Interview

Aidan Gillen talks Littlefinger in GQ’s Villain Questionnaire

littlefingervillain

In the latest GQ+A Aidan Gillen answers questions all about villains. Aidan seems to be the perfect person for such a questionnaire, as his Game of Thrones character Littlefinger is potentially about to get away with the murder of a King.

In the Q+A Aidan gives Littlefinger a generous evil rating, talks about how he created Littlefinger and how he has evolved, and wonders just how you define villain in the world of Game of Thrones.

GQ: On a scale of one (Samwell Tarly) to ten (Joffrey Baratheon), how evil is Littlefinger?

Aidan Gillen: I don’t really think of Littlefinger as particularly evil—practical and clever and ruthless, yes. In other people’s estimation I may be malicious or evil and probably would score a seven or eight. But that’s just me doing what I do. I’d rate a nine or ten, maybe, for determination and execution.

Tell us about creating Littlefinger: his mannerisms, his speech, his close-talker ways.

I first thought of him as some kind of magician—or a politician who thinks of himself as a magician—and two people came to mind, the comic strip character Mandrake the Magician and Peter Mandelson, the British politician who sometimes went by “The Prince of Darkness.” We tried the Mandelson moustache and there was something vaguely feline about it, not leonine though, which put me in mind of Top Cat or one of the Aristocats. This also fit in with the outfits, which are quite slinky. I thought he should sound patriarchal, like John Huston in Chinatown or a bit Hammer Horror. I also thought that these characteristics should be allowed to shift around from time to time. If I’m leaning in when I speak sometimes it’s just to let the other person know that I want them to hear me properly and because I want to see them, really close. 

How has Littlefinger evolved? Has he changed morally?
I think as time goes on, he gets more secure amid the insecurity of others. He’s calmer and more collected, and can ponder the world and his place in it a little more. Of course, he has always been conscious of his place socially and of climbing up, and outside of, where he’d been expected to reach. I’d say over this season we may see something of a sweeter man—with maybe even a trace of humility.

How is “evil” or “villain” defined in a world like Game of Thrones?

Well that’s a tricky one, isn’t it, because a lot of the characters have both heroic and villainous traits: Jaime, Cersei, The Hound, etc. It’s one of the more compelling aspects of the series—you’re never quite sure about many of the characters, and there’s always room for a shift in tone. It’s a harsh world and people have to do harsh things to make it through. What elation we felt when Arya stuck her little sword up through that man’s chin—know what I mean? 

Every great villain has a great tagline—what’s yours? 

From the actual script? It’d probably be “Call me Petyr.” 

For more from Aidan on Littlefinger’s villainous ways, and his answers to some general villainy questions, visit GQ.Com!

30 Comments

  • It makes me way too happy to have a first post.

    Legit, the only character in the series — book or show — that I consider a villain is TV Joffrey. Even book Joffrey is more of a grey area.

  • Turncloak,

    She says that the list is different in the show and then names Beric and Thoros. She knows they arent on the list in the books but is saying that they are on her list in the show – which is why im mentioning it

  • While “I did warn you not to trust me” is the obvious tagline, “call me Petyr” is actually a pretty good choice and sums up the character about as well, in context.

  • Walter Harrow:
    Turncloak,

    She says that the list is different in the show and then names Beric and Thoros. She knows they arent on the list in the books but is saying that they are on her list in the show – which is why im mentioning it

    They traded Gendry, so I’m not surprised.

  • I kind of expect Sansa after she grows a bit to play a dangerous game with Littlefinger. He obviously want to sleep with her, and she’ll say yes — but only if he pulls a particular con, a bit of Dangerous Liaisons / Cruel Intentions. Maybe there is a rival for marriage to Harry the Heir; Petyr will have to convince the girl he loves her, get her to fall for him, sleep with her, then spurn her, but she kills herself in grief. Then in revenge and parallel to his duel at Riverrun with Brandon Stark, Littlefinger will be force to duel with Harry, and die. Victory: Sansa, except for the guilt due to the girl’s suicide.

