Petyr Baelish was the Master of Coin on the Small Council. He is a skilled manipulator and uses his ownership of brothels in King's Landing to accrue intelligence on political rivals. Baelish's spy network is eclipsed only by that of Varys. He betrayed Eddard Stark to side with House Lannister and King Joffrey Baratheon following the death of King Robert Baratheon, becoming one of the instigators of the War of the Five Kings. Following the events of the Battle of Blackwater, King Joffrey named Littlefinger the Lord of Harrenhal. He eventually marries Lysa Arryn and proceeds to murder her shortly afterwards, becoming Lord Protector of the Vale until Lord Robin Arryn comes of age and one of the most powerful men in all of Westeros.
Petyr Baelish is the head of House Baelish and the lord of an extremely minor holding, so small it has neither name nor maester, located in a small area within the Fingers, a coastal region in the northeastern shores of the Vale of Arryn. In reference to his family's humble domain in the smallest of the Fingers, as well as his small size, Edmure Tully nicknamed him "Littlefinger" when they were children and Petyr was fostered at Riverrun. The nickname would stick with him throughout his life. Eventually even Baelish sarcastically embraced the nickname, due to the fact that it demonstrated how far he had risen, from a poor minor noble from the "little Finger" peninsula to one of the most powerful officials in the Seven Kingdoms.
Despite Baelish's humble origins, his financial acumen has seen him rise to the small council and the rank of Master of Coin, the treasurer of the Seven Kingdoms, under King Robert Baratheon. His naked ambition often places him at odds with the Master of Whisperers Lord Varys. He is a friend of Lady Catelyn Stark, one of the few contacts she has at court. Baelish's father was a wartime friend of Catelyn's father, Lord Hoster Tully. He challenged her betrothed Brandon Stark to a duel and was severely injured. Brandon was later killed by King Aerys II Targaryen but Catelyn married his younger brother Eddard Stark in his place. He owns a number of brothels in King's Landing. Though the symbol of his family is the head of the Titan of Braavos, Petyr prefers to use a personal sigil, that of an unthreatening mockingbird.
Littlefinger greets Eddard upon his arrival in King's Landing and reports that the realm is six million gold dragons in debt, half of it owed to House Lannister. Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel attempt to sneak into the city, but are spotted by one of Littlefinger's men. They are taken to meet Littlefinger at one of his brothels. Catelyn is angered by their treatment, but asks Littlefinger for aid. She is trying to identify the people who tried to have her son Bran Stark killed. Littlefinger is able to answer this quickly: the elaborate dagger wielded by the assassin used to be his, but he lost it in a bet with Tyrion Lannister.
Littlefinger fetches Eddard to meet his wife, but when Eddard realizes he was being brought to a brothel, he thinks Littlefinger is insulting him by saying his wife is a whore. Eddard throws Littlefinger up against a wall before Catelyn appears and Eddard becomes pacified. After hearing her news, he vows to find the truth and expose the Lannisters to Robert and Littlefinger agrees to be his ally in this, for the affection he once bore Catelyn as a youngster. Eddard believes that Littlefinger is still in love with his wife.
Littlefinger attaches himself more firmly to Eddard's cause, giving him information that leads Eddard to Tobho Mott's smithy. He also points out some of the agents belonging to the Queen and to Varys. He later tells Sansa Stark about how Sandor Clegane has his face burned by his brother when he was young for stealing a toy. He advises her not to mention the matter to Sandor.
Littlefinger loses a bet to Renly Baratheon over the joust between Ser Loras Tyrell and Ser Gregor Clegane. He makes it clear that he knows about Renly's sexual relationship with Loras, to Renly's discomfort. Littlefinger and Varys verbally spar, Littlefinger threatening to reveal to the King that Varys has been meeting with Illyrio Mopatis in secret whilst Varys threatens to reveal to the Lannisters that it was Littlefinger who implicated Tyrion in the attempted murder of Bran Stark. However, they then both support the motion to have Daenerys Targaryen assassinated before the Dothraki can invade Westeros.
