Tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones brought back an artifact from the show’s very first season that may tip the balance of power in the North in a new direction.
Spoilers for Game of Thrones follow.
In “Eastwatch,” Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish has Maester Wolkan comb the records of Winterfell’s previous maester, Maester Luwin, in search of a particular document.
Littlefinger then hides that document in his chambers. Arya, who had been stalking Littlefinger, breaks into the room and searches until she discovers the note. She reads the note, takes it, and leaves it, while Littlefinger watches as what appears to be a very complex plan unfolds just as he imagined.
The letter in question is one that Sansa was coerced by Cersei into writing to Robb Stark. This all transpired shortly after the death of King Robert when Sansa was still in King’s Landing and betrothed to Joffrey. Her and Robb's father, Ned Stark, was in prison and accused of treason.
The letter reads:
Robb, I write to you with a heavy heart. Our good king Robert is dead, killed from wounds he took in a boar hunt. Father has been charged with treason. He conspired with Robert’s brothers against my beloved Joffrey and tried to steal his throne. The Lannisters are treating me very well and provide me with every comfort. I beg you: come to King’s Landing, swear fealty to King Joffrey and prevent any strife between the great houses of Lannister and Stark.
The letter was meant to cow Robb Stark into reaffirming his allegiance to Joffrey but ultimately backfired. Maester Luwin was able to clue Robb into the fact that Sansa had been forced to write the letter under duress. This inspired Robb to assemble his bannermen and march south, kicking off the War of the Five Kings.
It seems like Littlefinger is attempting to sow dissent between the Stark sisters by giving Arya, who remains unaware of most of the political events that took place in Westeros over the course of the series, to doubt Sansa’s loyalties. What shape Littlefinger’s endgame will take remains unclear.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.