I'm talking about the scene in season 2 episode 6, when Patyr Baelish visits Tywin to talk about Renly's death and a possible alliance between the crown and the Tyrells.

During this time, Arya is Tywin's cupbearer and is the only person, who's allowed to be in the room, as a servant.

There is a huge hint that Petyr actually recognized Arya. It's at the time when Arya accidentally spills wine next to Littlefinger.

'Pardon, my lord'

'It's only wine' Petyr replied and gave her this look:

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Now, it seems highly likely that he recognized her at the moment, because he automatically lost the thread in his conversation with Tywin.

It took him more than a second to answer Tywin's next question. It's almost like for a second there he was calculating whether or not it would be profitable for him to tell Tywin about his cupbearer.

Apparently, he decides not to, and that's why I have this question. Why did he decide not to reveal Arya's identity? How could he benefit from that decision?

  • 10
    At a guess, presuming he knew (I'm not sure he did, even with your argument), because the only one who could benefit from revealing Arya would be Tywin, who gets another Stark pawn, and Baelish would get... what, Tywin's goodwill? More pieces on the board to play against each other always benefits Littlefinger.
    – Radhil
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:34
  • While he does give her that look I don't recall them ever having a scene together in show or meeting in the books and she doesn't look like her mother so he wouldn't see the resemblance like he does with Sansa.
    – Virusbomb
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:41
  • 3
    @Virusbomb they do see each other in King's Landing at the tournament. Petyr meets there with both Sansa and Arya. Arya asked him even why they call him Littlefinger. He answered "when I was a child I was very small and I come from a little split of land called the Fingers, so you see. It's an exceedingly clever nickname." I'm sure he remembers that conversation as well as Arya's face.
    – Martin
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:49
  • 4
    “It was unclear if he recognized her or not, but I have my own thoughts on that,” Gillen told EW. “Yes, I did recognize her — I just didn’t say anything or do anything about it.” -- ew.com/tv/2017/06/28/game-of-thrones-littlefinger-arya
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 11, 2017 at 20:42
  • 2
    I never felt he was able to see her face to recognize. If he did he would have found a way to use it for his benefit in some way.
    – HBhatia
    Aug 17, 2017 at 11:01

3 Answers 3


I think it's important to remember that Littlefinger has nothing to gain from strengthening Tywin's hand at this point. His objective is to foster chaos in the realm, and by keeping Arya's identity a secret, he does that by potentially allowing her to escape and rejoin the Starks.

"Chaos is a ladder."


Also, maybe he secretly hopes he can get her out of Harrenhal and get it on with Catelyn Stark after rescuing her daughter... ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • 7
    The latter half while seeming tongue-in-cheek is probably more of the actual reason.
    – Skooba
    Aug 11, 2017 at 19:53
  • 5
    It's possible he thought it would be a useful bit of information for a later time, should he need one of the remaining Starks off-balance. Simply noting that he saw her alive would be enough to catch them off guard. He would of course add that he made plans to contact her and help her escape, but she disappeared before he could do anything...
    – Irishpanda
    Aug 11, 2017 at 20:32
  • Littlefinger also gained trust of Starks which was important to his agenda.
    – user931
    Jun 8, 2022 at 15:15

Littlefinger is always looking for someone to owe him a favor and keeping his options open.

Hence his appearance at Harrenhal to begin with, he was looking to gain favor with Tywin by brokering the an alliance between the Lannisters and the Tyrells. Prior to that he was looking to gain favor with Catelyn Stark by facilitating the return of Ned's bones.

He also knows that the Lannisters might try and trade the Stark girls for Jaime, but knows they can not do so without having both. Cersei had tasked Littlefinger with finding Arya before she could escape King's Landing, which he obviously unsuccessful at. So he is quite surprised to find Arya at Harrenhal and especially surprised she is with Tywin.

Littlefinger is able quickly to deduce that Tywin does not know who he has as a cup bearer, otherwise Arya would be locked up safely in a cell and guarded to facilitate her transport back to King's Landing as a hostage. However, he is not quick enough to devise a scheme to take Arya with him in an attempt to further his own gains.

He does not tell Tywin because there is no direct benefit for him.


Knowing Littlefinger, had he recognised Arya, he would have caused commotion between Tywin and any relevant relevant enemy of his. Plus, He would have mentioned it at the end when he was in was in Winterfell, where he had free communication with Arya and Sansa, or at his trial, before he was sentenced to death.

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