Game of Thrones is certainly a show that is not precious about its main characters. During the first season, the loss of Ned Stark was cause for surprise and outrage, given that he was such a key player, and a notable actor in his own right. But the show and the books it is based on are more interested in world making than centralized figures. This week’s episode was the second one to show a big wedding scene, that was more about forging alliances than love. It is also the second to end in violent death, but this time a dead, purple Joffrey was cause for celebration, rather than horror. But whereas the former Red Wedding scene left no doubt about the culprit, the scene at King’s Landing played out rather like the opening scene of any mystery worth its salt.
Like any good whodunnit, the wedding scene brought together a number of players who may have wished to see Joffrey purpled and dying, (fans of Game of Thrones have been doing that since he appeared on the scene in the first series). Oberyn Martell had arrived in his brother’s stead to attend the wedding, and it was known that he held a grudge against the Lannisters. His sister had died at their hands through the brute Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane who raped and murdered her. He made no mystery that he wished for revenge, but he was sat at some distance from the wedding table, which puts him at a disadvantage.
A figure in closer proximity and with an axe to grind is Sansa (formerly Stark, now Lannister). She has been at King’s Landing since the death of her father, who was beheaded on Joffrey’s orders. She has also endured pain and public humiliation from him and the Lannisters in general, excepting Tyrion her new husband. In addition, she must watch a performance during the wedding feast of her father’s demise, done in comedic style by a troupe of dwarves. However, Sansa has always been a figure of innocence, a sharp contrast to her fierce sister and unlikely to have the gumption to complete the task.
The character who is bearing the brunt of attention for the murder of Joffrey is the put-upon Tyrion. Tyrion has endured a life of suffering at the hands of his family in Game of Thrones. He gained no credit for his valiant efforts during the siege of the city, only earning himself a disfiguring scar, he is forbidden from marrying the woman he truly loves and for all his sacrifices, his family treats him with contempt. He has no love for Joffrey, slapping him in a way that all fans would have liked to. During the feast Joffrey takes it upon himself to humiliate Tyrion at every opportunity. The thought of murder would no doubt have crossed Tyrion’s mind, but he had little time to carry out any kind of plan. Especially as all eyes were on him at the time.
A theory than is gaining internet traction, is that the murder was planned by the Tyrells. Matriarch Olenna, has always known what a rotten little so-and-so Joffrey was, and yet she allowed her granddaughter to go through with the marriage. It seems the Tyrells may have some plan in motion that necessitates the match. Then there is the curious example of foreshadowing where Olenna talks to Sansa about how awful a death at a wedding is. As she talks, it seems that she plucks at Sansa’a necklace, an object that has only recently been gifted to her by Ser Dontas, a man she saved from death by wine, who now lives as Joffrey’s fool. A man who just happens to turn up and ask Sansa to escape with him as Joffrey draws his dying breath.
Fans must wait to solve the mystery of the purple wedding. But the internet is on fire with the possibilities of who is behind it. Whoever it turns out to be, there is much rejoicing that Joffrey has breathed his last. But we may also be asking the author George R.R Martin, who created Game of Thrones, what is it about weddings?
Opinion by Sara Watson