It took seven seasons, but it finally happened: The most devious and manipulative player in the game of thrones at the hands of House Stark. Actor Aidan Gillen talked to the Los Angeles Times about his character’s final moments.
Gillen learned of Littlefinger’s death approximately a month before filming for season 7 began via the traditional phone call of death from showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss. But oddly enough, his death scene was “one of the earlier scenes that we shot. Having died earlier on — it sounds so strange to say it that way — it kind of freed you up a bit.”
Gillen says that while Littlefinger was confident that his plans wouldn’t go wrong, when they went belly-up, he was smart enough to realize it was game over. That led “to instant, massive humiliation in front of a crowd.”
That whole thing that he’d been trying to get away from in his whole journey through this. Not just in this season that we saw, but as a young man. That really was an appropriate and fitting ending. And for that death to be ordered by somebody that he’d become so close to …
To prepare for the scene, Gillen allowed himself to be intimidated by everyone in the room, especially the three Stark children. “I think it was important that we saw the vulnerability of the human qualities there,” he said. “And when I say human I just mean that this is something that even for someone as clever [as] Littlefinger, he cannot find his way out. Like a rat in a trap.”
When told that many Game of Thrones fans were rooting for Littlefinger’s death, Gillen seemed a bit surprised, but didn’t take it personally. He acknowledges that the character finally got his “comeuppance,” and that he actually understood why they felt that way.
I guess some people thought it wasn’t extreme enough, something far nastier should have happened to me. Even though I was trying to not do a classic villain spin on it, the character is a classic villain. And part of that game is that the audience gets to see me die and they enjoy it. So if that’s what they’re asking for, we’re probably doing it right.
- Gillen feels Littlefinger was satisfied with his success in life, but that no matter when it happened, he was always going to meet a violent end.
- The tears he shed before his death weren’t “crocodile tears,” but they weren’t sentimental, either. “I think it was involuntary: Your time is up.”
- Littlefinger started to say something right before Arya slashed his throat, but Gillen isn’t revealing his intended last words. “Actors have a responsibility to interpret a character and bring something of their own. They have a duty to protect the dignity and the mystery of the character, including not over-discussing details like that, after the fact…It’s a good one to ask, but Littlefinger will take secrets to his grave and so will I.”
Contemplating the end of this time on the show, Gillen said that while it’s “liberating” to be finished, Gillen will miss Game of Thrones. He recalled the moment, years ago now, when he learned that he’d landed the role, and feeling that he was about to be a part of something truly remarkable. “I was hoping that it was, and there was a strong sense that it was going to be that. And it has been.”