THE CHANGE: The Iago-esque Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish's superpower is to smile, and smile, and be a villain – but in the books we have yet to learn what's behind either the smile or the villainy. That's a big contrast with the show, where he'll tell pretty much anyone – Queen Cersei, Lord Varys, the Tyrell siblings, lipstick-lesbian prostitutes, anyone – that he wants the world and will murk pretty much anyone to get it. And he's getting a whole lot of screentime, running from King's Landing to the Stormlands to Harrenhal and having conversations that in the books either took place off-screen (the Tyrells) or not at all (Cersei, Renly, Catelyn, Tywin).
THE VERDICT: Mixed. Actor Aiden Gillen is one of the show's best performers, and the quiet, smiling menace he brings to scenes like his chat with his star whore Ros is not to be missed. But Littlefinger's ability to be everywhere at once strains credulity, as does his ability to survive encounters with Cersei and Catelyn (and undercover Arya) where his very un-book-like bluster would normally get him killed.