"Ros: And what do you want?
Littlefinger: Everything, my dear. Everything there is."
Whether you love him or hate him, most viewers agree that Lord Petyr Baelish of Harrenhal, more famously known as Littlefinger, has been one of the most fascinating characters to watch on Game of Thrones. His journeys have taken him from one end of Westeros to the other, from the owner of a few brothels to one of the most powerful figures in the Seven Kingdoms. Unlike many characters who prefer to go in swinging, Littlefinger’s battles take place in whispers and clandestine letters, which makes him not just engaging to watch but extremely hard to figure out.
Fans and critics alike have been pondering Littlefinger's motives, plans, and endgame from the very beginning. As his moves get more oblique and the stakes get higher, the theories around his motivations get more insane and intriguing with each passing season. Let's look at the best fan theories about Littlefinger floating around the Internet, and attempt to understand this very enigmatic man.
As King of the North, Jon Snow has control over a large portion of Westeros. As such, it only makes sense that Littlefinger would have plans for ousting Jon Snow in favor of someone more easy to control. Reddit user squirrelwoman puts forth the theory that Littlefinger’s main goal is to wait out the Daenerys vs. Cersei bloodbath, and then install Sansa on the Iron Throne in the ashes of that war. Jon Snow, of course, is the main obstacle in his path.
As Littlefinger sits back and lets the war play out, he's been amassing money, territory, and soldiers. Unfortunately for him, Jon Snow didn’t die in the Battle of the Bastards like he hoped, and instead was able to grab control of the North from the trueborn Sansa. To make matters worse, Jon is planning to take the army Littlefinger gave Sansa to fight the White Walkers, sacrificing men Littlefinger wanted to use to take King's Landing.
Thus, Littlefinger is attempting to sow discord between the Stark siblings. He planted a note in his room for Arya to find in an effort to drive a wedge between her and Sansa. That way, Littlefinger could continue to poison Sansa’s opinion of Jon without Arya intervening and talking her out of it. Littlefinger gave Bran the dagger in an attempt to ingratiate himself, with a view toward making Bran believe he is the true King of the North, as Ned Stark’s only remaining trueborn son. This theory posits that everything Littlefinger has done at Winterfell is in an attempt to destroy the Starks, and specifically Jon Snow.
What if Littlefinger’s machinations began even earlier than we all suspected? An appropriately named redditor, da_k1ngslaya, believes Littlefinger's first scheme took place even before the show began, when he started the rumor that Rhaegar Targaryen raped Lyanna Stark.
This lie set in motion every major event in modern Westerosi history, starting with Robert’s Rebellion. The theorist points out that Littlefinger’s home island was not far from the place where Lyanna was kidnapped. Perhaps Littlefinger knew he didn't have to organize a whole rebellion to get the chaos ball rolling—all he had to do was rely on Robert Baratheon’s propensity to respond with his heart before his head. If this theory is indeed true, Littlefinger could be responsible for the entire current state of Westeros, and Bran would be his biggest enemy, because Bran has the ability to see what he has done.
By the seventh season of the show, Littlefinger has basically all but confirmed this theory himself. When speaking openly to Sansa, he tells her he wants to sit on the Iron Throne with her by his side. About Littlefinger, his rival Varys says: “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.”
After all of these years and all of these devilish plans, is Littlefinger’s motive really the one we all suspected from the beginning? If so, he has an army, he has the money, and he may even have Sansa. What is he waiting for?
Littlefinger is playing a dangerous game, trying to come between Sansa and Arya at Winterfell. But what if the girls ultimately play him at his own? One of the most believable theories, that Bran knows Littlefinger is to blame for the Stark's suffering based on his statement that “chaos is a ladder,” would most likely result in Arya assassinating Littlefinger with the very dagger Littlefinger gave Bran.
Reddit user Hiirob takes this one step further, and theorizes Littlefinger will indeed get his wish and marry Sansa. However, just as the consummation is set to take place, Arya will come in with her trusty new dagger and do what she does best—assassinate him. Then, with Sansa in control of the Vale after her marriage to Littlefinger, Arya can simply slap on Littlefinger’s face and the two will run the Vale together.