Littlefinger later introduces Eddard to Mhaegen, a prostitute and mother of yet another of King Robert's bastard children. Outside the brothel Eddard gets into a fight with Ser Jaime Lannister. Littlefinger flees, promising to return with the City Watch.
Littlefinger is stunned when Eddard orders that Gregor Clegane be arrested and executed for his raids on the Riverlands and when he also orders Tywin Lannister to present himself at court to answer for his bannerman's crimes. Littlefinger reminds Eddard that Tywin is the richest man in Westeros and that it is gold that wins wars, not armies. Eddard disagrees, asking why then Tywin is not the king.
Littlefinger tutors a new recruit to his brothels, Ros, and discusses his ambitions with her. Later, Eddard tells him the truth of Joffrey's parentage and his plan to install Stannis on the throne when Robert dies.
Littlefinger suggests instead that they let Joffrey rule but act as the powers behind the throne. If he does not mature into the king they want, they can expose his dirty secret and install Lord Renly instead. Eddard rejects the plan as treason and instead asks Littlefinger to win over the City Watch to their cause. Littlefinger agrees, but later the City Watch turns on Eddard's men and kills them, whilst Littlefinger holds a dagger to Eddard's throat, pointing out, "I did warn you not to trust me."
Lord Baelish asks the Queen to allow Sansa Stark to prove her loyalty as he attends the girl’s audience with the Queen and the council. He stands with the small council as the details of Joffrey’s reign are read out and Barristan Selmy’s position is ordered to be taken up by Jaime Lannister. He glances suspiciously at Varys as Sansa seeks pardon for her father's actions.
Baelish watches on as Eddard Stark confesses at his trial and is executed.
Littlefinger discusses kingship with Varys, and they engage in banter revolving around the Master of Whisperers' lack of genitalia. They eventually acknowledge their mutual admiration and respect of one another, before being interrupted by Joffrey and his entourage.
The Citadel announces the coming of winter and Littlefinger warns the small council that they do not have enough food for a protracted winter lasting more than five years. Cersei orders the city barred to refugees from the War of the Five Kings. Tyrion Lannister arrives to take up his position as acting Hand of the King to Cersei's consternation.
Stannis Baratheon learns of Jaime Lannister's incestuous relationship with Cersei in a letter sent by Eddard Stark before his death. Stannis composes his own missive and sends it to all the high lords of the Seven Kingdoms asking them to declare their loyalty to him and telling them of Joffrey's illegitimacy. Cersei tasks Littlefinger with finding the missing Arya Stark and needles him about his love for Catelyn Stark. He responds by referencing her incest and receives a violent reprimand. King Joffrey Baratheon responds to the ensuing rumors by ordering a city wide massacre of his father's bastards. The city watch storm into Littlefinger's brothel and kill the infant Barra in front of his employees.
Littlefinger mocks a request from the Night's Watch for assistance combating Wildling activity and reporting an attack by Wights. Tyrion has Lord Janos Slynt exiled to the Wall for his part in the massacre. Littlefinger intimidates Ros into keeping up her work despite the traumatic murder she witnessed.
Tyrion meets with Littlefinger and outlines a plan to wed Myrcella Baratheon to Robin Arryn to secure the support of the Vale. He promises to make Littlefinger the Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Paramount of the Riverlands in exchange for his assistance and swears him to secrecy. Pycelle is arrested for revealing that Tyrion plans to wed Myrcella into House Martell and Littlefinger realizes that he was involved in a ruse. He confronts Tyrion who apologizes and offers him another opportunity; to act as an envoy to Catelyn to propose a prisoner exchange.
