I've seen many of times in Game of Thrones, that barely anyone trusts Littlefinger. In "Beyond the Wall" (Game of Thrones, S07E06), in a conversation with Sansa, Brienne said that she can't leave Sansa alone with Littlefinger.

He has saved Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards, he just loved Catelyn Stark, and perhaps now Sansa.

So, why he is always called an untrustworthy person by everyone?

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    Funny you mention. I'm re-watching season one, and there's this scene where he asks Ned Stark if he's got anyone trustworthy in King's Landing - Ned says "Yes" and LF replies "The correct answer was 'No'". In that conversation he also tells Ned that not trusting him (LF) is very wise. LF isn't any more evil than any other character is. No character in GoT is 100% good, or 100% evil. LF has his own motives, what he does he does for a reason. Always. Not because he's evil, but because chaos is a ladder. He's playing the Game of Thrones. You win, or you die. Aug 23, 2017 at 17:23
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    Just going to leave this here.
    – onewho
    Aug 23, 2017 at 18:00
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    Is the TV series that different from the books? In the books I get a very "extremely obsessed" vibe from him towards Catelyn rather than love. I never saw him as anything but a charming sociopath who somehow convinces people that, even though other people are fools to trust him, they are special and of course they can trust him. Aug 23, 2017 at 21:15
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    “he just loves Catelyn Stark” — and is crucial in getting her husband killed. What a charming kind of love. Aug 24, 2017 at 10:43
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    "Evil" requires a certain negative morality. If Baelish is anything, it's 100% amoral. More of a sociopath than bent on harming people for it's own sake. If he could gain supreme power by being nice to everyone, he'd go that way, but that world doesn't seem to work that way, so he doesn't. Aug 24, 2017 at 14:30

9 Answers 9


Lord Peytr Baelish aka Littlefinger has been known to betray those who have granted him favor or have employed him.

  • Betrayed Jon Arryn by plotting with Lysa Arryn to have him murdered.
  • Betrayed Ned Stark in Season 1 when Ned tried to assert that Robert's children were not actually his.
  • Betrayed Catelyn Stark by falsely telling her the dagger that was used in the attempted murder of Bran Stark was Tyrion Lannister's.
  • Betrayed Joffrey Baratheon by assisting in his murder.
  • Betrayed House Lannister by facilitating the escape of Sansa Stark.
  • Betrayed Ser Dontos Hollard by murdering him after delivering Sansa to his ship.
  • Betrayed Lysa Arryn by murdering her via Moon Door.
  • Betrayed House Lannister (and Sansa if you think about it) by facilitating the marriage of Sansa Stark to Ramsay Bolton.
  • Betrayed House Bolton by sending the Knights of the Vale to side with Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards
  • Betrayed Sansa Stark by plotting to distance her from Arya.

While not all of this is known to other players in the Game of Thrones universe, enough of it is known by enough people to come to the conclusion that he is not trustworthy.

With that being said, is the warrant enough to call him evil? Some will say no and some will say yes; but that is the point. All of the characters have flaws and cannot be considered wholly good or wholly evil.

What I see in Littlefinger to this end is that while he is committing evil against someone it is usually benefiting someone else in the short term. The people he is acting for think he is the good guy (e.g. I am sure Sansa was thankful he saved her from being pushed out the Moon Door by pushing Lysa out instead). The major detraction is that we as an audience know, and now Sansa knows, that he is always acting on his own interests.

