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In Chapter 43 of AGOT, Ned Stark sends Lord Beric Dondarrion to bring Ser Gregor Clegane to justice in the name of the King. In the next chapter, Petyr Baelish overhears Sansa say that Ned should have sent Ser Loras instead. This catches his attention:

The young lady is as wise as she is lovely

Then he asks her why, and Sansa reluctantly explains her "heroes and monsters" reasoning. Petyr responds:

Well, those are not the reasons I'd have given, but...

Why would Petyr have charged Ser Loras with this task?

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    My guess is that (1) Loras would be happy to take sort of revenge for the Mountain's attack in the tourney of the Hand; (2) Loras is a very talented fighter; (3) If Loras falls, House Tyrell will get mad and chaos will ensue. And as we all know "Chaos is a ladder" (to be read in Aidan Gillen's voice). – user24620 Aug 1 '14 at 14:43
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    That's the answer I would have given, more or less: It will cause house Tyrell to take sides against Tywin. You should post it. – TLP Aug 1 '14 at 14:53
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    I agree with TLP you should post it – Dreamwalker Aug 1 '14 at 15:10
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    What makes you think that Petyr would have sent Loras just because that's what he told Sansa? If he's telling the truth in this conversation, it's pretty much the first time he's ever done so. – Mike Scott Aug 1 '14 at 15:45
  • @TLP: Thanks for the support, but I'd feel weird answering a question which is mostly related to the books when I haven't read past the first 70 pages of AGoaT. – user24620 Aug 1 '14 at 19:15
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At that point of time Petyr was still banking on Ned coming out triumphant with him riding on his coat tails. The Lannisters were a major House, and had immense amounts of power not only financially, but militarily and politically as well.

If Ned had sent Loras Tyrell instead of Beric Dondarrion, that would've meant that the Tyrells were (at least nominally) on the Stark side. The Mountain attacking a force lead by a beloved Tyrell son, would've been a grave insult to another major House that rivals the Lannisters in power. If something would've happened to Loras (as it did to Beric) the Tyrells would've become completely antagonistic to the Lannisters with very little chance of peace between them, let alone alliance.

Instead, Ned (who is incredibly naive when it comes to politics) sends a minor lord of small House, a smattering of knights of little influence, and most of the Stark household guards. Petyr knew this was a huge mistake, and tells Sansa as much.

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If Loras wins (he is a good fighter) then he has just given the Lannisters and Tyrels another reason to hate each other. If the Mountain wins the same happens.

He thrives on chaos and this would definitely create it.

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    Hi there! Welcome to the site! :) This seems like a good observation, but to my mind, it is already contained in the existing answer from 2 years ago, am I correct? If so, would it be possible to expand on this perhaps? In many places of course, a second answer along the same lines (particularly a distillation or summary) might well be welcomed, but here we tend to encourage a sufficient level of uniqueness in all contributions especially to answered questions. – Au101 Feb 1 '17 at 22:57
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    Obviously if two people post similar answers close together because they were both working on the answer at the same time and didn't know about each other's work, that's not something we usually worry about – Au101 Feb 1 '17 at 22:57
  • The last comment is correct the I open a hundred tabs and slowly work trough them. It is extremely likely I never saw his answer before posting mine. – Mr. C Feb 2 '17 at 23:45
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That is because sending Loras would earn him friendship of Highgarden with her colossal resources and armies. And a man who had Lannisters for enemies would do well make friends with Tyrells.

If Loras succeeded in his mission, that would make him feel grateful towards Eddard for giving him a chance for vengeance. Eddard could further cement that alliance by betrothing Arya or Sansa (Once she was free of Joff) to Loras.

If on the other hand, Loras died on hands of Lannister bannermen, that would bring Tyrells to Eddard's Camp so that they could take their revenge. And in case of Petyr Baelish, it helps prolong the war he was brewing, weakening the great houses.

It was a win-win scenario for Eddard Stark and he blew it.

Varys saw things the same way and he and Eddard had this conversation:

You are a bolder man than I, my lord,” the eunuch said softly.

“How so, Lord Varys?” Ned asked brusquely. His leg was throbbing, and he was in no mood for word games.

Had it been me up there, I should have sent Ser Loras. He so wanted to go... and a man who has the Lannisters for his enemies would do well to make the Tyrells his friends.
AGOT: Chapter 43

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