Littlefinger reaches Catelyn at Renly Baratheon's camp in the Stormlands. He faces a frosty reception from Renly but nevertheless offers to betray the Lannisters and open the gates of King's Landing to Renly's army. He takes interest in Renly's new bride Margaery Tyrell and lets Margaery know that he is aware that it is a purely political marriage because of Renly's homosexuality. He meets with Catelyn as planned and delivers Eddard's remains as a sign of good faith. She greets him with angry recriminations over his betrayal of Eddard and rejects his poorly timed advances. He delivers Tyrion's suggested exchange terms; Jaime for Sansa and Arya Stark. Littlefinger lies that the Lannisters have Arya in their custody. Renly is killed in mysterious circumstances and Littlefinger then approaches the Tyrells with a new proposal of alliance with Joffrey. This will allow Margaery Tyrell to remain a queen and provide Loras Tyrell vengeance on Stannis. He leaves the camp with them for Highgarden. Catelyn acts alone to free Jaime on returning to Robb's camp, just as Littlefinger suggested.
Littlefinger travels to Harrenhal to propose an alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell to Lord Tywin Lannister. Littlefinger is successful in negotiating with the Tyrells and the allied forces arrive in time to claim victory at the Battle of the Blackwater.
Littlefinger is elevated to Lord of Harrenhal in reward for brokering the alliance. He jokes that now he must get started on producing some heirs. Sansa's betrothal to King Joffrey is broken so that Joffrey can marry Margaery. Sansa is overjoyed at this, but tries to look heartbroken. Littlefinger warns Sansa that she isn't fooling anyone and that Joffrey will not let her go despite setting her aside. Lord Petyr tells her that she reminds him of Catelyn and offers to take her home to Winterfell but she is reluctant to trust him.
Baelish colludes with Sansa Stark that he plans to smuggle her out of the city on his ship when he leaves on an upcoming mission.
With his new position as Lord of Harrenhal, Littlefinger's status is elevated considerably, enough for him to leave his position as Master of Coin to Tyrion, purchase a ship and prepare to sail to the Eyrie with a marriage proposal to the widowed Lysa Arryn. However, knowing full well that Sansa could end up being a more politically powerful wife than Lysa, he plans to take her on his ship with him. Ros, now secretly working for Varys, discovers his intentions and informs Varys who promptly convinces Lady Olenna Tyrell to arrange a marriage between Sansa and Loras.
Having been asked by Cersei to collect information on the Tyrells, Littlefinger orders one of his homosexual prostitutes, Olyvar, to act as Loras' squire and seduce him all the way to the bedroom. He does so and manages to get Loras to admit to the secret wedding plans. Olyvar relays this piece of information back to Littlefinger, who tests Sansa. When she declines her place on his ship, Baelish realizes Varys' plan and tips off Cersei and Tywin.
Baelish deduces that it must have been Ros who betrayed him, so he gives her to King Joffrey, who tortures and kills her with his crossbow. In the throne room, Littlefinger confronts Varys about his foiled plot. Varys responds by telling him that he "did what he did for the good of the realm" to prevent it spiralling into chaos but Littlefinger counters him by asserting that he views chaos as the perfect scenario to climb further up the social ladder. His ship then departs for the Vale of Arryn.
After Joffrey's death, Dontos Hollard delivers Sansa Stark to Lord Baelish's ship. After Sansa climbs aboard, Lord Baelish reminds Dontos about his payment. Baelish snaps his fingers, and crossbowmen kill Dontos. Baelish takes off Sansa's necklace, which he made himself, and throws it overboard.
