Lord Petyr Baelish (also called as Little Finger) is one of the key characters of the Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin, which is televised by HBO as the series ‘Game of Thrones’. He is a man of relatively low birth, with his father having been the lowest of hedge knights. Since his father had the smallest of lands at the Fingers, he was nicknamed Little Finger.

When he was being fostered at Riverrun, at the house of the Tullys, he fell madly in love with the Tully daughter Catelyn. Catelyn loved him only as a brother, and was betrothed to Brandon Stark, a peer in terms of status. Petyr challenged him to a duel and lost miserably, his life spared only at the request of Catelyn. It is at this moment that he realized that he couldn’t match the lords in manners of battle, sword skill or strength; he must instead rely on his innate cunning.

Gifted in the matter of commerce, he is so skilled that people believe that he can make gold appear out of thin air. When given controls of customs, he increased the income ten folds. Such was his prodigious skill, that he was made the Master of Coin (Minister of Commerce) at the king’s court.

Ever hungry, his brilliance is matched by his ambition to rise above in status. Many lords have made the fault of looking down upon him, and all of them have met death when Petyr climbed up. Another character in the saga, Lord Varys who serves as his spoil, says of him,

He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.

There is a simple but brilliant line he says in the TV series (Portrayed by Aidan Gillen).

Ros: “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
Petyr Baelish: “A stupid saying. What we don’t know is usually what gets us killed.”

While there are many more quotes that he has said, one of the finest of the series is from a conversation he has with Varys. It is the famous ‘Chaos is a ladder’ quote.

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.

It is one thing to read it, and another to watch Gillen deliver it. Here is the video of his brilliant performance.

You can find a better quality of the same video here (Embedding disabled)


Written for the A to Z Challenge 2014


15 thoughts on “Chaos is a ladder

  1. I should start watching The Game of Thrones..
    I still don’t know why I haven’t watched it yet.. its an amazing series!

  2. I read all the books and have been following the TV series as well. Liked the quotes that you mentioned. All the characters in the series are very intriguing, with different shades of grey.

      1. I have one which says I’m not a princess, I’m a khaleesi…you won’t be interested in that :P….then the other one says Winter is coming and another one which says The north remembers….I sleep in my third one 🙂

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