‘Game of Thrones’ Author George R. R. Martin on the Purple Wedding

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Game of Thrones Tyrion and Joffrey at the Purple Wedding Game of Thrones Author George R. R. Martin on the Purple Wedding

Warning: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Game of Thrones up to season 4, episode 2.


Weddings are supposed to be a joyous occasion, but in the world of Game of Thrones they’ve developed a bit of a reputation for being bloody and/or miserable affairs. Whether its the unhappy union of Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark, the butchery at Edmure Tully’s wedding to Roslin Frey, or the recent royal marriage of Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell, they never seem to go quite right.

Of course, many fans probably celebrated the end of ‘The Lion and the Rose,’ in which the much-hated Joffrey ended up turning very purple indeed and choking to death mere moments after cementing his poor public image with a “comedy” interpretation of the War of the Five Kings. In a way it was probably one of the most cheerful weddings the show has had so far, but its consequences could be dire for poor Tyrion, who was accused by Cersei of poisoning his nephew.

The script for the episode was penned by George R. R. Martin, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels upon which the show is based. Speaking in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin explained that the scene of Joffrey’s death was in turn based on a true story.

“I think the idea with 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?”

Joffrey and Margaery with a crossbow in Game of Thrones 570x294 Game of Thrones Author George R. R. Martin on the Purple Wedding

With a character who’s as fun to hate as Joffrey, it might be assumed that Martin has as much contempt for Joffrey as many of the fans do. After all, in the first season alone he had Ned Stark – who was set up as the protagonist of the series – put to death, and over the last three seasons Joffrey’s handed out plenty of cruelty and failed to show much in the way of compassion or mercy. Martin, however, didn’t want his murder to be framed entirely as a cause for celebration.

“Joffrey, as monstrous as he is… 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…”

Whether or not Joffrey would have matured in his late teens and turned out be a wise and gentle king we’ll never know (odds aren’t that great), but his death leaves the Iron Throne empty and heralds a potential shift of power. With so many different characters who fervently believe that they should rule over Westeros, whoever ends up succeeding Joffrey had better watch their back – and their goblet. As Martin teases, “Sometimes the good guys win, sometimes the bad guys win. Nobody is safe and we are playing for keeps.”


Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘Breaker of Chains’ @9pm on HBO.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. 3 eps ago everyone was upset… and now everyone is happy hahahaha. i didnt expect him to die this soon. quite shocking even though i hate him. and they really let it sink in of him dying because he is a little sht lmao, the camera just stayed on his face.

    everyone is a but upset that he was killed to kindly put i think his eyes and gave turning red was effective enough.

  2. Pay my respect to the fallen king? To quote the Hound:

    “FU#K THE KING!”

  3. Not sure what to think at first but when the fool came out of nowhere and told Sansa it was time to go, my first thought was that he’s behind it and perhaps he was a hired assassin.

    • My bet is still on the new queen as her mother, the fool might have known what was going on, or helped, and he feels like he owes Sansa a lot, so he was in there (maybe a little too quickly) to get her out.

      Of course, as soon as she turns up missing people are going to be suspicious.

      • Actually Joffrey was poisoned by “grandma” Martell lol via having the poison slipped into the goblet, Now as far as Sansa what going on there is, The fool was hired by littlefinger and both Sansa and littlefinger will make their way to the Aerie where Sansa’s Aunt rules.

        • you are a weak human being- a know it all and no self-esteem gives you satisfaction to spoil entire plots over the internet so you are able to be a step ahead of SOMEONE in your life. good job

          • There were books that spoiled the show before his comment came along you know…

            Also, Screenrant had a WONDERFUL story on how to avoid spoilers awhile back, the best advice they gave was: avoid the internet. :)

        • It’s never confirmed in the books (yet) who actually killed Joffrey, so you are completely speculating, but the grandma has been a common theory amongst fans.

          If you watch the last 2 episodes again its pretty clear who is behind the murder and it isn’t the grandmother

          • Actually, yes, it is in a Storm of Swords, during a Sansa POV after she arrives in the Eyrie.

  4. I think George Martin is an idiot saying Joffrey was a bully. His character was a maniac, a f&cking psychopath, not the classic 13 year old school bully. I think they could have killed him in a more satisfying way (for the majority of the audience), like portray the throat scratching.

