Most fans believed Littlefinger was a dead man after Arya returned to Winterfell, because her training with the Faceless Men would give her an advantage over Baelish. Instead, Littlefinger is the one pulling her strings and has outwitted someone who was trained by a group of assassins that specialize in deception. Is there something about Littlefinger's abilities that hasn't been revealed yet?
When Littlefinger’s trap snared Arya, many fans began to question what they know about Baelish and how he obtained his skills. Petyr Baelish has been an integral part of Game of Thrones since it began, setting some of the most impactful events of the show in motion. such as sparking the War of the Five Kings in motion when he lied to Catelyn Stark. Since then, #Littlefinger has managed to position himself near people of power and survive when many others have met their fates.
One fan on Reddit posited an interesting theory, which poses how Littlefinger remains one step ahead of everyone because just like Arya.
Could Littlefinger Have Been Trained By The Faceless Men?
Reddit user thefacelessbastard posted an idea in the Game of Thrones theories subreddit that suggests Petyr Baelish could be one of the Faceless Men. The post appeared shortly after Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 5 aired, but gave very little reasoning behind why he thought it might be true. However, this theory might have some merit, and there is information from the show and the books that might back the notion.
Let’s begin by looking in to Petyr Baelish’s past or what little information is known about House Baelish. Our first clue that Baelish has ties to the Faceless Men comes from his lineage in Braavos. It just so happens that Baelish’s great grandfather was said to be a mere sellsword in Braavos before he took up service with House Corbray in the Vale of Arryn.
It could be a coincidence that Braavos is also the location of the House of Black and White (the Faceless Men’s headquarters), but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Given how fast his family gained favor in Westeros, it seems odd that the first Baelish was just a Braavosian sellsword, although he could have been a skilled fighter and garnered favor through battle.
When House Baelish was established after Petyr's father fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings, they took the sigil of the mockingbird, which suggest cunning over might. Unlike the wolf, stag, dragon, or lion sigil’s of other houses -- which speak to the houses' might -- the mockingbird hints at the Baelish family's ability to “mock” or deceive – which is something that the Faceless Men are particularly adept at.
Apart from his family lineage, the books and show only tell of Littlefinger’s life after he was sent to be fostered by the Tullys at the age of eight. We are missing a large gap of time when Littlefinger could have been trained or learned the skills he has displayed over the course of the show. That time is certainly long enough to learn the ways of the Faceless Men, as we saw how quickly Arya learned in Season 6.
Although the Faceless Men are masters of deception, they are also formidable fighters. Petyr Baelish has not shown any skill when it comes to combat, but he always avoids confrontation. Besides the time when he held a knife to the throat of Ned Stark in Season 1, we have never seen Littlefinger attack anyone. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to fight, but it’s a portion of the skills of the Faceless Men he has yet to demonstrate.
While he hasn’t shown an ability in combat, during Season 7, Episode 4, Littlefinger gave a curious look while watching Arya fight Brienne. After watching the fight, Baelish looked like he recognized her style, and once Arya told Brienne that “no one” had trained her, he smiled. Baelish’s response doesn’t confirm he is familiar with the Faceless Men, but he saw something that gave him confidence in Arya, whether it be her abilities, or his ability to undermine her.
It’s true we have never seen Baelish change faces, which would be a huge tip-off that he was a member of the Faceless Men, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t. Lack of proof doesn’t mean confirmation, as we've learned many times throughout Game of Thrones. Much like Arya, Littlefinger could have learned the ways of the Faceless Men and left the organization without learning all the secrets. He could also have changed faces without the audience knowing, which would lead to a great reveal in later seasons.
Up until now, Baelish’s ability to gauge others' reactions and manipulate them has worked without deploying any magical tactics that we’re aware of. Much like the members of the Faceless Men we have met, he lurks in the shadows and uses his cunning (and poison here and there) to eliminate those who stand in his way.
Petyr Baelish could have ties to the Faceless Men, or he could just have naturally learned all of the skills he possesses. However, on Game of Thrones, things are usually connected in ways fans don’t expect. Maybe we will learn about Littlefinger’s training or how he became the man he is in the future, but for now, this theory is just an idea that tries to explain his mysterious past.
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