  • Walter Harrow,

    Not sure how I can take Maisie’s word for it seeing as she thinks that Drogon’s name is Dracarys. Also we hear her mentioning he list. The only new entrant is Melisandre

  • Turncloak: Not sure how I can take Maisie’s word for it seeing as she thinks that Drogon’s name is Dracarys. Also we hear her mentioning he list. The only new entrant is Melisandre

    Ya but that was clever editing, the list in the show will be longer than the preview

  • I still do not understand his comments about Sansa. Like… is he seriously channeling LF here (e.g. he’s lying/trying to keep the truth secret) or does he honestly not understand that in his performance he is EXTREMELY CREEPY towards her??

  • Turncloak,

    Why wouldnt you take her word for it? She read the script and filmed the scene. If she says Beric and Thoros are on Arya’s list in the show then it has to be true

  • AG is a weird dude. I saw an interview he did once that had nothing to do with this show and he was slurping tomato sauce through a straw off a pasta bowl. Hot tomato sauce, and ignoring the noodles, just wanted the sauce and wanted it through a straw.

  • Turncloak,

    That’s expected. Drogon’s name has not been said in show. She has not read the books (which aren’t literature for her age obviously) and her parents just tell her how Arya’s arc goes in the books after she’s been done filming for the season. Dialogues in trailers are always cut short to save time.

  • Eljuma,

    Not literature for her age? How old do you think she is, 12?
    You’re telling me if you had a 17-year-old daughter who picked up AGOT at the bookshop one day, you’d snatch it away from her?

  • Annara Snow,

    Not sure if I laughed as hard at this as I did at his no longer being creepy towards Sansa from his previous interview… It’s Aidan Gillen! LOL

  • Eljuma,

    There was a time when it wasn’t literature for her age. During Season 1, for example.

    Nowadays, there is no such age barrier, and in fact the show itself would probably be more objectionable for her to watch than books would be for her to read. I don’t know if she actually saw Season 1 when she was 13 or however old, but if she did I wonder what her parents thought about…say, two prostitutes having sex with each other while Littlefinger delivers a monologue.

    Would it be judgemental of me to immediately leap to the conclusion that she probably just doesn’t like reading really long books, let alone five of them? Probably. Yet that’s the impression I get.

  • spacechampion,

    I disagree with that, I just don’t see there being any chance whatsoever in her allowing Littlefinger to touch her like that, It just don’t think thats true to her character. If there is any pattern I notice with Sansa through out the books its that shes become smarter and much less naive than she was in the very beginning, right now she is learning/has learned alot from Littlefinger. Actually in opinion she is learning more from him than she is letting on, which I think will eventually be his downfall, but I don’t see her being so stupid as to sleep with him, especially since she is smart enough to know by now that she will have no shot at any important politcal marriage if she can be proved not a virgin. I think thats the key in setting aside her marriage to Tyrion so she can remarry, by stating the truth that Tyrion and Sansa never consumated their marriage and that she was forced into the marriage while she was a captive, to me thats how she gets out of the marriage without Tyrion having to die.

    But I definitely do believe Sansa will be Littlefingers downfall in the end, as he continues to educate her on how to play “the game” she’ll obviously smarten up and realize the full extent of his involvement in her family’s downfall. And I think Sansa may possibly be the only person that clouds his judgement

  • IvanGroznyIV:
    Would it be judgemental of me to immediately leap to the conclusion that she probably just doesn’t like reading really long books, let alone five of them? Probably. Yet that’s the impression I get.

    Yes it would. It would also make you something of an asshole, a trait that seems to be far too endemic to GOT fandom.

    Please, get over yourself.

  • lol,

    Get the stick out of your ass, guy. I’m stating obvious fact. There are actually a lot of people who are hesitant to read five doorstopper long fantasy books.