Still sailing, Lord Baelish approaches Sansa at her cabin and tells her that they are on their way to the Vale where she will be safe. Sansa accuses him of killing Joffrey; he tries to deny it at first, but Sansa knows that he had something to do with the murder because getting her out of King's Landing was part of the plan. He admits it, telling her about the poison in the necklace, and states that Joffrey couldn't be trusted and had to be removed. Because Baelish has been away for a while, he would never be suspected, and the whole purpose of the murder was to confuse the Lannisters--which his new friend, Lady Olenna, wanted very badly
Littlefinger and Sansa, now pretending to be his niece Alayne, pass the Bloody Gate and make their ascent to the Eyrie, where they meet Lysa Arryn and her son, Lord Robin. After Sansa is acquainted with the two of them and is told that no one can know about her presence, Robin takes her to the chambers. Baelish is left alone with Lysa, who kisses him and tells him she wants to marry him immediately. He is reluctant at first and wants to inform the Lords of the Vale about the ceremony, but Lysa says that they already had their wedding night long ago. She then asks him what wife would do for him the things she had done for him, including poisoning her husband's wine, thus killing him, and then writing a letter to her sister Catelyn claiming it had been the Lannisters who did it, all of this at Littlefinger's behest. He starts to kiss her before anyone can overhear her. Lysa then brings a septon into the hall to wed them immediately and says that she will scream loudly as her husband, Lord Baelish, is making love to her that night. She keeps her promise.
After Sansa slaps Robin for ruining the snow representation of Winterfell she made at the Eyrie's court yard, Littlefinger approaches her and calms her, stating that Robin should've been disciplined by his mother long ago and that he will deal with Lysa. When Sansa states she will never see Winterfell again, he counters that a lot can happen between "now and never" and that she must demolish her old home if she wants to build one anew. Sansa insists to know why he killed Joffrey. He anwsers that he did it out of love for Sansa's mother. He adds that in a different world she might have been his child. He dismisses the notion and states she's more beautiful that Catelyn ever was. He kisses Sansa afterward. Later, Petyr prevents Lysa from throwing Sansa out of the Moon Door after she saw the kiss. After Lysa is more subdued, Petyr tells her he has always loved only one woman: Lysa's sister. He then pushes Lysa out of the Moon Door.
Following Lysa's death, Petyr Baelish is questioned by Lord Yohn Royce, Lady Anya Waynwood, and Ser Vance Corbray about Lysa's death, which he claims was suicide. The lords don't believe him, given Lysa's devotion to her son. They rebuff Littlefinger's explanations in favor of speaking with the only other witness: his "niece", Alayne. Baelish is noticeably concerned after they reveal that they will not allow him to speak to to her prior to her testimony in order to hear the "unadulterated truth". However, after confirming that Baelish can stay for her testimony, Alayne reveals her true identity, the tale of her captivity and flight from King's Landing. She then speaks of Lysa's mental instability, jealousy and death, changing only a few details: saying Littlefinger only kissed her on the cheek and that Lysa did throw herself from the Moon Door. Sansa breaks down in tears and the lords are convinced, but while none of them are looking, she gives Littlefinger a stony, almost triumphant gaze.
Following the questining Petyr admonishes the lords for hiding away in the Vale during the War of the Five Kings, questioning their loyalty because they refused Catelyn Stark's plea for assistance in the conflict against the Lannisters. When asked who he thinks they should back, he responds that they should back "Robin Arryn, Lord of the Vale." When the lords scoff at his suggestion, claiming that Robin is just a sickly boy, Petyr responds by declaring that "even sickly little boys can become powerful men," and that it is time for young Robin to fly the nest. The boy he claims, needs to learn to ride a horse, to swing a sword, and to become the lord the Vale needs. He offers to take Lord Robin on a tour of the Vale in order for him to become acquainted with his domains, a request that the lords agree to.
Later, Baelish visits Sansa and asks why she lied on his behalf. Without looking up from the dress she is mending, Sansa explains that she has no idea what Royce, Corbray, and Waynwood would want from her if he were eliminated, but that she does know what it is he wants. Littlefinger seems impressed that she made such a calculating decision, but attempts to cast doubt on her certainty. Sansa doesn't take the bait. Later on, Baelish and Robin stand in the High Hall, preparing to depart for their tour of the Vale. Robin expresses his uncertainty about leaving the Eyrie, echoing his mother's words that the outside world is a dangerous place where he could die. Petyr calms his fears by stating that people die from everyday causes, and that instead of worrying about his inevitable death to spend time focusing on his life, which lays before him. At that moment, a raven-haired Sansa appears at the top of the stairs in a feathered black dress with a plunging neckline. Petyr stares at her intently, clearly intrigued and pleased by her recent transformation, and she returns his smile knowingly.
