‘Game of Thrones’ Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

Published 1 year ago by

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding joffrey Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

[WARNING: MAJOR Game of Thrones SPOILERS Follow!]


Well, it finally happened! Season 3 of Game of Thrones had the Red Wedding; this season it’s the Purple Wedding, and with it comes King Joffrey’s death, which fans of the series have been hoping for since he took Ned Stark’s head in season 1. How did it happen? Who did it? Let’s walk through everything that led to this moment!

The death of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), or Purple Wedding – as the fans of the book series call it – is not a response to Robb Stark’s Red Wedding, as many may think, which Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) set up in an attempt to bring an end to the war, albeit brutally. This week’s act of killing the child King is, for all intents and purposes, a terrific example of the underhanded double-speak and behind-closed-doors deals which fuel the complicated world of Westeros. Of course, things may have played out differently if Joffrey wasn’t such an awful person and insecure king.

The plan for the Purple Wedding ultimately began in season 2, was confirmed in season 3, then put in to motion in season 4. Did you catch all the clues?


Phase I: “Do you want to be a Queen?”

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding explained 3 Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

In season 2, episode 5, “The Ghost of Harrenhal,” Littlefinger – aka Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) - asks Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) after her soon-to-be husband Renly is “mysteriously” murdered, “Do you want to be a queen?” “No. I want to be the Queen,” is her response – and so the plot began!

Littlefinger then convinces the Tyrells to ally with Joffrey, allowing Margaery to remain a queen, while at the same time removing Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) from Joffrey’s grasp.


Phase II: “Now, tell me about this royal boy, this Joffrey.”

game of thrones season 3 purple wedding lady of thrones Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

In season 3, episode 2, “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” Sansa meets with Lady Oleanna (Diana Rigg) – the Queen of Thorns – and is asked, bluntly, to speak the truth about the type of person Joffrey is, as she would know better than anyone else. Lady Oleanna is a bit concerned with the man her granddaughter is supposed to marry.

After a bit of hesitation, Sansa says, “He’s a monster,” to which the Queen of Thorns replies, “Ah, well that’s a pity.” It is this moment which seals Joffrey’s fate. The ladies of Highgarden are playing the game of thrones to win, not die, it seems.


Phase III: Purple Wedding is a GO!

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding explained 4 Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

In the season 4 premiere, Sansa is surprised by Dontos Hollard (Tony Way) at Red Keep’s godswood who, after thanking her for saving his life, gifts her House Hollard’s last remaining heirloom, an amethyst-filled necklace. In the book, she’s gifted a hairnet with amethysts, instead.

At the wedding, the Queen of Thorns makes sure to visit Sansa and covey her condolences about Robb Stark’s death, after which she says, “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding – horrid.” During this skillful misdirection, the Queen of Thorns channels her inner-pickpocket and makes off with a single “stone” from Sansa’s necklace. Check out her slight of hand in the pics below:

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding explained Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery“Sorry about Robb!”

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding explained 2 Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery
“Got it, lol!”

Now that the Queen of Thorns has the poison, all she needs to do is to sneak it in Joffrey’s cup. Fortunately, the ceremonial dove pie cutting provided enough cover to sneak it into his kingly cup without being noticed.

Just one drink and it’s all over!

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding explained 5 Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery


Phase IV: Die! (Sorry, Tyrion!)

game of thrones season 4 purple wedding explained 6 Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

Of course, before Joffrey dies, Dontos Hollard returns to the wedding and attempts to help Sansa escape, tipping his hand – not to mention who all is involved – just a bit early. “Come with me now. If you want to live, we have to leave,” is all he needed to say.

As Sansa makes her exit, Tyrion is left holding the murder weapon (the goblet), and Joffrey points to his uncle as the one who poisoned him, making Tyrion the prime suspect and (perhaps) final victim of Joffrey’s horrific reign.


game of thrones season 4 purple wedding joffrey dead Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

R.I.P. Joffrey Baratheon

What did you think of the Purple Wedding? Did you catch all of the clues, as well as the Queen of Thorns’ sleight of hand? And how many little fingers does Lord Baelish have in this plot? Keep watching to find out!

