Warning: This post contains spoilers for season seven of Game of Thrones.
Littlefinger finally met his end on the season seven finale of Game of Thrones Sunday night. Sansa Stark brought Arya to the throne room for what appeared to be a confrontation over Arya’s apparent scheming against her sister. But then Sansa quickly revealed that it was in fact Littlefinger who was on trial.
She accused Littlefinger of several crimes: killing their aunt Lysa Arryn, conspiring to kill their uncle Jon Arryn, committing treason by holding a knife to Ned Stark’s throat and attempting to assassinate of Bran. The new Three-Eyed Raven — who was conspicuously missing from the last episode when the Stark sisters fought — provided just the evidence needed to convict Lord Baelish when he shared his visions. Sansa declared Littlefinger to be guilty, and Arya cut his throat.
Littlefinger’s death was hinted at throughout this season. Though Sansa appeared to go to Littlefinger for counsel after she and Arya bickered over Sansa’s secret desire to rule the North and Arya’s newfound talents as an assassin, Sansa repeatedly told Arya, Jon, Bran and Brienne that she did not trust Littlefinger.
The most important piece of foreshadowing about Littlefinger’s death came during the Stark reunion earlier in the season. Sansa, Arya and Bran conferred about the Valyrian steel dagger, a weapon that was sure to be used to kill someone by the end of the season. Though they exchanged frustratingly little information, the three siblings agreed that Lord Baelish must be trying to manipulate them.
The dagger became a symbol of that bond among the surviving Starks. Its reappearance was a reminder that Littlefinger had long conspired against the family since he gave the weapon to Bran’s would-be assassin in season one. And the dagger was passed among the Stark children — Bran to Arya to Sansa — as a show of their trust in one another. They would not use the dagger against each other, but rather against their true enemy.
Even one of the season 7 trailers offered a hint about Littlefinger’s fate. In one of the previews, Sansa intones, “The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” In the final episode, we find out that was a phrase that Ned shared with his children: The Starks have to look out for one another. Sansa did indeed finally repeat that phrase to Arya in this final episode after Littlefinger’s death.
Though Lord Baelish’s death was a longtime coming — and one of the few moments of schadenfreude the show offered this season — he was among the last characters who played the game of thrones with tricks and lies rather than brute force. As a formidable opponent to the good guys, he will be missed.