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Littlefingerīs suicidal gambit


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14 replies to this topic

#1 snowboard_season_is_coming

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 04:52 AM

Littlefinger tells Catelyn that the assassin´s dagger belongs to Tyrion now (including an easily disprovable lie about how Tyrion won it).

 

As a move to pit Stark against Lannister it makes very little sense.

 

The most likey outcome involves Littlefinger dying painfully:

Catelyn ("family, duty, honor") tells Ned. 

Ned (more honor than brain) tells Robert.

And Robert´s reaction would have been

"Littlefinger said WHAT? That´s not his dagger, that´s one of mine. Ned and Tyrion, shake hands. Sir Payn, attend to Lord Baelish."

Robert will always trust Ned more than LF.

 

There are many other scenarios in which Littlefinger loses his head.

What if someone actually did recognise the dagger as one Robert got as a present some years ago?

 

Most of these factors are well out of LF´s control, and he has little chance to save himself.

 

Even after the events of the highly unlikely chance meeting between Catelyn and Tyrion in King´s Landing in an inn full of Stark bannermen,

there are many other possible outcomes:

- Tyrion dies, trial in King´s Landing

- Tyrion escapes, trial in King´s Landing

- Lannister men or Robert´s men intercept them, trial in King´s Landing

- Catelyn takes Tyrion north, letters fly

 

In almost every scenario, the Starks will tell where they got the information,

and Littlefinger will die.

(Littlefinger didn´t even make up some story why that information should be kept secret.)

 

 

 

Less dangerous moves to pit wolf against lion would have been:

 

- Claim one of his spies in the Lannister camp claimed to recognised the dagger. Spies sometimes tell tall tales for gold. If necessary LF could sacrifice someone who actually did spy for him at the lannister camp.

or

- Just tell Cersei that Catelyn is in town, plotting against Joffrey.

or 

- Just let Eddard find out about the twincest, then tell Cersei that he found out

 

 

There could be another reason for LF making such a dangerous and nonsensical move (like the whole thing being Varys´ idea, and Varys promising LF protection), but I think it´s probably just a mistake by the author.

Maybe he originally envisioned the story differently, and later changed his mind? Or he originally didn´t envision LF as way less intelligent?

 



#2 Baelor Swyft

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 05:20 AM

While it was a peculiar move, I'm not sure your other scenarios are any better. Cersei can't move against Catelyn while Robert still lives. Eddard finding out about the incest so soon in the game would lead to the Lannisters getting massacred by the Baratheons, not the Starks and the Lannisters fighting. The spy plan might work but Littlefinger may have been playing on Catelyn's trust of him. A personal story of his was going to have much more sway over her than something a random spy might claim. Catelyn knows as well as you do that spies can lie for gold.

 

All in all I think LF knew it was a gutsy move but he was confident in making it because of his power and intellect. He assumed he could work the gears enough to survive, no matter the outcome. And one of his most important stated lessons in the story is that you have to do something unpredictable and ridiculous once in a while, so that even the most intelligent of people can't predict your actions. The dagger ploy could fall into that category. 

 

I don't think Littlefinger is trying to move pieces into a specific place, the way Varys may be. Littlefinger is just causing indiscriminate chaos because he knows he can come up with some zany scheme to benefit from it no matter what happens.



#3 ache

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 05:31 AM

I agree. Littlefinger does a lot of inexplicably stupid stuff imo. Letting Ser No-Pants run around the Red Keep for months with knowledge of a plot to kidnap Sansa is at a Cersei level of ingenuity. Taking Sansa to the seat of her last known surviving relative is another decision that seems a little dodgy. I know people say stuff about hiding in plain sight and people see what they expect to see etc - but in this case I don't think that applies. Sansa has a price on her head.  Because of the war, many people are displaced and poverty stricken. I think at this stage, 40 year old tavern servers are going to be getting the side eye just in case they're Sansa Stark in disguise. People will see Sansa everywhere because they want to, there is a reward on offer. So Littlefinger turning up in the Vale with a bastard daughter nobody has ever heard of, coincidentally around Sansa's age, height etc a few weeks after Sansa disappears? Fucking ridiculous. Another thing is Lothor Brune still being alive. The guy knows a lot, Littlefinger knows this yet does nothing. I think as a criminal mastermind, Littlefinger has great plot armour.



