Littlefinger hasn't made it this far in Game of Thrones by walking around with his eyes closed. As the architect of Jon Arryn's death and almost all of the war, scheming and death which has since followed, Lord Baelish is equal parts Machiavellian manipulator extraordinaire and super-spy, a power broker who got rich on knowledge.
So given that we're supposed to believe he knows pretty much everything, it always seemed a little incongruous that when #Littlefinger briefly laid eyes on #Arya in Season 2, while Catelyn's younger daughter was incognito as a servant girl at Harrenhal, he seemingly didn't recognize her. The glance he cast her way was ambiguous enough to split #GameOfThrones fans on whether Baelish was truly fooled, or whether he simply decided not to expose Arya for strategic reasons.
Relive the moment in question from 2:05:
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Aidan Gillen (who always refers to the actions of Littlefinger in-character in the first person, fuelling my belief that he's so good because he's really just playing himself) had this to say about the Arya moment:
"It was unclear if he recognized her or not, but I have my own thoughts on that. Yes, I did recognize her — I just didn’t say anything or do anything about it."
At the time various theories were birthed about why Baelish would keep quiet about Arya's true identity if he had seen her — was he looking out for her as a daughter of Catelyn, the woman he loved? In Season 3, he tells Sansa that he saw Arya recently, but that felt more like a lie designed to keep Sansa on side. If he really had recognized Arya at Harrenhal, wouldn't he have attempted to use her to his advantage in classic Littlefinger fashion?
Either way, as Game of Thrones wraps up a few unresolved story strands from early seasons (will we finally find out in Season 7 where the hell Gendry has been since he rowed away in his boat?), it's cool to get a kind of confirmation of what was always an intriguingly ambiguous detail in the secretive history of Littlefinger.
Game of Thrones returns Sunday, July 16 on HBO, and it's guaranteed to be a big season for Lord Baelish.
(Source: Entertainment Weekly)