Littlefinger attends a sword jousting session for Lord Robin at Runestone, along with Alayne and Yohn Royce. Royce remarks on Robin's weak skills at swordsmanship, but Petyr insists his name is all that matters, not his skill. A maester delivers him a raven message, which he reads discreetly. Littlefinger leaves Robin in the care of Lord Royce, for further training. On the carriage ride, he is questioned by Sansa as to why they are heading west when Lord Royce was told they would be traveling to the Fingers, unsure of his source of distrust. Petyr promises her that they are going somewhere far away, where Sansa will be safe from Queen Cersei.
While at an inn, Petyr and Sansa are confronted by Brienne of Tarth, who previously swore an oath to Catelyn Stark to keep the Stark girls safe. Petyr reminds Brienne that she swore an oath to Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark, both of whom are now dead, in order to stop Sansa from trusting her. Petyr attempts to "persuade" Brienne to rest with them, but Brienne and her squire, Podrick Payne, escape, and discreetly continue to follow Petyr and his party.
However, when the party arrives at the ruins of Moat Cailin, Sansa realizes that Petyr intends to marry her to Ramsay Bolton, the son of Lord Roose Bolton, who betrayed and murdered her brother and mother. Despite Sansa's reluctance to marry into another family that harmed hers, Petyr persuades her to go along with the plan, citing it as a chance to avenge her family. They subsequently ride through Moat Cailin, and arrive at Winterfell. Later, Petyr speaks with Ramsay and subtly warns him not to inflict any harm on Sansa. He also speaks with Roose regarding the validity of Sansa's marriage to Tyrion Lannister. Petyr insists that since Tyrion never slept with Sansa, their marriage is invalid. Roose declares that he is not only interested in Sansa's name, not her virtue (after Baelish suggests he have Sansa inspected) and voices his doubts as to whose side Petyr is truly on, having essentially betrayed the Lannisters by taking Sansa away from them and returning her to the North to marry into a family that the Lannisters are no longer backing, though Petyr counters by citing Roose's betrayal of the Starks and Tullys. Roose then presents a letter for Petyr from Cersei which arrived from the Eyrie, and demands to read Petyr's reply before it is sent off.
Later on, Petyr finds Sansa in the crypts of Winterfell paying her respects to her deceased family members. Petyr recalls about how Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped Sansa's aunt, Lyanna, which started Robert Baratheon's rebellion against the Targaryen family. Petyr then tells Sansa that he has to return to King's Landing on Cersei's request. Sansa expresses unease about being left alone in Winterfell, but Petyr tells her not to worry, since Stannis Baratheon is garrisoned at Castle Black and will most likely make another try for the Iron Throne, which will require him to retake Winterfell, destroy the Boltons and win the Northern Lords to his side, and out of respect for Ned Stark's support of his claim, Stannis will rescue Sansa and name her the new Warden of the North, and if Stannis is killed or does not even come, then Petyr suggests Sansa can destroy the Boltons from within. He kisses her on the lips again and departs.
Baelish returns to King's Landing to find the city under the rule of the newly-reestablished Faith Militant. Lancel Lannister, a member of the religious cult known as the Sparrows, warns him that his days as a brothel owner in the capital are over. He goes to meet Cersei and he informs her of the Boltons' plans to marry Sansa to Ramsay. Angered at the Boltons' betrayal, Cersei agrees with Baelish's plans to lead an army of Vale knights to Winterfell to reclaim the North for the Lannisters, as the warriors from the Eyrie are trained to fight in winter (the weather is starting to turn at this point). In exchange, Baelish asks to be appointed as the new Warden of the North once Winterfell is taken and both the Boltons and Stannis are defeated. Cersei agrees and tells him to return that night to have the King sign a royal decree promoting him
Baelish later stands in his ruined brothel with a look of regret. He is approached by Olenna Tyrell, having sent her a letter to speak with him. As they speak, Olenna mentions how her grandchildren, Margaery and Loras, have been arrested due to Cersei's machinations, and demands his help by threatening that if anything happens to her or if House Tyrell goes under, she will reveal his involvement in Joffrey's murder, which will certainly lead to his execution. Baelish reveals Cersei's affair with Lancel, which is then used to have Cersei arrested by the Faith Militant.
