Tuesday, 5 May 2015
[Game of Thrones] The secret finger code: Explaining Littlefinger
Littlefinger is one of the most captivating characters in Game of Thrones. He is by turns manipulative and helpful, but is he a villain or on the side of the angels? The answer to this is unclear for the most part, but by looking at some of the clever subtext, a very clear answer emerges.
You see, throughout the books, George RR Martin shows the loss of fingers as a symbol of turning a character from good to evil.
Let's look at the evidence:
Ser Davos: A criminal smuggler, Stannis makes him a lord, but first cuts off his fingers as punishment for his crimes, thus cleansing him. After the loss of his fingers, Davos turns to a path of truth and righteousness in following his king.
The Greatjon: One of Rob Stark's chief critics, the Greatjon is in the middle of denouncing Robb when Greywolf attacks him, biting off his fingers. The Greatjon instantly turns into Robb's staunchest ally.
Theon: Evil turncoat, child murderer. He loses some fingers to Ramsey Bolton and starts back on his role of hero as he learns to defy his new master and do the right thing.
Jaime Lannister: He's an evil incestuous attempted child killer, but when he loses all the fingers on his right hand, he does a heel-turn to the side of good, becoming much more honest and worthy. (Yes, I know the show adds 'rapist' to this, but apparently the director didn't mean that scene in season 4 to be a rape.).
For book-only characters, both Jon Connington and Victarion are characters who become even more heroic as their hand-wounds fester (though they have not lost fingers yet).
The evil Ironborn even have a dance they call the 'finger dance'.
Hands are also evil, containing as they do many fingers. The wight's hand from A Clash Of Kings is a horrible blackened thing that moves with its own evil energy as a tool of the White Walkers. The King's Hands are all corrupt men, from Ned Stark (who changed the King's will in an attempt to disinherit Joffrey) to Tyrion Lannister (a kinslayer) to Tywin (who hardly needs any explanation as to his evil!). Hands. Fingers.
What does all this evidence tell us? When evil men lose their fingers, they lose their evil along with it and turn to good. In fact, I can't think of a single character who has lost fingers and not turned good. The implication is simple - evil literally lurks inside fingers.
Littlefinger's name is literally fingers.
He literally comes from a place called the Fingers.
Littlefinger is literally evil incarnate. The subtext of George RR Martin has proved this. The only way to stop him is to cut him off.