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    He says quite explicitly that he is not trustworthy, very early on (in perhaps one of the very few times he's actually telling the truth!), so this is spot on. Aug 23, 2017 at 17:28
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    @Mat'sMug Ye obvs. Holding a knife against the patriarch of a great House's neck and telling him not to trust you is also one reason people might not trust him. Aug 23, 2017 at 19:10
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    I would argue that sacrificing those who mean you no harm is a definition of evil, at least from a narrative perspective. The Starks have not wronged Baelish (note that losing a duel is not wronging someone. It's not unfair if you fairly lose a contest), nor were they both rivals for the Throne (the Starks did not want the Iron Throne). Baelish threw them under the bus for personal gains, with no karmic reason for the Starks to be thrown under the bus. That is almost the textbook definition of (narrative) evil.
    – Flater
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:14
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    New question: "Is there anyone Littlefinger hasn't betrayed?" Aug 24, 2017 at 12:33
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    To add to your list of betrayals and deceptions he also lied to the lords of the Vail and convinced Sansa to help cover up the deaths of Lysa and Jon Arryn.
    – Virusbomb
    Aug 24, 2017 at 13:46

I think Littlefinger is very close to being one of the evilest characters in the show, even more than Joffrey or Cersei.

In his own words, he says:

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.

All he sees is the ladder and whom he can use as a rung to climb a little higher. He uses everyone and doesn't care who he destroys in the process. He won't even let love, gods or duty get in the way. He is obsessed with Sansa as a chance to relive his lost love, Catelyn, but was still willing to sacrifice her to the Boltons to get up another rung.

Another quote reveals even more about him and how he climbs that ladder:

Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events are happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you've seen before.

He won't allow himself to fail because it is very likely he will be broken by it. So he plans for every eventuality. It is also why he gets a leg up on Arya. From the moment he saw Arya he was trying to figure out how to use her. She may be the shape-changing assassin but he could write a Sun Tzu-level book on the art of cunning and paranoia.

Everyone sees how he acts and the way he turns situations to his advantage at someone else's misfortune. We, the audience, get to connect more dots than anyone else in the show. But, characters only have to see how he tries to get some advantage out of them to be wary of him. Plus Brienne probably sees the way Littlefinger looks at her.

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    Machiavelli would be a better comparison that Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu was more military, Machiavelli more politics.
    – Tim B
    Aug 24, 2017 at 10:46
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    Littlefinger is lot more complex it seems. I'm not even still sure he really loves Sansa. He once said that his true wish is to be king and that Catelyn was his one and true love. I'm not 100% sure this love transferred to Sansa. To me, it just seems he wants to be king and marry a Stark to have true power over the South and the North.
    – LeonX
    Aug 24, 2017 at 13:02
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    He seems like he would fit the bill of a psychopath. Doing whatever he wants for himself without regard to others. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy
    – user55826
    Aug 24, 2017 at 14:56
  • In the books he is a different character and definitely loves Catelyn and maybe Sansa. He doesn't betray her but everyone else was fair game. Sun Tzu, very true. Machiavelli would definitely get some pointers from Littlefinger. He definitely is a psychopath
    – chaiboy
    Aug 24, 2017 at 18:26

Yes he is evil, because he murdered the person who brought Sansa to him after he promised him payment. The man smuggled Sansa out of King's Landing on a rowboat to Littlefinger waiting on a bigger boat at night. After Sansa climbed the ladder and boarded the larger boat with Littlefinger, he used a crossbow to shoot the man who was waiting to be paid. People who lie and go back on their word are not nice, but sometimes evil. People who murder are evil. People who murder in cold blood are especially evil.

  • This does not necessarily seem like enough for a conviction. I am no expert but depending on the circumstances, it could have been justified.
    – Puppy
    Aug 23, 2017 at 22:13
  • "People who murder are evil" - are they? If you murder an evil person who is planning to commit more murders sometime in the future, is that evil? Could we even begin to define evil in a meaningful sense? And not in an "I know it when I see it" way.
    – corsiKa
    Aug 23, 2017 at 22:57
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    @corsiKa If you murder an evil person who is planning to commit more murders sometime in the future, is that evil?- By extension would you then say Jaime is evil for being the King Slayer? Aug 24, 2017 at 8:09
  • @Puppy: "evil" speaks to their karmic balance (in the narrative), it doesn't speak to whether proof of his deeds exists in-universe. If the viewer saw it happen, it happened, even if no one (in-universe) knows about it.
    – Flater
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:20
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    @corsiKa: Could we even begin to define evil in a meaningful sense? Yes. Killing the innocent is a major definition (though definitely not the only definition) of being evil (in the sense of a narrative), and Baelish has killed innocent people (directly and indirectly). Evil also speaks about intention. Lysa Arryn was a criminal herself, but Baelish did not kill her because of Lysa's transgressions. He killed her because it benefited him directly. Which is again an evil act, even if the victim was considered evil for an unrelated reason.
    – Flater
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:23