    • I agree with him! He’s the classic 13 year old bully, but with a LOT of power.

  5. It was Littlefinger

    • It was the grandma – she did it with the necklace that Former Sir Dontos gave to Sansa.

      They focused on that old lady way too much through the episode. She did it.

      Why you ask?

      Well would you want your lovely, intelligent, granddaughter marrying a monster like Joffrey?

      • If you read the book you would who Dontos works for and it isn’t the grandmother

        • “if your read the book you would know who” is how that’s meant to read

          Damn you lack of an edit button

        • Just because Dontos doesn’t work for the Queen of Thorns doesn’t change the fact that she is the one that does the poisoning.

          The king meets his fate at the hands of CO-conspiritors Littlefinger/Queen O’Thorns.

          And before anyone cries at me for “spoilers” check the time stamp…. it done been spoiled already.

  6. So who takes Joffreys place? Jaimie?

    • Joffreys little brother takes his place.

    • The next child in line… Tommen

  7. So, where are the people who cried and whined and claimed to never watch “that terrible show again because all the good guys die and it seems to say that being bad and evil is glorified”?

  8. With the recent articles on ScreenRant surrounding this particular episode, I had expected and feared another ‘Red Wedding’ style tragedy. It was almost a spoiler in and of itself, ‘All this attention means something big has happened. After The Red Wedding, I started the episode with the expectation of horrible stuff happening.

    I was certain Shay was going to be brought out at the wedding and executed in front of Tyrion or something equally horrifying. But Joffrey’s death was something I was not expecting at all. I kinda knew he was going to die at some point in the future. But thankfully he was written out at this point. While his character is supposed to be hated, he was quickly becoming my least-favorite character. He was always ‘one-note,’ ‘irredeemably evil.’ He’s the worst kind of villain, Evil-for-the-sake-of-evil, a villain with no depth or reason.

    It was to the point where he wasn’t interesting to watch, everything he said or did was so unlikable-I always lost interest whenever his scenes would show up.

    Good riddance, is what I say.

    • Very well said. I agree, I was bored with his character. They did the right thing getting rid of him sooner. Honestly, his death didn’t even have an impact, because I was over him ever since he shot that girl with the cross bow. Once someone is just that singular in their character, they get really boring fast.

      Now Ramsay and Reek?? There is some interesting stuff going on. Theon was becoming very evil then they turned sympathy towards him. So now he’s interesting again, especially having this mind control/tortured facet named Reek. I don’t read the books so I’m sure someone knows all about what happens, but as far as viewing goes, Joffrey was dead way before this episode to me, but Theon has become alive again.

  9. Whatever happened, it was orchestrated at the scene. Everyone was drinking the same wine. One thing is for sure, Tyrion was so concerned with dealing with the very real threat that our young tyrannt king pressented with his sword and mental instability that in the immediacy of the moment he was almost struck dumb by the poisoning. He is not the killer. If it is Littlefinger, I cant wait for those two actors to square off onscreen.

    • Well you’ll be waiting a long time, they may never be in each others presence ever again.

  10. Did you really need to post that particular picture up there for me to see in my email?
    I haven’t seen the episode yet.. thanks for that. How about keeping the main pic as a generic photo and having spoiler information AND PHOTOS saved for being further into the article?

    • The picture of Tyrion getting wine poured on his head? I’m not really sure that can be counted as a spoiler any more than any other generic photo.

    • Ryan, Really?

      STOP CRYING!!! I am soooo very sick of whiny little twits crying that something was “spoiled”. It is not anyone’s responsibility but YOUR OWN to worry about whether or not you have seen something yet. Can some one seriously carry an e-mail notification subscription to a site like this and then be upset when a rather BENINE picture is shown?

      The picture in the article shows the King pooring whine (see what I did there) on his uncles head… NOTHING is spoiled by that. The kid is a jerk… you KNEW that (if you have half a brain)….. the wedding was coming, you KNEW that (if you’ve been paying attention).

      You don’t want things “SPOILED” …. WATCH WHEN THEY AIR!!!!!! Or stay off the internet. PROBLEM effing solved!