…And until then, pay your respects to your fallen King in the comments!


Game of Thrones airs Sundays @9pm on HBO. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode, “Breaking of Chains,” below:

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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  1. I feel like we have been missing Littlefinger so far this season. He needs to get his devious self out and about.

    • Baelish is supposedly in the Eyre since he left last season. he’ll be back soon :D

    • If there going by the books he should be in the next episode.

  2. R.I.P. King Joffrey :’( You may have been a horrid man at times, but never believe what you hear or read in ‘The Daily Westeros’. Dirty conspiracy theorists were trying to ruin you. Joffrey was not the king we deserved, but the king we needed right now :’( He will be missed….. gutted…

  3. Bout time!

    Loved the episode – though with Joffrey being such an a$$ … I was truly hoping someone would lob his head off and we’d get more of a feeling of satisfaction from his death.

    I’m just glad we won’t have to endure his behavior any longer.

    • Oh, but this was so much slower and more painful than getting his head cut off… :-D

    • +1000
      Where’s Ghost Rider when y need him. :-)

  4. i dont read the book but i was thinking that it was tryions whre. they kept on talking about her and i was actually expected her execution at the wedding but she wasnt and i was not expecting the king to die so soon.

    the clear answer is sansa but it cant be that obvious can it?

    that actor did very well making everyone hate the heck outta him lol. so i think he should get an award or something.

    • You’re on to something there, but I think you’ll be surprised.

    • Nope, it was Baelish and Oleanna. I’d say “I won’t spoil it for you” but as this article points out, it’s all their doing and Tyrion’s the one taking the fall.

      You mentioned Shae….wait and see if you want to know her fate. A Lannister always pays his debts.

      • where do whres go?

    • I agree ! I forgot his real name but the actor who played Joffrey did one amazing job of making us all hate him. In real life and earth world, I saw him interviewed. He is such a nice young man, comes across as very intelligent and is going back to get his masters degree. He deserves some kind of award for sure!

  5. “did anyone else just let out a sigh of relief when they killed the king? Just me? ok I’m a terrible person” Everyone knows your a terrible person.

  6. The King served his purpose, RIP. P.S. No one really dies in Fiction, so one day he will rise again from the ashes, ready to sit upon the throne that was rightfully his. Cut off one head and two more shall take its place. Hail Hydra!

    • The two new heads Toman and Mercella

  7. F**K THE KING!

  8. What a way to go. I like that he suffered instead of having a quick death with his head chopped off. Great acting and FX work from on the now dead king.

  9. **SPOILER**
    He will get his own spinoff show, where he is brought back to life by some blue alien stuff and gets to fly around on a dragon. I believe it will be called “Agents of Thrones”

  10. Wait…so if I read the above article, then it was the Queen of Thorns, Lady Oleanna, that killed Joffrey? Wow, I missed all of that. Is it ever confirmed in a later book that she did it?

    • It’s confirmed when Lord Baelish admits it to Sansa at The Eyrie.

    • Actually, the book never confirmed who actually put the poison in the cup. The show doesn’t either. The cup wasn’t ever at Oleanna’s table so while I think she gave the stone to Maergeray and Maergeray slipped it in while Joffrey was cutting the pigeon pie.

      • naw man I watched it several times and tyrion fills the cup, joffery takes it and thats when margeary yells, “oh look the pie!”, then she takes joffery’s cup and places it on the far side of the king’s table…very close to olenna and the pigeon pie provides a nice distraction and time for her to slip the roofie in his drink. just keep an eye on the bouncing cup if you watch the episode again

  11. There is a reason why Game of Thrones is the best television show on tv. This episode is just another in a line of great seasons. Now I just need the box sets to constantly watch them over and over.

  12. According to the books, it was Littlefinger that set the whole thing up. Petyr Baelish reveals as much to Sansa after he secrets her away to her aunts home.

