Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish has been the catalyst of many events in Westeros, and by creating chaos and seeing what sticks, he's elevated his position in the realm a lot from his humble beginnings.
We don't know the extents of Littlefinger's plans in Game of Thrones, but we know his endgame:
To sit upon the Iron Throne, with
Catelyn LysaSansa as his Queen.
At least that's what he strives for and motivates him, and he might settle for (slightly) less, although he is an ambitious man.
But how exactly could he have hoped to achieve this? He's achieved a whole lot already, of course:
He became the powerful Master of Coin, helped the Lannisters usurp/keep the crown by suppressing knowledge of the crown prince's parentage, starting the War of the Five Kings in the process (with some other planning beforehand, including killing Jon Arryn which later also let him become Lord Protector of the Vale), a war that made him Lord of Harrenhal and in which he killed King Joffrey.
When we last see him, he's trying his hardest to
take power in the North as well, probably by making Sansa the Lady of Winterfell and Queen in the North somehow, and then marrying her.
Littlefinger did mention a plan to gain more indirect control over the Iron Throne as early as in season 1, when he suggested to Ned Stark that they let Joffrey Baratheon rule but act together as the powers behind the throne in his Small Council, and if he did not mature into the king they want, expose his dirty secret and install Lord Renly Baratheon instead.
That's the closest plan to gaining more control over the Iron Throne that I can remember from the show, but even that would not put him on it.
As impressive as his feats are, I don't really see a clear path to his final goal. I do know that we don't know his plans and endgame, and I'm aware of these great questions and answers:
- What is Petyr Baelish's endgame with Sansa?
- Why would Littlefinger want this person dead?
- What was Littlefinger's motivation for the Purple Wedding?
And even if Littlefinger did manage to grab more and more lands, including the North, and feasibly become an actual contender for the crown from sheer power (which we all know resides where men believe it to reside), I believe he knows of Varys's plans and the Targaryens approaching (Daenerys in the show, and both her and Aegon in the books?).
I'm trying my hardest here not to delve into speculation territory, but did Littlefinger actually see a possible path to his goal, or did he just create chaos to see what stuck? What was his road map of viable ways for him to achieve it?
Note: I've only watched the show, not read the books, but answers based on both are welcome. I just don't know what events have happened in the books. I know what recent events haven't happened in the books though... But it'd be interesting to know if he is closer to his goal in the books than in the show, if it can't be answered definitely.