Flashing all the way back to season 2 of the show, Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen weighs in on a popular fan theory involving Littlefinger and Arya. Across six seasons so far, HBO's Game of Thrones has condensed George R.R. Martin's books considerably while still creating an expansive show with a sprawling cast. Along the way, a number of intriguing interactions have taken place on the series that never existed in the source material. Moments like Varys and Littlefinger squaring off in the throne room not only added depth to their characters, but nuance to the world.
With season 7 on the horizon, the show will be far outpacing the books. As such, there's no telling if many of the promised relationships will be part of Martin's plan or not. Still, viewers are anxious to see many of the teased reunions hinted at in the latest trailer for season 7. The most anticipated one is likely Arya's potential return to Winterfell, allowing her to reunite with Jon and Sansa after 5 seasons apart. Of course, thanks to changes in the show, she'll also be seeing Littlefinger again if she goes home.
In the books, Arya's time at Harrenhal saw her under the rule of many masters, but Tywin Lannister wasn't one. Likewise, Littlefinger never came to the castle while she was there either. In the show, however, Arya and Littlefinger do share a brief encounter where it's unclear if latter recognizes the Stark child from her time at Winterfell. And whether or not the show meant for him to, Gillen has his own thoughts, as he told EW:
“It was unclear if he recognized her or not, but I have my own thoughts on that: Yes, I did recognize her — I just didn’t say anything or do anything about it.”
Like Gillen says, it wasn't made clear on the show and it seems as if perhaps the minds behind the series didn't reveal it to Gillen either. Of course, we might learn soon enough if they meet this coming season. While the show has left plenty of fan theories alone, it's addressed a surprising number of them. Whether they remember each other or not, both need to be careful. Arya should be wary of Littlefinger's schemes, but he in turn should worry about those plans blowing up in his face.
“I finished last season on a promising note by laying my cards on the table — at least to Sansa. I was [sowing seeds of doubt about Jon Snow] throughout my appearances in season 6, and, yeah, that will continue. It’s pretty obvious what my game is there. We’re playing out that final exchange in the Great Hall in Winterfell. But the same time my character is becoming quite aware that Sansa is becoming as bright as me and just as wary of my manipulations of her. They’re onto each other. They use each other. They enjoy each other. And they keep a lot from each other. There are all kinds of mixed things going on with Littlefinger and his relationship with Sansa, so watching her grow in stature is quite enjoyable.”
For Gillen, Littlefinger isn't omniscient—he's just smart, calculated, and willing to take risks. Those risks allow him to reap extraordinary benefits, but they also put him in danger. And in the end, that's likely what will do him in.
“With carefully laid plans there’s always a bit of risk involved. He puts himself in a situation that could backfire on him. But I think he likes that. His plans are never fail safe. But he puts himself on the line like a good gambler.”
With Game of Thrones just around the corner, we won't have to wait much longer to continue Arya's journey and witness the fruits or failures of Littlefinger's schemes.
Game of Thrones season seven premieres on Sunday, July 16th at 9 P.M. on HBO.