“War is war, but killing a man at a wedding? Horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing.” Lady Olenna to Sansa at the Royal Wedding. If you are keen on Game of Thrones, then these words should have had an ominous ring to them. For Lady Olenna is a smart woman who chooses her words carefully, as did the writer of the episode, George R.R. Martin. The Red Wedding ruined me, for my heart began racing immediately. I knew this meant doom for someone – just check my twitter account for a tweet I sent out at 9:36 – but for whom? Obviously my heart wanted it to be Joffrey, but that seemed like the easy guess, but I was worried it was Tywin’s day of reckoning. To see his demise happen at this prestigious event would have been tough to watch, as Tywin has a soft spot in my heart that rivals his dissatisfaction for Tyrion.
But we can’t say we didn’t see this coming, like we could say when Robb Stark and his men were slaughtered by Walder Frey. Joffrey has many enemies in the realm and in all honesty had this coming. Remember Tyrion’s gift to Joffrey? A book of famous Kings? A book that every king must read? Joffrey promptly uses the Valyrian sword Tywin forged for him to slice that book to pieces. If that doesn’t spell doom, I don’t know what does. Maybe the fact that he names that sword “Widow’s Way.” Although he references Ned Stark’s head for the umpteenth time, he in fact leaves Lady Margaery a widow.
(Sigur Ros’ cover of “The Rains of Castamere.” They also made an appearance in this episode. Joffrey quickly throws money at them, also a bad enough sign.)
And it must be pointed out that one is most vulnerable when one feels most comfortable and with Robb Stark out of the picture, the Lannisters were most vulnerable. But who WHO could have pulled off this spectacular poisoning? Let’s take a look at the candidates:
Lord Mace Tyrell: The man who hands Joffrey a giant golden goblet and says, “May you and my daughter Margaery drink deep and live long.” Hmmm . . . possibly only coincidental, but it is for sure a bit of foreshadowing.
Lady Olenna: She is the reason Tywin became comfortable. He did not view her as a threat, just a sweet old lady he outwitted. But I have a feeling she has been playing it easy with him and she devised the scheme to poison Joffrey. Just go back to that quote I started this post off with. She knows what she’s doing. She’s no simpleton and she knows how dangerous Joffrey is. And if you look carefully, she takes a charm off of Sansa’s necklace, the necklace Dontos gave her in the last episode. Also when she takes the charm, she tells Sansa it is time she sees some of the world. In her mind, Sansa could be the first to blame for killing Joffrey and Dontas swiftly takes her away from any possible harm. Crafty old lady.
Prince Oberyn: We know he came seeking revenge and justice for the wrongs the Lannisters committed against his family from a previous war, but that animosity was mostly directed at Tywin, so I am not sold on him being a piece in this scheme . . . yet. With Joffrey out of the picture though, then Oberyn and his skills become necessary to protect the innocents from the ensuing chaos.
Cersei: Because she is just crazy enough to murder her own son for the good of the realm and put the poisoning on Tyrion, who she has been wanting to get equal with since he sent Marcella away. This is definitely a long shot, but she quickly pinned this on Tyrion. Yeah, it could just be her overall displeasure with her brother, or it could be an insane plan by her. She also promptly went against Lady Margaery’s words of where the leftovers were going and called herself the queen. Strong words (also remember, she tells Maester Pycelle to leave. A man who could have perhaps saved the life of Joffrey. Why have him leave? A coincidence?). Lastly, Loras said he was still looking forward to marrying Cersei, but she previously has told Tyrion she was not going to marry him and Tyrion was baffled. She is up to something . . . maybe it is just to eventually have Margaery killed at some point. Who knows with her. She has mentioned often that her kids are the reason she is still living. So again, probably unlikely, but she was all over the place in the episode.
Varys: The true figure of what is best for the realm. We have seen his dark side, which could be a fore-bearer of other deadly deeds to come, including having a hand in ridding the world of King Joffrey.
Tyrion: He is the accused, but I don’t have any evidence or backing for him killing Joffrey. Yes, Joffrey has abused him, but it just doesn’t fit. He wanted to pay the dwarves in Joffrey’s demeaning portrayal of the battle of the 5 kings, as if he expected the night to go on. It seemed genuine and when he picked up the cup too, as if he was just figuring out what had happened.
Sansa: Remember she picked up Joffrey’s cup when he kicked it under the table? She did ask Tyrion to leave right before Joffrey fell ill, as if she didn’t want to be there when it all went down. But she did stare and calmly watch Joffrey die, so there’s that. She has so many reasons to kill Joffrey, more than anybody in the show, but it’s hard to say she would come up with this plot.
Petyr Baelish: We haven’t even seen him on screen or mentioned this season yet, but that shouldn’t stop us from considering him. If there is anything we should know about Baelish is that don’t underestimate Baelish.
Dontos: The fool who Sansa spared in the first episode of the second season. He is the only living member from a disgraced family, so he has nothing to lose. And he surprisingly showed up to escort Sansa away, perhaps because he knew it would be pinned on Tyrion and that Sansa would be alone again. “If you want to live, we have to leave,” he says to her. He never portrayed himself as a man of competence though. I mean, it didn’t help that he was Joffrey’s fool, but as he pointed out in the first episode, he was a living fool thanks to Sansa. What better thank her than to kill the King and leave King’s Landing?
Lady Melisandre: Can we count her out of this? The Priestess of Light has foreshadowed death. First she told Stannis the usurper Robb Stark would die and then she said Joffrey would die as well, which then happened. Something mysterious brewing.
Lady Margaery: She feeds Joffrey pie a mere moments before he died. Was the pie the poison? Did she set it in motion? She did once say that she didn’t want to just be a queen, she said she wanted to be the queen. What better way to be the queen than to have Joffrey out of the picture? She was always good at putting on a smile and faking happiness around him to get to this point (and to just stay alive from the unpredictable kid ruler), and she doesn’t exactly go after him when he collapses, but that could be a literal display of shock from Joffrey dying.
The theories from now until Sunday will be rampant (or one could find spoilers from the books . . . lame . . .) but I don’t think one person could have done this on their own. Too many strings to pull. But if I had to put money on someone, I would wager on Lady Olenna being the central figure. She seemed to have been scheming since we first saw her, like the scene last season where she talked to Sansa about the erratic King Joffrey, and her poisoning of Joffrey keeps her daughter safe and rids the realm of an awful King. Win/win. Remember when Joffrey slashed at the pie? Doves flew up into the air, almost as a distraction for someone to drop the poison into the cup, if that is even the way he died. And if it is Lady Olenna, she is a child murderer and everyone will be okay with that notion.
But the real question now is: who ascends to the throne? Tywin as Hand of the King will be acting King, but surely he does not want to stay there for long and end up in the same disposition as the former king. It will be very interesting to see the ripples from the most significant death of this show’s run.