It partly depends on how one defines evil, but I'd say clearly yes, he's evil. (And that he cannot be trusted he shows again and again.)

If his actions are anything to go by, he will do literally anything to get what he wants. He kills innocents (or gets others to do so) without compunction or hesitation. He betrays patrons or allies repeatedly. What would he not do, if it suited his aims?

It doesn't seem that he particularly gets off on causing pain, like say Joffrey, and he's not as emphatically vengeful as Cersei is, but he won't hesitate to cause pain and he will gladly get revenge when his chance arises.

He appears to be without any scruples or morals.

If he's doing something it's because he thinks it will help him get what he wants and it doesn't matter who gets harmed or killed along the way (as long as they're not part of his later plans, of course). He's helpful when it suits him to be but he will be deadly and traitorous at a moments notice.

That is pretty consistent with the ordinary definition of evil, so yes, he's both evil and untrustworthy.

[However, in the society he's in, there's plenty of evil to go around, which might make him seems a little less starkly evil by contrast.]


Can I just point out the first time that he betrays Sansa Stark:

When he arranges the murder of Joffrey, he uses Sansa to deliver the poison to the dinner in her necklace. As a result, he framed both Sansa and Tyrion for the murder of Joffrey. This forced Sansa to flee King's Landing in his company. And we know that the reason why he wanted Sansa in his control was to marry her as a substitute for her mother. So this is what he does to people that he likes (at least as much as he likes anyone).

He murdered the jester, even though he didn't need to do so. He could have just paid the jester and taken him along as well. The only mild inconvenience there is that the jester might have later told someone else about Littlefinger's role in the Purple Wedding and Sansa's subsequent departure.

Later, he betrays her again. As she was reluctant to marry him, he sold her to the Boltons for Ramsay to marry. Can we seriously believe that he didn't know what Ramsay's pleasures were? Littlefinger knew that information about everyone. That also betrayed the Lannisters, but that's much easier to excuse. The Lannisters aren't exactly the type to draw loyalty to themselves. Littlefinger later betrayed Ramsay, but not soon enough to avoid Ramsay practicing his cruelty on Sansa.

Causing a split between Sansa and Arya is actually rather mild on his list of betrayals.

So why he is always called an untrustworthy person by everyone?

He promises Catelyn to help protect Ned Stark. Then he immediately gives Ned information that will get him killed, setting him on the path to Joffrey's true parentage. It's also worth noting that this ultimately gets Catelyn killed as well. Ned's proclamation starts the War of the Five Kings, and Catelyn dies during that war.

The ultimate reason why he is considered untrustworthy is that he will go back on any promise if it advantages him.

He has saved Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards, he just loves Catelyn Stark, and perhaps now Sansa.

If he loves Sansa, it might be better to be one of his enemies. He frames her for murder and then sells her to her future rapist.

He betrays his promise to Catelyn, who makes the mistake of not only trusting him but urging Ned to trust him as well.

And in order to get back to his plan of marrying Sansa, he needs Ramsay out of the way. He didn't save Jon Snow so much as he came to see Ramsay killed. He wants Sansa to take the throne in the North, so he can be king of the North.

I will give him this. If Sansa's choices were Ramsay and Littlefinger, Littlefinger is clearly the better choice. He is seldom cruel just to be cruel. He is cruel to his own advantage. Ramsay enjoyed being cruel. Littlefinger just doesn't care. But not being quite as evil as Ramsay is a pretty low bar that pretty much everyone except Joffrey meets.