#4 barmyscouser

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:51 AM

In 1978 The Church Commission revealed a bunch of CIA covert opperations.  I remember that the reports seemed to portray the CIA as bumbling and incompetent.  And maybe they were.  I certainly think they're evil.  But I think any effort to steer politics like a chess player would be a very inexact science.  

 

People are unpredictable. And they bounce off each other creating unpredictable drama.  It's not at all like manufacturing or surgery where rigorous adherence to procedure can produce consistent results.

 

And that's a problem for this kind of fiction.  In any realistic world LF could only play his games for so long until something blew up in his face.  I would have expected Bronn to stick a knife in his gut 5 minutes after he and Tyrion got to King's Landing.

 

But we have to allow a certain amount of poetic licence in order to enjoy stories like this.



#5 GallowsKnight

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:07 AM

I think Littlefinger basically plays speed chess. He improvises a lot and takes advantage of opportunities as they arise. Whereas someone like Varys is more a long term schemer.

 

Had any of his plans gone sour I'm sure he had an exit strategy. Probably involving a large sum of borrowed treasury cash and him setting himself up in the free cities.



#6 Ibbison from Ibben

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:24 AM

Littlefinger tells Catelyn that the assassin´s dagger belongs to Tyrion now (including an easily disprovable lie about how Tyrion won it).
 
As a move to pit Stark against Lannister it makes very little sense.
 
The most likey outcome involves Littlefinger dying painfully:
Catelyn ("family, duty, honor") tells Ned. 
Ned (more honor than brain) tells Robert.
And Robert´s reaction would have been
"Littlefinger said WHAT? That´s not his dagger, that´s one of mine. Ned and Tyrion, shake hands. Sir Payn, attend to Lord Baelish."
Robert will always trust Ned more than LF.

 

LF, however, has already manipulated Lysa into sending the secret message to Catelyn that accuses Cersei of poisoning Jon Arryn. As is pointed out at the time, this is a loaded accusation that Ned can't take to Robert without convincing proof. LF can be reasonably certain that Ned  and Carelyn will see Tyrion's  supposed involvement as connected. Therefore, LF can be pretty sure that Ned won't go to Robert until he finds decent evidence supporting the claim that Cersei poisoned Jon Arryn. And Ned won't find that evidence, because Cersei didn't do it.



#7 Pod The Impaler

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:10 PM

 

LF, however, has already manipulated Lysa into sending the secret message to Catelyn that accuses Cersei of poisoning Jon Arryn. As is pointed out at the time, this is a loaded accusation that Ned can't take to Robert without convincing proof. LF can be reasonably certain that Ned  and Carelyn will see Tyrion's  supposed involvement as connected. Therefore, LF can be pretty sure that Ned won't go to Robert until he finds decent evidence supporting the claim that Cersei poisoned Jon Arryn. And Ned won't find that evidence, because Cersei didn't do it.

 

 

Yup. At that point, all Ned is thinking is LANNISTERS.

To be fair, it was a Lannister who pushed his son out a window. It was a Lannister who tried to have Bran's throat cut afterwards.

LF just saw the blade he knew and played along with the expected direction of the answer.



#8 Tynned Lannistark

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:22 PM

I don't think its that much of a stupid move.

Ned would not tell Robert anything until he has proof, which he will not get since there isn't any.

The Starks would never have revealed the dagger to anyone.

 

Its is most likely that without Cat capturing Tyrion this move would have led to more suspicion and hostility between Starks and Lannister but without any actual war yet. 

 

LF strategy is to not to plan ahead for every move every player make, but to create Chaos and then improvise.  I think Varys is more of a long term planner.

 

However, I do agree that LF as a schemer is not written very well - probably since GRRM's has a had time coming up with good political schemes because he is probably not one himself.



#9 The Mountain That Posts

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:55 PM

What i'm more curious about is why LF said "Tyrion" specifically - is it because of all the Lannisters that were at Winterfell, Tyrion is the only one not CURRENTLY in KL?



#10 Petyr Patter

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 09:18 PM

I think the lie was less suicidal than the OP thinks.

 

Would Eddard or Catelyn ask a Lannister if they recognized the knife?  No, that would just be stupid if they had reason to believe the Lannisters were behind the assassination attempt (and the Lannisters were, or rather one of them, just not the one anybody realized).  Now, the number of people who knew the truth about the knife is going to be slim.  Renly?  Perhaps.  Robert himself?  The best bet, so lets say Robert recognizes the knife and knows he won it from a bet with Littlefinger, where it sat in his stores.

