To the surprise of many, the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones was light on major character deaths, but it did include one that had been a longtime coming: Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who was successfully outmaneuvered and then executed by the Stark sisters. While the scene in which Sansa puts Littlefinger on trial for his crimes and orders Arya to cut his throat was immensely satisfying, many viewers were left scratching their heads as to how Sansa and Arya figured out that Littlefinger had been manipulating them to turn against each other. In the previous week’s episode, Arya more or less threatened Sansa’s life, so it was a little strange to see them working together as a unit and even sharing a sisterly bonding moment by the finale’s end. As it turns out, there was a scene cut from the finale that would have filled in this storytelling gap.
According to actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark, there was a scene between his character and Sansa that would have shed light on how Sansa figured out what Littlefinger was up to, but it was left on the cutting room floor.
“There was a scene that we ended up getting rid of, I’m not sure why, where Sansa came to Bran’s chambers and said “I need your help,” Hemstead-Wright told IGN. “The way I understand it, Bran didn’t know what was going on.”
Bran had not been involved with the feud between his sisters but according to Hemstead-Wright, he became instrumental in helping to resolve the conflict once Sansa approached him. “It was a battle between Sansa and Arya really, and it wasn’t any of Bran’s business until Sansa thought ‘why don’t I fact check this with the best fact checker in the universe’ and Bran was like ‘Littlefinger did this and this and this,” he explained.
Bran, who sits beside Sansa during Littlefinger’s trial, does hint that his knowledge of past events helped Sansa realize the truth about Littlefinger when he reveals to the treacherous lord that he knows he was the one who put a knife to Ned Stark’s throat, but Bran’s involvement is implied rather than explicitly stated, as Sansa never reveals to Arya that it was their brother who helped her figure things out. The aforementioned deleted scene with Bran and Sansa was likely cut so as to not ruin the surprise of Sansa putting Littlefinger on trial rather than Arya.
Still, Hempstead-Wright is confident that because of Bran’s gift of omniscience, he wouldn’t have allowed his sisters to turn on each other needlessly when the real culprit was close at hand. “Because Bran has a real idea of destinies, I think he was waiting for his sister to come to him to give her the knowledge,” he said. “I don’t think he would have let that happen and he wouldn’t have sat there while Arya got killed by Sansa, because Bran would have known that wasn’t the way things had to go. He would have known ‘I need to be here to reveal what the truth is.”
As for when the scene would have appeared had it been kept, Hemstead-Wright says that he isn’t sure but that he assumes it would have been in the finale. “it was going to be in the finale — I don’t know actually. I have no idea when that scene was. I think it would have been the last episode,” he said.