  13. Take that, Joffrey, you little sh*t!

  14. This is the only site I’ve seen that busts Lady Olenna as the killer. If so, very happy to see the former Mrs. Peel, Sonya Winter, Tracy Draco, Edwina Lionheart, Christine Vole, Regan, Helena Vesey, Mrs. Danvers & Mrs. Gillyflower is carrying on her murderous ways! Sure I’ve missed a few, Dame Diana makes a great victim as well (e.g. Evil Under the Sun).

    • Yep, it’s hilarious to think that one half of The Avengers (well, the original duo anyway unless you don’t count Joanna Lumley’s character in later seasons in the early 70s) helped kill Joffrey.

    • Yep, hilarious how one half of The Avengers helped plot this. John Steed would be proud.

      • Tracy Bond*, may she rest in peace.

  15. I’m in the minority of people who wanted Joffrey to stick around for a while. Yeah, he was a massive turd, but he was so gloriously hateable that his absence leaves a huge void in Westeros. Sure, there are other detestable characters left to terrorize the realms, but they aren’t nearly as fun to root against.

    And hats off to Jack Gleeson! The sheer amount of hate directed at Joff is not only a testament to the writers, but also to the actor who brought him off the page. That guy boiled the blood of millions of viewers just by showing his face on TV. I’m sad to hear that he’s retiring from acting. He seems like a decent dude off-camera.

  16. ha ha the little king bastard got poisoned i loved it, that little brat is dead, about time lol

  17. The only problem I see with this is that there were a number of DEAD doves in the pie. I had to repeat and slow it down to see it. I was thinking that the poison was in the pie. The New queen sort of force fed it to him.

    • The pie was full of dead doves because Joffrey hit it as hard as he could with his sword.

    • The doves were dead because Joffrey used his sword on the pie. It definitely was the drink that poisoned him.

  18. I don’t know of any poison that inflicts sword wounds. The Doves were dead because Joffrey was showing off with his Valyrian blade. Then again, Im not sure about this stolen amethyst theory either. Seems a bit too opportunistic.

    • It’s only opportunistic if you don’t suspect that Lady Olenna would plan everything out.

      She didn’t take an opportunity, she created it. The “family heirloom” given to Sansa by Dontos was a plant, to get the fake gem to the wedding without Olenna having to carry it herself (in case something went wrong). She used Sansa because the girl is exactly what she appears to be: sweet and innocent, though worn down a bit by everything that has happened to her.

  19. Wow i though this site was better than this ruining a season long mystery the day after it happens. Why?

    • it says spoilers at the top so what can possibly have been ruined

      • The spoiler implied at the top is the death of Joffrey not the revelation of his killer

        • @W

          “‘Game of Thrones’ Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery”

          So… did the episode leave it a mystery if Joffrey died or not?? Obviously they are talking about the mystery behind who killed him, it was pretty explicit that he died…

        • Somehow my comment didn’t show up… Anyway, read the title, it’s about 4 scenes that explain the “mystery.” Was it a “mystery” if Joffrey died or not? Obviously they are talking about the mystery behind who did it and how…

          • Ah, there are my comments, better late than never. :-P

        • test…

          • Great, so that shows, but the two times I tried to actually reply doesn’t. Great… I give up…

    • ‘Game of Thrones’ Purple Wedding Explained: 4 Scenes That Reveal The Mystery

      [WARNING: MAJOR Game of Thrones SPOILERS Follow!]


    • How silly of Anthony to think that the people who visit this site are smart enough to read the big bold spoiler warnings before continuing…

    • Really, Baggins? Did you not read the title? How about the intro line in bold?

  20. And this is what I spoiled to a friend when I read it in the books. The Red and Purple wedding were pretty much right on top of one another in the books. So now I can talk with my friend again about the story. Fingers crossed I don’t spoil anything else.

  21. Jack Gleeson has a supremely punch-able face!
    I wish he’d hung around a little more; will def be missed.
    GoT & Justified are my two must-watches at the moment; great TV shows.