Now Protector of the Vale, Baelish orders the Knights of the Vale to invade The North to overthrow House Bolton, confirming he did in fact trick Roose Bolton. This brings an end to the neutrality of House Arryn, which until then had steared clear of the War of the Five Kings.
Later, Baelish sends a letter to Sansa informing her of her great-uncle Brynden's success in recapturing Riverrun and asking to meet in Mole's Town. In a ruined house, Sansa confronts Baelish about her marriage to Ramsay and coldly asks if he knew the truth about Ramsay all along, which he denies. Although Petyr has rallied the knights of the Vale to fight for her, Sansa ultimately refuses his help, telling him that she already has Jon Snow's help and warning him never to speak to her again. However, during a war council, Sansa claims she learned of Brynden's victory through a message for Ramsay, in order to stop Jon from pursuing Baelish in the event of needing his help.
When failing to rally enough houses to their side, Sansa secretly writes Baelish to take him up on the offer she previously rejected. Baelish arrives with the Vale Knights of House Arryn just when the Stark force is about to be massacred in the Second Battle of Winterfell, and easily wipe out what remains of the Bolton army. House Stark is subsequently restored as wardens of The North, and Ramsay Bolton is executed.
Petyr watches disapprovingly as Jon hands the castles of Last Hearth and Karhold back over to Ned Umber and Alys Karstark, despite their parents' role in the Battle of the Bastards.
He later confronts Sansa to see if she is truly "safe" and "happy". She remarks on her safety in Winterfell but continues to question her in regards to her happiness. She then dismisses him, just as he is about to speak, upon the entry of Brienne.
Petyr watches as Jon discusses accepting the deal to meet with Daenerys Targaryen with the lords, needing the Dragonglass to forge weapons to defeat the White Walkers after receiving a raven from Samwell Tarly and smirks as Jon leaves Sansa in charge as ruler while he is gone. In the crypt, Petyr reveals his love for Sansa to Jon, who strangles him against the wall and threatens to kill him if he ever touches Sansa.
Petyr meets with Bran Stark and gives him the valyrian steel dagger that was used to make an attempt on his life from the catspaw. Unimpressed and uninterested, Bran simply asks if he knows who had the dagger before the assassin, to which he responds that the question started the War of the Five Kings. Petyr then questions him on how he survived beyond the Wall, only to return to such chaos, to which Bran replies, "Chaos is a ladder", the very thing Petyr said to Varys during his rise in power after allowing Joffrey Baratheon to kill Ros. He then exits upon the entrance of Meera Reed, addressing Bran as "Lord Stark". However, Bran corrects him, saying that his profession as the three-eyed raven doesn't allow this.
Petyr later watches from the battlements as Arya Stark returns to Winterfell and as she begins to spar with Brienne. However, after the practise, they both look up at him with a disapproving and untrustworthy look. Yet again hatching another cunning plan, he bows from the high walls and walks away from the gaze of Arya.
After trying and failing to manipulate the other Stark children, Petyr formulates a plan to separate the Stark sisters, starting with Arya. Arya herself becomes increasingly suspicious of Petyr, and begins shadowing him in order to figure out his plan. He engages in conversation with a common girl, before giving her money for her information. Arya then follows him around Winterfell, watching him from the battlements, as he eerily converses with Yohn Royce and Robett Glover. Petyr then receives Maester Luwin's copy of Sansa's letter to Robb, asking him to surrender to Joffrey, from Wolkan, who assures him that there is no other copy in Winterfell. Arya then retrieves the letter after investigating his chambers.