 

What is Littlefinger actually guilty of?  Lying to cover Robert.  Why would he intentionally build bad blood between the two Houses, what could he possibly hope to gain?  He just didn't want Eddard to think Robert paid a man to put his best friend's son out of his misery. 

 

Regardless, Littlefinger took the lead on Eddard's investigation, leading him to a truth that would make the Lannisters proper look even more guilty (because they are guilty of other things).  Meaning, he helped insure Eddard didn't discuss the dagger with anyone. 



#11 Fanless Mace

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 09:27 PM

Taking Sansa to the seat of her last known surviving relative is another decision that seems a little dodgy. I know people say stuff about hiding in plain sight and people see what they expect to see


Nobody knows what she looks like. It isn't like the Lannisters are leafleting from the air or spreading her picture on the Internet. Sure, someone may by chance recognize her, but it's unlikely too many people have ever met Sansa Stark outside of the North and KL.

Edited by Fanless Mace, 16 February 2014 - 09:28 PM.


#12 Hypnomagica

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:10 PM

You are also forgetting one of Belish' best quotes:

 

 

Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next. Sometimes the best way to baffle them is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you.

 

Aside from that, he has already set things up to sew mistrust between the Starks and Lannisters, if Ned was going to take an accusation directly to King Robert, he'd have done it the moment he recieved the letter from Lysa Arryn.

 

Furthermore, Tyrion was the best choice for him to finger (no pun intended) because both Eddard and Catelyn would be fully prepared to believe that the Imp would do such a thing. Also, the fact that he was the last favorite Lannister made it so that is Cersei ever somehow found out about it, she probably would not care.

In fact, is he suspected that Joff was the true culprit (which is certainly possible) he could even claim that he did it to protect her son.

 

There was still a marginal risk in his lie but Baelish has never been afraid to take risks.



#13 Nobleman of Vaes Toloro

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:27 AM

The only suicidal thong he did was not running away once Tyrionb became Hand of the King. Especially after he got rid of Janos Slynt and Pycelle.;

To this day I do not understand why Tyrion didn't kill Littlefinger. Sure you can  milk a snake for its poison, but if it has tried to bite you once, it will do so again.



#14 The Mountain That Posts

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:45 AM

I think pinning it on Tyrion was purely because he was the only Lannister not at WInterfell, so if Eddard was to say, spiral into a rage - he couldn't just assault Tyrion in the red keep. Pretty smart, really. And the fact he's a dwarf probably preys on some prejudice as well.
 



#15 Tree in the North

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:04 AM


The only suicidal thong he did was not running away once Tyrionb became Hand of the King. Especially after he got rid of Janos Slynt and Pycelle.;

To this day I do not understand why Tyrion didn't kill Littlefinger. Sure you can  milk a snake for its poison, but if it has tried to bite you once, it will do so again.

I'm pretty sure that Tyrion didn't have LF killed or sent to the Wall for two main reasons:

1. LF's value as an asset

2. Blowback

LF excells at financing the crown's expenses, which is particularly relevant during War. (Tyrion has quite a bit of catching up to do, when he takes up the post as Master of Coin). Also, he is a valuable ally. LF was mainly responsible for bringing the Tyrell's to the Lannister side, as I recall, and the Tyrell-Lannister alliance was one of the deciding factors in the victory at Blackwater.

LF is also much more powerful than Janos Slynt or Pycelle. Both are someone else's tools, relying on their positions for protection. LF, on the other hand, has a network of spies and allies that makes eliminating him much more costly. Tyrion's intrigues with Slynt and Pycelle are more of a short-term strategy. Tyrion needs control of certain parties (the Gold Cloaks, the Small Council) in order to effective orchestrate the defense of the city. So, in the short term, he is naturally more focused on marginalizing Cersei's influence as she is much more likely than Varys or LF to interfere with his plans for the defense of the city. Also, Slynt had to go after the whole baby-killing incident.

I do recall Tyrion thinking that, in the long-term, he will have to work to undo LF's network. LF had appointed many of the customs officers (taxmen, or whatever they're called) who were directly loyal to him. Chopping the head off of this network (killing LF) would ensure that revenue collection and budgetary management of the state would become much more inefficient. Rather, Tyrion understood it would take time to replace these LF loyalists with Lannister men so that damage to the state financial apparatus would be a minimum.