Already know who the most devious Game of Thrones character is? Vote here or read on for our analysis.

Everyone in Game of Thrones can be pretty devious from time to time; except maybe Ned, and look where that got him.

But other than that, Game of Thrones is a veritable who’s who of dastardly deeds. I wouldn’t trust a resident of the Seven Kingdoms to even tell me their real name, unless they knew that giving it to me would somehow implicate me in someone’s murder.

Early on, I would have cast my vote for Cersei; after all, she managed to get King Robert killed, but it took her a few tries, and several lovers, and she really didn’t seem to know what to do with the throne once she got it. She’s definitely a major schemer, but she’s just not that good at it, so I can’t really call her wonderfully devious per se. But she’s a solid honorary mention, along with Tyrion, a habitual liar, but unfortunately a frequently sympathetic one and Melisandre, whose assassinations are impeccable, but whose loyalty is beyond question.

The too-obvious pick for the most devious award would be The Master of Whisperers himself. Varys is so devious that he could have slipped into my home undetected and be right in front of me at this moment, masquerading perfectly as my PC monitor (with one of his little birds as my little mouse, of course). In fact, I can’t say for sure that I’m not The Spider. I could have easily fooled myself for my own secret devious ends. But then again, I have two good reasons to believe otherwise.

After careful and thorough consideration of the various characters’ respective deviousness, I am unable to award this exalted cup to anyone other than Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Devious Self-Interested Excellence.  Why do you ask?

  • Master of Coin. You have to be a little devious to engineer the flow of money in your favor. But let’s be fair about it, being really good at finance is not devious in and of itself. There are many excellent accountants and economists for whom deviousness is not a prime characteristic. Ben Bernanke, for example, may be plenty cunning but is not generally regarded as particularly devious; not even by those who vehemently disagree with him. But as far as we know, Bernanke doesn’t have “nine out of every ten” people on his payroll, nor does he use brothels as the chief source of his spy network.
  • Poison Prologue. Killing the husband of your baby’s mama isn’t necessarily devious. It’s actually kinda romantic, in a twisted capital offense sort of way. However, getting your baby mama worked up enough to poison her husband is pretty damn devious; especially when the poor guy got you your breakthrough job in the first place. And then getting her to write a letter framing your political rivals for the deed, that serious deviousness. Oh, and then you end up plotting to support said rivals during the next palace coup, in which you play a key devious role, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We’re not even at episode one yet.
  • Don’t take my word for it. None other than good old Varys the Spider called Littlefinger “the second most devious man in the Seven Kingdoms.” Fair enough. But is that high praise from the most devious man, or perhaps it’s a bluff; perhaps Varys thinks that Baelish is indeed the most devious man, and privately considers himself second, no doubt seething about it, but with grudging admiration? Or perhaps Varys is exaggerating for some other purpose entirely, actually believing Baelish not to be very devious at all? Can anything be definite where The Master of Whisperers is concerned?
  • Littlefinger betrayed Eddard. That’s definitive.; after planting the seed with the whole  Valyrian Steel dagger story, and then trying unsuccessfully to weave Ned into his machinations with the info on King Robert’s illegitimate progeny, Littlefinger ends up pulling the classic “City Watch Swap” maneuver. And in Baelish’s own words, he explicitly warned Ned not to trust him. But this is a devious paradox, because if you tell someone that you’re lying, you’re telling the truth, and that’s not devious at all. Which is why Ned (kinda) trusted him, so perhaps the paradox is the height of deviousness, because by identifying yourself as devious, you achieve meta deviousness (which the Ancient Greeks called “pseudomenon”), allowing you to be devious even about your deviousness. Wait, what?
  • And then? Once you’ve brokered a truce between the Lannisters and Tyrells, earned the favor of the King Joffrey, and been named Lord of Harrenhal, it’s time to tame the Vale, chill out with all the devious stuff and feel good about yourself for a change, right? Sure, unless you’re Littlefinger; in which case your next move is to plot to murder the guy you just put on the throne, at his wedding reception, and maybe kill your baby mama too. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves again.

Personally, I think that the single most devious person connected to Game of Thrones is George R. R. Martin, who has been known to purposely mislead hundreds of thousands of people over and over again, manipulating them mercilessly for their own amusement. He’s told the same story in more ways than Tyrion. Not to mention writing a blog called “Not a Blog.” How devious can you get?

Who do you think is the most devious character in Game of Thrones? Make sure to cast your vote here.