However, Petyr watches from the shadows as Arya exits, showing that he knew all along of her spying on him, and was counting on her to find the letter. Petyr smiles, hoping this will turn the hot-tempered Arya against her sister.
After Arya confronts Sansa over the letter, Sansa becomes worried that Arya could turn the Northerners against her or even worse, harm her in some way and voices her concerns to Petyr. Petyr reminds her that Brienne swore an oath to Catelyn that she would watch over both Stark sisters and should protect her from Arya if the latter was to try and murder Sansa.
When Arya is seemingly brought to face trial for murder and treason, Sansa catches Petyr off guard when she asks how he wishes to answer for his crimes. She then reveals to all the Northern and Vale lords gathered there, including Yohn Royce, whom she previously lied to, that Petyr did in fact kill her aunt Lysa. He also orchestrated the Assassination of Jon Arryn and conspired with the Lannisters to imprison Ned so they could frame him for treason. Bran reminds Petyr that he held a knife to Ned's throat and repeats what he said, "I did warn you not to trust me." With all the facts laid bare and no one to turn to for aid, Petyr falls to his knees and begs for his life, claiming that he loved Catelyn since he was a boy, but Sansa replies he still betrayed her. Petyr insists he loves Sansa, but she replies he betrayed her too. With that, Arya slits Petyr's throat with the very same dagger that was given to the Catspaw assasssin to kill Bran.
Littlefinger was a childhood friend of the Tully sisters, Lysa and Catelyn, the latter of whom he loved deeply. Littlefinger married Lysa Arryn to secure the Vale for the Lannisters but he always had his eye on Sansa Stark. He arranged for her escape to the Eyrie after Joffrey's murder and he killed his new bride when she threatened Sansa. Sansa then protected Littlefinger by claiming her aunt took her own life. Littlefinger secretly arranged the marriage of Sansa to Ramsay Bolton... while also offering Cersei the Knights of the Vale to take the North from the Boltons. After Sansa escaped Winterfell, Littlefinger prompted Robin Arryn to send his forces to help the Starks win back Winterfell.
Baelish is a cunning and ruthless manipulator of court politics. He is at times capable of putting on a seemingly friendly face with a friendly smile - but his eyes don't smile when his mouth does. The exact inner motivations that drive Baelish are unclear, as are his ultimate goals, but he has no real loyalty or genuine affection for anyone. Behind his smiles and forced mild manners, Littlefinger is cunning and calculating, willing to casually dispose of people who trusted him, like a man replacing an old pair of gloves he doesn't want anymore. Even so, he is an extremely intelligent man, not only a genius at financial matters but at cynically manipulating those around him. As Varys observed, he is a grasper from a minor House, with a very great skill at befriending and ultimately manipulating powerful people.
Littlefinger started out as an impoverished noble from an insignificant minor House in the "little Finger" peninsula of the Vale, but felt constantly looked down upon for his relatively lowly status by much higher noblemen. His rejection by the Tullys when he was a young man, and his near-death at the hands of Brandon Stark, embittered him against both the Tullys and the Starks - nor was he strongly attached to the other Vale lords who looked down on him the rest of his life. Petyr loved Catelyn, but she saw him only like a brother, and her father wanted him to have nothing to do with her.