  22. The only hole in this conspiracy for me is the actually poison drop into the cup. With every one seated the the right of Lady Oleanna, wouldn’t one of them see the drop? The cup wasn’t further away from her person than a simple “oops” would entail. She would of had to reach out. Wouldn’t some one as keen as Tywin Lannister have noticed?

    • I rewatched and you see when Margaery places the cup on the table infront of Olenna just before Joffrey is to cut the cake.

  23. I’m not sure about the drink being poisoned. I think the pie was poisoned! He was the only one who ate it and they made a point to show the dead birds in the pie!

    • The dead birds were not poisoned. That was to show you that while most people just saw the birds flying out of the pie, what they don’t see is that when he sliced it with his sword that he also sliced through a few of the birds. And he was the only one we saw eating it, but I doubt whoever poisoned him would risk poisoning everyone if he had waited to eat his and other people started eating theirs…

      • True, unless it was someone who wanted to get revenge on all of the Lannisters.

      • I think it might have been in the individual slice of pie Joffrey ate. The fool seemed to know what was going on and might have been in on it. The goblet was passed around by about three people and made for good misdirection, but he went down after eating the pie.

        • The pie was round, there’s no way they could have predicted which slice he was going to get. He didn’t go down until he drank from the goblet. It wasn’t poisoned all along, notice in the recap photos, the Queen of Thorns makes her way to where Joffrey’s goblet was sitting on the table right before he drank from it the last time that poisoned him?

          It’s pretty clear that it was the wine that was poisoned, I don’t really understand this need to provide an alternative theory… Besides, it’s pretty much confirmed from readers of the novels. (Which spells it out in writing…)

    • Joffrey releases the doves, then a group of servants come and bring everyone at the head tables a plate with precut slices already on it. C’mon, give Westeros catering a bit of credit! :-)

      It was the drink, not the pie, hence the “purple wedding”. There was no purple pie in last week’s episode.

      • Purple Wedding refers to the color of Joffrey’s face when he died.

        • Actually, if you read the books, the Purple Wedding was a nickname given to the occasion by the fans/readers, for the color of the wine after it had been poisoned. Tyrion pours the rest of the wine from the goblet and it appears purple, instead of red.

  24. “purple wedding” is every bit as much for his face and skin color when it is done, as much as it is about wine being the vehicle that delivers the poison.

  25. Interesting theory, but I do not see why Oleanna would need to go through all of that to sneak poison into the wedding. Considering the unstable nature of the situation why risk something happening to Sansa and the murder weapon not ever making it to the wedding. I have not read the books so I do not know what resolution they came to, but the way Joffrey was built up everyone and their mother had a reason to kill him.

    That said I would not put it past Cersei or Tywin to have a hand in knocking off Joffrey due to how increasingly uncontrollable he was becoming. Cersei did still have the poison she was going to use on herself and the younger son during the siege, and she was in close proximity to the cup and wine during the wedding. Setting up Tyrion would just sweeten the deal for the Lanisters who want to be rid of him anyway.

  26. I like it so much that this A$$ho13 has been killed

  27. Seriously, this web-site is the best one to WARN the fans of Spoilers! I always laugh when someone gets butt hurt, it’s called look carefully before reading. Just like in school, I’m sure they would just jump into a test and FAIL because they could not follow the instructions! Anyways…….

    One day I will watch this series or read the books. My friends talk non-stop about ‘Game of Thrones, and Dr. Who’ but what I hear just sounds like ‘way too much drama.’ The last Comic Con I went to, their we’re a bunch of girls with dragons, and etc… walking around. It’s cool, maybe one day when I have time I might watch it or read the books.

  28. I felt bad because it had finally seemed that Sansa understood Tyrion was on her side but then she had to leave.

  29. I knew coming into season 4 that the Lannisters had to start dying. You can’t get by for so long by being corrupt and killing off other families, while bashing your own, without something happening to your own family. I was shocked that they killed off Joffery in the 2nd episode of season 4… that tells me that bigger fish are going to fall by the end of season 4.