As realized in the second half of A Storm of Swords and early in Season 4 of the TV series, Littlefinger conspires to

kill Joffrey at his wedding to Margaery.

Afterwards, he discusses this with Sansa:

"Why should I wish him dead?" Littlefinger shrugged. "I had no motive ... Sometimes the best way to baffle [your foes] is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you."

But is Littlefinger being entirely truthful? Surely he had some motivation for the plot, beyond just confusing his opponents?

  • 8
    It's been a while since I read the book, but if I'm not mistaken Littlefinger wasn't the main instigator (if he took part at all). The Tyrells were -- the Queen of Thorns in particular, and her motives are pretty clear.
    – Andres F.
    Feb 17, 2014 at 17:58

3 Answers 3


It's very hard to come up with why Littlefinger does anything, since he's very private with his true intentions. All we can come up with are a few guesses. As I see it, there are only two reasons Littlefinger might do anything: to advance his power and political position, and for pure personal reasons.

Political Agenda

Littlefinger lost the hand of the love of his life because his name had no power behind it, and ever since he has been working hard to change that. In the span of 15 years or so, he went from the son of an impoverished lord to the Master of Coin of Westeros, Lord Paramount of the Trident, the Lord Protector of the Vale and Lord of Harrenhal. And it's quite obvious he doesn't have plans to stop.

Assassinating Joffrey accomplished several things:

  • Removed Joffrey, who was by all accounts hard to control. In his place is now young Tommen, who has no real power of his own yet. Making the throne much easier to influence.
  • Get the favor of Tyrells who now wield great power in the council through Mace Tyrell, the Kingsguard through Loras Tyrell, and the throne itself through Queen Margaery.
  • Gained control of Sansa Stark, who is (as far as everyone knows) the heir to the North. Now if Littlefinger's scheme of marrying Harry the Heir to Sansa works, he will gain control of the North and the Vale.

So through all these machinations Littlefinger can potentially control the North, the Vale and the Riverlands, as well as having considerable influence with the Tyrells who control the South and are largely the power behind the Iron Throne (now that Tywin and Cersie have been neutralized). So one can argue that Littlefinger is now, or is going to be, one of the most powerful men in Westeros if not the most powerful.

Personal Agenda

Here it is pure speculation, since we have no insight on how Littlefinger thinks. I can't think of Littlefinger having any daggers to hone with Joffrey. However, we do know he still retained his love for Cat, and he thinks she was killed by the Lannisters.

More likely, I think, is that Littlefinger harbors a grudge with all the Great Houses. After all, he lost Cat to the heir of House Stark. But even with House Stark all but extinguished, his machinations continue. Which hints that his revenge plot (if it does indeed exist) encompasses all the families that have looked down on him in the past.

  • Excellent answer! How do you think that Tyrion fits in here, though? Is that just another part of his revenge against the other great houses? Feb 18, 2014 at 4:06
  • @JustinEthier - I don't think Tyrion is an active part of Littlefinger's plans, not anymore at least. Feb 18, 2014 at 4:54
  • This post lacks spoiler tags.
    – Mkalafut
    Apr 29, 2014 at 16:30
  • @Mkalafut - The answer doesn't contain anything that people who have watched the Purple Wedding and it's aftermath haven't seen/known about. So I don't think spoiler tags are necessary. Apr 29, 2014 at 16:32

Most things Littlefinger does, he does for a very good reason. This one however, he claims he does because he has no motive. However, I think he does have a fairly obvious motive: revenge.

The woman he has loved all his life was killed during the Red Wedding, stripped naked and flung to rot in a river in mockery of her heritage. Somebody with as many informants as Littlefinger would surely be as quick to figure out that the Lannisters were involved as Tyrion himself.

Assisting in the assassination of Cersei's lovely son makes for a sweet revenge.

  • 2
    I agree that's a good reason for him to go ahead with it, but Dontos (LF's agent) gives Sansa the purple hair net all the way back in ACOK Chapter 65. Feb 17, 2014 at 22:14
  • 2
    I don't think revenge fits. It was Tywin Lannister, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton that were responsible for the Red Wedding. Killing Joffrey will not hurt Tywin at all, in fact, he might see it as a good thing, something he might consider doing himself. I've actually speculated about Tywin as Joffrey's assassin, from when he says to Tyrion that Joffrey requires a "sharp lesson".
    – TLP
    Feb 18, 2014 at 0:08
  • Also, LF claims to have started to spread rumours about Joffrey already when he went to the Tyrells to negotiate the marriage. Back then, Cat was still alive.
    – TLP
    Feb 18, 2014 at 0:24
  • 2
    I disagree that it could have been Tywin. Tywin has extremely high regard for his family. If he was ever willing to kill a family member, he would have killed Tyrion ages ago, due to his drunkenness, whoring and that Tyrion was "responsible" for the death of his mother during child birth, the love of Tywin's life.
    – Jeff
    Feb 18, 2014 at 13:20
  • 2
    Tywin was not opposed to Tyrion's whoring, he was opposed to him doing it publicly. It's all in the details. Remember Shae in Tywin's bed? Remember a certain secret exit out of a whore house, which Varys said was built to accommodate another Hand whose honour did not allow him to be seen at a brothel? Besides, Tyrion was not about to cost him and house Lannister the crown and all their lives. Tywin has regard for his family's honour, not their persons.
    – TLP
    Feb 19, 2014 at 0:25

'Little finger.' A deceptive man and is indeed the most dangerous man in Westoros. He is a character who predominantly seeks power. - A prime objective of his. To gain power. He wants to hold a position that keeps him stable. So, yes, of course his aid to the assassination was rewarding on his behalf but he was actually quite vague when he was conversing with Sansa. The love of his life, Caitlyn, died a tragic death. There is a sense of emotion inside of him and so he looks towards Sansa as a projection of her mother, Caitlyn. He wants to use Sansa (as she is the rightful heir to the North) in order to claim the North for himself. This act reinforces his seek for power (especially coming from a man who had no name to himself). But I thought Sansa was going to be reluctant to travel and listen to him but I guess that is one speciality of Lord Petyr Beylish. - He is convincing and possesses a high level of intelligence.

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