In truth, underneath Littlefinger's people-mask, he is a cold sociopath who hungers for power over others basically for its own sake. Curiously, even seemingly plausible goals such as "revenge against the Starks and Tullys" - which at times is what he tells himself he is doing - are really only excuses and rationalizations for his utter ambition to control everything around him. Even Littlefinger's alleged feelings for Catelyn Stark truly seem to have just been a rationalization for his greed for power. Though surely, Littlefinger himself is convinced that he truly "loved" her, in reality his attraction was one-sided, and he was obsessively stalking a girl who never returned his affections beyond a platonic level. Hypocritically, Littlefinger became angered that the Tullys rejected him, probably for his low social status - when Catelyn's younger sister Lysa Tully was utterly obsessed with him. Petyr, ironically, wanted nothing to do with Lysa, and used her only as a means to an end to get to Catelyn. Later after Catelyn died, Littlefinger creepily transferred his obsession to Sansa. Even though, as he himself noted, Sansa is young enough to be his own daughter, she reminds him so much of the young Catelyn at her age that he forgets himself, even allowing himself to try to kiss her - showing that he didn't really love Catelyn as a person so much as a concept, given that he feels she is interchangeable with her daughter.
In brief moments when Littlefinger has opened up to Sansa Stark, it is disturbingly revealed that despite his keen skill at assessing the emotions and goals of others and using it to manipulate them, he has a highly warped, skewed view of the world. In Littlefinger's mind, he narrates himself as the hero of his own storybook, as it were: as he says, the weak boy from a minor family who hoped that in a better world, "love could overcome strength and duty". He genuinely feels - or seems to feel - that he is the victim in all of this, despite causing the War of the Five Kings (a war in which tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have died), because the uncaring forces of a stratified aristocracy prevented him from marrying Catelyn - even though Catelyn herself never "loved" him in return, purely on a personal level. Petyr's surprising lack of insight when it comes to his romantic obsessions were revealed when he encountered Catelyn again in Renly Baratheon's army camp after her husband's execution - a betrayal which Catelyn by now would assuredly have known he was at least partially complicit in. Instead, Petyr started babbling nonsensically to Catelyn that "fate" had granted them the opportunity to finally be together now that Eddard was dead - even though he previously saw that they were deeply in love, and any sane man would realize that she would be both deeply in mourning for her husband, and have reason to be suspicious that he had something to do with his death. Littlefinger's stalker-crush extended to the point that even after years of bitterly hating the Tullys and Starks, and even hating Catelyn at times for rejecting him, at other times he would persist to indulge in fantasies that one day she would come running to his arms.
Other men such as Varys engage in court intrigue and engage in murder because they feel they are doing what they must to ensure safety and order for the realm as a whole, while other men such as Tywin Lannister engage in court intrigue because they want to secure more power for themselves and for their family legacy. Baelish, meanwhile, just does things because he can: he enjoys exerting power over other people. Sometimes this can take the form of out-witting or out-manipulating major court players such as Varys or Cersei - even Tyrion Lannister enjoyed the challenge of "the game". Yet Littlefinger also enjoys crushing the powerless when he thinks he can get away with it, people who pose no threat to him - such as how sometimes he will casually have one of his prostitutes like Ros executed because they have failed him. Baelish's acquisition of multiple brothels sums up a major aspect of his personality: he is willing to use other people, often vulnerable and weak people (i.e. prostitutes), purely for his own gain (cynically selling his whores' sexual services for gold), while at the same time using the weaknesses of his enemies as leverage (i.e. blackmailing them about their visits to his brothels). Sometimes Baelish doesn't even use people for any actual purpose, but simply because he enjoys destroying them like a man swatting a fly.
Despite his ingenious planning and manipulation, Baelish is not incapable of making mistakes, nor is he above overplaying his hand if he is convinced of the superiority of his position, political or otherwise, which is a direct contrast to Littlefinger's usual meek and cautious nature, proving himself not above arrogance. The first mistake was when he subtly made a jab at Cersei about her unnatural relationship with her brother Jaime, that knowledge is power, which resulted in Cersei nearly having him killed before deciding to remind him of his place. Another fatal flaw Baelish has is underestimating people. He remarked to Varys that Tyrion is an unworthy ally, seemingly underestimated Ramsay Bolton's vile nature, wrongly believed that the North would not rally behind a "motherless bastard" like Jon Snow, and was initially skeptical of Bran Stark's omniscience as the new three-eyed raven.