Ha! I’d say no way to a Littlefinger redemption arc. For one thing, Martin, unlike J.K. Rowling, is a good writer. For another, it just seems to me that Littlefinger’s thematic purpose is to be a schemer, a self-interested monster who will see all his plans come to naught when the Others come. He’s the embodiment of the selfishness and shortsightedness and senselessness and stupidity and evil of war in light of our common humanity that is the book’s central thesis. If he doesn’t die having witnessed his life’s work in ruins I’d be really surprised.
Sansa and Arya, Catelyn and Ned: Role Switching
In most respects we say that Arya is very like Ned: a skilled fighter, compassionate, loyal, “pack-minded”, and average-looking (or at least, not really called “ugly” except as a sexist insult). She is also very devoted to the old gods and calls herself a “wolf.”
And Sansa is like her mother: diplomatic, well-spoken, dutiful, thinks analytically and is considered very beautiful.
And I absolutely agree with that 100%. But when you go back and look at the text, the Stark sisters switch roles several times. It’s NOT a “Stark” vs. “Tully” sort of thing, it’s just the personality differences between Ned and Catelyn.
This is not a coincidence: Sansa was the closest witness to their father’s death, and will finish his work in the South by defeating Littlefinger and winning allies for her House.
- Like her father, Sansa now lives in the Vale, is being mentored there, and has befriended a Baratheon.
- After his death, her chapters in ACOK pick up where he left off in descriptions of the royal court. She compares them to “whining dogs”, howling for Joffrey’s approval.
- Before meeting Mya, Sansa used to live by a somewhat elitist-tinged southron version of her father’s beliefs about honor and chivalry, and refers to these things frequently, unlike Arya. Ex. In ASOS, she comments that Lothor Apple-Eater is “no true knight” based on his simple, rough clothing.
Arya was the closest witness to their mother’s death and now has all of the skills she needs to finish Cat’s work, and do what UnCat cannot: get justice for her family.
- Like her mother, she is now called “Cat” and lives by flowing bodies of water. Huh.
- Like her mother, Arya would rather pass up a chance for vengeance to save people she cares about. Ex. Gendry and Hot Pie instead of giving Tywin’s name to Joffrey.
- Like her mother, Arya believes in Justice: she judges by more universal concepts of good and bad, not rules of honor. Ex. “A girl has no honor.” (shrugs in response)
- EX. Arya thinks that Dareon a “foul heart” at first meeting, only later calls him a “deserter.” Ned’s mind, Dareon would be a bad person because he deserted. In Arya’s mind, it’s the other way around: Dareon deserted because he is a bad person. She decided to kill him on moral grounds, not exactly legal ones.
On the surface, Arya’s story is about a girl who seeks “honorable” vengeance, when it’s actually about a girl who still believes in fair and good justice.
On the surface, Sansa’s story is about a girl who loses all her faith in honor and chivalry, when it is actually about a girl who still, deep down, believes that those things have a place in politics. A person with decency can still win in the end.
TL;DR how the Stark sisters take after their parents is much more complicated than “one is Ned, the other is Cat.”