brutal tactics of the Lannisters. Of course he didn’t want his sweet Catelyn to die. Perhaps if he did have Lysa send the Vale Knights against the Lannisters, Robb would have won, but Baelish didn’t account for Tywin making such brutal deals and killing his girlfriend, just as he didn’t predict that Joffrey would kill Ned Stark. He was just human, after all. He wanted Ned to be sent home back North, just as he wanted the Tyrells to slowly weaken the Lannisters at King’s Landing. His true love, after all, was Catelyn Stark, and the last thing he would have wanted was for her to die. Had it not been for the Red Wedding, Baelish’s plan to weaken the Lannisters and make the Tyrells the new power behind the throne could have ended the war with the North and “Cat” surviving. If he knew about the Red Wedding in advance, he would have definitely arranged for Catelyn to get out of there, either by sending a messenger or sending a spy to kidnap her and spirit her away.
Season 4 has Littlefinger finally show his true colors against the Lannisters, with his first major act being the assassination of King Joffrey, with help from Olenna Tyrell, who didn’t want to see her granddaughter Margaery be wedded to such a monster. In the wedding between Joffrey and Margaery, Baelish arranges for a show by dwarves as a mock re-enactment of the War of the Five Kings, which causes friction between Tyrion Lannister, the imp, and Joffrey, who signaled for the show to start. Then Joffrey chokes and dies, and thanks to the rivalry between Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, and the friction caused by the dwarf show, Cersei blames Tyrion for his son’s death, setting the Lannisters against each other, with Tywin and Cersei wanting to make Tyrion pay for his “crime”, while the recently-returned Jaime Lannister trying to stand up for his little brother. Amidst the chaos, Littlefinger arranges for Sansa to be taken away and spirited to him, but Baelish, ever the mistrustful one, kills the man who smuggled Sansa to him, Dontos Hollard, on the logic that they need to keep everyone silent since Sansa, who, at the time, was Tyrion’s wife, would be a prime suspect in Joffrey’s death.
In one fowl swoop, Littlefinger and his Tyrell allies avenged Ned Stark and achieved what Robb could not-tearing the Lannisters apart and weakening them to an extent where they were no longer the superpower they used to be. Joffrey’s death led to the soft and gentle Tommen Baratheon ascending to the throne, whom Margaery had even less difficulty controlling. The tensions between the Lannisters escalated during Tyrion’s trial, when he demanded Trial By Combat. Tyrion gets the Dornish prince, Oberyn Martell, on his side, because they both knew that Cersei would undoubtedly choose the Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane, as her champion, and Oberyn wanted to get back at Clegane for raping and killing his sister, Elia Martel, as well as killing her son and daughter. In the duel, Ser Gregor succeeds in killing Oberyn, even though he himself was poisoned in the battle. Tyrion was then sentenced to die. The whole Lannister family farce ended with Tyrion escaping thanks to Jaime, because Jaime feared that Tywin would kill Tyrion, and Tyrion responded to that fear by killing Tywin himself, using a Lannister crossbow, killing the mighty lord of Casterly Rock in the privy.
Petyr Baelish’s machinations were wildly successful, even beyond his dreams. Now, the mighty Tywin lies dead, his family is weaker than ever, the new boy-king was even easier for the Tyrells to control, and the only Lannisters leading the faction are Jaime and Cersei; the former, an ineffectual knight with one hand, unable to fight properly, and the latter, a Queen despised by her people who is desperately losing power to the Tyrells as the Tyrells gain the support of the new king and the commoners of the capital. Had Catelyn lived to see this, perhaps she would have been impressed by Petyr’s accomplishments in completely ruining the rival of the Starks.
Baelish takes Sansa to the Vale, where she was told to take the guise of Alayne, and here we begin to see a bit of weakness on his side: his infatuation with Sansa. In the Vale, Petyr meets with an old lover of his, Lysa Arryn, Catelyn’s sister. Lysa was greatly infatuated with Petyr, and wanted to wed him right away. Once they were wed, Lysa names Petyr the Lord Protector of the Vale, to be the guardian of her son Robert (Robin in the show) Arryn. However, after they wed, Lysa spots Petyr kissing Sansa, which causes her to almost kill Sansa. Petyr calms Lysa down, then kills her by shoving her through the Moon Door after telling her that he loved Catelyn alone.
Baelish takes in Sansa as his new protege. He frames a local bard for the dirty deed of Lysa’s death in the books, and he was playing a game of his own against some Vale lords who want to remove him. But in the show, the Vale lords hold Petyr in a trial, since he had no one to blame and the death was labeled by Petyr as a “suicide”. Petyr tries to feign shock over the death, but the Vale lords don’t buy it, especially when Lysa was known to be obsessive over her son, and they rightfully calculated that she would not leave him behind. However, when the Vale lords bring “Alayne” in for questioning, Sansa Stark shows her true colors and identifies herself in front of the Vale Lords, then confirms Petyr’s story about Lysa. She then tells them that Petyr protected her and got her out of King’s Landing, and that his lies were all to protect her. The Vale lords, satisfied with Sansa’s testimony, accept Petyr as their new master and plan their next moves. In the books, Petyr means for Sansa to marry the sickly Robert Arryn’s heir, Harrold Hardyng, so she can reveal herself in the wedding as Sansa, take control of the Vale, and use its forces to wage war and retake Winterfell from the Boltons. But in the show, Littlefinger urges the Vale lords to train Robin Arryn in combat and have him as their new mascot in the war against the Lannisters.
So, to recap, Baelish set forward a series of events that saw to the downfall of the Lannister family, the increase of power for the Tyrells, his new allies, and he gets Sansa out of the capital and into safe territory. Granted, his murders of Dontos Hollard and Lysa Arryn definitely land him in the villainous category, but his machinations still had the same endgoal as Robb Stark’s war did: the weakening and destruction of Lannister power in the Seven Kingdoms. As he told his rival Varys, “Chaos is a ladder”, and he and the Tyrells are using the chaos to increase their power in the land at the expense of the Lannisters, who were all but disintegrating under Cersei Lannister’s leadership, which Baelish notes in the books was bringing the nation into ruin faster than he had expected. Cersei’s competition with the Tyrells eventually led to her getting humiliated when she empowers a religious order known as the Sparrows to revive the Faith Militant, which then leads to her arrest and eventual humiliation when they decide that they no longer need her help.
Petyr Baelish, in these first four seasons at least, revealed himself to be an enigmatic, cunning, and powerful player on the Game of Thrones. He succeeded where Ned and Robb Stark both failed: the downfall of the Lannisters and the opening for a new power to dominate the continent. Against Robb and Ned, the Lannisters were almost unbeatable due to their mountains of wealth and Tywin’s sheer force of will. Against the machinations of Littlefinger, however, the Lannisters fell for them, hook, line, and sinker, and with all that Baelish did against the Lannisters, it wouldn’t be long before their power wanes in the capital and the Tyrells, a more reasonable and popular faction when compared to the Lannisters, takes control of the capital and eventually, the nation. Not bad for a lowly lord that was the descendant of a Braavosi sellsword, eh? The grandson of a hedge knight, responsible for the downfall of the strongest house in the realm. Quite a record for Petyr Baelish to have accomplished. If only the later seasons didn't waste his potential............