Littlefinger is chaotic neutral within the universe; from the books at least I'd describe him as a cockroach or a weed. He sows chaos to make things turn to shit because those are the conditions where he thrives - he would be nothing in a stable realm, because his wheeling and dealing skills would be overshadowed by the bonds of trust and family. But under threat and pressure, making use of him (=letting him make use of you) seems more appealing.

His morality is hard to pin down because the standards in the verse are remarkably different from ours. By our standards, he's a murderous scheming shit, but that applies to more or less every named character that survives the length of a book. Even Robb Stark, the ostentative "hero" before his demise, goes to war, sending many to death killing many others, for his own goals of revenge and autonomy; and executes an ally for treason that consists of killing hostages - i.e. bargaining chips that were to be killed by Robb if needed anyway.

These acts are however "just" in the world of the show, because the morality of the nobles runs on a kind of honor - vows are to be kept. Killing is not wrong if done for the right reasons, but betrayal is. (Not that they aren't hypocritical about that, because it's a fundamentally self-serving angle.) When the other characters look down on Littlefinger, it is not because he's a murderous sociopath, it's literally because they can't trust him to be on their side when they're doing their own callous murdering. Ramsay Bolton is deranged, but this doesn't seem to make people any reluctant to ally with House Bolton.

The reason that I'd call him "neutral" is that the major characters are either: people like who cause death for "good" reasons; people who kill for selfish reasons; and people who kill because they enjoy it. Littlefinger would clearly be somewhere in middle of this spectrum, depending on the situation. (He doesn't give value to the life of others in general, but he's capable of kinda sorta caring about some people, up to the point where they go against his ambitions.)

  • There's also the slimmest of silver linings is that "corrupting" Sansa - turning her into a scheming liar - is probably the one thing that will keep her alive; same as Arya's training as an assassin. There's a general pattern to the character arcs in GoT where a character is put through an ordeal that will either crush them, or change them in ways that harden them.
    – millimoose
    Aug 24, 2017 at 10:02

Littlefinger is not evil in the way that the Bastard of Bolton, the Mountain, or Joffrey are. He doesn't do awful things to people because he enjoys hurting people.

Littlefinger is entirely selfish. Everything that Littlefinger does, he does for himself. If absolutely every other noble in the Seven Kingdoms has to die so that he can sit on the Iron Throne, then Littlefinger is cool with that.

He has no loyalty to anyone or anything. And, therefore, he can be hard to pin down because he is seen helping the "good" guys as often as the "bad" guys. But, ultimately, he doesn't care about them.

He does not even care about Sansa, though he often seems to be acting in her interests and professing his "friendship". Littlefinger was obsessed with Sansa's mother when they were children, and was denied her hand because of his low station. As an adult, he is trying to gain the highest possible station and marry Sansa. But it isn't because he loves her or even because he is infatuated with her. It is because it will erase the shame that he has carried all his life – the shame that says he is not good enough to marry a Tully.


I assume you mean before the show even began - because it was as early as Season 1 that characters discuss how untrustworthy Baelish is - the answer is because he had such influence and power yet came from such a meager house and mediocre lineage. True, Petyr is not lowborn but he was the lowest of the known houses and had no skills in battle, yet he managed to become one of the most powerful men in Westeros using his mind. He is an opportunist, and savvy and he also made his money through pursuits that most highborn consider distasteful like operating brothels.


I wouldn't put him in the same category of evil as Joffrey or Ramsay Bolton or even Cersei (he's not a sadist), but he is amoral and absolutely unconcerned about the welfare of anyone but himself. I'd say he's the least trustworty character in the entire GoT universe.

He cares about Sansa to the extent that she satisfies some need of his, but that didn't stop him from marrying her off to Ramsay (whose sadistic nature would have been known to him beforehand, protestations to the contrary) and it won't stop him from betraying her later.

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