Spoilers from Season 07 Episode 07, "The Dragon and the Wolf".

We saw that Littlefinger is sentenced to death by the Starks (especially by the law of Lady Sansa Stark) for his crimes.

Wouldn't it be more profitable if the three (Sansa, Arya, Bran) considered this character guilty on their own (in private), and order Arya to execute him and at the same time take his face?

If they did it, they could rule the Vale and have other links to influence people.

  • 2
    I don't understand the question. What you describe is exactly what happened but you seem to be asking why it didn't happen.
    – Darren
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:50
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    Are you asking why they didn't do it in secret and have Arya pretend to be Littlefinger?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:52
  • 3
    How do you know that she didn't take his face? Probably a good way to get close to Cersei.
    – TGnat
    Sep 1, 2017 at 15:00
  • 4
    @TGnat After he betrayed her to support the Starks? I doubt it.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 1, 2017 at 15:08
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    Wasn't much of a trial though... more of a public humiliation followed by execution
    – komodosp
    Sep 1, 2017 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


The official script for the episode has been released and shares some interesting insight into the trial. The main thing being that everyone in the room apparently already knew the trial was for Littlefinger, not Arya.

SANSA: How do you answer these charges, Lord Baelish?

Littlefinger stiffens, as everyone in the room looks at him.

Everyone else is in on it. For once, Littlefinger is the man on the outside.

As if caught in a bad dream, he cannot speak for a moment

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 7, "The Dragon and the Wolf"

By doing it in trial they expose Littlefinger for who he was to everyone, not just those who already knew it. Though to be fair most people already knew and those that didn't were told before the trial as per the official script.

What can they gain from doing it in secret?

  • Vale? They already have its support with or without Littlefinger due to being cousins. Lord Royce seems to support the Starks and with Littlefinger gone he will most likely become Lord protector until Robin comes of age.
  • Littlefinger's contacts? How will they know now? After someone dies you don't magically learn everything about them.
  • Influence? They are already the ruling family in the North and essentially the Vale, what other influence do they need?

What can they lose from doing it in secret? Trust, power, support, etc.

Another good point raised by @Odin1806 is:

In addition they also show that the Starks are a unified front once again. While some may have believed (and rightly so) that the house Stark was in shambles holding a trial and making everything public shows that the Starks are all home, they are back on top, and they are not to be trifled with.

As to why Arya didn't take Lord Baelish's face, well we don't know if she did or not. For all we know her and Sansa are having a lot of fun with it.

Arya pretends to be Littlefinger

  • 8
    In addition they also show that the Starks are a unified front once again. While some may have believed (and rightly so) that the house Stark was in shambles holding a trial and making everything public shows that the Starks are all home, they are back on top, and they are not to be trifled with.
    – Odin1806
    Sep 1, 2017 at 15:58
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    Upvoted for a good answer, and that hilarious pic at the end!
    – Irishpanda
    Sep 1, 2017 at 17:05
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    @Davor Sansa is the ruler of the north, she can simply sentence him to death. She's the accuser and the judge, there's no other judges he can lie to or try to deny his way out.
    – madmada
    Sep 2, 2017 at 22:32
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    And despite all what happened with Ned, it all came down to a decision by Joffrey. Lysa, as I remember was worried from the Lannister and didn't have any evidence (hence, they wanted him to confess). Trial by combat is a way to decide if someone is guilty or not in the absence of evidence, if the ruler sees there's enough evidence, it won't happen.
    – madmada
    Sep 3, 2017 at 17:45
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    @DariM Can't you see some similarities between both incidents? Ned despite being not guilty, was faced by a ruler already decided his guilt and wants to punish him. Little finger despite the lack of evidence, was also faced by a ruler wants to punish him. If Ned insisted that he's innocent it wouldn't have help (at least with confession there's a chance), the same with LF, if he denied or called Sansa or Bran a liar it wouldn't have help, all he could do is try to beg or ask for mercy (at least there's a chance she'll falter and reconsider the sentence, if he called her a lair, no way)
    – madmada
    Sep 4, 2017 at 1:29
  1. The Stark's are known for their honour, I doubt any of them would have even considered this an option.

