So Littlefinger is back to his scheming best. In ‘Eastwatch’, we saw him trick Arya into stealing a letter she thought he wanted kept secret, and in the process set the wheels in motion to try and turn the Stark sisters against each other.
For a full explanation of the letter and why it was so important, head here, we’ve got you covered, but essentially, the letter is one which Sansa sent to Robb and Catelyn back in Season 1, and on the face of it, looks very incriminating for the Lady of Winterfell.
You might remember it from all those years ago – it’s the one she was forced to send under duress from Cersei, telling her brother and mother than Ned had committed treason against the ‘rightful king’, Joffrey, and tried to seize the throne for himself. It also orders Robb to come to King’s Landing and bend the knee.
Here’s the full transcript:
“Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert’s brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King’s Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark.”
Littlefinger knew Arya would follow him, and wanted her to find the letter, presumably to set the Stark sisters against each other as part of his master plan to eventually somehow seize control of all of Westeros. While the pair weren’t exactly getting on great in this episode, it remains to be seen whether Arya will be smart enough to work out that Littlefinger is playing her, and that she needs to stick by her sister.
To make it look like he really didn’t want Arya to find the scroll, Littlefinger had to hide it convincingly – and he chose to conceal it inside a tiny hole in the mattress – surely finding that would be an almost impossible task for any normal person, right?
So how did Arya know it would be there? Did she just find it through blind luck? Well, not exactly. Here, look:
This is an exchange between Sansa and Tyrion back in Season 3, when Lord Desmond Crakehall laughs at Tyrion, and he and the eldest Stark girl plot a way to get back at him.
Sansa suggests slipping some sheep dung into a hole in his mattress, which clearly shocks Tyrion – how would a lady like Sansa know such dirty tricks?
Well, it’s because her less-than-ladylike sister used to perform that exact prank on her growing up. Arya used to do it to Sansa when she was angry with her – “and she was always angry with me”, Sansa adds.
So that’s how Arya knew it was worth checking inside the mattress – hell, there’s a good chance Arya even cut that hole herself all those years ago.
And how did Littlefinger know to hide it there? Well, maybe he had someone listening in on that conversation between Sansa and Tyrion, maybe he knew that Arya was such a good sleuth that she’d find it either way, or maybe he just got lucky.
Remember though, this is Littlefinger – he doesn’t tend to be a man who relies on luck.