Before you read any further, I must warn you that the following contains spoilers from last night’s episode of Game of Thrones. If you want to avoid spoilers about King Joffrey’s wedding (aka The Purple Wedding) then please leave now.
Creative minds have taken to the internet to poke fun at today’s media with an interpretation of how popular newspapers and television news channels would cover King Joffrey’s Wedding and surprising end:
Season 2, episode 4 of Game of Thrones entitled The Lion and The Rose focuses entirely on the lavish wedding of King Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell. The the wedding takes place in The Great Sept of Baelor, the center of religious worship for the Faith of the Seven and the seat of the High Septon of the Faith in King’s Landing.
The sept is constructed quite some time before the event’s of Joffrey’s wedding. Baelor I Targaryen is the most beloved of all the Targaryen kings. He is born as the second son to King Aegon III Targaryen and Queen Daenaera Velaryon and only comes to power after his older brother, King Daeron I Targaryen, conquers the Dorne and is murdered by the Dornish during peace talks.
Jon Snow: Daeron Targaryen was only fourteen when he conquered Dorne.
Benjen Stark: A conquest that lasted a summer. Your Boy King lost ten thousand men taking the place, and another fifty trying to hold it. Someone should have told him that war isn’t a game.
While King Daeron I Targaryen is best known for his ferocity in battle, Baelor remains in the hearts and minds of the people of King’s Landing. This mainly because of his piteous nature, his many charitable acts, signs of mercy and decision to forgive the Dorne for their betrayal of his brother by forging a peace treaty.
Some years later, he decides to replace the Starry Sept in Oldtown as the center of the Faith in the Seven Kingdoms. The newly constructed building entitled The Great Sept of Baelor established the king’s nickname as Baelor the Blessed.
Many generations later, King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell take their vows at an alter (one of seven) between two statues of the Father and the Mother. Its an arranged marriage that occurs after House Lannister prevents the uprising in The North by having Rob Stark murdered at the Red Wedding. Depleted of funds and with crippling loans to The Iron Bank, House Lannister seeks financial help from House Tyrell.
During their wedding feast, Olenna Tyrell secretly removes crystallized poison from Sansa Stark’s necklace and then places is in Joffrey’s wine as live pigeons are released from a giant ceremonial pie. Joffrey takes a sip from his cup before turning purple and collapsing. As his biological parents run to his side, he’s violently sick as his eyes begin to bleed. Before taking his final breath, Joffrey points towards his uncle. Tyrion Lannister is arrested with no one suspecting those behind the poisoning.
However, very few fans know that both The Red Wedding and The Purple Wedding take place in the same book or that the wedding is only ever referred to as Joffrey’s wedding.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, George R. R. Martin expanded on King Joffrey’s Death:
The book came out in 2000, so I guess I wrote those scenes in like 1998. I knew all along when and how Joffrey was going to die, and on what occasion. I’d been building up to it for three years through the first books. Part of it was that there’s a lot of darkness in the books. I’ve been pretty outspoken in my desire to write a story where decisions have consequences and no one is safe. But I didn’t want it to be unrelentingly bleak—I don’t think everyone would read the books if everything was just darkness and despair and people being horribly tortured and mutilated and dying. Every once in a while you have to give the good guys a victory – where the guys who are perhaps a lighter shade of grey have a victory over the guys who are a darker shade of grey. The Red Wedding and this – fans call this the Purple Wedding – occur in the same book. In the TV show, it’s separate seasons. But Joffrey’s death was in some ways a counterweight for readers to the death of Robb and Catelyn. It shows that yes, nobody is safe—sometimes the good guys win, sometimes the bad guys win. Nobody is safe and that we are playing for keeps. I also tried to provide a certain moment of pathos with the death. I mean, Joffrey, as monstrous as he is – and certainly he’s just as monstrous in the books as he is in the TV show, and Jack has brought some incredible acting chops to the role that somehow makes him even more loathsome than he is on the page – but Joffrey in the books is still a 13-year-old kid. And there’s kind of a moment there where he knows that he’s dying and he can’t get a breath and he’s kind of looking at Tyrion and at his mother and at the other people in the hall with just terror and appeal in his eyes—you know, “Help me mommy, I’m dying.” And in that moment, I think even Tyrion sees a 13-year-old boy dying before him. So I didn’t want it to be entirely, “Hey-ho, the witch is dead.” I wanted the impact of the death to still strike home on to perhaps more complex feelings on the part of the audience, not necessarily just cheering.
I think Joffrey is a classic 13-year-old bully. Do you know many 13-year-old kids you’d like to give absolute power to? There’s a cruelty in children, especially children of a certain age, that you see in junior high and middle school. We don’t want 13-year-old bullies to be put to death. We probably do when we’re their 13-year-old victims, but they grow up and most of them grow out of it, and sometimes people do regret their actions. But Joffrey will never get that chance, so we don’t know what he would have become. Probably nothing good, but still…
I wanted to make it little bit unclear what exactly has happened here, make the readers work a little to try and figure out what has happened. And of course, for Tyrion, King Joffrey’s death doesn’t make things better, it makes things worse. Tyrion’s in terrible trouble, and it proves that something I’ve tried to make a point of through the whole series: Decisions have consequences. When Robb breaks his word to House Frey and doesn’t marry one of Frey’s daughters, that has dire consequences for him. One of Tyrion’s problems has been that he has a big mouth. He’s been saying things since the beginning of the series, these veiled threats to Cersei—”someday I’m going to get you for this, someday your joy is going to turn to ashes in your mouth.” Now, all these declarations make him look really guilty.
I don’t know how it comes across in the show, because I haven’t actually seen it yet, but the poison that is used to kill Joffrey is one that I introduce earlier in the books and its symptoms are similar to choking. So a feast is the perfect time to use this thing. I think the intent of the murderer is not to have this become another Red Wedding—the Red Wedding was very clearly murder and butchery. I think the idea with King Joffrey’s death was to make it look like an accident – someone’s out celebrating, they haven’t invented the Heimlich maneuver, so when someone gets food caught in his throat, it’s very serious. I based it a little on the death of Eustace, the son of King Stephen of England. Stephen had usurped the crown from his cousin, the empress Maude, and they fought a long civil war and the anarchy and the war would be passed down to second generation, because Maude had a son and Henry and Stephen had a son. But Eustace choked to death at a feast. People are still debating a thousand of years later: Did he choke to death or was he poisoned? Because by removing Eustace, it brought about a peace that ended the English civil war. Eustace’s death was accepted [as accidental], and I think that’s what the murderers here were hoping for – the whole realm will see Joffrey choke to death on a piece of pie or something. But what they didn’t count on, was Cersei’s immediate assumption that this was murder. Cersei wasn’t fooled by this for a second. She doesn’t believe that it was an accidental death. You saw the scene filmed, does it come across as he could possibly be just choking or is it very clear he’s been poisoned?
I think Jack was sensational. I met Jack during the filming of the pilot many years ago now, and he’s like the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. He’s really bright and a fiercely intelligent young man going to Trinity College in Dublin. I don’t know if you’ve seen his speech at the Oxford Union, it’s pretty amazing about celebrity culture. He’s very perceptive and he played this loathsome character and somehow made him more loathsome. He created someone that everybody hates, and loves to hate, and that’s a considerable feat of acting. I feel a little guilty that he’s quitting acting now. I hope that playing Joffrey didn’t help make him want to retire from the profession because he does have quite a gift for it and could have a major career as an actor.