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Of all the deaths that have rocked Game of Thrones, let's be honest -- there are those that will cast a longer shadow than others. And that is where Littlefinger's Season 7 demise comes into play. Yes, the Starks got their revenge on the man who had betrayed their family. Now, though, what's left? Yes, there is reigning Queen Cersei and the issue of the Night King, but do either of these characters bring what Littlefinger did to the table?
When it comes to Game of Thrones' arsenal of villains, Littlefinger remained at the top of the heap throughout his run on the series. Always one step in front of everyone, Lord Baelish always had his finger on the pulse of other people's actions. He was calculating, manipulative, and cunning. So, it makes sense that it took something as supernatural as Bran's superpowers kicking into gear for the Starks to outmaneuver him... to death.
While Littlefinger got what was coming to him and the Starks added another win in their rightful vengeance column, did it really belong in Season 7? After many seasons on a horrific losing streak, the Starks managed to put in back-to-back seasons dispatching enemies. In Season 6, Jon and Sansa ended the tyranny of the despicable Ramsay Bolton. Fast forward to Season 7, and Bran, Sansa, and Arya kept their House's streak alive by ending Littlefinger.
Now, we all face the final season without him. Yes, there are only so many episodes of the show's last chapter to unfurl, making it time to narrow down the show's once vast field of final players. But of all the characters worth seeing take part in the series' finale, Littlefinger was chief among them. As a rogue, he was always a wild card.
Would he show up to the Battle of the Bastards with the men Sansa had secretly written to him asking for at all? Or would he screw the Starks over one last time for his own amusement? Few other Game of Thrones characters could keep you on the edge of your seat the way he could. And therein lies a large part of the issue.
We know the Night King wants to destroy the world with his ice zombie apocalypse. We know that Cersei has justified her entire reign of terror for her House, which she claims will be welcoming a new member. You can detest her and everything that she stands for, but you know where she stands and where that could end up getting her when all is said and done.
Littlefinger as an opportunist was harder to predict than his villainous counterparts. He brought the tension. He watched and waited with sly grins galore. While an entire room of people chanted Jon Snow's coronation as the King in the North, Littlefinger infamously sat back, a knowing expression reaching across his face. He made you wonder, what is he going to do next? Season 8 will kick off without that theory-inspiring question.
And while Cersei and the Night King are certainly villains, the former has her reasons for what she's doing. In Cersei's case, she claims to hurt others for what she believes to be a higher purpose that goes beyond what is solely self-preservation -- her family. The Night King has a thing for silence, making his motives more inscrutable. He behaves like a virus, not a thoughtfully evil person.
Both Cersei and the Night King's endgames mean danger to the characters we are rooting for to survive. And while we all want to see Cersei face the music for all of the awful things she has done, we have witnessed a lot go down in the meantime. She faced the "walk of shame" and has lost all of her living children, including the evil-beyond-words Joffrey.
In the past seven seasons, it has not been non-stop sunshine for Tywin Lannister's eldest child. There has been grief and heartache. So, if Cersei is dealt her final blow next season, it will not be the end of an absolute winning streak. In contrast, Littlefinger's Season 7 dispatching occurred without his having suffered any such setbacks. He was just here one minute and gone the next, save for a brief attempt to talk his way out of it.
One question going into Season 8 is whether the Starks will face any heat for taking out Littlefinger. They got rid of Ramsay Bolton in a battle. They got rid of Littlefinger in a more assassination-style manner, which meant the siblings foregoing much of a trial for him. With Jon Snow bending a knee to Daenerys in Season 7 and his siblings executing one of their enemies while he was away, the Starks could be in for a bit of controversy when Season 8 rolls around.
Without Littlefinger around in the final season, Game of Thrones has lost a handful of potential. While the Starks knew they did not need him anymore, the show will be missing out on a key ingredient when it comes back for its final bow. Game of Thrones will return for its eighth and final season sometime in 2019 on HBO. Thank goodness, there is a lot of new programming over fall to keep TV fans busy in the meantime.