  2. There are 2 people that Robin Arryn (current Lord of the Vale) trusts left on Westeros. Yohn Royce, and Sansa Stark. And as everyone has shown, Robin is very easy to manipulate, so in essence, they already control the Vale. (Yohn was present at the execution of Littlefinger.)

  3. By declaring for House Stark during the Battle of the Bastards, Littlefinger burned many of his bridges and revealed himself to the world as a deceitful schemer. His name wouldn't carry the same weight after that.

  • 2
    I don't see why this answer has been downvoted, it seems pretty accurate to me.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 1, 2017 at 15:03
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    Probably for the same reason that the only up-voted comment mentions that Baelish's face would be useful to get to Cersei... Just how false this is shouldn't need to be explained too much...
    – Amaethon
    Sep 1, 2017 at 15:09
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    @Amaethon This is exactly the reason that answers - even small answers - should not be posted in comments. Comments are "to ask for more information and suggest improvements" and should not contain answers as comments can be upvoted but not downvoted so false but correct-sounding comments quickly gather upvotes. Downvoting without explaining why is, unfortunately, common amongst lazy people, but is mostly unrelated to false comment-answers being upvoted.
    – wizzwizz4
    Sep 1, 2017 at 20:42
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    " I doubt any of them would have even considered this an option." You obviously have not been following Arya's development. She'd do it in a heartbeat, but public disclosure helps secure Sansa's position in a way which rumors of private, personal killing would not. Sep 2, 2017 at 16:49

The Starks didn't kill Lord Baelish by trial. They did essentially "just let Arya do it" – they just staged a fancy execution.

A trial, even by Westerosi jurisprudential standards, would require not being tried by either the accusers or the witnesses; bringing serious evidence – which the Starks do not provide (*) –, and a reasonable possibility for the defendant to refute the charges. Now, "reasonable" is up for debate, but one minute from accusation to execution doesn't really count.

Finally, Baelish was not offered trial by combat.

(*) - Bran is a crippled kid who has never been to King's Landing nor the Vale, has strange visions and denies he's actually Brandon Stark. So we can throw that witness away. Arya - ignoring her being a psychotic mass-murderer, she wasn't witness to anything relevant. The letter addressed to Catelyn Stark - can't actually be at hand. Catelyn got it and certainly did not send it to Winterfell for archiving (I think she destroyed it?). Finally, Sansa has already given the opposite testimony to her accusation - i.e. that Baelish did not kill Lysa. Even arguing the opposite makes her an entirely untrustworthy witness.

  • 2
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the ruler (Sansa) pass the sentence he/she see right, with or without trail no matter the evidence or lack of it. Rob (Jaime & KarStark), Jon (Slynt & Alliser&co) Ned (The mountain).
    – madmada
    Sep 2, 2017 at 22:48
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    You're ignoring a pretty huge piece of evidence - Baelish's admissions of guilt!
    – JBentley
    Sep 3, 2017 at 3:20
  • @JBentley: I'm being merciful towards the writers and pretending they weren't as dumb as to make Littlefinger admit guilt...
    – einpoklum
    Sep 3, 2017 at 16:56
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    There's no need for a trail in a traditional sense. The trail is to determine the guilt and he was already guilty in Sansa's eyes. The ruler word has always been the law, Like Daenerys with the former masters and Randall and Dickon. Like Joffrey with (the jester?) B4 Sansa persuades him. I think the more similar example is when Rob executed Karstark for killing the 2 lannister children, there was no need for a trail because Rob knew he's guilty and was just deciding what to do with him.
    – madmada
    Sep 3, 2017 at 17:57
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    "Baelish+Sansa plot starting in Season 5 is not reasonable" I agree with that, and I have no problem calling it a trial or not (She seemed reached a decision/sentence and just making it public). But it's what the rulers have been doing from the very beginning, and no one batted an eye b4 this time. She is (the acting) queen of the north and all those are her subjects. Imagine lord Eddard doing the same, can any one dare to question his ruling or his word as a witness.
    – madmada
    Sep 3, 2017 at 20:07

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